That time I creeped on Sasha from The Walking Dead.

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You all probably know her as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead. I knew her as the National Poetry Champion at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events (AFA-NIET) tournament of 2006, and I was star-struck before she killed her first zombie. Here is that story and an embarrassingly quirky moment that is my life.

Collegiate forensics competitions have nothing to do with crime or cutting up dead bodies like many assume when they hear that the college forensics team is recruiting and looking for members to join. It’s speech and debate at the collegiate level.

I was actively involved with the forensics speech and debate team at Minnesota State University-Mankato in which we would write speeches, cut and splice literature to make argumentative performances, and travel just about every weekend to compete for trophies or as we used to say on our team: we win trophies for what we do with our mouth. Every tournament win was a chance to qualify for the coveted chance at competing at the national level at the AFA-NIET tournament.

Oh AFA. Where the best of the best speakers in the nation would gather with hopes of breaking into out rounds. While I was always confident when I was at state and regional tournaments, the AFA-NIET tournament was always the tournament that always made me doubt my abilities, and I spent most of my time in rounds in complete awe of the talent that I was up against. The downside to this was that I always have a habit of completely embarrassing myself because of how socially awkward I can be around people, especially around those that are extremely talented and those I am inspired by.

It was a preliminary round in Poetry. I was always nervous at the national tournaments because you could pretty much count on just about every performance to be on fleek as they say (now, not back then, but I digress).

She walked in, completely resolute in her confidence. And that hair, it was gorgeous. Look, I appreciate when curly hair looks good, because I can never get mine to cooperate; it’s always the hottest of messes. It was styled to perfection, but more importantly she was a genuinely nice person and sincere in the small talk she engaged with her fellow competitors in the round. She performed a poetry program on shoes, and the role they had in shaping gender and personal identity performance. Her interpretation of the literature and performance was awe-inspiring. She weaved in and out of characters, and the audience felt the range of emotions that she was experiencing through her both her execution of the performance and the poetry. A program of poetry all about a seemingly generic topic of shoes. The critical social commentary and arguments she created with the intertextuality of the poetry in her program was everything but generic.

She finished her performance and took her seat next to mine. I was still completely blown away by what I had just experienced. I was star-struck. This would have been the perfect opportunity to congratulate her on her performance; to tell her that she was an extremely talented and inspirational speaker; powerful. What did I do?

I sheepishly smiled and said,

“You’re so pretty, and I really love your hair…”

She awkwardly smiled at me and nervously replied, “Thaaaaanks?”

I don’t think she meant it in a rude or dismissing way at all, I think she was honestly perplexed as to how to respond to not only what I said, but how I said it.

She then asked to be excused from the round as she had other events in this round she had to get to. I was in mid face-palm when the judge called my name to perform. I loved my piece and loved performing it, but I knew…I already lost that round and a part of me was glad she wasn’t able to stick around to see it.

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Sonequa not only pwnd in that round, but she went on to win the well-deserved title of National Champion in Poetry for the AFA-NIET 2006. She now stars on The Walking Dead as Sasha Williams.

I very much doubt (and don’t blame her) that she remembers who I am, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t. If she does, she remembers me as that really weird creeper guy from the poetry round that she completely dominated from the speech tournament she completely owned.

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Marvel does it better

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Against all my better judgement I went and saw Suicide Squad over the weekend. It’s not that I hated it, I didn’t really. I didn’t love it though, and I knew that this was most likely going to be the case despite the high hopes I had for it. I really wanted to love it, but when one of my friends asked me (knowing my extensive knowledge and love for comic books) to predict how I was going to come out of the theater feeling, I responded: I want to like it so much and have high hopes, but pretty sure it’s going to be like every other DC film. I’m going to come out of it not hating it necessarily, but will more than likely be disappointed at the narrative and missed opportunities for rich character development.

So, here’s your obligatory warning. I’m about to go into details from the movie, so if you are looking to avoid any spoilers for Suicide Squad, you should stop reading now.

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Overall Impression: It wasn’t completely awful and for the most part, the movie was enjoyable for what it is. A friend of mine sitting next to me told me there were several moments I let out an audible disappointed sigh, and he’s not wrong. While it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen, there were definitely moments that didn’t live up to what I was expecting.

Deadshot and Harley Quinn definitely stole the show for this one and their characters were definitely the most intriguing and did the most justice as far as representing their comic book counterparts.

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Deadshot, one of the most notable anti-heroes of the DC Universe. An assassin with a troubling family past, but also motivated to take action whether for the heroes or villains to do good by his children. This was portrayed well in the movie by showcasing the relationship with him and his daughter. Will Smith did not disappoint in his portrayal of the surefire yet often conflicted assassin. Deadshot surfaced as one of the leaders of the group and motivated other team members to contribute to get the job done, while still remaining morally grey throughout the movie. One of the highlights is when he goads a reluctant El Diable who fears losing control to help fight the fight and light things up with the squad.

Deadshot: Whatcha gonna do?
El Diablo: You wanna see something? YOU WANNA SEE SOMETHING!?
Deadshot: YEAH!
(After El Diablo goes berserk and gets lit fam)
Deadshot: Yo…I was trying to get you there. No hard feelings, right? We good?

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The breakaway performance definitely has to go to Margot Robbie though as Harley Quinn. She definitely stole the show in my opinion. The focus of the movie was on her and showcased her relationship with the Joker. Her backstory and presence seemed to be the focus out of all the squad members. The movie seemed to take a lot of inspiration from The New 52 version of Harley as she was shown to be exposed to the same checmicals Joker was exposed to in the film as part of her backstory. Her leaving the squad for Joker and later rejoining when the plan fell through was also remiscent of a New 52 plot. I thoroughly enjoyed Margot Robbie’s performance of Harley and she had a lot of great moments. Her motives and loyalty walked a fine line with zany madness throughout the film, but one thing was certain: underestimating her was most certainly a mistake. The only moment I might have groaned (here comes some whine) was when she played a critical role in saving the day as she blurts out, Stop hurting my fwiends! (and there’s the cheese).

It will be interesting to see what happens with the character as it was revealed in her bio that she was an accomplice and either helped or was the one to kill Jason Todd. This revelation might help to explain why she reacted so strongly when she sternly states, “Own that shit” to El Diablo’s reveal about killing his kids. It may be her reaction to her own killing of an adolescent Jason Todd. Another possibility for this reaction could be that she was responsible for the death of her own kids. Whaaaaat!? BOOM! BLAM! KAZAM!

For those of you that missed it, the movie hinted that Harley might have been pregnant with Joker’s kids at some point and this could be a gamechanger that could be incredibly intriguing or a plot twist that ends up being a miserable disaster.

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So, when it comes to Deadshot and Harley Quinn, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Unfortunately for me, it just goes downhill from there with the rest of the characters.

Amanda Waller: Overall, the movie did a good job illustrating how cut throat and ruthless this character really is, but I wanted the movie to reveal and explore her deeper connection with metahumans and the major players of the DC universe. I get that this isn’t possible in the cinematic universe as metas are only beginning to surface and be known in this world. But still.

Diablo: I am on the fence with Diablo. On one hand, I really enjoyed his brooding character and his internal conflict of using his powers fearful of losing complete control of them. He was most certainly a force to be reckoned with. He has a really tragic backstory, but one that is a deviation from the comics. In the comicverse, he unleashed his fury on a rival ganghouse only to discover there were innocents; women and children that also fell victim to his flames. As a result, he let the authorities take him to Belle Reve due to his overwheliming feeling of guilt for taking the lives of innocents. The movie decided to up the ante and change his backstory to losing control and taking the life of his wife and children instead. Why they decided to make his backstory that much more tragic, but completely ignore the tragedy of Katana’s backstory (see below)  was what perplexed me. The only thing I can think of is to allow the reaction of Harley Quinn, which will more than likely play out in future movies. If this isn’t the case, then to make that choice with Diablo while completely ignoring Katana’s tragedy makes absolutely no sense.

Joker: It was cool to see a completely different interpretation of the Joker, but it got old real fast, especially his laugh. When I first heard the laugh in a trailer, I thought it was interesting and definitely had a chill factor to it. I also assumed this was a specific laugh in a specific scene to invoke that specific feeling. Nope, that laugh was pretty much the same every time something happen to tickle his fancy. It never changed. And come on, no one believed the Joker was actually dead when Harley watched in horror as his helicopter crashed in a burst of flames, so she could rejoin the squad with tear filled-eyes and those oh so pouty lips.

Slipknot: Who the hell was he again? Unless you’re an avid reader of comics you still have no clue who he is other than to serve the sole purpose of being the obligatory red shirt in the movie. If you’re going to kill someone off, at least provide some semblance of a back-story to make us feel something for his death other than, whelp guess his only purpose was to die.

Boomerang: He didn’t contribute much other than to be the skeezy cat-calling sterotype to womanize the bad ass that is Katana, which again, was barely touched upon. He bailed the first chance he got only to return to the squad moments later with absolutely no motivation to do so.

Katana: Like I said, Katana is a badass, but you don’t really understand this in the movie other than to know she knows how to use her weapon. A missed opportunity to explore a pretty epic backstory of her husband being killed by his own brother who held an unrequetted love for Katana. This was referenced, but watered down by revealing “someone” killed her husband with the souleater sword that ended up in her posessession. The scene explaining that she talks to her husband would have been so much more tragic had they offered more details of this backstory of not only her husband’s death, but the tragic death of their twin children in the same incident. The movie also doesn’t take any time to explain how Katana came to be involved with Rick Flag or the suicicide squad, but she merely just shows up as his body guard with absolutely no explanation of their connection.

Killer Croc: Well, this was probably one of the most disappointing portrayals. Killer Croc is a beast in the comics, A BEAST!  The movie, sadly, turned him into a deformed thug that kind of looked like a crocodile.  The movie took the fact that Killer Croc’s alter ego is Waylon Jennings who happens to be black. They basically ran with this and made this the focus of his character, completely ignoring the raw primal power of the croc and watered him down with cheap humor. His only request is to get a flat screen TV, so he can do nothing but watch big booty dancing on BET. Come on…They completely bastardized the beast that is Killer Croc.

Enchantress: I’ll admit that I don’t know a whole lot about the Enchantress in the comic book world and that made me continue to wonder throughout the whole movie, why she was so hell-bent on taking over the world. I get that she was pissed, because she was essentially just a tool to be used, but why not just go straight for Amanda Waller? I also found it troubling that the squad’s first mission was against this seemingly all powerful herky jerky magic-wielding belly dancer. The stakes were suddenly so monumentally high in a matter of seconds with no room to explore how the squad evolves from completely conflicted individuals to a cohesive unit.

Rick Flagg: I expected more, so much more of this character. What I got was a whiny emo lovesick puppy dog who was apparently maneuvered into a relationship that makes absolutely no sense just so he can be forced to babysit the villanis that Waller recruits. Flagg actually lead a World War II team called the suicide squadron, which serves as an inspiration for putting together the meta human suicide squad, but again, this was a completely missed opportunity to better explain his connection and motivation for leading the suicide squad.

Na na na na na na na na (That’s supposed to make you think of the Batman theme music to serve as a transition into the conclusion).

Time for the cool down. Thanks to those who bared with me on my rants and ramblings on the latest installment of the DC Cinematic Universe. Alright look, I realize that the comic book buff in me tends to make me a little if not obnoxiously overcritical of the movies. These are merely my own personal qualms with the DCCU, and I completely understand that. I get why a lot of people really love these movies, but I for one will always look to Marvel as an example of how to bring the expansive comic book universe to film and do the characters and plotlines justice. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I didn’t love it either.

 

My Twilight Experience

I have a pretty sweet job. One of the main things our department does on campus is plan and implement activities for the student body. As a result, I get to do a lot of pretty cool things. The latest project was renting out a theater for the premiere of…wait for it…the latest installment in the Twilight saga. Breaking Dawn Part II. There are a lot of perks that come with my jobby job. This isn’t one of them.

Keep in mind I haven’t seen any of the previous films nor have I read any of the books. The moment I learned that vampires sparkle in this series has spurned a barrage of mockery from me ever since. This was a vampire mythos I could not get on board with. Consequently, a co-worker of mine expressed she was cashing in on a favor that was long over-due for missing out on last year’s theater rental for the premiere of Breaking Dawn Part I. We agreed then, my payment would be to go to a movie of her choosing. Little did I know she would hold out a whole year let alone remember my little debt. I braced myself for the worst, but also told myself that it couldn’t all be bad. I had it on good authority that the majority of scenes showcased shirtless hunks and this installment contained a battle of epic proportions.

Below are my live-tweets as I embarked on this melodromatic and broody journey. Fair warning, there are tons of SPOILERS! I am sure my live-tweets have already caused tween rage and brought forth the wrath of angsty Twilight fanatics who were unable to make it to the premiere. Yeah, well bite me.

I’m gonna need this caffeine to get through this. God help me…

Live-Tweets during the viewing of Breaking Dawn Part II

  • I was just informed there are mind bubbles involved…OH MY…
  • Theater ad just instructed me to turn off my phone and abstain from using it during the film. Nope, not gonna do it!
  • Here we go. There are squeals throughout the theater & they haven’t even shown vamps and wolves without their shirts yet.
  • Cheesy groping within the first 5 seconds. Even with red eyes she’s still pretty expressionless.

  • Did he seriously just ask her to sniff him!?

  • The fact the baby was nicknamed Nessie gives me hope for this film
  • Am I the only one that finds vampy foreplay to be super awkward!?

  • And Jacob is stripping…STRIPPING!!! This movie just got momentarily better. And the theater is rejoicing and cheering. Even the dudes, although I suspect their cheers are meant to be ironic.
  • Aaaaand the moment has passed. Back to shit I don’t understand.
  • Oh the sparkles! I just can’t take the SPARKLES!
  • Edmund’s face or more specifically his overdone facial expressions freak my shiz out!
  • Heads r rollin, baby drooling blood, more sparkles, what appears to be brooding & ominous flashbacks. No idea what is happening right now.
  • I don’t understand why all these vamps have mutant powers…

  • Tyra Banks became an Amazon vamp, and she still smises like a boss!
  • Vamp vamp vamp of the jungle, watch out for that tree!!!
  • Dude! It’s Hans and Frans! These Romanian vamps are sassy!
  • Black smoke monster from Lost apparently became a vamp.
  • Mind bubbles!!! Vamp mutant training has begun.
  • Had to take a pee break and upon my return realized this theater is starting to get a little ripe…
  • I think an epic battle is about to take place. After a long lull of boredom, things have taken an interesting turn.
  • Did Edward & red coat dude with long flowing hair (brunette Fabio) just share an intimate moment as they held hand & mind melded?
  • FIGHT!!! ::cue Mortal Kombat theme music::
  • EPIC MINDBUBBLES!!! YUSSSSS!!!
  • I don’t understand what is going on with brunette Fabio’s fancy pants speech…
  • So many sneers!!!
  • FATALITY! Fatalities galore!!!

  • So many dead puppies! I may need to process…
  • Shit just got real…

Final Tweet:

I feel so utterly cheated right now and simultaneously nauseous…I DEFINITELY need to process now…UGH!

Needless to say, I was not amused with what transpired toward the conclusion and the ending was just gross. However, the experience of watching the film in a theater full of college students (many with whom our department work with) laughing at the absurd moments, cheering at decapitation and maulings, and the mystery science theater esque atmosphere made it well worth it. Will I run out and get the previous installments or the books? That’s an emphatic NO.

Do I regret going to the final installment of a series I have scoffed at and mocked since their inception? See previous answer above.

Concert in a Living Room

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to experience one of my favorite musicians in one of the most unique and intimate concert settings—the living room show.

About 5 years ago, I came across this track through one of my Paste samplers. The track featured a raspy yet soothing voice singing about how he remembers. I began researching and searching for more from this feller and instantly fell in love with his melodic incantations. David Bazan had quickly climbed his way to the top of my favorite musicians list.

A fellow bazan fan (a connoisseur of music whose musicality tastes I found impressive and who was equally impressed by my playlists) overheard him playing on my IPod one day and told me he was doing a living room show and that he would be in Denver. I went to purchase a ticket and there was only one left!!! I filled out all my information, billing information, and clicked purchase only to have a message pop up telling me there were no tickets left. Someone else had beaten me to it—CURSES!

I was understandably distraught that I was going to be so close yet missing the opportunity to see Bazan in action and in such an intimate setting. The connoisseur would later let me know that he had applied to host a living room show and was accepted for a concert in June and was gracious enough to offer me a ticket to the show. So, I would be missing him in Denver, but I found comfort knowing that I would get my chance in June.

A couple days before the scheduled Denver performance, I was approached by a fellow Bazan listener who had a ticket to the show, but was unable to attend due to another commitment. Rumor had it, I was a fan, and he offered his spot to me rather than letting it go to waste. The stars had aligned, and I was going to get to see him in Denver and still have another performance in June to look forward to—YUSSSSSS!

O.K., so going to see an indie musician in some stranger’s living room is a bit hipster-ish of me and faithful blog readers are fully aware of my conflictions when it comes to hipsters. But, all my conflictions were instantly wiped away as soon as David struck that first chord and let out that first gruff note; he was standing only feet away in someone’s living room who I had never even met, full of other strangers with one commonality tying us all together. This shit was sexy!

This was truly one of the best concert experiences I have ever had. One of my favorite things about living room shows is how low key they are. Bazan took time to take questions between songs, and engage with the audience; he took the time to chat with us. The lyrics in his music were very much reflected in his dialogue, which at times were inspiring and highly insightful. One of my favorite moments of the evening was when he stated:

If you’re neighbor’s hungry and you think it isn’t you’re problem, you’re wrong. It is you’re fucking problem, man. And you can say its not, but you still have three locks on your door, and you bought a gun. It’s your problem, and it won’t get fixed until you start loving people and caring about the welfare of strangers.

Needless to say, I was all but giddy from the experience and even more giddy that I get to do it all over again in June. If you haven’t heard any of his music, I highly recommend checking David Bazan out. Or better yet, see if there’s a living room show coming to a town near you and experience it for yourself. 

GCB Date Night-Forbidden Fruits

A dear friend of mine from way back when (who has since moved miles away) and I discovered that we both share a common guilty pleasure. Our hearts have been stolen by this little gem of a show called GCB. This show makes me so happy I’d be willing to compare its effects on me to the kind of drug that makes you euphoric for no apparent reason. The women are so vicious to each other, yet admist all the backstabbing, the cattiness, and good ole Christian shenanigans is a delightful and touching story arc between a prodigal daughter and her mama, the pillar of her hometown community, who is claiming her second chance to better express her motherly love.

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GCB, based on a book by the title of Good Christian Bitches has made quite the impression through the conservative media circuit. Many are upset that the the portrayal of Christians in this show gives the impression that Christians are hypocritical; gasp!

Fox News Upset with GCB: Damn that liberal media with their attacks using fancy generalizations!

However, I have to believe the majority of audiences are going to be independent critical thinkers who realize adhering to generalizations like all Christians are hypocritical and believing these generalizations are true for all cases is problematic. Kind of like generalizing all Muslims as terrorists. Kind of like generalizing all gays are promiscuous or pedophiles. Kind of like generalizing all women as sluts just because they are taking a stake in their own reproductive health. Oh wait, that last one wasn’t a generalization, just faulty logic. My dear friend Jon summed up the right-wing’s response to the show perfectly.

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The truth is there are some folks out there who act exactly like the women in this show. Perhaps they are a wee bit overboard (again, it’s TELEVISION!), but even those who aren’t necessarily fans of the show agree women like this exist. Author of blog, Preacher on the Plaza agrees the portrayal of Christian women on the show is off-putting. Her reasoning is the interesting part: “And while, yes I am a fan of satire and not taking one’s self too seriously (appropriate uses of humor are always good, I’m with you Alan on this one), I have to say that I was saddened by GCB because I felt so much of the show IS TRUE.”

I would argue the show isn’t seeking to portray Christian women or an attack on those with faith. There are examples in the show of overcoming the pettiness and bitchiness illustrated by remarks regarding becoming the better Christian that sheds light on the complexity of  following a faith such as Christianity. It points out that rising above and  following the intention of true Christianity is in fact difficult and commendable. When one chooses the path of smiting those in the name of religion and judging others in the name of religion, things are not only going to end badly for you, but you serve as the comedic plot line for that evening’s episode.  Remember when it was the gay character who played the fool and served as comic relief? GCB uses the device, but uses it in a far more critical and ingenious way. It is the actions of the person that make them the object of mockery, not simply what is on the surface level. In other words, the show isn’t making attacks on the religion of Christianity nor making caricatures of the women in the show simply because they are Christian; it is making attacks on those who are quick to abandon their self proclaimed principles in order to knock someone down for selfish reasons.

So, back to my dear friend, who shall go by the name Sister Kel, who shares in this new guilty pleasure of mine that is GCB. Upon our discovery of our shared love, we decided to make a date night this week and watch the episode together. We even delayed our viewing until the day after it was aired, so that we could still watch together despite the different time zones. If the fact that we were able to wait a whole day after it was aired just to watch it together doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. Below is a list of some of the highlights and some snippets from our texts back and forth as we eagerly viewed the episode.

WARNING: The following contain spoilers for Episode 5: Forbidden Fruits

Some of my own personal takeaways from the episode:

  • Cricket’s rendition of Amazing Grace rocked my world.
  • Carleen’s brother is dreamy.
  • The sibling rivalry between Sharon’s kids looks to be an entertaining addition to the show.
  • Carleen and her scope make me so happy.
  • Using Sheryl Crow to get back at your fellow Christian brethren will turn off those of virtue. Abuse of power makes you ugly.
  • Carleen and Cricket’s face when Gigi “takes the bull by its horns” = priceless.
  • Bozeman is hot. His character is supposed to be in High School. I feel dirty and compelled to blame the liberal media.

Snippets of my conversation with SK:

It was a clear black night

Tonight was the night! The night of the big dance! I had agreed to be an “adult” presence at the “I Hate Valentines Day” dance. I generally have a pretty good time at these functions; it gives me a good chance to interact with the students in a more relaxed environment. The head of security had asked how much of a presence we wanted security to be at the dance to which I replied,

“If you got me that tazer I keep asking for, security wouldn’t even need to show…”

Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen, but it was worth a try. Now the only dilemma was whatever was I going to wear!?!?! Luckily, the students and a co-worker designed a shirt to help promote the dance and to serve as staff shirts for the dance. BRILLIANT!!!

One of the best things about these functions is watching all the different dance stylings the students showcase; I don’t even know that giving a vivid description in text form will do the particular couple I have in mind justice. You really had to be there. To give you an idea of the dramatistic approach they had: At one point I caught one of them grab a rose from the table and immediately pulled it up to her nose as she inhaled deeply, which lasted for what seemed like a solid two minutes, all as an expression of pure ecstasy and joy lit up her face. When she finally pulled the rose from her nose her eyes fluttered with pure content and she flailed her arms and hands as if she could not contain the overwhelming scent of decayed romance any longer. Now keep in mind the theme of the dance. The roses had been purchased last week and left to dry out and die to lend credence to the “I Hate Valentine’s” motto. This was easily the best moment of the evening for me and quite possibly the best moment of the semester thus far. She was my favorite.

Another highlight of the evening was when a co-worker and I realized there were little heart slips, so people could put in requests to the DJ…YUSSSSSS!!!

“we regulate any stealing of his property and we damn good too. But you can’t be any geek off the street, gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep! REGULATORS!!! MOUNT UP!”

Needless to say, the dance floor cleared and students were looking mighty befuddled. Yet, there was a group of guys who moseyed onto the dance floor; this was the first time these guys got up from their seats at any point in the night. So, see. Our song requests made them feel part of the dance too! I’m all bout creating an environment of inclusiveness. O.K. fine, my main goal was to re-live my earlier high school years and turn the dance into a 90s nostalgia dance party; it was unsuccessful. The DJ caught on as only a few of the many requests we put in were actually played. I’m still a little bummed out Montel Jordan’s This is How We Do It never came on.

Overall, a good time was had by the students and all except for the minor little altercation at the end of the night. The mystery of the plastic water bottle and the thrown hat. It really wasn’t a mystery, but these are things I should probably not discuss in the blog-o-sphere; at least until after the judicial hearing. Let’s just say, that tazer would have come in handy.

Obligation to Entertain

“True comics are a popular art, and yes, I believe their primary obligation is to entertain, but comics can go beyond that, and when they do, they move from silliness to significance.”

~Bill Watterson

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Truth be told, I was teased and bullied through most of my childhood due to the fact that I was a geek. I was and still am into comic books, science-fiction, video games, and the world of fantasy. Whether I was singled out for these interests or I escaped into this world of geekdom as a result of my peers targeting me in such a negative way is uncertain. What came first; the awkward comic-book nerd or the social outcast of the public school systems I attended? Regardless, comic-books helped me cope with my less-than desirable social status in the hierarchy created by the powers that be in grade school and middle school—kids are cruel.

Comic books are meant to entertain, but Bill Watterson said it best in the above quotation. Sure, those that have not taken the time to read the “silly picture books” may not realize, in fact, that they are so much more. Since their inception, comic books have been seen as a lesser form of literature. However, comic books have tackled serious societal issues long before mainstream media depicted such issues because they were deemed taboo. Comic books mimic social reality;   readers can often relate with the characters and are encouraged to find the superhero within themselves.

Danny Fingeroth (2004) expands upon this analysis suggesting Superman uses his secret identity to assimilate into Earth’s culture; more specifically, he assimilates into the American culture in order to blend in and avoid standing out. Fingeroth states:

“Superman’s story is not unlike that of the kid who at home speaks the language of his parents’ immigrant roots, but outside adopts the identity of the mainstream, attempting to blend in and become one with the adopted homeland…The immigrant wants to excel but  stay anonymous. He wants to make his parents proud―but not make them ashamed of who they themselves are, though he may, himself, be ashamed of them in certain profound ways.”

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Many readers can easily relate with Superman’s struggle to maintain his secret identity in order to fit in, with the understanding that this alter ego is merely a sham to conceal the true persona within. Although authors wrote the Superman mythology with the American immigration experience in mind, the theme that emerges from the use of visual images depicting Clark’s transformation from the meek salary man into the confident powerful Superman with a quick visit to the nearest phone booth and the deeper meaning beneath the surface of the narrative is applicable to a significant scope of the audience regardless of the demographic that each audience member may or may not belong to. Interpretation of metaphor within the visual imagery and text can encourage readers to become more critical about the subject matter and present themes that, in turn, helps readers make sense of one’s own identity by situating oneself in the themes and metaphors that emerge in the narrative.

While the predominant obligation of many comic book writers may be to entertain, my hats go off to those writers who consider their obligation to offer critical commentary on the societal issues most tend to shy away from. The writers who write for the readers who could stand to realize they are not alone in their experiences and tribulations. The writers who encourage readers to believe that they share more in common with heroes than they had ever thought.