Tuesday, April 01, 2008
on what should have been an april fool's joke, yet wasn’t
Having spent months building up to it, today was the day I finally assigned the biggest project of the year – the one where little buggers have to research and create on a current social injustice. We’ve read several classic pieces of literature to set a context, scoured the media for current examples of social wrongs, spent endless hours discussing endless issues, and tomorrow they begin the grunt work.

(Meaning: tomorrow I’ll be running around the computer lab like a mad woman for an hour putting out 28 separate fires, repeat x3 for the next ten days. Best chuck the heels, methinks.)

Since topic selection is clearly the first concern, we’ve compiled a list of pre-approved topics for them to choose from - a wide and varied list including everything from the Chinese/Tibetan conflict, to the AIDS crisis in South Africa, to The Gap’s use of child-trafficked sweatshop labor, to the mafia-induced garbage crisis in Naples, Italy. It’s a fairly thorough and sobering list, so most students were satisfied to focus their research on one of these pre-approved topics.

Most students.

Torii* is one of those kids who is so out of touch with reality that you worry how she will ever function in the real world. (Until you realize how many loopy adults are functioning in the real world, and you suddenly feel a bit silly for wondering.) Torii is obsessed with Manga, insists on signing her papers with her self-selected Japanese pseudonym rather than the perfectly weird enough name her parents selected, and reads voraciously but refuses to even crack whatever I assign. When I made them respond to an in-class timed writing prompt on The Holocaust, she turned in a large-eyed sketch of some Japanese bear-thing framed by three haiku. When we watched the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, she squealed with delight because (according to her) the character of Dill was played by the same child actor who acted a in 1993’s The Sandlot. (I tried explaining how a 30 year time difference between the two movies would make this impossible, however the mechanics of the passage of time appeared to be a foolish and unconvincing argument.)

So yes, Torii’s rather…unique. Should I then be surprised when she lingered after class to ask whether or not she can research discrimination agains Furries - which, after some cursory research, appears to be a subculture comprised of some very confused nerds who like to dress up in giant anthropomorphic animal costumes, attend sci-fi conventions, role play, and occasionally have some weird form of cartoon sex with with another?

Why no. Of course I shouldn't.

(My research also uncovered that - when not marching in Fury-pride parades or playing Second Life - Furries really enjoy bowling. Huh.)

*As always, we're using code names.



Post a Comment

<< Home