Tonight’s class was the easiest class I have ever taught. It was also one of the more fun. I had only two students and none of us felt like doing much in the way of proper study. So we watched Superman cartoons.
Along with all the podcasts I subscribe to are a few video-casts. Although one or two are live action (although there is very little actual action), most are animated shorts. The feed I watch the most is, naturally, Frederator. They put together 15 minute shows loaded with original animated shorts submitted from the interweb. It’s a good show and one I am glad I found. But that is not where I got Superman from.
The Superman cartoons come from two different feeds: ReFrederator and Vintage Tooncast. Both of these feeds show cartoons from the forties and fifties, featuring all the classic characters, like Betty Boop and Popeye. And Superman. These Superman shows are the old Max Fleischer animations that ran before movies back in the day. They are more than a little cheesy these days, but they are still a lot of fun to watch.
So, I watched a few with my students, pausing between episodes to cover slang used in the cartoon and to discuss American culture from the fifties (all the men wear hats, all the women wear skirts), and, yeah, even to mock the terrible comic-book villans and bad science inherent in the episodes.
It was interesting. I really enjoyed the questions that the students brought up as they exemplified how American culture has changed in the last fifty years and, especially, how much English has both changed and remained the same over the decades.
I am not sure how many more classes I will show cartoons to, but it is definitely something to add to the repatoire.