Lost in Cultural Translation: Aesop’s Fables, Fairy Tales and Disney Movies

Every plan has a hole.  Every ship has a leak.  Every internet session is insecure.  These are the new universal writs of living in the new ancient world.  I learned that lesson in an especially troubling manner that forced me, in an instant, to reassess my role in the world as a Midwestern White Man teaching at-risk minority undergraduate students at a major New York City university.

I thought the assignment was simple and universally understood. I’d used a similar teaching plan at other universities with great success; but, in reflection, I realize most of those successes were found in mainstream classrooms with well-schooled students who were taught that learning was a priority in the home.

In my new teaching role in the inner city, many of these students working on a B.A. did not come from the same font of mandatory educational opportunities. They scraped by to earn understanding. They fought for what they grasped while others around them had learning handed to them.

There was a great divide of the mind and cultural experience that I quickly had to bridge or the entire end of the semester was at risk of failing, and the blame would solely be mine as the instructor for not being able to quickly re-adjust and move the field lines to be fair to my students so they could find success.

Continue reading → Lost in Cultural Translation: Aesop’s Fables, Fairy Tales and Disney Movies

Join Me at RelationShaping

I’m pleased to announce a brand new blog that I think you’ll enjoy reading: David W. Boles’ RelationShaping ->(.  Here is our new, semiotic, logo that suggests the intention of the site:  How technology Re-Forms and Re-Shapes our Mind-Body memes in a Relational Universe and it indicates “The Spear of Technology Piercing the Body In Situ ->(.”

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Never Write the Moment, Write the Memory

Many authors are taught to write in the now and to write in the moment — and while that idea is good and fine — it does not always allow for introspection from the distance of time.

If we write from memory, instead of from the moment, we immediately enrich our lives, and the experience for the reader, because wisdom and yearning are embedded in the word.

Memes and their memories create shared intelligence.

Memory imbues intellect and emotion belies meaning. 

Memory leads us onto paths we share, but have yet to discover, while emotion — made of fuzziness and heartache — confuses and misleads us by bending light. 

Abandoning Kitchen Door Values

In the Midwest — especially in the prairie farmhouse — the kitchen door of many homesteads provided direct entry into the back of the home. The kitchen was the central access core for sharing values and for meeting family and friends.

Many times you’d just walk in through the unlocked door, call out your arrival and take a seat at the kitchen table.

There was always a pot of coffee percolating on the stove and the smell of freshly baked goods wafted throughout the room from the cast-iron oven.

If you were a friend over for a visit, you always entered the house from the kitchen door and never the front door. Using the kitchen door meant you were always free to help yourself to whatever you wanted to eat and drink.

To ask permission first was to be rude and to take on the role of an uncomfortable unknown.

The front door was for strangers and deliveries.

The kitchen door held access to community values and acceptance was guaranteed for those you knew and loved.

Today — in the cities and the suburban urban core — the kitchen door is usually just a secondary exit to escape a fire. There is no warmth or humor found in accessing an urban kitchen.

Kitchens in the city are small pustules of cramped inconvenience that encourage more eating out than cooking in.

Continue reading → Abandoning Kitchen Door Values