Thursday, August 6, 2009

go emo!

"It’s dismissive. On that note, in terms of your statements on religion and pedagogy, how is it possible to allow religion to enter back into curricula if we are, as you say, in the winter phase of irony and satire? Can religion ever be taken seriously from a secular-humanist point of view?

Well, this is what’s wrong with education right now. It’s what’s wrong with post-structuralism. I don’t go in the direction of the cynical, looking for ways to question, to undercut, to dissolve meaning. As an Italian-American, as a very hot personality born under the sign of Aries, I’ve tried to drift things towards emotional extremes. That’s why I’ve been just ecstatic at my recent discovery of Brazil, where I’ve been going to give lectures. Last year I ended up in Salvadore de Bahia, which is heavily, eighty per cent, of African heritage. The emotional level of everybody there and the openness have taught me even more about the ills of Anglo-American society, where you have this inhibition of expressiveness. This is going to affect the performing arts. In live performance, you have to project to a theatre, as opposed to in a contemporary movie, in which you have to undercut, to downplay, or else it looks hammy. People have lost the ability to reach large numbers of people—in a free setting as they do in Brazil, not in a big-ticket arena. We really are entering a very bleak period.

Education should be about remedying whatever the needs are in society at a particular moment. So what do we need now? Emotion. I’ve seen in young people today a fear of being uncool, of making a fool of yourself. In the ’60s we had no problem making fools of ourselves. We were coming out of the ’50s, which was very repressive, uptight. That’s why the guys of my generation were influenced by black musicians; you can see in the film of Woodstock, young men trying to use their bodies in a very relaxed manner, in an almost feminine manner. They’re able to accept emotions: “Wow, far out,” etc. That was the period, and then it was gone. Men were wearing—look at Hendrix—feather boas, different colours, jewelry. Heterosexual men were wearing jewelry! Then all of a sudden it passed. Women went on to experiment with pants and everything, but the men lost it, all of that possibility. Then I began to notice something in the ’80s: whereas in the ’60s we would say, “wow,” “groovy,” or “far out,” young people began to say, “really?” I started hearing that [skeptical] tone. And I thought, “Oh no. We’re going back to the ’50s again. This is not good.”"

This is an excerpt from an interview Canadian magazine Walrus has done to Camille Paglia. I agree with her that we need to accept and express emotions better...
Read it all here

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