True Life: I’ve been an anime nerd before it was acceptable to be an anime nerd. My first anime was Vampire Hunter D, followed by Project A-ko; I was five, creeping on the Sci-Fi channel. Sailor Moon is my absolute favorite, it developed my personal belief system and how I view the world. But Naruto is a very close second. This anime is about a boy who isn’t respected, seemingly weak and incompetent, and has a literal demon inside of him, who wants to be Hokage [leader of the Leaf Village]. He defies all odds, you discover how much innate power he has, and he utilizes the power of the demon inside of him to save the day. The story of Naruto and Kurama/Nine-tails Fox Beast could be a metaphor for making peace with your inner demons.
For as long as I can remember, empathy and genuine human connection have been focal points in my life. I’m a brutally soft woman and I believe [or at least want to believe] that the world is a beautiful place. Empathy and genuine human connection cannot exist without vulnerability. Quite a few times, I’ve been too open to those who many not place as much importance on empathy and those who were not able or willing to connect me and just wanted to use me. Those situations have been very painful, especially in how people react then leave me, and I’ve required therapy. But I still believe that empathy is the most important thing.
However this philosophy of mine has led me to harboring feelings of disgust at my fellow counterparts. bell hooks has hypothesized that greed begat capitalism which begat instant gratification which begat viewing people and relationships as disposable as dixie cups. We view people for what they can do for us with as minimal reciprocity as possible. This mentality has birthed the current popular term, “savage” and there is a sense of pride with self-identifying as one.
If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.
— Audre Lorde
HBO has cultivated an arsenal of TV shows that rival movies. We have to thank Breaking Bad on AMC for revolutionizing TV dramas and changing how we view it. In the past, TV used to be a cesspool; a place where old actors go to die or actors who aren’t palatable enough for Hollywood would have to settle. After Breaking Bad, TV evolved; it became a haven where we questioned the human experience and morality associated with our humanity. HBO’s West World had its season finale this past Sunday, and it continued the trend of television shows that raised philosophical questions about who we are.
West World is about a theme park where humans interact with androids referred to as ‘hosts’ for a fee of $64k a day. Humans can do anything to the hosts, and the hosts have narratives that they repeat every single day, and they remember those storylines and it turns out they remember the pain. This show examines what makes someone “human.” West World had many storylines, but central to the plot was the plight of the host Dolores. She’s the oldest host of the park therefore the one with the greatest amount of imprints of painfully memories. Continue reading
Besides, what’s one man’s pleasure is, another’s pain, or according to the Proverb, Meat, Poison, and so of the other Senses — And agen, Pleasure is certainly in some Cases, nothing but Privation of Pain
— Hector Urquhart (the origin of the idiom ‘one man’s trash’)
I have a love/hate relationship with “Girls.” One one hand, I despise the show; it’s white privilege incarnate. It is exclusionary, people of color are rarely seen; if you do see a brown guy or gal, they are not characters that exhibit any sort of personal development. It’s self-indulgent, spoiled, banal. Hannah, the protagonist, is so unlikable, you feel a visceral reaction when she complains about her life and problems. It is somewhat novel of Lena Dunham to create a character so unsympathetic that you almost want her to fail.
I also love the show because I can identify with every single one of those characters for different reasons. The show has some amazingly funny one-liners; the episode when Adam’s ex-girlfriend discovered that Adam was back with Hannah because she saw them together, her friend and her said to Hannah “Your tits are so small and gross, I bet you can’t even get breast milk from them.” It was such a hilarious episode because every woman at one point in her life has wanted to rip apart the new girl [or new-old girl in this case] and to see it happen on TV was cathartic.
The reason why I still feel a modicum of loyalty to the show is Season 2, Episode 5. “One Man’s Trash.”
“What’s the world’s greatest lie?”
“It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lost control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
— The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
There is a subset of humans who hate New Year’s resolutions and those who make them; those individuals tend to be people who love to “hate everything” in a very unironic way. They hate uncreative latte art, they hate creative latte art; they hate imposters, they hate people who are too happy because they seem “untrustworthy”; they hate unbridled joy, they hate morning people, they hate those who aren’t morning people. Basically, their opinion do not matter. The argument they use for why “they hate New Year’s resolutions” is because “you shouldn’t have to wait until the new year to change” and that “people make these resolutions, stick to it for 3 weeks and back to their old habits” et cetera, et cetera.
I like New Year’s resolutions and I understand some of the psychology why they are so popular. Humans are creatures of habit, we tend to live monotonous lives. We are akin to worker ants, following our brethren in a straight line, losing our marbles if a rock is in the way of our trajectory, until we figure out we can walk around it, then we continue with the motions. We tend to lack momentous moments (slight redundancy but I want to be emphatic), so when something out of the norm occurs, we categorize those occurrences as significant of a change. The shift from one year to another is pretty darn significant; we tend to reflect about how our year went, where did we go awry, where did we excel, and how we can be better. Enter resolutions.
In 2011, documentarist Bill Dukes’ “Dark Girls” caused an uproar of repressed emotions and experiences. This documentary aimed to discuss the colorism issues within the black community; as a black woman, I enjoyed the concept of this documentary. The concept that “light is right” spans cultures, this is not native and characteristic of the American blacks. You see these thought processes in India, China, Japan, Jamaican, all over the Caribbean, Hispanic cultures. On January 19, 2015, he debuted “Light Girls”; his first movie, “Dark Girls”, discussed the ugliness that darker skinned women have experienced from their own race, images in the media, familial reinforcement, et cetera. “Light Girls” aim was to share the pain from the other side of the spectrum, show that fairer skinned women of color did face discrimination from their own people.