Monthly Archives: September 2014

Comics Are for Everyone – Africa, Five Years From Now (Futures End)

This time around, I thought I look at a collection of relatively recent comics at things I noticed. Much like Daniel Quinn, I’m trying to avoid Africa for now (until I work on it with my current course), but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at it from time to time. It’s one of my favorite topics because its stereotypicalization is so widespread and accepted. It’s AFRICA, one continent where all the problems are the same everywhere and no distinct culture is really known. Africans are starving, poor and need our help. That’s the short version.

In Action Comics: Futures End, one of the issues of DC’s Futures End month, we see Clark Kent in the future (five years from now… don’t ask, it’s complicated – or rather convoluted) being another white savior.

You can read the full post here.

 

Generation Cynical

How often do you hear people, especially teachers, say that the youth of today is not what it used to be, that they are lacking in intelligence, interest, motivation, anything really. “It wasn’t like this when I was young!”, “It’s so different now!”, “Oh, today’s kids…!” I often disagree with any of these assumptions, just on principle because I never think kids are dumb or worthless, but our hope and future, so it’s up to us to show them the way and not to complain about them all the time. Besides that, I think that most talk about how things were different in the past is nonsense because history rather repeats itself than to change, and while I think that some things have evolved for the worse, I disagree with most of the aspects that people talk about normally. Changes in modern generations are also not necessarily bad and rarely intentional, and often reflect what they learn in our society. Why am I saying all of this? In a recent lesson, I had the strong feeling that the kids were much different than I was at that age and I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s true and if it is, why?

You can read the full post here.

 

Ordinary People (1980) [Part 1]

ordinary_people(spoilers ahead)

Ordinary People is an exceptionally observant movie about families, psychological problems and relationships. It shows hard truths about people and is not idealizing anything, which is not what I had expected from a 1980 movie. Its screenplay (by Alvin Sargent) is excellent in its dialogue and structure. Robert Redford’s direction is so deliberate, his touch is almost too visible (not for me, but I assume some people might be bothered by it). The acting is flawless throughout, it’s almost impossible to pick anyone. But overall, the movie is just good in the things it has to say and how it says them. It obviously worked in 1980, but I think it’s just as relevant today.

You can read the full post here.

 

1-0-0, That Spells 100!

Well, it might be silly to some, but I can’t help but celebrate a little that this is my 100th post! It’s 100, you know? 100 posts in about four months. Again, maybe that doesn’t sound much to you, but I did not expect that to happen when I started this blog in May and I certainly didn’t expect to hit that mark so soon. But here we are and I want to spend the time today with reflecting and analyzing what happened in that time and in my posts. So the same as I’m doing all the time, just a bit more meta and self-indulgent.

100

You can read the full post here.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guardians_of_the_galaxy_ver2Guardians of the Galaxy is the very definition of a fun movie. It’s extremely entertaining while you watch, exciting, funny and if you get into it even a little touching. It doesn’t completely hold up when it comes to its plot and all of its characters, but that’s not something you’re really aware of until after the movie. Most of the characters are brilliantly written, acted or animated, which is one of the best aspects of this movie. Rocket Raccoon and Groot alone would make a great movie, but in connection with the other characters, they work even better. Even Drax the Destroyer is surprisingly successful. The pop culture references are enjoyable and the jokes are really, really funny, which is not something you find often nowadays, where attempts at humor in a blockbuster movie are often cringe-inducing or infantile. But I couldn’t imagine another movie making a joke about Jackson Pollock and sex and getting away with it. The worst part of the movie is its boring villain, Ronan the Accuser and his scenes are the only parts of the movie that drag.

You can read the full post here.

 

The Three Flawed Pillars

After over 5 years of teaching critical thinking, some ideas seem to repeat themselves, so last year I turned it around for my English course and first introduced what I think are the cornerstones for most problems in our society, before moving on specific topics where you can find those ideas. It worked insofar as that everyone is more aware of these things, but it also makes a good running joke whenever I mention them again. And the students now try to use them for an answer when I ask something. They learned fast that in most cases, they’ll be right with one of the three words I introduced. And I use those words often enough in my posts to warrant some explanation. Which words am I talking about and why are they so important? Good thing you ask, that’s what we’re here for today, kids!

You can read the full post here.

 

Looking Back at 1980 Week

UnknownAs I said at the beginning of the week, this was an experiment. I had this crazy idea to do a theme week on one year and to continue doing that on random years in the future. I really enjoyed planning and writing it, but I’m not sure how well it was received. The statistics are never as clear as I wish and while the number of visitors was good, it was a bit worse than the last two weeks. I don’t take the statistics seriously enough to say it was a flop, but without any other feedback, I don’t have much to go on.

You can read the full post here.

 

Our Life Is a Movie: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Unknownempire strikes back(spoilers, I guess, but either you’ve seen it already or you probably won’t ever want to anyway)

The Empire Strikes Back is not a movie I thought would ever end up here, though it’s always a challenge to find something worth discussing in popular movies like this. My motivation was in picking my favorite movie from 1980 and I realize that it’s Empire. It’s probably the best Star Wars movie because it’s so entertaining and dark at the same time, it’s never boring and the ending still breaks my heart. The music is some of the best film music ever composed and the cliffhanger at the end laughs at all those movies nowadays that call themselves Part 1 and Part 2 (except Kill Bill, maybe). It’s really a good movie and it surpasses all the other movies from 1980 for me (although, Ordinary People came in close just a few days ago, surprisingly).

Continue reading Our Life Is a Movie: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

You Belong on the Radio – 1980 Edition

UnknownOf course I couldn’t do a year’s theme week without looking at this year’s songs. Because there is only one 1980 week, I decided to look at the top 10 of the top songs of the year from Germany, the UK and US simultaneously, since they also overlap pretty much. Is the music of 1980 as dark, detached and depressing as everything else this week? We’re about to find out!

You can read the full post here.