Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 15 : (Week Five: Witches and Women in Genre) Re-Vamp

I chose to watch another Hayao Miyazaki film to revamp week 5’s commentary so I watched Howl’s Moving Castle. A story about a young girl who finds herself mixed up with the strongest witches and wizards in her universe. She is put under a spell by the Witch of the Waste and becomes an old woman. She leaves unable to tell her family of her changes and takes residence inside Howl’s, a powerful wizard burdened by a fire demon, Moving Castle. She makes a deal with the fire demon that if she frees him he will reverse her curse. Through the novel she falls in love with Howl, helps him face his old teacher, and in the end frees him and herself of their curses.

Although there was some commentary on women’s role in things it is not the main point of this magical tale. This tale is a commentary on love, beauty, what meets the eye, and it is very heavy commentary on war. The war is obviously looked down upon in the film. It is shown that the King has instituted a drafted all the wizards to fight in a meaningless war. There is a obvious message with pollution but the most destructive part of all is war is the battles going on in the air and on the land. You see it destroy both Howl and Sophie’s childhood homes. Miyazaki’s message is directly related to his opinions on the post 9/11 US-led War on Terror, the 2003 Iraq war in particular. He stated his frustrations when he listened to the speech by US President George W. Bush who approached the world as such: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” (White House 2001) There are definitely representations of different characters and the war and Japan itself. You could say that Sophie and Howl and his moving castle are representative of Japan as a passive aware opposition to the war. The contrast to this is Japan’s desire for power and the chance that they could become a militarist state which could be represented in Calcifer. The obvious representation for the US is the King and Sulliman. The themes of love and peace are strongly advocated through out this film, not only through that anti-war message but the war we see go on between Sophie and herself over accepting her new age; between Sophie and Howl over his curse; and between Howl and Calicfer (aka his heart) and deciding if he will remain one with the demon or free himself. A quote from Chogyam Trungpa that represents the essence of this movie to me: “Real fearlessness is the product of our tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your raw and beautiful heart." Once Howl abandoned his fear and found love in Sophie he was able to do what he’d been going after all along: achieve peace.

Week Eleven: Cyberpunk and Steampunk

The sub-genres we are reading this week deal in augmented, altered or alternative realities. Discuss the types of reality rendered in the works you read and watched for this week's assignment. Describe the effects of these reality on the narrative and the implications for the presumed reader.

For this week I read Johnny Mnemonic by William Gibson what felt like 3 times over and still could not follow what was going on. It honestly confused the heck out of me because there was so much slang that did not resonate with me at all. So I chose to write about the required movie, Paprika, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story revolves around a time where a new psychotherapy treatment is released in which a person goes through therapy through a dream with a device called a “DC mini” that allowed the user to view other peoples dreams and witness their unconscious or subconscious minds. The story revolves around a girl with a dream alter ego named “paprika” as she uses the device illegally to help people outside of the system with their issues.

            The film juggles the concept of dreams and their projections of the real world in ways that sometimes our conscious minds cannot even remember. When I was younger I had experiences that at the time were traumatic enough for my mind to repress until 10 years afterwards when I randomly remembered one day. When I watched this movie I felt a lot of connection to the character’s alter egos and the idea that an empty body can be inhabited by those created in the dream world. The way I remembered my memories was during a nap. When I awoke I questioned my mom and found out that my dreams where in fact the reality of my past resurfacing. My alter ego created by my lack of memories was awoken by my dream state to make me realize realities of myself. I feel like this is a direct representation of the analogy of the power of dreams and our ability to unite our conscious and subconscious represented by the DC mini and its abilities. There are many trends that revolve around your dreams acting as lessons for individuals that occur in our world as well as in Paprika’s.

Week Twelve: Diverse Position Science Fiction

For this week I read the short story I Live With You by Carol Emshwiller. I feel like this novel represents someone who resents a majoritarian culture or is at least turned off by it. The story is through the perspective of an individual who I’m suspecting is a hermit who goes about living in different peoples homes. She describes herself as someone who is never seen and she spots girl at the bookstore and immediately labels her as someone just like herself (the hermit). I’ll address the hermit as hermit and the girl as the “host” because the hermit follows her home and decides to live with her. The way the hermit describes the host is quiet, paranoid, antisocial, and with no aspiration for life. The hermit lives unseen and the host has money they she never spends, has a job packaging ice cream into boxes, watches the same shows, wears muted colors, eats TV dinners, and never does any talking to others and spends most of her time day dreaming. The host checks outside her door in the morning before leaving so she won’t have to carry any conversations. The ghost decides to push her outside of her anti-majoritarian ways and starts stealing clothes so she’ll have to dress more vibrantly and the hermit eventually finds a male and convinces him to come see the host. An awkward interaction goes on in between the three and the man ends up leaving running with his pants around his ankles. The hermit realizes that since she’s shown her face the host will not rest until the hermit has left or rotted away so the hermit leaves.

To someone that thrives on human interaction and being a part of majoritarian culture at least in the aspect of companionship this whole story is a bit disturbing to me. That there are people like this out there and the concept of someone like the hermit has always been terrifying to me. We fear what we don’t understand and how someone could be like the hermit or the host just blows my mind.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week 14 : Science Fiction Parody and Satire

“This highlights one of the larger roles that science fiction plays in our society and reminds us that science fiction is really never about the future but always about the present.”

I absolutely love the way you phrased the requirements for his week. That’s why science fiction has always been one of my favorite genres as well as comedy and when put together we can realize just how ridiculous we are about our culture and our purpose in general. This is one of the reasons I really enjoyed listening to Hitchhikers Guide because it reminds us just how silly we all are with the classic dry, wry British humor. I think a good way to define the attitude that is taken in the broadcasts as existentialist in a way. It harps on the silly people with there silly preoccupations and takes many topics that seem to be ground breaking, like say the end of the world, or the answer to the universe, and makes it all one big joke because in the end it is! Nothing really matters. And the only things that matter are each individual’s perception of what matters in their consciousness. This also plays into a thought I have about the past and the future. In my mind they are inherently both the same thing because they are both technically the present. So any projection we have of the future is like you said just a projection of the present and the same thing as the past. So that in the end the only thing that really “IS” is the present because the future and past are all illusions.  There have been philosopher after scientist after genius that have articulated in beautiful poem, equation, and writing that have tried to tell us the important of the here and how but also how in the end, trivial, it all truly is too worry. Worry stems from fear and most people fear what they cannot understand like death for example. But if we all realized that death is not the opposite of life but the opposite of birth and that life is all there is and all there has ever been then we can learn to live and realize the only truth with is the here., the now, and the present. So enjoy it. Laugh at it. Because it doesn’t matter. Or it does. It’s your choice.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 13: Literary Speculation

Qfwfq is the speaker throughout the piece I believe and I thing the most comprehensive symbol is the moon being his love. The intricate attention to detail he has toward the big ball of wet clay in every sensory way shows how revered the moon is to him. I believe there is also “the grass is never greener” symbol here in that Qfwfq thought the moon would be amazing to remain on for a month and that it’s beauty should be exalted but once upon the moon for a prolonged period, he took his first chance to return back to earth.
            I think its also a possibility that the moon milk is a symbol for harvested oil and other resources from other lands and the land or the inhabitants of the lands eventually will fight back to an outside stripping from their area just as the moon pushed away.

            I like many others have always had a thirst for exploration outside of our planet and our solar system so the fascination with the moon is the most basic among others. I don’t know if my love goes as far as Qfwfq to the point I’d ride a moon to the galaxy but Ive always wanted the possibility to visit a home that is not our own.  I can also relate to the Captain’s Wife restlessness she gets when he is away. I was with a Marine for 4 years and experienced what it was like to have a significant other constantly leaving for prolonged periods of time and giving more love to a place (in my case his love for the Marines and the places he traveled) than to their partner.  It’s maddening.


            I would transfer this into a silent short film and use a 2001 approach. Prolonged shots, little cutting, I would start with Qfwfq obviously trying to impress the Captain’s Wife while the Captain was only looking at the moon. It would be very muted in color and obviously have to have a lot of special effects. It would show the layers of infatuation from Qfwfq – Captain’s Wife – Captain – Moon. In the end I would have Qfwfq win the Captain’s Wife and them escape but the Captain get pulled onto the Moon being stuck there forever bound to is ignorance to those around him that loved him.