dangatorium:

Nerds: Then and Now
by Bill Dixon

dangatorium:

Nerds: Then and Now

by Bill Dixon


kevinbradley:

Darwin theorized about evolution, and so did I.  

kevinbradley:

Darwin theorized about evolution, and so did I.  


kevinbradley:

for my <3.  luh you ammr

He knows the way to my heart :]

kevinbradley:

for my <3.  luh you ammr

He knows the way to my heart :]


albotas:

A Little Bit On The Watchmen Side: After months of rumors and leaks, DC Comics officially announced the Before Watchmen series of prequels. There will be eight titles that include Rorschach, Comedian, Minutemen, Silk Spectre, Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, and Before Watchmen: Epilogue. Here’s hoping that they’ll be more like the X-Men: First Class prequel rather than the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

(Via Bleeding Cool)



Potential roleplay cosplay for my adventure at Momocon 2012. The tough part will be matching the green and accessorizing with question marks :P I think it’s gonna be awesome.


billdixoncomedy:

I’m not sure I fully subscribe to this but I know it’s the first thing I think.

billdixoncomedy:

I’m not sure I fully subscribe to this but I know it’s the first thing I think.


CANNOT WAIT.


Awesome AND classy.
Take note, Mr.Bradley ;)

Awesome AND classy.

Take note, Mr.Bradley ;)


I’m currently trying to talk myself down from tattoo ideas. Every few weeks or so, I get this craving for an awesome new tattoo. I think that I want to start my awesome nerd piece on my back with all the awesome nerdy things that have influenced my life. But right now, I really just want a green question mark and “RIDDLE ME THIS”.


geek-art:


Geek-Art.net : Dr Faustus&#160;: Batman and Ghostbusters
 
I just love Dr Faustus’ remakes…Using the childy style of Dr Seuss’ books and bring them in the geekdom, now THAT is a mashup&#160;! Please read the full article and enjoy the Batman heroes, Seuss style, but also a bonus track&#160;: after his call on Call of Cthulhu, Dr Faustus does the very same with Ghostbusters&#160;!
via howtocarveroastunicorn

geek-art:

Geek-Art.net : Dr Faustus : Batman and Ghostbusters

 

I just love Dr Faustus’ remakes…Using the childy style of Dr Seuss’ books and bring them in the geekdom, now THAT is a mashup ! Please read the full article and enjoy the Batman heroes, Seuss style, but also a bonus track : after his call on Call of Cthulhu, Dr Faustus does the very same with Ghostbusters !

via howtocarveroastunicorn

The Author in the Text: Homosexuality in Fight Club

Amber Thompson

English 300

Dr. Field

10 December 2011

                In his novel Diary, Chuck Palahniuk writes the following quote: “Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.” (Palahniuk 48). What he is essentially saying is that no matter what one does, they are represented in their works. Chuck Palahniuk also wrote the novel Fight Club (made into a movie by the same name), which, through various ways, shows the author’s sexuality through the two main characters, The Narrator and Tyler Durden.  By utilizing the methods used by R. Barton Palmer in his article “The Narrator in The Owl and The Nightingale: A Reader in the Text”, the essay will show how Chuck Palahniuk’s sexuality is exhibited throughout the film Fight Club, mostly in the actions of the Narrator.

                To utilize the methods of Dr. Palmer, this essay will look solely at the text (or the film, in this case), rather than at the criticisms of other scholars.  In his article, he states “Central to my argument is a full-scale analysis of the poem’s narrator, who, in the tradition of the exemplum and fable, functions as the reader’s surrogate in the text, as an intelligence who attempts to (but never succeeds in) writing out the meaning of the avian debate he witnesses.” (Palmer 305-306). To fully utilize his method, this essay will heavily analyze the Narrator in Fight Club, as he is arguably a self-portrait of Chuck Palahniuk.  In Fight Club, the story is told through the first person perspective of The Narrator, giving the reader his exact thoughts and emotions in certain situations (Fight Club). The first example of homoeroticism from The Narrator occurs in the very first moments of the film, as Tyler is pushing a gun into The Narrator’s mouth (Fight Club). This situation is overtly homoerotic, as the gun is representative of a phallus pushing against the back of The Narrator’s throat. The Narrator runs his tongue over the gun’s silencer as he tells the viewer how a gun operates (Fight Club).

                In one scene, the viewer sees the Narrator in the bathroom, reading a magazine. He holds the magazine up sideways, as one would do when viewing the pull-out of a naked woman in a pornographic magazine (Fight Club). It is then revealed that he is looking at an Ikea furniture magazine, rather than a pornographic one(Fight Club).  Here, one can see the Narrator (and therefore, Palahniuk’s), lack of interest in women and an embracing of what makes him happy (or, what he feels should make him happy at this point) (Fight Club). While this is not overtly homoerotic, it does show the Narrator’s lack of interest in women early on in the film. The Narrator questions, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” (Fight Club). The viewer now sees that The Narrator is struggling with his identity, and part of one’s identity is one’s sexuality. The viewer can translate that Palahniuk’s struggle with his own identity and, therefore, sexuality.

                The Narrator’s first emotional connection with another person is with Bob, at the Testicular Cancer Support Group (Fight Club). The Narrator weeps into Bob’s chest, while Bob holds and comforts him. The viewer sees the emotional connection the Narrator is capable of with men, which is usually frowned upon within society (Fight Club). This may relate to Palahniuk’s relationships with male companions, sexual or not. The Narrator’s connection with Bob shows that the writer, Palahniuk, is capable of an emotional relationship with a fellow man, in the way that American society often frowns upon. However, after the meeting with Bob, the Narrator’s insomnia is temporarily cured. Within the context of the movie, he has never been shown happier.

                The lead female character, Marla, is portrayed by the Narrator as a lying, conniving leech of a person (Fight Club). Is it coincidence that a character like this is a woman? The Narrator’s opinion of women is consistently low within the movie. This may not be Palahniuk’s exact view of women, but the way the Narrator sees women is as unnecessary, as they are within the relationship of homosexual men.  This may reflect part of Palahniuk’s sexuality, in that women are an unnecessary part of it. That is not to say he does not have female friends or companions, but the most real connection felt is with men, specifically his longtime partner.

                After his apartment explodes, The Narrator has a choice of either calling Marla or Tyler and asking for a place to stay. This is where the relationship with Tyler really begins. The Narrator shows a preference for Tyler to Marla, even though he arguably knows Marla better at this point. This could be referring to Palahniuk’s sexuality of preferring males to females. The physical relationship with Tyler begins after he invites the Narrator to stay with him. The relationship is not sexual, but it is intimate in the sense that the two men are fist-fighting with nothing to lose. Here, the film shows Palahniuk’s aversion to his own sexuality in the public eye. Rather than having the public know about this personal matter, he hides it. This could be the internal struggle and fight he deals with, which is shown by this fighting of the Narrator and Tyler.

                One of the most overtly homoerotic scenes within the movie is when Tyler and the Narrator are in the bathroom together (Fight Club). Tyler is nude in the bathtub and The Narrator is sitting on the floor beside the bathtub, talking to him (Fight Club). This is not the normal behavior of most heterosexual men in their thirties. This blatantly shows that the relationship between The Narrator and Tyler is not a heterosexual one, as this behavior shows a deep level of intimacy. The two men converse about their father issues, and end up discussing the idea of heterosexual marriage. Tyler states, “I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need,” (Fight Club). Here, Palahniuk is making it very clear that, to him, a woman is not necessary in an intimate relationship like marriage. Adding to the fact that Tyler and the Narrator seem like a very close married couple, in the next scene, the Narrator adjusts Tyler’s bowtie (Fight Club). This is the behavior of two extremely close friends, even lovers — not the behavior traditionally exhibited by two straight men.  Palahniuk here has shown the viewer through the work his homosexuality. If the viewer reads the Narrator as a self-portrait of Palahniuk, the viewer can see that Palahniuk struggles with who he is, and through the Narrator, he is coming to terms with his sexuality.

                As Tyler announces the rules at the first “official” Fight Club, he states twice that the participants cannot talk about Fight Club (Fight Club). The viewer can read this as the aversion to homosexuality within society. One can cite the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy as a perfect example of this, and here, Palahniuk is expressing how homosexuality is a forced secret most of the time. The men at the Fight Club are not necessarily doing anything bad; rather, they are just doing something that makes them happy. This is like homosexuality in that the author of this essay believes it to be an inherent trait, and not a choice to be made.  The men in Fight Club are there because they want to do what makes them happy, and in this case, it is beating each other up. Homosexuals ideally could do what makes them happy (be in loving relationships, often involving marriage), but because of the pressures of society, many feel they cannot.  Palahniuk here is showing the hesitation many face when “coming out of the closet”.

                The actual fighting in Fight Club has very obvious sexual overtones. Most of the men are very handsome and fit, and as they fight, they are sweaty and shirtless (Fight Club).  This allows the viewer (and arguably the participants) to admire the fighting men as voyeurs. At one point in the movie, the Narrator glances at a Gucci advertisement of a man in a pair of thong underwear. He says to Tyler, “Is that what a man looks like?” Tyler laughs and says, “Self-improvement is masturbation,” (Fight Club). Here, the viewer sees the two main characters as voyeurs of other men, sizing them up and judging them based on appearance.

                The viewer can sense the Narrator’s jealousy when Tyler and Marla begin a sexual relationship. The Narrator shows passive aggression, and eventually even peeks through the crack of Tyler’s door to see the two having sex (Fight Club). Palahniuk here may be showing the jealousy of having feelings for a heterosexual love interest.  He is showing a hopeless feeling of unrequited love, of being unable to pursue a relationship with the one he truly wants. This feeling is brought up again when Tyler begins showing obvious preference towards another male the Narrator has nicknamed Angelface. He states, “I am Jack’s inflamed sense of rejection,” showing that he feels like Tyler is rejecting him for someone better (Fight Club). Palahniuk is once again showing the unrequited love he has likely felt within his lifetime as a homosexual. It is very likely that he has had feelings for someone who did not return them. The relationship between Tyler and the Narrator is representative of this.

At the end of the film, the viewer returns to the very first scene of the movie, culminating in the Narrator’s “suicide” – the killing of the part of him that is Tyler Durden (Fight Club). After Tyler is dead, the Narrator and his female acquaintance Marla join hands, and watch the destruction unfolding outside the building (Fight Club). In this way, the viewer can perceive that the Narrator essentially killed off the homoerotic desire he held within (represented as Tyler) to have a heterosexual relationship with Marla (Fight Club). The novel Fight Club was first printed in 1996, and Chuck Palahniuk did not publicly announce his sexuality until 2003. The viewer can see Palahniuk’s struggle with his homosexuality in the motifs of his work Fight Club, culminating in this final scene where the main character kills a part of himself. This can be seen as Palahniuk’s coming to terms with who he is, especially because of the presence he held in the public eye as a very famous author.  If one reads the seen this way, then Tyler may represent what Palahniuk felt society wanted him to be: the handsome, masculine leader in a relationship with a woman. By having the Narrator kill Tyler off, one can see this as Palahniuk’s coming to terms with who he was, much like The Narrator had to do.

By utilizing Dr. Palmer’s method of analyzing the text by critically analyzing the narrator, the viewer or reader can see how Chuck Palahniuk is portraying his own sexuality and his conflicts with it through the Narrator and Tyler Durden in Fight Club. At the end of his article, Dr. Palmer states, “The poem does not authorize us either to name its subject or conclusions, but rather forces us to experience partial and unsatisfactory attempts to do so.” (Palmer 320). This is like Fight Club in the sense that the viewer can talk about the obvious plot and subject of the movie, but the viewer is also forced to experience the struggle of the sexuality of the author of the original text. By scrutinizing the actions of the Narrator in Fight Club, the viewer can see the internal struggle and eventually acceptance of Palahniuk’s sexuality.


Works Cited

  • Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter. 1999. DVD.
  • Palahniuk, Chuck. Diary: a Novel. 48. New York: Doubleday, 2003. Print.
  • Palmer, R. “The Narrator in the Owl and the Nightingale: A Reader in the Text.” The Chaucer Review 22.4 (1988): 305-21. Print.

The Narrator in The Owl and the Nightingale: A Reader in the Text

Amber Thompson

English 300

15 November 2011

Article Summary

Dr. Palmer’s article “The Narrator in The Owl and the Nightingale: A Reader in the Text” presents a counter argument to an earlier claim from Kathryn Hume. He states very early in the text that while he believes that Hume pointed out the shortfalls of previous interpretations of the poem, her interpretation is flawed all the same. To point out these flaws, Dr. Palmer intends to go back to the poem’s roots within the essay, with the goal of showing that the poem is “self-reflexive” (Palmer 305).  To do this, Dr. Palmer offers a brief survey of the critical interpretations of the poem, so that the reader has an idea of the content he is discussing.

Interestingly, The Owl and the Nightingale has some of the most conflicted interpretations within medieval texts.  Because some of the information about penmanship of the poem is unknown, that brings up issues with interpretation of it. The modern interpretation by Hume is “that valid interpretation is possible”, but that is the rub – it is the modern interpretation. Palmer offers the opinion of Catherine Belsey: that works from older periods of English literature are not always meant to be read like modern works.  Belsey, along with Roland Barthes, has the notion that literature has “three general categories”: declarative texts, imperative texts and interrogative texts. Palmer counters with the idea that a single interpretation of a poem may not be historically accurate.  He states that like other literary works during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, The Owl and the Nightingale is likely an interrogative text, for which the meaning lies within the “unwillingness to provide final answers and resolve contradictions.” (Palmer 307). Modern works often rely on the resolving of issues and closure, and often times, modern interpreters will force this view onto much older works. This is often an issue, because the older works themselves are meant to be read in an entirely different fashion with different end goals. Resolution is often not a primary goal of some Middle Age works, according to Palmer.

To illustrate this point, Palmer discusses the sic et non (“yes and no”)style of writing during the Middle Ages. In this way, some scholars argue that authors would utilize fable-like characters (animals, usually) and have a back and forth dialogue within the text. These works are often characterized and whimsical and comical. Other scholars argue that The Owl and the Nightingale is an attempt at satire, with the use of the two birds in place of opposing ideas or political figures.  The two ways to look at the poem in modernity mirror the ways that readers saw the poem in the Middle Ages. Some read the poem as an Aesop-like story, complete with animal protagonists and a moral at the end. Others read the poem as satire, and oddly enough, both groups can be satisfied with their own readings – there is evidence for both readings of the work.

Palmer then begins a thorough analysis of The Owl and the Nightingale. In it, the Nightingale is described as a lover of aesthetics and beauty, and states that her purpose is to bring happiness to humankind. In contrast, the Owl is more conservative and earnest, whose purpose is to bring warnings to humanity. Throughout the poem, the two distinct birds argue feverously, often resorting to name calling and other failures by the birds to maintain their personalities.  The birds bring up very human issues, like “the struggle for salvation and the gravity of human sin” (Palmer 309). By contrasting the seriousness of the issues the birds debate with the humor of the situation, Palmer states that it the two aforementioned approaches to reading the poem are both unable to utilize the contents of the poem as a whole.  Dr. Palmer states that the poem likely resists interpretation deliberately because it is an interrogative text (designed to evade tries at interpretation).  In his closing statement, Palmer argues once more that this work is interrogative in its nature and the reader must be satisfied with not knowing the precise meaning of the poem, because the original author intended for the exact meanings to be unclear.  

I believe this article by Dr. Palmer would be perfect for English 300 both because of the content and the vocabulary used. Dr. Palmer critiques a centuries old poem, while arguing that the work itself cannot be categorized like we categorize texts today.  We have discussed The Death of the Author in class, and much of this essay revolves around similar discussion of interpretation versus original meaning. How much of the author should we seek within a text? Should we see all of the work as the author’s voice, or none of it? Or does it even matter as long as the reader draws their own meaning from the text? This article is a great example of that discussion and the arguments therein. Dr. Palmer also uses very approachable vocabulary within this article. As a reader, I was never bogged down by difficult word choices, and I was able to follow his train of thought throughout the entire text.  An issue I have often encountered in trying to decipher scholarly articles is the complicated choices of words used in them. In his article, Dr. Palmer very easily gets his meaning across without overly complicating the material.  

Palmer, Barton. “The Narrator in the Owl and the Nightingale: A Reader in the Text.” The Chaucer Review 22.4 (1988): 305-21. Print.

Link to article through JSTOR



Amber Thompson’s Music Video Analysis

20 October 2011 

English 300

"Who Watches the Watchmen?" by The Prize Fighter Inferno 

Let me begin my analysis by saying that the video and the song have completely different storylines, and to know this, one would have to be familiar with the singer’s main project Coheed and Cambria.  Because of this fact, the music video and song should be analyzed as completely separate entities.

The video itself begins with the lead singer Claudio Sanchez in a crisp, white suit both playing the guitar and singing in what looks to be a desolate or down-trodden area. A second character also played by Claudio enters the video, and begins tearing the wood off the walls in an old barn or other like building. When the character is seen again, he appears to be building something with the wood he has torn from the walls.  More characters are seen moments later. These new characters are similar to the bearded character from the barn, both in their apparel and facial hair styles. All appear to be Amish or Mennonite, or belong to some other religious sect due to these similarities and their use of horse drawn trailer. The group of characters enters the barn the first character was in, and escorts him out along with the coffin it is revealed he was making.  They walk to a cemetery (marked with simple, wooden crosses), and the group of four bearded men begin clawing and digging at the soil using only their hands.  Three women dressed in black dresses enter the scene, looking disdainfully at the events before them.  The maker of the coffin then leaves the cemetery, and walks into a bar, receiving a shot of liquor by the singer Claudio.  Claudio then enters the story, taking the place of the bearded man from the barn.  He then lies in the coffin and is buried, while the rest of the characters watch in a sort-of funeral. The video ends shortly after that. 

 After watching the video with no music, it can be assumed that the singer Claudio and the bearded Claudio are different parts of the same person. The bearded Claudio is burying a part of himself that may or may not have a negative effect on the religious community. Since Claudio the singer offers the bearded Claudio a shot of alcohol, it may be an alcoholic side that the bearded Claudio is burying. The way that the singer Claudio is integrated into the story is very well-done and seamless. Because the storyline of the song and video have very little to do with each other, though, the video seems like it does not work.  However, when one takes into account the song lyrics and the back-story of the song itself, the video makes much more sense. The song is based on the events of a science fiction graphic novel (also written by Claudio Sanchez) in which two abused and brainwashed brothers build a machine for extracting the soul from the human body by essentially ripping it apart. The song by itself though, seems to be romantic in a sense, or at least very thankful for another person’s existence.  The graphic novel is very violent and very vivid in the details of the Blood Machine and would not make a very watchable music video, nor would the violence therein be fitting of the song’s upbeat tempo and passionate notions.  The lyrics “Stay with me to guide this dream/ Before they bury me / I’ve been waiting up all night for you / In a nightmare that was made for me” are the only lyrics from the song that seem to go with the story of the music video at all. When one thinks about the backstory from the graphic novel, though, one can appreciate the seeming randomness of the music video much more. The title of the song is a quote from the ancient poet Juvenal (“Quis custiodet ipsos custodies?”) literally asks who is it that guards those who guard everyone? This may go with the video in that the singer Claudio sacrifices himself for the bearded Claudio – the singer is his guardian. The two stories behind the song and the video mesh well without overlapping too much, and as long as one knows the backstory of the singer and his graphic novels, one can enjoy the song and video on many different levels. 

(song lyrics)