Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘fms130’

3 December 2007: “Man, That’s What I Call A Colored Man”

Posted by Christina on March 12, 2009

pict0This piece was another critical inquiry assignment for the American Superheroes class. We were to talk about race in terms of The Incredible Hulk TV show and watched a particular episode in class. The title I chose for my paper came from a direct quote in the episode.

“Man, That’s What I Call A Colored Man.”

Initially, we may view David Banner’s character within The Incredible Hulk television program to represent that of the white colonizer, come to a wholly racially identified place. This place is obviously characterized as an example of the American black inner-city as a race and culture of the black population have been pushed aside by the white majority. They have created an area they can call their own where they work, live and breathe the streets they walk on and the town they keep alive and humming. At first glance, it’s the white male figure represented by Banner whom the outsider understands to have put these citizens-only found different from the rest by the color of their skin-in this place within the outskirts of a normalized society. However, the character of Banner is unique in that he is actually The Hulk and as a sort of superhero, has an alternate look on life, doesn’t buy into the racial norms the rest of society has forced upon the greater population and treats humanity as equal, being outcast himself by a mode of difference which makes him unlike the rest.

As Dyer remarks within his essay, we understand the white hero to have the right to colonize because his body is better as his masculinity coupled with the sheer fact that his skin is white showcases a superiority which places him on the humanity hierarchy. With this episode, “Like A Brother” from The Incredible Hulk television show, the black inner-city defines the space in which the white superior male has colonized. An outsider has entered the perimeter with intensions to take over and with Banner, we initially read him as a character who has come to somewhat vindictively enact his seemingly god-given right to colonize. However, as the episode progresses, Banner is an estranged version of the white male superior colonizer, although he does possess traits that showcase him as the outsider who has come to fix the problems by ways of his intellectual and moral superiority inherent to his white skin.

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14 November 2007: The Day I Broke a Nail When I Saved the World

Posted by Christina on March 11, 2009

umaThis was another critical inquiry assignment for the American Superheroes class. We had just watched My Super Ex-Girlfriend and had to comment on its contents. Also – this movie had the cutest end title sequence ever (almost).

The Day I Broke a Nail When I Saved the World

There has always been a sort of “incongruity” within recognizing a female superhero, namely since the identity of a superhero in general is usually given to a male figure. They’re the ones meant to protect the innocent and the fragile from what tragedies might befall them and within these categories women hold top tier. Therein we see that when women are represented as superheroes “narrative tension” is created by way of developing a rift between what we expect generally from their gender and what they’re capable of as extraordinary people-superheroes. These sorts of departures from regular expectations of women are seen in My Super Ex-Girlfriend where seemingly docile women exhibit extraordinary capabilities. Yet they are brought back down to an appropriately societal-deemed size when men are involved in their lives, when the aspect of patriarchy infiltrates their lives figuratively by way of psychology and literally by way of physical proximity.

Patriarchal standards reign within the film My Super Ex-Girlfriend even though on the surface, we primarily see how the male figures are having their masculinity undermined by the women around them. We see Luke Wilson’s character, Matt Saunders, in need of being saved by our superhero, G-Girl-whose name on its own begs the question for what it might really allude to. Similarly, Eddie Izzard’s character, Professor Bedlam, is completely obsessed with her, rendering him incapable of doing anything that doesn’t involve her in some way. While these themes are prevalent at first glance, the female characters are being objectified, being accepted as superheroes only once they have transformed into the accepted image of blonde haired, chesty creatures of sexuality and femininity.

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22 October 2007: Struggle Between Nostalgia and Anti-Nostalgia – Stuck in the Middle With Superman

Posted by Christina on March 9, 2009

superman_dccomics_artThis assignment was for our American Superheroes class and dealt with the ideas of nostalgia and anti-nostalgia with a particular Superman comic.

Struggle Between Nostalgia and Anti-Nostalgia: Stuck in the Middle With Superman

In this comic book cover we see the iconic notion of Superman in accordance to the characters of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor in a battle between nostalgia and anti-nostalgia. Superman’s past is rekindled in the form of the use of modern technology hinting to the potential demise of Superman and the things he fights for, particularly Lois Lane. Nostalgia and anti-nostalgia are connected in this sense where, coupled together, they present an immediate threat. Yet separately they work on their own levels and come together in the end as the conflicting positions of nostalgia and anti-nostalgia.

On the nostalgic level, this ultimately destructive ray is a relic from Superman’s past. Not only is it from his home planet, but it is a piece of memorable hints to the person his father was. The ray gun poses a symbol for the advance technology inherent to Krypton and clues Superman in on what sort of society he came from and would have been reared by had this planet survived. Intimately, it’s a key to the person his father was as Jor-El’s superior knowledge of this sort of technology enabled him to develop this type of machine. This ray gun serves as a memorandum from his planet and the society inhabited by Krypton, one more technologically advanced than the seemingly primitive society of people on Earth. This ray gun represents the person of his father whose death has been thousands of years ago in a somewhat galactic light year. With such a long period of time it is unavoidably impossible to go back to the age of his planet yet with this piece of technology, a sort of unearthed anthropological antique of Krypton, we can guess at the type of place Superman originally comes from.

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10 October 2007: How Plastic Man Adheres to American Myths

Posted by Christina on March 7, 2009

jla89The first quarter I took Film & Media Studies classes was really great because I got to take some awesome electives. One was called American Superheroes and we basically read comic books, watched films based on comic books and wrote papers on how the real human themes within these comic books transfer all sorts of media bounds. Later, I would take the required writing about film class with the same professor and write my final on one particular comic book’s transfer to film.

How Plastic Man Adheres to American Myths

The story of Plastic Man contains all the integral ingredients for properly qualifying a story of a superhero. We have the history of Plastic Man as an orphaned child left uncertain about the world around him, the geriatric mentor who supports him throughout his transformation, the integration of science as a strange vehicle for the transformation and the idea of dual identity, among others. Among these concepts of defining the individual character as a superhero, we find the story as a whole adheres to the American myths of self-transformation and national destiny. Clearly, these two approaches intertwine to seamlessly construct the story of the American superhero by way of the mythology that spawned the genre. Also, the content which maintained the original American myths are displaced, taking us away from a world of blazing horizon sunsets and cowboys to a modern one with scientific advancements and wagons that steer themselves.

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