Saturday, April 17, 2004

"When your sickness is in your soul" 

A novel approach to homework - 11 students in Australia have been told to write a suicide note for homework, causing complaints from some parents, and an apology from the school. But it seems like an excellent idea to me.

The assignment was set in order to make the students think why a character they'd been studying might want to kill himself, despite being admired by all around him. This is quite an interesting idea, even if taken simply as an exercise for an English class, which it was. But it could also be useful for whatever they call 'moral education' these days (those classes where you discuss sex, death and all the other big teenage issues). In general there's a great need for a more sober understanding of this subject - probably more so among the parents than among their children - and if something like this could provide it, then right on.

If nothing else, this could be a useful draft for the students' own suicide notes. Almost no one gets a chance to make a 'final statement' before death, and what even the most ungainly suicide can at least allow is the perfect exit on paper/film (American politician R. Budd Dwyer famously shot himself on TV, the video of which can be found on the internet if you look hard enough). For the cynical, it can be the perfect way to leave the world in style; for others just a chance to remove/lay blame. Either way, it's a lot more than most of us will ever get.

UPDATE: Chris gives a link to a great story from The Onion.

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