Children are far from innocent. I learned this when I volunteered at my church’s Super Bowl party last year, and I was put in charge of the inflatable football throw. I initially left the children to sort themselves out. This was a horrible idea. Two developments happened. First, the group of children created chaos. They were pushing and shoving each other to grab a football and then jumping onto the inflatable if they did not get one. After a few minutes of this, the older children began to create order. They decided that they would throw the football as many times as they would like, and leave everyone else in the lurch.
I am afraid to go to China. I watched The Karate Kid (2010), and now I know I won’t be able to defend myself when a band of children jump me. One scene in particular stands out, and this is when Dre Parker is confronted by his bullies in the street. When Mr. Han comes to Dre’s defense, the viewer sees that these kids are for real. Mr. Han, a Kung Fu master, has to pull out his best moves to defend himself and Dre against these middle schoolers’ vicious onslaught of Kung Fu mania. My skills are not nearly as developed as Mr. Han’s, –I am more Po than Kung Fu Panda– and I would easily be disposed of and tossed into a garbage can by this band of prepubescent sixth graders.
Michael Crichton’s The Lost World was printed in 1995, right at the onset of the age of the internet. Through his character Ian Malcolm, Crichton predicts the effect that the internet will have upon humanity. Continue reading →
In a story full of unpalatable characters, Nick Carraway stands out as the most repulsive. He is the narrator and main character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Every other character has a more pronounced character flaw; Tom Buchanan’s infidelity, Daisy Buchanan’s shallowness, Jordan Baker’s egocentricity, and Jay Gatsby’s phoniness. The reader learns of these through the observations of Nick, who tells the story as a memoir of his summer in West Egg in 1922. Nick’s flaw is not as glaring. He propels the narrative forward in one way; he is the person who can connect Gatsby with his desire: Daisy. Other than this, he is a passenger in the lives of the others: a facilitator and observer who displays a great apathy toward the evil which he surrounds himself with. Continue reading →
Equality is often in the news today. Headlines abound about racial inequality in the justice system. Articles point out that African American males far out number white males in the prison system, and that unjust police practices and use of excessive force are often used on them. The LGBT movement is calling for marital-equality. The poor are protesting for income equality. Activists are rallying for gender equality. In all the rallying, all the discussing, all the legislating, there is a widespread belief that all should be equal. But what is equality? Continue reading →