‘Your Style in His Hands’? An all-time makeover low

I’ve recently become uncomfortably familiar with a particular brand of partner abuse. Maybe you know it? Talk to them like skivvies, knock them down and then … thank you my saviour! … lift them from the depths of bemusement, emotional exhaustion and crumbling confidence to assure them that you do still really want them even though they’re not sparrow-legged fifteen-year-old silicone models.

Unsure of that of which I speak? Take a look at DSTV TLC channel’s ‘Your Style in His Hands’. I’m halfway through a third episode and can’t quite believe that TLC and DSTV have descended to this level. I amaze myself at my ability to type while my blood boils. And still can’t quite believe that it took me one-point-five episodes to twig.

It goes like this: A male partner nominates his shockingly tasteless wife/girlfriend for a him-directed makeover. She’s recently had your kids, you see; or given up her life to follow you to the country/city; and somehow, despite all your expectations, she’s not living up to them. What a miserable bitch. How dare she not dress like a stoned model on a rooftop shoot. How dare she succumb to life in the slow lane, surrounded by the unfamiliar and terrifying while you go off to work? Is this really what you get for giving up the pub and internet dating! Shame on the slag.

But all is not lost. By simply relinquishing her private life; by putting her insecurities – and body – on display, and by making a bit of a tit of yourself, you get 5 000 GBP to spend on recreating that babe you plied with Bacardi Breezers way back in the day. You don’t have to shift your mindset or ask her what you can do to make her life easier, or help out a bit more, or put your blobby bod on display (or get it in shape), or respect her as a frikken equal, you doos. Nope, all you have to do is get her a makeover while you remain your doosish, self-involved self. And you get to do it on global television.

[vomit break]

And boy oh boy do you then get to pat yourself on the back. Because you are the hero, my man. You are lauded, applauded and televised as the man who cares; who gets back the woman ‘I first fell in love with’. Of course, this makeover will revolutionise your life: you get the hot girl revisited and she gets pretty frocks and fuck-me shoes. My god, that’s really going to change everything. She now knows what pleases you; what turns you on; what’s been turning you on while she’s been breeding your children; changing her life while you suffer on, escaping to work and coming home to that dull, exhausted, bewildered woman dressed by the leftovers from the grocery budget. ‘Shopping for your fantasy life, not your real life’ says the mindless stylist as she oohs on with ‘Has she put the spark back into your relationship? Squeal!’

I get makeover shows, I really do. I love seeing Birmingham cesspits recreated as Hilton Heathrow Hotel suites; 45-year-old stripper moms transformed into St. Oprahs; quivering fearful full-fleshed girls and boys emerging from their voluptuous cocoons under the fairy wand of Gok Wan.

But I do not get how even these most patriarchal, self-absorbed misogynists can bring themselves to take their supposed beloved on a hot date and restore ‘intimacy’ only once TCL has agreed to foot the bill and give ‘their’ exhausted women a makeover.

This is wrong, dear hearts. It is as wrong as training your daughters to mould their bodies for future husbands; as wrong as carelessly neglecting yourself while expecting perfection from your beleaguered partner; or as neglecting your partner while seeking perfection elsewhere.

Your Style in His Hands’ is a symptom of that which is most rotten in our world. I can smell it from here.


Seven Shapes of Smug

So there I am, watching So You Think You Can Like to Dance, when out of the corner of my left eye, I see something strolling across the lounge wall. It is the size of my hand (at least) and as menacing as a Pikitup guy come Festive Season.

Where oh where are my heroic, strutting, spider-catching friends when I need them, I think to myself as I start packing. Your superiority is unbearable – but I need you!

Which got me to thinking about superior people: the better and the smug. We all have elements of this, of course, even if our superiority lies only in pointing out the insufferability of others.  So here goes…

Spider catchers

Yes, there are those who can and those who won’t, and those who can have every right to be proud of their courage. As one who won’t, I feel girly and spineless in the presence of a spider catcher. I watch in awe as they pop the Tupperware bowl over the intruder, slip the water and lights bill underneath, and cavalierly carry their prey across the road to the park, returning to bow modestly while expressing amazement that I can’t do it. Vaughan, Kathleen, I bow to you and you have every right to demand your place in the Annals of Animal Wrangling.

All consumers

There’s no question that it is a massive social and personal advantage to be able to eat anything put in front of you from Vietnam to Vryburg. I admire you but I don’t want to be like you. People who eat anything are always smug, always boastful – ‘Oh I’m sooo lucky. I can eat anything. Snails? Had ’em for breakfast. Tripe? Give me seconds. Sea urchins? As soon as I’m done with the lobster entrails’ tinkly laugh, wink – and always make us difficult eaters feel like …. Difficult eaters.

Difficult eaters

I confess that I am a difficult eater: gluten bloats me and makes my joints swell like granny’s; more than a smidge of butter, cheese or cream causes awkward swirly-headedness and nausea; animal fat makes me fat and achy. I am not proud of this and do not like being this way.  Some lesser souls, however, positively delight in their inability to tolerate anything other than hand-reared tilapia with home-grown kale and seasonal fruits. We get it. You are delicate, conscious. Just remember to factor in the environmental impact of getting your organic spinach from the slopes of Kilimanjaro to your wok.

The naked and the tanned

Listen, I’m as guilty of this as anyone – even though I generally sport my measly tan only in the tanning season. A tan means you’ve been places, done things Outdoors, spent money. It gives you a healthy glow that cunningly disguises blemishes, wobbly bits, wrinkles, and skin damage. A tan allows you to expose flesh that the pasty hide beneath floaty tops. And a winter tan … well there’s nothing more smug-making; you’ve had a summer somewhere bloody exotic (remind me to tell you about my trip to Zanzibar) while the rest of us are struggling with blocked flues and noses. You win. But we don’t like you for it.

Parents of a greater child

From the moment of birth, each child born is a vast improvement on all others. Their eyes are more alert, fine motor skills finer, verbal abilities more advanced… And throughout their little lives, all children are measured against all others. The top three Greater Child categories are Intelligence, Physical Prowess, and Talent. It’s the latter that saves most parents, as Talent includes Kindness, Helpfulness and Creativity. The problem is that the sole merit of having a Greater Child is not that the child is more likely to be happier, nicer or more successful; it is purely that said child gives us something to brag about. Which is fine by me.

The hidden-talented

There is little purpose in having a hidden talent if no one knows about it. What’s the point in being able to hypnotise a chicken, juggle steak knives, light a fire with nothing more than a nail file and pocket fluff if you don’t share that skill with others? It’s not surprising that the hidden-talented manage to inject ‘This pasta is delicious. It reminds me of the time I spoke Swahili so fluently that the Chief invited me to bed his daughter. Pass the parmigiana’ into the dinner conversation. We all think you’re a vulgar show-off, but long to be able to compete. I’m still looking for my hidden talent, and will be sure to let you know when I do.

The brutally honest and the piously virtuous

I’m putting this lot together because they are both equally insufferable. Priding yourself on your honesty is a euphemism for Telling it Like You Think it Is. Which often has nothing to do with how it really is. The rest of us can tell the difference. Virtuous people have never divorced; never got drunk or smoked pot; never flirted with the vicar; never eaten KFC, or taken their tops off in a bar. They are dull dull dull. And slappably smug. The upside of this, of course, is that the brutally honest and the piously virtuous make the rest of us feel rebellious, edgy and interesting. And if that’s not something to feel smug about, what is?

Why I object to objectification

I could have written this in my early twenties, and probably did. In those days I knew that my mother’s feisty (yet often closeted) feminism was rubbing off on me. I wanted to be admired for me; not the size of my breasts or my (now expanded) 24 inch waist. I wanted to be appealing as a whole being, not as a form. And I wanted to see others this way.

I’ve always admired the human form and see physical aesthetics as as much of a gift as is talent. But I’ve never been able to separate it from the whole. In fact, it can detract from the whole, and often does—as witnessed in the 2012 Olympics. Is it just me, or has a vast amount of the filming focused not on the extraordinary prowess, but on the physical—and often nameless, form? Here’s a particularly grimy example, now wisely pulled from NBCS. What the hell was that about? Or was it just an honest reflection of NBCS viewership requirements?

According to good ol’ Wikipedia, objectification is an attitude that ‘regards a person as a commodity or as an object for use, with little or no regard for a person’s personality or sentience’.

This ‘use’ might be power, lust, self-gratification, control, or a means to ignore our own inadequacies.

What this means to you and me is this: when the beggar at the intersection becomes nothing more than a nagging ragged body; when the high school water polo player becomes nothing more than a ‘hot young thing’; when the waitress becomes a pair of breasts; when Woman becomes a creature to patronise and ‘celebrate’ (holy crap…) and Man becomes the butt of sexist jokes … then we have lost all sense of the others’ feelings, perceptions and consciousness. We have dehumanised them, and thus dehumanised ourselves.

I hope that I’ve taught my children not to see the world this way. Not to see people—singular and collective—as objects; but rather to glimpse inside for a moment and see the person; as vulnerable, afraid, hopeful and real as we are. I don’t know if I have taught them this, but I do see that they have learned it.

Not to learn it is deadly. Out of objectification rises sexism, racism, bigotry, the delusion of superiority, and violence. If we see others as objects, we treat them as objects. And objects have no self, no feelings; so how could they possibly care how we view or treat them?

But, you may argue, what does it matter how we view others? How will they even know? They know. The waitress feels uncomfortable when she’s being ogled; the beggar knows when he is deemed invisible; the old lady can sense your irritation. And, even if they didn’t know, we do. And our children do. And our peers do. And we thus become objects of inhumanity to ourselves and others. Thus the rot grows and our collective spirit crumbles.

Which is pretty much what is happening all over the world.

Feel free to disagree…

Perfect moment

Less than a month ago, my daughter moved out. Or perhaps I should say moved in, to a shared and gorgeous parqueted apartment in another part of town. When daughters move out they leave a gap; a shifting globe of absence that, should you be me, must be filled.

At first I didn’t realise that it must be filled; it just felt like a gap with her name on it. It wasn’t a sad gap, mind you. She was ready to go and find a place unencumbered by Mother. She was geared up and revving to be the adult she is becoming and I was happy, proud and delighted that she knew herself to be ready and had the courage to make the move.

But there was a gap and I soon realised that I’d have to do some domestic rearranging to soften its edges until it became part of my space. Not only my space, but my young son’s.

First we rearranged the furniture; switching, shoving and lugging it from one wall to another until the arrangements pleased the eye and mind. That worked. Up to a point. The point being that the gap, the space, wasn’t physical. It was a space of habit, ritual and order. We, my son and I, had to create our own.

I know! I said. Why don’t we ignore the TV and DSTV remotes from Monday to Friday and try a little quiet time in the evenings. This is not the kind of suggestion one makes lightly to a TV addicted twelve year old, but he said fine. It’ll be difficult, but let’s do it. What a boy.

And so we did what countless others have done and switched off. The first couple of days were mildly jittery as we bumped into each other on the way to the fridge to see if it might contain anything entertaining. I soon stymied that one however and added another challenge to our new world: let’s get rid of the excess kilograms we were (are, it’s early days) carrying and start on A Healthy Eating Regime.

The fridge’s fascination soon gave way to planning and cooking fatless delights. Okay, I’m exaggerating about the delights, but we are both feeling rather chuffed at our determination and creativity with steamed fish.

It’s the TV-less state that’s working the real magic though, as my son, freshly back at school and elated to be in Grade Seven, has expressed no interest in the box’s charms. Instead, he has fallen hook, line and sinker for another technological marvel, his iPad, and is reading more than he’s ever read before. Now, when I go to wind down his day in heathenish prayers, he folds his iPad into its anonymous casing and sighs the sleepy contented sigh of a boy who knows that Willard Price’s Adventures will be waiting for him on the morrow.

And I, work done for the day, settle in with AA Gill (in real book format) and listen to the crickets rasping, the dogs scratching, the fridge humming and realise that the gap is gently dispersing into the particles of our life.

It is a perfect moment. So perfect, that I had to break it to come to my own little technological treasure, and write about it.

 I’m done now. My tea is cold and AA calls me.

In Praise of Older Men

I’ve always liked older men. I like their ways that are always one step behind – and thus ahead – of the pack. I like their music that reminds me of a time I never knew. I like their manners that woo me into believing the world could easily be a better place, if only it pretended to be civilised.

 I recently attended a gathering well populated by older men of all hues, and was so distracted by the spring of respect and compassion rising in me, that I could barely think straight. I wanted to reach out and ask for their opinions, life stories, solutions. I wanted to dine with them, dance with them, walk on the beach with them.

This has nothing to do with ‘elders’ (over-rated) or sugar-daddies (nasty). I don’t want to bed them, marry them or spend their life savings.

It’s about a certain type of man who happens to be ten or twenty years older than I: men who wear cardigans, corduroys and polished shoes. Men who smell of grass clippings rather than Aramis. Men who’ve read – and can recite – Rudyard Kipling and The Count of Montecristo. Who stalk up hillsides with nothing more than binoculars and an apple.

Men who don’t even know the meaning of the word metrosexual and who, while they might get moody about the state of the nation and cricket, never get moody about women.

This older man, I realise, is something of a fantasy figure; a composite of the best bits of my late father; a dream of what my late brother might have become; a fond remembrance of a friend or two gone by.

In reality, he (for now he has become Older Man) is the retired journalist, professor, senior partner who no longer fits into this world. I would call it ‘modern’ world, but there is nothing modern about the way we live. Modern implies innovation, strides forward, new thought; whereas we live on a landfill of yesterday’s failures. My Older Man is the one seen strolling across the wasteland, not daring to look down but with eyes fixed on a wavering horizon; wondering what the last years will bring – and where the poetry has gone.

I see him now, sitting at his desk reading from a red cotton-jacketed book with cracked spine, a glass of whisky at his elbow and his laptop unopened. He reads intently, occasionally glancing out of the window to check the changing of the wind direction. He makes the odd note on a foolscap pad. In pencil. He ignores the ache in his fingers as he turns the page.

I don’t know why I care so deeply for him, but I do.

Back to Horse – Pony School Mnemonic

A few months ago I was invited to write a piece for the catalogue of the Horse exhibition at Everard Read Circa gallery in Rosebank. The thought of venturing into cree-ha-tive writing was daunting, but I decided to dive right in. When I saw the end result – more a coffee table book than catalogue, filled with the most exquisite images – I almost platzed with joy and disbelief. What an honour.

Appaloosa, pommel, fetlock and girth – the secret words of the horse-struck child startle in my head the moment I clap eyes on him. Him. Her. The head has no body so it is hard to know. His her story is told by the plate glass and barbed fever trees. He her and me; we lock eyes, woman to prisoner and I feel the dizzy stirrings of ages old Horse love.

Horse is everywhere, the subject of my puerile desire flirts, with switching tail and bronze turd. She prances through flickered images of naked girl and Max Factor lips, changing her pace from canter to gallop and my heart judders.

I want to stay forever.

But he calls me on and I smell him now, hormonal sweat and glowing flank. The puppy-sweet soft breath from twitching muzzle. If I lean back I will fall into him and he will carry me. As no man has ever carried me.

I reach out to touch him and he is warm on cold steel; I turn and he is naked, then yearning from the walls as many-headed herd. He is mobile, metal twisted, filled with light and humour. She is shadows cast across white pages. He is donkey. She spreads her lovely bones and flies with wings of rib and gristle high above the fields and paddocks of my tender years.

And now she is at my feet, struggling with fawning hooves dancing yet shuffling. I want her to stop struggling but I’m afraid that if she does… if she does she will stop dancing. I dare not look away. But now I hear them see them from the corner of my eye; the dust is rising, casting a loud pall over the ochre heath. They are coming. Horse and Horse and Horse.

I am there.

Outside, life and cars and painters. I blink and turn and back. Recycled horses nod to drivers and passers-by as childhood scented hay skitters across the way. Oh oh oh the longing is deep now. But I cannot continue without circling the one-stumped soldier who owes his life to the drowning Horse; his tinpot form a testament to the quirks and accidental heroics of war.

I inhale the warrior woman’s saddle then up the helter-skelter path I follow the beat of his rumbling hooves, into the dancing lights where a table is laid with crop and sugar: treats for my Horse. I meet the gods who recreated him, who use their bodies to carry him as he has carried us across gentle fields and ever outward-leaning horizons. I see her stripped bare to sacrament – three times offered. Always taken.

I am stripped bare. I talk and I move, yet as my great lungs heave, I stretch to four hoofed corners, my head nodding and bowing without submission. My tail whisks, lazily.


I raise my glass to women

(Lordy, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. Just too – happily – busy in the real world. But last night I was so inspired by the events of the evening that I had write.)

I like being a woman. I like the way women work, in body and in spirit; I like that we can be lovers, nurturers, creators, adventurers, survivors – in ways that men can’t. I like men too; quite a lot actually. I love that they are the perfect counterpoint to women; I delight in the way they look and move and brood and play – but I still don’t fully understand how they work. I gather that that sentiment is mutual.
I recently launched, in a rowing-boat way, an informal social networking group for women. My motives were simple: much as I enjoy the chatter and information sharing of facebook, I have become increasingly frustrated by its limits. Obvious limits, such as presence. I’m more than happy to engage in banal texted chitchat, or to share a fascinating news piece online, but what I really enjoy is the leaning forward in the chair, sparkling eye contact, symphony of voices, crackling laughter that is the physical fabulosity of a gathering of women.
I was also intrigued by the idea of networking; supporting each other in our business ventures; sharing leads, skills, ideas and inspiration. And if we could do this once a month in a beautiful place, over delectable eats and glasses of bubbly, so much the better.
Three months on and my little dream is a gorgeous reality that looks like this:
Twenty or so women in varied modes of dress; in shoes stacked, flat, bedecked and plain. The hair is cropped and black, blonde and curling, greying and straight. The age between twenty-two and godaloneknows. The skills and interests veer from telling CEOs and government ministers how to dress and what to say to blogging about the wonders of Joburg. In between you will find writers, TV producer, floral artist, designers, entrepreneurs, trainers, a sociologist and one extraordinary wheeler-dealer who managed to negotiate the coup of the century so that we could all taste French Champagne and bite-sized delicacies on the splendid balcony of Emoyeni – for next to nothing.
I have to pause in my sisterhood praise singing to say a word or two about Emoyeni,  new home to one of SA’s top Frenchy food spots, Auberge Michel, and gathering place for celebrators with means. Situated in Jubilee Rd, Parktown and overlooking the world across towering cerise bougainvillea and luminescent lilac jacaranda, Emoyeni is without doubt, one of the most spectacular – and friendly – venues I’ve encountered. Even the car park is a work of art. Even the hand made crisps were delectable. (I must return for a hot and clarsey date with my man…)
Back to those women.
I’ve heard it said that a bunch of women is as mean as a swarm of wasps.  Perhaps this is so in some quarters. No, that was disingenuous of me. I have certainly experienced that vicious bitchiness when there is threat or sharp inequality present – and oft when there is intellectual imbalance. Then women can become the creatures of their ill repute. But generally, when the motives are mutual and interests common, women en mass are a beautiful thing: witty, delighting in each other’s accomplishments, generous in their praise.
This is the thing I love most about women: we tell each other how wonderful we are. Often. We laugh with each other. Often. We are sincere. Often. And we don’t have to bloody well explain ourselves.
I hope that this group of wonderful creatures  – now quaintly known as the Champerinas – continues to meet and share for the longest time. Childishly, I don’t want it to grow or shrink. I would like it to stay just as it is. Variegated perfection.

Notes from The Bridge: I’m just on the phone…

When I devised my survival in the workplace courses I asked employers which new-employee behaviours most bugged them. Cellphone and telephone usage topped the list.

I once joined a company at which there worked a recently appointed assistant by the name of Amy*. Amy’s job was to, well, assist myself and another, which she would do in a so-so fashion, when she wasn’t busy yakking on the phone.

Now Amy wasn’t a naturally devious person and she adhered to the company rule of not making personal calls during working hours. So she got her boyfriend, father, best mate to call her; either on her cellphone or the landline. Brilliant. But what Amy, and the company, forgot to factor in was the hidden cost.

I did a quick sum: if Amy was paid R7 500per month and spent an estimated 60 minutes of her eight-hour day on personal calls, then she was flushing R937.50 of the company’s money down the toilet. This was money she was being paid, but was not earning.

As this was a small company and everyone reported directly to the CEO, I brought this to her attention and she suggested – quite reasonably – that I manage the situation. I suggested – equally reasonably – that such challenges might be avoided if she amended the company policy, but I’m not sure if that ever happened.

After another day of observing – and hearing – Amy’s behaviour I stopped practicing conflict avoidance and recommended that she keep her personal calls for her lunch break. Her response? ‘I like to eat and read my book at lunch time.’ I then mentioned that she was wasting valuable work time; to which she responded that she was quite capable of talking and working. If this was the case I might have conceded the point, but her work wasn’t of a high standard and she needed all the help she could get to improve matters. She was most unhappy when I pointed this out, and spent the next twenty minutes outside, on her cellphone, telling her boyfriend what a monster I was. (I’m not making this up.)

Another matter I raised was that no one was able to talk to her while she was on the phone. I couldn’t ask for her assistance, and clients and colleagues were getting  tired of leaving voice messages.

I was brought up to not interrupt people while they were on the phone – regardless of their age or position – so I found it extremely difficult to walk up to her and instruct her to terminate her call. I needn’t have worried about being rude: when I did attempt to do so, she turned her back and carried on talking. On one occasion I even resorted to emailing her a ‘please come and speak to me when you’ve finished talking to your dad’. Amy was furious; utterly indignant that I’d dare make such demands. What was I thinking?

If you’re now convinced that Amy was in fact the monster and I should have been a whole lot tougher, think on this: Amy truly believed she was entitled to jabber away on the phone – as long as she wasn’t the one running up the phone bill. She firmly believed that to suggest otherwise was unreasonable. And she firmly believed that grass would be softer on the other side, so she left to seek her fortune.

Sadly, unless Amy gets her act together, she won’t find her fortune. She’ll hop from job to job, leaving before she’s accumulated enough skills to move vertically rather than horizontally. She will continue to waste company resources and she will remain under-productive. As long as she refuses to accept that business rules are often not the same as her social rules, she will hold herself back.

When I tell students this story, I make it about them: what they can learn and how they can become more productive; how they can benefit from playing by the house rules. But managers and employees also have a responsibility to ensure that the rules make sense and are clearly communicated.

Next week: Bugbear #2 Punctuality and time management.

*Amy isn’t her real name.

He pushed my button!

image: toptenz.net

I was one of the lucky 98 000 who attended the U2 concert last night. And I wouldn’t have missed the fist fight for anything.

Not that I enjoy violence; generally it reduces me to tearfulness and trembling. As it did last night. But it was an acute reminder that there are raging bulls in our midst – and it doesn’t take much to set them off.

It happened more or less like this (I was four rows back from the action and refused to stand on my seat for a better view, although my inner savage was tempted; so the facts and the truth might not entirely align):

There was a chap sitting on the steps who did something to raise the ire of a burly little bugger sitting to his right, one row in front. The BLB then rose out of his seat, crashed through family members and complete strangers all the better to beat the bejesus out of the chap on the steps. And before you could say ‘Bono saves’ all hell broke loose; with good guys trying to tear them apart, bad guys egging them on, and everyone straining to get a better view. The good guys managed to get the BLB back into his seat while his wife tried to placate him in a manner that suggested she’d done this before. But he was having none of it and, the second he was released, he hurled himself over the seats to plant his fists where they longed to be. By now most of the women were wiping away tears and spilt beer and the men had formed two distinct clans: ‘Someone get that idiot out of here’ and ‘Fight! Fight!’

The former won and within minutes tattooed security guys in muscle-sculpting red t-shirts politely accosted him and firmly led him, protesting and bristling, up the steps until he was adjacent to me. At which point he uttered the words that explained everything: ‘He pushed my button.’

And I looked into his raddled, petulant face and saw him for what he was: an undisciplined, frustrated, angry, out of control overgrown toddler. A man who really wasn’t a man at all.

I felt deeply sorry for his wife and family. How mortifying to have your husband/father lose his rag at this glorious love-fest. How hideous to have to constantly tiptoe ’round his highness in case anyone else should ever push his button. How mind-blowingly infuriating to miss U2 because you now have to go and pick up the pieces.

I would have taken his car keys and told him I’d bail him out in the morning. Or not.

How was the concert? Outstanding. Amadou & Mariam blew me away with their smart, funky, wild Malian rock. Springbok Nude Girls gave me and my oke a chance to buy beers and smoke (sorry Arno, but it just ain’t my thing). And U2… Well picture a monstrous quadrupedal crustacean spaceship washed with a constantly morphing kaleidoscope of light and images while a modest moon sidles across the open sky above Soccer City. Add a flawless delivery of perfect, familiar sound, sucking in the audience like Papal devotees drunk on beer and revelations. Chuck in a sneaky dollop of our darling Madiba, a witty measure of a chuckling Tutu and the gift that is Hugh Masekela and you have one of the cleverest, least subtle and most enjoyable audio visual masterpieces of the decade.

I loved it.

The dumbing-down of children

I’ve been thinking a great deal about education lately: about why children are taught the things they are taught; why they aren’t taught to think; why so many children don’t enjoy school; why they leave school more clueless than when they started.

As is often the case when your mind is stretching along less explored paths, signposts pop up reassuring you that you are, indeed, heading in the right direction.

This was today’s signpost: one of the many gifts from TED.com. It arrived in my inbox the very moment that I was wondering how I might do things differently, should my journey into education reach my desired destination.


I would love to know your thoughts. (And I would love to know how to embed video, but that will come.)

« Older entries