Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “batman

On Ruining Everything

A recent post about Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has my childhood spinning in its proverbial grave. And, before you start accusing me of hipster nostalgia, you’ve got nothing on me. I watched the cartoon, had the toys, devoured the movies, got the Christmas ornament. I even read Ninja Turtles books. Checked them out from the library. Left it outside in the rain. That put the fear of God in me.

Anyway, that point is Michael Bay is RUINING ninja turtles. Michelle Fox! What in the…how would the…but the…

Okay, I’m going to stop myself right there.

It’s sort of interesting when these types of things happen, my mind runs to cover the eyes of some imaginary child that I don’t have, nor even want at this point in my life. It’s weird, this completely unjustified righteous indignation. And, while I do think, “It’s not even the same story. You’re changing everything. Can’t you just make that movie and leave my beloved non-alien, un-Michelle Fox Turtles alone?”

Clearly not. And it’s not really my business to say so. You see, I make a stand by not giving Hollywood my money. (In most cases, it matters not.)

But, it brings me to a weird point that probably doesn’t need to be made.

You’re not really ruining it.

While attempting a Harry Potter movie marathon last weekend, I came to a stunning realization. Those movies are DEPRESSING as HELL. As I made my way through the first three years of Harry Potter on DVD, I forgot the good times that Harry had at Hogwarts. I forgot J.K. Rowling’s sly wit and subtle humor. So much of that didn’t come out in the films. I had to stop because I knew Harry’s journey just grew darker and darker.

Did the director’s of Harry Potter ruin it?

No. I had so many fond memories of reading the books. And, fond memories of gathering with my friends to go to the midnight releases. I wonder what someone who has just seen the movies must think.

Back to the point:

Ruining things.

In many ways, we don’t want pieces of our culture to die. We bow down to them and worship. It’s like the George Lucas tithe. Every ten years, we must give him more of our dollars and eat popcorn at his altar. This reluctance to try new things is killing the movie industry. (Let’s face it, it isn’t going anywhere soon.) Studios want to bet on the sure thing. And even if everyone is going out to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in order to hate it, YOU’RE STILL SEEING IT.

If we want to maintain our culture, we should preserve it in our minds. I remember sneaking Star Wars on the basement VHS player. I remember my shock that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. I remember those episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that introduced me to every villain and left me with a fondness for boxy Batmobiles.

At some point, we have to let go of this notion of ruining. The world is progressing. It’s not easy to build a fandom from scratch, but kids do it every year. Do I love The Nanny because of it’s timeless Broadway references or because it was a part of my youth? Mostly because of the Cici/Niles repartee. Perhaps I over-inflate the brilliance of things because I have a developmental attachment to them.

Either way, we must face the facts: Batman is growing up, the Ninja Turtles are growing up, The Nanny will not come back on the air.

Accusing people of ruining things holds us back from progress. Stop being such a Raphael.

(By the way, I can’t wait for Jurassic Park 3D)

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The Reality Breakdown

This universe sucks. I don’t feel bad saying it. There aren’t any superheroes, no one can time travel, teleportation is looking more and more unlikely.

Curse you, physics. You are a harsh mistress.

The other day, while playing Arkham City, I was struck by the thought of how woefully inadequate Gotham’s police force is.

Every one of Two-Face’s henchman is wearing some kind of suit that was cut in half, then sown together with the half of another suit. He has to outsource that, right? And, let’s say you can’t find the place that is manufacturing henchmen’s daily wear. Two-Face can’t possibly clean his own suits. Find the dry cleaner, stake out the place, follow the guy back to his lair. That can’t be so hard. I mean, really, “World’s Greatest Detective”. Buzz by the closed comedy clubs every evening, you catch Joker before he starts anything.

I’m joking, of course. The untraceability of Gotham City’s most wanted is built into the Batman universe and that is one hundred percent okay. I’m not ragging on it. I have accepted the incompetence of the Gotham police. They are lucky to have Batman. Things would be terrible without him. I have suspended disbelief.

In improv, one of the first things you learn is to never say, ‘no’. In order to make progress in a scene, you have to keep the scene moving. Saying ‘no’ stops all forward movement.

This is the same with the suspension of disbelief. I remember watching the preview for Star Trek, the teaser where the Enterprise is being built in the cornfields of Iowa.

My dad turned to me and said, “That would never happen.”

“Really? That’s the problem you have with this movie? The no seatbelts thing didn’t get you?”

“They would be building it in outer space. It’d be too heavy to get off the planet.”

I blacked out after that.

I’m not a Trekkie. I have not seen Star Trek. The movie could have ended with the Enterprise attempting to achieve orbit and crashing back to Earth while Spock sits on the bridge and says, “We really should have built this in outer space.” I think it’s more likely that the universe of Star Trek allows for a ship that size to be built on Earth, then launched into space.

Dad’s statement was the equivalent of saying ‘no’ to an entire universe.

I don’t deny Dad’s right to have a point of no return. I have abandoned stories over things much sillier. When we try examine fiction through our lens of reality, things aren’t always going to hold up. The suspension of disbelief is the closest thing we have to magic.

So get lost. Let it go.

Like I said, our universe sucks.

But, that’s totally okay.


The Mark Twain Media Engine

I like social media. Maybe too much. I feel like it’s a great place to reveal our inner ridiculousness, poke fun at ourselves without taking self-deprecation too far, and meet and interact with a whole stratum of people we wouldn’t otherwise have a chance of getting to know.

Where else do I get to say, “What should I do tonight? #amwriting, #amreading or #amthebatman?”

This is a reference to me (obviously) writing, reading, or (not as obvious) playing Arkham City.

I’m an introvert. I love interacting with people on my terms.

But, that’s not what this post is about.

Bait and switch!

The other day, I tweeted a random thought after stumbling on a quote page for Mark Twain and I couldn’t help but think…

“Mark Twain would have been the best Tweeter of all time.”

This started the idea worm, growing and maturing until I had to lengthen the thought into a full blog post.

I think Mark Twain would have solved world hunger through his Twitter feed alone. This man would have started revolutions. He would have been on top of every trend, sarcasm and wit stretched to the maximum. And, considering some of the backasswards things happening to Mark Twain’s books nowadays, can you imagine the kind of storm he would have started?

Remember how censored editions of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer were released this year? Maybe he’d throw out something like this.

“I always read immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly try to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time.”

“Guys, what’s a good river for my main character to raft on? #amwriting”

“My review of @JaneAusten is up. Give you a hint. #meh [URL]”

“Changed my profile pic. I mustache you a question.”

Or what if he checked in on Foursquare?

“Me and @LouisaMayAlcott hitting The Pub.”

Who’s our Mark Twain nowadays? Do we have someone so witty, so sarcastic, so full of piss and vinegar, the Gilded Age never saw him coming?

Okay, I know. I’m wrong. Mark Twain would not have been an awesome Tweeter. He would have started fights, blasted Justin Bieber, and mocked the Friday song. But, weren’t those habits part of what made him such an interesting figure in American Literature?

Perhaps I’ve deified Mr. Samuel L. Clemens. He is a figure of mythological proportions, he suffered through his writing one word at a time, just like every one of us (I hope). He was as much a product of his time, and hindsight is 20/20.

I still would have followed him.