Discerning Your Threshold for Violence and Sexuality in Media Sep27

Discerning Your Threshold for Violence and Sexuality in Media...

I thought I would love Game of Thrones because I’m all about high fantasy with serious themes. When Ned Stark died in Season One, I realized just how serious the show was going to be. The stories of vengeance, frustration, hopefulness, and ruthlessness all captured my attention. But by the end of Season Three, I noticed something troubling me after I watched each episode. I’ve always taken sexual abuse very seriously. The rape scene in Show Girls left me shaking and furious. I could not finish watching A Clockwork Orange because the scenes of rape filled me with so much rage that I was ready to destroy something. This fury is partly why I stopped watching Game of Thrones, but has also extended to all media that I participate in. I watched The Magicians until the end of Season One, where a graphic rape scene is played out. I don’t like feeling that angry and media that continually returns to scenes of sexual violence leaves me in a state of constant agitation, which bleeds into my life and causes discord in all my relationships. The more I pack into my mind, the harder it is on me and the more I suffer. To add to that, I have friends who have been sexually assaulted. I’ve spent time with them listening to their pain and anguish. As an empathetic person, I feel their stress, fear, and suffering when they talk about it. My wife has experienced significant sexual trauma and a big part of our relationship has been filled with sorting that out and trying to find peace amidst that sorrow. The specter of sexual abuse haunts the victim for many years, sometimes never fully leaving and manifesting in all sorts of ways at inconvenient...

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...

KONA: Lost to Justice...

In Canada, we imprison people who have committed serious crimes with the intent to rehabilitate them. The hope is that, when removed from society, they will have time to consider their actions and get the help they need in order to become better citizens and no longer commit crimes. By reporting a crime and hunting down the one who committed it we are supposed to be serving justice and restoring people. But more often then not, we hunt down people and prosecute them in order to make them suffer for their crimes. I’ve seen many interviews of victims’ families where they say things like “I hope they rot forever behind bars for what they did” or “I can’t believe all they get is X years of jail when they’ve caused us such pain.” In a lot of cases the hurt party wants to see the offender suffer and we call that justice. I wonder if this is less justice and more vengeance. I held onto my pain as if it would somehow lead me to justice, but all it did was fill me with anger. Society doesn’t have a problem with equating punishment with justice. In the video game KONA, you play a private investigator hired to visit a small hamlet surrounding a mine in northern Quebec to look into a case of vandalism. Upon arriving, you find the landowner, Hamilton, dead and the small community shrouded in an unnatural blizzard. You aren’t getting out of town any time soon, so you start investigating the absence of people and the mystery surrounding your would-be employer. Almost immediately, you find some glowing blue snow (for our non-Canadian readers—snow doesn’t glow) that leads you to a human encased in ice (also something that doesn’t normally happen, even...

Chrono Trigger and a Green Legacy...

In How I Met Your Mother, there’s a system by which Ted and Marshal defer difficult, painful or boring decisions and tasks: they leave it to future Ted or future Marshal. I have adopted this language in my own life. Sometimes when someone asks why I’m just watching TV rather than cleaning up and I say, “that’s future Dustin’s problem.” It’s also future Dustin’s problem when I choose to see a late-night movie but have to get up early, when I buy something with credit, or when I leave sermon-writing to the last minute. And then future Dustin shakes his fist in the air and curses past Dustin for putting me in this situation. It’s often difficult to make choices with the future in mind. Our society prioritizes immediate gratification. We buy for the feeling now regardless of the payment plan. We build things to maximize profit without thought of sustainability. We make things to be discarded without considering the waste it will create. That’s ‘future humanity’s’ problem. As a Millennial, it’s easy to see the extreme housing costs, exorbitant grocery prices, mediocre job prospects, asbestos, and coal powerplants, shaking our fists at ‘past humanity’ for putting us in this situation. It would be nice to go back there and slap those people. We are going to have to stop dumping things in “future humanity’s” lap and make changes now. In Chrono Trigger, you have a chance to do that. The future is a bleak landscape of starving people who are sustained through technology. The sky is polluted and the world is a wasteland, deserted and lifeless. But you can travel back and forth in time. You can go back and smack the people of the past and tell them to stop killing all...

Rage Against the Humanity May01

Rage Against the Humanity...

Mira is the combination of the best parts of humanity and robot. That’s what the live action film Ghost in the Shell opens by saying, anyway. She combines the mind of a human with its ability to think for itself, respond to changing environments and reason out solutions with the strength and durability of a robotic frame. But is the mind the best part of what it means to be human? The human mind can do some extraordinary things. It has the ability to take in and sort stimuli from multiple sources in a near instant. It can decide on its own what to pay various levels of attention to, and even how to interpret that attention from the gentle touch that tickles to the sharp pain of a cut. It can also use that information to formulate plans that can be changed on the fly. The brain can set out to accomplish a task and as information comes in, alter, change, or completely rewrite the plan to accomplish a goal. Memory and humanity are linked. This is the ability that Cutter is after when he implants Mira’s brain into a robotic shell. He’s looking for a robot that adapts to meet a changing battlefield. He wants a weapon that has instinct, a machine that can serve him not based on logarithms and if/then statements, but with the natural ability of a human being. The problem with his plan, though, is that the human brain is not just an adaptive algorithm computer. It contains something else, something strange and beautiful that makes a human a person: a soul. In the movie, this phenomenon is referred to as a “ghost.” Whether you call it spirit, soul, ruach adoni, or ghost, it is the thing that...

Not THE Chosen One

Destiny says Zelda is chosen to defeat Calamity Gannon. She was raised on the stories of her line’s power to seal his evil away and knows she is supposed to save her people from darkness. But try as she might in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the power won’t manifest. She’s travelled to the shrines, she’s said the prayers, she’s wished with all her being that this power would just appear so she could fulfill her role as the chosen one, but it doesn’t. Her father is frustrated with the attention she gives to the ancient war machines found in the kingdom and refuses to let her focus on them rather than unlocking her power; she’s looking for something else that could save her people, because she doesn’t seem to be able to. And to top it all off, the sword that seals the darkness chose some half-mute kid rather than her. Because of her failures, the divine beasts—those that should have been able to resist Gannon—rampage across their regions causing destruction and harm. Their pilots, the heroes of each race, have died and their spirits are trapped. The guardians that were to protect the castle now patrol and destroy anyone who comes near. The world is in ruins and Link lays in stasis for 100 years; hopefully he will recover before all darkness takes the land, but his wounds were grave. Zelda had failed everyone. Link awakes 100 years after being mortally wounded, weak and with no memories, knowing only what a mysterious voice tells him: that he must regain his strength and defeat Calamity Gannon. Part of regaining that strength is restoring his memories of the kingdom, and of Zelda. As the story of their preparation to face Gannon...

Lacking Faith in Science Fiction...

One the biggest differences between science fiction and fantasy is how religion is treated. In fantasy, there are robust faith systems where the gods who interact with people and their organizations do both great or terrible things; there is often an acceptance of these deities within societies. This is my case for calling Star Wars a science fantasy rather than science fiction because the Force has true power, its followers live good lives and society recognizes it as significant, even if some people disagree with the Jedi mandate. The Death Star was science perfected, but Vader could still Force Choke an admiral over vid-call. Religion had power. In science fiction, however, religion is usually treated with scorn, particularly in the face of science. The crew of the Enterprise meets many new people and many different faiths; often religion is failing or abusing those people, and the crew uses science to help them. Science is also king in Mass Effect. The Reapers aren’t out for blood until a society becomes scientifically advanced enough to start using Mass Effect relays and access the monoliths. In response, the first Reaper arrives and uses something called ‘indoctrination’ to twist and control people and begin killing others. Through indoctrination, Saren is converted to their cause and tries to undermine the Alliance and keep them from mounting a defense against the Reapers’ return. Science and faith don’t have to be in direct opposition. Some people respond to the Reaper invasion by saying it is the judgment of God, and they are laughed at or mocked. Faith as a response to the Reaper invasion is faced with extreme criticism, though one of the Normandy’s crewmembers, soldier Ashley Williams, does profess a faith in God and Commander Shepard is given the opportunity...

Sleeping Dogs and Where I Belong...

When left in isolation, humans experience a range of physical symptoms and even deeper damage to their minds. A McGill study that was attempting to analyze the effects of isolation by having people stay in sensory deprivation rooms for a month had to be cut short; by the second day, almost all the volunteers were hallucinating sound, sight, and pain. The effects were too dangerous and overwhelming to continue. Even hermits that remove themselves from society keep a pet or talk to God or seek some sort of community; being alone is unbearable. Sleeping Dogs, an open world adventure video game, makes me feel like I need to belong somewhere, but where I belong matters just as much as belonging. In the game, Wei Shen returns to Hong Kong as an undercover cop set on infiltrating the Sun On Yee triad. His mission is to destabilize the triads and reduce their control over society, but Wei has a vendetta against one of the mid-level bosses named Dogeyes who he blames for introducing his sister to heroine, the drug that would eventually take her life. His goals were infiltrating the gang, undermining its bosses, and getting revenge. As Wei Shen, you join a triad boss named Winston who is in competition with Dogeyes. It’s a perfect situation to target your rival while undermining the triads. The characters are crude and violent, so it’s easy to feel good betraying them and putting a stop to their misdemeanors. Even throwing someone else under the bus in order to protect your cover seems like the “right” thing to do. It was nice to not be constantly under suspicion and know that if I ran into trouble, they had my back. To prove that you aren’t a cop, you...

Logan and Overcoming Rage Mar13

Logan and Overcoming Rage...

For Wolverine, denying his rage is like denying breath. Wolverine is characterized by his berserker fury and Logan holds nothing back when it comes to it. He rips, slashes, maims and destroys. He cannot control his anger and knows it. It’s why he warns people they don’t want to mess with him because they will die. But in the film Logan, all that rage has taken a toll on his mind. I can understand where he’s coming from because I have not always been in control of my anger. There have been times when I have lashed out and caused harm to people and things. While the people who have been hurt can forgive me and eventually forget about it, the fact that I’ve hurt them stays with me much longer. Many years later I can still remember hurt that I’ve caused to others because I couldn’t control how I reacted to anger. While I am troubled by the hurt I’ve caused, Wolverine has maimed and killed hundreds of people and while I have moments of remembering and feeling sad, he has outright nightmares. When Logan wakes up from one of these nightmares, Laura tells him that she has nightmares too because people have done bad things to her. Logan confesses that his nightmares are because he has done bad things to people. Giving into rage and lashing out leaves emotional trauma that may never fade. All you can do is try and figure out how to live with it. When Laura, Logan’s daughter, admits that she has done bad things to people too, but justifies it because they were bad people, Logan tells her that the impact of uncontrolled anger hurts you no matter how much the other person deserved it. Logan tries...

Who Pays for My Choices? The Cost of Sacrifice in Final Fantasy XV...

Be ye warned: this article contains spoilers for Final Fantasy XV. Most video games expect us to sacrifice something to save the world, rescue a princess, or stop an evil dictator. Sometimes we must sacrifice some of our resources, sometimes we have to make the choice to back one country over another, and sometimes we are asked to give up our very lives to save the ones we love. I’ve played a lot of games and come to expect at some point that there will be some sort of sacrifice, although there is one franchise that has consistently made sacrifice uncomfortable and cut through the familiarity: Final Fantasy. I have a vivid memory of the moment Sephiroth appeared behind Aerith and impaled her on his Naginata. I can even smell the carpet I was sitting on the first time I witnessed that death. And I remember wondering how she was going to come back or who they were going to give me to replace my main healer. Once I realized there was no replacement and I’d have to make someone function less effectively to make up for the loss, I was infuriated. It was frustrating and angering and maybe the first time I really felt the loss of a sacrifice (in game or otherwise). I’ve played a lot of games since then, experiencing the pattern of sacrifice in their stories. I’ve shed a tear for a lost brother escaping the locust and I’ve been furious watching a valiant warrior give his life for people who don’t even realize their freedom has a cost. To a certain degree, I’ve grown tired of sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake and find myself annoyed that a hero can’t just win without giving something up. Does everyone always have to...

Deadpool’s Unlikely, Perfect Love Jan11

Deadpool’s Unlikely, Perfect Love...

Usually a movie lets you know very quickly who the hero and villain are, painting the hero in the best possible light. Sometimes that hero is a brooding, troubled stranger in need of love or a reluctant, gruff, loner who is forced to become the hero we know he can be. Every now and then, the hero is just a regular person who must face impossible odds and overcome—regardless of the circumstances, the hero ends up being good and the movie lets us know it. Even in a movie like Suicide Squad, where the protagonists are villains, we are constantly shown that there are other ‘bad guys’ because they keep doing good things. We can’t help but tell stories where our heroes are good, and even if the hero is doing questionable things (Captain America: Civil War, anybody?) they still have good intentions. But that isn’t the case with Deadpool. Right from the beginning, he lets you know that he is “no hero” and then spends the rest of the movie being his brutal, crude, and disgusting self. The good guys—Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead—make it very clear that he is not really on their side, although they leave room for hope; the bad guys make it clear he isn’t on their team either, although you wouldn’t know it based on most of his actions. Rather than knowing exactly where he fits, you have to decide if Deadpool is hero, villain, or something in between. Right from the beginning he lets you know that he is “no hero.” Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, is not a good guy. He’s a dishonourably discharged black-ops soldier with several confirmed kills and a bad habit of using his considerable repertoire of vulgar and disgusting language to offend those around him. Now...

The 12 Days of Geekdom Dec23

The 12 Days of Geekdom...

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the one ring to rule them all (My Precioussssss) On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 Grabthar’s Hammers And the one ring to rule them all On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 X-Wings 2 Grabthar’s Hammers And the one ring to rule them all On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 4 green rupees 3 X-Wings 2 Grabthar’s Hammers And the one ring to rule them all On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 Halo Riiiiiiings . . . 4 green rupees 3 X-Wings 2 Grabthar’s Hammers And the one ring to rule them all . . . . . On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 wookies mrwwwararrraara’ing 11 Time Lords quipping (technically it was only 1 from 11 different times but at slightly different intervals and the first one was the last one to arrive and the last one was the first one to arrive so they know progressively less and less, or more and more depending on how you look at it . . . it’s complicated) 10 Red Shirts dying 9 Wraiths a’ringing 8 orcs exploding 7 wands a’waving 6 Zombies shambling 5 Halo Riiiiiiings . . . 4 green rupees 3 X-Wings 2 Grabthar’s Hammers And the one ring to rule them...

It’s the End of the World and I’m S.P.E.C.I.A.L....

Sirens rage and people flee, the moment feared as come to be. Pack up the kids don’t take a thing for death is coming on steely wing. All seems lost as bombs descend, the nuclear fire swells. But for the few steel doors roll shut and inwardly life dwells. 122 vaults are sealed in the Fallout universe as nuclear bombs fall across the USA. As far as humanity knows, those vaults host the only survivors. Humanity has ruined the planet with wars, aggression, and violence, and now the only hope for the species is to lock itself away until the consequences of their evil abates and the surface is safe. Decades go by, generations are born and die, and finally as vault systems begin to break down or fail, lone wanders, merchants, and survivors venture out into the wasteland in hopes of finding a way to sustain life and begin again. As the locks cycle and the door slides away breaking the 200-year seal, I’m struck with the harsh colours and unfiltered lights of a changed world. Dust blows and something ominous howls in the distance… its clear I’m no longer in the safe arms of Vaultec™. But it’s okay. I took the Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test (G.O.A.T.) and it said I was handy with a pistol, knew my way around an IED and could probably sweet talk my way into an extra couple caps for that old junk I found. I made sure my Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence and Agility complimented my G.O.A.T. and I even threw in a little Luck, well, for luck. Knowing I’m S.P.E.C.I.A.L. gives me total confidence that as a survivor of the war I’m ready to go out, blaze a trail of glory in the empty wasteland,...

Our Response to Fear and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided...

In 2027, Hugh Darrow activates a signal that sends augmented people into a hallucinogenic rage. This results in the Aug Incident in the video game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Though the signal lasts for mere hours before being shut down, the damage is done. With a push of a button, Hugh Darrow has created a rift between augmented (people who have been “improved” by using cybernetics, nanites, and implants) and naturals (people with no augments). There was already mistrust of the power wielded by the mechanically augmented so this act of violence across the world creates such fear that a mechanical apartheid is put into place in Prague. The first time I took a train in game from one of Prague’s boroughs to the next, there was a cut-scene where police ask for identification. Two minutes later, when I was walking between sectors of the town, I was again subjected to a short cut-scene demanding identification. The second time I took a train, I was accosted immediately after exiting the train, threatened amidst derogatory terms like ‘clank’ or ‘hanzer,’ and informed that if I kept using the train they would take more drastic measures. That was the first moment I looked around and realized that I’d been using the norm’s entrance/exit to the train and not the aug’s. I pushed it one more train trip and the police were extremely rude and promised violence if I didn’t shape up… Suffice it to say, I didn’t use the normal entrance again. Fear creates a perfect environment where attacking first seems like the only way to survive. I started paying more attention to my surroundings after that. I saw an uninviting walkway surrounded by an electric fence, the entrance for augmented people. When I used this...

One of Your Many Toys Sep16

One of Your Many Toys...

“You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys… don’t tell me what to do and don’t tell me what to say and when I go out with you, don’t put me on display. These are the lyrics for the song playing when the infamous Harley Quinn is introduced for the first time. She’s hanging from the bars of a cell in the center of a room and surrounded by several guards. “I sleep where I want and with who I want” she states to the head guard. She’s a take-no-crap, hard-as-nails, super woman who will put anyone into the hospital for coming near her. Not only is she tough, but she is smokin’ hot and we are reminded that over and over, between almost every male’s comments and her strutting her stuff in short shorts and a tight tee. But with every remark on her beauty, there is also a statement about how crazy she is. And it’s the crazy that is her ticket to the party that is the Suicide Squad. Each person on the squad has a special set of skills and a particular destructive bent that brings them to the squad, but Harley is unique. Where each other member has an internal system of morals or ethics, a thieves’ code if you will, Harley has none because Harley isn’t a villain by choice, she’s a villain by design. No amount of obsession can resolve an evil heart. Deadshot doesn’t kill women or children, Croc only eats people who get in his way, Captain Boomerang is a thief but far from a soulless killer, and Diablo is a pacifist recognizing that his anger cost him everything. Harley is a creature broken, damaged, and destroyed. She is the product...

7 Reasons Handsome Jack is the Perfect Hero...

“See, I can’t just have some psychopathic murderers getting to the Vault before I do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute that you all think you’re the heroes of this little adventure, but—you’re not. You’re bandits. You’re the bad guys. And I… am the hero.” You might notice there are eight things on this list. That’s the kind of guy Jack is. 1. He’s generous. “If you bring me word of Lilith, I will pay you enough money to build a mansion, made of other, smaller mansions.” 2. He has a majestic mount. “I just got a pony made of diamonds, I think I’ll call it butt stallion.” 3. He knows big words. “Be honest with yourself, kid. Do you really think you can stop me? I knew you were gonna go for Roland. I am smarter than you. I don’t mean to condescend, that’s just a fact. ‘Condescend’ is a word that means ‘talk down to.’ You got that, kitten?” 4. He always wins. “Oh, I’m sorry. Was that your shields that just went down? So you knew that I knew, you were going for the power core—and you just plugged it in? Even for you guys, that’s pretty—ah, man, that’s pretty stupid… I told you, I always win.” 5. He cares about the little guy. “I just came back from rescuing the Space Vixens of Eden-6, and thought I’d check in with my number one fan. Hey, Justin, why the long face?” 6. He has statues. “Go ahead. Knock the last one down. I’ve already got a great idea for a new statue. It’s just gonna be me, kicking you in the junk. I’m gonna commission like fifteen of those [things] and put them everywhere!” 7. He’s all about teaching. (Taking out...

Kubo and a Life Defined by Story Sep02

Kubo and a Life Defined by Story...

“If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to what you see no matter how unusual it may seem. If you look away even for just one second, then our hero will surely parish.” These words, repeated throughout Kubo and the Two Strings, indicate the movie is all about story. Most specifically, the way that stories shape who we are. Kubo begins each day by telling tales of warriors, monsters, and quests to the villagers with the power of animated origami. But his story is tied to his wounded mother, a fear of his grandfather in the moon, and a father who gave his life to save him. While he has heard the stories of these things, he doesn’t fully believe them until he meets the people who stole his eye. Kubo’s Mother Kubo’s mother has a story as well. She was an assassin sent to destroy Hanzo, the brave warrior, who was searching for three magical artifacts that would give him the power to care for the people of the world. She was cold, calculating, perfect in her hardness, and her story would have continued on that way but for four simple words spoken by Hanzo: “You are my quest.” Her story is invaded by love and through love she is forever changed. Her sisters and her father think that love has made her weak, destroying the perfection of the porcelain life her sisters still live, but her love has made her strong and gives her the power to overcome, as well as to protect and defend others. Some say that we are the sum of our choices, but that feels like it reduces who we are to a mathematical equation. I have known love and it has changed me. My...

Faith of a Technomancer...

Zachariah Mancer has a secret, and it’s a game changer: the electro-powers he wields are not a gift from the gods but a genetic mutation. While that may seem like no big deal; the society he lives in doesn’t believe mutants are actually people, so if the word gets out that he and those like him are mutants, they will lose not only their position but their freedom. And the position of Technomancer is worth protecting. Part shock troop, part interplanetary enforcer, and part hand-of-god, they are feared and revered, given all access and almost never questioned. So if society finds out that they are the product of mutation rather than divine order than they will become nothing more than tools in the hand of Viktor Seeker, a malevolent commander who attempts to wrest the secret of the technomancers from Zachariah but is ultimately rebuffed. So much of the game is centered around capturing possible data leaks, suppressing information, and quelling questions into the histories of Mars that might shed light on the technomancer origin. Quests like this leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I know it is supposed to make me want to protect my brothers and band together behind a shared secret. Instead it upsets me that a bunch of young people are growing up with a power they don’t understand but are told it makes them special, until they are brought into the inner circle and discover everything they believe is a lie. Not only is everything a lie, but all the work that has gone into achieving an exulted rank has earned them the task of protecting and perpetuating that lie. No organization should ever demand this from those who are part of it, yet I feel that throughout...

Living with a Bullet Wound Jul15

Living with a Bullet Wound...

Occasionally, I play a little game in the back of my mind where I imagine I go back in time and change something. Sometimes I go back and slap past me in the face right before I was going to do something stupid. Sometimes I go back and warn myself about a danger that is ahead. Every now and then I go back and change someone else’s actions—sometimes drastically—so I don’t have to suffer today for what they did back then. I play this game when I’m frustrated that I don’t have enough money to do what I want or when I’m feeling annoyed that I have to deal with an obnoxious family dynamic. But most of the time I play this game because I’m feeling depressed and want that feeling of hopelessness to go away. That’s when I imagine I could go back and somehow change an abusive childhood, a system of emotional damage or that one event that still haunts me… things that would take away the pain that I live with every day. So when Barry Allen sat on the porch experiencing the deep mourning that comes from watching his parents die right before him, giving up the perfect life with Iris to save Joe and knowing that not one but two mentors he trusted and loved turned out to be vicious and destructive forces he’d have to battle with, I felt his pain. And when he tells Iris that he can’t figure out how to engage in a relationship with her even though this is something he’s been dreaming about for years, his pain is heart breaking. Barry’s biggest problem is that he continues to live in the past and doesn’t look to the future. Iris leaves him, saying she’ll...

Team Cap: Standing Firm Jun13

Team Cap: Standing Firm...

You’re a prude because you’re waiting until you’re married to have sex. You’re ignorant because you believe everything was created by a loving God. You are a misogynist because you believe life begins at conception. You’re homophobic for finding an identity based on your faith rather than finding it in how you feel or who you are attracted to. Have you ever had any of these things said to you? If so, then grab a shield, and welcome to Team Cap! Society tells us how to see people, how we should act, and the things we should accept as true. If we disagree, we are the villains. But society isn’t always right. Popular opinion is rarely the best indicator for truth and justice; actually, it is often the worst. Consider Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian during World War II and, I would argue, a proud member of Team Cap. He spoke out against the atrocities committed by his society to the Jewish people, the handicapped, and the poor. He spoke out against war and taking land by force, and he was sent to a concentration camp by his society to be abused and ultimate die. I also think of Susan B. Anthony, James Brown (the 18th century abolitionist, not the singer), Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr; all people who spoke out against the societal norms and views of minorities, all who suffered for their convictions. All too often we present only the edge of our shield as we condemn people who disagree with our opinions and perspectives. These people, and many more, found their truth outside society, planted their feet and set their shield echoing the words left to Peggy Carter’s niece: “Sometimes when society says ‘MOVE’ you have to look back...