26 September 2006

This is being edited to say...

Ok. So my major book-movie translation watching guide has a flaw. One of my roommates pointed out something to me. She said that her perception of how she sees books when she re-reads them after seeing the movie they are based on changes. I'm either not bothered by this or my imagination is strong enough not to be changed, so this is just to say that yes, movies can change how you see things. And that, I suppose is the downside. But if you don't want your perception changed, then don't see the movie.

I'm going to take a small moment while I'm here to rant on grammar. I spent about 50 minutes of a 2 hour class today listening to a professor teach half of the class (the freshman academy part) what a noun is, and what a verb is and...Bleh. What a bloody waste of time. I know-everyone has to start somewhere. But shouldn't they have started a long time ago? Good gravy. One girl asked if the professor wanted us to use the word 'whom' in our papers. *headdesk*. You shouldn't toss words around in a paper because they make you sound smart. You should use words because they are either the correct word grammatically, or because that particular word describes what you want to describe in the best way.

That being said, I'm sure I'll get lots of nasty comments on my grammar. I know it isn't perfect! But this is a place for creative discussion, right? So I'll excuse myself and point out that at least I know how to use 'you/your/you're' and 'their/there/they're' etc. Give me some credit.

25 September 2006

Supercali-what's the spelling?

I have no idea what that title means. I hate coming up with titles, so in things like this I tend to use the first thing that comes into my head.

In defense of myself (sorry Liz!), people have a different definition of what constitutes as 'busy', or 'too busy' or whatever. And for me, when it's been a long night and a boring class, doing anything outside of reading a book that I want to read or taking a nap is too busy. So for those of you (two! That's exciting) who bothered to read my last post, sorry for the tirade. Every once in a while all of us have fits of pessimism, and my last post was one of mine. And, like Ben said in the comments, sometimes it helps. For me anyway, sending out my frustration into a "void" (so to speak) helps me feel like I've at least done something with my frustration. I've turned it into something productive. Now, however, you'll be pleased to hear that I'm better. I'm not so depressed. I'm still exhausted (who isn't), but I'm feeling better about life in general.

I've got two things to discuss today. Ahem. The first one involves something important and the second one is probably only important to people like me and Liz who obsess over that marvelous book series (you know the one!)-Harry Potter.

I didn't have room in my schedule to take a religion class this semester (well, I did, but I'd be even more insane if I tried to manage school, work, play, and social life along with an extra two credit hours). So I've been doing a self guided study the past few weeks with CS Lewis as my guide. I've got a couple of books on the list to read in the next couple of months, starting with Screwtape Letters. Can I start by stating the obvious? Ok. The man is a genius. How can anyone so brilliant not have found the gospel? It's hard to find a page in my book right now where I haven't starred or underlined or made references to. His insight on temptation is incredible. I've found myself walking around in thought (something more people should do) thinking about where I am with my life and what it is that makes me tick. What about me is vulnerable to temptation? I'd say one thing would probably be my tendency to be a bit too serious with myself. I have issues relaxing. Anyway, if you haven't read CS Lewis (outside of Narnia), do it. He's on the top of my list of 'people I can't wait to talk to after I die'.

I have a theory about book to movie translations that I think should be commented on. I have a pretty good selection of DVD's. Ask my roommates. They fall into two categories (for the most part) : Book-movie, chick flick (and a few classics). Let's just say that if I didn't like my books made into movie films, my DVD collection would be pretty shallow. That being said, I think that people are too harsh on book-movie translations. And I'm sick of it. Let me explain how you should watch those movies...

1. Go in with the attitude that you're going to have a good time and be entertained. That's what movies are for, right? Why would we pay $8 to see something we thought we were going to hate? Just because all of your friends are going to see it, doesn't mean you have to. And if you do go, don't be negative the whole time.

2. Keep in mind that books and movies are entirely different genres. There are some things that just cannot work in a book that work in movies (and vice versa). For example: a good portion of most novels that have a narrator centered around the point of view of one character have a good deal of thinking. Inner monologues are a great way for an author to relay information to a reader either about a character, or about another character (that can be either honest or a kind of red herring). Inner monologues simply do not work in films. Then there is the issue of length: movies have about two-three (if you're Lord of the Rings) hours to present material to an audience. If everything from a book was translated directly into film, then we'd be there forever. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see everything from Harry Potter put to film, but the book on tape for Harry 5, for example, is 27 hours long.

3. This one is very important, so if you're one of the people who complains about book-movie translations, then listen up. I'm going to state the obvious here, but some people miss it. Are you ready? Movies don't erase books. I know! It's amazing. I mean, the text of the missing/'messed up' scenes might be a little faded when you look in the book again, but it will still be there! Isn't that great?! So what if your favorite line of a book isn't in the movie? So what if the lead isn't like you imagined him/her? So what if they've taken away characters or added different scenes/or messed up the scenery/or whatever else they could do? You still, believe it or not, have the book. The book is still there. If you lose it, you can go to your local bookstore (I use Barns and Noble), to buy a new copy. I hate when people complain about how a movie "ruined" the book. That's stupid. Movies can't ruin books. They don't have that kind of power. Furthermore, movies can't kill your imagination, where how you imagined a book can always be there.

4. The purpose of book-movie translations should be to supplement what's already there. It shouldn't take away from the book (see above), it should just add an extra level of entertainment. It's just one person's view of how a book should look on the silver screen. It doesn't necessarily make them right and you wrong, it's just an idea.

5. When you critique book-movie translations, critique the movie. Don't critique the movie in relation to the book unless it's relevant. Don't critique minor things like hair style, or a specific color of red, unless it's crucial to the plot. Or at least don't let it ruin your movie going experience. Using the Harry Potter example, I would like for the movies to use Ron more like the book: Ron in the book is the relayer of information in the wizarding world. In the movie that role is given to Hermione and Ron is reduced to witty sidekick. A comment like that is relevant to the movie because it deals with characterization flaw. Another comment about Harry Potter that I could make is that I don't really like Emma Watson's acting as Hermione. I think the way she is directed is a bit obnoxious at times, and I don't really prefer the way she acts most of the time. Note though: I don't let these flaws ruin the movie for me. And I'm not trying to limit free speech-if you don't like a movie, you don't like a movie, but at least give a valid reason for it other than "it wasn't like the book" because that's stupid. Of course it's not like the book. It's a movie.

So, go into the world, watch movies, and become educated viewers. It makes it better, I promise. And if you still don't agree with me (a few of my roommates *cough*), then don't come whining to me about it any more, because "such and such a movie ruined the book" isn't a valid argument.

22 September 2006

Two steps forward, ten billion steps back

Sometimes when I write in here I try and have a certain kind of voice, or some kind of "I'm going to say something important mode" feeling. I think lots of people do this when they write in blogs. They write about the problems of the universe great or small...and I'm too tired to write about anything important so I'm just going to vent for a little. Stay with me. You'll probably sympathize.

I'm tired. I'm completely and utterly exhausted. To be totally honest it's a miracle I got up this morning. I am at the end of my rope. You know the point. It's when you are so exhausted that your body feels like it's asleep when you're sitting or standing in one place for so long. And you would think that you would be asleep too except you have a headache and you're forcing yourself to keep your eyes open and just keep moving. Keep going through the motions. Wake up. Get ready. Make lunch. Walk to class. Sit in class and look interested. Maybe say something profound if you can think enough. Leave class. Go to next class. Same thing. Go to work. Go home. Do lots of homework. Hopefully get to bed by 12:30. Wake up...Start over.

If I were more awake and more aware right now, I would be really frustrated. Well, maybe not right this minute. I'm really writing this in the middle of an American Lit class and trying to catch some of the lecture on Puritan culture (which I already know most of because of other classes). But if I weren't in American Lit, and I were more awake, I'd be frustrated. I'd be frustrated because there hasn't been one point this semester where I have felt like I've been on top of things. I've always been just barely hanging on. Or not hanging on at all just letting the wind or the tornado or whatever kind of propel me towards things. It's annoying. I love all my classes. (Well...Maybe not American Lit as much as the rest, but most of that is because I just don't like American Lit). Either way though, I've got so much to do, and so much to take care of and not enough me to do it with.

This isn't unique. This happens to every college student. I don't think I know one (or at least not many-I've got a roommate who always manages to be in bed by 11:00 and still get incredible grades), but between working 16 hours a week and taking classes I don't quite know how I'm going to manage life. Let's just say that I literally cannot wait for the weekend.

Small tirade inserted here: My parents keep asking me about whether or not I'm dating. *drops to the floor*. There are not enough hours in the day for me to go to class, do my homework, go to work (so that I can go on a study abroad), and do Christmas Carol (I hope) in a day. Much less date. To be totally honest, I'm amazed (and a little confused) at how in the world people manage to date and go to school at the same time. Who has the time?! I know that we're supposed to use college to grow as a person and get out and whatever else, but what if I really want to focus on school? Sigh. This is where it starts to get absurd. I can't run faster than I'm able but I'm expected to be educated, experience the world, volunteer, have a church calling, and go out and make a boy date me so that I can get married!? Right. I'm sorry. That just isn't humanly possible. Not right now anyway. Not for me.

Besides- One of my roommates said that she heard someone say once that marriage is just a byproduct of living a righteous life. It shouldn't be the end all-be all of our existence. It's important, yes. But at this point when I don't have anyone to date, or anyone I want to date, I'm not going to run at it.

Good gravy, I just did another entry on dating. I'm sorry. I totally didn't expect it to go that way. I guess it's official-BYU has corrupted me.

Oh, and Liz? You'll excuse me for not publishing more often. I haven't had much time lately.

08 September 2006

American Literature...and other ramblings

First of all, I am finally back in Happy Valley. Thank heaven for that. There's been plenty of drama back home, from what I hear. And because I think it goes along with today's rant...I'll explain.

Since I was a Freshman in High School, the drama department has done a grand total of 5 plays on tolerance. Our drama teacher is kind of stuck on the "accepting people who are different" rant. Which is fine and great, but after a while you get sick of all the same, downer play where half the people end up dead and or maimed. This years play is no different. My high school is going to put on The Laramie Project. For those of you who are ignorant about the play, I'll explain. The play is made up of monologues from interviews with people who were involved with the murder of Matthew Shepherd, a gay college student in Wyoming. The play contains more than eight "F" words and several other four letter obscenities, not to mention the graphic descriptions of sex and...well, you get the picture. It's not appropriate for high school. There's been a huge amount of uproar about it because the parents are upset. The administration has offered to remove the curse words, but the content is still there.

I could go into a rant about how terrible I think The Laramie Project is, but that's not my point.

I'm getting there, hold on.

Today in my American Lit class we had a discussion about the evolution about what is considered canon, and how that has changed over the years from just the old white guys to include black/Latino/Chinese/women writers etc. Discussions such as that one frustrate me. In my opinion, literature should be color/gender blind. Anthologies shouldn't include writers of a different race/gender/whatever because they are different, they should include the literature itself because it is good. No more should they include the old white guys because they've always been included before. On a very biased note, I'd take out all Hawthorne because I hate his writing, but that's me. My point is: we should read good literature because it's good literature, not because it's old and cliche (Tom Sawyer, for example. Or the Raven), or because it's new and controversial.

All of this fuss, to me, is just another case of the minority taking over the majority. This gets to being a bit of a hairy topic. I'm not saying that the minority shouldn't be heard. It would be a great loss if we didn't have some of the writings, or movies, or whatever from minorities. But at the same time, the majority is being compromised simply because they are a majority. This is why elementary schools in my home town had winter programs about Hanukkah and Kwanza but not Christmas. The majority is so afraid of offending the minority that the majority no longer has an equal shot. A middle class white person is, in many cases, just out of luck. Applying for scholarships is a nightmare, for example. We have become so obsessed with recognizing the new traditions that we have ignored the old ones. Christmas is still a huge part of American tradition whether you choose to celebrate it religiously or not.

This is the problem my parents are running into in protesting The Laramie Project. The majority of parents at home are conservative, but when they speak out against the content of the play, they are called bigots and closed minded.

I don't have a solution to this problem. I can see how both sides would be frustrated. It isn't fair that the majority is the majority. It makes it harder for the minority to get ahead. But it's also not fair for the minority to gain special privileges over the majority. It gets complicated. It's easy for me to say-I've always been told to treat people equally regardless of skin color or gender, or whatever, but this problem is bigger than me. It goes back hundreds of years.

So I guess I'll end with a quote from one of my favorite movies: "Who said life was fair? Where is that written?" It's certainly true. I would just like to know how a race/gender/sexual oriented nation will ever be able to establish what it is attempting to do while it remains obsessed.