Thursday 18 February 2010

In Praise of Social Workers

This week’s film of the week is Precious. (Before we saw it, I kept wanting to call it Precioussssss, Gollum-style.)

The film is about a young girl called Precious growing up in Harlem. She’s suffered horrific abuse from both parents and, when the film opens, is pregnant with her second child by her father. She barely communicates with other people, but in her head escapes into stories where she’s a star – a thinner, blonder, happier, loved version of herself. The film describes what happens after she enrolls in an alternative education programme and learns to read and write.

When the film started, I whispered to my partner in crime, ‘at least it’ll be better than Avatar.’ It was in a totally different league. The acting is superb. Even Mariah Carey looks like a normal human being and is good as a sympathetic social worker who can’t quite grasp the realities of Precious’s life.

The film doesn’t exactly laud social workers. One is shown having the wool pulled completely over her eyes by Precious’s abusive mother, the other as being out of her depth. But, thinking about it in the car on the way home (in the company of two social workers), it made me want to celebrate them. I don’t know how you listen to these kinds of stories and know that there is a responsibility on you to try to help. I don’t know how you do your job every day. But I’m glad you do.

Isn’t there some way we can show our appreciation? The best I can come up with is that there should be a special check-out lane in the supermarket for social workers. Like the express lane, but for public workers. It seems to me that there should be some perks for people who do this kind of work day in and day out.

What do you think? Who should be eligible? How would it work? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.


  1. wow do you really owe MA bigtime? Maybe you should just put some candles under her photo in your shrine?

    n.b I love social workers too

  2. Really all we want is a special flashing light on our cars and the law to be changed so we can drive in a bus lane when there is a social work emergency!

    Was out with my social worker friends last night and we did spend a lot of time talking about this film, though mainly about Mariah Careys facial hair and not so much about the social work issues....

    If you do put up some candles for me, please keep them away from the pictures!