Tag Archives: society

Comics Are for Everyone: 1988 Edition [1988 Week]

Because of the amazing comics that have been released in 1988, I decided to have another comics section in this theme week. Grant Morrison and Alan Moore are big enough names for this, I guess, but we shouldn’t forget Jamie Delano. I’ll just focus on the issues published in that year, since that’s enough already. Let’s go!

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Music Box: Gang of Four’s “Entertainment!”

After Marie Antoinette I couldn’t help but wonder, why I haven’t written anything about Gang of Four’s Entertainment! before. This is one of my most influential albums that is so bold in deconstructing our society and goes beyond the “everything sucks” ideology of many punk albums. This is post-punk, of course, and while there are other political albums in music’s history, at least for me nothing achieves what this album achieves. It’s angry without being loud, it’s intelligent and challenges the listener because it doesn’t provide easy answers. It’s simply brilliant, lyrically and musically. If I ever need inspiration for change, for doing something, I put this one on and get going.

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Why We Should Care More Than Obama

In his reaction to the Grand Jury decision not to put Darren Wilson on trial, Barack Obama again showed pretty well why politics won’t help us change anything unless they are forced. Politicians don’t care, that’s not their job, and Obama is no different in that than anyone before and probably after him.

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Marie Antoinette (2006)

Marie Antoinette is a truly divisive film that seems to make people angry easily, despite being rather soft and mild-mannered. The problem is that people expected the movie to be political, or to be more precise, to be critical of aristocracy to make the French Revolution more understandable. But that’s not what the movie provides. I think does provide something else and is political (I know, I’m not alone in that), so you shouldn’t blame it for what it isn’t. But the film is very well-made by Sofia Coppola, very determined and precise. It shows the story from the point of view of its protagonist (played very well by Kirsten Dunst) and I don’t see a fault in that. If a young girl becomes Queen of France, where’s the problem in showing how a teenager deals with that? And unlike many critics, I didn’t find the movie dull but really interesting.

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Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

I realized I look at so many different things here, movies, music, books, comics, etc., I should include something else. Sure, I could also narrow my focus, but I’m not good at that, I want the big picture, all of it. So, today I want to look at video games. Why? Well, just like all the others, they are an essential part of our cultural canon, especially (but not exclusively) for younger people.  More than all the others, they engage you actively in an activity, thereby shaping your ideas and values in a different way than other mediums. I’m not saying they have a bigger impact, but it is a more unique impact than just consumer media. Anyway, I think video games have a different way of portraying and transporting cultural ideas. So, I thought I face them now. Here’s my plan: I look at the list of upcoming games (from Wikipedia, all the quotes are from there), pick some games and see what’s there to see.

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You Belong on the Radio – 2012 Edition [2012 Week]

Just like last theme week, I decided to look at the popular songs of this year to see what they’re telling us. I’m assuming the songs from two years ago don’t sound so different than the songs nowadays, but I’m still interested to see what we find in those songs. For this I’m using the lists of number one songs and top 10 songs from Germany, the US and UK, which again overlap a lot.

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You Belong on the Radio – German Music Charts (2)

You can also read this post on the new site here.

So, it’s time for the charts again and also time to look at Germany again, just like in the beginning. Which was over two months ago, but I still have to search for new songs now. But there are enough, so let’s get started!

Continue reading You Belong on the Radio – German Music Charts (2)

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.

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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!

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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.