The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People Sep20

The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People...

Growing up, I always tried to be the “obedient kid”—the one who followed all the rules and stayed out of trouble. Coupled with the fact that I usually kept to myself, this made it very easy for me to look down on those who didn’t abide by the same rules I did. I’d engage with people, but I always carefully judged them against my standards. As a result of my constant judgment, I pushed myself further and further into isolation, always keeping my distance from those who didn’t live up to my values. This mindset became very toxic in my mid-to-late teen years. As I got older, my standards grew higher and higher, and I found myself mentally denouncing just about everyone around me. Church groups, circles of friends, school activities—I saw what I believed to be major flaws in all of them, and I used these as excuses to disassociate myself from many of these people. The two main characters of the anime Death Note, Light and L, both adhere strongly to their own ideas about what’s right and wrong. They also each possess the ability to impose their philosophies on the world around them: Light has a notebook with which he can kill anyone just by writing their names, and tries to purge the world of crime by killing convicted criminals. Meanwhile L, who is heralded as the world’s greatest detective and has access to many of the world’s law enforcement resources, views Light’s actions as murder and begins hunting him down. Viewers often take sides with one of these two characters; after all, they’re both driven by seemingly noble goals. Yet, they also share the same crippling flaw: they value their principles more than they value people. They each believe themselves...

Episode 99 – I’d Like To Eat Your Brains Sep19

Episode 99 – I’d Like To Eat Your Brains...

It’s the only podcast that always gets to use the Player One controller, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Kyle, and Allison look back on their favourite fictional games in the Question of the Week and open some Saved Files that include a rant on one of Jason’s favourite historical characters of all time. Then in the second segment, empathy (and brains) are on the menu in iZombie and we use Allison’s recent piece for Christ And Pop Culture, Zombies Among Us: iZombie Chows Down on Dehumanization as a starting place for a challenging conversation about what we can all gain from getting inside people’s heads one way or another. Question of the Week: What’s your favourite fictional game? The song in the break is Pig-Man by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @GeekWrites Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Zombies Among Us: iZombie Chows Down on Dehumanization Sep18

Zombies Among Us: iZombie Chows Down on Dehumanization...

In iZombie, zombies aren’t just mindless, shuffling corpses with skin rotting off their bones. Not if they have access to a regular supply of brains, anyway. The series’ main character, Liv Moore, is a member of Team Z, and she does the best she can, not only to survive in her new life but also to help others. She gets her meals by working at a morgue where she can sneak brains into her stuffed gnocchi on a daily basis. And because eating a brain allows her to see the dead person’s memories, she helps a police detective solve crimes by chowing down on murder victims’ cerebrums. As iZombie progresses, though, it becomes apparent that Liv isn’t alone. Seattle’s zombie population is surprisingly high, though most have learned to hide their presence (and ghoulish appearance) with hair dye and spray tans. This is a fact that Liv’s ex-fiancé, Major Lilywhite, learns through a traumatic series of events that ends with a zombie attempting to murder him. “I wasn’t crazy,” he tells Liv. “Zombies are real… And don’t worry, ‘cause I’m gonna kill them. I’m gonna kill them all.” Major automatically assumes all zombies are evil, and you can’t really blame him when brains are the main item on their menu. After hallucinating that Major accepts her zombie status, his announcement of a zombie hunting spree is shocking news to Liv. She continues to hide her true nature because she’s afraid he will hate her for it; she’s afraid he won’t think of her as a person any more. Not surprisingly, he’s less than happy when he does learn the truth. Read the rest of the article on Christ and Pop...

College Classes Taught by Your Heroes Sep15

College Classes Taught by Your Heroes

If you’re not looking forward to going back to school, here are some classes you may want to add to your timetables. 1. Steve Rogers – American History Not only is Steve passionate about his homeland, but living through much of its history is one of the perks of being 95. 2. The Tenth Doctor – Physics “Physicsphysicsphysicsphysics physics! I hope one of you is getting all this down.” 3. Galadriel – Astronomy She’s so good, she can put starlight in a bottle. 4. Yoda – Communication Difficult, it can be. 5. Hermione Granger – Literature The type of literature is irrelevant. Hermione knows it all—or if she doesn’t, she’ll stay in the library until she does. 6. Spock – Statistics Nothing illogical will be tolerated in this classroom. 7. Sherlock Holmes – Criminal Justice It’s elementary, my dear students. 8. Rumpelstiltskin – Legal Studies No one’s better at making a deal than the Dark One—just make sure your homework doesn’t include signing one of his contracts. 9. J.A.R.V.I.S. – Computer Science He knows computers inside and out. 10. Wonder Woman – Classical Studies She’s straight outta Greek...

Doing Nothing is Not Enough Sep13

Doing Nothing is Not Enough...

There’s always a reason to avoid helping someone. Finances, distance, capability, health, or other obstacles often stand between me and assisting a friend. Maybe they need help moving, but my sprained ankle won’t allow me to lift boxes. Maybe they’re having a rough day, and I can’t take them out for coffee because I’m out of town. Maybe they’re going through financial difficulties, but I have no money to spare. Standing by and doing nothing makes me feel worthless. What can I do when I’m prevented from offering something tangible to those in need? Granny from Summer Wars is intimately familiar with this problem. At eighty-nine years old, there’s not much she can do when a vicious virus breaks out in OZ, the virtual world that connects just about every facet of society. Some of her family are prevented from visiting her on her birthday because of traffic jams; others, because they are dealing with the crisis in their jobs. She could have easily looked at all the things she couldn’t do, and let the situation play out. She could have stayed put, bitter that this event occurred on what was supposed to be a special day. It’s not like there was anything else for her to do—she couldn’t drive out to help direct traffic or volunteer at a hospital. She could have easily looked at all the things she couldn’t do, and let the situation play out. But instead, she decides to encourage. After hearing about the crisis on the international news, she gets out her address books and starts calling everyone she knows who might be involved with the situation—emergency personnel, old friends, government officials. “Don’t lose heart!” she tells them. “This is something only you can do.” “You betcha you can!”...

Episode 97 – A Portal To Empathy Sep12

Episode 97 – A Portal To Empathy...

The only podcast that knows ‘X’ never, ever marks the spot, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason and Kyle are joined by Justin Koop as they celebrate the many different career styles of Mr. Videogame himself—Mario. Then Kyle regales them with some new boardgame-centric fundraising campaigns in Kickstarter Corner. Then in the second segment, the gang talks about how not all robots are cold unfeeling machines—some are turrets! How Portal’s Turrets Model The First Step To Empathy by Julia Hamm is the roadmap to this discussion about how empathy isn’t just a passive connection to other people, but something we can learn and become better at. Question of the Week: What’s your favourite iteration of Mario? Kyle’s Kickstarter Corner The Game Anywhere Table Rampage Gothic – 3d Printable Scenery Building System The song in the break is North Hill Transit Speedrun by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Justin’s Twitter: @TheKoop13 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

How Portal’s Turrets Model the First Step to Empathy...

Because Portal is an iconic video game series within geek culture, I felt like I knew almost everything about it before I started playing. I already understood the concept—a young woman, Chell, wakes up in a testing facility, solves puzzles at the instruction of a demented A.I., and attempts to escape Aperture Science. My foreknowledge made the learning curve seem really shallow, and I already knew about GLaDOS’s personality, having heard so many of her lines out of context. While I enjoyed the game immensely, none of it seemed particularly new to me—except for the turrets. The turrets are the complete antithesis of GLaDOS. Whereas GLaDOS is out to get Chell, the turrets are just doing their job. GLaDOS insults; the turrets say please. GLaDOS lies and manipulates; the turrets are completely straightforward. When I encountered them, the turrets hadn’t been programmed to encounter test subjects. Instead of the military androids they expected, they got Chell, and they weren’t quite sure what to do with her. It’s a far simpler answer than I want it to be. I’d love something more complex that gives me permission to stay in a bad mood. As the turrets tried to fulfill their job with limited information, Chell dropped them from the ceiling, hurled weighted cubes at them, or just picked them up and tossed them, but their tone never changed from polite helpfulness. As they shuddered and died, I was startled and intrigued by their words: “I don’t blame you.” “No hard feelings.” “I don’t hate you.” “Why?” The turrets didn’t seem to take Chell’s attacks against them personally. Rather than get angry at her, they asked her to stop. And when she didn’t, they didn’t hate her for it. They weren’t offended by her actions, and...

In Case You Missed Your Hogwarts’ Acceptance Letter Sep08

In Case You Missed Your Hogwarts’ Acceptance Letter...

Maybe you’re not heading to Hogwarts or Starfleet Academy, but good news, everyone! There are some other amazing options out there. Jack Sparrow’s Colloquy of Sailing and Diplomacy Students at this prestigious institution will learn the basics of sailing in an authentic haunted vessel. Navigation is covered with special emphasis on using magic tools to find your heart’s desire. The basics of Caribbean diplomacy—including misdirection, bait-and-switch, and general skullduggery—are at the heart of our instruction. Whether you want to serve on a pirate crew or master your own vessel, Jack Sparrow’s school is for you! And, best of all, you can pay your tuition in rum! The Guy-in-the-Chair College Want to be part of the superhero scene without all the spandex, physical exertion, and danger? The Guy-in-the-Chair Academy is the place for you! You’ll learn valuable skills such as “looking things up on the internet” and “looking other things up on the internet, but on a different computer.” With particular emphasis on “finding the answer just in the nick of time,” our esteemed faculty include Wade Load, Chloe O’Brien, and Ned Leeds. Cypher, the founder of the college, is sadly no longer available to teach. The Hoban Washburne Memorial Flight School Tired of being stuck just watching all of those cool space maneuvers on screen? Want to get in on the action? Transmit your application today! Study the art and science of “On Time Delivery” and “Flying with Instruments” with Turanga Leela. Or spend some time on “Improvised Piloting” with co-instructors Poe and Finn. Gain real skills in “Evasion and Exposition” with Hikaru Sulu. The Winchester Institute of Monster Hunting Founded by the Winchester family, all courses at the institute are taught by Sam and Dean. Class sessions are held approximately whenever they are...

Why We Glorify School-Age Memories Sep06

Why We Glorify School-Age Memories...

Deep space is fun and fantasy worlds are neat, but my favourite setting for stories is a school. These wondrous places fill me with nostalgia and a romantic longing for youth, innocence, friendship, and learning. I never attended a school that evoked such feelings in real life—the schools I frequented were mostly mundane, brick buildings with minimal landscape design—but somehow, I travel to a past I’ve never lived when I see them on screen. In My Hero Academia, students attend U.A. High, a superhero school where they learn how to use their powers, called Quirks. Although there are hints of a darker storyline early in the series, much of that tension is relaxed by the high school atmosphere. The classmates, who bond over their shared abilities, become close friends by seeing (and sometimes competing with) one another so often. In Japanese schools, a class stays together throughout the day in the same classroom, and teachers are the ones who rotate in, so they learn and grow together. The finale of Season One, however, shatters the sense of wonder associated with the school when the students and staff are attacked within its walls. The aptly named League of Villains appears in force, and while the superheroes-in-training courageously fight back, they’re also very afraid. Kids battle against hardened criminals who are willing to kill. They aren’t in a controlled learning environment anymore; the danger is real. U.A. High is a school that feeds my dreams, led by teachers who are superheroes themselves. This span of episodes brought me out of my comfort zone. I’d fully bought into the goodness of U.A. High; it’s a school that feeds my dreams, led by teachers who are superheroes themselves. Even though the baddies are ultimately repelled, that warm, fuzzy...

Episode 96 – Don’t Race To Conclusions Sep05

Episode 96 – Don’t Race To Conclusions...

The only podcast that always gets a lightning bolt in first place, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle look for characters that took them a while to come around to in the Question of the Week then load up some Saved Files including Jason’s warming to the Nintendo Switch and Allison’s thoughts as she makes her way through Supergirl. Then in the second segment, the hosts continue to step into the waters of contentious issues using Michael Boyce’s The Uncomfortable Racism of C.S. Lewis as a blueprint. How do we look at great works written in different times under the lens of today’s values? Do we have to throw away everything a great artist does when they stumble or make a mistake? You’ll have to listen to find out? Question of the Week: What character took you a long time to like? The song in the break is It’s Not Old Skool It’s Classic by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

The Dark Tower Demonstrates the Power of Pain and Suffering Sep04

The Dark Tower Demonstrates the Power of Pain and Suffering...

“I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye. I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind. I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.” This is the creed of the gunslingers, a blend of old west sheriffs and holy knights, who have been charged with defending the Tower and the people of the realm. Their word is law and their bullets strike true. They wander the realm defending the weak, caring for people and championing justice—or at least they used to before they all died. The Man in Black, a malicious sorcerer, has made it his life’s goal to destroy the Tower and end the humans’ reign. Two things stand in his way: Roland, the last of the gunslingers, and finding a child with the perfect “shining” (telekinetic-type force of mind that can see into the past and future, defeat demons, and contact people telepathically). Roland, for some reason, is resistant to the Man in Black’s magic so the sorcerer cannot kill Roland personally. But as the Man in Black does the next best thing: kills everyone Roland loves. Roland is left wandering, alone and distraught. This is where Jake Chambers, the missing piece of the Man in Black’s master plan, finds him and hears him profess, “there are no more gunslingers.” Only when Roland truly embraces a vulnerable, loving heart is he able to defeat his foe. Roland has ceased to care about the world around him and is obsessed with destroying...

5 Characters Who Made Bad First Impressions Sep01

5 Characters Who Made Bad First Impressions...

When I tell people I was homeschooled, they often ask if I was shy or antisocial as a child. When I tell people I’m a geek, they ask if I have a job and still live in my parents’ basement. When I tell them I’m Southern, they ask why I don’t have a strong accent. When people assume things about me, they often get a first impression that isn’t accurate. It frustrates me because they’ve attributed characteristics to me within the first few minutes, and I have to fight to counter a negative first impression when I shouldn’t have to. I feel hurt when people think they know me from a few stereotypes they heard through the grapevine. But I’m guilty of doing this too, with people I meet and with fictional characters. Sometimes I make up my mind about them before I give them a chance. Here are five characters I didn’t like at first, but changed my mind about later. For some of them, I grew to like them as they changed and adapted; for others, I started to like them because I understood them better. What characters would you add to this list? “GOLLUM =D” by speedportraits (speedportraits.deviantart.com). 1. Gollum (The Lord of the Rings) When I first saw Gollum in the movies as a child, I was terrified of him. I wasn’t sure of what to make of this “gangly creature.” He was an odd schizophrenic who seemed bent on doing anything, including murder, to get back the Ring. But as I learned more about his character and understood his addiction, watched his development I realized, like Frodo did, that he really is a creature to be pitied, not feared. “Cactus Love…” by Moni (moni158.deviantart.com). 2. Sokka (Avatar: The Last...

The Uncomfortable Racism of C.S. Lewis Aug30

The Uncomfortable Racism of C.S. Lewis...

Since childhood, I’ve had a strong attachment to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. My aunt gave me a set of the books, which currently sit in a place of honour in my office. I’ve read and reread the series throughout my life with a sense of wonder and delight. As my critical reading skills developed, and as I began to understand systemic power dynamics, my naïve love of Narnia gave way to a more complicated and nuanced relationship with the stories. I realized they could be almost heavy-handedly allegorical at times. The characters, particularly in the final novels, are overly broad, almost parodic. And don’t get me started on Lewis’s class assumptions or Susan and Lucy’s exclusion from battle. But the most troubling aspect of the series came to light a few years ago when I was first teaching a class on Lewis and Tolkien. Most of the students, like me, had been introduced to Lewis’s novels as children. A few had passed the series on to their own children, even grandchildren. One student, however, had taken the class to fill an elective and had no prior knowledge of Narnia or Middle-earth. In our conversation about The Horse and His Boy, this student commented, “Well, I found this one a little bit racist.” The other students jumped to Lewis’s defense with well-meaning but well-worn excuses—“He lived in a different era with different attitudes about race and other cultures.” Too often we’re afraid to question ourselves, afraid that if we acknowledge something troubling we open the door to undermining our whole belief system. I, too, a lifelong fan, found myself parroting this same line of thinking: “We need to read this in its historical context.” After class, however, I went back to the text,...

Episode 95 – Be Your Marvellous Self Aug29

Episode 95 – Be Your Marvellous Self...

The only podcast sponsored by Bachelor Chow—now with flavour, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle answer a question about their favourite special editions (and you’d better believe Star Wars comes up) before Allison gives out this month’s Sweetdiculous Award to a delightful and inventive puzzle game. Then in the second segment, our hosts ask what they can learn from the story of Kamala Khan as Alex Mellen does in Ms. Marvel Defines How To Be Yourself. Kamala has followed a path that many other popular superheroes have tread: being the hero you want to be without sacrificing the person you need to be. So how can we take lessons learned from her and grow ourselves? Listen on to find out! Question of the Week: What’s your favourite limited edition media? Sweetdiculous Award RiME Ori and the Blind Forest The song in the break is It’s Not A Keygen by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Your Words, Your Voice, Your Story Matters Aug28

Your Words, Your Voice, Your Story Matters...

My voice is constantly drowned in a sea of noise. I’ve always been a quiet person. In the past, I would try to speak up at the dinner table and no one would hear me, so I would just stop talking and keep what I had to say to myself. At other times, I’ve felt like what I’ve had to say is somehow less important because someone has had it worse than me or they know how to say it better. If someone seems to lose interest in the middle of what I’m saying, I’ve let the subject die even if it means a lot to me. But I want to be heard. In the anime Terror on Resonance, the two teenagers Nine and Twelve pose as terrorists named Sphynx One and Sphynx Two. They plant bombs in different locations while taking no casualties as they lead Detective Shibazaki and the Tokyo Metro police on a trail to unravel a conspiracy—a conspiracy that wants to crush what Nine and Twelve have to say to the world. Talking about my past might make me feel vulnerable, but if it encourages one person, it’s worth it. Years before, Nine, Twelve, and twenty-four other children were handpicked from orphanages to participate in the Athena Experiment: an experiment to drug gifted children into become savants without the mental challenges. However, the experiment was a failure, so the government decided to erase the evidence of the projects’ existence; that meant destroying all the test subjects. Nine and Twelve were the only ones to escape. They were the only ones left to remember the suffering their friends endured. They don’t want the deaths of their friends to be forgotten, or the murderers to get away with their crime. They want...

MCU Watchalong: The Incredible Hulk Aug24

MCU Watchalong: The Incredible Hulk...

It’s time to get incredible with Marvel’s sophomore release! Join Jason, Michael, and Dustin as they watch and joke along with the next instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Incredible Hulk! Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Michael’s Twitter: @mwboyce Dustin’s Twitter: @PDschellenberg Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Ms. Marvel Defines How to Be Yourself Aug23

Ms. Marvel Defines How to Be Yourself...

Nerds may not be the long-suffering social group they used to be, but I still don’t feel like I fit in any place where Star Wars isn’t a useful conversation starter. Hanging out at a bar isn’t fun for me. Fashion doesn’t intrigue me. I get more excited about a new superhero movie than a famous singer coming to town. I find working out boring, and I don’t even like the taste of coffee! But if I think I stick out at Starbucks with my hot chocolate and Boba Fett hat, I need to remember Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel, and how drastically different she feels from everyone around her. Kamala is a second-generation Pakistani Muslim teen living in Jersey City. Sometimes her heritage isn’t a big deal, but as a 16-year-old, she’s fed up with restrictions. Her religion means she eats different foods, dresses modestly, and celebrates holidays most people are unfamiliar with. Her parents want to keep her away from boys and wild parties, but she claims they won’t let her out because she’s a girl. Plus, her nerdy interests distance her from her straight-laced family and draw ridicule. She spends her time drooling over bacon sandwiches, writing superhero fan fiction, and questioning traditions at her mosque—such as why women have to sit separately from men. She imagines that if she became a hero, she’d take a page from her role model—Ms. Marvel, now rebranded as Captain Marvel: “I would wear the classic, politically incorrect costume and kick butt in giant wedge heels.” It’s fun to spend a few hours pretending to be someone vastly different from me. Whether I’m cosplaying or playing a roleplaying game, I get to put on a mask and act in ways I otherwise wouldn’t. I...

Episode 94 – Time To Attack The Fire Nation Aug22

Episode 94 – Time To Attack The Fire Nation...

The only podcast to use 8 whole k of RAM, it’s Infinity +1! This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle throw it back to the days of pixels and pantsuits celebrating the release of Sonic Mania and the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda’s release in America. And make sure to bring some quarters for this week’s throwback Conundrum! Then in the second segment, the solar eclipse could not have been more perfectly timed for Jen Perry’s article Living In The Fire Nation. Our world is a tumultuous place these days and Jen reflects on her American and Catholic experience, comparing it to that of the citizens of the Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender to examine the potential dangers of nationalism. Question of the Week: What is your favourite game with rules you made up? The song in the break is GB Hauz by Lazy Nerd 204 [used with permission] Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Kyle’s Twitter: @videogamefaith Allison’s Twitter: @AllisonBarron12 Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Geekdom House on YouTube: Geekdom House Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Beren, Lúthien, and Overcoming Prejudice Aug21

Beren, Lúthien, and Overcoming Prejudice...

Ages before the romance of Aragorn and Arwen, Middle-earth was home to a Man named Beren and an Elf maiden named Lúthien Tinúviel. The story of their romance became one of the pillars for J.R.R. Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth, as well as a foreshadowing of the love between Aragorn and Arwen. The most well-known version of the Beren and Lúthien story exists in The Silmarillion, but Tolkien wrote several versions of the tale—not all of them complete—and this past June, these versions were released in a single compilation, edited by Tolkien’s son, Christopher. In the earliest version of the Beren and Lúthien story—entitled “The Tale of Tinúviel”—Beren is not a Man, but an Elf of the Noldor race. Like Aragorn and Arwen, much of the tension in the Beren and Lúthien story we know comes from the fact that he is mortal, while she is immortal. You would think that, in a version where Beren is immortal, Lúthien’s father wouldn’t mind Beren courting his daughter. Think again. As it turns out, being immortal doesn’t help Beren’s case at all. Long before his time, the Noldor Elves made the journey from Middle-earth to Valinor, but later betrayed the Teleri (another Elven clan) in order to steal ships and return to Middle-earth. Luthien’s people, the Sindar, are related to the Teleri. By the time “The Tale of Tinúviel” takes place, solid prejudice exists between the Noldor and the Sindar. Lúthien’s people thought the Noldor were “treacherous creatures, cruel and faithless.” In turn, “the lies of [Morgoth the Dark Lord] ran among Beren’s folk so that they believed evil things” of Lúthien’s people. These two clans should have been allies, but instead, they mistrusted each other, hardly better than enemies. In my own life, I’ve seen prejudice...

Anime’s Racial Representation Aug18

Anime’s Racial Representation...

Racial representation is a very hot subject in Western media. There has been many an uproar about Americans and other western countries misrepresenting ethnicity by whitewashing characters or stereotyping. On the flip side, Eastern media, particularly Japanese, sometimes portrays race in unusual ways. The infamous satire Hetalia portrays just about every race under the sun in the most exaggerated style, but I want to take a look at anime that is taking these racial portrayals seriously. Japanese: In most anime, Japanese characters are animated with a variety of hair colours, as opposed to the realistic sole black (with the exception of hair dye). Kallen Kōzuki in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion has red hair, Light in Deathnote is blonde, Amu in Shugo Chara has pink hair, and so on. However, in shows such as Terror on Resonance and Psycho-Pass, characters with hair outside of black or brown are rarer, possibly because they are targeting older viewers. Chinese: In Black Butler, there are two Chinese characters—Lau and Ran-Mao. Lau is portrayed with black hair and small eyes, while Ran-Mao has larger eyes and black hair. Both are always seen in authentic Chinese garb, though this may also be due to the Victorian time period. Other Chinese characters include: Code Geass’s Xingke Li, Darker than Black’s Hei, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s Ling Yao and May Chang. Vietnamese: In Young Black Jack, the show takes place during the Vietnam War. At one point the characters travel to the Vietnamese front where they encounter many Vietnamese citizens including their translator Phan. The citizens are shown with darker skin as is accurate, but for some reason any Vietnamese spoken is muted then translated by Phan into Japanese. Other Viatnamese characters include: Sakura Wars’ Coquelicot. Indian: Also in Black Butler are the characters Prince Soma and Agni. They are shown...