Archive - Feb 10, 2013

Street Angel 21

I sit and try to write, but start sneezing. I've got a list of things to write about, but I'm aching from some sort of virus exacerbated by too much shoveling after the great storm. I've tried to rest as much as possible, but I have a restless mind and have been thinking about a lot of different things. One is the 1928 silent movie, Street Angel.

The other day someone tweeted about a massive open online course, The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color. I signed up, watched the first two lectures and then started watching the first movie.

When I have more time, I'll weave this into a broader story about creative problem solving, tying in McLuhan and Papert. At another time, I'll reflect more on what we can learn about storytelling today by looking at early films. At another time, I won't be struggling to stay awake and write.

So, let me reflect, for a few moments on Street Angel itself. We start off with a daughter committing a crime to get medicine for her dying mother. Today, we have a safety net, but it isn't in the best shape, and I can imagine a young Latina born in Connecticut in a similar circumstance trying to get medication for her ailing undocumented mother.

Angelica, in Street Angel, becomes a fugitive, and their is no forgiveness for those who have broken the law. Again, we see parallels to modern day America. Some people broke the law a couple decades ago, coming to this country illegally. But too many people cannot forgive them, cannot give them a path to citizenship because they broke a law twenty years ago. Right now, there is legislation being considered that would ban citizens of Connecticut who have been convicted of drug related crimes from ever getting public assistance. No chance, ever, for forgiveness. Yet these are probably the people that need it most, and perhaps where we could have the biggest impact, lifting a person out of a life of crime and a circle of poverty.

A twenty-first century Street Angel, Street Angel 21, wouldn't be a silent black and white movie. It might be a mashup of graffiti, pictures, video, and social media, trying to address problems that have been around for a century.

(Categories: )