Friday, December 30, 2011

Adaptation of Legend: Red Riding Hood, Beastly, Once Upon a Time, Grimm

One of the most fascinating things I read about in 2011 was a study done on how audiences react to books with embedded, explicit foreshadowing of their conclusions (I.E. Spoilers)
"...a new study suggests that spoilers can actually increase our enjoyment of literature. Although we’ve long assumed that the suspense makes the story — we keep on reading because we don’t know what happens next — this new research suggests that the tension actually detracts from our enjoyment.
The experiment itself was simple: Nicholas Christenfeld and Jonathan Leavitt of UC San Diego gave several dozen undergraduates 12 different short stories. The stories came in three different flavors: ironic twist stories (such as Chekhov’s “The Bet”), straight up mysteries (“A Chess Problem” by Agatha Christie) and so-called “literary stories” by writers like Updike and Carver. Some subjects read the story as is, without a spoiler. Some read the story with a spoiler carefully embedded in the actual text, as if Chekhov himself had given away the end. And some read the story with a spoiler disclaimer in the preface."

So mysteries where you can deduce the ending with a practiced eye; or lets say, adaptations of famous tales where you can observe patterns of a recognizable myth or event are popular. Take ripped from the headlines procedurals like Law & Order and remakes of famous films; are enjoyable even though you know how they'll likely turn out.

I know Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, absolutely delighted me when it hearkened directly back to the Conan Doyle Canon, even though most of the movie diverges, creating its own Holmes and Watson in the process.

Two suggestions from this Wired Article offer interesting insight into this phenomenon
"Just because we know the end doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises. Even when I cheat and read the final pages first, a good thriller will still surprise me with how it gets there. Perhaps we’ve overvalued the pleasure of the shocking ending at the expense of those smaller astonishments along the way. It’s about the narrative journey, not the final destination, etc. Christenfeld and Leavitt even speculate the knowing the ending might increase the narrative tension: 'Knowing the ending of Oedipus may heighten the pleasurable tension of the disparity in knowledge between the omniscient reader and the character marching to his doom.'"
"Surprises are much more fun to plan than experience. The human mind is a prediction machine, which means that it registers most surprises as a cognitive failure, a mental mistake. Our first reaction is almost never “How cool! I never saw that coming!” Instead, we feel embarrassed by our gullibility, the dismay of a prediction error. While authors and screenwriters might enjoy composing those clever twists, they should know that the audience will enjoy it far less. The psychologists end the paper (forthcoming in Psychological Science) by wondering if the pleasure of spoiled surprises might extend beyond fiction:

'Erroneous intuitions about the nature of spoilers may persist because individual readers are unable to compare between spoiled and unspoiled experiences of a novel story. Other intuitions about suspense may be similarly wrong, and perhaps birthday presents are better wrapped in transparent cellophane, and engagement rings not concealed in chocolate mousse. '"

“Plots are just excuses for great writing. 
What the plot is is (almost) irrelevant. The pleasure is in the writing,” 

“Monet’s paintings aren’t really about water lilies,” 

Nicholas Christenfeld
UC San Diego professor of social psychology

Looking at this study, and the history of storytelling, there is definitely some truth there. We all know certain stories, and pull them into our own times and places and enjoy them again and again.

Just because we once had this–

Doesn't mean we wouldn't enjoy this, or that our children would.

2011 saw a spate of Fairy Tale adaptations, Red Riding Hood, Beastly, Once Upon a Time and Grimm
Once Upon a Time
While these seem to seek out a female audience, just because they are fairy tales does not mean they have to be for children or for women.
Legendary seems to be banking on this fact with Jack the Giant Killer, which looks like it is going to be vastly entertaining, and If you like Brian Singer (I generally DO) you probably need to get over and residual fairy tale issues.

Facts are, a good story gets retold endlessly, how many times have parents cheated and abridged their way through a bedtime story? How many times have tales been retold through the years? What really makes an adaptation, retelling or reboot compelling is the artistry of the storyteller in this iteration, and the attention given to its execution.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hue and Cry: Lego for Girls

If there is one thing you can set your watch by, it's that the vast predominance of things done "for girls" or "for boys" are going to miss something about the core of what they are adapting.  Example, above, the new Lego Friends line of Legos aimed squarely at girls.

My first knee jerk response to this was: Wow, Lame. Legos has a product that appeals to girls, it's called Legos. They have female Lego characters, maybe not enough of them, but they exist and I remember loving them.

My nuanced response to this was: Wow, Lame. You can't even really play with the existing Lego sets with the new characters. One of the greatest crimes of childhood is that in imaginative play, where yes, branded characters end up fighting one another in epic battles, or domestic arguments, or quirky adventures, Scale Matters. 
Also, I don't see how she can pilot my space plane-castle in that outfit.
The only male action figure that was a similar size to my She-Ra was Batman, and he was a little short. He-Man and GI Joe and even the Ninja Turtles rarely played well together, entirely because of the size issue. 

Whatever one can say about play patterns and focus groups and test cases, and I'm sure Legos has reams and reams of Data, this seems to narrow what always made Legos so appealing. Choice.

They certainly are going out of their way to portray a certain type of girl, and while there seems to be a diversity of skin colors... what was wrong with the block shapes? wasn't this all about construction and a tabula rasa (or tabula yellow)?
You mean I can wear a short skirt AND bake?
Legos are building blocks and therefore can become ANYTHING, you can mix and match and imagine with them, but, the size differential of these dolls clearly call them out as "not other legos."
But to be honest, I have no idea why I'd buy a Lego pet toy when there are literally hundreds of doll/pet combos exactly like this one.
In defense, I would totally get a little girl this robot building doll set if she wanted it, it's pretty awesome, but can it play with her pirates handily? will her play experience be "a little off" because they aren't really of a piece?

And beyond the Robot kit, and the one girl on the ATV, it seems that these new toys are largely hitting the low hanging fruit of the Girls' Aisle or the "Pink Ghetto" as it often seems: Nurturing Pet Owner, Cook, Fashion Designer, Rock Diva, Lady of Leisure...
Can someone PLEASE tell me what is going on here?
I mean, seriously.  Is it landscape design? No, because this is landscape design:
There's a disconnect here as well in terms of aspirational clothing, if you scroll up you can see precisely one pair of covered legs, one long sleeve shirt, two pairs of Capri pants, and every other girl in a skirt and a lot of revealing tank tops. It may just be the marketing, but it doesn't present a product to a 5 year old in an ideal light.

With that in mind, this little girl has emerged as Patron Saint of this argument in the past couple weeks:

Preach it, Little Sister, I've been whining about this for years.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Hunger Games: Katniss and Aesthetic Perception

One of the most fascinating parts of The Hunger Games to me was that it had one of the most down to Earth explanation of why someone should care about their looks I've encountered in literature. As you may remember from my post on Tinker Bell Wearing Pants, the reason why someone chooses to look a certain way is as important as their natural beauty, and often times, far more important. Also, and this is really key to story, it's much more interesting than someone merely radiating unfathomable golden beauty under a raft of adjectives to know say: they're dressing up so people will buy them weapons so that they can fight for their survival.

Now, what follows has SPOILERS so if you don't want SPOILERS you can stop reading now, pick up the book trilogy and come back later, you've been warned. 

So Katniss, she's a pretty practical girl, darker coloring than her mother and sister and doesn't have their culturally beautiful looks. That said, she's not hideous, she's pretty we all know this, she's the heroine, it true and others do see this even though she doesn't think about it much herself, what with avoiding starvation and supporting her family and all, she's busy and young. This is all hugely relatable and frankly a good place to start.
Now you'll say to yourself, "this is such a fantasy character"; and I will reply, "Yes, she is. It's a young adult fiction fantasy novel, that is pretty much the point, accept it and move on.  Her reason for existing on multiple levels, is as an object lesson to others, and the point of a good story is to keep you interested enough to learn.

Now through twists of fate she ends up being taken as a tribute to the Captiol to fight in The Hunger Games, a reality show fight to the death between the 12 Districts of Panem. Now, while Katniss hails from District 12 a gritty Coal Mining area filled with poverty and death, the Capitol, the central district of this authoritarian empire is a place of extremely artificial beauty.

Effie Trinket, host of The Hunger Games
We're first introduced when she meets her stylist, Cinna. A young designer who is a fashion wunderkind in a land that knows its fashion, and has chosen District 12, because it is one of the poorest districts, least well provisioned, not capable of training gladiators for the arena, and that is a crime. Cinna is a man with specific gifts, who sees how he can make the biggest statement he can, and for that, Katniss is his tool. Katniss is a random variable in someone else's aesthetic style, the opening ceremonies of the Hunger Games are like the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, big costumes and people picks who they're rooting for. And, Spoiler, Cinna literally sets Katniss on fire in order to give her the most memorable image and ensure that someone would want to be her patron and send her food or weapons during the fight.

Sometimes, making a good first impression is a matter of life and death, whether it's a job interview or a national television debut when you need to garner support, consider your presentation accordingly.
Over the course of the next book, Katniss is paraded around and is constantly under public scrutiny. Largely, the style and execution of her physical appearance and activities are out of her hands, are once again: a matter of life and death. Cinna comes and goes, using his expertise in executing the instructions of President Snow and giving savvy advice to Katniss, who he knows has to keep up an act for more than fame and fortune, he knows that if she fails, the stakes are truly dire. Katniss listens to all of this advice, she takes most of it, and most importantly begins to be able to gain mastery over the aspects of beauty as she had archery and trapping. She learns what advice is good and what is bad, and survives the less martial trials with equal savviness.

The Mockingjay Pin she wears becomes her personal symbol
Don't turn down well intentioned advice out of hand, learn from all of it.
As I mentioned, the President was involved here. Katniss inadvertently makes herself a very strong political symbol at the end of the first book. And must act out motivations publicly that are contrary to the underlying reasons that she did the thing that she did that made all that come about (it is worth reading, I'm trying not to give away too much). So she's under scrutiny that is both that of of a Reality Show star, who is essentially the only star around, and a political propaganda figure for multiple factions within Panem and frankly, she's still a kid who just wants to get out of there.

She may be reacting to many factors out of her control, but within that given scenario she is smart, she is clever and she is attentive to the world around her. She knows she must look a certain way to accomplish her goals, and she strives hard to execute that goal aesthetically in a way that compliments her choices.
Finally, the game has changed, the whole world is upside down and --SPOILER-- Katniss is the figurehead of a Revolution. Now, contrary to many ideas of what the "Leader of a Revolution" is, Katniss is once again more or less under the thumb of those who have been planning for this, have more resources, and spin the world around their schemes. At the same time, Katniss

She learns how to wield her fame and image because they are the strongest weapons she has, and learns to use her voice as well as her face to move people and highlight what she knows to be important. When she learns to combine the two, she takes the power from those who would spin her opinion or speak for her, and is able to take agency for both action and perception of her actions.
A worthy message can be undercut by a poorly presented speaker. A superb, interesting facade can be utterly vacant. Aesthetic skills can be learned, and should be learned with applicable motivation behind them. The Hunger Games does a phenomenal job explaining why aesthetic presentation is important, without enforcing a specific ideal of beauty. The real beauty it asks the audience to seek out is that which best presents the self.
Clothes can come on and off, but knowing who you are underneath is the only way to truly present yourself in the most powerful, appealing light.  The reality is that the world is always watching, even in a microcosm, and if you want to get your way, you have to learn how to use the tools at your disposal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tyra Banks, Modelland and the Aspirational Top Model

Tyra, Tyra, Tyra. Tyra Banks, former Angel, media maven, TV Host, actress, singer, author. Tyra Banks is a force to be reckoned with in the Girls' Media world and those who do not recognize it do so at their peril. Tyra is the ideal to which millions of young girls hold themselves, an insanely beautiful woman, plucked off the sidewalk at 15 to super stardom on the world's runways, who loves to eat and whose curves both launched Victoria's Secret lines and her desire to reveal the extremely exacting world of Modelling and its realities to new generations of aspiring girls.

This led to America's Next Top Model, a TV show where girls go through casting, rigorous challenges that mirror some of modelling's realities and ultimately, all but one has to stand in front of an impeccably lit and styled Tyra Banks as she tells them why they just aren't good enough to make the cut... Harsh. 
I hold two pictures in my hands... and by your age I was already a multimillionaire supermodel.
But let's be clear, this is AMAZING TV, and it's no surprise that the show is going into its 18th Season. It's also a not-unrealistic interpretation of the modelling industry, which let's be clear, the mostly 17 and 18 year old contestants of ANTM have mostly already aged-out of by the time they reach Tyra's critical gaze.

You can read more of my thoughts at my Beauty: Semantics I use on this Blog entry. Rather than dive into why all this "Beauty" and material pursuit is a dangerous or bad thing, for the sake of this article, let's talk about it in these terms:
  • "Beauty" is a goal of aesthetic presentation that is pleasing to the eye of the beholder and those around them. 
  • "Style" is personally identified and executed that represents the aesthetic choices of an individual. 
  • "Fashion" is an externally dictated, aspect of potential style that is agreed upon by mutual consensus of a group. 
  • "Costume" is dressing as something that you are not, in a recognizable (i.e. not subtle) way, to mimic or represent an exaggerated "otherness"
Generally, for the garment and fashion industry, especially the costume and fashion worlds only meet on the runway, you aren't going to sell millions of Lady Gaga's Favorite McQueen Alien Bug Queen Shoes.
I'll take 10, one in every color, and then a full leg cast... make it 2.
And chances are, no one will want to show their clothes on someone who doesn't quite fit their specific measurements (designed to showcase clothes, not women themselves) or the industry standards (Tall, young, usually white) because that will affect the buyers opinions of the clothes and their yearly sales.

These, among many other sad realities are ones that the judges and coaches of America's Next Top Model impart on the young ladies. There are things they need to be able to do, they are competing against one another for jobs, as well as thinner, younger, more established models.  And not being able to take a good picture, or walk, or interview well, frankly no, you won't be hired again.
America's Next Top Model's Plus Sized Winner
This is not to say that the show fully condones all of the industry's problematic stances on race, age, and body type, they are often spoken of loudly, but they are giving some insight into the industry to girls who otherwise wouldn't know, both on screen and sitting at home.

But I haven't yet talked about Modelland? What about that picture up top you might be thinking!  Modelland, Ms. Bank's first literary attempt is very much about exactly this same thing from a different perspective. Instead of taking girls through the paces of reality, Tyra is taking her reader on a symbolic journey in a sci-fi setting that asks the same questions: What is Beautiful? Is inner beauty most important? What is more important, relationships or success? And all of the industry's big issues: race, size, elitism, xenophobia, etc... are touched on and addressed.

The reviews of this Young Adult novel are mixed, but it debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list and while it is extremely campy it is a pleasurable read if you can go into it prepared for a sci-fi fashion world novel. It has some "first novel by an author" issues, but no more than most and passes the "I would hand this to a tween girl looking for this kind book" test in my mind. Thematically, it fits with Tyra's greater themes and messages and it's fun and entertaining.

On the most recent season of America's Next Top Model (the all star season) Tyra had the finalists "act/model" in a Motion Editorial (I will trust them that that is a thing) about Modelland, which is sensible from a transmedia standpoint. Although I wish they'd spent as much time on the props as on the dresses.

The second half of which revealed who the America's Next Top Model: All Stars winner was - Spoiler, it's this one.

This whole thing was quite savvy. In fact, the whole season was extremely smartly done when you consider that they were culling the fan favorites of past seasons and creating as much content for online distribution as they could fit into the schedule of the show.  Commercials, Music Videos, Copious references to each model's fanbase. At the end of the season, when a mysterious and as yet unexplained disqualification occurred in the finale, it only served to fan the fan flames higher after the show's season ended.

America's Next Top Model has always been a juggernaut of tie-ins, licenses and promotion, this year it came in as number 9 in number of product placement references.  Make of it what you will, it is completely honest and fairly reasoned about how it does these things.

ANTM and Tyra Banks, know their audience, young girls and women (and some men) who love the glamour of fame and fashion, and who dream of a life as a supermodel, but who would very rarely get to experience that life for themselves. This is illustrated in her expansive franchise empire of transmedia storytelling, leading with the factual foot and now expanding into fiction.

While not everyone will enjoy it, and plenty will argue that it's still very superficial, all of these pieces, America's Next Top Model, Modelland and the other books that have been produced by Ms. Banks, attempt at least to discuss Superficiality in some depth beyond the easy response of "superficiality is bad." These narratives recognize that superficiality exists, that it is an integral part of one of the most influential industries on the planet, and tries to demystify some of its workings to young girls in a way they will enjoy and understand.

Licensing Beauty

If you haven't already read Beauty: The Semantic Rules of this Blog, I recommend it now. 

The business of narrative often overlooks aspects of Beauty in its properties, or doesn't give it enough attention. For example, Twilight, the books and movies, have hugely boosted the sales of pale foundations. The Hunger Games has its own Nail Polish Line, and DC has already started to roll out Wonder Woman and other Comic Book heroine inspired lines with M.A.C.

Here, fictional character Effie Trinket's personal style dictates fashion for both the fictional world of the Hunger Games and likely, the fashion of the film's fans in the real world. Wearers can mix and match from a broad color pallette according to their own style without appearing costume-y. Effie Trinket's over the top style in the Captiol of Panem is considered "Fashion" and not costume.

The commercial advice that is illustrated here is that ultimately, the aesthetic interpretations of beauty vary pretty widely in the real world. Even in distinct fashion circles the pursuits are individual at their heart, and rather than dictating a specific style the creation of compatible options are the strongest way to market beauty products within a franchise.

Beauty: Semantic Rules I Use in This Blog

Beauty is a very strong carrot that is confusingly thrown into a pot of conflicting societal dictates, stirred together, refined into glitter and blasted into the faces of young girls, from age 4 onwards (if not earlier). It's an extremely subjective analysis often portrayed as analytically objective by taste makers and professionals who have their own agendas for owning "style", "fashion" and "the next look". For many, this is fun, chasing a look, attempting a new style, the season's colors. And for many it is an arduous and repulsive chore to iron, diet, pinch, prod and attempt to emulate the forms that some people just naturally look like.

Rather than dive into why all this "Beauty" consciousness and material pursuit is a dangerous or bad thing, for the sake of this article, let's talk about it in these terms.
  • "Beauty" is a goal of aesthetic presentation that is pleasing to the eye of the beholder and those around them. 
  • "Style" is personally identified and executed that represents the aesthetic choices of an individual. 
  • "Fashion" is an externally dictated, aspect of potential style that is agreed upon by mutual consensus of a group. 
  • "Costume" is dressing as something that you are not, in a recognizable (i.e. not subtle) way, to mimic or represent an exaggerated "otherness" 
Costume may seem a little off topic, but go with me on this tangent for a moment. Costume is an often childish pursuit that is generally looked down upon in "fashionable" circles, except during specific events, Masquerades, Halloween, Carnival, Themed Parties, Some Fashion Shows (Alexander McQueen and Betsey Johnson rode/ride that line pretty close)...

Costume is about seeking out something that is performative and mythic beyond style and fashion, this is why "National Costume" is powerful: it represents a cultural identity of a group that is easily identifiable and when worn, puts a person in a totally different context, they are part of the long cultural history of their land and are representing it to others.

It's also why things like LARPing and Cosplay have such powerful resonance for fans. When you can physically put on an item to become part of a narrative or legend that resonates with you it creates a new type of engagement and sense of one's ownership in that fictional world. It helps one act in accordance with the world's rules, and understand the nuances of how a character feels: literally walking in their shoes.
These shoes are actually quite heavy, and hard to keep shiny.

Not Everyone can pull of a Metroid this Bad Ass; for instance, Metroid: Other M.
So, to review

Costume: Represents something other than yourself.
Fashion: Consensus Based

Style: What you put on your own body by your own choice.
Remember, even if someone else picks it out for you, you have to say yes.

Articles Rejected by 2011: Katniss, The Hunter

Because the year is coming to an end, I'm posting abstracts and summaries of articles that were rejected or just didn't get published last year, for recapitulation, and also because if you want me to actually flesh them out more, Dare me to in the comments, and I probably will. 



Katniss Everdeen & The Hunter: From Artemis to Hit Girl, How Katness Speaks to the Warrior in All of Us. 

The Greatest Franchises, indeed the greatest stories, appeal to certain archetypes that resonate across time. The image of a woman, bow in hand, speaks to the primal need to survive and the elegant grace of the hunt. Katniss, the lead protagonist in The Hunger Games, is both a Warrior and an Outlaw. A poacher, she combines two powerful archetypes that are not currently represented in the zeitgeist of popular culture, or at least not from the feminine perspective. This vacancy, and the careful execution of Katniss’s story, is a big part of the commercial success of The Hunger Games, and why it is a viscerally compelling story.

The perception of heroines as passive or weak does not accurately reflect the historical and modern role of women in society.  From time immemorial, women have been providers and heads of families, despite the “delicacy” of their gender or societal requirements of femininity. The difference between stereotypical interpretations of femininity and archetypal heroines is a combination of verisimilitude, celebrating the union of femininity, and the requirements of survival in any given situation. 

It gives me additional glee to pull this linked picture from an article about the movie's Nail Polish Collection
The personification of the conflict between adolescent femininity (just beginning to awake to romantic pursuits) and an extreme focus on pursuing a larger goal is one that resonates strongly with modern women.  Katniss has spent most of her youth pursing survival, becoming confident in her forestry skills, and defines herself by her skills and abilities as a provider, rather than as a potential romantic partner or master of domestic skills.

When romance and sexuality arrive in Katniss’s life, she is blindsided. While she knows innately how to give and receive affection, the connection between affection and underlying emotion is blurred by circumstance. Mirroring the struggle of many modern women, the early exploration of her sexuality is defined by insecurity. Is it any wonder that Artemis was celibate?

"You're both good men, but how can I tell who I love when you're both always wearing shirts?"
Katniss tackles these problems in her life, the obstacles she must overcome in the narrative, by taking them on actively and directly. In many ways, she is denied the luxury of other courses of action. 

Katniss hero’s journey through the lens of the Caregiver and the Outlaw shows how these archetypes impact modern perceptions of femininity and fill a vacant niche in the current pop culture landscape. It’s easy to see how it would appeal to women from all walks of life. 

From mama grizzlies to urban cosmopolitans, homemakers to corporate executives, women struggle to operate as independent and capable individuals. The feminist ideal of choosing one’s own path while still supporting a family is addressed in Katniss’s journey, a single young girl with the weight of a revolution on her shoulders. She is expected to be everything to everyone, while simultaneously desiring above all else to be able to preserve the principles and people that mean the most to her.

Articles Rejected by 2011: The Hunger Games and Twilight: Competing Philosophies of Femininity in Modern American Literature.

Because the year is coming to an end, I am looking back over abstracts and things that I submitted to places but for whatever reason, were soundly rejected by whoever saw them. In the interest of me moving forward, (though if you want and tell me so I can pontificate most verbosely on these babies) I will be posting them here. At least in abbreviated form, because as someone reading this blog, it's likely you are somewhat interested in my thoughts on these things.

The Hunger Games and Twilight: Competing Philosophies of Femininity in Modern American Literature.

Entertainment Weekly has christened The Hunger Games the likely heir apparent to the Twilight Saga’s throne in the hearts and minds of female audiences. Its ascendance on the New York Times Bestseller list as Twilight drops from the list and the rabidity of fan commentary surrounding the feature film’s casting has only re-enforced that assumption.

A number of similarities exist in the reception of the two series; they have been banned in school libraries and have proven to appeal to adults as well as their core Young Adult market segments. They both appeal to clear archetypes and contain romances that create heroines that are approachable, but who are thrust by circumstance to be larger than themselves.

While The Hunger Games represents the archetype of survival and freedom through action, Twilight represents a yearning for life after death. These themes are represented both explicitly and implicitly within the narratives of the novels and have catalyzed strong fan associations who rally around those heroines as aspirational figures. 

While both embody the Jungian archetype of the caregiver and must both face inititatic rights of death and rebirth, the similarities between them serve to exemplify very different underlying ideas about the nature of life and life beyond death. Their relationships to others, parents, lovers, friends and their community also highlight major differences in the motivations of each heroine and how that reflects larger ideologies that exist in the world of the audience.

Katniss is a survivor, a hunter, warrior and eventually the leader of a rebellion who must act in order to preserve her life and that of those she cares about. Bella, on the other hand, spends most of the Twilight Saga nearly catatonic, unable to act on her own except in a desire to end her mortal life– either to escape depression or to join Edward in the afterlife of vampirehood.

Both heroines are unmistakably caregivers, and when empowered by responsibility for others, Katniss before the beginning of The Hunger Games when her father dies and mother withdraws. Bella becomes empowered when she gives birth, both by the realization of vampiric powers and peership with her enemies, but also an ability to better perceive her goals and act to not only combat her enemies but change the very reasons they fight.

The motivation to survive and live, versus the desire to live so that one may reap rewards after death are indicative of larger motivating factors in the American population and when observed through this lens, reveals much about both heroines, their stories, and the cultures created in their fanbases. 

If you want to read more of this article: Dare me to write it in the comments.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Links for the Holidays

Since work is slowing down slightly with the holidays, I've been visiting my favorite blog: Sociological Images.

Here are some recent gems for your perusal.

Barbie Vs. Woman

Discourses on Adoption on Once Upon a Time

And for those of you who need a daily dose of indignation and facepalming...

Molson's Divergent Marketing: Cosmo V. Playboy

Because I suppose no one would be drinking it for their taste anyway.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Hey there folks,

Yes, I know, one of those blog posts saying you're going to post later, so that way. Between Jurassic Park Slope and writing a bunch of stuff for Starlight Runner (which I will actually be able to tell you about in the coming months!) I've been neglecting you, dear readers.
This is Doctor Goat, it's been a long few months.
But! I am going to be posting more in the New Year, possibly during the holiday break from work, in which I will continue to work but curse the work twice as hard as before.

Coming up in the time when I actually write: My long-threatened, unpublished articles on The Hunger Games, Twilight, Sucker Punch (Special, He Dared Me to Write it Challenge from my boss) and probably some conversation about Bridesmaids and the Help.

To tide you over, Merging+Media has put up one of the panels I spoke on, if you're feeling particularly inclined here it is.