5 Quick Things: May 2019

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Skrulls, Propaganda, and the Times We Live In

I love NerdSync. NerdSync’s mission is to “grow smarter through comics” and while its a noble goal to be sure, not every video hits that mark but when they do – they completely blow everything out of the water. This video tackles the inversion of the Skrulls roles in comics versus the new Captain Marvel movie from earlier this year and I think I can best summarize this video as the quote at the 22 minute mark:

” I haven’t talked about Skrulls in like 10 minutes.”

Because you see, the video is more than just comics. It’s about propaganda, about themes in movies, about how the place and the time and events we live in influence the art and the stories we tell. This video is about why we can’t just copy-paste the storylines of great comic books written in the 60s, or even the 00s into the movies today. Why they’re better off being updated and changed and transformed by not just how they changed us as people after we read them – but also how those ideas have changed in our politics and our world since then. It’s why the recent X-men movies haven’t worked and why Captain Marvel and Black Panther do. These movies don’t regurgitate a nostalgic version of a story we loved from the past but instead challenge us with modern day problems presented in fantastical settings and can encourage us to see our world in a different light.

>Number Two<

A Few Laughs

If you’ve been on the internet for a while you may have seen a comic of a man wearing a top hat and monocle who says “I want this because of reasons“. While you’re likely familiar with that image you may not know that Three Word Phrase is its source. While it is pretty hit and miss in terms of jokes, sometimes it can also bring a few good hits along for the ride. The above comic is a beloved favorite of mine and the head shake with hands has entered my life as an IRL meme. Also I would really encourage you to view the entire “reasons” comic if you’ve never seen it because I can’t believe the other panels of the comic are somehow less famous???

>Number Three<

Old Language Stuff

Here is just a fun oddity that I ran across on the internet when I looking for Church Slavonic one day (don’t ask, everyone has to have hobbies, right?). Lexicity is pretty low information but it’s not a bad starting point if you’re looking for ancient language resources. While it looks like the site may have stalled out and stopped updating in 2015 information is information.

>Number Four<

Legends of Tomorrow, Still Awesome

Statically, you’re still not watching Legends of Tomorrow, the CW’s most wonderful superhero show. I understand. You’re a busy person, you don’t like superheros, you’re tired of everything being about comics. I hear you. I’d still suggest that you read this wonderful article about how Legends of Tomorrow is doing great work at breaking down toxic masculinity which it does on top of a truly diverse cast, on top of the diverse writing room, on top of being LGBT+ positive, and on top of being a well written and frankly hilarious show it also does not bow hyper violence, or other shock tactics, to get its stories and message across.

This article also finally helped me realize one of the real reasons I have loved Legends of Tomorrow so thoroughly for the past four years, as the article says: [T]he show…explore[s] female trauma without resorting to sexual assault storylines.

So many of the biggest shows on television are steeped in women who are their sexual trauma and men steeped in toxic masculinity that it’s wonderful that show like Legends of Tomorrow can explore other forms of conflict and growth through its characters.

>Number Five<

Stuff: Materialism in an age of Minimalism

Less about Marie Kondo, more about the culture of objects this video is just another reason to love What’s So Great About That? If you’re not already following this YouTube channel you absolutely should be. I’ve watched this video six times so far and every time it has sparked new and interesting ideas in me. Covering everything from consumerism to tiny houses this video is a whirlwind of trying to make sense of the way that we interact with objects and how that interaction changes over time both organically (as we are able to keep and collect objects) and inorganically (as objects are marketed and sold to us).

As a person who is minimalist by nature and strange circumstances and a person who is unable to watch Marie Kondo’s show (or its equal but opposite Hoarders) for personal reason I am highly fascinated by the sudden lurch in people’s mindset to wanting “minimalism” and how that minimalism is now itself becoming an object, a commodity to be packaged and sold to people. The video takes particular note of buyable fantasy, the idea that if you just have the right configuration of things you will be complete in some way, is a fantasy and an imaged object itself because once you have an object, it is now subject to all the messiness of life. The imperfection of being owned and used and no longer a perfect fantasy. This led me to start reading several books about the design of objects and the classification of objects and now I’m rambling so I’m going to stop but I really can’t recommend the video enough.

Anyway, that’s all for now, see you next month!

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