...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

September 10, 2006

Accepted - 7

I am a sucker for film about higher education (I did get a degree in it after all). But this film gets at important questions of the purpose of higher education better than most (Consider: Animal House, Higher Learning, PCU, and School Daze).

Bartleby (I suspect this is a reference to a story by Herman Melville with a twist), or B, gets rejections from all the colleges he applied to and the pressures to live up to his parents expectations drives him to fake it. The lie soon gets out of hand (this is a comedy) and he finds himself as the founder of a university. He then goes on search to discover what this school should be. He soon discovers that he is doing the work of transforming society, redefining what we mean by acceptance and rejection. While the film does have plenty of the usual dialogue, jokes and fun, it also uses the story to actually ask thoughtful questions about what college is for, what learning can be, and who are students suppose to be. Amidst the jokes and cliches there are some fundamental questions. While these questions may be missed by the high schoolers who are probably the main audience of this film, I think it could be a useful film for current college students who might see how different the place they are at is from what they imagined. Learning will only really happen if their is reflection on how to imagine the future. The default choice is mostly the status quo, which isn't inherently bad, but that's what wisdom is- discerning the difference.

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