Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Always preview your videos

I should have known this from the National Geographic Hyena Video Incident (did you know that hyena females have mock penises and mount each other to demonstrate dominance? I do now), but sometimes, I need a refresher on this point.

Today's lesson comes via a naughty Pompeii video. Students love Pompeii, with it's perfectly preserved artifacts and plaster-of-paris casts of victims that died nearly 2000 years ago. I was planning on previewing a new video I had acquired on the subject when i was accosted by one of the teachers as I walked in the door on Monday.

Her daughter works as a sub in our building, you see. And the teacher she was subbing for left her with no lesson plan, so she was high and dry on what to teach with the kids walking in the door in less than half an hour. This is a horrible situation for a sub to be in: the kids would have eaten her alive.

"Please, do you have a video? We need a science video to show them," Karen pleaded.

Now, I had this Pompeii video in my hand, but I haven't previewed it. I dithered for a moment, but seeing the panic in her eyes, I made what I know now was a horrible decision. I gave her the unpreviewed video and let her know that it hadn't been watched but it should be ok.

I heard nothing else about it yesterday, but quickly realized my error when i previewed the video today. It started off innocently enough describing the tragedy of those buried on that fateful day, but started getting a little racy when they started discussing the brothels. Apparently, tile mosaics in each room indicated the "services" that each woman provided. Still, the video did this flashlight thing that made most of the mosaics hard to make out, so I thought it would be mostly ok. Then, they showed the artifacts recovered from the brothel, and that's when the wheels really came off the wagon. There were statues with phalluses longer than they were tall. Wind chimes with penises instead of chimes. Labia lamps. I couldn't believe it!

I ran into Karen's room and apologized profusely for what I put her daughter through. I'm imagining the phone calls the school is going to get!

But Karen was confused. What was I talking about?

I quickly described the movie's more saucy points, and unbelievably, Karen started to laugh. "She didn't even watch it!" Karen crowed. "She said she sat at the teacher's desk and read a book. The kids were super quiet so she didn't think anything about it. Now I know why: they were trying not to draw her attention to what they were watching!"

I've already thrown away the Great Honking Penises of Pompeii video in the trash and if anyone asks, "I know nothing about this video, I have never heard of it." Remember that.

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