Friday, November 09, 2001

I went to a Remembrance Day assembly at Banana and McMonkey's school this morning. The program included a two songs by the school choir, a rambling ten minute talk by a World War Two veteran, and a trumpet solo by one of the grade six students.

There were about 75 parents that came for the assembly and I couldn't believe how many were recording the event with video cameras. Usually, it's the same faces behind the cameras at performance, gathering, event and concert. Do they really think it's a good idea to tape everything?

I am a fellow proud parent, but having every event recorded for posterity in video is of dubious value. Photographs of your son or daughter's minor events are bad enough - at least the viewer can leaf quickly through a stack, discarding the eyes-closed or otherwise embarrassing shots. Do you need to chew up future moments of your or someone else's life watching Jimmy or Sally in amoungst the herd of the choir ("that's her in the second-last row, eight from the left") as they stare, with a deer-in-the-headlights look on their face, not singing but coughing/scratching/yawning/zoning out for ten minutes? I think that some things are better just experienced and then left to develop and grow better with age in the imagination.

I did all those kid things. I sang in the choir, did school concerts, acted in school plays, performed in music festivals, went in swim meets - all that stuff. My mom and dad took a few pictures of me at these events, some of which I still have. At each one of these showings, things went flawlessly. I remembered all my lines, almost won all the races that I was in, sang on key, dazzled the audience when I spoke and generally wow-ed everyone. Do you think I want to see irrefutable evidence of what really happened at each of these events? Some things are better left relegated to memory.

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