Friday, October 28, 2011

Super Hero by Divine Right

I've never been much of a comic reader, I'll be honest. I prefer photographs to cartoons, words on a page to conversation bubbles and real heroes that can do real things to those who can supposedly save this world. "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, my was first comic novel.

In American Popular Culture, we discussed as a class, the relations between justice and the heroes of "Watchmen." The entire character of Rorschach came spiraling together for me when Professor McRae related Rorschach to a vigilante in relation to a topic of countries. Relating the United States to Rorschach was a clever tie into the reading because he is an active hero in "Watchmen." This hero also decides how and why justice is served which proved to be a controversial topic in class discussion. Students could not seem to agree on an opinion of our justice system here in America because we struggled over whose hands the decision of "justice" should fall into. We, as a class, could agree on one thing: we do not think that each individual in the US should decide for him or herself how to make sure justice is being served. A common agreement was made on letting a higher power make these decisions for us. It seems the trouble we have with the justice system here in the US is trust in making the right move because we have too often seen the wrong move being made.

To tie this into the reading I chose a few symbols to work with. Within the first hundred pages I noticed a large amount of visuals including; crosses, statues of religious figures and words like lord, mercy and heaven. I thought this was particularly interesting because Rorschach himself seems to be a divine symbol of a god to his people and basically carries the title of the big shot who calls the last minute shot in every scenario. I thought it was yet another clever detail the book possessed because these items served as clues for its readers to pick up on the fact that he is shadowing a godly figure.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wizard of Oz: Rethinking

Dorothy isn't the same pig-tailed girl I remember; she's different now that I'm older and educated. Within the first few moments of the film shown in class, Wizard of Oz, all I thought of was how much I hated when people sing in movies. I never noticed it as a child, perhaps I had developed a hatred for musicals over the years but needless to say, it was the first thing that caught my attention.

Having previous knowledge from Professor McRae that this was a film that had close knitted weaves of homosexual innuendos throughout, made me look for things that I hadn't seen as a child. I was looking at the movie with a critical eye this time, searching for underlying meanings and areas with double meaning. What I found was the obvious, as discussed in class. I didn't know that rainbows were associated with gays due to Wizard of Oz. This alone opened a lot of doors throughout the film to notice feminine behavior amongst Dorothy's three friends. The land of Oz was comforting and like a student put it, it was a place to be yourself. Being as though the film bounced from black and white to color was a key ingredient of the newness that entered Dorothy's world. Even though their was no mention of sex preference, this place was introduced as inviting with its colorful world and flamboyant characters.

The reading brought up a point that I liked when it mentioned how the heart, brain and courage were treated like objects instead of ideas. This to me was a clear as day indication of how the movie is criticized. "Home" was being treated like an object, a destination throughout the entire movie when at the end, Dorothy had to find it within herself to go back to the place like no other.

Now the two points I'd like to bring up are these: I never realized how towards the end, when the wizard was granting everyone their wishes, that he described the common person from America. He did this when he said, "where I come from" which was interesting because it seemed to downgrade people who went to college. Handing the scarecrow a diploma and saying that the only thing others have that he doesn't isn't a brain, it's a diploma. I thought this was very interesting now that I look back on it.

The point that I would like to bring up in something much different than those mentioned in class. I took a very political standpoint upon watching the movie as an adult. Being as though the movie came out during the Depression, people were undoubtedly grieving and in distress. Let's face it, America was a train wreck at the time and what better than to go to the movies to get away from it all? Wizard of Oz creates this fantasy by first reminding you that life is pretty unbearable at home before launching into a world where your mind can wonder and lookey there, it's in color! It has a relationship automatically with its audience because everyone at that particular time probably did wish they were somewhere over the rainbow in another land. This was the movie to help them escape. As the innocent story continues Dorothy keeps repeating how she begs to go home and "there's no place like home" even though she is somewhere magical and perfect. This to me, was hinting that "home" meaning America, is where you should return to and it is home that has a pull over you even though life can be beautiful elsewhere.

As the reading said, the book did not end the same way the movie did. People argued that the movie needed a "happy ending" and that's because America did not want to let their citizens know that there was an alternative. When you think of it realistically, when Dorothy returns home and wakes up in her bed, is she really happy to be back there? We never get the chance to see if she indeed is happy. This screamed politics to me especially at the end when they left you with her happy, reminding the audience that what she encountered was only a dream.

Something to think about I suppose, how many angles can we see this movie through?