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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

SHAKESPEARE SHAKES IN HIS GRAVE...



I’m a faithful fan, huge admirer and loyal lover of British and American method ‘how to make high literature more teenager-friendly’. This trick is easy, simple & plain: films, movies, TV versions, adaptations. With very significant ending ‘S’ emphasising plurality, yes, especially for title Shakespeare. According to Wikipedia source this England-born king of tragedy is ‘the most filmed author ever in any language’ with around 500 film versions of his plays produced until today.



Dramas are meant to be watched not read. Mostly by adults not adolescents. Yet the obligation of school is to introduce classic belles-lettres to underaged, usually by teachers of mother tongue. As a schoolmistress of Polish I do know something about it... Since the moment I saw Romeo/Leo di Caprio and Juliet/Claire Danes in 1996 I’ve felt jealous of this wide range of screenings to which my English or American analogues can refer during their lessons. Not only the eternal author of Hamlet is honored this way. At least every decade new versions of evergreens by Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens are made. There are 15 Jane Eyres (I watched 5), 10 Pride and Prejudices (I saw 3), 5 Emmas (I viewed 2) but the absolute record-breakers are Oliver Twists in the number of 20, including also musicals, cartoons, miniseries and animated films.


My first and beloved Jane Eyre was Charlotte Gainsbourg, again in 1996, happy time of my Cracow studies:) I found everything so ideal and perfect in this movie that I completely couldn’t understand why on earth some other director attempted to create another one only a year later? Now I know: it’s a constant challenge for crew and cast; it’s a good way to make the drama or novel everlasting for younger and younger audience; finally it’s looking for – finding – presenting universal content in contemporary form.

Back to title William, prince of comedy. It’s such a pity that most Polish students connect him only with bloody Macbeth, a must read at their age of 16! OK, maybe also with Romeo & Juliet, an all-time archetype of unrequited love... Why not Midsummer’s Night Dream with the conventionality of marriage discussion? Why not The Taming of the Shrew with the possibility of feminist discourse? Why not Twelfth Night, or What You Will with timeless qui-pro-quo theme?  Why death and murder instead of fun and laughter? Especially since there are teenage-targeted adaptations which I recommend all language-learners, both before and after 18th birthday.


 

If you never heard of She’s the Man or 10 Things I Hate About You, just read the poster and watch the trailer. Long-lasting but also life-teaching laughter is guaranteed! I wish we had similar screenings of Polish classics too...

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

SMART IS SEXY! SEXY. SEXY.



Brainiac, nerd, geek, freak, oaf, awkward – these words are no more insulting in the global universe of mass culture and entertainment. How did it happen? Who caused that? Well, that would be producers of The Big Bang Theory TV series, as they created six former victims of school bullying, characters now-aged-around-30 and made them most popular sitcom protagonists in this century. Plus one former female bully, who very quickly felt the need to adjust to the genius of her neighbours. Highest intelligence versus common sense; gender, racial and scientist stereotypes taken to their extremes; warm caricature of Generation Y connected with osmotic integration of its values into modern society – these are my reasons to watch and adore ‘Big Bang’.

Not only mine! Adolescenting teenagers and philosophy doctors, feminists and conservatives, middle-level educated housewives and busy computer specialists – around 20 mln people worldwide watch new parts of 6th season week by week. At present at least some percentage of this six zeros number can’t wait to a 134th (!) episode. I’ve done some research on that matter and found out three most popular adjectives used in description of the series.

HILARIOUS

What exactly does ‘bazinga’ mean? Urban online dictionary explains: A catchy phrase to accompany your clever pranks. This word belongs to Sheldon, the funniest character in all ratings/surveys of both viewers and critics. Perfidiously, he’s the one who doesn’t understand sarcasm and is totally unable to laugh wholeheartedly. That’s the contrast effect! On YouTube there are tens of ‘Sheldon’s Best’ shots as well as Penny’s, Leonard’s, Howard’s, Raj’s and so on. Honestly, each particular scene which I had remembered as tremendously entertaining, I could find cut and uploaded there. For instance that one. Only a minute short but provides you with full-health portion of laughter:


SO TRUE

Whether we call them theoreticians or practitioners, Big Bang characters are just who they are, not pretending to be someone else, someone better. Self-assured as scientists, lacking some social skills in outside world but also trying to find solutions in harmony with themselves. That way they also popularize mental self-knowledge about sources of various psychical problems. Wide audience learn about Oedipus complex, selective mutism and Asperger's syndrome thanks to these ‘role models’. Thinking about it I paid attention to their mothers and fathers’ figures – yes, loads of food for thoughts...

What else? Fascinating fact that the actress playing Amy in real life holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience too. She truly is a woman with big brains! Thanks to her ‘serial colleagues’ I discovered I’m sapiosexual and that’s a nice feeling;) Sapiosexuality is a behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use. Example: Me? I don’t care too much about the looks. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. (…) All the ‘i’ words from that definition greatly correspond with ‘Shamy’ & ‘Lenny’, don’t they? One small flaw: as a female I just pity the directors present mostly girl-hunting... Where could I find any clues how to pick up a male nerd, if not there?

TRENDSETTING

OK, I don’t insist that this sudden, inexplicable fashion for thick rimmed glasses had its beginning in ‘Big Bang’. Still, I believe the series helped to popularize some games: floor, board, RPG or computer and also created new ones: 3D chess, ‘paper scissors stone spock lizard’, ‘element quiz’. I’ve also read that more and more students choose to study Physics in the USA nowadays with Pasadena and California Institute of Technology on their minds. Therefore I feel entitled to make the statement: as Big Beat changed the music world once and forever, such is the current influence of Big Bang on western population. Authentic and jolly when describes reality, inventive when creates new trends for both VL and RL. So... It’s all FYI, KMN, I’m AFK!