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When stuck for content for a slow blogging week, cultural conservatives are apt to bemoan the loss of common culture. While it wasn’t much, there did seem to be something comforting about all of America huddled about a bleary black-and-white looking at I Love Lucy.

Lucy stuffing chocolate in her mouth and clothes to survive an assembly line is not quite Homer at a symposium, but it compares pretty well to Chaplain.

The news on the common cultural front is better, however, than conservatives may suspect. Having worked with college students for decades, I can report that there are very few television shows or movies that get you instant common ground.

Of course, nobody should watch television shows or movies to get this common ground, especially middle-aged Plato students like myself. If you try to show the “kids” you “get it,” you are bound look like an ass (make one mistake in Star Wars or Potter fandom and they will take you down like Bambi facing starving Cullens), fail to pick the right thing, and also waste huge amounts of time viewing total garbage.

Sometimes, however, you cannot avoid some pop culture. While working out at LA Fitness, an entire world of its own, and viewing Orwellian slogans telling me that my weakness is not a sign that I am not strong, I am often bombarded with the pop tunes of the day. Since I am usually listening to whatever book comes next in the Torrey Honors curriculum, this can set up interesting auditory conflicts. Once I was working out and listening to the death of Anna Karenina while thumping in the background the gymn speakers told me “a little bit of Rita’s what I need.”

What is a teacher to do?

Fear not, weary conservative and cultural conservative, everybody, and I mean everybody is fond of Owls, with exception of mice, shrews, and Simon Cowell. Since all these demographic groups never show up at talks I give there is nothing to fear from those who side with the King of the Beavers. (Watch the video.)

Now this is very, very old video by student standards a “classic” from back-in-the-day, but many an Honor student will shed a tear about their childhood when they hear it. It turns out that either they have watched it or enjoy it when they see it.

And oldsters like it too!

The wonderful people who put out Owls also teach us about the world in Kenya (may not be safe for work if you are a King-James only Baptist). They are a powerful cultural force, mostly for good and they are establishing a common culture for us.

Nor is the power of the short you-tube video to bring us together limited to one company.

Those who must (absolutely must) teach using Internet video would be wise to use the sad story of Dan and the Jungle Cruise. Here we learn that art must be for the sake of art in our sadly degenerate culture. It also shows that an old parody master, in this case Weird Al, can master new media.

Any student apt to assume that science knows everything based on genes should watch  Professor Cleese. He shows us that every bit of human of behavior can be explained mechanically.

Many students have already seen these videos . . . and the rest can endure their timing, pacing, and comic style. It is enough to make me weep for joy that our common culture may in fact be saved by You-Tube.

Where else, after all, can I share with my children the greatest song this side of Handel, a paean to the greatest of all heroes: Gamera? If you haven’t shown it, and the entire film that makes it meaningful, you now can.

Technology which threatens to drive apart the generations can also bring us together.

And now if I could only get these tunes out of my head to get back to work.

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