Music, Movies and Mondo 2000

The best part about getting away from school, and “out of one’s comfort zone,” is that it allows one’s mind to reset and think fresh about the issues that surround and basically stare us in the face.

Mondo 2000Many years ago on a cycling trip in New England, I picked up a marked-down copy of collected articles from the defunct Mondo 2000 Magazine. In the relaxed, removed environment, the subversive collection of articles about technology and society were refreshing and challenged me to think fresh about what I was doing with college students and computers.

My batteries have run down lately. So many years have passed. On the cycling trip to Napa, I spent more informal hours with high school students than ever before, and in some ways I believe they began to show me what I was losing sight of.

Similar to the vibes in the Mondo 2000 articles, these kids are a wired group. Nearly all had iPods, some nanos, and some video iPods. One had brought a full group of movies on the video iPod to share with others during the car rides and in the tents, and they deftly used splitters to bridge out to multiple earphone sets (or simply shared buds). They had cigarette lighter DC adapters to charge their units, and once the movies were done they shared music collections, contemporary comedian performances, and other media recordings.

Fight ClubWhen we slept on the floors of commons rooms in the churches, the students used the big screen TVs and DVD players for movies. There was time in the evening for one movie in each location, and the students started the trip by watching the movie Office Space together, and then closed the trip by watching Fight Club together.

Obviously, I was a little concerned about our US students watching a movie as violent and relatively sexist as Fight Club, but I also reeled back and wondered by they chose those two movies of all the choices they had to bring and present. More importantly, the two movies were similar in certain respects.

Office SpaceIn both films, the protagonist “wakes up” from a zombie-like existence of meaningless work and mind-numbing consumerism. In both films, they take creative control of their existence, leading to relatively destructive yet life-improving results (at least for them). So, why did these two films get selected by our 14 students?

More thoughts on this later…

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