Diigo Links

Friday, March 13, 2009

There was a time when the Olympics was just men, men in the buff. Everybody watched, birthday suited men doing sport. Nowadays we have men and women, none of whom "in the altogether", (although the beach volleyball is getting close).

The idea of having an au natuel Olympics is repugnant to most - (especially the thought of the racewalking men). The idea of having women in the Olympics would have been repugnant to the first Olyimpiacs.

My question is three-fold. When will the gender-gap in sport be so slight that separation is obsolete (think archery or sync-swimming, indeed racewalking...). When will the unclothed human form (especially men's) come back into legitimacy? What relationship do these "norms" have to "sexism"? Discus Discuss.

Note: I've had to use several euphamisms regarding a mode of undress in order to retain a G-rating in the eyes of web filters. Prior to an edit I was being cencored. Case in point I'd say.

And while I'm on the Olympics and the gender wars, this video made me feel a little uncomfortable on a couple levels. While I agree the game has changed, I believe it's changed a lot more for her than for most others (because she's highly symetrical, i.e. pretty) .

And while I'm on TED, I listened to this talk by Sir Ken Robinson titled "Do Schools kill creativity?". There was much (reason for) applause, and it was entertaining, and skillfully put together. But, and I say this with some reservations, while I agree with him that schools do kill creativity, I'm not sure I agree that it is such a bad thing.

Related to a point I made (poorly) a while back that school-dropouts or truants have a certain "initiative" or ability to defy authority that is essentially entrepreneurial. (Whereas I, the domesticated or rule-breaking-averse person, don't have that skill.)The art the grown-ups need to refine is to assist kids who "have it" to channel it in some way (preferably a way that helps everyone...)

Picasso might have been correct that all children are artists. And Ken might be right that artists are the grown-ups who didn't lose the skill. But I believe there is a necessary thinning or kulling that happens through the schooling process. School is adversarial to creativity, individuality, to making mistakes AND to being brilliant. But so is adulthood. Creativity carries risks. These risks should be represented in some way through the education process.

Sir Ken is advocating a smoother, gentler transition from the innocence of youth to the fallen state of adulthood. He’s almost advocating extending innocence, extending childhood. And while childhood has been granted extension after extension in the past six or seven decades, puberty has been edging itself into younger and younger people. And to be sure, an innocent post-pubescent child is a powder-keg waiting to go off.

It is odd to me that Sir Ken is advocating we “get out of our heads”, that we value the body in education, but neglecting to give value to “the group” to “society” and the averaging-effect groups enforce. Because as much as individual kids might be artists, in groups they more resemble the animals that we are. Schools are as much shaped by the student-body as by the faculty. I don’t think any mass-free-public-education reform will get far without taking the social dimension into consideration.

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