Monday, November 17, 2008


Push by Sapphire was a rough book. It wasn't bad or took long to read or anything like that it was just rough. At every turn nothing seemed to go right for the main character Precious. Whether it is being repeatedly raped and beaten by her father, and possibly mother at some points, or not getting an education at school and no one caring she also ended up having two children from her father one with severe Downs Syndrome. Like I said kind of rough, no happy butterflies and rainbows in this book...actually ironically enough there is one passage where she does mention butterflies. The depressing story as well as the way it is written, I am blanking on the name for it but when the person writes the way they speak, is what made it rough.

It was a good book though and you really felt for Precious. You got an interesting view into the her mind and that is something that isn't too common. I am curious to see what was "wrong" with her. That sounds terrible but I mean from a strictly psychological curiosity standpoint. The way she would describe things and her perception of the world make it seem like she has something wrong, be it something with a long name from a text book or simply because she was abused, put down, and not loved(if not downright hated) for the majority of her life.

It was almost a bit frustrating too because you could see where her stream of consciousness would lead her almost to a breakthrough where she could move past things and begin to heal but something would interfere. It was good to see the improvements she did make and the part where she goes to an incest survivors meeting was sad, interesting, and amusing all at the same time. Hearing the stories of abuse was sad, seeing her actually open up even though she didn't say much was interesting because she said all she could and all she had to, and her realization that even skinny white girls had issues was pretty funny. There were enough light and good moments so that the book wasn't all depressing. After that meeting when she was being "Accepted" by the other girls there her internal monologue was also interesting about how her parents knew her for 16 years and hated her but these girls knew her for 16 minutes and liked her. She was clearly starting to muster up some self worth, if albeit not much.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It was a little surprising seeing the similarities amongst these 16 songs even though they span such a wide variety of genres. Some of those songs were in particular nostalgic and brought back memories. Some I liked and some I didn't but I could still appreciate them for what they are even if I don't like them. Nirvana songs as usual are more cryptic than most others as far as meanings go. The concept of pain as a common theme for many mediums including music goes along with what has been mentioned in class about how bad things that happen are more inspirational and make for better stories, songs tend to be stories put to music.

The songs by Eamon and Frankee I found most interesting. Hearing them again made me laugh because I remember hearing them so long ago when they were popular. It is interesting how the gender roles are reversed. Normally you would hear a girl singing about a guy who cheated on her and tried to come back. Also it seems that the guy wouldn't do certain things sexually and that led the girl to cheat on him with someone that would which is also against expectations. The last part is that If it was a girl I am almost certain you would not have had the reply song F.U.R.B. by a guy. There is just something that seems inherently wrong about a guy cheating on a girl she writes a song about it and he tells her she's acting like a bitch, its her fault he cheated because she wouldn't go down on him so he had to get it elsewhere, and that she was terrible in bed and he's glad he didn't get her crabs. Can you imagine those songs with the gender reversed? I don't think it would have worked.

In general I love the terrible excuse or lack thereof by Frankee that it was his fault "somehow". In today's world no guy would get away with that. The Alanis Morissette song reminded me of a past relationship but I realized I would never have vocalized it the way she did. Not because I think I'm better than her or anything I just can't see myself doing it. Linkin Park's Crawling made me think of Tweak and for a second I had to laugh at that because the first time I heard that song I definitely didn't think of withdrawal or drug addiction but it makes sense. Let it rock actually surprised me the most out of all the songs because I had to listen to it a few times and read the lyrics to really appreciate it and understand it well enough. It came off at first as superficial and vaguely similar to Party like a Rock star, but it's more than that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saw V

Forgot to post this earlier. Saw V was by no means a great movie. It is also by no means the worst movie I've ever seen. Half of the movie, the group of people being tortured, was terribly written and more forced than necessary. The part about the cop being Jigsaw's successor wasn't bad, although as someone mentioned to me the two cops in this movie looked way too similar, and was more of a throwback to the first two movies which I think were the best of the series. Saw III and Saw IV were the worst of the series and this one is right in the middle. If they put this one after Saw II and gave it a rewrite it would have made a pretty damn good trilogy. The whole series went downhill after they changed the writer and director.

As far as the concept of "Torture porn" I'm not really sure why it is so popular recently. I think in general the level of violence in movies has increased at the same rate as violence on basic cable or in the media. Once you start desensitizing people to certain levels of violence, which has been steadily happening for a while now, to make as big an impact with it you have to kick it up a notch. That is all this "torture porn" is doing. Action movies that had excessive violence used to be rated X and sometimes NC-17, a rating we don't see much anymore because the industry doesn't want to be exclusive. Some movies today are even edited to make them PG-13 when they have no business being there. I've seen too many movies recently that have been butchered and made "appropriate" just so they can make more money off of younger viewers seeing it in theaters.

I do admit the way the horror genre has shifted to the torture concept is odd. Then again no more odd than the slasher concept that came before it. In general the horror genre goes through phases and I think that torture is the current one. I personally hope it doesn't stick around as long as slasher did but who knows. The other thing that has led to this is the lack of good stories or plot in today's movies. Torture porn as they call it lends itself to this lack of good writing. I'm not saying all of these movies have no plot or story, some of them do and are well written, but it is a rare thing. I really can't say why this particular idea of torture has become so popular in cinema today, but I can say this is not the best time for the horror genre.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Tweak (growing up on methamphetamines) by Nic Sheff was a really good book. I was surprised how fast I read it and how easy it was to read. Even with all of the jumps through time with memories and hallucinations the story flowed with an unexpected ease. It reminded me of a roller coaster and a car crash, because every time things were up and looking good you knew they were going to come crashing down again and like a car crash you can't look away no matter how bad it is.

The book begins by setting the tone of constantly relapsing after getting clean. It makes reading it an interesting experience because every time he gets clean you have that sinking feeling that it won't stick and try to see what will cause him to falter. I'm not sure if it is the way he writes but I could constantly get a visual of what was going on and could see it taking place in my head almost like a movie. It was very visual and you could place yourself there with him and see what was happening. If it was done right I could see this being a great movie.

I was not exactly surprised by the end but more impressed by the actions of people. I admit that in general I can be a cynic at times and the interaction between Nic and his parents at the end was very moving. I think it is interesting how the two of them show how they know his emotional problems that led to his drug use were partially their fault and even though Nic put them through so much they still have the ability to apologize for their part in everything. That is impressive in and of itself. I'm sure in other situations the family would have disowned him long ago and left him to die and even if they did help they probably wouldn't admit their responsibility. It makes you think are Nic's parents the exception or the rule?

The arc of the story is interesting because of the level of involvement of his dad. It starts off with little to none and how, as he downward spirals and then comes back only to drop again, it fluctuates. I am curious to read the father's book now. Nic goes through so many emotions when mentioning his father and talks about him in so many different ways you're not really sure what to make of him. When you finally see him, in a manner of speaking, there is an interesting similarity to Nic and a common understanding that to me explains why as much as he has said he's given up on Nic he never really will.

As far as connecting this book to "The Wounded Storyteller" I can't really pinpoint any particular body type or narrative type because he shifts around between them so much. Some of the most interesting parts are chaos narrative when he isn't sure what is a hallucination and what isn't or what is going on. There are other parts that are quest and some that are restitution. I think the idea of "Testimony" also works very well with this story. I am actually really interested in the father and son's reaction to each other's books, if they have even read them.