For some reason to-day I got to thinking about the Interpersonal Communication class I took a couple years ago. Just as a sort of idle challenge I decided to try and remember one thing I retained from that class, one item of information that was part of the subject. I couldn't think of a single thing. I remember the teacher was very high strung and giggly. I remember one of my classmates was a skinny young woman who was in the navy and loved football and The Godfather and other things she considered traditionally male. But I can't remember anything about "communication" as it was outlined by the class. I got an A in the class, I got As on all my tests, which were all essays. I must have written at length about things pertaining to the class but I'll be damned if I can remember even a single topic on which I wrote. Maybe I could check the sixty dollar text book I had to buy for the class, but I guess that would be cheating.
Through the mists of my memory extremely vague things emerge about how sometimes people listen to each other and sometimes they don't. I think the word "ethnocentric" was discussed but it was also discussed in my Anthropology class. In fact, I do remember thinking the most valuable things in the class were things that ought to be, and often were in fact, taught in English and Anthropology.
I remember the two movies we watched, of course. I can't remember the title of one of them, which was a documentary about a woman who dressed and lived as a man for a couple years as a social experiment. I remember she wasn't very good at it as before beginning it didn't even occur to her to study men's body language, she basically just wore men's clothes and was quite surprised when everyone saw through what she was doing.
And we watched Breaking the Waves, which of course I love but I remember not being quite clear on what the movie had to do with the subject matter of the class. The teacher seemed to focus on the differences between Emily Watson's and Stellan Skarsgard's cultures, but the movie seems to me more about resolve and torment than about culture shock. If it were me, I might have picked a movie like Walkabout or maybe The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. But, then, I can't honestly claim to know what would be appropriate for that class.
Considering cinema has been the dominant art form of the past century, it seems rather strange it's not a formal part of the curriculum. Maybe then most modern movies wouldn't be lousy.
Here are some pictures I've taken lately;
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