Survival of the Weakest in Attack on Titan Dec15

Survival of the Weakest in Attack on Titan...

Forget the proverbial answer to the universe hidden in the Yeager family basement; I’m more curious about the T-rex in Season Two’s opening cinematic. Whether as a reimagining or reflection of the real world, Attack on Titan’s Germanic culture and firearms place it firmly in postdiluvian days, despite all those giants on the earth. Aside from the military’s trusty steeds, little more than an occasional forest creature dares to show its face betwixt all the blood and brimstone. But when a T-rex literally comes marching over the horizon in Season Two’s intro, I’m completely pulled out of my deadlocked immersion, brain scrambling to make sense of this world-building idiosyncrasy. True strength, as Attack on Titan echoes through Marco Bodt, is “knowing what it is to be weak.” As the “king of the tyrant lizards” tramples over waves of ant-like human armies, accompanied by the show’s intense theme music, it becomes symbolic shorthand for misconstrued social Darwinism: survival of the strongest. The Beast Titan leads the dinosaur, along with a herd of other assorted creatures (each the largest species of their respective animal kingdoms), becoming an icon of unchallenged rule—as the most ruthless, most powerful, and most intelligent of his kind. With his nearly human, ape-like features, the Beast Titan poses as the missing link between monkey and man. And in a world where what it means to be human is the oft-posed, existential question, this makes him even more terrifying as Season Two’s archvillain. “Strength preys on weakness. It’s a very straightforward arrangement actually,” Armin introspects, likening local bullies to the cannibalistic titans that keep humanity trapped within a walled city. From the moment Eren watches his mother get eaten alive because he isn’t physically strong enough to lift a house off of her,...

Depression Comes in Like a Lion Dec13

Depression Comes in Like a Lion...

Rei Kiriyama is a zero. Literally. The kanji for “Rei” means “zero” in Japanese. It’s an apt description for how the main character of March Comes in Like a Lion feels about himself. Although he’s a well-known and celebrated prodigy at shogi, a Japanese variant of chess, Rei is depressed and sullen. His parents and sister died when he was young, and he was adopted into a family led by a father who obsesses over shogi and envisions Rei as succeeding in a sport where his children failed, creating disharmony in their home. Without a loving family, and having even been told by relatives that he’s “nothing,” it’s no wonder that Rei finds it difficult to value himself. I know what it’s like to feel like a zero, where I couldn’t see my own worth. After graduating high school, my life plans were destroyed (at least in my teenaged mind). For months, because of my shattered dreams, I was unable to find the energy to do the simplest tasks or spend time with people who cared about me. Ultimately, though, it was those loving people who helped bring me out of depression. Rei experiences something similar. The Kawamoto family, comprised of sisters Akari, Hina, and Momo, and led by their grandfather, welcome Rei into their home just as he hits rock bottom. In the ensuing months, Akari, the eldest sister, frequently texts Rei, inviting him to their house for meals. He also spends holidays and other special occasions with the family, even experiencing very personal moments with them, such as when the sisters honour their deceased mother. This new, makeshift family isn’t always comfortable for Rei. But the bonds of love between him and the Kawamatos are strong and secure. The love the girls...

7 Meaningful Movies from 2017 Dec11

7 Meaningful Movies from 2017...

1. Thor: Ragnarok When I heard the final Thor film would follow an apocalyptic storyline, I worried the movie would be dark and depressing. But after seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I was thrilled to witness a surprising amount of humour and positive character development, along with the epicness I expect in a Marvel film. I’m glad the movie gives Thor and Loki a chance to explore forgiveness and brotherhood, continuing the arcs of the first movies. Moreover, Thor: Ragnarok reminds me that we can find humour in the darkest of times, love even after having our hearts broken, and rebirth after experiencing disaster. —Caitlin Eha 2. Wonder Woman We may not deserve her, but we need her. Wonder Woman is the perfect balance between beauty, wisdom, strength, and pureness of heart. She can have a frank conversation on the value of men, step into a hail of gunfire to save innocent people, and still delight in ice cream. The movie shines a bright light on inequality, PTSD, greed, arrogance, and war. It’s a wonderful story of what we can do when we work together, no matter our power or influence, and the hope we can hold despite humanity’s failings.  —Dustin Schellenberg 3. Blade Runner 2049 Just the chance to return to the world of Blade Runner was enough to get me into the theater for Dennis Villaneuva’s take on Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. Both films explore questions of personhood, identity and freedom. What I didn’t expect was that Blade Runner 2049 would strongly defend women. Arriving amidst the many public scandals, the film promotes the idea that women should be honoured and motherhood is a rare and beautiful thing. Sadly, the film underperformed at the box office, but if they ever make another I look forward to seeing...

Reading Grimm: Old Women are Evil Dec08

Reading Grimm: Old Women are Evil...

The evil queen in Snow White. The old woman in Hansel and Gretel. The witch in The Little Mermaid. Cinderella’s stepmother. Are old ladies ever decent people in fairy tales? In The Old Woman in the Wood, a poor servant-girl is traveling with the family she serves, and robbers attack. Everyone dies except her, and she takes refuge under a tree. A dove gives her keys that open the tree and she is provided with food, a bed, and riches. The dove asks for a favour in return: that she enter a cottage where an old woman lives and steal a ring. The word “witch” or “hag” is not used at this point, and yet warning bells still go off in my head. In the fairy tales I’ve read, the old women, the stepmothers, the queens—they’re always evil. And my suspicions are confirmed when she turns out to be a “wicked witch” who had transformed a prince into the very tree the serving girl had taken shelter under. So why are so many old women typecast as evil? Maybe because, historically, mothers have had more influence on their children than fathers, and twisting that influence results in horrifying villains; someone who should be a nurturing role model turned into a psychotic murderer is terrifying indeed. Or maybe because women of power were a frightening thought to the patriarchy. Maybe they still are. Consider how much influence these characters have—they’re usually queens, can use magic, or both. And yet they’ve become corrupt, often attacking the young protagonist in order to protect something they value, acting out of vanity or jealousy. Is that just what men expected to happen if a woman came to power without a prince by her side? Though in this story’s case, the witch...

Samwise and Bob: Pages in a Greater Story Dec06

Samwise and Bob: Pages in a Greater Story...

From the moment I met Samwise Gamgee on the big screen, he has been beloved to me. Seeing Sean Astin bring one of my favourite Tolkien characters to life made the actor inextricable from Sam in my child’s mind. And through the years, as I have grown older and more aware of the beauties and horrors of the world around me, the roles which Sean Astin has played have stood the test of time, largely due to their redemptive qualities. So, when I saw that Astin would be playing Bob Newby in Stranger Things 2, I was sure that I’d find something to love about him. Both Bob the Brain and Sam Gamgee are vehicles for a universal truth, helping to show that there is in fact, “light and high beauty forever beyond” like Sam notices in The Return of the King. This hope is beyond the reach of the dark, even when the characters themselves seem fairly insignificant in their respective worlds. Bob and Sam are aware that they are in a larger narrative, that their role in their worlds and their small acts of goodness can reverberate through eternity. Sam’s revelation comes in the latter chapters of The Two Towers: Sam acknowledges that the truest and most memorable tales include some suffering, some sacrifice, and a heap of courage. “The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, the...

7 Meaningful Video Games from 2017...

1. RiME This game is a balm for my torn-up soul. It begins as a quiet, peaceful exploration of a gorgeous, sunlit island, then turns dark as I stumble belowground, meeting shadowy figures that whisper as I pass by. The character I control, a young boy in a red cloak, never meets anyone else on his journey, and for some reason the solitude and lack of dialogue is comforting. Finding a way back to the sun and some surprising scenes with the boy’s father reveals the game has been about working through grief. RiME, with its intriguing puzzles and gorgeous soundtrack, reminds us that sometimes we have to let ourselves experience the darkness before we find hope again. —Allison Barron 2. Destiny 2 Destiny 2 brings me all the joy I’ve been missing since the original Halo trilogy. The single-player experience resonated with me deeply. The Guardians have lost their powers. Not only does this rob them of their immortality, but makes them vulnerable to the onslaught of the Red Legion. This loss gives way to hope under the light of the Traveler. The multiplayer is where the game really shines, incentivizing friends and clanmates to play together to complete the quests, spurring us into community with each other.  —Justin Koop 3. Assassin’s Creed: Origins I love the determination of Bayek as he moves through Egypt to destroy the people responsible for his son’s murder. The game’s attention to cultural and physical accuracy was remarkable in the art full of vivid blues and greens, the temples and their devotion to worship. The waters were muddy and you could see how dirty it was when you swam in it. The environment looked so real that our dog kept trying to play with the camels. The first time Bayek...

Your Time Travel Pre-Flight Briefing Dec01

Your Time Travel Pre-Flight Briefing...

*Bing Bong* Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Captain Preston, your timepilot. On behalf of myself and first officer Logan, I’d like to welcome you aboard Wells Timeways flight number ∞. If you’ll direct your attention to the front of the craft, our chief flight attendant Sarah will give you a brief safety … um … briefing. *Bing Bong* Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for travelling with us today… and tomorrow and tomorrow and all our yesterdays. For those of you who are new to time travel, please pay close attention. For those of you who have travelled with us before, you already know what I’m going to say—but bear with me. Before we begin, ensure that your carry-on luggage is safely stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Whether you’ve brought along your twelve monkeys, your source code, a ticking clock or a triangle please make certain you keep the safely stowed. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, nothing will drop from the ceiling. This timecraft is a Hartdegen 7{x}{y} and it has several built-in safety features. Chief among these is your 12-point restraint harness. You can fasten the harness by pulling the upper straps over your shoulders, wrapping the lower straps around your waist and putting the belt low and across your lap. Connect the harness by fastening tabs A, B, C, D, and F into buckles G, H, I, J, and L. Your cabin crew will be by to connect tabs E and K to ensure you won’t be able to get up without assistance. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, nothing will drop from the ceiling. You’ll all be pulled irrevocably into the timeline, so there’s no point...

Go to Pinstripe’s Hell...

“Go to hell!” was a popular phrase during my parents’ generation. The concept is pretty straightforward—Hell, a place of eternal torture and torment, is somewhere you’d want to send your enemies. I never grew up with any form of spirituality, but Hell or the idea of an underworld always caught my attention. It’s not that I was afraid of it, but fascinated by the mythologies that surrounded it. As a teenager, I became interested in Christianity and was confronted by terms like “lake of fire” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” However, as I continued to mature, that concept of Hell didn’t match up with with what I was learning about a loving God. The definition of Hell was too simplistic. Why would a God who cared let anyone go to such a horrifying place? It’s a question that I’ve wrestled with over the years. So when I stumbled upon an indie video game called Pinstripe, which featured an ex-minister who journeyed to the depths of Hell to retrieve his kidnapped daughter, I couldn’t click “Back this project” on Kickstarter fast enough. As a father myself, it was like this game was made specifically for me, engaging with this idea of Hell and punishment. Why would a God who cared let anyone go to such a horrifying place? Before Pinstripe was released, Thomas Brush (the game’s creator) asked followers to complete the following sentence in a tweet: “Hell is a place where…” Most, if not all, of the responses referenced some form of external punishment imposed upon people who deserved it. Hell is where “every step is torture and pain,” “your deepest fears live,” “you are eternally falling,” or “the game Pinstripe never got funded”… You get the idea. However, the game’s interpretation of...

Grief’s Paralyzing Effect on the Justice League Nov27

Grief’s Paralyzing Effect on the Justice League...

When a parental nightmare came true, I was frozen with fear. My son’s seizure medication had failed him catastrophically, and for a few days we weren’t sure what was going to happen. He was in the hospital for two weeks, and even since he’s been home, the dread of what could have been, and what someday might be, still clings to me. For the days he was in the hospital, I couldn’t move—family tried to get me to go for a walk, for coffee—for anything—but I couldn’t leave his side, not even for a moment. Grief can be paralyzing. It makes us stop, take notice of the pain, and sit with it. When dealt with healthily, it can move us into a new depth of human experience, making us stronger, more empathetic, and ready to reach out and help others. Or, it can hold us in place and prevent us from acting, stopping us from living fully. In the Justice League movie, each member experiences a form of grief that keeps them stuck in place until they find community, a common mission, and healing. Steppenwolf, an alien who has his sights set on conquering Earth after a failed attempt hundreds of years ago, is back. He plans to retrieve the three power cubes that are hidden from him by the Amazons, Atalantians, and humans who guard them. Apparently, humanity isn’t making Earth a hellscape fast enough for his taste, so he decides to put those cubes together and let them do their job, which is recreating the face of the Earth in a semi-molten state. Keeping busy isn’t the same thing as dealing with our feelings. Since Batman can barely fight a few of Steppenwolf’s minions on his own, he realizes it’s going to...

Reading Grimm: If Beauty is Skin Deep Nov24

Reading Grimm: If Beauty is Skin Deep...

We’re obsessed with beauty. I get it. Pretty things are nice to look at. But I don’t hide away in my room because I don’t have the grace of Gwyneth Paltrow or the glamour of Gal Gadot. Apparently that’s a thing you do in fairy tales, though. In the Grimm story “The Crystal Ball,” the youngest son of an enchantress sets off to find the Castle of the Golden Sun and save the princess, who is “waiting for deliverance.” He feels the need to leave home because his enchantress mother had transformed his two older brothers into an eagle and a whale, respectively. (She thought they would try to steal her power because, remember, people in fairy tales do not trust each other). After stealing a magic cap from a couple of giants, he finds the castle and is shocked when he meets the princess; though he had heard tales of her great beauty, she “had an ashen-gray face full of wrinkles, blear eyes, and red hair.” (Is red hair supposedly unattractive? I beg to differ, and so do all the Weasleys.) I’m saddened women have been taught the value of beauty within a culture of ridicule and body shaming. He is very disappointed, but the princess assures him this is not her usual form. She tells him to look at her reflection in the mirror to see her true appearance, and when he does, he sees “the likeness of the most beautiful maiden on earth, and saw, too, how the tears were rolling down her cheeks with grief.” She explains to him how she is to be “set free,” but it doesn’t seem anything is holding her captive besides her ugliness. The enchanter who cursed her isn’t keeping her in chains, she just...

Frodo vs. Beowulf: A Hobbit’s Heroics Nov22

Frodo vs. Beowulf: A Hobbit’s Heroics...

I’m going to die. Sometimes that thought swirls through my brain as I try to grasp its reality. That’s what living is: slowly expiring. And the older I get, the more frightening it becomes. I don’t want to die, but sooner or later someone will put my body in the ground and there will be nothing I can do about it. I probably won’t even get a say in how I die; it’ll happen how it happens. A similar thought plagued Frodo on his journey through Middle-earth. Though warrior societies view death as a matter of personal honour, what is a hobbit (or a hobbit at heart, like me) to do when confronted by the matter? Many of us are little people, more in love with the shade of a green tree in summer than we are with great deeds and adventure. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo finds his friends under the spell of a vengeful spirit—a barrow-wight. Much like the threat of Black Riders on the road, darkness has snuck up on him and fear grabs hold of him; the Ring also plays a subtle role. Out of sight, the wight chants a chilling incantation that freezes Frodo’s heart. Then a dark thought comes to him: “He wondered if he put on the Ring, whether the Barrow-wight would miss him, and he might find some way out. He thought of himself running free over the grass, grieving for Merry, and Sam, and Pippin, but free and alive himself. Gandalf would admit that there was nothing else he could do.” My respect for Frodo’s character would be reduced if he took this option out of danger, yet the thought makes sense because both the quest and Frodo’s life are at stake. Self-preservation...

How Fantasy Points to a Future World Nov20

How Fantasy Points to a Future World...

I am an escapist. I spend my time thinking about other worlds, dreaming about impossible things, and playing make-believe with my friends. But it’s hard to admit that I enjoy escaping. It only takes checking my Facebook feed to see all the pain and devastation in the real world. Just when I finished absorbing the details about the truck attack in New York City, I heard about the church shooting in Texas, and my heart breaks for everyone involved. I feel guilty setting those events aside for fantasy. If I really cared, shouldn’t I live in reality? As a Christian, shouldn’t I be focusing on how to make a difference? But one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century was an escapist too. C.S. Lewis wrote a children’s fantasy series, an adult science fiction trilogy, and several other speculative fiction works. The main characters in The Silver Chair, a later volume in Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (I’m still waiting for the movie), are forced to believe in a reality that stifled imagination. Maybe stories like Lewis’s provide a glimpse into something new and fantastic. English children Jill and Eustace have been sent by Aslan to find Prince Rillian, who was kidnapped years ago. Aslan gives them instructions and sends them on their quest, but they miss and ignore the signs they’re supposed to follow. Their thoughts wander even more when they slide down a tunnel to the underworld and are taken by gnomes through cavern after cavern, down farther and farther until Lewis writes, “And the worst thing about it was that you began to feel as if you had always lived . . . in that darkness, and to wonder whether sun and blue skies and wind and birds had not...

Reading Grimm: Selfishness begets Fear Nov17

Reading Grimm: Selfishness begets Fear...

People in fairy tales really don’t trust each other. Husbands assume their wives are lying and listen to the advice of murderous mothers-in-laws, a bird believes his housemates’ are overworking him, and a father plans to kill his sons for fear his daughter won’t be taken care of—just to name a few. Oftentimes, selfishness lies at the heart of this mistrust, and characters try to hold on to their desire so tightly they are constantly afraid of losing what they have. In the fairy tale “The White Cat” (the Grimm version is known as “Cherry” or “The Frog Bride”), a king has three sons “so clever and brave” he is afraid they will take over his kingdom before he dies, so he gives them an impossible task to perform. Whoever succeeds will receive the crown. I can’t help wondering why the king is so scared about losing his throne. If people in power are so constantly afraid of losing it that they spend all their time worrying, what’s the point? He’s actually inviting resentment from his sons by pitting them against each other, though they don’t seem troubled by his decree. While the youngest son is on his quest, which is to find the smallest and most beautiful dog in the land, he stumbles upon an enchanted mansion in a forest and there he meets a talking white cat. He decides to stay with her because he likes spending time with her so much. When the year is almost up, she reminds him that he still has a task to complete, then provides him with a dog tiny enough to fit into an acorn. The son presents it to the king, who has nothing “to say against the beauty of the little dog.” But...

When Warped Community Feels Right Nov15

When Warped Community Feels Right...

There’s wisdom in seeking counsel from those who are older and wiser than me, from friends who can view my situation from an unbiased perspective. Any time I have to make a big decision, I consult those close to me. However, advice still needs to be taken with careful consideration. A solution that worked for someone else in a similar situation may not work for me—it might not even be the wisest thing for me to do. In Stranger Things 2, Eleven meets Kali (another girl with superpowers). She finds safety and belonging with someone who can empathize with her troubles. Kali gives her advice on how to harness her power and tries to coax her into seeking revenge against the people who hurt her. But Kali tempts Eleven to the dark side of the Force—I mean, convinces her to do more harm than good. She advises Eleven to use anger to fuel her abilities and be unmerciful to those who have hurt her. Eleven chose the more difficult path—one where she had to face her ultimate fear and reconcile with people who’ve hurt her. Kali’s advice isn’t malicious; she genuinely wants to help Eleven. But Eleven comes to realize that Kali’s life is dark and bitter; and Kali is surrounded by friends who let her thrive in her depravity. Eleven soon realizes Kali’s life is not something she wants to aspire to. Kali tries to convince her to kill a man who abused Kali and hurt Eleven’s mama. When Kali tries to kill the man herself, Eleven stops her and Kali responds by saying, “If you want to show mercy, that is your choice, but don’t you ever take away mine. Ever.” Kali respects Eleven to make the decision to show mercy, proving...

All Hela Breaks Loose: The Goddess of Death’s Obsession Nov13

All Hela Breaks Loose: The Goddess of Death’s Obsession...

To be Asgardian royalty is to have daddy issues. Thor and Loki’s struggles with their father form the crux of past films in the series, but in Thor: Ragnarok, the brothers’ anger is vastly overshadowed by the rage of Hela, the older sister they never knew existed. As Odin’s firstborn, Hela once held her father’s favor, ruling and fighting by his side—only to be banished when Odin had a change of heart. Under normal circumstances, Hela’s anger over Odin’s rejection would be understandable—except that Odin’s repentance was entirely justified. According to Hela, they had rebuilt an Asgardian empire by violently conquering other lands and peoples. Hela not only played a vital role in the battles, but served as Odin’s executioner—and she loved every minute of it. But Odin eventually realized his actions were unjust and decided to become a wiser, kinder king. Hela didn’t agree with the decision. Suddenly, Odin’s most powerful asset became his strongest opposition. Unable to cope with Hela’s power and unwilling to let her continue her bloodthirsty rampage, Odin banished Hela from Asgard and imprisoned her. Hela doesn’t just toy with the deaths of others; she revels in them. When Odin dies, his power can no longer keep Hela contained. Mere minutes after being freed, Hela breaks Thor’s hammer, strands him and Loki on Sakaar, and heads to Asgard to reclaim the throne. Hela doesn’t just toy with the deaths of others; she revels in them. Upon her return to Asgard, she is challenged by a group of soldiers and slaughters them all. While walking among their broken bodies, Hela exclaims, “Oh, I’ve missed this.” Death is a weakness that every mortal being shares, and Hela loves exploiting that weakness. She eagerly inflicts death on anyone who opposes her, and...

Reading Grimm: Don’t Follow the (Blue) Light Nov10

Reading Grimm: Don’t Follow the (Blue) Light...

Making a deal with darkness never seems like a good idea, but in Grimm’s “The Blue Light,” the action is rewarded and even considered praiseworthy. “The Blue Light” is a fairy tale about a soldier whose king releases him from service due to his “many wounds.” Unable to earn a living, the soldier requests lodging at the home of a witch. She agrees—if the soldier does as she wishes, giving the story a deal-with-the-devil spin reminiscent of Esau in the Bible, who sold his birthright for a meal. The witch sends the soldier down a well to retrieve a magical blue light, intending to trap him there once he hands her the lantern. The soldier guesses her scheme, however, so the witch releases the rope and drops him into the well, light and all. The soldier, assuming his end has come, sulks for a while before deciding to smoke his pipe. He uses the witch’s lantern to light the pipe, again demonstrating his folly by using the resources of a witch. In a strange twist of fate, his smoking summons a magical dwarf, much like a genie in a lamp. The dwarf tells him, “‘I must do everything you bid me,’” and the soldier doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation. Not only does he use the dwarf to escape from the well, but he also steals the witch’s gold and has the witch hung. Apparently, the Brothers Grimm didn’t consider theft, forced servitude, and revenge to be wicked. Fairy tale tradition might justify theft and revenge aimed at an evil person, but the soldier doesn’t stop there. Blaming the king for his problems, the soldier has the dwarf kidnap the king’s daughter while she’s asleep and makes her clean for him, thinking...

Race and Gender: A Timeless Issue Nov08

Race and Gender: A Timeless Issue...

I expect a show about time travel to ask difficult questions like: “How much do we alter history?”, “Should we let people die just because they’re already dead in the future?”, and “Why can’t we kill Hitler? What I appreciate most about NBC’s Timeless is that it doesn’t shy away from dealing with the awful way women and people of colour have been treated throughout history. The premise of the show is pretty simple: a terrorist, Garcia Flynn, hijacks a newly-made time machine from Mason Industries and attempts to alter certain events in American history. In response, Homeland Security tasks the show’s three protagonists—history professor Lucy Preston, Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan, and engineer Rufus Carlin—with following Flynn in a second time machine to preserve history and take him down. In the first episode, Rufus is adamant that he doesn’t want to go, and tells his boss, “There is literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me.” Every one of us wishes we had the freedom to tell off our harassers like Lucy does. As a black man, Rufus is all too aware of how he will be perceived if he goes back in time, but as the only pilot trained to handle the time machine, he is required to go. The show is peppered with humorous quips (“The back of the bus was amazing!”says Rufus in 1937) and more poignant moments in which Rufus deals with a legacy of racism and marginalization. In “The Murder of Jesse James,” Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus track down the famous outlaw, who has been recruited by Flynn. To do so, they team up with Bass Reeves, the first black deputy U.S. Marshal. Reeves is thought to be the inspiration for the popular character the Lone Ranger,...

Finding Hope the Replicant Way Nov06

Finding Hope the Replicant Way...

In Blade Runner’s world, the only thing darker than the City of Angels is the hearts of the people who live there. As imagined by Ridley Scott, the Los Angeles of 2019 is a dismal, rainy place. Unnamed environmental catastrophes have poisoned the Earth to the point that the best option—as announced by the ever-present advertising blimps—is to get off the planet. The streets are a neon-lit warren of storefronts and stalls where vendors compete for the money and attention of a perpetually weary populace.  Life seems to be a grim march toward a lonely death. It is a world devoid of joy and hope. This cold, wet hellscape is ground zero in a battle which asks what it really means to be human. As the opening text scroll explains, the Tyrell Corporation has created genetically-engineered robots (called replicants) which are virtually indistinguishable from humans. Replicants are slave labour; tasked with the most difficult and dangerous jobs and forbidden from living on Earth. Furthermore, to keep them in check, they are engineered with a four-year lifespan. They are considered mere machines to be used and discarded at the whim of their human creators. How do I hope for change in a dark world? Rick Deckard is the Blade Runner—a policeman who has the task of identifying and killing replicants who make it to Earth. Like the other humans in the film, he views the replicants as mere mechanisms. In an early conversation with Rachel, he says, “Replicants are like any other machine—they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.” He hunts and kills them with uncaring efficiency; the way a programmer might hunt down and eliminate errors in a block of code. More disturbingly, he later orders...

YouTube for the Fandom Loving Soul, Vol 2: Harry Potter Nov03

YouTube for the Fandom Loving Soul, Vol 2: Harry Potter...

New from the Geekdom House Records! Four explosive hits from original stars! It’s the YouTube for the Fandom-Loving Soul, Volume Two, featuring the Potterverse. The Second City, Neil Cicierega, Broad Strokes, and the much anticipated TheDCTVshow all make the cut in this once-in-a-lifetime combination that will knock your socks off. All for the low price of FREE. Money back guaranteed. Don’t wait. Watch now. 1. HOGWARTS: Which House Are You? 2. Potter Puppet Pals 3. The Greater Good – Dumbledore and Grindelwald Honourable Mention: VOLDEMORT: Origins of the Heir...

Facing Your Demons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fear Nov01

Facing Your Demons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fear...

If you’re not afraid of heights, riding to the top of the Empire State Building isn’t bravery. Facing someone else’s fear because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean you’re courageous. It’s when you confront your own fear, and it looms above you like a giant, horned demon, that you truly understand what it means to be a hero or a coward. In the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Fear Itself,” Buffy and the Scoobies wander through a frat house during Halloween, encountering cobwebs, spiders, and knife-wielding skeletons. But then the fears start to get real. And personal. Xander becomes invisible and unheard, because he’s afraid his friends don’t care about him and are moving forward with their lives while he’s standing still. Oz starts to turn into a werewolf even though it’s not a full moon; he runs away from Willow because he’s afraid he’ll hurt her. Willow conjures a light to show her the way out, but the spell backfires, harkening to her fear of being useless. Buffy fights vampires that erupt from the ground and tell her she will forever be alone. . . Read the rest of this article on Christ and Pop...