Saturday, March 27, 2010

Speak out Saturdays

Are We Losing Humanity?

Imagine your buddies calling you up to go to a football game. You load the truck with chips, dip, a cooler full of pop and friends. You laugh and joke and chat about which team will win and who will end up having to pay for dinner.

You pull up to the parking lot and bring out your folding chairs as you wait for the sky to darken. The screen flickers on and you see Zac Efron biting on his mouth guard while Robert Pattinson stretches on the field. Tom Cruise pulls the helmet over his hair and Johnny Depp winks at cheerleaders Drew Berrymore, Jennifer Aniston, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wait a minute! What is wrong here? Is this for real? What ever happened to real football players?

My sister is taking Creative Arts at U of U and has shared with me the dying art of . . . art. Plays? Operas? Museums? What are those? What about studying literature in schools? The instructor has many friends who own businesses and they say that interviewees speak in slang. What? Is that what we're heading toward?

What about debate teams in High School? Remember those? and studying Shakespeare? learning how to write poetry?

Because of budget cuts, schools are suffering loss of art programs like music, pottery, workshop. Did you know that on a higher level, colleges are cutting out humanities due to these cuts? We are losing our culture as mankind!

This is an excerpt from the NY Times:
"An increasingly large concern among many business leaders, engineers, doctors and other specialists, is that teaching "humanities" is a waste of time and money. These critics claim that instruction in courses like history, art, philosophy, literature, religion and languages do not prepare students for the workforce and therefore are worthless to the economy."

Imagine a class full of graduating doctors, engineers, lawyers and such that have never heard of Shakespeare. They don't know how to write books. They don't know about Moby Dick and may ask if that's a name of a contraceptive.

I may be exaggerating, but I think you understand where I am going with this. It frightens me what our nation is doing to our young people. (And removing the science program would make a wonderful Saturday topic, right?)

I've collected a few comments found on BBC News's debate if Story Telling is a dying art:

Story-telling isn't exactly a dying art. It is simply being transformed into tv and radio programs. Oral history and literature is also being immensely collected and published so that the stories are not lost. Examples of folklorists who are ensuring that the next generation will read the old fireside stories are Dr. Ezekiel Alembi, Ruth Finnegan, Roger Abrahams, Taban lo liyong, Oyekan Owomoyela, Harold Courlander to mention but a few. Through story-telling, diasporic Africans are beginning to know more about the jubilations, tribulations, trepidations and cultural heritage of their African forebears. Yoruba stories such Ijapa/Ajapa are also found in Costa Rica, Cuba and Brazil. The famous Anansi/Anancy of Ghana is called Bra Takuma (after his son, Ntikuma) in Jamaica. There are Gullah griots in Sea Island and Sapelo, in South Carolina who tell their stories very much like the Mande speaking Djeli.
Sitsofe Kwaku Agbemenu, New York, USA

I think we have become more concerned about other issues in life. Villagers are too hungry to listen to long stories. City dwellers are addicted to their television sets. Western influence no doubt is gradually overshadowing African tradition.It will take a miracle to revive them.
Jude Ehi, Canada

Is technological sophistication giving way to barbaric humanity? What are we left with if a horrid disease wipes out all of Hollywood and any movie producing studio worldwide?

Why not? Humanity is a waste of being, is it not?

Friday guest is Kim Coates!


  1. Such an interesting post! My daughters school has been sending home flyers about the budget cuts, aka cutting out music programs starting next year. This totally makes me sad that culture is slipping away.

  2. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that, Debbie. That's so very devastating to hear. You are right, our culture is slipping.

    How is life going to be like 20 years from now?


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