On Recent Events- Part 2

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this but there’s been, let’s be charitable and say, a lot that has happened in recent events. And because the recent events have made it difficult to focus on the other blog posts I wanted to work on (I’m sorry, still working on them), let’s go ahead and talk about some recent events. 

The Passing of Alex Trebek and Sean Connery 

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone reading this blog that I am a huge fan of Jeopardy! considering that I have always been one to hold too much trivia in my brain in place of names of real human beings and American history. In the days of my childhood when the television raised me, I spent a lot of time answering along to the television and delighting when I was right and falling into despair when I was wrong. My love of trivia even inspired me to join the Academic Quiz League in high school, the nerdier and less cared about sister of Academic Decathlon. And at the heart of my love of the quiz show and my pride in knowing the answer was Alex Trebek: everyone’s loving, nerdy uncle. He was diagnosed with cancer not long ago and we all sat by and watched and waited while he told us that he was feeling okay and that he was determined to beat the disease. Well, Alex Trebek passed away; and I don’t think the show or even various aspects of pop culture will ever be the same. Rest well, sir. Thank you. 

We also lost Sean Connery, a man who has the immense distinction of being Sean fucking Connery. I’m not the biggest James Bond fan but my former best friend was and by proxy, I got to ingest a ton of material from the storied franchise. Connery, I think, problematic elements aside is about as James Bond as you can get. Not to mention his myriad of other film roles: almost all of them memetic; he was just a fantastic guy. Connery was a legend and got to pass away at 90 in the Bahamas while surrounded by friends and family after 90 years of being Sean Connery: one can only hope to live a fraction as well as he did. Rest well, sir. You’ve more than earned it. 

The Pandemic…Still

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world and particularly in the United States as we have continued to place capital over people and ignore scientists. The pandemic has affected the economy, killed too many Americans and has put life on a continued pause. It’s been frustrating to grapple with a feeling of intense selfishness at the things I want to do and putting that up against the greater good. I’ve made a few small moments of rebellion in which I go to Half Price Books or stay a little longer than I should while dropping off a cake to the card shop but for the most part, there are still plenty of things I don’t feel safe doing and the effects of that on my social life, mental health and more are things I will probably continue to grapple with in therapy for a while. 

The 2020 Election 

Okay, so…that was a lot. I remember voting early and casting my ballot and having faith in the system and hoping that I wouldn’t have to worry about this for another few weeks. Dear reader, I was wrong. The election was full of lies, threats of violence, actual violence and just so much hate on the Trump side. Anyone who reads this blog should not be shocked that I voted for Biden and while, yes, I agree that him and Kamala has some problematic aspects to their past: it was them or a literal fucking fascist. I remember going to bed early on election night, knowing the votes wouldn’t be fully counted. My aunts called me in a panic at the red mirage I had been reading about and I did my best to comfort them as if it would by proxy comfort me as well. The days after were a flood of red and then, come Friday and Saturday: hope. Georgia flipped blue, Nevada did, Pennsylvania; a state I almost never think about, ended up becoming the guardian of our democracy and when the numbers were all counted up and Biden won I just let out a sigh. I take a lot of medication to ensure that I don’t cry spontaneously anymore but just the sigh of relief I let out. After that, when I left my apartment for a non-essential trip to the fabric store; people just seemed kinder. The sun seemed warmer. Water tasted better. I just felt like I could stand a little straighter. Maybe it’s projection, maybe it’s insanity, maybe it’s just a delusion but it felt easier to be a human being for the first time in a long time. 

I don’t know how the rest of this rapidly winding down year will go. I don’t have answers to any of the questions I’ve been asking for years. At the end of the day, despite Biden’s win and my somewhat misplaced optimism; too many people in the country were fine with voting for white supremacy, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, police violence and I can’t believe I have to say this again but fucking fascism. The fact that this election wasn’t a damn landslide makes my stomach sick but I am also horribly not surprised. Trump’s rise to power is endemic of a problem that many people of color and queer people have known for decades: at its core, America is still very racist, sexist and homophobic. But I do believe that we are at the start of returning to something better than we had before. I do have faith. It may be misplaced, it may be the antidepressants talking, but I do have faith. 

This past week or so has been tiring in a way that I didn’t think was possible and this is from a person with a nearly infinite ability to be exhausted. But it’s important to keep taking care of yourself. I know I’ve never been a self-help blog and that won’t change any time soon but I know that I’m trying to take better care of myself with all of this damn time at home that I have; I hope you all have the luxury of being able to do the same. 

Till next time. 

On Recent Events

Hello and greetings. Normally, this blog updates pretty regularly. I found a schedule that works for me but recently, that’s been a little hard to do. I promise I’ll get back to my usual schedule but it means going back to my content calendar and I don’t want to do that right now. So in the meantime, I’d like to cover a few things that have happened recently that struck me greatly and may not merit an entire blog post on their own but should be discussed.

The Burning of Notre Dame

I am a Francophile. I have been a Francophile for easily 10 years now. I am also a mostly proud Roman Catholic. I’ve gone on record saying that The Hunchback of Notre Dame may just be my favorite Disney movie. Needless to say, I watched like many did, in utter horror and grief as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris. I don’t have many moments where I express grief over buildings. Buildings are merely of stone but Notre Dame, this felt personal even though I am an American who has never seen her edifice in real life. I felt like I lost something as I watched the church burn but was inspired by seeing Parisians standing and singing untied as they watched their church burn: the very heart of Paris may have been wounded but what survived was truly inspirational to see. I was at the same time incredibly disappointed by those who quickly made jokes and memes about the fire, truthfully, I haven’t been able to listen to any of the songs from the Disney movie as they come across my phone’s music player as the themes of church, fire and hell are all a little too close to home now. I’m also disappointed at those who have taken this time to take a shot at the Catholic Church and while sure, I cannot say the Church is free of sin, but this is literally too soon. But I cannot quite express to you all, dear reader, how I sat and watched the live stream of the church burning and trembled in impotent, indignant horror wishing, hoping, longing that we could do more though no more could indeed be done. I also cannot express to you the hope I felt seeing that the Rose Windows had not in fact burned. I know Notre Dame will heal, I know Paris will heal, I know we will heal but that doesn’t mean that I did not grieve.

Monkey Punch’s Passing

I’ve mentioned that Lupin III may be one of the most influential series to me in my entire 20 year dedication to anime and manga. So when I found out that the creator of the series, most known by his pen name of Monkey Punch, passed away at the age of 81; I felt like I had lost a grandparent. And while his beloved series will continue to live on much longer than any of us, I can’t help but want to take a moment or two to really give this man the credit he deserves for creating characters that really cemented my love of anime and manga. I have always been enamored by his incredibly distinct style, it was in fact how stylized and interesting that all of the characters in Lupin’s world looked that really got me into manga and anime. The first run of the series was always quite stylish and campy, the humor really did sizzle back then and the adventures though a little silly and at times damn near ridiculous are now long-standing tropes in anime. If you’ve ever heard me lament about how little newer series do for me then it comes down to the fact that from the start of my journey was during the height of quality when it comes to anime coming into the United States. Sorry, kids. It’s why I don’t like your Dekus or your Borts. It’s because I got to have Lupin III as one of my first anime crushes.

I’m aware that as I get older and these mangaka will that I grew up idolizing will die and I too like so many will have to bury my heroes. But for now, I’ve only had to bury one. So rest easy, Kazuhiko Katō-sensei. I am eternally grateful for your creation.

This was something different. If you would like for me to comment on things more topically, please let me know. I’ve been curious about this format for a while and now with the current implosion of my content calendar, I’ve had the chance to truly explore things that are more topical. Thank you for being patient with me; I have some new and exciting posts coming up soon.

Just Don’t Read the News…Constantly

Good evening, Readers. I hope this finds you all well. 

Now, as promised in my dedicated post to Colonel Meow, I did allude to a greater post on news media. Well, folks, here it is. 

Many of you likely start your day like I do. By clicking or opening your favorite source of news. Left or right leaning. Whatever your choice may be. We ingest the news. We take it in. We are hungry for it. We make it a part of our daily routines. Even periodically checking throughout the day at breakneck pace. Now, don’t get me wrong, this practice of taking the news in through various forms an formats from social media, to apps, to newspapers to television has saved, enriched and progressed the lives of millions; myself included. 

But here is where I find myself faltering and concerned with constant pursuit of news. I have grown paranoid. 

It’s hard not to. When you calculate the amount of murders and terrible atrocities of the human condition. It’s hard not to become scared, horrified by what humans can do and are at times subjected to. Murder, violence, arson. These are all a part of daily life, sometimes in your very community. It is mine. Though I struggle to think why it affects me any more now than it did when I was younger. It isn’t as if I moved from one area that is more urban than the other. Not as if crime doesn’t exist in the suburbs. It’s just gently swept under perfectly manicured lawns.

Now, I’m not saying to live in ignorance. I believe us millennials learned that hard way in the wake of social change and global tragedy, that our local new sources were at times unreliable or just damn fictitious. And that couldn’t have come at a better time. Behold, the age of the Internet where I saw first hand those hard-hitting stories. Unfiltered language, uncensored photos of chaos and the evils of humanity. CNN became my first taste of the horrors of the real world.Bodies in streets, outrageous poverty, disease, human-trafficking, drug usage. My first terrible view of the world outside of the green laws and gated world views of my suburban childhood.

I do recommend heavily being connected to the world. But know when enough is enough. I realize around the time of panic and general melancholy…it’s time to turn away from The Huffington Post.     

But don’t live in an ignorant bliss-filled daze. As a Communications major, I was often reading just for class 4-5 daily publications just to keep on track. Not to mention all of the reading I did while a debate student and for senior projects But we should learn from the news. We should gain something. Tragedy shapes us. Makes us stronger. We are to learn from our mistakes and failing as humans. 

So let’s start acting like it. All of us. Myself included. 

As The World Mourns

Insignificant things make the news all the time. Bigfoot Marries Local Woman. Bird Pecks Elderly Man in Park. Snow: It’s Cold. 

Really insignificant. Especially in the long run. But this isn’t meant to be a critique on the news media of the day. (That’s coming later, rest assured.) this is about mourning. 

Not too long ago, I was met with some very sad news. Colonel Meow passed away. Now, a great bit of referencing is required. So here it is, and don’t expect it again. Everyone lucked out this time. Colonel Meow is a cat. Not my cat. But an Internet Cat. Made famous by memes, blog posts, Twitter Pictures and Youtube Videos. He was striking. He was intense. He was fearsome. And a Guinness World Record Holder. He was fabulous. He was terrifying, but he like all of us, was mortal. He met his fate not long ago. 

Now, I’m not here to bash this event or trivialize it, an owner lost a beloved pet and the world did lose something that connected countless individuals over one single cause. I was genuinely saddened by this myself. As one of his dedicated ‘minions’ a title I only share with that of Mr. Spike Spencer, I did too feel a certain loss when Colonel Meow passed away. It was like I lost someone, too. It was like I as well lost a beloved pet. And I’ve felt that pain before, it’s all too real. 

What struck me though, was that I was not alone in this grief process. The Colonel had millions of other minions. And we all lost our valiant leader one that day. I was amazed by some of the comments people left. And as much as I wanted to be a cynical judgmental person, I couldn’t be. I mean, this was the death of a cat that made it to most of the major news outlets. CNN reported on this, CNN! No matter how badly I wanted to judge. To snark. To tease. I couldn’t.  I was in the exact same boat. I was upset, too, over the exact same cat. 

Loss is loss, we learn that early on. Everyone experiences it, we all deal with it differently. It is written into the collective unconscious of the world to know that loss affects us greatly. We attach to things for different reasons, each of which is our own to have. And it shouldn’t be judged. When a life ends, everyone loses something. The Six Degrees of Separation that connect us by a gossamer thread of chance, luck and happenstance only shrink as we further connect ourselves to others in this Wide World. 

The passing of Colonel Meow reminded me loss doesn’t alienate us. It reminds us who we are still connected to. I was one of many grieving minions who through support was able to continue to move on through my day. The Colonel would prefer things that way. He wouldn’t want us to mourn. He’d demand scotch. 

Rest in Peace, Colonel Meow. You have plenty of loyal minions here to keep the mission alive.