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Kanye West: Millennial Hero

Kanye is probably the biggest musician of our time, for better and for worse, because he has truly become one with his art. His life, tweets and struggles are as […]

Kanye is probably the biggest musician of our time, for better and for worse, because he has truly become one with his art. His life, tweets and struggles are as important as the lyrics, the musical landscapes and the concerts to appreciate or depreciate the man. And the thing about him is that he never reduces himself to be a reliable or known property. A huge aspect of Kanye’s place in our culture is that we never really can tell how self-aware he is. But it doesn’t matter. What’s great about Kanye is that he’s so damn earnest.

 

Very few artists are so willing to be so open about themselves and their perception of the world. Yeezus and Dark Twisted Fantasy are outright confessions and exorcisms of Kanye’s many sins, but at the same time, he never seems to back down from his pride and his sincere belief in himself and art in general. In a very real way, he feels like a folk hero tailor made for Millennials. He isn’t afraid of believing in himself and being effusive about it on social media, haters be damned. He isn’t afraid of defending his beliefs as loudly as possible. He lives on his own terms and in exchange, he creates art that connects to us because he isn’t afraid to dig deep inside of himself.

 

Kanye is the sort of person who can create a song like POWER, where he makes a final stand against anyone who has ever dared to criticize him while confessing his preferred way to die and how hounded he feels by depression and what he feels is an inability to connect with people because of his gifts. In a weird way, Kanye feels like the reverse of the expectation of an artist these days. These days, artists are expected to show us something beautiful that reflects their love of others and their ability to empathize with others. Kanye demands you empathize with the ugly sides of his personality and then asks you to believe in yourself. They’re both about searching for connection but Kanye is all about himself. He asks you to connect with him, not with an aesthetic or with a fictional construct, like Bowie or Dylan, the previous voices of their times. Kanye feels entitled (and he’s damn right) to your empathy and he’s not willing to hide it because he believes himself to be a beautifully flawed human just like all of us.

 

If there’s a why to Kanye’s place in our culture, where he’s equally derided and beloved (and often by the same people) is because he does not care for damage control. He does not care for trying to be anything other than himself or for how he presents his brand. He isn’t concerned with whether people believe him to be the Greatest Artist of His Time as long as he believes it and the evidence stacks up. And in the end, that self-confidence, in an age where it feels like our thoughts and opinions are more and more in the open because of social media, is both inspiring and terrifying. We all want to be able to articulate ourselves greatly in this new age, where our thoughts can travel to all kinds of places. But what if, instead, we let ourselves go on a rant that ends up putting us at odds with everyone we love because they see just how ugly we can get?
That is exactly why Kanye has taken over as the embodiment of this century’s nascent spirit of honesty and earnestness and why even his most lackluster albums connect with people. He’s brazen about who he is in a way we all wish we could be and he’s a cautionary tale for any of us who dares admire him. He decided to rise above something as boring as being this generation’s voice to become this generation’s mirror. 

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In Season 2 Galavant Comes Into Its Own

It’s funny how much a series can change in a season. When Galavant first came out, it was a filler show placed in the gap Once Upon A Time left […]

galavant

It’s funny how much a series can change in a season. When Galavant first came out, it was a filler show placed in the gap Once Upon A Time left that month and outside of some golden musical numbers, the show seemed to have been given about that amount of thought. It seemed to be directly paralleling itself to The Princess Bride and Monty Python and The Holy Grail by parodying a story so rote I’m not sure it ever actually existed. Even so, I found myself drawn to it. It was amusing enough and Alan Menken’s score was darn good, especially the opening number (which season 2’s opening song bitter points out did not win an Emmy) and there seemed to be some real gold there. The ending for the first season struck me as particularly bold, daring ABC to give it a second season while also acknowledging the unlikelihood of that.

It’s so unlikely that the first song of the second season seems to be simply bragging about the fact that the show was renewed at all. One of the fascinating things about this second season was how deliberately it broke up the structure of the first season. The hero Galavant (Joshua Sasse) was separated from his squire Sid (Luke Youngblood) and love interest Isabella(Karen David) to be trapped with the former evil king Richard(Timothy Odmundson) on a pirate ship, Sid is stuck attending to evil queen Madalena(Mallory Jansen) and her bodyguard/fellow king Gareth (Vinnie Jones) Isabella is trapped in her home kingdom to be betrothed to a ten-year-old. It’s such a defiance of the previous season that this season almost feels like a reinvention of the show. The new Galavant feels less like a parody of some adventure story that doesn’t exist and more like a low-budget adventure show that happens to be really funny.

Admittedly, the show gets off to a weak start with Galavant and Richard coming across a gay bar called the Enchanted Forest. The entire thing feels tired, though not necessarily actively offensive, and if not for a pretty engaging number by Kylie Minogue would be a pretty dull half-hour of television. However as time went on things got more interesting. Especially when the show started to treat their characters as evolving people.

GALAVANT - ABC's "Galavant" stars Luke Youngblood as Sid, Mallory Jansen as Madalena, Joshua Sasse as Galavant, Timothy Omundson as King Richard, Vinnie Jones as Gareth and Karen David as Isabella. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)

King Richard is the big winner here. That isn’t to say there isn’t evolution on the part of others, but his character having been self-aware about being viewed as a tyrant and trying to change in the first season was probably the best springboard. His travel from a pathetic child to a genuine friend of Galavant while Galavant goes from tolerating him to valuing him is as engaging as it is funny. “If I Were a Jolly Blacksmith” is a song that shows Menken’s ability to combine comedy, catchy tunes, and a surprising amount of character growth as Richard realizes how lost he is without his kingship. This isn’t the only character that benefits from the season though Gareth and Madalena’s growing romantic relationship and their inability to communicate due to being irredeemably evil is a unique take on the evil married couple. There’s a scene that is both amusing and bizarrely heartwarming as they communicate their feelings to each other by delivering a pre-battle speech to their army. Gags formed out of character relationships like this were absent from the show’s previous season since the characters were little more than subversions of archetypes that had already been subverted so many times that they still felt too familiar. Giving these characters unique relationships gives the show its own form of identity as both a comedy and a magic adventure show.

The second thing that really makes this show pop in its second season is how much darker it gets. It doesn’t really get grim or unpleasant since this is still a swashbuckling adventure story. Even so, the direct result of focusing more on their characters is understanding how dire the situation has gotten. As a result, the comedy tends to skew towards subjects that happen when your heroes are on the run and trying to survive. My personal favorite song is a send-off to Les Miserables where Sid rallies an army to revolt, only to sing about how horrifically they’ll die in the revolution. Another throwaway gag about our heroes being so hungry they had to eat a family of hobbits had me howling. Everyone might not share my propensity for jokes about cannibalizing beloved fictional races, but the fact that it all stems from the circumstances makes for a brand of comedy that feels both natural and like its own thing.

Alan Menken’s music is still excellent. Nothing quite reaches the untouchability of the first season’s intro but on the other hand none of it has the perfunctory low points some songs the first season did. There are no lazy power anthems that feel out of place. The songs still have a wide variety of sources though, taking from Gilbert & Sullivan, Grease, West Side Story, and even Rocky Horror Picture Show. Menken’s strength seems to be in his love of musicals because when he strays away from them the songs seem to suffer. Later in the season is a rap battle between Madalena and Isabella that shows that hip-hop is the strength of neither Menken nor actresses Janken or David. Another rock number about Isabella meeting ‘A Different Kind of Princess’ falls flat. A shame really, because the idea of a riot girl princess is something that deserves it own spinoff.

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Ultimately, the thing that signifies Galavant’s coming-of-age is the fact that it has a happy ending. (Stop whining, this doesn’t count as a spoiler because Sid ruins in the season’s first song) The show has stopped being concerned with having attempts at clever subversions and more on being an actual fantasy-adventure show that just happens to be funny. Considering its slapdash origins, the choice to have a happy ending shows more boldness and experimentation than any of the narrative gags or shout-outs the first season had. It even seems to do a victory dance by bringing Weird Al Yankovic back from the first season to sing us out, once again noting that it’s unlikely to get yet another season renewal. And honestly, I’m not sure if I want it to. It certainly leads enough open for another season and if it continues the level of quality it has here then I’d gladly keep tuning in. On the other hand, it’s just as likely to fumble as it is to continue ascending.

Galavant isn’t the new Princess Bride, but for fans of the fantasy-adventure genre that are tired of the constant gloominess of Game of Thrones and don’t mind having characters occasionally burst into song then both seasons are available on Hulu and you’ll find yourself being surprised at how much you find yourself caring about these characters.

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RahXephon 4-6

This is part of a series of essays on RahXephon. This particular essay covers episodes 1-3. I do not summarize plot on these essays as they are meant to be […]

This is part of a series of essays on RahXephon. This particular essay covers episodes 1-3. I do not summarize plot on these essays as they are meant to be running commentary, meaning that if you are interested in penetrating these rambles and rants, I strongly suggest you watch the show along with the essays.

A hot take for you: RahXephon is one of the most heartrendingly relevant shows to today’s dangerous situation created by a hotmi of terrorism and American intervention. Consider: Ayato is a kid in high school who is abducted from his home to fight the very same The rationale behind it is that they’re not human and Ayato reluctantly joins them because he thinks of himself as human. But are they not his home and country?

And in exchange, they insert him in a city where his humanity is constantly (and turns out, reasonably) questioned. His value as a person is measured entirely on how useful he can be and what beliefs remain from his life at Tokyo Jupiter. In fact, were it not because of his ability to pilot the RahXephon, Ayato would probably be treated as a prisoner of war, to be interrogated, isolated and maligned.

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1001 Frights Episode 21: The Call of Lovecraft

In this week’s episode, Jerry and Bobby do a full episode of Lovecraft short stories!

In this episode, they cover:

The Statement of Randolph Carter

The Colour Out of Space

The Shadow Out of Time

The Call of Cthulhu

Here’s a picture of the issue of Astounding Stories in which “The Shadow Out of Time” debuted! Aren’t Yithians the best?

And as always, you can visit their contact page on their website for details on how to reach them!

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1001 Frights Episode 20: A Return to (Free) Form

In this week’s episode, Jerry and Bobby do something they haven’t done since their earliest episodes, and simply discuss horror stories without any real unifying theme!

In this episode they cover:
They also announce some news concerning the Patreon, and introduce a new segment, “Is It Horror?”
As always, if you want to contact them, you can find easy ways to do so on the contacts page on their website!

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1001 Frights Episode 19: Halloween for Halloween


This week, Jerry and Bobby cover the first four Halloween movies as part of their celebration of this fine holiday (that is now a few days past)!

In this episode, they talk about:

  • Halloween
  • Halloween II
  • Halloween III
  • Halloween IV

And as always if you want to contact them, you can find all the info to do so by going to their contact page on their website! And if you’d like to donate to their patreon, you can do so here!

Also, the book Bobby mentioned was Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

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RahXephon Part 1: The Meaning of Home

This is part of a series of essays on RahXephon. This particular essay covers episodes 1-3. I do not summarize plot on these essays as they are meant to be […]

This is part of a series of essays on RahXephon. This particular essay covers episodes 1-3. I do not summarize plot on these essays as they are meant to be running commentary, meaning that if you are interested in penetrating these rambles and rants, I strongly suggest you watch the show along with the essays.

Most stories are about the meaning of home, if we expand that definition to mean “An emotional place of contentment” as well as “Place of origin”. Most fictional characters are either desperately looking for the earlier and trying to run from the latter. In most cases, these two goals are correlated. That is the particular case of RahXephon, probably one of my very favorite TV shows and my nomination for “Greatest Anime of All Time”. RahXephon follows the story of Ayato Kamina, a young student who dabbles in painting and finds out that the city he calls home (Tokyo) is actually an alien colony as he’s exfiltrated by the resistance fighting from the outside to retake to Tokyo.

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1001 Frights Episode 18: Treehouse of Frights


In this week’s episode, Jerry and Bobby once again talk to Juan about some of their favourite episodes of the Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials.

The episodes they talk about are

  • Treehouse of Horror I
  • Treehouse of Horror III
  • Treehouse of Horror V
  • Treehouse of Horror VII

Also, exciting news: we are now on iTunes! Go ahead and look us up there, and if you like what you hear, leave a review and subscribe! That way it’ll be easier for more people to find the show!

And if you want to contact us, why don’t you check out our contact page over at our website, which has every way to do so listed?

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Linguistics is the Missing Limb

At the end of the Phantom Pain’s “Part 1”,  the main antagonist reveals his motivations. He is a product of constant re-appropriation and hurt. America has absorbed his culture and […]

At the end of the Phantom Pain’s “Part 1”,  the main antagonist reveals his motivations. He is a product of constant re-appropriation and hurt. America has absorbed his culture and turned him into another puppet of imperialism. A puppet that had to literally rewrite his own self to do his job, to the point that he forgot his morality, hopes and dreams. And the way this rewriting happens? Language.

Skull Face speaks English. He sure wishes he did not. I have never related more to a video game character in my life. Why? Because English represents the fact that I live in a culture that does not respect me or has any sincere interest in my humanity if we were to define it as the product of my culture and self-interest. Kojima understands this. Kojima decided to make a game about his dark impulses to abolish globalization.

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1001 Frights Episode 17: They Don’t Have Names, They Just Have Deaths

In this week’s episode, Jerry and Bobby talk about some movies that are dumb and violent

In this episode, we discuss:

Here’s that clip from High School of the Dead we talked about.

If you’d like to contact us, check out our sweet contact page here

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