Thursday, March 22, 2012

A few words

On Hunger Games mania.

Have you seen this video?

This is exactly what the book is about. Did anyone else read the book and have the following two thoughts enter their brain simultaneously? 1) THIS BOOK IS AWESOME! The pacing is phenomenal. It's so fast, but slows down beautifully to capture moments (like Rue's death, para examplar). I love the first person perspective-- I feel like I am in the book! And why doesn't she love PEETA? and 2) WHOA SOCIAL COMMENTARY.

'Tis the social commentary part that I want to discuss here.

The book is merely a futuristic gladiator-based society. The rich live in luxurious wealth and they do strange things to their bodies for beauty, fashion, and ever-changing trends. The poor live in subservience to the wealthy-- not necessarily because the wealthy watch them all day and tell them what to do-- but they are prevented from making any forward progression, and their supplies are so limited that they have no choice but to do only what they can to survive (not get ahead). The rich (and poor for that matter) all watch the gladiatorial Hunger Games competitions. They are fascinated by the drama, the suspense, the violence, the potential romance, the larger-than-life situations combined with human reality.

Any of this sound familiar? Does it, perhaps, sound eerily similar to our world?

Americans pride themselves on the American Dream; the idea that in America one can accomplish his or her dreams through hard work and endless opportunity. I believe that still exists-- I really do. But I think that too often the American Dream is crippled by government aid and lack of education, among other things (including, but not limited to, the ruination of the nuclear family and basic morals). Poverty runs in a cycle, and there is a reason for that. People have a hard time getting out--- just like the citizens of District 12.

We follow gimmicks and trends so closely these days that a one-finger nail-a-different-color trend can begin on Pinterest and be nationwide in like a month. The model on the Pitbull "Rain Over Me" video even subscribes. Music trends move so quickly that a UK-based boy band can enter the United States one week and have their album debut on Billboard at #1 the next (speaking of which, that One Direction broke all kinds of records this week. They were the first foreign entity to debut at #1. Not even the Beatles did that). It's miraculous. And not all bad. The information revolution is amazing. It has given a lot to the world. I'm just saying that we are slaves to trends. And they are often body-changing kinds of trends. Remember when it was cool in the 90s to have 2 earrings? That hasn't been cool (even outside of Utah) for the past 10 years. Little boys even used to have 1 earring. No longer. And people have surgeries to change their bodies. They get tattoos and piercings all over the place-- because they want to look different and they want to look cool (I am by no means supposing that I know and/or can identify all the reasons that people alter their bodies. All I'm saying is that they are often for shallow and/or self-conscious reasons). There is a standard for beauty in our society just like there is in Panem. And Suzanne Collins is able to lay out the situation in Panem in such a way that it seems totally realistic-- but altogether so far-fetched that many people (particularly the series' target audience, YAs) would not compare the Capitol to our society. But is that what Ms. Collins is trying to do? I think so.

And then we come to the Games. Have you ever watched Reality TV? Is it not virtually the same thing? Have you ever been to any sort of entertainment event (live) where the potential of someone participating could get hurt? And when they do, you stare, fascinated, and can't look away? Examples: rodeos. extreme sports. the average American football game. boxing. wrestling. anything that incudes stunts-circus acts, acrobats. gymnastics. The list is endless. And most of the time, it's pure fun. No one gets hurt, and it's just cool. But at the same time. We stare. We watch. We love it. And we follow reality shows--and talk about them--like they are part of our lives. Like we know the people involved. And it's so fun. The Hunger Games are OBVIOUSLY MUCH MORE BARBARIC AND MUCH MORE DRAMATIC. I don't deny that. But they are a type and shadow. They are an exaggerated example. Our society is obsessed with drama, violence, and sex. And Ms. Collins typifies that. She illustrates it. Paints a lovely little picture.

And her point is proved-- wait for it--- with the success of these novels. We absorb and love it. Drink it all up-- and because of the way it's displayed, it seems okay-- which exaggerates her point even more. This is portrayed, quite comically, in the video embedded above. It is also starkly visible in the fact that my baby sister is currently at what my mother called a "reaping." I'm not sure what this entails. All I know is that a "reaping" as described in the Hunger Games is something that no one should ever want to attend.

And these are my few words. on hunger games mania.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The blessed return of the boy band.

One Direction:

The Wanted:

this is why we love pop. and summer. and boys. and bands. and music in general. And let's not forget the greats: Jackson 5. The Beach Boys. The Beatles. Backstreet Boys. New Kids. NSYNC.

And now we have entered a new era of boys bands. and they are smoking up the charts. and blowing up Itunes. AND they are foreign. English and Irish, yes please.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm going through that kind of phase where I think about blogging just about everyday, but then when I sit down and have time to blog... I forget everything that I wanted to say.

I keep forgetting what I want to catch everybody up on.

My life consists of going to work and then coming home. And then it's either FHE, institute, the temple, the gym, The Bachelor, American Idol, roommates, fan club, Friends (I borrowed a favorites collection from my neighbor), shopping, or any other social event that happens to be scheduled to which I decide to make an appearance, fashionably late of course.

1. Speaking of the Bachelor, if you haven't seen this already, then you should see it now. I can't believe I didn't notice this from day 1:

It's funny because it's true. They even have the same hair!!!! ALSO. I've lost so much interest in the show recently that I didn't watch last week's episode except the rose ceremony, and I missed most of the girls tell all from this week. I mean, I'll watch the finale, but it's just not nearly as fun when Courtney isn't being mean. Sheesh.

2. I have decided that pop culture consumes WAY TOO MUCH of my life. And honestly, I have cut back SERIOUSLY on my iTunes usage lately. And I haven't watched American Idol in two weeks. The last song I purchased on iTunes was Chris Brown's "Turn Up the Music," and that was released the day after the Grammys.... so what was that, like mid-February!?! It's been like 3 weeks! And so... maybe I'll get a real hobby if I actually cut down on my media time. That would be cool. Maybe I'll go scrapbooking. Or else learn how to... I don't know... cook. I actually did make a resolution this year to learn more housewifery skills. I'm just betting they will come in handy someday. I mean, they've got to, right?

3. Speaking of Chris Brown, I'm loving R&B lately. I mean, I love it periodically, but there has been some magic going on in the R&B world as of late. See below. I watch the first video nearly everyday when I get on the bus. Why do I love Ne-Yo so much? And Jennifer Hudson is like the epitome of girl power. I swear.

And then HI. Brandy and Monica. Welcome back.

4. Work is alternately really awesome and/or actually kind of stressful. We get really busy sometimes. And sometimes I really just get sick of fetching things for people and/or shifting columns and stacks of books so that new items will fit on shelves. Amanda, I know you will be reading this, and you can attest to my grumpy demeanor on Monday when we were shifting. This is my formal and public apology for that...I was a snot. But seriously.

Sometimes I dream of the other kinds of jobs I could have at the Church History Department, and that makes me really happy. And sometimes I can't imagine staying in the same place for so long. As students and/or children we are hardwired for change. Every semester. Every year. Every other week for crying out loud. We have new classes, wards, friends, boys, etc., all the time. And the idea of committing to one thing for an extended period of time FREAKS ME OUT entirely. I'm guessing this is something I am going to have to get over very shortly. Nobody will want to marry a committment-phobe... and I'm hoping to get married, I don't know, within the next 5 years. That would be ideal.

5. Not being in school stresses me out for many reasons--- one of which--- is that I feel like I am getting dumber by the day. I know... it's probably in my head. But without academic reading, brain exercises, studying, memorization techniques, critical thinking, research, and writing, I think that neurons and synapses and craps in my brain are dying in truckloads. I just don't feel smart anymore. I think that probably has to do with the fact that I was never that smart to begin with-- I think I was just spectacular at fooling a lot of people (including teachers and administration at Dixie High School), but I did work pretty hard, and I miss that. I know, I could study on my own. I could do my own research, and I could write my own stuff. But where is the time and motivation for that? I spend a whopping 12 hours a day either working or commuting (or at lunch :)), and when I get home I am starved and brain-tired, and the evening's activities and TV sound like the best option... but really... I'm getting dumber. I am killing my brain more and more each day. And yet... the desire for grad school has all but left me. I mean, I want to do it eventually, but right now, I don't know, it just doesn't feel right. For crying out loud, I feel like a crazy person. I think this is a good time to use one of my favorite words- CONUNDRUM. This is a conundrum. One of those problems that I will complain about forever... but never seek a solution. Because deep in my heart of hearts I know there isn't one.

6. Speaking of no solutions, I think this is a concept that the male species does not understand. They like to solve problems. They like to hear the problems and then find solutions immediately. Without wasting any time. What I hate most about this is that it sounds 100% logical. Why wouldn't you immediately want a solution, right? Why not? Because sometimes you know the solution-- or else you don't know and you really don't care what the solution is-- and you just want to talk about it. Note to future boys (and current) in my life: don't try to solve my problems. Just say "wow. that's awful. [insert appropriate question here]." Because when you try to solve my problems and offer solutions, it just makes me feel like you think I'm dumb (see #5), because obviously, the answers to all my problems are just that easy. Anyway. 

7. I need more Harry Potter in my life. It's been a solid year and a half since I read one of those blessed books. I think that's the longest I have gone since reading Harry Potter 1 December of 2001. Harry Potter has been in my life for a solid 10 years. And what a good 10 years it has been. :)

8. On Sunday night I played mash with the fan club. It was one of the best moments of the year. The three of them picked all the stuff-- for themselves and their future potential life with me. They were basically fighting over marrying me (it originally started as a competition for a trip to the kissing booth, but I squashed their hopes and dreams rather harshly), which is something that a girl will always appreciate, I can assure you. In the end I married Ben, but lived the life that Drake wanted for us, and Mike was left out of the whole deal. I felt kind of bad. But ladies, if you ever need a boost of good feelings about yourself, just call up your fan club and they will make you feel better. They are excellent for intense Saturday night chats, runs to the Creamery for Graham Canyon ice cream (which is a delicious combination of graham flavored ice cream with chocolate covered honeycombs... basically frozen heaven), and on-the-spot games of clue and/or banana grams. And, I promise you, they will make you laugh. Harder than you have... since the last time you saw them. I love these boys. :)

9. I JUST REMEMBERED WHAT I WANTED TO BLOG ABOUT!!! holy!!! except... it's too late now, and I need to sleep. SO. Here's a hint... and maybe I'll write about it tomorrow. One word: grandpa.