Friday, February 07, 2014
On distilling a three year professional debate into a children's video
I was recently asked by a colleague unfamiliar with the debate to summarize in very short form why I am so interested in the social justice issue that is being discussed on the OT Connections forums. After three years of debate where issues are framed and re-framed and analyzed and dissected from endless perspectives I sometimes feel overwhelmed when trying to find a basic way to explain the issues.
Fairy tales are a form of folklore and are generally constructed in a way that transmit a culture's prevailing beliefs and values. Of course the challenge in undertaking a narrative analysis of any folk story is that by the time it has reached someone's ears there is peril in lost or misinterpreted meaning, particularly when a tale is spanning a course of time or even spanning languages.
So here I am as an amateur who has probably not read quite enough Levi-Strauss, and I am asking my readers to not get stuck on the literary form as much as I want them to get stuck on the underpinnings of the story. I can't be certain of the narrative form and in no way am I suggesting that there are simpletons or charlatans as they are expressed in the banal form of the video.
Let us instead focus on three critically important moral themes:
1. the culture that discourages dissenting opinions
2. the integrity and brute honesty of unrestrained and unfiltered feedback
3. the perils of pride
So please be my folk audience and re-familiarize yourself with this wonderful story.
Here is the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," and this summarizes my concerns and all of the debate about including social justice in the AOTA Code of Ethics.