Jane McLauchlan

I keep a private blog, and thought that I would post this by way of thanks to Sandra in particular, and also to Joyce and Pam and Meredith and Brie. Your wisdom and clarity on this wonderful list has led directly to this gem of a life...thank you so, so much.


Our days pass by in a lovely relaxed atmosphere (I first wrote "most of our days", but that's inaccurate…except for the odd 5 minutes here and there, all of our time passes by in this wonderful way. I'm not kidding. What a life!). There is a flux and a flow of toddling off to do our own thing, then coming together again to share in an outing or something cool on TV or a bounce on the trampoline or a conversation. It's peaceful, yet stimulating at the same time.

This is the sort of thing that happens: in the past week Charlotte has developed a passion for the Star Wars movies. This is an interest that Harry has had for a couple of years now, off and on. For Craig and I, the first Star Wars movie was the movie of our childhoods, it was exciting and magical and so much better than anything else we had seen. It defined our generation, as they say. So now all four of us are passionate about these movies (I mean the original three movies, natch). It all came together in this lovely week or so of sharing and swapping stories and resources.

This is what we did:

* analysed the strengths and weaknesses of each movie

* researched what the critics have said

* discovered the joy of Wookiepedia

* been frustrated by the width and breadth of the expanded Star Wars universe

* created family trees for different characters

* engaged in conversation with the Star Wars-mad sales girl at Whitcoulls

* devoured the comprehensive book Star Wars (which places each movie in its wider socio-cultural context)

* watched and listened to reviewers on line (we all loved Red Letter Media's inventive way of showing that the protagonists in the new movies lack the character of those in the original trilogy)

* watched each movie a couple of times each

* howled at the Family Guy parody, Blue Harvest

* asked questions like, how come all the humans have American or British accents? how is it that each planet seems to have exactly the right atmosphere? what made the Empire so awful? how does R2D2 get up stairs?

None of this was required, or will be tested on, or is designed to meet some standard or other. It didn't happen in a straight line. It will never be finished. We didn't do it to tick the boxes on some Subject Unit (though it probably would tick the boxes on many curriculum – if not the immediate subject matter, then certainly the skills we have used and honed as we did it). No, we have done all this because it has been fun and stimulating and interesting and so darned exciting. Our brains are turned on by it all – we can't get enough! I just adore that learning buzz – it feels like an unstoppable force (one that will be with us, always…).

I'll bet anything you like that the next few months will be filled with Star Wars connections (Ronald Reagan, Indiana Jones, American Graffiti, what were the 50s really like?, fan fiction, green screen technology, myths and legends, fencing/sword fighting, religion…).

Here's a fascinating titbit that has already popped up (I can't remember how we got from Star Wars to this, but no matter…). It's from TV Tropes, "Seinfeld Is Unfunny"…

Star Trek The original series has a camp reputation, and has been endlessly parodied and mocked. People forget that Star Trek was THE trailblazer that has influenced every science fiction series after it (and even influenced non-sci-fi shows as well) up to this day. In 1967, three of the five nominees (including the winner) for the Hugo Award (awards for science fiction and fantasy) for Best Dramatic Presentation (which at the time included both television episodes and movies) were episodes of Star Trek. In 1968, the show did even better: all five nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation were Star Trekepisodes.


In fact, society has changed so much that some of the most radical and innovative things it did are now almost entirely overlooked. A black woman, as a military officer? Said black woman, kissing a white man, at a time when that kind of thing would get you arrested (or worse) in large parts of the U.S.? The show's portrayal of race was so far ahead of its time that when Nichelle Nichols considered leaving the show to return to musical theater, Martin Luther King Jr. himself insisted to her that she needed to stay, telling her that the show's depiction of race relations was not only unprecedented, but exactly the kind future he dreamed of, and that Star Trek was the only show he and Coretta let their children stay up to watch.


(Mum to Harry, 13 and Charlotte, 10)

Sandra Dodd

I read your questions to Keith, who's getting food during halftime.

I think his arms extend. Keith says you can see it when he's coming in to Jabba the Hutt's place, when they first open the doors, he thinks.