Category Archives: Opinions

BEDA 18 – A Harry Potter TV Series


The other day (yesterday? the day before? who’s to say!), I was watching one of Ali’s (RogueBlueJay on Youtube) BlogTV shows, as I sometimes do.

He brought up that he thought the Harry Potter books should have been adapted into a TV show rather than movies. Earlier this evening (read: 2:15 this morning), I went onto my friend Sam’s Tumblr and read the same idea, reblogged from this person who I don’t know but I’m sure is lovely. Sam engaged in a bit of discussion about this, and it reminded me of some of the points Ali brought up, and some of the things I’d thought of. I wrote the following thing in Sam’s Ask, (anonymously because she’s had my Tumblr password for coming up 5 months now):

The best part about the idea of a HP TV series is, in my opinion, the opportunity to expand on the universe. You’d get more insight into secondary characters. More McGonagall for example. Plot wouldn’t have to be entirely Golden Trio centric like the movies, though I think the season-long arcs should remain true to the original. And as long as Jo Rowling had a role in production, or got a say in writers, I think it’d be great. -N

So yeah, those are some of my opinions on that. Another thing which Ali brought up was switching actors. I’m not sure if you necessarily would need to do that based on ages, but I can definitely see it being desirable (because adorable child actors don’t always grow up to be watchable adult actors) and manageable. Ali suggested that new actors wouldn’t have to try and emulate the last actor’s work, either. Like in Doctor Who, they could make their character, their ‘regeneration’, their own.

Personally, I totally see the appeal of this. I could always use me some non-Pottermore expansion on the HP universe. (Not a huge fan of Pottermore, though I am a Ravenclaw, which is awesome!)

I also wanted to expand a bit on something I mentioned in my message to Sam: the focus on other characters. Obviously there’s already this huge outside-of-text canonical universe that Jo’s created, and a lot of that could go into the show. All of the outside information she has on Lee Jordan, or McGonagall, and even Bill and Charlie Weasley. What were their years at Hogwarts like?

And there could be flashback episodes! Episodes for the Marauders, or the original Order of the Phoenix (in the 5th season), or more background info on what the teachers were like as students! And sprinkled in there, maybe some episodes about the founders? Wouldn’t that be great?

Another thing I’ve been curious about, which hasn’t been addressed by Jo, to my knowledge: training. How does one train to become a teacher at Hogwarts? What about political training? Are there any post-Hogwarts certifications that you need to go through? Or do witches and wizards enter the workforce at 17?

I see this great opportunity for storytelling here. Weaving together a story far more complex than the movies could portray. A universe broader than even the books could manage. Drawing out themes that were barely touched on in the books, let alone movies!

I know it’s not likely to happen any time soon, but thinking about this has gotten my excited, truly, actively excited, about Harry Potter for the first time in a while.

BEDA 15 – Christine de Pizan


I’ve been rereading Christine de Pizan’s The City of Ladies* today, because I have an English exam tomorrow evening which I’m wildly unprepared for. (Pizan’s going to be on the exam. I’m not just procrastinating.) But anyways! I’d say that the first 2/3 of the book is good. Great, even! I’m all for female empowerment! (Like, seriously, I’ve been on an odd amount of feminist rants lately.) But then it goes downhill. Quickly.

In the last third, all Pizan seems to talk about is martyrdom, and women who killed themselves for a cause. It gets tiring, hearing about all of these women who were supposedly empowered because they killed themselves after being raped. I can understand the desire to commit suicide, absolutely. Especially after something as traumatizing as rape. But come on! That doesn’t show female empowerment! And they weren’t killing themselves because they weren’t able to live with the trauma of rape. They were killing themselves because they were no longer chaste.

Plus, there are a few stories of women who killed themselves after their husbands died. Again, I can understand the urge to commit suicide. But seriously! These stories don’t belong in a book about empowerment! That the idea of living without a man is so repellent that you can’t bear it? Better to die than to live unwed?

And I know, I know, it was a different time. 1405 was a while ago. But it still irks me, I guess. I’m still allowed to be mad, right? Like when old people are racist? As my mum says, “It explains; it doesn’t excuse.”

*I should probably specify that I’m reading the abridged Penguin: Great Ideas version of the book.

BEDA 10 – On Pain and Joy. Alternately: Sometimes I disagree with John Green


It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I disagree with John Green.

In this case, I disagree with him about whether bad things make us appreciate good things more.

In TFiOS, John writes that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate. This is inarguably true. However, I do think that the existence of bad affects how we experience the good.

For example, when I went to the Netherlands on exchange, I was in awe of how beautiful the architecture was. It was all so old and pretty and impressive. But the Dutch students were accustomed to it. It was what they knew. It was so old. But when they came to Canada, and saw all of the buildings built in the 90s, they freaked out at how cool and new everything was. There was nothing old here!

The things in which we were immersed were far less attractive to us than the new, foreign things.

Mundanities don’t strike us as beautiful. Take escalators, for instance. Just a common mall fixture? Think again! They’re stairs that can move. Stairs. That. Move. That is SO COOL. But we don’t notice that, because they’re everywhere. If they weren’t everywhere, though, we’d freak out every time we saw them! They’d bring us so much more joy!

Now, I’m not saying that cancer is justified because it makes us appreciate our health. That’s bullshit. Sometimes the pain outweighs the joy it allows us to feel. But would we be actively grateful of our health if health wasn’t something we had to worry about? I don’t think so. (But again, I’m not using this to justify cancer or any other diseases, because I’m not a terrible person.)

If every day was warm and sunny, would we really appreciate it? I’m not sure.

BEDA 9 – Street Evangelism


Outside of the Eaton Centre, across from Yonge-Dundas Square, there is a permanent fixture of evangelists. Some are Muslim, but many are Christian.

I’d like to preface this by saying that I am not saying these people shouldn’t be Christian. I’m not saying that they should change their beliefs, or that their beliefs are in any way bad. I’ve tried to make that clear on my blog before.

It’s just that these people are so aggressive. They tell me that I’m wrong. That I’m going to hell for not believing in their God. That one of my best friends is going to hell because he likes boys. That I am wrong, and sinful, and weak. That I should resist the temptation to have fun.

That is not okay. First of all, it bothers me that my beliefs are being called into question, when if I was to challenge theirs, I’d be labeled as a crazy atheist trying to convert the world. But evangelism is a part of their religion. It’s expected. (As a side note, I usually don’t mind evangelism all that much? I understand that it’s from a place of wanting to save me. But in this case, they don’t want to save me. They want to get into God’s good books.) But it’s more than just that they’re calling my beliefs into question.

Who are they to tell me that I’m going to hell? Who are they to interpret God’s word? What gives them the right?

Shouldn’t judgement be saved for Judgement Day? Shouldn’t they let Peter deal with me when my time comes? Why do they insist that I am wrong and going to hell? That is not their decision to make.

And that isn’t even to mention Matthew 6:5-6*, which says not to worship in public. (It mentions street corners specifically!) It says that religion is a private thing. That it’s personal. That it shouldn’t be flaunted so that people see how fucking devout you are. How fucking holy. Yes, you could say that they aren’t praying. That they’re preaching. But watch them. Watch as they speak to God. Watch as they pray that they will influence me. That they will change me. That they will save me. They don’t even know me.

 

*As I’ve realized in defending my points to Wayne, this argument isn’t really valid, according to my other philosophies. It shouldn’t have been included, because I’m saying that the Bible is up for interpretation, whether we like it or not, but this point enforces my own interpretation of the Bible. Sorry for being a hypocrite. (Sorry, that was a bad pun.)

BEDA 4 – Reporting murder, suicide, and sexual assault


Clocking in at a record-breaking 7 minutes before midnight, I remembered that I had yet to blog today.

Today I wanted to write a little bit about reporting, and why murder is so widely reported, whereas incidents of sexual assault and suicide are largely neglected by the media. But, because there’s only 6 minutes left, this post will have to be fairly brief.

Everybody knows about murder. It’s a huge crime, which is largely viewed as the worst crime one can commit (topped, only, I suppose, by genocide, or serial killings). Regardless, though, killing a person, or people, is seen as the worst thing you can do.

But what about sexual assault? In that case, the victim is left alive, ashamed, embarrassed (due to historical victim-blaming), and broken. And, like in murders, the victim’s loved ones are also affected. Now, I don’t want to make any judgement calls. I don’t want to say “Murderers should do less time than rapists”. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m not a judge, I’m a journalist.

What I’m saying is that sexual assault should be more broadly reported. It happens so frequently, but hear about murder so much more often. This could definitely be due to victims who don’t want to speak out (which is totally their prerogative), but I’m sure that there are some victims who would be willing to speak about their cases. Plus, newspapers don’t need to print names. It’s just that, in my opinion, there should be more awareness about the scope of sexual harassment.

This carries over, a little bit, to suicides. There are legitimate reasons for not reporting suicides (evidence shows that sometimes, reporting on suicide can lead to copycat incidents) but those situations can be avoided. If suicide is reported in a certain way, you can avoid the copycats. Similar to how you wouldn’t glorify murderers in news reporting.

But I think the real reason that we don’t report on suicides is because it isn’t easy. There’s nobody to blame. Journalists don’t know how to report on that, because the story doesn’t write itself, like in murders. The murderer is the bad guy, the victim is innocent. But in suicides, the perpetrator is the victim (or is at least one of the victims). It isn’t simple. How do you portray that?

As my favourite author, John Green, frequently says, truth resists simplicity.

Anyways, it’s now 2 minutes past midnight now, and I have to take a shower. I’ll probably come back later and edit this post for grammar and syntax. If not, sorry.

AND: I’m tagging this as “journalism”, which usually gets my posts a few extra views. If you’re one of those extra readers, feel free to comment below, because I’m happy to be challenged.

Fashion Girly Stuff and Cultural Appropriation


At the moment, I am severely lacking in summer clothes. Because of this, I’ve decided to go on something of a shopping spree this weekend. Since I’m a massive nerd, and an even bigger procrastinator (I should really be working on an essay about the nature of narrative methods in various biopics right now, you see), I tend to look at stores online before I actually go shopping. So I’ve been looking on stores’ websites, and one thing that I’ve noticed a lot of is “Aztec” prints.

Personally, I really like the look of these prints. I like the geometry of them, and the earthy colours that they’re often paired with. It’s kinda my thing. Plus, there are a lot of feather prints out there right now, which I also really like. However, I’ve read some blog posts and articles about how many Aboriginal people find these clothes offensive. They say that the white CEOs of Forever XXI and H&M (although I think that the CEO of Forever XXI is actually a Korean family of born-again Christians) are banking in on hundreds of years of oppression and cultural genocide. And obviously I’m not an authority on this, but I kind of think they might be right.

As far as I can tell, the patterns used on these clothes aren’t authentic Aboriginal patterns designed by people with any sort of authority on the matter, and even if they are, I’m sure these companies didn’t check with various Native tribes to see whether or not the patterns were suitable to be labeled as “Aztec”.

Moreover, doesn’t it seem a bit ironic that we, the white people who haven’t done a whole hell of a lot to rectify ourselves for the cultural genocides we committed, are now wearing symbols of the very cultures that we squashed across our chests? Shouldn’t we have a little more tact than that? Maybe some courtesy?

And sure, you could argue that Aboriginals don’t have the patent on feathers or earthy geometric prints, but we do clearly associate these things with them. They are symbols of Aboriginal cultures. Maybe if that association for some reason disintegrates in the next few years, I’ll buy in on this trend, but for now, I’m not going to.

And so, even though I think Aztec patterns are, like, totally cute, I don’t think I’ll be wearing them this season. (Although I may still break out the feather earrings. They were a gift, and I really do like them a lot.)

 

*What I’ve called “Aztec” prints in this post are also often called “Tribal”, which raises a whole new issue of lumping in hundreds of different cultures together.

 

If you want to read more about this, I’m going to recommend this blog. They talk about a lot more than fashion, although there is some fashion stuff on there. You can also take a look at this article, which discusses theories presented in a book by James O. Young. Also, you can use Google.

Why I’m Smart (Alternately: Why I’m Not)


People call me smart. A lot.

I’m not bragging, I’m just stating a fact. They say, “Oh, Nicole, you’re really smart!” Now, this is kind of weird to me, because a lot of the time, I don’t feel very smart. (I think that’s mostly because I choose to surround myself with people way smarter than me, though. Doesn’t do much for the ol’ self-esteem.)

So anyways, I was listening to an old This American Life today. The one where they talk about how money is a fabrication. And I was sitting there thinking, “Well, yeah. I’ve basically known that since I was a kid.” And then I realized! That’s why people call me smart! Because I remember all the things I wondered as a kid! I remember all of the philosophical questions I wanted answered when the world was still new to me, and I keep asking myself those questions. And I try to find answers.

So basically, it’s not that I’m particularly intelligent. It’s that I keep looking at the world like it’s new. I’ve made a conscious effort not to simply accept the truths presented to me at face value.

This probably makes me sound pretentious? I don’t know. It’s 2 a.m. and I have a midterm in 9 hours.