Its either Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or, if you want something milder maybe Back In Time from Huey Lewis, via the film Back To The Future. Pick your theme song.
But we need one or the other, because I can’t figure out what year it is. Here is why.
1. People keep talking about the movies Mad Max, Terminator, and Star Wars. Oh, and Poltergeist opened this week.
2. Two top candidates for President of the United States are named Clinton and Bush.
3. Outlaws rode into Waco, Texas and had a shootout.
4. My copy of Texas Monthly arrived and Urban Cowboy featuring John Travolta is on the cover.
I’m beginning to think we are stuck in an infinite time loop, caused by a merging of lack of creativity, nostalgia, and cultural dementia. My sources tell me if we can find the flux capacitor and get Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick to break it, then we can return to real time. It also occurs to me, maybe only Texas is caught in the time bubble? If that is the case, then the fix involves Sarandon and Bostwick have to eat chicken fried steak while breaking the flux capacitor.
Columbia University is having a campus wide discussion about the offensive and sexually repressive material found in . . . classical literature. I’m not joking.
You can click here to read the whole article, but an excerpt will probably work for now:
During the week spent on Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” the class was instructed to read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, both of which include vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault. As a survivor of sexual assault, the student described being triggered while reading such detailed accounts of rape throughout the work. However, the student said her professor focused on the beauty of the language and the splendor of the imagery when lecturing on the text. As a result, the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation. She did not feel safe in the class. When she approached her professor after class, the student said she was essentially dismissed, and her concerns were ignored.
This is the biggest load of academic garbage I think I’ve seen in a very long time. What is more, I can’t believe this student’s peers didn’t call her out on it, rather than advocating, as the op-ed continues, that professors be given special training in helping students with trigger warnings about the content of their classrooms.
Let me tell you what I am not saying in this blog post. One, I am not saying that sexual violence and ethnic diversity are not issues that need to be confronted. They are. Universities are great places for awareness, education, and prevention education to take place. Sexual violence is a real issue and deserves real discussion, rather than this kind of issue avoidance. Two, I am not saying that Greek and Roman history is the only historical background for western civilization. There have been contributions to the modern world from all regions of the globe, and a good instructor will recognize this. Three, I am not saying I like Ovid. I studied Ovid in college and never really liked him that much because I thought of him as a dirty old man. I still do.
What I am saying, though, should be noted as well.
1. Western civilization–literature, entertainment, politics, fashion, economics and religion have an incredible debt to Greece and Rome–classical civilizations that still impact almost everything we say and do in the United States. Therefore, it is reasonable for a university to have as a part of its core curriculum a study of the ancient western world.
2. The world is hard, and having a bachelors degree from a university tells employers and other academic institutions that the bearer of the degree has demonstrated a certain level of endurance and strength in overcoming obstacles and barriers. I don’t think we want institutions to hand out diplomas to people who have not demonstrated that toughness. To create such ‘trigger warnings’ prepares a student to expect this in all avenues of life, and that would be a false expectation.
3. The Columbia op-ed authors have missed the point. This young woman has complicated issues that need to be handled by professionals who can help her. She has been made a victim by someone else, and that is not her fault. However, It is not the the professor’s fault either. What they seek to do is pin the responsibility for issues on the classroom environment, and that is a misplaced view. A classroom is not the place for therapy or comfort. It is a proving ground, an arena of competition where the individual is challenged, not comforted.
Anything worth reading–or watching–will have trigger points for someone, in some way or another. That is what makes it great literature. It is true of Ovid, Homer, The Bible, Suetonius, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, Hitchcock and Star Wars. The first book that ever made me cry was “Fathers and Sons” by Turgenev, which I read for a Russian history class. A university is not a high school. A university student is being shaped into someone who can handle the world without kid gloves. Some students at Columbia University apparently wants to put gloves on everything.
Just like about a billion or so other people, I’m looking forward to seeing what the new Star Wars films have to offer. I was six when the original Star Wars came out and have been a fan ever since. I was, and still am, a little worried about J.J. Abrams taking over the franchise.
However, I must admit, the new trailer looked mind blowingly exciting. Here are five of my initial reactions.
1. Those shots of the Millennium Falcon looping around in the atmosphere looked amazing. I could almost hew Chewbacca growl excitement as they flipped. However, we all know that Chewie is dead. The Falcon, however, lives!
2. The Falcon is missing the circular communications array on top. Has it been blown off? Upgraded? Downgraded? It was a piece of junk 30 years earlier, is this scene we see where they steal it from the junkyard?
3. If I had one of those triple bladed hilted broad sword style Sith lightsabers, it would be only a matter of seconds before I accidentally disemboweled myself. Seriously, that thing looks more dangerous than the Death Star.
4. X-Wings–again, in atmosphere–flying over a frozen lake–and they are sporting the Rogue Squadron insignia. I am now suddely 8 years old again dreaming of flying an X-Wing.
5. All the characters we see are new. I suppose that Daisy Ridley on the sideways landspeeder is Jaina Solo. I can only hope that the Sith we see is Jacen. Or Anakin. Please. Pretty please. I am really excited that the first face we see is a black one–played by John Boyega–because the Star Wars universe, as wonderful as it is, has not done a very good job in presenting racial and ethnic diversity among major characters.
None of the images, as we see them, are in context. They are probably nothing like what we think they are, especially those stormtroopers. Indeed, it wouldn’t even surprise me if the stormtroopers weren’t a flashback scene of some sort that occurs in the first five minutes of the film. This was true of all the prequel trailers as well as Abram’s Star Trek reboot trailers. Plus, I’ve got to believe, (have faith Greenbean, have faith) that those making this film are far too savy to let too much of the story emerge early.
It looks like Star Wars ought to look. Let’s just hope the writing is as a crisp as the production.
Then there was that one really bad day when I was Pink Floyd, and how could I ever forget when I was Portland.
How can all of this be, you ask? Apparently the Myers-Briggs personality sorter had a brief but tawdry affair with Facebook and the result was the illegitimate twins Zimbio and Buzzfeed. In case you are not aware of the famous Zimbio and Buzzfeed quizzes, let me give you a crash course.
They ask you 12 questions which are not based in reality at all. I think it is 12 questions, it might be 10 or it could be 25, I really don’t remember but it doesn’t matter. It is short, and the questions are multiple choice. So one question might be, “What is your favorite movie series–The Godfather, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc…” and you choose. Then they ask a similar nonsense question about books or food or exercise or whatever and after about 12 of these (Yeah, I’m pretty sure now it is 12) they tell you which of whatever you are.
Hence, in one of these, I was somehow Princess Leia. And Portland. And Fozzy Bear. Wocka Wocka Wocka.
They can be quite addictive, and someone I love suffers from quiz-addiction. They look like such fun, at first. I saw this morning they have one for the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I would take it, but I’m afraid I would get Counselor Troi. If that happened, I would need counseling. What would be worse than getting Counselor Troi? Getting Wesley Crusher. Oh the existential angst that would bring.
But here is what I am waiting for–the Zimbio Bible Quiz. I checked and I don’t think one yet exists, but I am sure someone is working on it. Usually there are only a finite number of people you can be, so if we had a Zimbio Bible Character Quiz, who would we want our list to include? Well, I take Jesus off the table. No one is Jesus except Jesus. Same goes for the general “God” and all names for the Lord. But here is my list of 12 characters Zimbio could use and the brief description your personality is afterward.
Abraham–You are old, but have big ideas about a legacy.
Lot–Full of energy, you often make poor choices that lead to destruction and pain.
Jacob–You are a cheat and a scoundrel, but somehow you always come out on top.
Joseph–A dreamer is what people call you, and this can rub people the wrong way. You just have a way of knowing what to do.
Samson–Strength and cleverness are your greatest attributes, but pride always comes before a fall.
Delilah–Yeah, you know who you are.
Goliath–You think of yourself as champion, but everyone sees you as a bully.
David–A sensitive, moody soul you always want to do the right thing, even if you don’t.
Abigail–Wisdom and cunning help you navigate the worst of situations. You were born for the CEO boardroom.
Elijah–You are always spoiling for a fight and this leads to bouts of severe depression.
Jeremiah–You tend to look at the world around you and weep.
Daniel–A person with a foot in many worlds, you never feel fully at home in any of them.
Peter–You often act before you think.
Martha–Serving makes you happy, but bitterness is sometimes difficult to overcome.
Mary–You live in the moment, but sometimes this can be a bother to those closest to you.
Mary Magdalene–Faithfulness is your mojo, but you have a past you’d prefer not to talk about.
Paul–A wandering gadabout, you have far too much to do to ever be tied down to any one place or person.
John–People often accuse you of being too sensitive, but all you really want is for everyone to love each other.
Luke–A realist who craves the facts, but is not afraid to shade the material to get your point across.
Epaphroditus–You feel forgotten, even though you’ve sacrificed so much.
Satan–You are a mischief maker and troubler, but people always invite you to their parties.
The question must remain, though, if such a quiz existed, would I be brave enough to take it? Probably not because I am afraid I would get Lot, or worse, Delilah.