One of my morning neighbors, those people I pass regularly enough in the morning to recognize, is a pleasantly unremarkable young man, taller than I am, with short reddish blond hair and a black jacket, who I never would have noticed except for his astonishing, perpetual grin and permanently glued on ear phones. He is thin, caucasian, and completely bland.
Somehow, though I am rarely there at the exact same time every day, and sometimes take a different route entirely, it is more likely than not that when I line up to wait for the light at Pender and Howe, he will be there too, smiling, facing me from the other side, oblivious to the entire world, trapped instead in whatever he is listening to that makes him so happy. He does not notice the traffic or the weather or the time, and only begins to walk when the people around him step forward into the street.
All that said, he still would not have made any impression upon my memory except that one day, the day I truly noticed him, I had a terrible, strong, and wrenching idea as we were passing each other in the intersection. I fancied that what played in his ear phones every day wasn’t music, but screaming.
“How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains?”
Following links from a TED Talk last week, I came across an interesting brain-hacking website for the book Brain Rules: Principles for Surviving and Thriving At Work, Home, and School, by John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant and director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. What little I’ve read so far has been interesting and nicely bolsters some of my own inexpertly cobbled together theories on memory and learning. (Though nothing beats the annuals, journals and articles I regularly hunt down and devour. Science is yummy.) There’s twelve rules in all, and each rule has a corresponding tutorial page on the site that’s meant to reinforce the concepts in the books.
They, of course, recommend reading the chapters first, but this is the internet! Onward video!
Here’s the gimmick: Take a weird, modern conservative revisionist New Testament and wrap it in faux-hip fashion-mag duds and hawk it to unsuspecting young maidens who otherwise wouldn’t get within ten low-rise jean lengths of the gray-bearded dust-choked finger-wagging dogma of King James and all his hoary misogynistic machismo. Clever indeed.
It’s called “Revolve: The Complete New Testament” and it’s apparently racing up the Amazon.com sales charts — whatever that means — as it sucks up all the accoutrements of a teen fashion rag and rams them through the cute Christian grinder of humorlessness and sexual rigidity and homophobia, and regurgitates them as kicky dumbed-down slightly numb virginal tidbits of advice and admonition and, yes, Biblical storytelling.
“Revolve” takes a decidedly conservative view of the Bible, condemns homosexuality, encourages virginity until marriage, and informs girls that excessive makeup and jewelry and revealing clothes are to be avoided and chastity is to be rewarded because, well, Jesus really loves baggy sweaters and granny underwear.
Add onto that: Never call a boy, it’s sinful – date rape happens to bad girls – only let the boys lead the relationship – and… oh. Just throw away all those silly thoughts you had about gender equality. They’re wrong.