Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Big O - THE ビッグオー

In my early teens I went through a stage when I thought to totally distance myself from childish things as a way to feel and appear more mature among my peers. One of these things was cartoons. Nothing seemed more puerile and, quite honestly, silly to me than a boy growing into a man and still watching cartoons; comic books and offbeat manga (Japanese comics), another love of mine, were also cast by the way side, but cartoons had always been a love of mine.

At first things progressed fairly well; I stopped watching cartoons and replaced them with shows like Boy Meets World, Sunday Night Football, Football on Telemundo, and other more teen oriented or "grown up" programing. However, one day, bored to tears with another inane plot on Boy Meets World, I happened to turn on Cartoon Network out of sheer desperation, and that's when it happened. Perhaps it was fate or destiny, though I don't really believe in either, but whatever it may have been I now know that I had stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. The Big O is, without a doubt, the greatest animated series ever created.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit (Batman: The Animated Series is the greatest, but the Big O is definitely a close second), but the show was seriously something awesome. Not only was I riveted by it to the point where I renounced my abstinence from cartoons, but I was also compelled to force my younger brother to watch it as well (though he got hooked just as easily as I did, so no harm no foul). Of course I was instantly reduced back to my previous juvenile status, but by that point I could have cared less how jejune I appeared before anyone; I was in love.

I don't know if it was the plot itself, the Batman-esque/Film Noir style, the music, or the characters, but I absolutely fell in love with this cartoon; and this is significant because I absolutely abhor giant mecha animes/cartoons. However, before I get ahead of myself, allow me to introduce the plot so that you may have something to go by.

Extracted From Wikipedia Because I'm Lazy:

The Big O
deals with the nature of memories. A memory is a record stored in the brain of an organism, but in Paradigm City memories can mean much more.[1] "Memories" (メモリー Memorī?) embody the lost knowledge of its residents, and can take the form of records from before the Event, forgotten artifacts from the previous era or manifest themselves as recollection, hallucinations and recurring dreams.

The first half of the series is episodic. Each Act revolves around different citizens of Paradigm dealing with the resurgence of lost Memories and how they manage to go on living without knowledge of what did or did not happen. The final episodes introduce elements that come into play during season two like the existence of people outside of Paradigm City, the nature of the Cataclysm that destroyed the world and the "Power of God wielded by the hand of man."

The second season takes an arc-based approach. Instead of self-contained stories like in season one, season two features a continuous storyline. The second season makes Alex Rosewater, CEO of the Paradigm Corporation, a direct antagonist to The Negotiator and introduces The Union, agents of a foreign power working within Paradigm.

Now I know this show isn't going to be everyone's metaphorical cup of tea, but I've long come to accept that; I'm a weirdo who's into weird things. However, I dare one person to tell me that they don't at least like the characters of Rodger Smith and R.Dorothy Wayneright (Possible Batman Reference?). Rodger Smith, your typical film noir private investigator (or Negotiator as the case may be) always trying to play it cool, sometimes succeeding and sometimes hilariously failing; and R.Dorothy Wayneright-a walking enigma, the deadpan snarker, and the ultimate straight (wo)man. The two of them are the most dynamic and lovable characters, out of a small number, I've seen to date.

As you can probably guess by now, I'm a fanboi to the max as it concerns this show (I've signed every petition that has ever circulated in an effort to get this show a third season). However, despite this I must admit that the show did have a few flaws. One of the flaws I noted was that, while enjoyable overall, the second season tried to do too much too quickly; though this was understandable given the fact that the show was rather abruptly being canceled after the second season. Also, some of the minor characters could be a bit on the annoying side, and at times the plot would hit you with a curve that might leave you wondering why that element was even included. These are only fairly minor complaints, in my opinion, so I wouldn't allow them to sway you away from checking out this series.

So, if you're still interested after everything I've written I invite you to check the show out. I can't guarantee that you won't be disappointed, but I can say that I was certainly not.

We Have Come to Terms...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

If the American Government Had More Elected Officals and Pundits like this...

Ran across this on Transgriot's blog:

There are no words to express how awesome this man is. None.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Der Steppenwolf - About Me

There are many words that could be used to describe me, dozens of metaphors, and thousands of praises and curses. However, one word-a proper noun, a metaphor, an adjective, a curse, and, in some circles, a deceptive note of praise-that I believe best describes me stems from one of the world's greatest literary classics: Steppenwolf.

I could perhaps reflect for hours on end why I feel myself to be akin to one of Herman Hesse's most popular and profound works, but, for the sake of time and energy, I will keep my pontifications brief and concise. To begin I would highlight the similar traits I share with the work's primary character, the individual through whose gaze we take in the depth of Hesse's fictional world, Harry Haller. Like Haller I have often felt myself both a part of and antagonistic with society. I love people, even those who I feel have wronged me, to an extent that I, occasionally and fleetingly, believe in the concept of altruism, and I simultaneously hold a bitter, contentious, and rancorous hatred for them to the point where I am sure my devout cynicism is justified. I understand the need for society and its trappings, but also despise the current modes of living offered to the majority. I hate the bourgeoisie, but recognize that, to a limited extent, I am one of them, and I therefore hate myself. Erudition and savageness often war within me, content to bicker and bite at one another until my dying breath, and my silent contemplations on the nature of reality, life, death, my position in society, my position with those I care for and may come to care for, and the very nature of who I -that perpetually foreign concept- am are often sources of perpetual questioning for me.

I am the son of two stereotypically middle to lower middle class individuals. My father is a social worker and my mother a secretary. I have experienced, at different and varying points in my life, what it is to be working class and bourgeoisie. As a child I spent my youth at first loving my black/browness and then later developing a perverse fondness for my golden brown/yellow complexion and ambiguous features which I felt distanced me from my "darker" skinned peers. It wouldn't be until I became 16 years of age that I learned that I was afflicted with a most heinous and insidious type of self-hatred which often made me feel both inadequate and bitter when I reflected on the truth of my heritage and the fact that some of my features were not so "ambiguous" as to make me all that different. Further, it would not be until I turned 18 that I would realize that my reverse polarity at 16 was just as damaging as my mode of thought prior to it. At 20 I would come to understand the need for balance and indifference in order to survive in a society that I had come to understand was perverted beyond all rational reason.

My childhood is not a subject that I enjoy dwelling on, and, as such, my reminiscence on this topic shall be rather curt. I was a silent child for the most part, though I've been told I had an excellent command of speech bordering on that which is said to be the talent of young girls. I've been told I would often talk at length about subjects that were of great interest to me, but would be rather laconic otherwise. I did not much care for my peers-nor do I still-and I often enjoyed reading, writing, playing pretend, and drawing/painting over playing outside with other children (though I would occasionally play fight, if only because my single best friend at the time was a terrible extrovert who liked to watch the Power Rangers and emulate them-I preferred the Ninja Turtles to be honest).

I'm ridiculously shy and introverted, though around those I know I can be seemingly gregarious for an hour or so before having to sequester myself. I am also sarcastic, fairly apathetic unless the subject is one of importance to me, and have been told I can be rather witty. I know for a fact that I am very tender hearted, not a very desirable quality for a man I've been told, but also that I am more aggressive than I am complacent. Many have told me that I seem to be a very giving and understanding person, though I often jokingly suggest that it's only a cover for my plans to lull them into a false sense of security before subjugating them and taking over the world-after all, kindness kills.

All of these things coalesce into forming the person that I am and how I view the world. Race, Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Inequality, Class, Religion (or anti-religion as the case may be), and, most importantly, Art are all aspects of who I am, but only serve to paint a very shallow, emotionless portrait. I am more than these concepts, as are most, if not all, of the people who exist on this plane.

Lastly, I am an artist, a writer, a researcher, and philosopher who seeks to use these mediums to act against the injustices-racist, sexist, homophobic, genderist (i.e.-cisgender privilege), and classist-that plague our society. However, I also use them to explore myself and who I am and what matters to me. I use them to express love, hatred, bitterness, and amusement. I use them to find my truth.

This is what the Cross Journal is for; another medium of expression for my thoughts and my reality.

Thank you for reading, and please enjoy.