Thursday, December 29, 2005

The power of a mnemonic device

Morgan Spurlock is a hero of mine.

I admire the questions that Spurlock asks through his provocative documentaries. Congressional debates on minimum wage sound like adults talking in a Peanuts television show--while Spurlock gives his viewers a glimpse at minimum wage life in an episode of his documentary series "30 days," where he guides viewers through walking in someone else moccasins for a 30 day period. I hope that Spurlock's series on F/X "30 days" comes out on DVD soon.

I hooked in to Spurlock's work, like many others, through the documentary Super Size Me. This is one of my favorite films of all time. I showed it to my confirmation class, parents, in-laws, even my daughter watched it. She was too small to comprehend the film...or was she? I am no Piaget, nor do I have more than trivial knowledge of cognitive development. But I know that music can register with a child. I know this personally, because I would not have earned an A on my 8th grade U.S. History exam without Schoolhouse Rock teaching me in music about the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. I still know that song.

At least six months passed since I last watched Super Size Me, maybe longer since I sang the theme song. In those days, my daughter would sing that theme along with me. A few days ago at the dinner table, much to my shock and awe, the song came out again without my prompting.

Super size, super size, the American way
Super size, super size, the American way
Going fat, going broke, either way, you're gonna pay.
Super size me. Super size me.

At first, I sat in disbelief. Then, when I realized what she was singing, I laughed in amazement, and called to my wife to listen.

For the most part, she has not repeated some of the less choice words that have come out of my mouth--although she yells at the dog like I yell at her (as well as the dog). I can learn much from what comes out of her mouth--she is a mirror of my communication.

Words of grace and words of warning.


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