February 02, 2006

Watching Friends – more valuable than a university education?

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1699238,00.html

An extract from Germaine Greer's recent Guardian article:

In the days before Jennifer Aniston ruined everything by marrying Brad Pitt, Friends was the standard text for one of the brightest groups of students at Warwick University. They were the ones who ran the bar, organised protests, made movies and videos and did OK at their exams. They also studied Friends, watching DVDs of the series over and over again, learning how to construct social interaction in their peer group, how to avoid turning into a prat. Sure, as one of their teachers, I might have wanted them to know the works of Aphra Behn as well as they knew Friends but, as it turned out, Friends has been of more use to them. Two are now scriptwriters for the country's best-loved soaps.

This is part of a longer piece about why asking students to make a commitment to their studies (as Oxford appears, perhaps unnecessarily, to be doing) is a waste of time, along with lectures, seminars and reading. Apart from the delightfully playful anti-intellectualism of the whole thing there are two things which bother me:

  • which bar were they running?

  • why, if they were watching DVDs, were they making videos?

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