John Carter, Sad Hero of Mars

A very interesting, well thought out and well written piece.

Threat Quality Press

Well, word is that John Carter (of Mars) isn’t going to do so well – certainly not enough to make back its budget, or merit any sequels. This is kind of a shame, because I think it was pretty much a lot of fun, but at least now I can talk about what I think was a kind of a glaring problem with the story that I’d have felt guilty talking about before.

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Jane Elliott, a 3rd Grade Teacher and her racism experiment

A third grade teacher in the USA once upon a time conducted an experiment with her class.
At first she asked the children who was treated differently at that time and the she asked them how they were treated differently. She then asks the children if they wish to take part in an experiment to which the children enthusiastically say yes.
The teacher, called Jane Elliott, breaks up the classroom based on eye colour. She claims that because she has blue eyes she deems those children in the class with blue eyes to be better. She allows them more privileges, for example a longer time at break/recess and the ability to return for seconds at meal times. She suggested that brown eyed people are more likely  to be violent.  She purposely and obviously generalises about those with brown eyes, so much so the children obviously notice and noticeably disagree.
Ms. Elliot then switched it around the following day, saying she had lied and that in fact the brown eyed children were superior and that they were in fact allowed the privileges and the blue eyed children were not.
The whole experiment is incredibly clever and well worth watching.

What I hadn’t realised is that Ms. Elliot had also performed a similar experiment here in the UK. I have yet to watch it completely but I will do. Needless to say though I am very much in admiration of this lady and her tactics.


Anorexia in animation

It is often that television programmes hit upon a touchy subject, but you don’t often expect it from a popular TV animation, least of all from one like “American Dad.” But that’s exactly what happened.
“American Dad” is a fantastic cartoon, made by Seth McFarlane, the man who brought us “Family Guy.” It is often well animated and well written and it proves to be very entertaining. So I was pleasantly surprised when in one episode they hit upon a tough subject: anorexia.

In the episode “The American Dad After School Special” Stan’s son Steve starts dating a larger girl, and then invites her over. When Stan finds out she is fat he is horrified and reacts in a hostile manner. This causes his wife and daughter Hayley to berate him claiming he is overweight and certainly not as fit as he thinks. Stan refuses to believe this and yet the more he looks in the mirror the bigger he looks. This is followed up the fitness test at the CIA which Stan fails after falling over almost straight away. He is put on leave and told to lose weight.
Stan begins a regime of fitness, however no matter how much exercise he does he still appears to get bigger. Then he meets a young man who calls himself Zack and claims to be Stan’s personal trainer. Stan does more and more exercise under the guidance Zack. He also becomes quite paranoid that his family do not want him to lose weight because they keep insisting that he is not in fact fat at all. Behind his back, Francine and Hayley put fattening items onto Stan’s food.
Eventually under the instruction of Zack, Stan confronts his family at which point his family make him realise the truth. He isn’t fat, he is in fact thin, and he is anorexic. He also realises that his personal trainer Zack is actually a hallucination, which was probably created by Stan’s subconscious insecurities.
Once Stan realises he is anorexic “Zack” fades away for good.

Stan then goes to a support group for anorexics where he meets a girl who teaches him how to appear to be eating to his family whilst not actually swallowing and digesting the food, a method that involves regurgitation. Stan does this and hides the food in the swimming pool.

I was pleasantly surprised by this episode because I found it topical and not in the controversial way. They covered a tough subject in a way that wasn’t insulting, patronising, or obtuse. They showed the effects that anorexia has on an individual and those around them. I would like to think that amongst all the satire and comedy in “American Dad” and as well the brilliant story lines, there will be more stories like this because it is a good way to get through to a wider audience. After all, shows like American Dad are watched widely by younger people as well as adults.
This episode is easily in the top three of American Dad episodes in my opinion.

To Seth McFarlane and the others who make “American Dad”, I tip my hat to you!


The 77 year wait is over

The 77 year wait is over

It’s been a long wait but finally a male Brit has won Wimbledon after such a long time. The last Brit to win it at all was Virginia Wade who won the Women’s competition in 1977.
The last person male Brit to win Wimbledon was Fred Perry who won the championship three times.
So congratulations to him, it’s good to see a British winner at last.