Movies, books and brains.

I often find myself wishing I’d retained some of the information I was supposed to be learning during all those years in public school. History and science. Theorems and postulates. Remember long division and animal dissection? Unfortunately, it’s almost all gone now. Probably gone for good.

But in some kind of weak effort to stay vital, I find myself watching a lot of documentaries, skimming a lot of news and attempting to read at least one book every couple of months. It’s this personal adult education initiative that led me to the American Experience production We Shall Remain and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in the same weekend. A interesting pairing of equally negative exposés on the state of the world for sure.

Consider this brief synopsis of We Shall Remain:

“A five-part television series that shows how Native peoples valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture—from the Wampanoags of New England in the 1600s who used their alliance with the English to weaken rival tribes, to the bold new leaders of the 1970s who harnessed the momentum of the civil rights movement to forge a pan-Indian identity.”

And the Lorax:

“A children’s book published in 1971 that chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. The book is commonly recognized as a fable concerning industrialized society, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler (whose face is never shown in any of the story’s illustrations or in the television special) and to the environment as the Lorax. It has become a popular metaphor for those concerned about the environment.”

Add all this to the steady stream of news detailing the BP disaster in the Gulf and you’ve got plenty of quality material to keep your cogs turning. Even without a formal learning environment or the threat of an exam, I ‘d like to think I’m still putting something in my head that’s worth while. Somewhere between broken treaties, Ocene-lers and irresponsible corporations, I can only hope the goop between my ears is staying relatively active.


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