Millions of flashing lights.

I wonder what people are doing when they find this blog. Surfing through internet stuff to kill time. Or perhaps checking their own blog and then seeing what’s new on WordPress. Not that I’m ungrateful or think that’s a bad thing, I just wonder how much of it we do.

People say we are over connected nowadays, we’ve all heard it. Most of us probably agree with the statement to a degree, just not as it affects us. I have heard statistics, but I’m not going to list any about the subject at hand. There are no statistics  that can measure how connected you feel with the people around you. Can we take a moment to acknowledge that, good.

The truth of the matter is, nothing you see in front of you can make a connection with your heart of hearts if all it is is flashing lights. Why don’t we ever ask ourselves just what the substance of a text, or a post, or a picture is? It’s flashing lights, it’s not the sound of a human voice, or the touch of human affection, or a real face in front of us. It’s just an image. It serves about the same purpose as a photograph or a letter used to, conveying part of the person, as a way to remember them and get a small taste of who they were when they couldn’t be with us. The more you knew them, the more you could get out of such reminders. Pictures are good I think, and it’s fine to take them even on a phone, but can they substitute for actually seeing the person?

Three things that don’t have value in a culture of technology:

  1. Privacy.
  2. Silence.
  3. Seriousness.

For the first thing: Moments of being alone with your thoughts. Time to yourself. This is not seen as a good thing, by you or by your friends who keep texting you all the time, or who constantly post new things for you to read. Wanting time alone can only mean you’re tired and cranky, not that you want to stay SANE.

Secondly, there is almost no silence. When we’re tired we turn on the TV or whatever our preferred form of tech is, ( if you don’t do this, then you have my apologies,) but I’ve found I’m more rested after just a little quiet time outdoors or in my room. If a stay at home mom is reading this, I know it’s hard to get a break; if a working person is reading this, I know that it can be just as hard to. Frankly, if you go to school it’s even harder because half your day is taken up without your consent. But there are still hours of time that most of us have that we fill with distaction form how tired we are, instead of rest.

Thirdly, When your day is crammed full of things that seem disconnected with each other, it’s hard to give full attention to anything. Again, if you go to school it is not your choice that subjects are seperated by the hour, but an hour is too long for some things, and far too short for others. I can spend hours writing, I get frusterated if I spend one hour trying to figure out a song on the keyboard. I have to take it in little bites.  Our minds look for connection and patterns, we need them to make sense of the world. The whole world is one interworking system, nothing is independent of everything else, yet nothing is the same. Both sameness and irregularity play havoc with our ability to reason and think and feel.

Yet entertainment is becoming increasingly both same and irregular. People who play the parts in the media industry now utter lines that come out of nowhere, and whose very randomness is supposed to be funny. I laugh sometimes, but unless it is very well done, such humor shows less, not more, cleverness. And plots are cliched. Based on what sells, not on a good message. I have to give Disney and Pixar credit for sometimes being an exception to this, but only sometimes. By and large there are no exceptions beyond the least popular movies and shows.

More than movies though, is our hopping from computers to phones to tablets to ipads to computers again, in a cycle of boredom.

Let me now quote a show called “Girl meets world”I heard this on one episode and liked it a lot.

“Not until we switch off our computers, put down our phones, and look into each others eyes, will we be able to touch each other’s hearts..there is no connection you can make with any screen that compares with the moment you understand only human beings have souls.”

Note the word understand. If you’ve read this far, I must have your interest on some level, so please, attend. I cannot possibly state enough the importance of knowing human beings have souls.

Personal story: A while back my sister and I decided to stop watching movies and youtube clips on the weekdays, we wanted to spend more time reading, and doing other stuff, and getting our studies done. At first it was hard and it still is in a way, (although I’m currently on break for a week,) but I noticed a change almost right away. I was happier, I was more interested in things. My brain was more receptive, I could enjoy reading more. I could go outside and really look at the world around me. I had more time to pursue interests, and more time to just rest without watching a screen, or to listen to music instead of watch music videos. I am more awake. That, versus yesterday, when we watched things for hours on end, and at the end of them I felt cranky with everyone, bad about myself, and confused about where I was in my personal life. I might have felt all that anyway, but it seemed so much worse than of late, and I couldn’t even think as clearly. To be honest, I’ve noticed the quality of what I’m watching plays a part, you feel clearer after good movies, and sutpider after stupid ones. It’s just the way it is.

I have found myself more paitent with people, and more at peace. Because in the absence of a screen, I have to use real substance to feed my imagination, not sicken it.

This is very long, so I’ll save the rest for a later post. I think we all have plenty to consider, myself included.

 

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Expectations (for the new Justice League.)

I’ve finally seen a trailer for the Justice League movie, and I am still skeptical at best. It’s be hard to beat the show.

The key to superheroes as a tool in the creative world, is, as my sister and I have narrowed down, to put a person in a normal human situation, magnified by super abilities and super villains and over the top circumstances.

All this makes it clearer to the audience what the stakes are, what the choice is, and what the difference between the good and the evil character is.

So what I think the new film needs is not to progress further into the dark, gritty and melodramatic world that the genre has become, but to regress into more human terms.

I have nothing against climatic events and galaxy sized stakes, but it should never be about that. Making the problem with the world the main focus of any movie risks making it too vague. What the film needs to be about is what problems humans deal with on a human level. With something like the Justice League, there’s a wide range of subjects that could be covered, that’s why it worked so well as a show. Narrowing down each member’s own personal struggles in the span of one film is a difficult and almost impossible task

But my concern is that none of them will be followed through in a satisfying way.

Many super movies (and other movies and also modern literature) end with what I call a question. Ending with a question means the narrative of the film (usually the unspoken one) does not completely side with any perspective presented in it. It may lean one way, but it refuses to admit it. Leaving you, the audience, to try to figure it out by debate.

Sometimes that is okay. But I have never liked it.

I know many people are totally fine with movies ending with a question. They think it’s more respectful and more thought provoking that it does so. They think they will discuss it more and understand better because of it.

There may be times that happens, but I have yet to see that actually be the fruit of Question Films.

What I typically see is that people will take whichever side of the argument they were already on walking into the film (or reading the book) and continue to use the piece in question to defend their point of view. They claim to be getting a better understanding of it, but all they really are doing is getting deeper into their own beliefs. The film did not challenge them by presenting any belief as wrong based on evidence or results, it just fed into the desire they had to remain perfectly secure in what they already thought.

Take Zootopia, I liked that film okay, not because I agree with its supposed portrayal of society, but because I thought the characters still exhibited real world flaws that could apply to a lot more than racism or class bigotry. Judy being guilty of the crime she hated is a thing that happens to all of us at some point, and she handled it the right way.

However, I do not think it is pushing us forward if you take it only as a class and racial  (or a have and have nots) commentary because all the people that already believe that just nodded along with the film, it presented no new information or ideas to them. The people who didn’t agree either disliked the film or got a different message from it, like me.

The fact is, Zootopia was too vague to really be an effective eye opener to anyone. There are no cold hard facts in it.

The shift in super hero movies since the Avengers and Captain America franchise started is that they go from being about personal struggles to being about world wide threats. Which is not bad exactly, but in a way it renders the drama both too real for people to want to dwell on, and not real enough. Because we know similar organizations exist or have existed, and that this is just a more dramatized version of it, making it less serious and not more.

People always complain about characters not being relatable. But I think the real reason is not the struggles of the character are less terrible, but that the characters themselves are less moral.

I could relate to any character who is struggling with the right and wrong thing to do, especially if the choice is not really obvious (and I don’t mean that it’s morally ambiguous, but that it is a difficult choice to make for them because of the circumstances,) the reason is that the moral struggle is one we all go through. We are all equal under that struggle and no one is exempt from it.

Films that confuse that struggle are not being honest with us. In real life, we almost always have at least a dim idea of what the right choice is. What would be best for us to do, what we should do, and often what we know we won’t do but wish we would. In real life, we can repent of our mistakes and actually turn away from making them before we destroy our lives.

Like the Black Panther did, frankly, that was probably my favorite moment of Age of Ultron.

In real life, villains are often afraid of heroes because heroes are stronger than them in that one dangerous way: in their heart.

It’s the Dark Side in Star Wars that must be threatened by the Light. Why does the Emperor decide to kill Luke after he refuses to be corrupted? He fears and hates him for being stronger than himself.

So, to wrap all this up, the more dark these films become the more impossible to please the fans will be. Once people start to hunger for drama and gore and unbelievable violence, it will only grow. It’s happened many times. By pandering to this wish, Hollywood is dooming itself.

And it is only by being a little less picky about our special affects, our complex characters, and our high stakes; and a little more concerned with what affect our entertainment is actually having on us, that we will learn to really enjoy it.

That’s my thought anyway. I’d forgive the new Justice League for a lot if Batman would just take a knee at some point and deeply regret his actions in the previous film(s.) (I’d forgive even more if Wonder Woman straight up tells him what he did was reprehensible and doesn’t want to join the league till she’s convinced he’s really changed.)

As unlikely as I find both those things, I still hope that there’s someone on the writing team whos till knows how to use the genre.

Anyway, there’s still Infinity Wars coming.

Until next time–Natasha.

Bouncing back.

A little update on my personal life. I have started working, yessiree, I have found a job at a department store.

Otherwise known as (ominous drum roll) …retail.

I ask every single person who’s worked retail to forgive me for thinking it was simple and easy.

Two days, I’ve done it for two days, for a four hour shift, and I already know this is going to be hard.

And I’m doing seasonal. So it’s about to get really crazy.

I’m  a young person, but I was sore after putting stuff on shelves for a couple hours. My hat would be off to anyone who does that all day long.

Or to those who work (gulp) harder jobs for a even longer.

I guess necessity is the mother of stamina. Even though I have voluntarily done hard work, needing a paycheck really makes you stick to it. Even when you feel cruddy, as I have been. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. I bet all of you guys have already had this experience.

The one thing I can’t claim to have superior understanding of is having a job. This is my third, but my first set up like a regular position that most people would even think of as a job.

Though I maintain that dealing with parents and children every week is just as challenging in it’s own way. My babysitting position was at least as complicated as retail, even if it was less physically demanding (in some ways.)

Anyway, so this is all pretty new.

I don’t even know if I’m good at it yet, and neither do my bosses. Two days doesn’t tell you that. But I’m not terrible, so there’s that consolation.

By the by, if i sound pessimistic, that’s just my sarcastic sense of humor. I’m actually not a pessimist. I try not to be.

I’m wavering between hoping I’ll exceed all expectations, and feeling certain I’ll blow them.

Maybe you guys are in a place like that right now. Or you have been, certainly, in the past.

I’ve had to except that while academically I soar, when it comes to just plain work, I have to learn with as much trouble as anyone.

I may be a smart worker, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know how everything should be done, or even how I can do it. I didn’t learn to ride a back faster than the average person, I’m not learning how to drive any faster, I don’t have exceptional sports skills.

I actually have a terrible time opening a combination lock because I never went to a high school that used one.

If you’re also a person who tends to be really good at a lot of things, and just average in others, you can probably relate. There is usually a balance.

every now and then we hear about those Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson types who are all around good at pretty much everything. (Not fair.) But the rest of us tend to fall into one of three broad groups:

Academic. Physical. Or Relational (being a people person).

I wish I was a better people person, or that I had a natural aptitude for being fit. But I’m a mix, just like most people.

I am lucky enough to have co workers who were nice enough to help me out, and to have been involved in sports only with a positive team.

But maybe you don’t have such positivity around you, and if so, I’d just like this post to encourage you to keep improving and not beat yourself up for making (let’s be honest) dumb mistakes. We all make them.

It’s not because we’re dumb (hopefully.)

My theory is, sensible people make dumb mistakes simply because when you learn something new, you cannot take it all in at once and retain it. The dumb mistakes happen when something slips your mind. Like when you can’t remember that one word that would you perfectly understood in a conversation.

Basically those who do not do it all right the first tie learn the most about themselves, so bounce back.

I do get frustrated and embarrassed when I do something wrong, but I can’t let myself stay there because I have to improve. Why would I do something (willingly) if I was not going to do it wholeheartedly and with effort?

We have to at least try.

At the end of the day, if you hate what you’re doing, do something else. But if it’s just hard, I’m not willing to say I’m defeated.

(The most important motivation for me is actually that I asked God for this, and now I have to do it in a way that would glorify Him, or else I’d be an ungrateful brat. To be honest, for me, that is often more important than doing a good job just because I should, which I am not sure is a virtue. But whatever works.)

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

 

The Lion King.

The Lion King. One of the best Disney films ever made. In my opinion.

 

I can’t add much to this film by reviewing it. It’s themes are clear. And everyone knows the story.

But I want to look at the ideology of it, if you will.

I have heard multiple Christians use this film as an illustration of spiritual truths. What interests me is how deliberately the film itself seems to raise that sort of impression.

No one really would argue that it supports some kind of belief in the after life.

And it seems to go out of its way to establish that Mufasa’s reappearance is not just in Simba’s head. Rafiki sees him, and also communicates with him when Simba is not there. WE also see Mufasa as the sun, as well as the stars.

I don’t think anyone would debate that Mufasa is a God-character.

If you’ve never heard that term, or never int his context, it means a character who inspires other characters in the ways we would attribute to God. Typically meaning they give them instructions, seem to know things no one else knows, and give them hope in their darkest hour.

Mufasa fits the bill on all accounts.

Yet he’s totally believable as just a lion trying to be the best king and father he can be. Ultimately laying down his life for his son in an effort to protect him.

What just about killed me was that he never found out that it was Scar who put Simba up to doing those stupid things. (I guess he did once he was up in the sky, but still, closure!)

I don’t know what Simba means, or Mufasa, but Scar’s name, notably one of the only English names in the whole thing (except for Ed) is a giveaway to his character, both his personal issues, and the issues he creates for Simba.

Scar holds a grudge for being put out of succession. He holds a grudge against Mufasa because Mufasa is so much better than him. AT first we think he’s just sour over  being a nobody, but later when Sarabi taunts him, we realize he is secretly aware of how inferior he is to Mufasa and Simba both. Which comes up again when Simba has defeated him.

Scar’s name also relates to who he emotionally scars Simba by his treacherous acts and leaves him crippled for his whole adolescent phase, without a father except for two well meaning but ignoble beasts who just want to relax their life away.

Interestingly enough, Simba’s emotional scars only fade when Scar himself does.

Scar, as the betrayer and the deceiver and the false king, who accuse Simba of his own crimes, makes a fitting devil character. And a formidable villain.

The best lines of the film are all Mufasa’s, I love his speech to Simba when he is a spirit. I also love how in that scene Mufasa becomes more fully realized the longer he is speaking, going from clouds, to a starry shape, to full on color. Symbolic.

He tells Simba “You are more than what you have become.”

It seems odd that Mufasa doesn’t tell him “I love you.” Or something like that. But not when we consider that Simba is laboring under a delusion that he killed him. When he knows, deep down, that Scar is the one to blame. Simba also has just been confronted by Nala about what he needs to do. So this kick in the rear is exactly w at he needs.

He tells Simba further “You have forgotten me.” Simba denies it. “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me…You must take your place as the one true king. Remember who you are.”

Who did not share Rafikis’ sentiment after the end of that. “Wow! What was that!”

Simba returns home and kicks Scar’s tail, but not without some pitfalls along the way.

But the scenery of the last part of the film is a huge part of the story.

Under an evil ruler , the land has faded. The herds are leaving t o find food, but Scar, like the coward he is, refuses to leave.

I never understood stood this when I was younger, but now I think he was afraid of other lion challengers on the Savannah. He knew he was no match for any healthy young or middle aged lion that wanted a pride. Also that the pride wouldn’t do jack squat to help him if he was challenged. (As they will for a lion they like.)

Scar just want to stay away from any competition that will expose him. So imagine how scared he is when Simba returns.

At first everyone thinks Simba is Mufasa. A resemblance the writer didn’t pretend wasn’t there. Because it’s more potent that it is. Yet when Scar knows it’s him, he think he can manipulate him because he always has before. Otherwise he would have slunk away while he could.

In the end Scar thinks his greater numbers may give him the advantage, and then fights Simba more in desperation than in courage. Then he begs for mercy when he is defeated, Simba gives it, but Scar pulls one more nasty back stabbing trick and then falls as a result. The hyenas, having heard him throw them under the bus, decide they’ve had enough of Scar. All four of them presumably burn to death.

There’s so much biblical resemblance here, it would be hard to deny it if I wanted to.

There’s a little thing I want to explain about what follows:

Simba’s roar is both symbolic as assuming his place as king; and literal, as Male lions do roar to declare their territory. Female lion actually do roar in response to males, so if that part always felt real to you, that’s because it is.

But it is not a magic roar.

I have hard theories on this, but they are ridiculous and here’s why.

When the land goes from desolate to healthy, we see Simba and Nala have a cub. (Everything came full circle.) Lionesses are pregnant for a year. It’s been a whole year. So the land has had time to recover, and the rain had time to work.

You can say the rain was magic and I won’t argue. But the rest is nature.

So, in defiance of modern values, this movie supports living up to you responsibilities. taking someone else;s place, following in someone else’s footsteps, and being what people need  you to be.

And all that could also be your destiny.

I don’t favor the very selfish viewpoint on finding your dream nowadays. Your dream can be what would help other people. And sometimes we have to adjust our priorities.

Even Timon and Pumba take a more noble place beside Simba and prove they are not the cowards they thought themselves.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Circle of Life.

Lyrics of African lyrics:

Here comes a lion father

oh yes it’s a lion

we’re going to conquer

a lion and tiger come to this open place.

 

From the day we arrive on the planet

and blinking step into the sun

There’s more to see than can ever be seen, ‘

more to do than could ever be done

there’s far too much to take in here

much more to find than cane very be found

but the sun rolling high 

in the sapphire sky

keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the circle of life

and it moves us all

through despair and hope

through faith and love

till we find our place

on the path unwinding

It’s the circle, 

the circle of life.

Anyone else get chills when they hear this English part? I used to love this intro.

It’s just so great. I always though it captured the feeling of being in Africa and being one of the animals in the film.

Something about it. IT just suggests wisdom and steadiness with life.

Well, I doubt it surprises anyone that I like the Lion King. Who doesn’t?

Though to be honest, Simba was never my favorite part of it. I like Mufasa, and Nala, and kind of Timon and Pumba.

Well, everyone loves Mufasa.

And I also hated Scar, which most people don’t seem to. Though at the last you almsot feel sorry for him…almost.

Actually to my mind the whole scene where he hyenas kill him while the fire starts burning them is one of the creepiest Disney deaths ever. But poetically just.

Anyway, why one earth would I make this song the subject of a post?

Well, I always thought this song was embodying some tribal philosophy. Don’t take that the wrong way, it just seems like Disney selected an African culture to base the film off of. (Plus Hamlet.)

Now, maybe it is, but if so, now that I know the lyrics, I’m not convinced that philosophy is so bad.

Again, this song just has a rich tone. That’s what really makes it work. The lyrics aren’t spectacular, until you combine them with those awesome vocals and background music.

Then you get something that basically makes you feel like you’re on the African Savannah watching life happen.

The best things about the animation for this film as that everything in it seems royal. It just spells it out for you. Every beast is portrayed majestically and proud, except for the hyenas and Timon and Pumba. But especially in this opening number, you really feel like you’re that young giraffe we see, or Simba himself. Seeing all this for the first time, and being overawed by it all.

You feel the wonder of being young and new to the world.

And that is a good feeling to have. Especially to us older and often more cynical folks.

also I could feel a sort of appreciation all the beasts have for their world.

And that’s another factor of this film, it’s very simple. The circle of life is easy to explain. You are born, you die. Lions eat antelope; but antelope eat grass, which grows from dirt which the lions turn into after dying. The sun moves over the Savannah and provides light to all the animals, enabling the circle to continue.

It gets even more interesting if you start looking further in the the symbolism in the film. It’s no accident that we see a birth, a death, a coming of age, another death, and finally another birth; all in the course of the story. (nor that we see similar things int he sequel. If you’ve watched that.) It’s a circle.

Now I am not one of those who thinks that thinks just progress in a certain way because of some abstract Mother Nature, or some pattern that just proceeds because it has to. OF course I think God established the rhythm of the world. (It has since been tweaked a lot, and not for the better.)

But because I believe that, I don’t find the circle of life idea offensive. I think it’s very true that things proceed in a circular pattern. This has been pointed out in “The Fourth Turning.”

The reason it simple enough. Human nature doesn’t change, and Nature itself has to operate the way it is designed to. So you have events always repeating themselves, though never exactly in the same way.

Mufasa and Simba are not the same. But they have to take the same role in life.

But it should not be lost on the audience that the movie, though showing deatht o be a real and important thing, supports life as the goal and proper state of the world. Showing how Simba restores life and order to his kingdom.

The whole thing with the Sun even in the song lyrics is pointing to life and health and prosperity.

Also, in true Disney fashion (and much like Frozen) the song is foreshadowing the movie’s events.

Through despair and hope, through faith and love, till we find our place, int he path unwinding.

TO be honest, I neer understood those lines, I fully expected the last part to be “to fulfill our dream” or something like that.

It so would be now.

Simba goes through despair, and then hope, he finds faith and then love. Then he finds his place. (The path unwinding part comes more into the sequel.) The landscape of the film mirrors his journey. From the dry canyon and the thorny bramble, to the lush and lazy jungle, back to his home, and ultimately we see that home restored to it’s lush state also.

The beasts and other lions also experience despair at losing their king, then hope when Simba returns, they put their faith in him, and in the end things are right again.

Symbolically, we hear the song again at the close of the film. (You remember that thunderclap sound that  everyone got pumped up after hearing?)

Things come full circle.

That was subtlety, back in the day.

There is so much to unpack from this film, but that’ all I can fit into this post. Until next time–Natasha.

Getting Connected.

I recently told you all about learning ASL, okay time to confess:

I have been watching ASL videos almost nonstop the past three weeks. I’m talking about every single day.

And those of you ho have tried to learn a new language know, it can make your head ache.

But when you do it that much, you will either have so much in your head it can’t compute, or if you’re like me and already are partially familiar with ASL, you will start thinking, breathing, even dreaming in  sign language.

There will be moments when instead of spoken words coming first, sings will come to your mind.

You won’t be able to sing without using motions.

yeah, someone out there knows what I mean.

Or, in my other language of study, Spanish. Sometimes I voice things in Spanish. I do have to think about it and the grammar.

Probably everyone knows about the effects of having a second or third language. One thing I’m particularly proud of is being able to sign while speaking Spanish. Or even another language. So long as I thoroughly know what the other words mean, I can sign it too.

But actually that’s not so difficult. Other Signers have talked about being able to speak two languages at once. The hard part is singing and talking, not really what language you’re talking in.

I know talking about this isn’t my typical subject matter, but it is something I’m interested in, and I think other folks are interested too.

Actually there’s  a growing interest in deaf culture. A lot of young people ware interested in it.

I’m fortunate to have discovered some good YouTube channels and  a Deaf Center not too far from where I live, but for years I had neither of these. (One of the Channels has only been around for a couple year to begin with, I started learning before then.)

Deaf people no longer consider their lack of hearing to be a disability, but most hearing people do. And many even treat deaf people like they’re stupid. Or make fun of sign language.

Even I have heard the jokes about knowing sign language…followed by getting the finger. I mean, seriously?

What’s worse is that I found out to be an interpreter you need five years of training at least, and that is for legal or medical signing.

I can’t sign legal or medical terms extensively, I don’t know how I would learn that unless I got involved with some program for it. It’s not everyday speech for the most part. (I mean, deaf people talk about that stuff of course, but they wouldn’t to someone they didn’t know well anyway, most people don’t do that.)

I am more interested in interpreting at a Church, or some other organization that would be less formal and involve more friendly interaction. But when I was assessed, I was assessed only on  News/political and medical categories. (Plus speed and accuracy, which I did poorly.) Naturally I hadn’t studied either of those much.

As important as those things are, there’s everyday situations that I would probably learn to handle a lot more quickly and would come up a lot more often. What I’m not sure of is if interpreters are used for that.

So you see, I know very little myself about the culture.

But since I’ve been studying it more, I’m convinced the gap does need to be bridged.

A lot of the Deaf are convinced that the Hearing community can’t understand them, and that overall it doesn’t want too. In my experience that’s not always the case, but I have limited experience.

A person like me, who has no deaf family and has not been to school and studied ASL there, and who is still interested, is rare. There are not many who just want to learn without having any personal contact with  the deaf world.

I’m unique in that way.

For me it started with the language and then eventually I started being more interested in the speakers of the language.

Anyway, here’s the thing about the cultural difference:

What I hate is when people assume I can’t possibly understand them because I was raised differently. It always makes me determined to understand.

The way I see it, I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, or blind, or even Hispanic. It’s true, that’s not my culture.

And they don’t know what it’s like to be me, in my culture. No one knows what’s it’s like to be me, except me.

So it is silly to say that having the ability to hear or not hear puts any more of a barrier between people than just having different lives and backgrounds always does.

What I feel, only I know. I and God. What they feel, only they know.

My point is that we’re all human, I happen to believe that humans beings can understand each other as much as they wish to. They just don’t usually wish to. And that goes for any relationship under any circumstances.

If anything, being bilingual will help you appreciate someone’s choice to try to communicate with you at all, instead of being resigned to awkward silence.

I have a feeling we all have had that experience  too many times for comfort.

I would rather not be put in a box. I would rather not have anyone assume I feel one way because I’m hearing; because I’m white; because I’m middle class (barely’) because I’m young; because I’m a Millennial; because I’m a Christian; because I’m a conservative; because I’m from a two-parent home; because I’m homeschooled.

All these things shape who I am. Only one of them defines it. (You can guess which.)

No one should assume I think a certain way or feel a certain way until they know me beyond the labels. No one should put me in a box.

And that goes for deaf, blind, special needs, and any other thing you can think of.

It’s not what category I’m in but how I act and believe that will make me what I am.

And that transcends any disability and any difference that’s only on the surface.

So, that waxed very poetical towards the end, but I think I made my point. Until next time–Natasha.

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Awkward grace.

For King and Country–2

In my previous post I explored the knee bending issue, but I wanted to get into the actually reason for the title of these two posts.

I recently heard a pastor point out that whether you like the President or not, you should respect him. And I was surprised, not for any lack of agreement, but because I don’t seem to recollect hearing that preached on before, even for a brief moment. (Though I have read the idea at least.)

Do you know what happened when Hitler took over the Youth of Germany? The system began teaching them disrespect for the old and weak, (and anyone not a German.)

It was horrifying in cultures where respect for elders was a given principle of life, but I believe every tyranny of that sorts starts out by teaching the youth to despise certain things.

In China it was the Rich, the wealthy, the overlords. Anyone who had any valuables.

Those of us who aren’t in the Country and who see value in these things, are dumbfounded that people could ever be convinced they were worthless. But it’s brainwashing. They weren’t allowed to question it.

You can guess where I’m going with this, I think many people who influence this country are now trying to bias it against the morals that would make it harder for them to take over.

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, Slander and Libel, (See. J. Jonah Jameson for the difference between the two,) were considered low things to commit. Everyone knew of course that people did it, but those people were looked down upon as being willing to say anything for a sensation.

Now, that goes without saying.

Now the thing that we are all supposed to forget about is Respect.

Respect for leaders, for authority, for law and order.

Think about it, there is no such thing as respect for any of those things in most of the Media now. In many parts of the country, people disregard the value of those institutions.

It might seem that the leaders of this country have more to lose than gain if all the youth in it have zero respect for the leader themselves, but that’s where their plan becomes diabolical.

In addition to not giving anyone respect whom we don’t personally like, we are taught to blindly listen to anyone who echoes our own beliefs, the opinion we want to have supported, and who appeals to our personal taste.

It doesn’t matter how immoral they are, we like what they do.

To youths of this country, Older People may seem prudish when they don’t like the things they watch or listen to (or even when they do like them) but the fact is, some of them at least have their reasons.

Some of our parents and especially Grandparents can just remember a time when people were not revered if they behaved in the ways celebrities often behave now. They were not defended by any decent folks.

They can remember a time when not all sin under the sun was glorified or laughed at.

I wish I remembered a time like that.

To get back to the main point, The President should be respected.

There will probably be those who wonder if I respected Obama.

The answer is, as a man, no. I had no respect for him, his intelligence, or his ideals. I couldn’t.

As a leader, I was never happy with him, but I would not say things like what I hear being said now.

We are allowed the right to criticize the president, by the Constitution. But not to make death threats against him (or anyone) and his family; to slander him without a cause, or to lie about him.

To show videos of him that can be interpreted many ways.

To call him the names that he has been called.

Now, though I considered what we do with our mouth to be vital, I’ll admit that we are given the right to say whatever we want. The Founders knew that plenty of folks would criticize the leaders, but the also wanted to have a balanced view of the population.

Not a one sided view that tries to shut up any voice that goes against it.

I don’t think they intended for us to be lied to constantly as a whole.

I also don’t think they intended to ever suggest that leaders do not deserve respect; but even if they did not address the issue, the Bible does.

That might not matter to some, but there are plenty of Christians saying the same things as the secular world view sources.

Pure hostility is dishonorable, and it never changed a nation. Except to turn it against the very people who would have preserved it.

The German youth turned against those who would have told them that  love for your fellow man, and respect for the old are vital things if you would become wise and prosperous in a lasting way.

The Chinese turned against those who could have resisted the new government most effectually, and who could have kept some wealth among them.

We are turning against those who could have united us, and slowed down our path toward utter chaos and destruction.

Even now we could turn back, if we realized what we were doing. It’s why deception is so maddening to hear about and to see,  because the deceived believe themselves to be clear sighted.

But having said my say, I don’t intend to worry about it for long. My hope does not depend on the Government. I don’t feel grieved for my own fate as much as for the fate of millions who will never know what hit them.

One more thing, supposing that, in a future time, I come to think our president is not what I had hoped him to be.

Even so, and even though Obama was exactly what many feared him to be, my respect for him should not waver when it comes to the public. Whatever  I think in private, my public opinion should be put in such terms as will not disrespect, however much they may offend, the president and his supporters.

You can be honest, and not hostile. Blunt, and not cruel.

That’s my perspective–Until next time, Natasha.

For King and Country.

I try to stay away from a lot of political stuff on this blog. I don’t want to become centered on that.

But I have some thoughts on what’s been going on recently in America. What with this kneeling business and all. And other stuff.

If you live in a different country you may not have heard about the sports players kneeling for the national Anthem as a protest against Racism.

I don’t know if the Constitution forbids that, I don’t remember anything about that when I read it, so I can’t exactly say what they did was unconstitutional.

And I also wouldn’t say disloyalty to your Government is always a bad thing.

Hold on a minute, let me explain:

I would not call the German’s who tried to help the Jews or bend the rules slightly for honest people wrong for not following the system.

I would  not call the Chinese who resist the Communist Revolution wrong.

I would not call it wrong to refuse to lie, kill, steal, or otherwise sin even if your Government told you to.

I would call that the Appeal to Authority thought fallacy, and it it not only stupid, but dangerous. (As all stupidity is after a point.)

I think you are never wrong to do the right thing, as Mark Twain said.

With that in mind, why do I think this taking a knee stuff is not right?

I will admit that the players themselves are probably thinking of it as a good thing and not intentionally trying to be disloyal to the country; or, if they are, they are not aware of why it should be otherwise.

If that sounds condescending, then I’m sorry. Because the only alternative is to think they are intentionally giving the finger to every person in this country who respects it.

I don’t think even that absolute patriotism is an admirable thing. It leads to blindness usually.

Also, I will confess that I’ve seldom ever felt really proud to be an American. I love the ideals this country was built on, but I am only ashamed of the ideals it is turning towards now.

So, I can understand why these players may be having difficulty in feeling kinship with their country.

But I am appalled at how many News Channels and talk shows are lauding this kind of response.

I don’t like the knee bending because I find it immature and insolent at the same time.

It may be kind of weird to pledge allegiance to a flag, or to show honor to a piece of cloth. But the flag is a symbol. Like a crucifix. People shouldn’t go around pledging their hearts to a little wooden figurine, but there is sometimes an inspiring power in physical representations of invisible truths.

The pledge of allegiance equates the flag with the Republic “for which it stands.”

If you diss the flag, you are not dissing racism, you are dissing the Republic.

The flag stands for the American way. Which has nothing, and I repeat nothing, to do with Racism. One way or the other. You won’t find Racism in the Constitution. Or the Declaration of Independence. Or Common Sense. Or the Federalist papers. (That I know of.)

Further more, the Bill of Rights can be amended, so even if Racism had originally been a part of our Constitutional principles, it has long been removed.

I’d like to ask all of those players if they have read the Constitution.

But one might make the point that it doesn’t matter what the Documents say, so long as the Country as a whole is still Racist.

Tell that to Fredrick Douglass; he quoted the Declaration, he claimed his constitutional rights.

But still another question I have is how dissing the flag is supposed to do anything about racism?

What are you protesting really? Racism or America?

Whew! I am getting worked up.

But from a rational standpoint, I still don’t see how it helps their cause.

I do note that most of if not all of these players seemed to be African American.

If they really feel so concerned about racism–these poor, discriminated against professional National Foot Ball league players… of whom at least half are African American–then why waste time making people angry over the flag? Why not form a group and start changing things where Racism actually is? Because it’s not in the NFL.

National heroes like them cold have a lot of influence around inter city gang members, and the underprivileged kid in the ghettos, where Racism take thousands of lives, probably yearly.

What makes me really angry is that these players, and the people supporting them, aren’t going by facts, realities, or statistics. They aren’t going to the places where this stuff actually happens and finding out the real reality. They aren’t interviewing anyone with other viewpoints than what makes theirs sound more real.

Have any of them read the books I have read that actually deal with racism and black lives being at risk? Have they watched documentations? Have they heard stories other than cover stories (which are usually tweaked,) have they talked to African American’s who aren’t democrats to see if they all feel discriminated against too?

No.

Where are the people protesting that Ben Carson should have won to keep up the trend of black presidents?

Well, Ben Carson is a conservative. He doesn’t feel discriminated against.

That is what it boils down to. None of this is based in reality. The News Network is not reality.

What’s really fake is the idea that bending a knee to the flag can do anything except incite anger. Does it inspire anything but more resentment and more hatred in people’s hearts? On both sides of the debate.

I can’t tell these player what to do mainly because I can’t speak to them directly at all. I can’t tell anyone who approved them what to do either.

I don’t think the liberal media is going to read this post. And if they did, they wouldn’t listen.

That being said, I do not expect to change the minds of the people who are determined to think this is okay.

What I do hope is that if someone is not bent on one perspective or the other, they’ll consider mine.

I won’t say the Conservatives are handling this in the best way either.

To me it’s not about the party, it’s about the principle. I believe in respect and honor, and compassion, and mercy, and justice.

That’s why I don’t condone ignoring all of those things in order to show the world that as far as you’re concerned, you’re country can go to pot.

But I run the risk of overstating my point, so I’ll stop here. Until next time–Natasha.

 

A lesson we should heed

Some of you bloggers out there know that awkward moment when you read the first post you ever did (next to your “about me” page,) and its been two years.

Yep, I finally reread the “My passion” post.

I was afraid it’d be really immature sounding, but aside from a few things, and grammar mistakes, I actually am pretty satisfied with it still.

It just goes to show when you set a theme for yourself, you tend to stick to it, subconsciously.

I am one of those fortunate people who can merely think that they need to wake up early tomorrow, and then they’ll do it automatically before the alarm goes off. (I hate being woken by an alarm, so I wake up naturally as a subconscious defense, in my opinion.)

I think a blog theme is kind of like that. Even while yo’re unaware of it, your thoughts are veering in that direction.

I do think it was a smart decision to let go of my today’s truth: ending. It was kind of corny.

Anyway, that’s all in retrospect.

I am just glad that I have no regrets aobut starting this blog after two years and a quarter.

How many things do we start in life and then wish we hadn’t? or we wish we waited longer?

I could name a few off the top of my head.

I can’t write long today because I have to get to the DMV and retake the Written test. Fun I know.

But I really think five years from now I’m going to be glad it took me so many tries to get something as simple as a Driver’s License. It’ll be such an encouragement to my children to hear that their mom flunked something that many times. (I’ll probably be that mom who had all those impressive sounding accomplishments to tell about, but if I’m wise, I’ll make sure to tell them about my failures too.)

I can’t tell you how much better it made me feel to know other adults I know failed the first time…not the second and third I grant you, though my Grandma knew someone once who failed over and over again because of some dumb equipment on the test.

Anyway, like I said, I have to go soon. But those are my thoughts for the day. Trial and Error is my motto at this point.

And parents, please tell your kids the things you used to suck at and got better, it’s super inspirational.

Kids, ask your parents. It’s very enlightening.

And I just have to say the cliche:

“If at first you don’t succeed, blame modern technology–I mean, try, try again.

Tis a lesson we should heed, try, try again.”

–Natasha.

Wish Fulfillment.

I’ve been rereading “Pride and Prejudice” for the umpteenth time.

I am not one of those Austen-land level fans (though I’d totally spend a week at an English manor wearing Empire Waist dresses and having tea.) But I have to appreciate the brilliance behind that book as much as the next person.

Jane Austen loves the Cinderella story. Poor girl attracts rich man with her charms of sense and character, and they eventually live happily ever after.

Even if a lot of the ending does seem like wish fulfillment, it’s the best kind of wish fulfillment. We all know how it should end, and in books if no where else, endings ought to be what should have happened, at least 90% of the time.

I had no problem with wish fulfillment endings before I started watching movie reviews on YouTube. Then I was introduced to how critical my generation tends to be.

And the one who aren’t critical seem to blindly like whatever movie panders to them, be it good or bad.

I would not be the one to say we should all just drop our differences and get along because sometimes there are legitimate points on both ends of the spectrum.

Too much criticism renders anyone, but especially a youth, cynical.

No criticism at all renders anyone gullible and empty headed about art.

Wish fulfillment is one of the main things that gets complained about.

“Oh that was convenient.” “She is such a Mary Sue.” “This ending makes no sense at all.”

My problem more often is that I feel that the movie provides its happy ending just to avoid making people angry, and doesn’t bother to work it out so that it’s convincing.

Heck, all the difference between a good ending and a bad one can be made with just the actors. In book form that’s a little harder to pull off.

But my question is what is so wrong with wish fulfillment anyway?

Don’t we all want to get what we wish for? Isn’t that how we define a wish?

On what planet then do we complain about getting what we wanted?

On Planet Earth of course.

I guess people only complain when the fulfillment was what someone else wished for, not them.

I can’t argue with that myself. I certainly prefer endings I wanted, but there have been times when a different ending works out well and I have to admit that.

But in life, many of us just want to get what we want.

Though to be honest, I wonder if most young people know what they want now. The ones I know don’t seem to have more than a vague idea. I know I only have bits and pieces. Even older folks don’t seem to have a clue what they want.

If you went up to ten different people and asked them “What do you want? I mean really want? More than anything else in the world?” Most of them would give you either a stupid answer that they clearly didn’t think through, or possibly a blank look and a shrug.

For example. If you were to say the next iPhone, that would be a stupid answer. You want other things more than that, even if you don’t know it.

You would be amazed at how few people know what they really believe, but even fewer know what they want.

There are some tried and true answers to the question. All of us want love, in some form or other. We all want meaning. We all want to be important to someone.

Notice that those three elements primarily make up Happy Endings.

Then there are our more specific dreams.

Lot’s of young people have dreams now, very diverse dreams. Many of them even have the drive to fulfill those dreams. Oddly enough, no one is calling this Wish Fulfillment.

Even though we all know from Cinderella that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

I was annoyed by the song after a certain point, but I think she’s right about that.

It really is isn’t it? Your heart has a wish to do something, that becomes your dream.

For many of us it’s been a long time since we had a dream.

We find a place in life and in line that we can make work, and it suits us to a degree, and it’s fairly safe because we know  a lot about it, and that’s where we decide to stay.

For some of us our comfort can even be in pushing ourselves to new degrees of excellence, provided it’s excellence in an area we feel we have a shot in.

But Pride and Prejudice might show us this, that it’s only when we find our perceptions turned upside down and inside out that we begin to finally see our way clear to what we should be.

Maybe it’s when we’re cornered and have to face up to our own flaws that we start to find a way to push past them.

I had such an experience recently, more then one as it so happens. I have more coming I am positive.

If I might wax philosophical, I think that Happy Endings are what we prefer because we are meant to have them.

I think that we have to work towards them, as Sabrina Carpenter sings in “The Middle of Starting Over.”

I think also that they come to us.

In every human life I believe there is an intertwining of the results of our own choices, and the events caused by a higher power.

The Bible says we partner with God. I’d have to say the evidence points that way.

Wish Fulfillment is not a bad thing when it is born out of someone becoming the kind of person who wishes for the right things, and a belief that righteousness is, in the end, rewarded.

Jane Austen’s books would all be examples of such a blending of ideas.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Bittersweet.

I have made no secret of the fact that while I’m a Disney Fan, I don’t like everything they do, as some fans. But there’s a saving grace. Even in my least favorite Disney Princess film, there was one song.

Ironically, it’s the one with the same title as the movie. “Beauty and The Beast.”

For some reason, this song was just more palatable to me than the film itself. It basically sums up what the film’s message is, which isn’t such a bad one. But I could never swallow it in that format.

However, in song form, I actually really like it. If you haven’t heard the song a million times by now, I’ll sum it up for you:

The song is about how what’s happening is a tale as old as time, certain as the sun rising from the east.

In other words, what we’re seeing is something that’s happened before and is certain to happen again. That’s important to remember.

The song also describes the two people as both scared, and neither prepared for what’s taking place.

Young love right? Well, sort of.

But the parts that I actually think are unusual are as follows:

Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly…

Bitter sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong.

I really had to pause when I finally knew what the lyrics were. (It took years before I did.)

Perhaps it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary to my readers, but personally, I rarely hear this sort of message in children’s films anymore. even Disney ones are losing it, though Frozen does stand out as a recent example to the contrary.

What’s unusual about that one lyric “Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong” is the Bittersweet part.

We could all name a bunch of stories, both real and fictional, in which someone is aghast when they realize they are wrong, and they feel guilty.

But the nice thing here is that the song admits there is sometimes a phenomenon, strange as it is, in which it is partially a relief to find out you were wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I like to be right. Being wrong tends to scare me. It may be one of my worst weaknesses. Yet even I can at least imagine how being wrong about something could be a pleasant thing.

It’s bitter because no one with any honesty can say change of that sort isn’t painful and difficult, even while it’s rewarding.

To refer back to Frozen for a moment, I have said before that that movie admits that we are messed up and need to change, but it does so in such a way that we can feel the utter relief of both our main characters at the end when they realize they both can change, and want to change, and have changed.

If I may so, this also appears in Brave, when Merida and her Mother realize that they needed to change their attitudes toward each other and do so without realizing it.

Did you know that the name of the Beast in Prince form is Adam?

Call me crazy, but I think that it was not a mere chance. Beauty and the Beast mirrors the Garden of Eden story in several ways. The forbidden plant that both of them handle poorly; The prince rejecting it, Belle nearly touching it after being warned to stay away from the West Wing. Then Belle reenacts leaving the garden by running away, just as the Prince reenacts becoming cursed by sin to become something he is not supposed to be.

In the original tale, Beauty is more of a Christ figure in taking her father’s place to pay his debt, but the movie focused less on that part than on her own mistakes.

But where the movie and book both detour from the Fall story is that they skip ahead to the redemption part of it. Where both the main characters learn to love instead of fear, and to forgive, and to admit they were wrong, and eventually death itself is turned backwards.

I’m not theorizing that this is a Christian film in secret by any means (the remake really destroys that idea) but inadvertently, it has the Christian message woven into it. In a gentler form than some other movies, in that the key to the whole thing ends up being two people changing each other.

By the way, everyone always makes fun of the fact that Belle is a classic example of a woman thinking she can change an ogreish man. But in the book, and movie to an extent, it’s the Beast who changes her perspective.

I’d have liked Belle a lot more if she started the movie with more misconceptions about outward appearance that eventually got overturned, instead of being all perfect yet still strangely annoying.

To be honest, I think the reason I can’t stand her is because she spends her whole first number complaining about the people around her instead of proactively trying to befriend them and see the best in them, and treat them like actual people.

Hmm… just like she does with the Beast, at first.

But oddly enough she doesn’t really learn her lesson because she goes back to the town and is no better to anyone.

Well, I’ve already complained about this film enough to make plenty of folks mad as it is.

Anyway, so to conclude, changing is a thing to be celebrated. I thank God I am not the same person I was five years ago. (Five years exactly as of this month.)

I’ll say this: Most people are secretly frustrated not by the fact that others don’t change, but by the fact that they believe they themselves cannot.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.