Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wave of Rock

I know, I know, two posts in a day, this is crazy talk. But it looks like I have a bit of time 'til the roommates are ready to leave the computer lab so here goes.

I watched School of Rock yesterday. A cute movie, all in all, and really there is no good reason that it should have gotten me all deep and philosophizing.

But. The one thought that kept popping into my head throughout the film was how uncannily well this movie went with The Wave. No, really. A charismatic teacher sweeps into class with a whole new movement, overturning the way that the school has been run and the values that the kids have been taught, and sweeping everyone along with his ambitious ideals and plans for the future. The movement not only unites the class, but it gives social standing and confidence to students who were the losers beforehand.

A stretch? Perhaps. But it would be startlingly easy to write "The Wave of Rock", in either of two equally valid forms.

1) Dewey Finn comes to the elementary school, bringing with him the gospel of rock. All the children quickly embrace his idea and devote themselves to the project of creating an awesome band. Except for Mary, a quiet girl who enjoys learning actual information and looks askance at the anarchy inherent in Dewey's rock-centric rhetoric. As time goes by, she notices more and more hostility on the part of her classmates towards those they see as representing or supporting 'the Man'. When she tries to pull out the band, she becomes a class pariah, rejected by her peers, singled out in class, and pressured to rejoin the project. The movie ends with either Dewey unveiling the fact that it was all a test, or a camera shot over the crowds of children, dressed alike in School of Rock t-shirts, chanting Dewey's name in unison, with ominous music in the background.

2) Burt Ross has a crazy new idea for his class- a new order of discipline that will unite the students and maybe even change the world into a better place. At first, the kids are dubious, but quickly they get into the idea. Ross forms them into a cadre, giving them each special jobs and encouraging self-confidence in every member of the group. The movie ends with a triumphant rally. The camera zooms over the jubilant crowds, singling out the faces of kids who especially benefited from the movement- friends who met or became closer through their involvement, the loser who is now a valued member of the class, and so forth.

Weird, I know. But I guess it just proves the power that the storyteller has. And the general tendency to ignore the fact that nonconformity can and does often contain its own homogeneous brainwashing.


Richard said...

In The Wave, it's not that the teacher has an idea for better discipline; he's trying to illustrate how the German public could have gone along with Hitler's regime and not risen up against them.
Oh, I see! You meant that period to be a colon: " either of two equally valid forms:"
Gotcha. Have a nice day.
l'shana tova.

Halfnutcase said...

scary enough both of those also fit well with an old star trek episode (i wont bore you with the details)

and it's interesting to bare in mind the experiment that was done on obediance.

also i can't help but transpose the wave story as an alternate venue for the "lean on me" movie. Imagine using THAT kind of technique to bring up the students self esteem and school's scores.

Shana said...

Isn't it funny, how people work that predictably...

Shana Tova U'Metuka
(and I found a free way to call you on a landline, email me, and we will schedule time to talk!!!)