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No, not my students! Most of them are pretty lively. The recently past holiday brought out the yearly news stories about monsters of the curriculum with the implied or explicit question: are you wasting your money on this crazy pop culture stuff? My dear father sent me a syndicated AP article from his local paper on such “Monster classes”—“Curriculum is heavy on zombies, vampires.” It included comments from Joss Whedon expert David Lavery and an interview with Cal-Berkeley professor Marina Levina:

“For a lay person, I suppose it does sound liike, What? Do you watch horror films all day?” she said. “But it’s a really tough class. Students don’t automatically do well in it, because it does involve a lot of serious theory.”

That’s right—people think it’s just entertainment, but we’re using it to teach analytical skills of various kinds. The ability to watch & analyze simultaneously is a skill in itself, not unlike analytical reading. We’re working on it.

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