The Common Hero: Elevating Expression, Words Transcendent
[Because my mind hasn’t yet adjusted to normal post-writing processes, here’s another school essay in lieu of contemplative anime analysis. It’s a comparison of James Joyce’s Ulysses (of which I’ve only read the first three chapters!) and Homer’s Odyssey, which our entire class read previously. After getting some flak for dissing Dr. Campbell last time, I wax lyrical over his ‘accomplishments’ now. This time, the word limit really is 1000 words, which I’ve once again filled completely…]
In 1949, comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern in diverse cultural myths: the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey’s 17 stages encompass many mythological plot points, including Homer’s ancient epic, the Odyssey, and James Joyce’s modernist classic, Ulysses. While neither Telemachus nor Ulysses’s first protagonist Stephen Dedalus display heroic traits, their journeys still exemplify Campbell’s monomyth—a Hero’s Journey without a hero.
The Odyssey starts with Telemachus seeking information of his father. His house is overrun with rowdy suitors, and he feels powerless against them. He commences his own Hero’s Journey to find Odysseus. The main themes in the Telemachia are the suitors’ unwanted domestic occupation and Telemachus’s spiritual growth as he meets Nestor and Menelaus. When he returns, he has become a man.
Ulysses’s first part, also called the Telemachia, chronicles three hours of an ordinary, insignificant Dublin morning in 1904, as Dedalus contemplates life. Dedalus is an ordinary young man living with a ‘friend’ who insults his dead mother and snatches away the house key. The first chapter’s last line is “Usurper”; thus, Dedalus believes his ‘friend’ usurped his home (Joyce 35), like the suitors usurped Telemachus’s. He too embarks on a subdued ‘adventure’, meeting with his anti-Semitic employer, Deasy, and ruminating life along the beach. This parallels Telemachus’s fruitless meeting with Nestor and Proteus’s information about Odysseus. Deasy lectures that “a faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough’s wife and her leman O’Rourke” (Joyce 53). Actually, MacMurrough abducted O’Rourke’s wife, preceding the Norman Invasion of Ireland (Braín 1152.6). Nestor’s reputation for wisdom, yet lack of useful information, corresponds to Deasy’s historical ignorance. Proteus’s shape-shifting represents change, so Joyce’s interior monologue narrative style constantly changes direction, yet illuminates Dedalus’s perspectives on life and regret over not accomplishing childhood dreams.
The Telemachia displays many early monomythic plot points. Telemachus’s Call to Adventure is Odysseus’s disappearance. Athena aids Telemachus by spurring him on; after reaching Pylos, he has Crossed the First Threshold into the unknown, away from the his home’s safety. The Telemachia ends here; later, Telemachus’s Belly of the Whale is the suitors’ ambush, and he Atones with his Father in Eumaeus’s hut. Odysseus’s adventure is more overtly monomythic, but Dedalus corresponds only to Telemachus.
Dedalus’s Call to Adventure is his ‘friend’ demanding drinking money and the house key, paralleling the suitors’ thankless cadgering. A milk woman indirectly spurs his journey by exacerbating Dedalus’s scorn of his ‘friend’; Campbell observes that “the milk woman is the role of Athena, who comes to Telemachus when he is 22 and tells him to go forth, find his father” (Campbell Disc 3). He Crosses the First Threshold after his meeting with the obtuse sexist Deasy, who gives Dedalus thick racist remarks and his salary. Finally, he enters the ‘unknown’: his own mind. To readers, this is shocking: few writers would illustrate natural human thought with natural—illogical—first-person topic transitions. Readers are truly venturing where no man has gone before.
The Odyssey’s monomythic scope is more obvious than Ulysses’s. Telemachus sets out on a voyage, and Odysseus wanders the wine-dark sea for a decade, encountering fantastic creatures. Telemachus is not a hero. He starts weak, irresolute, and naïve, but grows through his journey. However, the monomyth is about the story, not the character: protagonists can even be morally repugnant ‘villains’, their Ultimate Boon perhaps being world destruction, as long as they venture into the unknown and return with an Ultimate Boon. Thus, the Odyssey, as a monomyth, transcends the Hero’s Journey—it is a journey without a hero.
Ulysses lacks the Odyssey’s scope, merely detailing an ordinary Dublin day. However, as the Odyssey transcends the Hero’s Journey, so does Ulysses. Joyce’s writing elevates Dedalus’s thoughts to a godlike level; the sheer breadth and range of his interior monologue’s allusions equate his commonplace musings to an epic. He sees midwives carrying a misbirth, and ponders about an unending chain of navel cords, linking all humanity back to Adam and Eve: “Gaze in your omphalos. Hello. Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one” (Joyce 57). This connection to the Genesis broadens his monologue’s temporal scope; a typical day on the beach and Dedalus has already alluded to all human history.
The grandiosity gradually decreases over the chapter. He broods on what could have been in his own past: “Remember your epiphanies on green oval leaves […]? Someone was to read them there after a few thousand years, a mahamanvantara […] You were going to do wonders, what?” (Joyce 61, 63). This shows his disgust with his past’s naïve optimism. Like all epics, the scope is first historical, and now personal. Eventually, reality overtakes his philosophical reverie, and his thoughts deal with the immediate: “My handkerchief. He threw it. I remember. Did I not take it up? […] He laid the dry snot picked from his nostril on a ledge of rock” (Joyce 76). This concludes the chapter, a tour de force from Eden to snot. Although the setting is a walk on the beach, Joyce’s purview transcends its humdrum nature: from molehill to mountain, from the mundane to the sublime.
Both Ulysses and its hypotext, the Odyssey, contain early monomythic plot points. The Odyssey transcends a Hero’s Journey because Telemachus is not heroic, yet his tale is still a monomyth. Ulysses transcends the monomyth because, although Dedalus’s ‘journey into the unknown’ is ordinary, Joyce’s interior monologue transforms his thoughts into a genuine adventure. Thus, both Ulysses and the Odyssey represent the monomyth.
It is only appropriate: Campbell, a Joyce scholar, borrowed the term ‘monomyth’ from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. These two works, Ulysses and the Odyssey, stand as a testament to the monomyth’s ubiquity—so many works embody the monomyth that we learn nothing from cross-comparison! Joyce creates an oxymoron—a common hero, shaping the power of literary form into a medium of literary expression. Stephen Dedalus’s Hero’s Journey has no hero, has no journey; Joyce elevates the everyman to create a hero, his words transcendent.
Word Count: 1000 (not including title)
Braín, Tigernach U. The Annals of Tigenach. Edit. Corráin, Donnchadh Ó. Cork: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, 1996. Web.
Campbell, Joseph J. On the Wings of Art: Joseph Campbell on the Art of James Joyce. New York: Highbridge Audio, 1995. Audiobook.
Joyce, James A. A. Ulysses. London: Random House, 1992. Print.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1997. Print.
C’est la vie
I wrote this abomination of mental diarrhea at the height of my fever-induced delerium last Wednesday; lethargy filled me from the crown to the toes, and I could do nothing but mope and whine and write. I left it on my computer in case I wanted to do something with it and decided, why the heck not: nobody’s going to read to the end anyways, so I’m just going to post it here.
In it, I somehow manage to cover all eight of my classes and their associated midterm exams/projects. If that doesn’t merit a literary achievement, it certainly was a mental one… it’s Hell Week right now for me, so this also explains the inexplicable lack of posts from my part. Mad props to redball for doing the first impressions post—solo—last week.
C’est la vie. Such is life and life is such. A life of lives lives lively. Liveishly? Livelylike? Livelily? Consider the livelilies in the field. They study not; neither do they write. So society spurns them, casts them aside. What use have we for lilies? C’est l’école. Senegal. Say lego. Lilies are unproductive. Humans would also be unproductive if we didn’t go to school. But school takes a long time and that time takes away from the time that it would take us to take a hike and make something. Few people live over a century. No lilies live over a century. We must maximize the work humans do in their lives. Each extra year of education increases productivity by 0.56. Transform into quadratic vertex form and calculate the vertex. (-b/2a, 4ac-b^2/4a) gives an optimum human productivity of x when years of education are increaseh by y. Calculate x and y in exact form.
Because we’re all just numbers, numbers in the face of the societal God that is optimization and industrialization and productifization and efficientization. We’re organic machines, vegetables to be harvested for fuel, lilies that toil in the field, spinning, spinning. Why do we work so God-approved hard? Is it worth it now? Sacrificing all those bloody midnight hours for an extra mark, that 0.56% away from getting an A, and now an entire week wasted. Everything ventured, nothing gained. Going to school at 7:00 in the morning to retake a math test because 75% just wasn’t good enough. Fuck me in the foot if I actually do better this time what with the world spinning around me as I spin and the teacher spins out another math test, a midterm this time, a midterm that I can’t retake because I already retook a test and the teacher’s too lazy to let anyone retake more than one test in a year. Anti-China policy #1: stop students from compulsively retaking tests in a futile effort to achieve more than they haven’t achieved. Am I Chinese enough now?
I blame the cold. I blame the fresh mountain air and the cool, clean breezes of trademark Vancouver Hospitality™ others call rain, liquid precipitation, the tears of God as he struggles to understand: why aren’t people being more productive? Why are so many people doing nothing in the rain? They’re just sitting there, not moving… what a waste of time! I blame the mandatory P.E. strip everybody has to wear. We had P.E. strip in elementary. The vice-principal had 13 words everybody must remember: something something be on time something something pee ee strip something something something. Memory serves me well as tennis serves me well or volleyball serves me well. Waiting outside an hour in the rain. Volleyball wasn’t outside, but for someone whose only shorts are emblazoned with the school’s currish emblem, coldness is to me as bad luck is to that girl in that anime. Which girl? Which anime? Why do anime girls never get sick despite always wearing less than I ever will?
I remember that look on the P.E. teacher? Assistant? His face when I told him I was sick this morning. “Go home! I was just sick last week! Don’t sic [sic] me again!” The verb, sic, was necessarily preferred to the adjective, sick. Which he used, I shall never know, and neither did context reveal to me. Was he a teacher or just the assistant? He seemed a sprightly young fellow, and hung out with the girls in our class. But he also lounged around the teachers’ lounge, where I found him lounging in the absence of the actual P.E. teacher who wasn’t my legal P.E. teacher, because my legal P.E. teacher was hit by a car over the summer, yet the school still decided to give her two classes in the same block to teach. She must’ve been a really good teacher to watch over two classes at once. I walk over to him during attendance as he converses with some generic girl and tell him, I’m leaving. Without missing a beat, he shoos me away with a pompous lack of reaction before catching me off-guard: “Wait, which one of them are you?”
Not, “Who are you,” but “Which one of them are you?” What did ‘them’ mean? The students? That wouldn’t make sense, because I’m none of them, I was physically separated from all of them by the direction I was in and by the condition I was in. Why ‘them’? It had to be something that included me, because I’m one of ‘them’, but didn’t include the P.E. teacher-assistant-hybrid. The P.E. assistant-teacher wasn’t a student, and he also wasn’t…
…Asian. Situated as it was, our entire school was entirely Asian, save the French Immersion minority. There were only two non-Asians in our P.E. class. Did he just refer to an entire continent of cultures as ‘them’? Could he really not tell the difference between ‘us’? The audacity of… and the tone of his voice, that half-laughing, half-mocking sneer that momentarily claimed his mouth, as if he had made a nice joke by deindividualizing the entire class he was supposed to assist-teach. It felt weird. It wasn’t like my non-Asian friends telling genuinely offensive anti-Asian jokes which should really get my blood boiling but doesn’t. Here was some stranger, directly insulting every essence of my first-world-raised being, us who are taught from birth in our ‘specialness’, how each of us is a little lily in our own special little lilyponds. Do not toil—you’re special! Do not spin. Do not pass Go. Collect $200 anyways. This wasn’t racism. This was life. C’est la vie. If this mild annoyance disturbed me like this mentally incapacitating headache, then true racism would be the chronic cancerous tumour of mental termination, an end of life as life knows it.
Then, I saw. Saw his eyes met nobody’s but his pencil, searching down the list. What did ‘them’ mean? The names. “Which one of these names are you?”
But even so, that’s all I’ve been thinking of. Why did I go to school? The response would have to be this. People would look at me disapprovingly, and when, by a stroke of fortune or a stroke of the major arteries, they themselves succumb to the disease of human incapacity, who’ll take the blame? Find the most ‘logical’ explanation. It’s common sense, right? But it’s Wednesday and on Friday, we submit our French film projects. A grand total of two scenes filmed over seven hours Sunday as I lay on the floor—the floor!—of that room with the dimmable lights and giant television set, while we waited for our camera to recharge itself. The camera was a literal potato wired up to a 4×4 red monochrome LCD display screen that approximated the red light shining backwards through the pinhole. We had four iPhone 9GS+s, but everybody was too busy playing 2004 Flash games ported to iOS.
I’d say it was all an excuse. We used ‘recharging battery’ as an excuse to not do shit. For three hours before I arrived (because nobody told me there’d be a meeting), three people did nothing but translate two scenes in already-written English into French. Each scene had three lines. One of those people was a native French speaker. I arrived, the fifth member arrived two years later, and while I lay on the warm, soft, disease-matted carpet, they clicked around on their iPhones and now I know how I got sick I know how I got sick now.
I’m a bloody idiot.
It’s due on Friday. We need to shoot eight more scenes, as well as finish writing the actual script for those scenes—in English, not French. Translating the script is another beast entirely. I know, I tried it, and promptly succumbed to a large dose of not-giving-a-fuck anymore. I have two more scenes with me in it, and then there’s dubbing the French because we shot those scenes not having translated the script yet. If we finish all that within two hours tomorrow because the only guy who knows how to edit has school plays going on every night this week from 5:30 until 10:00, then we can hand in our French project. But if I’m sick tomorrow then I’ll have to skip the next day and get a doctor’s note in the vain hope that the teacher gives us an extension instead of yelling in our faces that we should’ve started sooner WE SHOULD’VE STARTED SOONER
A lifetime of procrastination begs to differ. We should’ve started later. Look, they shot three scenes yesterday in two hours. Productivity! 3 scenes/2 hours with 4 people. Person A can shoot one scene in two hours. Person B can shoot one scene in four hours. How many hours will Person C and D take to shoot the entire movie together? The implication is that I shoot an average of negative one point two scenes every hour. Shoot. Skipping school has its advantages. If she gives us an extension, we just got three extra days. If she doesn’t, I will literally become the bloodiest of bloody pulps, the mushiest of mush, my bones ground into paste, my organs cut into bite-sized chunks, my meat stewed into gravy and served on a platter to appease Armok. Your arm OK? No soap, radio. My arm is paralyzed from the fingers down. Falling down, tripping, moving my foot up to stop the fall—wrong foot—crack. Hitting the pavement while accelerating at 9.8 metres a second. Blood red, crimson, palm not OK: four cuts, bandaid slips, too much blood. Now two warts on my fingers. Now lip bleeding. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Doctor, doctor! It’s OK, no apples here; come, Eirin, save me!
It’s midterm weak. Midterms are for the weak. The strong stay at home, lie in bed of an unknown delirium and appear all fine and well the day after the midterms to find out all their group projects have failed. Science fair? BAM! You just lost 25% from your term science mark! Planning project? BAM! You just failed the entire course because that’s the only assignment this entire term! In the teachers’ minds, spinning: “Let’s give these poor bastards more pointless projects because it’s midterm week and they need one project for every single course! That way, it’ll be a FULL-COURSE MEAL!” Strings field trip next week sounds nice, but that’s two hours of nonstop performing and lugging cousin-sized violas on ~public transit~ (poor bassists) in a class we could study in. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? This fever isn’t killing me. Am I stronger now? Can I lift, bro? Please?
The God of Blood answers from his omnipotent throne, made from the ashes of countless anvils He has wrought with his bare hands: “Has the Campbell opposition changed their stances?” It is a task, an ordeal that We must struggle through to find the light that He promises, the light of a Good Future™ where we might be Good Numbers that increase our productivity by 0.56 each year until the year of parabolic maximum. To appease the Blood God. It seems meaningless now, but someday, someone will ask you; “What do you think about the Campbell opposition during that year when they said those things?” And you might respond in the affirmative, or in the negative, and you’ll think back to those halcyon days when you were lying in bed with a fever, typing out these monotonous words while praying to God, let Him have mercy on me, let He that deals divine judgement on souls spare my marks! Take my sons, take my fathers! Leave my grades alone!
“wat a horrible time to be sick lol”
“do you have the note cards”
“o ya i should probably buy those lol”
So the God decreed, “And I shall require, on the 29th of January, a supply of note cards appropriately purchased from capitalist establishments, that one may take notes on; And notes on other media, shall by this day be—Prohibited.” Was he being sarcastic? Was he implying something there? What did the ‘lol’ mean? If he was being sarcastic, he could have not really meant ‘horrible’ and ‘sick’; maybe he thought I was faking it? For what? So I could possibly get an extension for a French project we already failed, by association with me, that failer of failures? Or was he genuinely sympathetic towards my slightly irritating plight? Regardless, I’d have to buy those note cards before I can start taking notes on that in-class essay on the 29th. Did the Campbell opposition change their stances? Tiger stance to a dragon stance?
Ineluctable modality of the audio-visual. He says these words with a digital accent, one with no sarcasm detection. We may lower-case no-punctuation caps-exclamations-maximum on twitter if we’re being sarcastic, but he cannot. The culture of texting vs. the culture of often-at-home twittering. He does not say these words, nor do I hear them. He types the words, no, the letters, on the keyboard with his fingers. He feels the words. Ineluctable modality of the sensual. Story of my life, à la Joyce. Is this how I think? Not with pictures or ideas—with words. Do you dream in words? What was the last image I image-ined?
Ulysses is a modern masterpiece. Even looking just through chapter three, you see the rich interwoven tapestry of words and language that Joyce bends to his will. He’s a master artisan that manipulates, carves, and molds language itself into expressing more than language. More than meets the eye, more than the ear hears, more than the conscious mind can ever process—Joyce paints a picture of THOUGHT itself, making his characters more than simply human. The characters become us, we become the characters as we’re literally swept into another’s shoes, and body, and mind. Have other books done this? Possibly, but none to the refined needle of trenchant wit and biting description that is Ulysses. And definitely none have its epic scope, flooded with allusions. I used to think allusions were pretentious bullshit—who cares if you’re referencing some dead white guy? But no: they add scope, each allusion is a new story that enhances a tale, and Ulysses is that tale, a tale of tales, a mundane epic about a common hero, the towering modernist achievement of the century.
Writing essays is fun when you don’t have a headache—but you need to choose a topic. That’s the hardest part, because choose a topic you don’t like, and you don’t have yourself an essay. Have another choose a topic for you, and you don’t have an author. “Compare Ulysses to the Odyssey,” so the God decreed, “Rough draft due Friday.”
Weighing the options in my head, weighing mentally a loaded die that flipped over, once, twice, heads, tails, spinning like the world around me and my head spinning around and the God of Blood weighed in with a shatter of the skull, a weight upon it that sent vibrations of nausea echoing down my throat. Consider the lilies of the field. They don’t have throats. That’s why they don’t toil. That’s why they don’t spin.
Skipping school tomorrow and the next day? Failing our French film project? Having no class time to prepare for midterm week?
C’est la vie.
O Hero, Where Art Thou Now?: Odysseus in a Modern Context
[We read the Odyssey in English class, and had to write a variety of assignments (ok, fine, just two) on it. One of these assignments was a comparative essay, in which students could choose their thesis, yet on the criteria sheet, ‘all students must use the same thesis’. The thesis in question was that an old Coen Brothers’ comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), loosely based on the Odyssey, represents Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
I thought the Hero’s Journey was just some old man saying that all cultures’ hero stories had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He also claimed that these stories reflected humanity’s ‘collective unconscious’, and that people like to hear stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Although it seems obvious to us, it is pretty coincidental and influential in studying comparative mythology and evolutionary psychology. Yet, I thought that the Hero’s Journey structure offered no insights into modern ‘heroes’ journeys’.
This jaded me immensely, and like the contrarian hipster I am, I decided to advocate for the Devil. The result is below; formatted, but unedited. If it seems to jump around in places, it’s because I condensed it to one page of 1000 words, ‘for the lulz’. I like it, but I still haven’t gotten my grade back, and I have the feeling that my English teacher won’t like people casting the Hero’s Journey aside…]
In the 1988 PBS documentary The Power of Myth, mythologist Joseph Campbell talks of his theory: a universally archetypal Hero’s Journey originating from the fundamental human psyche. The Hero’s Journey’s plot points, although useful for comparative mythology, are too generic. To differentiate Heroes’ Journeys from regular Journeys, Heroes’ Journeys must star a hero with heroic traits, deeds, and growth.
Ancient poet Homer’s Odyssey is about protagonist Odysseus’s voyage home from the Trojan War. Although contemporary Greeks heroized Odysseus, in a modern/Roman context, he possesses few heroic requirements. The Coen Brothers’ modern film O Brother, Where Art Thou?’s protagonist Ulysses represents Odysseus, and also lacks these requirements.
Neither O Brother, Where Art Thou?, nor its hypotext, the Odyssey, represent the Hero’s Journey.
Tokyo Crazy Paradise and Breaking Through the Genre Box
I recently finished Yoshiki Nakamura’s 1996-2002 shoujo manga Tokyo Crazy Paradise, and it got me thinking about the confines of genre tropes and standards. See, this manga (henceforth TCP) is very much a romantic comedy about highschoolers, much like any other shoujo romance series. What makes it stand out, however, are the other story aspects the series touches upon, even if they never receive full focus. The premise of the story is that in futuristic Tokyo (2020, to be exact), women are scarce and as such are often victimized, to the point that many are openly attacked in broad daylight. In addition, our protagonist ends up as the bodyguard to a mob boss, who is the primary love interest. So, with this context, let me list some of the more standout content present in TCP:
- Numerous instances of near rape
- Drug dealing
- Drugging girls on hallucinogens, then forcing them into cage deathmatches and betting on who dies first
- The love rival getting her right arm sliced off at the elbow
- Gang wars
- And an active attempt by supporting characters to get one of the protagonists to cheat on their fiancé
. . .All wrapped up with a bow of light-hearted comedy and soap-bubbly teen romance. And you thought romcoms were all the same.
Grammar Obeys Dialogue
What’s up with that title? Everybody knows that prose and speech obey the laws of grammar, and not the other way around! Imagine a world where people write ‘connexion’, and others write ‘connection’, where some write ‘kerb’ and some ‘curb’, where ‘gaol’ and ‘jail’ coexist.
Imagine a world where it is standard grammar to even split an infinitive in literature, or a world where my parents, the serial comma and a serial killer are all acceptable. Imagine a world where ‘who’ also functions as its own objective case. Who am I talking about?
I’m talking about the evolution of a language. The evolution of English.
What I Write Posts For
Once upon a land, in a time far, far ago, some guy asked me, “What the fuck are you doing you fucking retard? This fucking blog fucking sucks fucking dicks! Why the fuck do you even care so much about your fucking shit-ass site you fucking retard? Nobody even reads your fucking blog. Who the fuck are you trying to write for anyways? Go drown in a fucking well off the coast of Fucking, Austria!”
I may be paraphrasing, but this did cause me to have a revelation. After all, what’s the point of publishing a post every day for the past two (soon to be three) years when a) nobody reads them b) I don’t have fun writing the posts c) see (psst that was a pun)? I mean, shit, the last six anime I watched were complete and trite tripe, and those six serious are seriesly the only anime I have watched for the past nine months.
That’s the state of this blog’s degeneration! I don’t even watch anime anymore!
So, something’s obviously wrong.
After waking up at 8am this morning only to realize the full impact of reality, I admit I was extremely hostile but instead of mass tweeting philosophy, I took a long walk in a nature preserve near my place. I sat next to a stream for a good hour thinking about everything. I came back at around 11 and after a few minutes to myself, I decided to write this post.
I write posts because it’s fun.
I write posts to entertain.
Enough of this episodic crap. I’m not going to continue writing this worthless drivel about my personal interpretations of Mouretsu Pirates’s geopolitical ramifications, nor about the inner conspiracy to create a clone of Madoka in Black Rock Shooter (replete with filled-in star symbol). I’m going to write bad Sword Art Online fapfics and NOBODY CAN STOP ME
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Remember when Whiners.pro commented on my horrible poetry? Don’t worry, I’m not going to torture you guys with any more of that. Instead, have something worse: pretentious poetic ‘analysis’. It’s analysis in the loosest sense since it’s more an exercise of elongation (an exercise beneficial to many organs, specifically that of the e-peen). Here, I’ll spoil you in advance: all I talk about in this essay is that people feel differently about poetry when they’re angry or sad. Or happy. Or dead. Or mushyrulez. Or mushysuckz. Hey, it’s I Say (read: essay) Wednesday, if az can post a bad school essay I’m entitled to post a bad school essay too
Mouretsu Pirates 23
You’ve seen me writing about Mouretsu Pirates the past few days. Actually, hopefully you haven’t, because this post was actually published on June 14th, 2012 and totally not June 20th because why would I publish a post that’s already been published?? It doesn’t make any logical sense! :o
Anyways, hopefully, you haven’t seen me writing about Mouretsu Pirates the past few days. This is because I did not write manga posts the past few weeks, and if you saw me, it would be writing an anime post. And that’s creepy regardless if you’re a O-New subscriber or not, for if you are, this blog is creepy, and if you aren’t, you ought to go drown yourself in a well off the coast of Finland. Bloggers. (psssssst click the link to understand this ~inside joke~ that’s not even a joke)
Regardless of whether you have or haven’t seen me writing about Mouretsu Pirates the past few days, there is no doubt that Master Chef is undoubtedly and indubitably radical squint
I never fully understood fanservice until I watched Mysterious Girlfriend X episode nine.
Mysterious Girlfriend X has a persistent theme of fetish. The show starts with a fetish for saliva, as everyone knows by now. It doesn’t stop there, though. The show explores exhibitionism, secret love, clothes fetishes, some light BDSM themes, sweat, and tan lines. Episode 9 is about hair. That’s what finally got me.
Mouretsu Pirates 22
You’ve seen me moping about being sick the past few days. Actually, hopefully you haven’t, because this post was actually published on June 7th, 2012 and totally not June 18th because why would I publish a post that’s already been published?? It doesn’t make any logical sense! :o
Anyways, hopefully, you haven’t seen me moping about being sick the past few days. This is because I did not go to school the past few days, and if you saw me, it would be within the confines of my own home. And that’s creepy regardless if you’re a family member or not, for if you are, this blog is creepy, and if you aren’t, you are creepy. Stalkers. (psssssst click the link to understand this ~inside joke~ that’s not even a joke)
Regardless of whether you have or haven’t seen me moping about being sick or not the past few days, there is no doubt that Show is undoubtedly and indubitably radical sick
Hypocrisy in Sankarea
A guest post by @redball of shinda akachan, reprinted on O-New with his permission.
Sankarea has two recurring themes. The first, on the surface, is the theme of zombie obsession, and thus an obsession with death. The second is easily overlooked, but the theme of hypocrisy is pervasive.
Now I have to give credit to twitter. I think it was Captain L.B.C. who first pointed out the hypocrisy in Sankarea, noting that the main villain in the series is guilty of the same crime as the series itself. Both Rea’s father and the viewer ogle and objectify Rea via his risque photographs of her. He goes to the utmost extremes, with a shrine to his daughter’s nude form and later bath scenes with the photos strewn about. Yet, the viewer is presented with many of these same images. What, if not fanservice is the purpose of this?
At first I did not notice this hypocrisy. I figured the series was trying, without much tact, to show the depths of the father’s depravity. I won’t claim to be above fanservice, but I didn’t take that as a presentation thereof. However, once this alternative view was presented I watched with a more critical eye and realized that it is correct. The series is quite hypocritical in this regard and it does objectify and sexualize Rea much the same as her father.
Avengers of O-New: Some Non-Anime Post
That’s right. Take the capital letters of that title, and what do you get?
Wait, no, that’s not right. That sounds too much like ‘K-On’ to be on a blog like O-New, which is entirely safe-for-moè-haters and quite dangerous to moè. Take out the N, O-New’s supposed to be Onew anyways (but it isn’t, because Onew sucks.)
…Oh snap. Time for an editorial post.
What are Little Women Made Of?
Before you accuse me of depraved intentions, no, this is not a post dissecting the many features of the female form. Instead, it is a post about Hourou Musuko, femininity, masculinity, and gender roles in a society where a boy is not a boy and a girl is not a girl. Except when they are, of course. Now, you know that I can’t tackle serious issues like this, so I hope you guys will comment and actually discuss, y’know, real stuff, and not the shit I put into my posts. My newfound popularity (?) after a spectacular loss to Shameful Otaku Secret ought to promote this discussion. OUGHT TO.
You’re All Text to Me
(Considered naming this ‘You Rode Right Text to Me’ but that doesn’t sound right.)
Cause that’s what you’re all. Everybody on the Internet that I don’t know in real life. You’re all text to me.
Oversight, in Hindsight
‘Hindsight is always 20-20.’
– American proverb
A Critical Critique of Critics’ Criticisms
Originally, this was extremely long and rambling – now it’s completely stripped of useless words (‘the person’ becomes ‘his’ as a gender-neutral pronoun – ‘he’ is not a specific person).
No images here (it’d be lazy to use random pictures, and it’d take effort to use a comedic out-of-context picture), so it’s a rather short post.
Once a Mob, Twice a Group, Now a Person: the Background as One Character
LOL I PUBLISHED THIS BEFORE THE POST WAS EVEN FINISHED >///<
(Now I finally understand the reason as to why I save animu on my hard disk since recently: It enables me to grab interesting high-quality screenshots without redownloading the episode! Woohoo!)
For those who are wondering as to my choice of title, this will be an editorial/essay, and as such, it will have an interesting title that sounds like it might mean something important, when in reality it’s merely a title that sounds like it might mean something important, that is not actually interesting at all.
Look, I even add a colon so that it’s twice as long!
Ao no Exorcist and Three-Episode Taste Tests
…or whatever they’re called.
Here’s a rather long post with no pictures, but I hope my ideas (not my writing) is at least interesting enough.
Noam Chomsky: The Justice of the Powerful Heroes
After recently watching half a season of tl;dw (DenYuuDen/the Legend of the Legendary Heroes), in which Ryner assassinates several dozen soldiers to rescue one kid with an Alpha Stigma, because those soldiers were terrorizing the kid just because he had the Alpha Stigma. This can be considered an act of terrorism (killing so many people to save one), or an act of heroism (saving that one, wrongly accused kid).
In a school assignment parallel to the timeline of my watching tl;dw (my life is an anime~!), the English teacher assigned us to read about Noam Chomsky, in which he degrades American society, counter-terrorism, and propaganda in the media.
Obvious connections were set up – and thus, I present to you, an anime editorial – Noam Chomsky: The Justice of the Powerful Heroes.
“Those who stand at the top determine what’s wrong and what’s right! This very place is neutral ground! Justice will prevail, you say? But of course it will! Whoever wins this war becomes Justice!!!”
-Donquixote Doflamingo, One Piece
Though One Piece may be, Doflamingo’s statement is not at all quixotic, reflecting much of history’s and present-day political situations.
Without straying from the unrealities of One Piece, let us think about two differing viewpoints.
Imagine that you are a pirate. The corrupt World Government, composed of narcissists such as Axe Hand Morgan has been completely overthrown during the Battle of Marineford. People are free to wander the seas, to do what they please; to just enjoy life. Gone are the slave-trading programmes of old, gone are the elitist Nobels, gone are the presence of Noble prizes, gone are my stupid spelling mistakes. The world is free to do whatever they want, the characters are happy, etc.
If you can’t imagine a world like that, then try harder because I suck at adjectifying.
Alright. Now imagine again, that you are a commoner. Those evil pirates, sea-thieves who steal all our precious gold and money have all died away, and finally, an organized government is in control of the world. Public health care and education are provided, and more jobs are being created than ever. The economy is booming after an era of collapse.
In both ways, you can see that the end result (as long as you are on the right side) is ‘favourable’ and ‘justified’.
In this essay/editorial, I’d like to convince everyone about one, simple opinion (fact).
Justice is relative.
“High ideas were besmirched by cruelty and greed, enterprise and endurance by a blind and narrow self righeousness, and the Holy War itself was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost.”
Sir Steven Runciman, The History of the Crusades
Now, let us journey back to the past (or is it the future?) from such fanciful surroundings and become acquainted with some of the more… realistic examples of this “duality of justice” – the Crusades.
– Anything controversial is controversial.
This point seems quite obvious, just as 1 + 2 = 1 + 2, or even 1 = 1. Regardless, what I mean is that anything that can be debated, anything that has sides, anything that you can have an opinion on (everything) – is relative to the opinion of the individual.
Here’s an allusion to my second idea about individualized opinions.
Anywho, there are two obvious opinions here – that the Crusades was a ‘justified’ thing to do, and that it was ‘unjustified’. Both have sides. However, as a Christian residing in the circumstances of the Crusades, one can be fairly certain of what you will support; as will it be with a Muslim of the same settings.
Because there are two separate opinions, and both of them are ‘justified’, how will you actually determine which one actually is ‘justice’?
In direct (and perhaps, a bit too anticipated) opposition to Runciman’s speech about ‘intolerance’, Pope Gregory VII has argued (over ten centuries ago) that it was ‘justified violence’.
But just how was it justified?
“I speak in the name of the entire German people when I assure the world that we all share the honest wish to eliminate the enmity that brings far more costs than any possible benefits… It would be a wonderful thing for all of humanity if both peoples would renounce force against each other forever. The German people are ready to make such a pledge.”
Adolf Hitler, October 1933
Since this essay is more about the present than the past, shall we begin the long walk forward? A definite controversial topic currently are the actions of Nazi Germany during World War II.
– The winning side determines the winning argument.
As Doflamingo has put (rather bluntly, if I may say so myself) out, whoever wins automatically becomes justice. Right now, by most (if not already all) of the populace, World War II was a terrible thing, forced by evil, racist, dictators who wanted nothing but to kill and corrupt.
However, was that all just ‘justified violence’?
Approximately 5.5 million German soldiers were killed – just about equal to the people who died in the Holocaust. More than 3.2 million German civilians were killed – and not part of the Holocaust, which means that most of them were killed by Allied soldiers.
That’s still 3,200,000 innocent people killed. Is that still alright?
Taking World War II is a rather extreme example, as more than 25 million other civilians were killed as well, so yes, I suppose it was justified.
However, what if you were in Germany during the war?
You’d be bombed almost daily by foreign soldiers without hope of escape. Wouldn’t you feel hate towards them? If Germany won the war, wouldn’t you think the Allies would get disgraced for their cruel mistreating of right and honest citizens?
“Waging war to eliminate war? You’re contradicting yourself!”
Kiefer Knolles (in reply to Refal Edia), the Legend of the Legendary Heroes
Let’s take another example from this war – the nuclear bombs. If they didn’t drop it, hundreds of thousands of civilians would have survived. If they didn’t drop it, possibly millions of military and civilians would perish in the forthcoming land-based assault as well. But we won’t know. For all we know, Japan might have surrendered before the first US troop set foot on the land.
– Other paths are unknown.
We don’t know that we’ve actually ‘saved’ lives. Maybe, if the Axis won, world peace would’ve been reached and there wouldn’t have been any more war, ever. Maybe, if the Holocaust hadn’t happened, some guy (who had been killed) might release a worldwide epidemic comparable or greater than that of the Black Death.
Thing is, we don’t know.
Thusly, we can’t /say/ that this was the lesser of two evils. We can generalize and say that this is /probably/ the lesser of two evils, but we will never know.
Which means, whether or not something really is ‘justified’ is impossible to determine – we can’t see whether it’s better or worse, because we only have one path to take.
I could steer this in the topic of fate being predetermined, but that’d be straying way off my intended path; let’s continue with…
“We can’t quite decide if the world is growing worse, or if the reporters are just working harder.”
the Houghton Line, November 1965
…media. Ever since the beginnings of logical thought and information processing, people needed some way to relay information outwards; generally towards the general (no pun intended) audience.
– The media distorts the winning argument.
Distorts sounds like a much more negative word than creates, doesn’t it?
Anywho, whilst the powerful rulers may create an argument, the media distorts it to as to make it more presentable for the populace. While the information may be “people accidentally eat poisonous Russian mushrooms and five people die shortly thereafter”, the media may choose to present it as “Russian mushroom kills five people”, causing subconscious sublimal messages evaluating that the mushrooms were poisoned by Russians, intentionally to kill people.
Everything can be opinionated. This essay is strongly opinionated, though I try my best to keep it neutral (that’s impossible though, unless it’s a report). Can you tell it’s opinionated? If you can, you’re smart. If you can’t; don’t worry, more than 5 billion other people can’t either (can’t say the same for the other billion).
After the winning argument is presented in a much more biased format, the populace can be coerced to agree with its terms as being righteous. After anything goes through the media, an intended result is almost always produced.
Anyways, let’s review: Everything has an argument. However, other paths are unknown, so the argument is always biased. The winning side creates the argument for the winning side, and the media further distorts it for the people.
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Now, what’s actual morality? Let’s take this into a completely different analogy – manners. Aren’t they defined by humanity?
– Morality is defined by humanity.
Manners are something that all people are expected to have. Being polite, etc. However, even in contemporary society, it varies from country to country. Whereas a burp in Western society would have negative connotations, in China, it can be considered a sign of a good meal.
Are not manners and morality almost synonyms? Moral consequences of one society and another are completely different; showcasing that in all terms, morality is not strictly defined by anyone.
Because it does vary, it means that the morality is determined by the individual, the group, the collective society – by humanity.
Humanity determines morality; something immoral today might as well become common practice in the world of tomorrow.
“…of the people, by the people, for the people…”
Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address
Now, do you see? The information is now highly opinionated and densely riddled with bias. It’s impossible for the population to resist its justifiable urges. Morality is already being determined by humanity, so if all of humanity devours this bias…
– People determine justice.
After people have been fed a highly biased entry from the general media (Russian mushroom murderers!), they can be led to determine what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. From the entry, they can say that the Russian mushrooms are ‘wrong’, and with further distortion, that the Russians are ‘wrong’ and ‘immoral’.
Here’s where Noam Chomsky comes in. Read his books; he’s a self-defined militant Anti-Zionist strongly opposed to the United States and ‘counter-terrorism’ in Israel against the Palestinians.
Now, from his point of view, the United States are really the terrorists; killing thousands of innocent people just to kill one target, with no media consequences, whereas if that happened in the United States (9/11), even the repercussions would incite fear.
From our point of view, the Palestinians are the terrorists, with us (the US, even though I’m Canadian) being the innocent civilians caught in the cross-fire.
This obviously shows that the people determine what is right or wrong.
I conclude this essay here. Hopefully, all of my points have been fully, or at least extensively elaborated upon to deliver an accurate conclusion on the subject.
Needless to say, this has not been extensively researched, as time constraints would limit upon me. However, if public opinion desires, I will expand on this topic in many different directions in the future.
As a final summary: Everything has a side. The winning side will seem more ‘justified’, as the winning side will distort their won to be more biased, and seem more ‘right’. However, at the end, ‘justice’ is merely something determined by humanity, so if the winning side has more people convinced that their side is ‘right’, their side, as Doflamingo conjectured, becomes, justice.
– Justice is relative.
My Fast Food Experience
Many, many years ago, fast food was something I ate often. McDonalds and Burger King were no stranger to me, I knew them well. I had no intention of not eating fast food though, I wasn’t the least bit overweight, I swam for at least 5 hours a week. My opinion has a lot of influence on my family, since I didn’t voice anything out, we all ate that stuff. However, this all changed the moment I stepped into a new class room in Grade 4.
So, this was supposed to be some special program. In the first few months, adapting to this school was my priority, I didn’t really care about the discussions we had. As I got used to it, I got more interested into the conversations we had. One of the biggest topic’s was fast food. Wherever you turn, you could hear people talk about how bad that food it was and how you would die when you were 50. You could see students in the lunchroom telling people from other classes not to eat McDonald’s. One day, a person from my class brought McDonald’s. That lunch hour for her was living hell.
Other topics included how many hours of sleep you got, how long you spend on homework and how much physical activity you got. Of course, since this was a special program, most of the people in grade 4 had no clue what was going on and looked up to the grade 5’s. The grade 5’s constantly lied to “impress” our teacher. The standard response was “I get 12 hours of sleep every night, I sleep at 7 pm. Usually I do homework right after I get home from school, then I have dinner. When I finish dinner, I run or bike until it’s time for me to sleep”. I stayed quiet, I didn’t say anything. If I was forced to talk about my life, this would be my response. “I sleep 6-7 hours a night, 8 if I’m lucky. When I get home, I do stuff on the computer until it’s time for me to head over to swim practice. When I get home from swim practice, I eat dinner. After that, I do the homework that I can, piano and other things are done after my homework.” It was as if anything related to fast food was a taboo subject.
Now, as I reflect upon this subject, I can see that the people who do consume fast foods on a daily basis are just mis-fortuned, nobody has taken the time to tell them that these things shouldn’t be consumed so often and that there are healthy alternatives that are just as good. Fast food isn’t poison*, it’s fast food, having it every once in a while is fine, in fact, becoming somebody on the other end of the spectrum, eating the most healthy things you can, is just as bad. The truth is, we should eat everything in moderation, not too much of this, not too less of that.
September 7, 2010
*-This doesn’t mean that fast food companies don’t lie about what they’re giving you. McDonalds says that their burgers are made from 100 percent beef, they’re correct. They get their meat from a company called “100 percent beef”, the burgers actually only have around 40 percent of beef, the rest of the stuff is just filler.
2: On Homework
So as some of you know, weekends are a suicidal time for me, which accounts for the lack of updates.
Nevertheless, the weekend ends (durr hurr) tomorrow, so I’ll update with some anime I have left to watch (Black Lagoon YEAAAAHHHHH).
Making last minute posts right now; first here is an essay I wrote:
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Everyone requires preparation to accomplish anything. Preparation implies education. Education requires practice. Practice implies homework.
People think “homework is harmful to our growth as children”. However, there has been no written analysis by a child on homework, so what are you to assume that that is right?
“We didn’t have homework in the past, so why do we need it now?”
We live in an industrialized world. We have nowhere to work. We need education, not only to survive, but to use our time in the modern world. We didn’t have it in the past. But this is not the past.
Education doesn’t mean homework. However, homework is a crucial part to education. Imagine if there were scheduled blocks in school, 45 minutes long for each assignment. Those that work too quickly would have nothing to do for the rest of the block, as they are in school and do not have access to the Internet. Those who work slowly would not finish on time. By creating homework, we can write quality assignments at our own pace, letting us spend time playing computer games, or hand in finished work. Even so, there are many school-limited activities, such as field trips and assemblies, that we would not want to miss – would we really want to spend our time writing homework at school instead of participating?
“Homework also doesn’t teach us anything.” Is this based on the homework or the child?
People who don’t want to learn will not learn. If we have homework, we have an incentive to learn – to hand in an assignment on time. If we don’t, then what are we going to school for? Studies have shown that “calmer children learn more” and “more homework creates more stress”. Yes, this is true – but has there been any study on what happens without homework? If homework didn’t exist? It wouldn’t be “calmer children learn more”, it’d be “calmer children without homework learn absolutely nothing at all”. There’s no incentive for us.
Even if the blame was on the quality of the homework, that can be changed. Homework in our class is at a level that creates growth for us as students. It is beneficial to us, not only for us to learn facts, but to learn about our surroundings and about ourselves. In the past, we were able to do things with our time, such as explore new areas and learn new things. But this is the modern area. If we had free time, we’d just stay at home and play computer games. That is not learning. That is grinding.
At the end, it all boils down to philosophy. Do we want to spend our lives in repetitive “happiness” until we all die? Or do we want to advance, past the constraints of the Earth to new frontiers? As Lincoln said, to make a contribution, to start an operation, to do anything requires preparation in advance. This preparation is homework. Why do you think “to do your homework” means to prepare? If we wanted to stay back in the past and hunt mammoths all day, we would have done so. If homework was useless and we could cut it, we would have done so. But we didn’t. Why?
Because homework is necessary.