Sunday, May 28, 2006

Big Brother & Wal Mart the Movie

This week was Vegetarian Week at club...we had vegetarian burgers and hotdogs, we celebrated the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) with murder puzzles and visual puzzles and illusions and more puzzles (+ a worker who is colour blind took young people through the Ishihara Test for colour blindness) and for Adult Learners week all the adult workers learned something at club from a young person...from how to play 'round the table' to how to bid on Ebay! And I also learned that one young person, JS has decided that he wants to be a youthworker...oh and with couple of the young people on Tuesday started a surreal club blog at http://theparadisezone.blogspot.com.

Big Brother started this week (ironically one young person studied 1984 for her English Lit GCSE at club). Despite my aversion to the programme, I have to admit that as a youthworker it is a useful tool for building relationships. One year I didn't watch it and I lost many opportunities to get involved in discussions. So I took the bull by the horns and viewing it as 'research' was pleased with my study of the programme as throughout the week it featured in many conversations. Issues discussed included: bullying, tourettes syndrome, postitive and negative qualities in a person, mental health, loneliness, smoking, racism, appropriate behaviour, sexual health and relationships. Watching Big Brother with a view to issue based work with young people makes it more paletable...more like a social study or phychological investigation into human behaviour to be discussed. Certainly the conversations I have had with young people based on the programme are a lot more interesting than those of those from the Big Brother house.

More interesting than Big Brother in content was Wal Mart (Asda in the UK) the documentary...but less interesting in its presentation. The documentary was probably truer to the message than other Moore-type documentaries but would a little humour kill the makers? I lost count of how many times I yawned and shifted my bum in the seat. The information was great it was just that I really did want to 'shoot the messenger'! I could have read the information they gave. There was no sense of the personality of the film maker...it was just a bland presentation of facts...sometime too many facts and bizarely freezing and silent making me think on more than one occasion the projector had stalled. At least Michael Moore tries to entertain us as well as inform us...which makes sense if you want a message to be heard by as many people as possible...and if you want it remembered.

We saw it at The Curzon in Soho, where we'd seen another bum burner The Corporation. Lovely old fashioned cinema but we don't have much luck with it entertainment wise...I don't want to have to put effort into my viewing...I had already done that by going all the way there (as it wasn't showing at my local cinema) paying a ridiculous West End amount of money (I have an annual pass for my local cinema) and getting soaked through in the downpour on the way. Why couldn't the messenger be as good as the message?

Oh and here's the message...read these facts and you will get it!

And this is the Blurb...

WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE is a feature length documentary that uncovers a retail giant's assault on families and American values. The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!

B did a lovely reflection this week using the book Change the World for a Fiver: We Are What We Do. I read the book last year and gave it to a number of people for Christmas as well as getting a copy for club. Its great. As is the site: We Are What We Do We can do everything in the book including buying it for others.

Check out the...

list of simple, everyday actions you can do to help change the world (and have fun while you're doing it). It could be doing something for the community like shopping locally, something for the environment like avoiding plastic bags, or something for you, like learning to paint, sing or speak Spanish...

...and check them off the action list here.

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