Thursday, October 19, 2006

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

We are but soldiers in a war, and these are the weapons I have been given.

These are the SAC textbooks (Shane Advanced Course), helpfully colour coded via nonsensical spectrum: Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple, Blue, Silver.

Coincidentally these are also the colours of the bruises sustained by my ego when I teach from them.

Here we see an excerpt from one of these enthralling tomes. This is the last unit of the top level textbook. If you look closely the unit is about Cornwall. The grey box at the bottom says:

Where is Cornwall? And why do people go there?

Two questions I’ve often asked myself.

I’m joking, obviously. I know where Cornwall is.

This picture is from one of the kids’ books.

Here we see an all-too common domestic situation: a dragon asking a chipmunk if there is a lemon in the fridge.

Take a look at the picture, because I have a few concerns about this:

First, though out of shot, I should tell you that the chipmunk is fully clothed. Presumably, then, it is accepted that this is a world where animals adopt human characteristics. But if that is so, this must mean the dragon is sat drinking his tea totally bollock naked.

Actually, I lie. He is wearing a tie. Either way I’m disgusted. I tell you, scratch the surface of suburbia and those no telling what you’ll find.

Second, all that appears to be in the fridge is five eggs, a melon and a fish fillet. What are they going to cook with that? Even contestants on Ready Steady Cook have access to basic provisions.

The dragon, realising with no lemon he’ll be having fish-melon omelette again tonight thinks “I’m pissed off. I know he’s OK with my being a naturist and everything, but this whole lemon incident is just typical. He hasn’t bought any bog roll for ages, either.”

Meanwhile back in the real world, I am meant to use this as a basis for two, 60 minute lessons. Let me make this clear. That is “Very Difficult”.

I think in this lesson I would invite the children to give me a postmodern critique of the picture page, asking them to consider the interplay between the dynamism of the anthropomorphic symbology and its juxtaposition within a contemporary environment.

They love all that stuff, don’t they, kids?


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