And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Posts tagged ‘sociology’

Portraying Men on the Big Screen

So after watching this TEDx talk, I may or may not have had a thought:

What if someone made a movie, using a young poc man as the eyes and ears of the audience, as the lens with which we discover the world – and he ends up working with some kickass modern version of the amazonian warriors, or among a society that is unquestionably, powerfully matriarchal. He’d only be permitted to be a part of their ranks because he knows the outside world better than they do/his sister is one of them, of course – so he’s merely a consultant, a passive participant in their crusade. Sure he’ll contribute as much as he can, but the final glory goes to the leaders and warriors and brilliant women in the tribes.

Because why do we even need the camera’s perspective to be the centrepoint of the plot development? Why not portray a revolution or upheaval from a perspective that doesn’t get to see everything?
Why do all the major plot points need to be of Great and Dire Importance – why can’t there be small victories and ordinary life? Because life is important.
Every story is important, your life and mine, don’t you think the adventures of your life, even if you’re never the true centre of a major event, deserves telling? Not everything has to be on a grand scale, not everything has to be world-changing pivotal choices and dramatic music

Character development exists everywhere, we all believe our own existence is significant – we’re not reactive beings, we’re proactive. (Well, mostly) This guy in my movie-idea-thing, he could be fascinated with their culture and way of life, he could spend weeks, months even, getting to know and finally earn the trust of the women who have stood proud beyond the shadows of men, as he is used to in his western/other world. He can be a fully fleshed out character, admirable and determined and human and intricate. He can lust and love even, why not a world where a man used to being alpha is suddenly navigating a social system that do not merit his importance merely by his genes?

And the women, they would be independent and interesting and strong in so many different ways. There’d be the thinkers and the planners, the fighters and the hotheads, the women who just wanted to stay home and look after the little ones, and they’d all be considered important. Because battle strategy requires finesse and intelligence, and the fiery eagerness of the warriors would be quelled by those that valued life and stability, and that matters.

With our guy all amid that! His preconceived notions would all be questioned. And he would challenge their preconceived notions too.

And of course, there would be some sort of battle or climax of development -but he wouldn’t be a major player in it all. Why would he be? He’s a man unfamiliar with their ways. James Cameron’s Avatar was flawed in that respect – making the newcomer the biggest and most important endgame player? And allowing the endgame player to supersede all previously established amazingly skilled participants whom he had learnt from?

Nopenopenopenopenope.

Give me vivid characters who don’t fall to their feet at the arrival of a strange and unfamiliar alpha male, please.

Let him be special because he earnt their trust and respect, by trusting and respecting and learning from them. Let his story be one of a human, a man who sings, who misses his home and shares the stories of his childhood with women who his old world would have labelled as barbarians and sluts. Let his perspective change, let him change the the opinions of theirs.

Let that be the pivotal point of this movie’s plot.
Not the battle. Not the conquest.
Of course he helps where he can with that. But that’s not the point of this story. The point of this story is to highlight a journey, and when the journey ends he is not a legend or a superhero or a battle-scarred victor, but a man, still a man.
And in being so, he will be so much more human, so much more relatable and admirable and real.

Let these kinds of films, shows, stories, be the ones we are nurturing, so that we can rekindle and nurture this way of thinking and living for our entire society. Our values and our gender roles are laid out as clear as day, in the cinematography and scripts of our consumed media. What does that say about us, and how we expect the world to work.

And more importantly, how can we use the platforms to reshape these ideas, towards something better?

A Study in Friendship

Some people may be asking; ‘Why don’t you write about any of people in your life on this blog? You certainly talk about yourself a lot.’ Well dear imaginary inquisitor, a) many of my friends know about this blog b) it’s rude and weird to discuss them on a public forum and c) petty opinions and gossip aren’t worth the screen space.

That being said, I have some really awesome friends. I’ve been privileged enough to make a lot of them, although keeping in contact with the non-English speaking ones has been more difficult than I anticipated. [Shoutout to them; ¡Perdón! Estoy escribiendo cartas a mandaros.] And, what with the combination of a writer’s and a student’s curiosity, I find my friends rather fascinating. Because I’ve known some of them for years, it’s actually fantastic, watching them grow. Watching new interactions and reactions at certain changes in our lives. Fathoming those who I don’t quite understand. Which makes me sound really creepy, but I’m not, honest 😛 Everyone’s different little idiosyncrasies make for fascinating character study – it also means I have to be careful not to personify them in my writing, which is harder than it sounds!

And everyone is so diverse. Dealing with anxiety, dealing with boy drama, dealing with not meeting the asian standard for school. Extroverts and introverts, discussing sexuality or playing toddlers, or debating with pomp and grandeur ridiculously opposing opinions on something entirely bizarre and useless. They way people circulate, react or behave around others, think about how deeply that’s influenced by their home life, their origins.

I flatly refuse to give examples that are specific enough for identification, but let me just say how awesome it is, how different we all are. Gruff girls who are secretly romantic softies but don’t you dare say so in public 😉 Arrogant boys who are insecure, and then watching some of them strengthen. Or when the nuances of a friends grey moral policing is explained. Hearing other people’s incredibly divergent childhoods, in London or rural south america or slums of poverty. Or, what about the concepts that hold weight in their decision making – I know friends who have spent their life as the smartest kid in their town, another who doesn’t know the meaning of hope – or can you imagine living life without any sense of security? Growing up being told that a fundamental part of you was wrong. Or having an incredible aptitude for art or guitar, that they always had. Or someone who’s core values were so opposed to mine that we spent a year arguing, a year banging heads until both of us learnt and changed drastically. Watching little ones grow from babbling toddlers to serious pre-teens.

People are fascinating. My friends are intriguingly wonderful. And I hope that compliment is huge enough so that they don’t mind my curiosities! 😄

Equality

Its a big thing these days. Especially with so many countries making the motion to have rights – ones previously ignored and shunned – made legal, open, okay, free. The world needs to be applauded; so much has been improved in the last 100 years. Slavery, sexism, racism, homophobia…we’re getting there. Slowly, surely, with many fumbles and regressions along the way, but it’s undeniable to even the most obstinate. Look around you! As an australian I can say, at least for us, if not the rest of the world – we’re living in a multi-cultural society now, rich with differences that make us better. It would be unthinkable to discriminate against the jewish family next door, or the chinese lady in the shop. Looking around a regular school classroom, I can count israelis, indians, japanese, eastern-europeans among us – italians, latinos, malaysian, pacific islanders, chinese. There’s barely 7 in a class of 27 that would be considerable in the old stereotype of the light-haired golden generation 50 years ago. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Proto-Aryans 😛

It seems so strange at times, how people can dislike or judge another on factors they cannot control. On their skin or background, sexual orientation or their physical or mental health. And looking at that, we should rejoice! Change cannot be in solely the laws and leglislation – but in the mentality of the people. And it is. Our generation has been brought up with the open-ness of the internet, the mindset of change, of acceptance, of freedom and of course people should be allowed to love who they want, why would anyone want to put down the foreign dude? He’s so cool, he speaks 2 languages! Granted, there will always be arseholes and bigots in the world, but screw them! 😀 We are so much more than that, there are so many more of us than them, and we are winning. Need proof? Look at Glee, on of the the most mainstream and popularly consumed television shows on air. The main reason people dislike it is because of the cliched songs, dances and plotlines. Nobody seems to notice the ethnic differences, the sexual differences, the races and beliefs and cohesion of the entire cast. And to that, we say Bravo!

Bravo world, for leading us to this.

Minds; Across the Universe

(A/N: Dug this out from an old draft and thought, what the hell, I’ll post it anyways.)

“So. I’m on this bus trip across southern Patagonia with 20 or so people right now, and aside from the spectacular sights and stuff to see and experience (we haven’t gotten to that part yet) its rather interesting. Just because no one aside from the bus driver is over the age of 30, 95% of us being between 15 – 18 and the same percentage having grown up and lived the majority of their lives on other continents. There’s 2 chicks from Canada, some Kiwi’s, 2 Swede’s, some from Switzerland and Finland, and a whole bunch from Deutschland. I am the only Australian – in fact I haven’t met a fellow countryman since I left it in February, which is…an experience. And all this is fascinating from a socialistic viewpoint, in the way we’ve all grown up in completely different worlds. And yet we’re all together, 3 continents, worlds, lives, united on an alien one. (We’re all exchange students, in case you need pieces put together.) For one thing, they say plenty beforehand how many people you’ll meet and bond with, people in another country, but dude, you sorta assume it’s gonna be the locals they’re referring to. 😛 Because you don’t realize until you’re eagerly chatting with other travelers, how easy it is to connect with other people who are doing the exact same thing as you. Who fly, see the world, have adventures like you do, and know in person how truly fantastic it is too.

The socialistic part I mentioned before though, was about how you may be going along a similar journey in life, but all of our paths are so completely different it’s quite fascinating, for me at least, comparing all the differences. You read about these things, get it in theory, but until you really Get Out There, your mind doesn’t realize there are those who live their lives, childhoods in a world with as little as 4,000 people, or as many as 4 million. Farms and mountains and israel and moose & penguins & bears & whales & koalas being commonplace – the bare environment affects a personality more than you’d think. Especially when said environment is completely alien to the environment theyre currently in. For many of us, seeing the wide glittering blue ocean after 4-9 months, living in what is about as hilly and dry and as inland can we get, was quite an emotional experience. This is when we start to really sympathize and understand the lores and poems of our forefathers, when they spoke of their love for their country, the lands and landscape of their home.

But I’ve rambled. What the main idea of this was more about the culture, and how much influence you don’t even realize is there. You don’t see these things when you grow up in the same 100 sq kilometers all your life, everyone has the same influences and life habits. That’s great, but we need a wider scope for comparison. Many of the things that define you, haven’t even been realized consciously. The food, the manners and habits that are polite or expected, the holidays, the languages spoken, the immigration rates, the music and brands common…your family and lifestyle is one of the huge and yes most important but, like I said before, your environment and the world you adapted to has adapted you to fit it, quite subtly and deeply.

My case and point sit in the seats of this double decker bus around me. (To those who are a part of this trip and read this, I honestly don’t mean to offend I’m taking a purely intellectual and detached viewpoint here.) There’s over a dozen of us and it’s funny how patterns follow unconsciously in these social groups.
To start with, clearly those who are of the same country have a bond immediately. Even if it’s as far apart as east and west coast, or even if they’re completely different types of people, there are some things which can only be known or appreciated by those in your home country. And naturally languages too, the german and austrian and swiss have a fantastic time talking in very fast German to each other. [Icht ferurun nicht – I understand nothing] 😛 But it’s more than that, subtler and deeper – beyond countries and languages. Because the Canadian chicks get on great with the Kiwi’s and no matter how much the South African girl had laughs comparing the similarities in languages with the Germans, she and moi the Aussie chatted so much more. There was a Brazilian girl and a girl from New Zealand who became incredibly close friends in a short amount of time. These are entirely different continents, far and away from each other, but something in the similarities draws them together, isn’t that interesting? Because then you get a girl from Montana, USA, who has an entirely different way of being to the girls just kilometers above the border, and then there’s the differences in the French and the Italian and English, the Indian and Chinese and Russian. Haven’t gotten them all in the same room together though… 😛 This is why its extremely difficult bordering-on-illegal to experiment on people, right?

I do hope you’ve seen some patterns in my musings on human nature, to do with how interesting patterns form, how we’re unconsciously drawn to people like ourselves in ways, how even sharing an ocean or common immigration patterns can make another foreigner feel closer to you. Obviously there’s buckloads behind the personality and presentation – a particularly funny guy from Sweden laughs loads with the Canadian-French girl. So it’s a mix really, of minds and worlds and such subtle influences it’s hard to see where patterns end and imagination begins 😛 But searching and trying to figure out why and how and more, oh isn’t it fascinating? Humans never change but, why do we, there’s already so many possibilities and intricacies in the variation we have!

Afterthoughts: University is going to be a killer
😛 I could study this and half a dozen other subjects that are equally as fascinating (anthropology, languages, physics, music, biology, engineering) for the rest of my life in bliss. Hey, this is my blog, I am allowed to express as much lifescience as I like 😛 Sure it could be a type of diary about every day things, but I’ve already got 4 of those that I’ve written in!”

Searching

Teenagers. We’re all searching for something, finding something to search for in that time between being a ‘kid’ and being ‘grown-up’. Something changes inside us, something seems to be missing, lacking, empty, not right. It doesnt matter who we are or where we are in life. Sure, we can think that, but if you really look around, really, we all are the same. So alone together, bound together and breaking apart, like a shoal of fish in the ocean, a swirling mass of individuals fighting and searching for something, within ourselves or in the world around us. Some people search for love, for intimacy, for success where they were taught by their parents and teachers that it matters. Some fight for a cause, rebel against the laws structured around us, searching for a better time, place. Others look for that place in booze, in drugs, in sex, in fighting, on the internet or buried within other worlds, striving to be different, to find that utopia our senseless souls promise us exists, to fill the hole we sense inside, around us, as we awaken, like butterflies blinking blearily only just learning how to see and feel the world around us, emerging from the chrysalis.

The greeks had a legend, saying that when humanity was made we had two heads, four arms and four legs. But when the gods saw how incredible these being were they were afraid, and cut the in half and now people spend their entire lives searching for their other half. Which some people do. But just look at our society. Our lives don’t have perfect fittings beginnings, ends, or halves. Too many divorces and broken marriages to pretend – if humans were made to have true-life partners, we would have been monogynous like penguins. Fall in love, boom, thats it, your life has just been signed, sealed and delivered. But we’re not. We don’t find that perfect match as soon as puberty finishes messing with our bodies. We don’t – we keep searching, trying boundaries, testing and exploring unknown waters, searching for Something Better. Its what makes us human! Some may argue that they don’t look, they stick with what they’ve got. Thats still, finding, making, trying to create something better, with what’s in front of their eyes or how their eyes view whats in front of them. Always trying to find It.

But what is it? This thing we crave, unknowingly throughout our life. Some seek it in fulfilment, in actions and deeds and achievements. Others call it God, or variations thereupon. Love, joy, cheap thrills, danger, adrenaline, enlightenment… but when your heart rate returns to normal, its gone. A memory, a fading glow inside. So back we go, like wildebeest, trekking across the savanna to that unvisionable destination as the predators attack periodically as we stray across their territory, heedless of dangers, if only we can reach that perfect paradise that somehow we’re so certain of its existence. Fighting, living, thriving, searching, testing, daring, trying, questioning, breathing. What for? Why should we? What is the point? Because we are human, and that is what makes us what we are. “Fumbling in the darkness with unseeing eyes” – and yet still searching, because our souls tell us that there is more. More for us, more of life, more meaning and feeling and fullness.

Now, I may be just a teenager, thinking naive wandering thoughts;

Discussing such ponderous things as death and eternity, reincarnation, matamphychosis, libertinism, suicide. Pretending that the books we read were nothing to the ones we would write ourselves one day. Talking of life as if we had experienced it to the core.

But, still. Its my mind and its our world and maybe, if we think and share and speculate enough, maybe, maybe, we could understand a little more, and see the world a little clearer. Maybe 🙂

Growing Up

Do you know what’s interesting? How people grow up. How people think. Just, imagining back when you were 7 or so. (For some that’ll be merely a handful of years, for others the dinosaurs were still evolving :P) But, remember how grown-up you felt? Like you were big and could handle anything. And then when you were 12. Leaving primary school/being in middle school and starting to look at boys and going out and doing things by yourself. Most definitely grown up. And looking at the 7 year old babies, how so much less mature they were. And then there’s you now, at whatever age you happen to be in. To quote Andrew Blake who probably quoted it off someone else, “You’ve never been as old as you are today.” or something like that. And it’s true. Things happen in your life, over the years, change your mind and how you perceive the world.

We, as individuals, are constantly changing, the same way a teenage boy is constantly growing – and although its difficult to measure in small doses, and easier to see after large intervals of time. I think maybe that’s part of the reason teenagers get so cocky; because they’re thinking new thoughts with bigger, opener minds, and they can see that they are, and how much more similar they are, and independent, from the ‘Adults’. So, they start thinking that they’ve matured Enough, and that they should be treated the same as The Grown Ups. I don’t blame them, everybody wants to be important, independent and treated like a grown up – even 7 year olds. But that’s the thing I’ve been coming to realize. It’s not that simple. There isn’t ever any stopping point, a marker that says Done. There’s always something more, wisdom experience or understanding, that matures you that much more. Think about the Adults in the world around you – sometimes, they too have nofuckingidea what to do, what to say, or what the solution is to the curveball life’s thrown at them. 😛

It’s like those head-spinning physics theories, about 7th and 8th + dimensions. They could quite plausibly exist, but it’s incredible hard to imagine the idea of existing with extra dimensions, simply because we have no idea what it could possibly be like. Our minds cannot fathom an idea it has never encountered, it can’t imagine something so alien to anything it knows. There’s been examples made, of 2 dimensional and three dimensional worlds, but for more modem world examples; try and ask a lifelong nun to describe the sensation of French kissing. Or a man to describe the pain of giving birth. Or even a child who has lived on a farm inland all her life to describe the ocean in all 5 senses. It’s impossible. Not their fault at all, and I’m sure there are things a celibate nun has experienced that a boy-happy teen party girl hasn’t. But that’s the great conundrum of life really, getting more, be it experience or wisdom or understanding. Or maybe I’m just an a-typical Ravenclaw 😛

Back to the point though – we can’t imagine anything beyond what we’ve already experienced. So how can we imagine or be any wiser or more mature than we already are? Simply put, time. Just keep living, living life to the full, living and experiencing as much to the full as you can. And accept that there’s still more, that there’s always things you don’t yet understand. Yet.

I’m Bored

I’m bored. How many times have you heard a friend or teenager say it? There’s nothing to do, nothing to read, nothing good on tv. No money, no one to meet up with, no wifi. Is that what our generation has learnt, that we need our entertainment handed to us? Some mates I’ve got, they seem, between work and eating and sleeping, to live in a constant state of boredom. Computer games and tv, two of the most common forms of recreation these days, are almost as mindless as not doing anything at all. Who has ever really emerged from The Simpsons or Call of Duty enriched and satisfied? I honestly don’t see the point, when there’s already so much out there, so much to see.

I mean, think about it. The majority of these commercialized forms of entertainment, save the testosterone-fulfilling war&women types, are in some form of story telling. Creating stories, stimulating our imagination. The writers of the world should understand me here, but the rest of you, just think; how small a step it is to stop living off and using another persons imagination, and opening yours. Just open your eyes and look at the world around you. There’s just. so. much. Everything has a story, every person has a story, hopes and dreams and fears and a past and a future, every thing has to be made and everything has had things happen to them that leaves a mark. Just look around you, and really see.

Just look; at the people walking by – what do their clothes say about them? Their features and gestures and actions, jewelry and tattoos and things they’re carrying. They all say something about them. Where and they going, what are they doing, what might they be thinking? Some people put a lot of stock into how your facial features signify your personality, some believe it’s pure genetics. I experiment with both possibilities. Is there an old smile in that old mans crinkled eyebrows? Old people are especially interesting because they have had such long lives, so much time to have developed, had families, hobbies, dreams, grandchildren, faced suffering, lived and seen so much. And then there’s the young, with their vivacity and life – did she just get back from university, school or a friends house, and was her day good? What might she be thinking about? A frazzled mum after a long day of errands or returning home after a job, where? How is her life? His clothes are loud but his eyes are soft – an anarchist that still dreams, wants change and thinks this is the solution, statement, or boy hiding behind his clothes, trying to fit in and be cool? People are all so unique and yet the same patterns emerge, expand on what you know of our minds, and the human brain is so complex the possibilities are thrilling.

Just look; at the plants and animals – varying on the season and location, oh World. Birds singing in the trees, or around the ground, what types are they? Recognize and try to name plants growing, weeds, vines, trees and flowers and how the insects work with them in the huge system of creating and killing together that is Nature. Seedpods are always fascinating to figure out, like little puzzles. Leaves, how they grow and change and how and why they are in the shape/colour/texture they are. The seasons and local weather, how does it affect it all, the small mammals and the once-domestic street animals, the local creatures, the birds and lizards. (This is mainly interesting for those who travel and compare countries city/wildlife) But also, where and how did plants grow and get there? Gardens can say a lot, who and why and how they’re tended. A butterfly or beetle can catch and hold your attention as it passes by. So wrapped up in their busy little lives, who are we to disregard and ignore them?

The streets, houses, cars, things; how did they get there? Who built them, with what and how? Imagine how they were put together, and why. What happened to them all through the passing of time? Markings in the concrete by paws and leaves and shoes and tyres. Cracked cement from weather and nature. How did that car get that way? What’s the graffiti about, by who and why? The mesh behind the fence, to keep small dogs inside? What were the streets named the way they were? How and who painted that sign? Construction sights are especially fascinating, seeing things half made, trying to guess what the wires and pillars and pipes will become, and how they fit together. Electrical wirings, to and from where? Cultural influences, fashion and styles from years ago accumulating, shown in the world around us, in the plaster and cement and wood.

All you have to do is look.

Can you see now? With a world full of details to examine, how can you ever be bored? I know I’m not.