Monday, November 14, 2011

The Paper Chase - Part 1

The Paper Chase stars John Houseman. I love John Houseman, almost as much as I love a good John Houseman impersonation. John Houseman was one thing but when someone else impersonates him, it becomes something completely different while at the same time being the same. It’s like getting John Houseman and a little extra that’s not John Houseman - that is trying to be John Houseman. In this case John Houseman is a story printed on paper and the John Houseman impersonator is a story distributed on a tablet. So far there is nothing here I don’t enjoy.

The Paper Chase is a love story built around the dramatics of a first year Harvard law student. Beyond it’s romantic framework, it is a story about the conflicts between love and ambition. The movie was released in 1973 at a time when people weren’t ashamed to call themselves yuppies and almost everyone aspired to have more. I think we all know how well that turned out.
Becoming a lawyer was considered by many to be a pathway to a certain social and economic status and the fact that it was made into a movie, signifies the story’s culture value.  ( On a side note, John Houseman, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in this movie, in spite of being the 6th choice to star in the role.- way to pick 'em Hollywood!)

The Paper Chase is a story, and as with all stories it is a transmission of human knowledge. Stories are an inseparabe part of humanity.  They serve to preserve and evolve the lineage of moral and ethical conduct from one generation to another. This was the genesis of the oral tradition. Throughout all of human history, we have been made to receive stories as knowledge. It is in our DNA.

If you want someone to remember you, tell them a story. Before you give a presentation, tell the audience a story. The structure of a story is a natural pathway for learning and this is the reason I am so interested in leveraging technology in the realm of stories / books. It is a natural and effective way to provide educational content and it comes at a time when, as a society, we are struggling to understand the value of an educated population. If we are not challenged to understand it, we are certainly conflicted about how to fund it.

No comments: