Grade school in the ’80s was bizarre. If you weren’t dying of dysentery in Oregon Trail on the classroom Apple II C, you were watching films like CIPHER IN THE SNOW (1973).
CIPHER IN THE SNOW was the CITIZEN KANE of educational films. Made by Brigham Young University, it revolved around a sad pasty boy that everyone ignored until he just ups and dies right before the opening credits. The rest of the film plays in flashbacks as one teacher investigates the dead boy’s life, learning that if he paid attention to the boy’s feelings instead of teaching math, he would still be alive today.
Seeing this as a grade schooler was pretty shocking, but I fear it did no good to the “loner” kids because kids are kids and they will continue to mock and make fun of others because they’re evil. I remember the classroom giggling at the over the top drunken Step-Father and his use of the word, “Pussywillow” (which they edit out for some reason on the YouTube video.)
The film had a good message, but I think it did more harm than good since now counselors outnumber teachers it seems. Kids, be good to the loners. I’m not talking about the emo ones, I’m talking about the real ones. The ones that just want to pick some pussywillows.
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks so much Turnidoff for having the courage to remind us that the never rightfully credited Brigham Young University was the first the first to throw down the anti-bullying gauntlet nearly thirty years before it became the cause de célèbres. Stick that in your Slushie cup, cast of GLEE.
Your dear old Aunt John would also like to comment on how touchingly Turnidoff’s traumafession aligns with the other consciousness raising efforts he has brought to the Internet as of late. You see, when he is not giving a voice to those who cannot speak or recording catchy odes to lure a cultural icon out her self-imposed exile, Turnidoff is fighting the good fight over at DEATH TO CGI!