Any time you have a piece depicting someone in blackface, be prepared to have Americans respond in anger, especially if they’re black. Foreigners may not think anything of it, but to Americans blackface is perhaps one of the most racist depictions there is.
Monthly Archives: August 2013
Fictional Third Wheels and Why They’re Better Off That Way
A third wheel is someone in the love triangle who doesn’t end up with the girl or guy since the object of their affections will usually pass over them for someone else. Still, in many ways fans tend to root for the third wheel usually for he or she may be the underdog or the one who’s more of a long shot. However, many times it’s better that they stay third wheels since many would probably not make compatible or viable partners to the object of their affections or have some issues preventing happiness anyway. Here are some examples and my explanation why they’re probably better off without their beloved or why their beloved is better off without them.
1. Eponine Thenardier
From: Les Miserables
Beloved: Marius Pontmercy
Why she didn’t get the guy: Marius never considered Eponine as a love interest as well as no more than a friend or someone he felt sorry for. Not to mention, he falls in love with Cosette and ends up with her.
Why we root for her: Eponine is from a much poorer family and in many ways has to rely on herself. Also, she’s very loyal to Marius and is willing to do anything to make him happy (at least in the musical) even if it means him not returning her feelings. Also, she risks her life for him. Cosette on the other hand, may have been the kind of girl we’d feel sorry for but as an adult living with Jean Valjean, many fans don’t find her that interesting.
Why they’re better off apart: In many respects, Marius and Eponine are much better off without each other because it wouldn’t work out if they got together. For one, Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers (yes, the innkeeper and his wife who mistreated Cosette before Jean Valjean came along). And it’s pretty apparent that the Thenardiers wouldn’t make the best in-laws and are certainly not people you’re willing to trust. Also, they’re willing to steal from just about anybody. Not to mention, Eponine steals from people as well but she has her standards. Then there’s the notion that if Eponine did end up with Marius, she wouldn’t find her life very happy with him. Sure she may have a roof over her head and fancy clothes to wear, but she wouldn’t be fully accepted in neither Marius’ world nor in his family. It’s also not helped by the fact that Marius’ mother also married a guy outside her background who her family didn’t like. Though she loved the guy, she died when Marius was little which resulted in a custody battle between his wealthy noble maternal grandfather and his dad. And the maternal grandfather won as well as made sure that the elder Pontmercy would never see his son again and that Marius would never know of his dad’s existence. Of course, Marius does find out about his dad when his old man dies and ends up becoming a revolutionary because of his daddy issues. If Eponine and Marius had kids and Marius died when the children were still young, there’s no doubt Marius’ family would do the same thing to her as they did to his dad. As for Cosette, despite her childhood, she seems pretty well adjusted as well as has a great dad in Jean Valjean who saved Marius’ ass. Besides, Cosette is fairly pretty and well off enough that Marius’ family accepts her. Trust me, Marius and Eponine are better off as friends.
2. Sidney Carton
From: A Tale of Two Cities
Beloved: Lucie Manette Darnay
Why he didn’t get the girl: Lucie Manette already had a boyfriend when the two of them met who was his client Charles Darnay who she later married. Not to mention, she only sees Sidney as a friend.
Why we root for him: For one, he really loves Lucie even though he’s perfectly content to be in the friendzone as well as hang out with her family once in awhile. His love for her also makes him a far happier guy who’s willing to do anything for her to make her happy such as taking her husband’s place at the guillotine. Also, he let Lucie know he loved her unconditionally.
Why they’re better off apart: For one, Sidney probably is an alcoholic and isn’t a very ambitious attorney compared to his partner Stryver. Also, he’s not that fun to be around with and can get fairly depressed. Not to mention, even Sidney can admit that Charles Darnay is a better choice since like Lucie he’s French as well as willing to hold a steady job and fairly well-adjusted (though he has issues with his family).
From: Wuthering Heights
Beloved: Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Why he didn’t get the girl: Catherine wanted to leave Wuthering Heights for a wealthier lifestyle so she dumped him for Edgar Linton while Heathcliff was away.
Why we root for him: For one, he’s handsome, dark, and mysterious. Second, he always loved Catherine since they were kids for she was very sweet to him. Third, we also feel bad for how Catherine’s brother treated him on account of his background as well as everyone else.
Why they’re better off apart: Despite his status as a romantic hero, Heathcliff is a complete bastard, especially to those who hurt him in any way, and that includes Catherine. Sure he was treated like shit for being “different” but that doesn’t excuse him for what he does when he gets back from his adventures. Not to mention, forgiveness isn’t one of his virtues and he doesn’t care who gets hurt from his schemes. For one, to get back at Catherine for marrying Linton, he basically marries Linton’s sister Isabella out of complete spite and inevitably neglects her afterwards. Then he also mistreats Catherine’s alcoholic brother as well. Overall, he’s basically selfish, cruel, and controlling as well as has absolutely no remorse for his actions. Also, there’s a possibility him and Catherine might have had the same dad since we don’t know where Heathcliff came from or why he was brought to Wuthering Heights to begin with.
4. Severus Snape
From: The Harry Potter series
Beloved: Lily Evans Potter
Why he didn’t get the girl: Mostly because he had a falling out with Lily by calling her a “mudblood” during their Hogwarts days as well as hanging out with the future Death Eaters of Slytherin. Also, she ended up marrying James Potter, one of the kids who used to bully him at school.
Why we root for him: Well, we don’t actually root for Snape since Harry might not have been around if he and Lily got together and the fact there wouldn’t be s story either. However, we like him because he’s a very powerful wizard, has a great deal of charisma, and was willing to do everything he could to defeat the man who killed the woman he loved and protect her son. Not to mention, he’s said to be one of the best loved characters in the whole series. On the other hand, James was kind of a jerk as a teenager as well as died young.
Why they’re better off apart: For one, we don’t get to see Snape’s good side until he hears of Voldemort’s plan to kill Harry. Before that Snape was a Death Eater and even then, he was willing to let Voldemort kill Lily’s husband and son as long as he spared her. However, Lily was willing to die than see her own son killed. Still, if Voldemort went after someone else, Snape probably would’ve still stayed a Death Eater. Also, though Snape may be willing to protect Harry, he doesn’t like the kid for basically looking like his dad and treats him pretty terribly, too. Not to mention, Snape came from a broken home with a pure blood supremacist mother and a muggle father who constantly bickered at each other so he probably has no idea how to have a healthy relationship. Then there’s the notion of what he might have become like if he did end up with Lily, one can only wonder.
5. Jay Gatsby
From: The Great Gatsby
Beloved: Daisy Buchanan
Why he didn’t get the girl: Well, she probably wasn’t too into him to begin with and settled for major asshole Tom Buchanan when Gatsby left to fight in WWI.
Why we root for him: Because this guy was willing to work hard and rise to riches so he could have Daisy and he loves her a great deal. He also gives lavish parties and is a far nicer guy than Tom Buchanan.
Why they’re better off apart: Though we may agree that Daisy is better of dumping Tom for Gatsby, she’s also a real piece of shit in her own way. In Gatsby, he’s certainly would be better off without Daisy. For one, she leads Gatsby on for years and makes him think he has a chance to win her heart, even though she’s not going to leave Tom at least on a permanent basis. Also, Daisy’s pretty shallow as well as only receptive to displays of wealth, which Gatsby has. Also, she’s pretty much responsible for his misery and partially for getting him killed and doesn’t even show up at his funeral.
6. Erik, The Phantom
From: The Phantom of the Opera
Beloved: Christine Daae
Why he didn’t get the girl: Christine only viewed Erik as a mentor and never considered him as a love interest material since he was much older than her. Besides, she preferred guys her own age like Raoul, her fiancee and childhood friend.
Why we root for him: Because he’s more of an underdog since he’s ugly and lonely in his opera basement who can use a friend. However, he’s also brilliant, charming, dark, and mysterious. Also, has had a hard life and has good taste in the finer things. Not to mention, he wears half a mask.
Why they’re better off apart: If his physical attributes were the worst part about him, we wouldn’t hold it against him. However, he has an ugly personality to match. For one, he’s controlling, has a terrible temper, and doesn’t take rejection well at all. Second, he’s not above bullying the opera staff in order to get his way. Third, his relationship with Christine is kind of creepy since he’s obsessed with her to the point that he stalks her and later kidnaps her so he could have her all to himself. Then there’s the fact that he’s only seen on New Years Day Masquerade Ball which is also kind of creepy in itself. Sure he may be enchanting, but Erik is the kind of guy you’d sure as hell want to stay away from.
Why she didn’t get the guy: Ivanhoe basically passes her over for a childhood friend in Rowena, though he does save her. However, he only sees her as a friend.
Why we root for her: For one, she’s Jewish and spends the entire time supporting and pining for Ivanhoe. Also, even Sir Walter Scott himself though Ivanhoe should’ve ended up with her. Besides, Rowena is kind of useless.
Why they’re better off apart: Well, she’s Jewish, she’s in England, and she’s living in the Middle Ages. Also, at that time intermarriage was unheard of (or so we thought.) Not to mention, if Rebecca and Ivanhoe did end up together, imagine what kind of crap the two of them would have to deal with from people who may not know any better (and, yes, Antisemitism was rampant in those days). Also, consider the fact that the story was written in the 1800s where interfaith marriages were kind of controversial and this story kind of makes the idea acceptable. Thus, for Ivanhoe, Rowena was the safer bet. Sorry, but Sir Walter Scott had to have it happen.
Why I’m Fed Up with the Job Market
Even though I’m a college graduate, I’m still unemployed and living with my parents. Perhaps this makes me kind of an unproductive loser who’s mooching off my folks while contributing nothing to society but I don’t mind nor do I feel sorry for myself. Sure I may not be earning money right now but that doesn’t make me a lowlife by any means. I’ve never been a slacker for I’ve written pieces on word documents I’ll publish eventually on this blog and when I get enough clicks on this site, I plan to get a way to make money from the advertising. But for now, it’s too early. Not only that but I also wrote a book which I published on Amazon and am well on my way to writing a second one. Not to mention, I volunteer for a museum a couple of days a week to fill in the collection records on Microsoft Excel. Also, since I graduated from college I’ve worked two temp jobs and practically worked myself out of the second. Maybe I don’t have a regular source of income I could count on yet but I have plenty to show that I work hard and I’m making a difference. I’m just not getting paid for my contributions, that’s all and I’d still be living with my parents whether I was employed or not. Perhaps the only reason that I’d ever want a job is just because I need the money to pay off my student loans and I don’t want to go to jail for robbing a bank. Still, though I understand that the stakes of finding a well paying job in this economy aren’t great right now, I know that whatever job I do get isn’t going to last long. However, even though I know there are jobs out there, the thing that’s hard for me isn’t finding a job, doing a job, or even applying for a job (though I do know I’m at a disadvantage when they ask for experience since I barely have any job experience to begin with). Rather it’s trying to get the job which is the most difficult and stressful for me for a lot of reasons, especially when there’s the interview which is fairly challenging.
I know job interviews are no fun and I don’t feel up to the challenge either. As an applicant, I’m expected to give the interviewer what he or she wants and the person never really tells you anything except be there at such and such a time. Still, it’s not that I want a job but I don’t want the process to be ridiculously complicated and unpredictable either which basically means putting myself under a magnifying glass and making sure I don’t screw up my chances. Rather I prefer to come prepared and think ahead of time so I could know what to expect. I also wish that I didn’t have to jump through hoops like trying to charm the interviewer or getting him or her to like me or seeing whether I could fit in or trying to make that perfect first impression. Sure a first impression could tell a lot about a person, well, sort of sometimes. I think are plenty of instances where first impressions don’t tend to reveal a lot about a person such as in history or on the news. I mean there are plenty of people who’ve been misled by a good first impression like victims of crimes for instance. This is especially true in the workforce with reports of people committing crimes against their own employers, which happens almost all the time. Obviously these people made a good first impression during their job interviews or they wouldn’t be able to rob the store in the first place or possibly set fire to it. I mean how reliable are first impressions? They might mean that you could fit in the workplace and perhaps get along with your co-workers but doesn’t determine whether the candidate is a competent worker or even trustworthy. Not to mention, there are plenty of other job candidates who would fail to make a good first impression but would otherwise make fine additions to a staff. I mean there are plenty of people who don’t have the best people skills but they can get stuff done nonetheless and won’t steal from the company either. I am not a person who either gives a good first impression nor automatically judges people from their first impression but when I eventually get to know them better. Not to mention, when given a task to do (as long as it doesn’t consist of chores), I set myself straight to work and won’t quit until it’s done. I also try to get the job done as best I can as well as try to show up on time and would rarely miss a day unless it was for some good reason. Not to mention, though I may lack social skills, I do have certain ethics as well as try to get along with my co-workers the best I can. Yet, to the world of the job interview, first impressions are everything and it’s because first impressions are so important that many times the most qualified candidate doesn’t get the job. Sure first impressions may be important but like people skills in general, tend to be overrated.
Another problem I have in terms of getting a job also stems from the job listings themselves as well as the kind of jobs willing to hire anyone. As a college graduate who lacks certain people skills and has no driver’s license, I know I’m not going to have an easy time with my job search especially since many of the jobs out where I’m at require at least either, not that I would want any either. And it also doesn’t help me that I live in the country where it basically requires a car to go anywhere. As with the jobs I might like to have, well, there’s always something. For one, the job might be in Pittsburgh and require me to move, which I’m in no financial shape to do so. For another, the job in question may require something known as “experience” in the field like over two years even for an entry-level job, which is put there by the employers to drive college graduates away since they don’t want to train people for the position. Also, it’s mostly due to the recession since employers know they can get someone else for that job. And even if I do apply for it, chances are likely that I’m not going to be called for an interview.
Then there is the fact that no matter how I try to find a job, the process just seems never ending cycle of filling applications, attending interviews, and being turned down afterwards. When I graduated from college, I thought that I might have a job within a few months but that wasn’t the case. In fact, after a while it began to be apparent that the concept of getting a job was taking over my life and soon my reasons for finding a job eventually became less about money and more about not having to look for one anymore. In other words, I was so frustrated putting as much effort as I could into getting a job and wasn’t getting the result I wanted. Perhaps I felt that I had to work harder than everyone else while my sister seemed to land jobs pretty easily. Maybe I just didn’t want to work as hard getting a job as doing the job and saw how much work had to be put in the former such as charming people and making myself seem more appealing than I was. In some ways, I was probably more concerned with keeping the job than getting the job since I didn’t want to spend my life trying to get someone to want or like me. And perhaps I was tired of the concept of finding a job and trying to get one because it so obligatory and something you couldn’t give up on. But maybe I was just tired of being seen as worthless or not good enough for a certain position or thought that trying to find a job was starting to become a waste of my time. Then again, perhaps I was just tired of being judged by my social skills and appearance instead of my abilities to do the job. Yet, the reasons why I wasn’t getting a job were sometimes blurred for me. At first it seemed that I wasn’t a good job candidate since I don’t have good social skills and have tried to improve my abilities. Not to mention, I’d sometimes showed up at interviews with greasy hair and at times answered the questions in ambivalence. And I’ve tried to improve on my abilities to handle job interviews and all the steps of the application process. Then again, from what’s been going on in this economy who knows since it’s always the employer who tends to make the decisions on hiring and maybe I’m just one of the ones who don’t make the cut. And many times, it might take a longer time for the employers to make a hiring decision or perhaps not hire anyone at all. I may not be sure why the job market hasn’t been kind to me but sometimes I feel that the notion of the job application process doesn’t seem to be helpful nor does the fact that I have to compete with people who may have a better hiring potential than I do and for a common retail job at that. In some ways, I feel disgusted by the fact that I have to go through the same process time and time again just to get the job I applied for when I rather earn my money my own way where I don’t have to worry about another job interview or being disposed of after a certain amount of time. Rather I would rather earn money where I wouldn’t have to count on being social and likeable to strangers nor have to count on a first impression. Well, perhaps I just want to get a job in a way I wouldn’t be at an unfair disadvantage and just not care about pleasing anybody because I think the process on getting a job seems to amount to kissing ass. No thanks, I’ll stick to writing about how dumb the job application process is.
Getting Off Easy: Just 30 Days For Teacher Who Raped Student
30 days for any rape charge is one thing but for a sentence like that for a teacher who abused his power and ruined a student’s life, that’s just utter injustice. That man should be in there for life.
I’m not a fan of Miley Cyrus nor MTV in that matter so I didn’t even bother to watch the MTV VMA Awards last night since MTV’s brand of pop culture has never been the kind that interests me. Nevertheless, the VMAs are a pretty big deal as far as the mainstream current is concerned since Miley Cyrus’ stunt is basically what everyone’s been talking about since this morning with every kind of media outlet giving their two cents in, including the local sports station my dad listens to on the radio. And from the pictures I’ve seen and the comments I’ve read which are universally, I could admit that, yes, she was acting pretty trashy and her performance seemed pretty tacky and disgraceful, especially being censored by MTV for it. It’s pretty clear that Miley doesn’t seem to have much class as a performer. Yet, as far as I’ve known, obnoxious celebrity behavior has always been a staple of the VMAs and there’s at least one scandal that comes up from it every year. Who could forget about Madonna and Britney Spears kissing each other or Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech? The VMAs have always been been pushing the envelope of what’s shocking and what’s not. Not to mention, MTV has always been a network known to stir controversy since it came on the air during the 1980s. Ditto the fact that it’s a network that doesn’t seem to have the least problem with making reality shows that pertain to teen pregnancy which I think is just simply disgraceful and exploitative.
Still, as far as TV goes, as bad as Miley Cyrus may look on stage during her performance at the VMAs, what she did only contributes to a small fraction of the limitless crap that hits our airwaves just about every freaking day. I mean there are reality shows about little girl beauty pageants for God’s sake. In fact, we have reality shows on just about anything and nobody is going to argue with me that most of them aren’t contributing to the betterment of society nor providing any cultural enrichment whatsoever. In some ways, reality TV is pretty degrading and exploitative in my opinion which elevates certain people to stardom who shouldn’t be famous as well as perhaps degrading entire demographics or maybe making certain things acceptable when they shouldn’t be. And in no way does it seem to depict the kind of reality I have or desire. I sometimes wonder who watches such unredeeming crap that has no educational or cultural value because I’m certainly not nor have any desire to watch another reality show for as long as I live for I don’t see much entertainment value in a TV genre that lacks all substance, insight, or charm. Rather, I’d be more than happy if all these networks just gave these awful shows the ax and resort to something that might be of cultural value like stuff they show on PBS. I may be in the vocal minority here but that’s my opinion. Still, I’m not the only one who thinks this way for reality shows seem to top the PPG’s Keep or Cancel Poll every year, but yet these shows are almost never canceled and keep airing year after year. Why? Is it because they’re so popular? Well, they seem to be with Snooki and Kim Kardashian being pop culture icons, oh, brother. Yet, I’ve never been fond of that kind of entertainment nor understood why reality shows have such appeal among the masses. Are people just that intellectually lazy? I don’t know. However, one thing I can understand is the fact that networks are oh, so willing to air them because they’re cheaper to produce and the fact that cable television doesn’t so much count on ratings since they make money from your subscriptions anyway. So just because reality TV is popular and cheap, does it mean it’s good? I wouldn’t say that.
However, while reality television may be seen as trashy entertainment, we can easily dismiss much of it as the trivial crap it is which isn’t supposed to improve the minds of anyone. Then there are shows that are supposed to pass as educational programming on networks like The History Channel, The Discovery Networks, and Animal Planet as well as others. I mean National Geographic is a name I have a great deal of respect for since I like to read their magazine every time I enter a waiting room, or at least look at the pictures anyway. National Geographic Channel? Not so much for much of it doesn’t seem to veer on the educational side of the brand I know and love. Then there’s The History Channel, which as a history major, I am told to like and appreciate. But do I? Of course not, since The History Channel’s line up doesn’t seem to consist of stuff that pertains to history (and none of my college professors like that channel either). Rather their line up consist of shows that pertains to the paranormal, popular superstitions, conspiracy theories, and other subject matter that have absolutely nothing to do with history. Then there’s The Discovery Channel which was recently mired in controversy about a documentary featuring an extinct shark which they said was still alive! And there was a great uproar on that from viewers who swore the network lied to them. But what do you expect of a network that brought you shows like Amish Mafia? I mean that program doesn’t portray Amish people accurately at all for most Amish aren’t violent and wouldn’t want to be depicted on film. As far as educational programming goes, I think I’ll just stick to PBS at least when they’re not on pledge break anyway.
A third category of trashy TV is a controversial kind which pertain to the 24 hour cable news networks that sort of make a mockery of the kind of journalism America was said to be founded on. Of course, Fox News is a great example of this since they’re perhaps the worst offender more concerned with spewing neoconservative propaganda than reporting the news. And they don’t seem to be shy about bashing Obama or the Democrats or saying hateful things about anyone who disagrees with the conservative agenda. Fox News is a network that has no integrity, no concern for facts, and no scruples about anything. Everyone on the network is mean and nasty as well as utterly clueless and willing to say things like the Pilgrims celebrating Christmas when in fact they would basically put people on the stocks for doing so. And the worst thing about Fox News is that they’re able to attract an audience that is willing to believe them and do whatever the network tells them. Then there’s MSNBC which is said to be the liberal alternative to Fox News yet though they may have their pundits, they also don’t seem to be as mean or careless with facts as their conservative counterparts. Still, they can be pretty tacky and have been known to have prison shows on the weekends if that’s something you might want to know. And CNN once held as a great pioneer in news is now descending into idiocy reporting on news stories that don’t seem to matter but cause a much bigger sensation. Yes, television has descended to this and I’m not happy about it.
So the Miley Cyrus moment is only the tip of the iceberg of all the crap on TV we see today whether they be mindless reality shows, so-called “educational” programming that isn’t, and the all day news networks that don’t seem to report the news at all at least in my opinion. Cable television in recent years is a crap machine with networks caring more about profits than the quality of their programming which I think is a shame because letting the networks air crap doesn’t makes everyone look like idiots even to those people who don’t watch it. And I think as viewers we need to call for better standards of quality programming that doesn’t degrade or exploit in any way. Yet, I understand that money is heavily involved as well which also makes changing the line up highly unlikely. Still, perhaps the best you can do is not be part of the demand and if you don’t like the program that’s on your screen, don’t watch it.