Friday, 28 June 2013

Big Rich Atlanta... the masked avenger strikes again!

While I can't admit to watching Big Rich Atlanta (and I'm thinking that's a REALLY good thing), having just viewed the trailer, all I can think is that it looks like the latest installment for the masked crusader!
Is there anybody out there who really thinks the results of an addiction to plastic surgery is attractive?
The human face has the capacity to appear in so many ways - you don't have to be a knockout to look good.  A plain person can use makeup to enhance what they have in order to look glamorous; while a truly beautiful person needs no enhancement. 
However, if the skin has been pulled so tight that the person is skeletal looking, something's amiss.  Skin that doesn't move, is barely recognizable as skin.  Skin loses it's beauty if it is merely a covering for bones - it needs to look real, not plastic. 
I think it's sad that people are SO fixated on the outer vessel that they ignore their inner being - surely it's not rocket science to realise that it's the inner which is what is truly important.
In their article Female Body Image as a Function of Themes in Rap Music Videos: A Content Analysis, Yuanyuan Zhang, Ravis Dixon and Kate Conrad purport that "It has been well documented that Black females have higher self-esteem than White female" (p.788).  Watching the Big Rich Atlanta trailer, this statement comes to life.  It makes sense that low self-esteem would equate to dependency on cosmetic surgery.  It can be likened to shopaholics hoping that shopping will fill the void within. 
But perhaps the question is, has media expounded the lack of self-esteem so many people struggle with?
Surely the answer to that question is a quantitative YES.  The proliferation of images of perfect bodies and faces does nothing but remind us of what we're lacking.  Without education and substance, that void is not able to be filled. 
And unfortunately the escalation of reality programmes such as Big Rich Atlanta don't help. 

Game of Thrones... I didn't see THAT coming!

After writing a paper on Season 1, I must admit that I was slow on the uptake with Season 3.
I knew I'd eventually get around to watching it, but after watching Season 1 about 12 times in order to analyse it, I wasn't in a hurry.
I finished the season last night and wow...  having only read the first novel in the series, I really didn't see that coming. 
I was reminded of the furor when Ned Stark was executed in Season 1. 
It took everybody by storm coz let's face it, it's not the usual course for the good guy! The conventions of what  
David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson coined as Classical Hollywood Cinema (CHC) include the following (this isn't an exhaustive list!): a temporal narrative; an emphasise on causal relations; requirement for the viewer to link elements of the plot; main protagonist is usually agent of cause; includes intertexuality; the narrative is driven by central protagonist; there is usually closure at the end; the viewer has omniscience; location is established early.  
So Ned's death in Season 1 was jarring, after all, he was the good guy - a belief in justice; a family man; a loving husband and father; a loyal friend.  He'd erred in the past, but the fallen hero is a mainstay of literature - especially one who regrets his past or has learned from it.
So while I was quietly expecting similar occurrences in the future of the programme, the enormity and location of the event was surprising.
A wedding???? Every member of the Stark family present???? (or should I say, knowingly present).  
The scene was reminiscent of Hamlet... and while not EVERYBODY in the scene died, all those on the side of good did.  I guess it's refreshing for a narrative to eliminate those characters who live by a firm set morals early - only the good die young - after all, the episode before, we witnessed Robb executing one of his banner-men for treason, when he'd been advised not to because of the ramifications it might have for his cause.  But Robb, showing his mettle as a true son of Ned Stark, took the higher ground and swung the sword himself.  This was similar to the scene in the very first episode of the programme when Ned executed the Black Watch deserter.  I didn't realise at the time that that execution was foreshadowing the eventual death of Robb Stark two series later. 
However, as a narrative ploy, the killing off of the good guys certainly whets our appetites for the eventual downfall of the usurpers and their co-conspirators.   
I know I'm particularly looking forward to the following payback... 
  • Joffrey - well, a bit of a no brainer there! Payback for Mika, Lady, Sansa, Ned... the list just goes on and on.  And of course the fact that he's the spawn of incest, and a wimpy little bully to boot.  Payback will be particularly sweet.
  • Walder Frey - for being a lecherous traitor.  Looking forward to his dismise! 
In a CNN interview, George RR Martin said the following: "The Red Wedding is based on a couple real events from Scottish history. One was a case called The Black Dinner. The king of Scotland was fighting the Black Douglas clan. He reached out to make peace. He offered the young Earl of Douglas safe passage. He came to Edinburgh Castle and had a great feast. Then at the end of the feast, [the king's men] started pounding on a single drum. They brought out a covered plate and put it in front of the Earl and revealed it was the head of a black boar — the symbol of death. And as soon as he saw it, he knew what it meant. They dragged them out and put them to death in the courtyard. The larger instance was the Glencoe Massacre. Clan MacDonald stayed with the Campbell clan overnight and the laws of hospitality supposedly applied. But the Campbells arose and started butchering every MacDonald they could get their hands on. No matter how much I make up, there's stuff in history that's just as bad, or worse."