I teach a popular culture course here at my University. This semester I was presenting the difference between British and American hero archetypes. American superheroes, for example, vs. the British wizards and the King Arthur archetype (as seen in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter).
I got my sons Kung Fu Panda
on DVD for Christmas and that got me thinking about the Asian teacher/student model in pop culture. Some further digging into this and it looks like the model was introduced by Bruce Lee, in the early 1970s. He helped develop the ideas for the Kung Fu
tv series, and intially was going to star in it.
Soon after that we had Star wars
, with Yoda. Later the Karate Kid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Matrix
, etc. My students were quite interested to learn about this. If this is correct, that Bruce Lee introduced this model into the popular culture it could help explain the strong Taoist flavor a lot of these stories have. They don't really teach or communicate that much of the dhamma, unless you count the emphasis on concentration and right effort.
On the other hand these portrayals do provide a rough model of the teacher/student relationship that might inspire some young people to look for a teacher when they get older. Not very realistic perhaps, but with the exception of Merlin and Arthur, I can't think of many cases where that relationship model is portrayed in Western literature or especially in popular culture.
Our modern pop cultural model of the "teacher" in school settings is kind of negative, and less focused on one-to-one interactions. My own sense is that modern culture actually discourages teachers and students from getting too close.
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. I might get to a paper on the topic eventually, lol. It's kind of interesting.http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EmEPXXJ4sKw"I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You are the one who must walk through it."
Morpheus, The Matrix