The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Brief Departure

So, I usually like to stick to funny posts here, but today I have to take a brief departure from the norm and tell a troubling story.

My office is in what I like to call "film land." What this means is that my office exists in a suite of offices that is connected to the film studio, the film editing suite, and one of the film faculty offices. There are lots of film students outside my office all day, almost every day. Usually this doesn't bother me. I typically let the buzz of conversation flow past without paying it much mind. But, occasionally, I hear something disturbing.

Today, as I sat grading papers, I picked up on a conversation that two film students were having in the common area outside my office. It started with a question:

"Did you see Sucker Punch?" (the movie)

and ended with

"She was the only one in the movie that was bangable."

The student who made this comment was talking about Amy Adams in the the movie The Fighter. Not that that matters, although I'm sure Amy Adams would love to hear that of all the female characters in that critically-acclaimed movie, she managed to present a character that was the single "bangable" female in the entire film.

I'm currently disturbed on many levels by this conversation. Of course, the first is the whole "bangable" comment. The second is the fact that I, a faculty member, am basically forced into eavesdropping on inappropriate conversations being held directly outside my OPEN office door. Why don't people seem to understand that there are appropriate times and places for different kinds of communication? Am I supposed to forget that I heard this student, who, yes, I can identify by only his voice, refer to another woman as "bangable" as if that were her only redeeming factor? Is it unreasonable for me to expect that people would reign in their questionable conversation topics in front of a varied audience? Or does the fact that I don't currently have this student in class make me obsolete and unimportant?

Sigh. Or maybe it's the end of the semester talking?

Regardless, I'd love to hear your feedback on this one. Do I make this an issue to the students outside my office door? Or do I crank up the music and try harder to ignore it?


  1. I think we have an obligation to say *something* when we hear comments like this or any that are disrespectful. You can say you don't appreciate that kind of comment, it's offensive or troubling to you, or it's not appropriate to make outside a professor's office door. You can and should say what is TRUE for you, and the student can decide if he cares to do anything about it or even to listen. And that's the end of the semester talking for me!

  2. Tough call. I suppose if you can say it "nicely," as we say in the Upper Midwest, it might be a "teachable moment." And that's what we are--teachers, right?

  3. Put a sign on your door that says, "Jesus can hear you". I would add a picture of Jesus to the sign for effect. Maybe that will make them chose their conversation topics more carefully. Plus - it's funny. It's "What Howard Would Do".