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UCTV airs newest talk show: 'Veneer of Civilization'

By Sabrina Herrera
On February 18, 2013

"We want to start an actual conversation about things that aren't talked about in a classroom," was the opening line of last Tuesday's live broadcast of UCTV's new talk show "Veneer of Civilization." The topic: education. Hosts David Friedman, 2nd-semester mass communication/interdisciplinary studies and film double major and Taylor Goldaper, 2nd-semester economics and Spanish double major, challenged why society defines education as being synonymous to school and why we constantly form to the mold.
The pair mentioned a YouTube video by Suli Breaks entitled "Why I Hate School But Love Education." The 6-minute spoken word short questions the value of mainstream schooling, the heart of the show's conversation. It contests the idea that success and school must coexist.
Taylor and David drew reference to Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg and Steve Jobs, who without conforming to conventional learning, found success on their own paths, on their own terms. Fascinated by film, David notes Quentin Tarantino (director of "Django Unchained," among others) as creating groundbreaking films "with no GPA, no grade to reflect it." Yet, he is revered as a genius in the industry.
"High school is formatted like a factory," Taylor said.
During the show, Taylor built on the idea that school cranks out students that are products of society - they are who society shapes them to be. Students are bound to a curriculum, without incentive to explore beyond what is presented in the classroom, she said.
After reading a short story by Edgar Allan Poe in the tenth grade, David was inspired to write a 5-page thesis paper - for leisure. He turned it in to his teacher, but since it was not an assignment in the curriculum, his teacher threw it in the trash.
This experience led David to confront the confines of a classroom. "School is a prison," he said.
On the other side of the argument, Taylor proposed that David might not have been directed toward Poe, had he not been in school.
The hosts also discussed how society measures success through testing and a numerical grading system that society itself created. David pointed out that students are never ranked by personality, talents, or extracurricular activities - traits that influence success after schooling.
The bottom line: does school lend itself to higher education, when a numerical ranking is all students are working toward?
As hosts, David and Taylor want to pose pivotal questions to provoke thought and new ways of looking at society.
"We want to push the envelope and start a conversation, [and] get students talking about things that matter," David said.
The next episode of "Veneer of Civilization" will air live on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 11-11:30 p.m. on UCTV Channel 14.
Also airing during UCTV's premiere week, Feb. 18-22, are live news broadcasts, "Dog Fight" (a formal sports debate show) and others. It has been close to 15 years since UCTV's newscast and a few other shows have aired live.
"Veneer of Civilization" can be followed on Twitter (@veneerofcivil). Information about other shows can be found at uctv.uconn.edu.
 


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