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Letter to the Editor: Lit & Film cancellation is foul

Lit & Film was “the most engaging class I ever took at Malvern.” Why does the NCAA have say over what we can learn?

Dear Editors,

I had the opportunity to read the February edition of The Black Friar Chronicle over spring break. In the article “NCAA Core Requirements limit recognized classes for students,” I learned that Malvern’s Literature and Film course had been denied by the NCAA, and would no longer be offered in the future.

According to the article, NCAA denies courses that “taught below grade level, at a slower pace, with less rigor or depth” or that are “not academic in nature.”

Pissed.

I can’t even fathom the reasoning behind this ruling. I’ve experienced the class, I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen all the films and I’m saying this is ridiculous.

Lit & Film was the most engaging class I ever took at Malvern. It was the doorway to an entirely different world for me. Since then I’ve become sort of a self-(and friend)-claimed literature & film trivia buff. I mean how could I not?

The Maltese Falcon introduced me to the legendary acting talent of Humphrey Bogart. I went on to watch Casablanca in my basement, alone, over the summer. Amazing movie, doesn’t get much better than that.

The name Philip Marlowe is etched into my brain’s list of detectives next to Bond, Poirot, Sam Spade, Father Brown, Holmes, Monk, I could go on. Nobody my age has any idea who the heck Philip Marlowe is, but I do and I take pride in that. I show all my friends the detective film that I made at the end of the class, entitledThe Big Jeep.

Murder on the Orient Express was one of the only books that I was fully engaged in throughout my entire high school career. It got me so interested in murder/mysteries I went on to read five more Agatha Christie novels, and boy are they juicy. Hercule Poirot, what a guy!

I firmly believe that this course put forth necessary knowledge and topics. The NCAA states that classes like this and Film Study are not academically based. Are you kidding me? Film and TV are THE BASIS OF MODERN SOCIETY. Film and TV is now what written literature was before the 20th and 21st centuries. How can studying this huge topic not be academic? I don’t understand that. I’m not even a film major but I’m still passionate about this stuff.

Kids are more likely to go see a movie or watch a TV show than read a book or do homework that’s a fact because I’ve been there and still do it. It’s just my generation. I fear that people will begin to blindly view these flashing images on a screen without taking any of the deeper information in. How can you really understand the thought process and practice behind a film without the knowledge of the impact of different camera angles or lenses?

One of my good friends at Syracuse is a film major and claims to love films. However, I always try to engage him in conversations about what I learned in Lit & Film or make references to the material. He has no idea what I’m talking about.

I fear that this knowledge is dying just like the class. I deeply worry about that. Lit & Film was one of my favorite classes at Malvern. It was the English class that I learned the most from and got the most out of. (No knocks to Mr. Roper – I just wasn’t as engaged in his Honors Brit. Lit. That’s probably on me and my interests.)

I guess I’m just trying to say that I enjoyed Lit & Film to an amazing extent and maybe I didn’t realize it until after graduation. I’m very disappointed that current students will not be able to experience the class and enjoy learning about that stuff like I did.

​Thanks to Mr. Dougherty and Mr. Rogai for the experience. I never realized that the NCAA had so much say over what we could learn – or not learn – at a school like Malvern. Any chance they might change their minds on this foul?

Matt Magargee MP ’14
Syracuse University School of Architecture ’19

The Big Jeep

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