On the agenda for the evening: FINISHED THE DAMN BOOK HAHAHAHA, Britney Spears and fridge logic, "Am I being gay?", and Iron Hans 2.0.
And possibly other things. Hopefully I'll get to them all. It's not like I spent oh... three hours typing up an outline last night. A REALLY long and detailed outline. If it weren't, it would have taken me like... two minutes.
I FINISHED DRACULA!!! HAHAHAHA! And I didn't go blind doing it either! HAHA!
So yeah. I finally finished it. I was rather surprised by the ending. SPOILER:
I thought they all died. But ah well. Good endings aren't so bad (because they honestly can be at times, which... is very weird, because that wouldn't make it good, would it? And it probably means that you're a sadist).
And I did most of it while going for a good walk. I have started my descent to eventually running in the mornings! Woot! Exercise ftw!
I would never reread Dracula. I mean... I hope I don't have to reread it for class, ever, because I would reread it again (to refresh my memory)... but I really didn't like the story at all. It was an interesting look on vampire mythos and such, especially concerning the original Dracula, not the 50 billion Hollywood iterations that are out there.
The book suffers from that same thing that many books suffer: being a product of its time. I have stated before that I can understand the viewpoints presented in the work, since the book is a product of its time, and that's the way people thought back then (at least many of the peoples represented in the book). I can't forgive, but I can understand. Still. I've read romance novels that were less sexist than this thing. I thought it would be about mythology and fighting vampires, not about "oh look, damsel! So frail and weak, we must protect her!" Yup. Spoiled by Hollywood. Le sigh.
Also... it was just plain boring. There was only one largish action sequence, and maybe two or three small ones. I didn't like any of the characters (all that sexism being there and what not - YES I GET THAT IT WAS THE TIMES BUT DID I MENTION THAT I STILL FIND IT INSULTING?)... none of them really appealed to me, save for the American and Jonathan... and even then, there was too little appearance of the former, and Jonathan kind of lost my interest.
So that's over.
So I was humming "Baby One More Time" the other day. Yes, I liked Britney Spears when I was little and she was a thing. Consider this: I'm a person who frequently has their name misspelled, almost shares a name with the woman, and, back then... I didn't know anything about music, I couldn't understand most of the lyrics in songs (except for occasional bits), and I knew only a couple bands by name (versus now, where I know several, hehe): N'Sync, the Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, Britney Spears (yes, not a band, but a singer or whatever), Enya, ATeens, Madonna, and S Club 7. Maybe the Dixie Chicks, maybe that's a big maybe. And the only bands I could somewhat recognize music from what Spears, N'Sync (because they weren't BSB songs, which I knew most of), BSB, Enya, S Club, and ATeens. Of course, I didn't even really know Enya, because my Dad would also play Clannad, which I didn't know the name of. Clannad, being the family band Enya was originally part of, has a similar sound. So I was familiar with it, but I just thought it was all Enya. I didn't actually learn the difference (or about the existence of Clannad) until... either late Middle School or High School.
Also, they used to spam Britney Spears and other pop bands at my summer camps. It was ridiculous. I remember a number of occasions where "Oops I Did it Again" would come on and the room would resound with everyone singing along.
Also: the reason why I originally liked Britney Spears? I was in a store with my Mom and my sister (and I think it was a Target) and my sister got a CD, and, being the spoiled, jealous child I was, I wanted one too. So Mom let me pick (even though I didn't know ANYONE). And I demonstrated that I didn't know anyone by standing there, staring at the CD rack, wondering which to pick. I don't remember if I saw it or Mom saw it first, but the CD with BRITNEY SPEARS in big letters was picked up because "look, you share a first name". Seriously. That's the only reason. Back then I thought it was a sign from God.
SO, I was singing this song, yes? So I'm humming while I'm doing some stuff on the computer... and suddenly, the meaning behind the lyrics begins to dawn on me... and I feel deeply horror struck that I know this song well enough to hum it when I'm bored...
No, I'm not 100% sure that the song means what I think it means... and there are a couple meanings I'm willing to allow. I have no source material here other than the lyrics and what I'm reading. And the interpretation I'm particularly leery of is very likely colored by my own life and experiences. As are all things. But anyway... the first interpretation that popped through my head began with the chorus "hit me baby one more time". Way back when I gave no notice to this. Over time, I began to think of it like the phrase "hit me up", which tends to mean "give me another drink" or piece of food or something (it can also be used for information). I was also more caught in how good the album sounds overall (which it honestly does - if you're willing to ignore what most of the songs actually mean).
But if you look at these:
"There's nothing that I wouldn't do"
"Show me how you want it to be
Tell me baby 'cause I need to know now"
"I must confess that my loneliness is killing me now"
And then take into consideration the fact that "hit me baby one more time" is used five times in the song. It's part of the chorus. So this is sung by someone, to someone else, saying that person A screwed up without realizing it, and that they'll do anything to fix it. And then they ask person B to hit them, possibly to get person B's lesson through to person A.
This kind of sounds like an abusee to abuser relationship. Abusers often make abusees think that they have nowhere else to go if they decide to leave the relationship. Perhaps that the abusee is worthless or ugly or stupid or some other reason that would make no one else want to have them around. Basically, the abuser is doing charity and being deeply kind by taking in the abusee.
I understand that it is important to understand the other person's side in a relationship. This could just be person A saying that they didn't realize they did something wrong, and they'll do anything to make it up to person B. The "friendly" punchout is also a common concept in escapist literature, movies, and television. So that could also be what's happening. "Punch me to make you feel better." "We good now?" "Yup."
But it doesn't sound like that. It sounds like person B's perspective of the world is the one that takes precedence. "Show me how you want it to be" - setting up how things will work in the relationship, according to person B. While one person in a relationship may know more about relationships and making them work... a relationship is not set up and maintained by only one of the individuals. It is a partnership. Both sides contribute. Or else what is the point of the relationship in the first place? Sex, sure... but what kind of relationship is that? It's empty and sad.
So this kind of screams to be "this is supporting abuse!" And even if that's not what the song is REALLY about (given Britney's later stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if this is just foreshadowing of her later career, although I'm willing to admit that maybe she just CHANGED big time down the road, as most people do)... this is how I hear it. And I can't listen to a song where, every time it pops up, I think "I'm singing about an abusive relationship. Great."
And it's not the only problematic song on the album.
"Sometimes I run (sometimes)
Sometimes I hide
Sometimes I'm scared of you
But all I really want is to hold you tight
Treat you right, be with you day and night
Baby all I need is time"
There's "Sometimes". It actually sounds quiet nice, for a pop song. Bouncy, sweet. Pretty, really. The chorus runs nicely off the tongue.
This is a song sung by someone who is concerned that someone else is trying to move things too fast. And possibly that the singer is either a victim of Stockholm Syndrome... or is being stalked by person B... or is just trying to sweeten things up so that person B doesn't hurt person A.
"Sometimes I'm scared of you" is NOT something a person should be saying about someone else who they want to go out with. It is REALLY bad if a member of a relationship is saying this. I say this about my stepfather. I HATE my stepfather. I say this about spiders. I do NOT want to get into a relationship with a spider, outside of one that involves my hand on a fly swatter, and them squished under the big, far end.
Also, if you HIDING from someone else, it's a good sign that you don't want to be around them. If you are HIDING, then there is probably a reason for it, especially if this person is scaring you.
Now, this song could be about a very shy person and, maybe, their first boy/girlfriend. Maybe person A doesn't really get it all, and doesn't know how to jump into a relationship, and they just want patience.
But you don't SAY that you are TERRIFIED of the person. You don't say it that way!
There's also another song that I've never really liked anyway that could be about sex, drugs, alcohol, and a party. The kind cops come to in order to arrest people. It also starts with a rapper calling Zeus and Agamemnon poets. I get Homer as a poet... but what?
Then there's a song that could be something cute about person A saying that they're always thinking about their person B.
Or it could be the song Stephanie Meyer put on endless repeat while she write the Twilight Series. Cause it pretty well describes Bella's relationship with Edward, and the response other people have to it.
The rest are mostly about the singer saying how much they screwed up the relationship. And maybe sex. Probably sex.
Other than the sound... there's really nothing I like about this album.
"But it's music! Isn't sound... the point?"
There is music where the sound is enough to make up for any other shortcomings. Even in songs with lyrics. Music with a foreign language (where I don't get a translation) falls into this category. There is also music sung in English that can fall into this category.
But if a song comes on and my thoughts include "oh... sex. Failure in a relationship. Alcohol. Abuse. Uhh..." That's enough to overpower that "oh, this is catchy!" portion. None of these songs have amazingly written lyrics that just sound nice together. I don't currently like Britney Spears (I only ever bought two CDs and a single, anyway, and that was back before 4th grade), and I haven't listened to this music in ages. That uneducated spark that made me like this before is just... gone.
Moving on. I don't know if I ranted about this before. I actually wanted insight into this from some people I know. Maybe I'll post it on facebook or something...
So I was in chorus and I was sitting and waiting for class to start. Most of us were there. People were talking to each other. It wasn't absolutely quiet, but it wasn't very loud either. Have to say that I don't know the names of any of the girls in my chorus. I started to last year, but even then I only knew like three, and then I changed choruses. (I also think they were all named Sara...) So I don't know her name. I'd recognize the face, but I don't know her name, and I didn't know her personally. She was just someone else who sat in my section. Who also didn't sing very well, but meh.
I think she was playing with her phone. She was trying to do something and it wasn't working, and getting annoyed with it. She made the other girls nearby (who were friends) aware of the situation, and, at one point, she asked, "Am I being gay?" to express something along the lines of "what am I being stupid enough to miss that isn't making this work?" That's what it translated to in my head, even while a big question mark popped up in my head, along with the thought, "What? What does "Am I being gay?" mean? Who says that?"
So I find myself in the interesting situation of understanding rude slang (if that's what it was), and also trying to understand why people think the word "gay" means stupid. The original usage of the term is for "happy".
I understand "Am I being an idiot?" "Am I being a moron?" "Am I being stupid?" "What am I missing?" "Am I missing something?"
But why do people do this? Take two things that literally have nothing to do with each other (the feeling of being happy or, more likely, having a sexual preference for people of the same sex) and stick them together like this, as an insult, or to vent frustration?
I had a similar experience the other day. I can't quite remember what he said, but this person was referring to something that annoyed them, and called it a "whore". It had nothing to do with prostitution, wasn't in reference to a person, or, more specifically, a person who was sleeping around. The term was just used as an insult. But not just "this is a rude thing to call you, so I'm going to use it". It was used as if to say "the definition of 'whore' works perfectly to describe why this is insulting me, so I will use it". People who do this clearly expect others to understand completely what they mean and sympathize. I was just very confused, because I could not connect the object of his anger with the term.
We live in a society where people are this stupid or prejudiced. They just go with it. If they were sat down and told, explicitly, what they are saying by quoting these words, about themselves, their beliefs, their culture, their society, or others... maybe they would understand. But no one does that. Everyone just goes with it.
I've been in this situation. I thought "constipation" was an insult for the longest time until my sister and father laughed at me and explained the definition of the term to me. After which, I went from using the word a LOT to almost never using it (not because it's taboo... but honestly, how many times a day do you say "someone's constipated"?).
Then there are other curse words that involve sexual preference, sex in general... a word that is insulting because it implies that you have no father. Who cares about your mother? The important thing is that you have no father who will claim you.
The term 'slut' has not, in my hearing or reading, been used to address a man, except jokingly. Rape is considered a joke. "She was asking for it" is still a joke.
We live in a society where this happens. I can understand a lack of knowledge and education. I can understand how the meaning of words change with time. So these words are simply considered insults, and people don't have to know what they mean or how they became insults or WHY they're considered insults... everyone just recognizes that it's an insult to say them to others. But if that's the case... what's the point of saying them? If you want to insult someone, the best way to do it is to be specific. To really hit them where it hurts. Just throwing random curse words at them is rather childish, and just makes you sound belligerent, and not intelligent (which is frequently considered a strength, especially if you're good at cutting people down). And all it does is subliminally support being cruel to half our planet's sexual population, and a large percentage of its sexual preference population.
Basically, everything in support of these words and phrases is just a lame excuse. This is just wrong. It needs to change.
Anyway. To end on a mild high note. I was looking a number of tumblr posts on "Snow White & the Huntsman", and even watched a decent song made by Florence and the Machine for the movie. Then I looked up some information on "Mirror Mirror". Neither of which I've seen. I'm still curious about them. I would like to see at least "Snow White & the Hunstman", KStew or no. And of course, thinking about these two adaptations of Snow White made in close proximity to each other (because there were just NO other fairy tales to use for movie material, right?), made me think about "Once Upon a Time", which ALSO uses the Snow White storyline. At least vaguely. A TV show which was on-going in its first season while these two movies were getting publicity before they came out. And then there's "Grimm", which also uses some of those familiar Brothers Grimm stories. In a very, very vague capacity. So vague I don't that if they didn't make these episodes so contrived... there would be no apparent relation.
So because of that... I've been in an Iron Hans mood lately. It's my favorite fairy tale. Manliness and 'good christian values' and all that aside. Maybe it just had the best art interpretation in my Elementary School library. I don't know!
Anyway. Apparently Grimm did use it... to some extent. I'll have to look that up again to be sure (they at least use a quotation from the story, but then again, their quotations tend to not have anything to do with the episodes themselves... so meh). But "Once Upon a Time" is going to need some more characters to populate its Fairy Tale world! They've barely scratched the surface on the number of things they can use! Even looking at Disney alone, they haven't used "The Frog Princess", "The Little Mermaid", "Treasure Island", "Rapunzel"... heck, they could even make an excuse to stick Mulan in there if they wanted! Then there are so many other fairy tales they could use! I would love to have them try and interpretation of "The Boy Who Did Not Know Fear" or "The Troll King's Daughter" (or whatever they're called) or that one where the Princess wraps herself in fur and it's like part of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon"/Cupid and Psyche. Or "Silver Hands" (whatever it's called) where the protagonist gets her hands chopped off after her parents make a deal with the devil. And honestly? They've barely scratched the surface on the Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty fairy tales, even though they've partially referenced them. They could do a lot more with them. Or Peter Pan! Sure, they have fairies, but they don't have Peter or Tink flying around! Pulling them in could make an excuse for having mermaids. And Bella's last name may be Swan (possibly implying that SHE is to be the Swan Princess - can you say love story and more magic from Regina, now-remagified people?), but they haven't actually USED the Swan Princess storyline. Or the Nutcracker storyline! Or Goldilocks! No one likes Goldilocks... Heck, they could even make an excuse to have Robin Hood in here! Or "The Last Unicorn" - now that would be an interesting throw-in!
But while I have seen a number of interpretations and reinterpretations of these stories... I have seen very few reinterpretations of Iron Hans. No movie or television interpretations, certainly.
So I figure... if Hollywood has no ideas (considering that two companies came out with movies using the same fairy tale... at the same time, and they have this history of companies stealing scripts and ideas and fighting over who can do it better, and because they completely fail in original story-telling as of late), why not try their hand at who can make the best Iron Hans? I'm completely game for that.
But then I thought... you know, I did try my hand at re-imagining the story way back when. I wanted to see what would happen if you switched the gender roles - made the protagonist female. Never really got anywhere with it.
But I have two completed outlines for a re-imagining of "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty" sitting on my computer, waiting to be written.
Why not give it another go myself, rather than wait? It'll probably never be published, but it would make me happy.
So I gave it a shot. And, as stated earlier, I spent three plus hours on it. There are still a couple problems that need to be worked out (some cultural research I need to do, how the prince is sort of blackmailed by Iron Hans to free him, why he flees the tournament/festival when the princess throws the golden apple... and so on). But most of it is out there, waiting for me. I'm planning to pick one of the three stories to work on for NaNoWriMo. If they're too short (which I highly doubt, considering that, well, it's me), then I'll just move on to one of the others. Iron Hans and Sleeping Beauty are both Brothers Grimm tales, so it would make sense to start a mini re-imagined compendium. "The Little Mermaid" isn't, but... well, it's so reused that I don't think people would care. I won't care, as long as I have stuff to write.
So there you have it. A lot of writing. My hand really hurts. I might just delete this whole CD and throw it away. Oh, my wasted youth. And humanity, oh humanity... I hope we can improve.