Ed. note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. You can read Part 2 here.

In the cinematic masterpiece Zoolander, the titular character embarks on a quest for purpose that includes him being presented a scale model for the “Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too.” Lacking the capacity for abstraction, he mistakes the miniature preview for the thing itself and summarily rejects it, “What is this? A center for ants?… How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?”