Monday, April 2, 2007

if i stop stop reading...

Funny how that works.

I'm swamped and haven't spent the time I would like keeping my blog up to date. And a lot of things have happened since March 15, the last blog entry. Every day one or more of my students will make a comment like, "Oh, Ms. Daugherty...that's got to go in the blog!" One of the most humorous recent classroom happenings was when Joe, one of my favorite conversationalist, told me he was getting a new tattoo of Michelangelo playing the drums. So, to me, I envision an aging artist from the 1500's with a pointy gray beard wearing a regalia bonnet and Gothic velvet robes and hosiery from the Renaissance.

Knowing Joe, this all makes perfect sense. He's a drummer. He's an artist. I can see his eclectic tastes in tattoos leading him to make a choice to tattoo one of the most famous artists and sculptors of all time on his body playing his most favorite musical instrument.

No. I couldn't have been further from the truth. Joe is 18. Michelangelo to Joe is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and his hero from his Saturday morning childhood.

Knowing Joe, that all makes perfect sense.

I saw the drawing. And I used my own processing skills to put it all together. It was obvious. On Joe's sketch book was a beautiful, intricately drawn Michelangelo...complete with a jumpsuit, turtle shell and mask, playing a set of drums like a patriotic Civil War drummer boy.

I couldn't believe it. The sad thing, no one in the room thought of Michelangelo the artist. With the recent release of the new TMNT movie (that's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for all of you who aren't in the know), and Joe's obsession with the four pre-historic pop culture heroes, everyone automatically thought about the surfer-loving turtle who claims pizza as his favorite food.

Although it was funny, I am sad. I've seen St. Peter's Basilica. I stared at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. I stood mesmerized in front of the statue of David. I've walked all over Florence and Rome seeing bits and pieces of Michelangelo's work and never once thought about a green turtle.

This story also relates to a piece of literature I teach in my English classes. Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is a collection of narrative poems about a group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury, England to pay homage to a saint. The narrator challenges the group members to each tell a story on the journey, and a winner will be chosen at the end. The Nun's Priest recites a fable about a rooster names Chanticleer and his lovely lady Pertelote.
"Chanticleer!?" My students always quote with disbelief. "Like in RockaDoodle?"
"What's RockaDoodle?" I ask.

And then my students freak out on me and my incomplete life.


Tonya said...

The "man of steel" would have been able to tell you who Michelangelo is. He's an avid TMNT fan, just like his Sissy (Aunt Whitney) was. Little Miss Sunshine could have also set you straight on the Chanticleer reference. She has seen Rockadoodle many times. I do hope that as they grow, my children will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of these things. I look forward to the day when I'm able to discuss the works of Michelangelo (as well as the other TMNT) with them and when they realize that Chanticleer is really a character in a classic piece of literature. Until then, all I can do is smile and enjoy this precious time I have with them before they decide to grow up:)

Casey said...

oh my gosh...I must write my man of steel underwear article...I forgot about it....YEAH!!!! Something I can look forward to writing soon...hopefully. :) Of course I'd love to elaborate and share the tackle the sister and pee everywhere story...that's just toooooo funny. Someday...