Monday, November 05, 2007

Maths Teacher Goes to the Movies: Sicko

Now bend over... this may hurt a little.

There's been an impressive amount of anti-Michael Moore stuff out there of late, most of which is, it's surely only fair to say, right-wing propaganda. It's also fair to say that Moore does play fast and loose with facts from time to time, but rare indeed is the documentary film-maker who doesn't arrange the facts in the way that best supports their point. Fahrenheit 9/11 was one hell of a movie, as was Columbine... heck I could probably still sing the guitar-riff theme tune from TV Nation, his TV series way back when. So, declaration of interest up front: yes, I'm a fan.

How was the movie?
Well, this is a bit odd. I was pretty depressed to be reminded just how awful US "healthcare" is, and I was moved to be reminded of just how great the NHS is, in comparison (yes, people have complained that Moore presents a sanitised NHS, but listen carefully and you will hear nothing that's a lie)... but at the end of the day I was just underwhelmed. Maybe it's because there's no clearly visible Big Bad to get angry at, though Bush and Co. do lurk in the background. Or maybe it's just because you can't see for one second how things are ever going to change over there. I'm not sure. But - oddly for me - I felt that this was one documentary I could have happily waited for on telly. Not enough laughs either.

How's the maths?
Gosh, I can't remember. There's a fair amount of figures and percentages flying around, which counts for something, but the only equation I recall is (desperately poor people) x (high insurance premiums) + (refused claims repeatedly) = (filthy rich capitalist gits).

Can I teach with it?
Well, wouldn't that be fun? Seriously though, if I used this with a class and analysed healthcare costs in the US in a way which (let's say) puts across a pro-liberal agenda, would that be acceptable? Or if I did the same with party political matters in the UK? "Hey kids, let's analyse which party is more reliant on private donors and look for a positive correlation with peerages!" Would that be part of A Curriculum for Excellence? I'm sure Alex Salmond wouldn't mind...

1 comment:

Bruce said...

I narrowly missed seeing this; thanks for reassuring me that I didn't miss too much! Planning to see The Golden Compass with friends on Weds, which, despite mediocre reviews, I imagine you guys will check out? - especially since you've read the books. Which I lamentably haven't to date, though am keen to.