Thursday, September 3, 2015

F#30: Force Friday

I know I've already done a post on fandoms, but I need to single Star Wars out in particular for a moment.

Tomorrow, 9/4/15, is Force Friday, when a new set of merchandise is released in anticipation of The Force Awakens hitting theatres on 12/18/15.  Social media is full of Star Wars related pictures; Twitter was kind enough to add an X-Wing emoticon to the hashtag people are using.

And yet...I am cynical.

This doesn't JUST have to do with the fact that I am a "responsible adult" who has "work" and "bills" and can't go buy fun toys with everyone else at 12:01AM.  (This responsible adult WILL be going to a midnight showing of Ep VII, definitely with my husband, possibly with my stepson, and then we'll all play hookie from school/work the next day.)  

No, I'm throwing shade at all the fans.

Because many of these same people are the ones who absolutely lambaste Episodes I-III, saying they won't show them to their own children, or talking about how AWFUL they were.  And as much as I shouldn't let it bother me, it does.  While I long ago abandoned the Star Wars novels, especially when I realized their stories were not canonical, I have always held to the belief that George Lucas knew what story he was telling, and the canon is the canon.  And I have always looked at the Prequels as a completely different TYPE of storytelling; not worse, just different.

So when Episode VII comes out, and people start hating on it the way they hated on Episodes I-III, it's going to get my fangirl up.  I want to enjoy Lucas' sandbox in all its glory, and I don't need party-poopers telling me that some of my toys suck, just because they're different from the first set of toys we were playing with.

That's not to say I don't have concerns.  With three new "Episode" movies, plus a few stand-alones, and television shows in the works, I am worried we may become over-saturated as a fandom.  One of the things that makes Star Wars so beautiful is that there isn't THAT much of it.  The more we add to the base, I am wondering how that might take away from the special-ness of it.

So to my fellow Star Wars fans, I only ask that you try to love all of the canon we've been given.  Recognizing that there is good and bad in ALL of the movies (yes, even The Empire Strikes Back), I think we call all agree it's time to stop hating on JarJar, and just appreciate the whole story that Lucas was kind enough to give us.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

F#29: Flashbacks and Alternate Realities

Yesterday I started the internship for my MA in American Studies.  The location of said internship is right next door to where I had my first "real" job after college.  I was twenty-two and no one would hire my English major self.  Because...who hires English majors who are competent in reading and writing?  I stayed at this job until I started my journey toward becoming an educator.

As I took the bus into my internship yesterday, it was a definite flashback to that six month period where I was part of corporate America.  I woke up at seven AM.  I read on my commute instead of swearing at other drivers.  Later that day, I got to eat lunch outside, over half-an-hour, watching other Young Urban Professionals walk by.  

This could have been my life, I think.  I could have found a way to stay at the job I had, maybe moving around to other departments, or going to a different company entirely.  I could have eaten leisurely lunches, or maybe even worked out over my lunch break and had a snack at my desk later.  I could have visited the farmers' market on Fridays to pick up pieces for dinner.  

Of course, that life doesn't lead me to my best friend, or my husband.  That life doesn't take me on a guided tour of Prague and Budapest.  It doesn't give me my summer's off (sort of), or not having to worry about how I am getting to work when there's twenty-seven-million inches of snow on the ground.

This internship will be challenging but fun.  It will give me a chance to see "how the other half lives".  And it also gives me something to look forward to, when I have moved on from teaching and am ready to try something new.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

F#28: Feminism

I have decided that I am a bad feminist.  The things that enrage the internet, and some of my friends, do not enrage me.  Some of the things I did not even realize were rage-inducing until I saw the kerfuffle playing out on social media.

Since she is en vogue at the moment, let's talk about The Age of Ultron and Black Widow.  I have not read any of the comics, so I don't know how the movies have stuck to or diverged from her story lines.  But I do know that I like her very much as a character on screen.  She is funny, she is confident, she kicks all the ass.  

But, of course, people complain.  Some of these complaints I find to be completely valid.  When you look at the toys and clothing for the newest Avengers film, you will notice that our dear Black Widow is nowhere to be seen. (A friend did find a shirt at Hot Topic, but she's not front and center).  And saying she's a slut (yeah, Jeremy Renner, not cool) is obviously not only not okay, but also totally inaccurate.  (A post for another time--the "appropriate" number of sexual partners, for both men and women.)

The ongoing complaint of the movies (besides that she hasn't gotten her own: again, totally valid) is that she's a supporting character or that she's too much of a woman when she should just be one of the guys.  

So what? So what that she's a woman and has a soft spot in her for her friends?  Did we complain when Tony had a soft spot for Pepper?  Or when Cap looked for his Peggy Carter?  Thor and Jane?  Nope, we are glad to see that our heroes with hearts.  So why is it a problem when Natasha wants to be a little softer, regret a choice that was taken away from her?  I don't want to spoil the movie for people who haven't seen it, but...I don't think that's the Red Ledger we heard about in the first Avengers.  It just doesn't make sense to say that it is.

Black Widow is what has enraged the nerds; Dad-Bods have enraged others.  Something else will enrage me shortly, I'm sure.  Until then...I'm a bad feminist.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

F#27: Finding My Niche

Semester Two of grad school.  One class is very abstract random in its organization and is supposed to be part of my Museums concentration, although I haven't figured out how exactly.  The second class is at least about doing research, although some of the books are pretty painful to read.

So in this class, we were asked in our first week what our research interests were.  Everyone around me had answers: contemporary art, maritime history, African American history, Native American history...the list went on.  And then when the professor got to me, I was stumped.  I am interested in just about everything.  How am I supposed to know what my research interests are, and on what I want to do my thesis? It's only semester two...I have five semesters in total to figure this out!

But I started thinking about it.  Although I understand the impetus to researching the oppressed communities of American society, I also find it would be disingenuous of me, as a middle-class white woman, to pretend I can somehow make sense of the information I would be retrieving.  

Despite my distaste of New England as a child, and my distaste of the weather currently, the region is fascinating.  As "home base" for many of the European immigrants, we've got a lot of history.  Some of it is not very pretty, including the witch hunts/trials of the 17th century.  But is it too obvious, as a New England woman, to research the plight of other New England women?

Another thought I've had lately, but I'm not sure how I'd formulate it exactly, is that I'm intrigued by the representation of American history in fiction.  This comes partially from Sleepy Hollow just finishing up its second season on FOX, but also my love of historical fiction.  What are the things that movies, television, and literature consistently get right, and what are the things they consistently change?  Is this a thing I could even do research on?  I mean, how many books, movies, and tv shows would I have to consume in order to find an answer?

I am excited to begin this next trek in my academic journey, but I definitely don't know what map I am going to follow.