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Scenes From A Women's Studies Class

Scene: Watching "Pink Ribbons" today in class, a documentary that criticizes the "cause marketing" of breast cancer. The film is showing people walking in Avon's Three Day Breast Cancer Walk, accompanied by 10000 Maniacs' "These Are The Days."

Student 1 (raising her hand and looking annoyed): Shouldn't the film be criticizing the people who make the decisions, like the research companies who choose where to send their funds and stuff, and not these people?


Me (surprised): I don't get the sense that the filmmakers are criticizing people who do the walk. I think they're just showing footage.

Student 1: But they're playing that sad, weird music.

Me: I, uh... didn't get that from that scene. (Addressing the rest of the class.) Is that how you guys took it, too?

Class (pretty unanimously): Yeah.

Student 2: The music is creepy.

Me: It's not a sad song. I mean, I guess I can see how it might sound kind of sad if you don't listen to the lyrics, because of Natalie Merchant's tone of voice? But that's just what she sounds like.


Student 3: Does the whole song sound like that? Or did they just pick a creepy part?

Me (exasperated): Yes, the whole song sounds like that! It's not creepy! It's actually a hopeful song.


Student 3: When was it from?

Me: The 90s. It's 10000 Maniacs. I used to listen to them all the time.

Student 3: And... this was popular?

Me: Well... yeah. HEY! Are you insulting my taste in music? (Googling.) Here, let me read you the lyrics: "These are the days that you'll remember. Never before and never since, I promise. Will the whole world be warm as this. And as you feel it, you'll know it's true, that you are blessed and lucky. It's true, that you are touched by something. That will grow and bloom in you."


Student 2: Grow and bloom? Like cancer does?

Me (sputtering): Cancer doesn't BLOOM. I don't say this very often, but I really think you're reading too much into this!

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