What do we do when we see someone stumble? As for me, when it happens, I first hope that they’re okay (or at least I believe this about myself :B). Then, provided they are unharmed, I hope to laugh together with the person at what we both know was visually amusing. I apply this to my skateboarding falls/fails. Falling is an occupational hazard when one does something that requires balance. Standing and walking are the same. Conversation and dialogue are analogous. Especially here at Amherst, we are unfortunately trained to capitalize on someone’s stumbles as opposed to giving them a helping hand or even laughing together with them.

John (our Professor) commented that he believes one can view School Daze as a movie about questions, where Do The Right Thing would be a movie about answers. I agree with the former assertion, and further assert that every Lee film I’ve seen so far is about questions in a very important way. The following may be an oversimplification, but I believe that we would not be capable of having such substantive dialogues about his films if they weren’t about questions.

One may agree or disagree with someone’s statement, especially when it is perfectly obvious what that statement is. This happens often in conversation (whether it is voiced or not is another issue). But, in my experience, conversations where there is deep mutual respect and learning are driven by questions. I call a conversation of this nature “dialogue.”

We have been conducting dialogue at a consistent and highly effective level in our class. If Lee’s goal is to get people to participate in dialogue on these particular subjects, then he has succeeded. As I mentioned in my comment on Nicholas’ blog post “Continuing the discussion on homophobia in School Daze,” Lee may very well be clumsy. But if he has effectively given us a mirror, does it matter that he may have stumbled here and there in his attempt? I would also appreciate a conversation about where people believe Lee stumbles. As an artist, it might be an intentional stumble. Let’s talk it out.




Author: Heru Craig

オレは哲学者王になる男だ! I am the man who will become philosopher king! In every field, there is a champion who stands at the top. The title of the world's greatest is one that can only be awarded by the collective will of ordinary people. My mission in life is to show the world that all people are worthy of being called philosophers. In the process, I will prove myself to be my generation's greatest philosopher--and, one day, the world's greatest. All of my work will remain free to access online. I hope that I can earn your support ( as I develop my abilities.

2 thoughts on “Trippin’”

  1. I think that it is an unintentional stumble. Truthfully, I believe that issues of homosexuality weren’t really discussed in the black community at a large scale (such a blockbuster movie) during this time (late 20th century). I think Lee likes to tap into the pulse of black people at a particular time and if homosexuality wasn’t an issue that was being discussed in a positive light then he wasn’t going to add it into the film or speak about it at all in an intellectual way. What I mean by this is that I don’t think it’s stumble that he’s not talking about it or exploring it, but I do think it’s unintentional that he knows how to handle issues of sexuality in a more sophisticated way.


    1. I don’t know Lee well enough to agree or disagree. Can you say more? It would be especially helpful for me in understanding if you could point to the specific aspects of the film itself that incline you to feel it is a stumble? And then also the ones that show lack of intent. Also, I’m really interested in hearing whether or people think it matters in the end whether or not he stumbles. I mean..we are discussing the problems of representation when it comes to sexuality in response to his film. If we think of that as a potential goal, isn’t that an important aspect of value that the film brings all of us?


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