Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

Weird Reasons that I Like Vampires in Fiction

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So, there are a lot of reasons out there why people like vampires. They’re sexy, powerful, etc. However, I would like to say that I liked vampires before the whole True Blood/Twilight/Vampire Diaries phenomena entered into the picture. Why? Because I like a creature that can span the millenia, blend in, and tell tales about it. It’s interesting for me to read about a character who cannot die by normal body degradation. But here are some of the reasons that I like them that are weird.

1) They practically like superheroes–They bridge two of my loves superheroes/comics and folk lore. I find it fun when a vampire uses their powers for good or evil and becomes a hero or villain of sorts. It also intrigues me  because although superheroes and villains are bound by natural laws vampires are not due to being something other than human.

2) Just like in the first season of True Blood, I would like to be able to have an actual “living” being to ask questions about the past. I am somewhat of a history buff when it comes to certain eras. This would allow me to actually hear and catalog actual events from a survivor of the event which is pretty amazing because some events happened lifetimes ago.  In theory, it would be pretty cool.

3) The idea of something that is not human that exemplifies certain human needs and desires. Any vampire in fiction in the past 150 years has feed off blood and been the monster. However, since Anne Rice, there has been a movement to humanize the creatures. We are allowed to see into their world which is something that Bram Stoker or Sheridan le Fanu didn’t do. We see that they need companionship and feel to sometimes higher degrees the feelings of loneliness because it stretches out before them for all eternity.

4) The fact of how their deaths make me feel. If I’m watching a television show or movie or reading a book, I always feel a little sad when an immortal character dies. Why? They will never be able to make more history or influence anything else. They have been found by the “true death” as True Blood calls it. I guess in some ways it makes me wonder about my own mortality and what I might get accomplished in the brief span of life that I have…whereas that creature may have done nothing but maim and cause carnage for its existence.

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Forethought in Art

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I really enjoy forethought in the construction of a musical’s score/lyrics to add tension to the overall feel of the show. Why do I even reference? It’s because recently I have fallen deeply in love with the musical Next to Normal which is a musical/story which is all about forethought. Now, I know some of you are probably saying that every composition is about thinking ahead, but this musical is just brilliant in its usage of this device.

The songs that I happen to be referencing “Better Than Before” and “Aftershocks”.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWWGrptSpvg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8GnpG_bE88

The first song blends into the second seamlessly (you need to hear it without the break)…why does it do this? It’s because they’re wanting to build the ominous tone to make Gabe seem like he’s up to something. This is coming right after “Better Than Before” where the family is finally getting back to normality after Diana’s (the mom’s) stint in a mental facility…They’re trying to tell you that everything isn’t peachy. While this may seem hokey or overdone to some, I love the amount of planning that this must have taken on behalf of the composer and the lyricist. It builds complexity into the score of any show…or any musical piece because there are some classical pieces like this such as Haydn’s Symphony 94: the “Surprise” Symphony.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLjwkamp3lI

Overall, I just like good forethought on an artist’s part whether they be composer, novelist, painter, etc. It’s nice to know that they had a definite plan for themselves as they performed their artistry. Michelangelo had to have his golden vision of the Sistine Chapel in his head before the first brush stroke. If not, the place might have looked like crap…

X-Men and the 60’s

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If taken in the context of the 60’s, the idea of the X-Men is an interesting one. During the 60’s, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. The African-Americans fought for their rights and eventually won them from the suppressing forces of America. This plight is echoed in the pages of the X-Men Comics with ever more parallels that just this recurring theme.

The X-Men must deal with prejudice in the pages of their comics much the same as the African-American did in reality. The X-Men are persons with special powers such as flight, fire manipulation, etc. and are often refered to as mutants because of this. They must fight to become accepted in a world that sees them as freaks or as lesser beings. They have to fight against extremist groups such as the Friends of Humanity (F.O.H.) which has the particular ring of the Ku Klux Klan. They have to fight the prejudice and even lose members of their community to these persons. They also have to deal with the Sentinels, huge robots that are built to hunt mutants. These robots come to take them in the night. Much like the groups that used to come and burn down African-Americans’ houses during the night.

The leaders of both the main groups of mutants, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, are reminiscent of the two main African-American figures of the time. Dr. Charles Xavier (X-Men) is the spitting image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He believes that humans and mutants can live together in harmony and tries to work through peaceful methods to end the human/mutant prejudice. He thinks that man and mutant kind can live together in peace if they just try much as King did. With the help of his X-Men, he tries to show the world that mutants are not all bad and that they peacefully coexist.

Magneto (The Brotherhood of Mutants), on the other hand, is more proactive like Malcolm X. He believes that coexistence can be achieved mainly through force and uses his groups of mutants to try to subjugate the human race to that of the mutants. He openly attacks groups that threaten mutants and is continually in conflict with those who oppose his ideals. With his group, he becomes a threat to the idea of peace that Xavier hopes to make possible. He himself could be viewed regressing the steps forward that any others had made because the majority of the world does not respect violence (think of the War in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, etc.) and deal with it swiftly and with equal violence.

The X-Men are a subject that are near and dear to my heart. It seems to me that Stan Lee and the other creators had a specific idea in mind when they started publishing this comic. They used the struggle of the mutants to be a metaphor for the struggle of the African-Americans. It seemed that they used this as their own individual method of protesting the unfair treatment of African-Americans everywhere.