Unpopular Opinions Strongly Held

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde.pngFor those of you who have the distinct pleasure of knowing me either in real life or on other social media platforms, I am lovingly known as The Prince of Unpopular Opinions. I got this nickname a few years ago when I was “brave” enough to say the things I really feel. I take the title seriously, any opinion I have is rooted in an at least base understanding of the piece. So I’m seldom a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian.

So in the spirit of being the Awesome Me, I wanted to go over a few unpopular opinions. A friend of mine threw out the number 33 so let’s get there! These will be sort of hot-takes, I may got into detail on some but if you want further explanations, leave me a comment! I will answer! Also due to the nature of these sorts of things…spoilers for some stuff, probably.

    1. I don’t like The Dark Knight. I know, shocker. I’m not crazy about Heath Ledger’s Joker. He was great in that movie! Just when your lore base is Batman The Animated Series, his Joker is a departure. The rest of the movie was a bit of a slog and I’m all for gritty reimaginings but Batman was always pretty gritty if you ignore the campy 1960s.
    2. I really like dubbed anime. I use anime as background noise a lot. I often don’t have time to entirely give my attention to a thing. Also, my time coming into anime was during the Golden Age of Dubbing. I had AMAZING voice acting experiences with English dubs. Now, there are some that are hot garbage, but for the most part, gimme a good dub.
    3. Cadbury Creme Eggs are magical. Fight me.
    4. Peeps are also magical. Continue to fight me.
    5. I dislike Attack on Titan. Mostly, I dislike the anime’s fandom. If I wanted to watch a lesser version of Evangelion, I’d just watch the movies.
    6. Tumblr is a place that I intensely dislike in places but I also refuse to leave it.
    7. I really like the original run of Fullmetal Alchemist. Brotherhood is closer to the manga, sure, but it changed things that vastly changed how I related to the story.
    8. Gravitation is a garbage anime but I will fight people over it. That series was probably one of the most important things to me as a troubled youth.
    9. I really liked it when Blink 182 and Green Day went emo in the 2000s. Those are probably some of my favorite albums and I still listen to them. A lot of folks who listened to those bands when they were still grunge hated the transition to emo but I was just a little too young for the grunge days and I was a moody teen during the emo days. Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the older stuff, I just really emotionally jived with the emotional moaning of Tom DeLonge.
    10. I don’t like wearing high heels. God made me short.
    11. Naruto shouldn’t have ended up with Hinata. She deserved better.
    13. Paris Franz was the worst part of the animated The Killing Joke movie. And hell, the rest of the movie was fine even though I can fully admit that it’s an old story that just doesn’t work in the modern era.
    14. I don’t understand Modern Art. It’s been explained to me. I’ve taken art classes. I just don’t get it.
    15. I don’t hate Justin Bieber’s newer songs. Don’t @ me.
    16. I don’t like Chipotle. I more or less just don’t understand what niche it fills. That being said, I still go because it’s downtown and it’s close and it’s there. I’m not proud of myself.
    17. Bianca del Rio is my least favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race winner. But I won’t say that too loud. She can hear me and feeds upon my fear.
    18. I am not crazy about JRPGs. I love the story of many of them like the Persona series but you could not pay me to play those games. The grind exhausts me.That being said I will absolutely still cosplay as Teddie and Yusuke.
    19. Commonly said unpopular opinion: Yuri On Ice ruined anime and even though I hate it a lot less, I still will forever be disappointed at what it did for the discourse.
    20. I’m pretty over Steven Universe. I think that show can just end now. It had a good run. I also for some reason really dislike how Rebecca Sugar uses references sometimes. I’m not sure why. It may be totally irrational but for some reason when she obviously parodies something it just makes my blood boil.
    21. I don’t hate the Star Wars prequels. Hell, I still have my ticket stub for Revenge of the Sith. I can admit they are bad movies but dammit those lightsaber battles.
    22. Not crazy about the new Star Wars trilogy. Rey is an aggressive Mary Sue and it does feel like an intense re-tread of older things. That being said, porgs are great: fight me.
    23. Ewoks scare the hell out of me. They clearly eat people and have weird human teeth.
    24. I will happily watch baseball over football.
    25. French fries are made to be dipped in a chocolate frosty.
    26. Vanilla frosties are an abomination unto the Lord.
    27. I still play Pokemon Go. Team Mystic forever.
    28. Harry Potter is a fantastic universe and franchise but dammit Jo Rowling exhausts me and I am bored to tears with her mains. Thus says a proud Slytherin.
    29. Also, I will holler this on the top of a mountain: I WANT MY DAMN MARAUDERS MOVIE.
    30. Justice League: Gods and Monsters may be one of my favorite animated superhero movie. Vampire Batman forever.
    31. I’m weirdly bored of Marvel movies. They have a time and a half balancing humor and seriousness and everyone being a quip monster is starting to wear on me. That may explain why I’m tired of Guardians of the Galaxy and Spiderman as franchises.
    32. The Sam Raimi Spiderman does not get enough credit and it’s wonderful. Spiderman 2 may be one of the greatest comic book movies ever made.
    33. I don’t like Frozen. The collective pop cultural subconscious can absolutely Let it Go.

That was a fun little exercise wasn’t it? Did you learn a lot about me? Good. 

Let’s do this again sometime!

Et Tu, Fidget Cube?


I like many at times struggle with generalized anxiety. And my anxiety tends to manifest with obsessive hair brushing, nail biting and other “self-mutilation behaviours” that anxious people exhibit. Like a stressed out parrot, if left to my own devices, I would likely bite my nails to an unattractive length or over-style my hair to finally fit the look of the anime character that I really am on the inside.

I’ve been playing with stress balls, small toys as well as doodling, drawing, pen spinning and just about any other “fidget” activity that you can try. It was actually my therapist who encouraged that I try a d fidget cube. She thought that maybe it would help curb some of the bad habits that I’ve dealt with since I was young.

I waited for a while to get a fidget cube but then they and their spinner partners became popular. Suddenly, mostly fidget spinners became very en vogue. Even my boss had one. He, of course, said it was for “business men like him who sit in meetings” to which I promptly corrected him on the true origin of the fidget spinner. But since they became popular tools of the zeitgeist, it puts people like me in a strange position. I either look like a hipster by not adopting what became popular or I look like I’m part of a movement that I’m not by having one. And truthfully, I even separate out that I have a cube rather than a spinner. To me and those like me that have these toys to help them cope with stress or anxiety, the spinner is a pretentious toy. The cube became the secret handshake of those who actually intended to use the devices as they were patented: as therapy devices.

Amber, my dear teacher friend, at first was dismayed when I showed her my cube. She said her school children have been causing quite a fuss with their spinners. Some even light up now and are being used like new-age hipster Beyblades. When I explained to her why I had mine, she accepted it. Most do when you explain that you have a cube or spinner for any reason that isn’t puffery or just for fun.

That being said: if you see someone with a cube or spinner, I think it’s important to halt judgement briefly. I know it’s been difficult for me to not immediately judge the children on the bus wielding two light-up spinners for some odd reason. But I’m doing my best to reserve that judgement because I know how much I don’t like being judged and lumped in with all the people that got these because they want to be hip with the young kids. Most people now have them because they’re popular but they’re already starting to wane in their popularity. Soon, once more like with so many other appropriated things, people who intend to use them as first created will rise again.


Why I Still Love “Rent”

I can't control my destinyI trust my soul, my only goalIs just to be.pngI have a complicated love affair with the musical Rent. It’s one part a wonderful romp through complex social and political issues with fantastic uses of music, rhyme, rhythm and harmony. On the other hand, it’s also a shallow and socially insensitive stage show using outdated terms and phrasing to illustrate the complicated AIDS crisis with the minimal amount of effort and using horribly unrelatable characters to float such a powerful message by. As an LGBT-affiliated creative and mostly just musical angsty teenage: Rent was perfect for me during my rebellious teen years. It brought together artists, creatives, people who were on the fringes of society and made their lives and struggles not just relatable but also glorified them. Never in more recent memory has a woman addicted to crack been so deified as a saintly woman under the thumb of vile cruel addiction. The musical was a little before my time, but the movie, oh the movie; that was part of my consciousness as a teen and I loved it. My friends loved it. We did line readings and performances in school and we had nearly the entire discography memorized from Seasons of Love to La Vie Boheme. Now, the movie has problems, but so does the musical and I’m not here to defend either one. What I am here to do is talk about why even though the musical is divisive I choose to still love Rent.

Amber and I recently saw Rent live at the Majestic: a 20th anniversary show bringing together as many of the original cast members as possible. It was the closest we’d ever come to seeing the show on opening night. I came into the performance with mixed feelings. A few videos online brought up some serious issues with the musical and movie and their valid points began to shade some of the nostalgia I had for the musical. One commented on how little the characters in the musical/movie actually do to help any of their respective conditions or situations and the other takes serious issue with the editing, framing and how writing and camera work make some characters look like saints while others sinners despite what the script and logic dictate. They made points I couldn’t argue against and seeing the show live actually only deepened some of those feelings of indignation from the standpoint of the audience. I’ve lost family members to the AIDS crisis and being creative, LGBT leaning and of color only made my blood pressure rise when it came to the serious failings in the telling of actual compelling stories in place of pop culture references that were dated even for opening night 20 years ago and characters with motivations are paper thin as a play bill.

The musical makes even more of the storytelling issues in Rent forward. Mimi has almost no agency and it at the hands of an evil and shadowy omnipresent drug dealer. Roger’s emotional and moody and seems to have no validation for his feelings and no one seems to realize that he has very valid feelings and is often the most right in situations. Angel is the purest martyr form of the word. And Mark, oh sweet Mark, has almost no issues of his own but continues to revel in misery and commiseration with all of those around him with real and actual problems. Maureen continues to perpetuate stereotypes about bisexuality that still haunt the LGBT community and Mimi is less a young lady with addiction problems as she is a saintly woman who no agency and is just a product of her difficult life and circumstances. No one tries to better themselves. No one tries to get out of their situations. And the ones that do are vilified for not living in the moment.

And while we’re on the topic of “not living in the moment”: let’s talk about No Day But Today. This is an example cited in both videos as an utter failure of visual storytelling and it’s no different in the musical. Roger, who does not want to go out with Mimi, is framed via lighting and refrain as the dark one in the scene. He’s the miserly bad guy who is trying to put out Mimi’s damn candle. Mimi is a known drug user and stripper who engages in risky behavior to say the least. This risky behavior took the life of Roger’s girlfriend ,April, and is the reason that he is now living with AIDS. But Mimi; she’s framed as fun, light and bright. She just wants him to live for today. She wants him to do drugs with her in an alley and engage in risky behaviors that I won’t list because I think my family still reads this humble little blog. And to her side come the rest of the cast and try to coax Roger from his ivory tower of self-isolation. When did he become the bad guy? When did wanting to stay inside and stay sober and not sleep with a stripper become criteria for villainy? Because if that’s the case, then I might as well be a Dick Dasterdly-level bad guy. 

By now, you may be asking where the defending part’s gonna come in. We’re getting there and I haven’t even covered the wax philosophic of the social “commentary” on the nature of the struggling artist and capitalizing on poverty while simultaneously capitalizing on poverty.

Now, despite all the issues that I listed and could probably go on about for more: I do still love the musical and movie Rent.

I still believe in the idea of what Rent is trying to say. That a year can be so much time and yet so little in the grand scheme of things. That friends can form into families and be more supportive than the guardians or parents we were sometimes born into. I believe in the idea that being an artist and creative is one of the best ways to help ease the pain of a difficult life. I still believe in the message that life itself is hard: everything is rent. I still admire the things Rent was trying to do. To try to bring to light how serious the AIDS crisis was and in places still is. That it tried to further the ties that bind: community, art, love and life.

And that’s the legacy of Rent. Community. I was able to see this musical with a friend and leave singing and dancing to the songs long after they had finished. My friends have read this piece forwards and backwards and if you started us off on Today 4 U, we’d certainly finish it. Will I became my rosary, my meditation and those serious questions about legacy, mortality and what people will think of my life and my choices helped me cope with the complicated emotions I had as a teen. Community brought us together and it was the power of community helped overcome some of the obstacles that perpetuated the AIDS crisis in America.

So while Rent has its problems, I can’t help but love the musical and the movie. The movie does give Mimi back some of her agency as opposed to the nearly magical drug dealer that seems to stalk her and it makes Angel an even more sympathetic and tragic character. Collins is great in any version (except for the part about stealing in some strange cyber-Robin Hood bit). Benny’s a more one-sided bad guy in the musical and in the movie he’s actually just sort of…right (he’s just a businessman who rather likes having a roof over his head and likes expensive food: there’s nothing wrong with that) so that makes him more relatable in the movie vs. the musical.  

So if you’ve never seen Rent, I can’t force it on you. It’s an acquired taste. It’s the musical theater fan’s musical. If you have seen it and think it’s the best depiction of anything ever then there’s lots of blog posts I have to point in your direction. If you think Rent like most things has a complicated legacy and did its best with what it had during the time since it first ran and is really when you think about it just a musical? Then you’re on the right track.