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Tag Archives: literature

On Tolkien, War and Morality

3 Jan

Tolkien, 1916

I logged on to Facebook this morning to discover that today marks the 122nd anniversary of the birth of J.R.R. Tolkien. I don’t want to call it his “birthday,” seeing as he passed away many years ago, and that learning of someone’s birthday on Facebook usually implies that you are friends with them, which I regrettably am not. We missed each other by almost 20 years. Yet his stories, in both literary and cinematic form, brought an amount of joy and imagination to my childhood (and adulthood) that I could hardly describe in words.

I remember with remarkable clarity the first time I was introduced to the world of Tolkien. The year was 2002 and I was Continue reading

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5 Spectacularly Awful Sci–Fi/ Fantasy Character Names

12 Dec

Science fiction and fantasy are interesting genres in that they encourage narratives free from association with real–world logic, philosophy, or science. Pretty much anything goes in the land of lightsabers and lazerbeams, and that type of liberal mentality can encourage the worst creative tendencies in otherwise talented writers, especially when it comes to something as simple––and seemingly trivial––as naming characters.

I, along with many others, went to go see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire over Thanksgiving break, and while I enjoyed the movie, I found myself spit–taking my liquid popcorn butter frequently as straight–faced actors called each other things like “Effie Trinket” or “President Coriolanus (Ha! Anus!) Snow.”

Continue reading

A Sonnet for the Evanston City Council

18 Aug

Shall I compare thee to a bag of dicks?

Thou art more floppy; tougher to inflate:

Rough winds do shake the flaccid shafts like sticks,

And just one bag hath all too light a weight:

Sometime too short a baggèd dick may stand,

and often is the tan complexion dimm’d;

And many dicks do find themselves unmanned,

With pubic hairs so horribly untrimm’d;

But thy bag-dickery, it shall not fade,

Thy dicks are forged in all thy shitty pride;

With character as cunty as Dwayne Wade,

The strength of all thy dicks shall not subside.

A late-night mugging I will have in store;

if shuttles stop at Sherman/Noyes no more.

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Dr. Seuss Hacked My Facebook Status

2 Mar

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Nathaniel Hawthorne Hacked My Facebook Status

27 Feb

Nathaniel Hawthorne Hacked My Facebook Status

5 Special Editions of Monopoly That Would Never Sell

7 Jan

                                                                 

Crusades! Advance to the nearest Islam-owned property and claim it as your own.

Monopoly: World Religions Edition

Since almost all pieces end up in Jerusalem anyway, the game should work, right?  Wrong.  The first problem with the game is that the Holy Land doesn’t actually have as much real estate as Atlantic City, the basis for the original version of Monopoly.  There’s West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip…yeah, I think that’s about it.  So the game inevitably results in all the players fighting over a few small chunks of land.  Also, Hasbro showed an astounding lack of foresight by including a small sculpture of Mohammed as a game piece.  But the ultimate downfall of the game is its sheer offensive nature.  There are too many moments in this game that cause inter-player strife.  For example, that awkward moment when the Atheist player buys Mecca…

Anthony Weiner's iPhone - another game piece

Monopoly:  Scandalous! Edition

In this version of the game, players have the opportunity to relive some famous scandals in recent history while simultaneously trying to accumulate enough capital to put Watergate Hotel on a monopoly.  Game pieces include a Silvio Berlusconi, a Minneapolis airport stall, and a hauntingly detailed sculpture of Bill Clinton’s genitalia.  The first Hasbro board game to be rated NC-17, this game somehow fails to appeal to the typical board game demographic – Mormons.  Even with the second edition of the game, which makes a direct appeal to Mormons by adding Newt Gingrich’s numerous divorces to the list of scandals referenced in the game, there still is little to no market for it.  However, rumor has it that a new, more topically relevant version of the game is set for release this spring, focusing exclusively on scandals relating to 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

They replaced Marvin Gardens with THIS?!

Monopoly:  Classic Literature Edition

On paper, the idea here isn’t half bad.  The game could provide younger players with a basic understanding of classic literature while providing older players with an engaging form of mental stimulation.  Each monopoly consists of two or three books by one author, and their respective values correlate to how highly esteemed the author is (ex: Novels by Kate Chopin would replace Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues).  Regrettably, the designer of the game had a pretty skewed perception of “classic literature.”  Instead of featuring authors like Leo Tolstoy and Ernest Hemingway, the game features authors like Chelsea Handler and Dan Brown.  Furthermore, the 4 railroads are replaced by the 4 installments of the “Twilight” series.  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, just wait till you find out that “Park Place” was replaced by “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

PLEASE GOD GIVE ME DOUBLES.

Monopoly:  The Deep South Edition

 The game pieces included in this version of monopoly are quite controversial; among them are Colonel Sanders, Dale Earnhardt Sr., George Wallace, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.  As an effort to slightly veil their excessive racism, they included Martin Luther King Jr. as another game piece, but this sentiment was made obsolete by the rule forcing the MLK piece to serve the jail sentences of the other players.  The game does have its merits, though – if a player can get a series of Motel 8s on the most expensive monopoly (comprised of Baptist Avenue and Krispy Kreme Boulevard), they could potentially make enough money to bribe Cam Newton into their football program.  Yet, the most distinguishing aspect of the game is probably the game-changing nature of the “Chance” cards – nothing can bring down your luck like drawing “BP Spill.  Move back 4 spaces” or “Realize the Civil War did actually end.  Start over.”

Monopoly: A Cultural Revolution!

Maonopoly:  Chinese Edition

It may come as a surprise to find out that, without the basic principles of capitalism, monopoly is not a very enjoyable game.  I can only imagine the frustration one might feel upon landing on Vermont Avenue – or whatever the fuck they call streets in China – and discovering that, along with every other property on the game, it is owned by the government.  Instead of “Community Chest” and “Chance,” players draw cards like “Community Chest” and “Community Chance,” possibly commanding them to take a Great Leap Forward to spaces like “Community Electric Company” or “Community Go.”  Additionally, several other spaces are renamed; for example, “Short Line” is replaced by “Tall-Because-Of-Leg-Extensions Line.”  Beware, though – just because there’s free parking on Tiananmen Square doesn’t necessarily mean the pieces will stop moving.

Authors That Would Make Bad Writing Infinitely Better

6 Jan

As a manipulator of the English language myself, I hold several beliefs dear to my heart. They are as follows:

1) If you are over the age of 12 and still cannot successfully distinguish when words should have apostrophes (confusing “it’s” and “its,” “your” and “you’re”), I cannot respect your education. Why are you stupid?
2) If you can’t write something nice, don’t write anything at all. I’m not talking about pleasant or polite; I’m referring to “nice” writing as the opposite of writing that is bad, boring, poorly written, wrong, pointless, confused, frustrating, or Rick Perry.

Yeah, I know. It’s radical. Of course, not as radical as Rick Perry. But let’s face it: there is some literature/film/music that simply should have been penned by someone other than the original author. In some cases, aforementioned art is a slice of brilliance that got tarnished in the current writer’s incapable hands; in other cases it is an unsalvageable failure whose only option is to get worse so as to become presentably heinous.

In fact, may I make a few suggestions?

Twilight
by Terry Pratchett*

We’d all like this series so much better if Ms. Meyer’s attempt at a love story about a girl next door (translation: exposition on How To Have A Dysfunctional Relationship) had relatable and quirky characters with different fonts for every time they spoke. P-rad knows exactly how to make a totally impossible instance (Death playing Santa Claus? Criminals becoming post-men? Women in the army and not in the kitchen?) plausible, insightful, and funny — qualities which are all completely lacking in the hands of its current author.

Miley Cyrus’s memoir, Miles to Go
by Lemony Snicket

I haven’t read the original, but here is what I imagine it will read like, “My daddy is the only reason I’m famous. My brother croakmoans uncomfortably horny music to an audience that hasn’t got boobies yet. My boyfriend is way too old for me. I like drugs.” Are you attached to any of these characters? Do you care if the melancholy wit of Lemony Snicket creatively kills them off? Me neither. Just add a narrator who regularly urges you to stop reading, a meaninglessly depressing end,** and illustrations by Brett Helquist, and we’ve got ourselves acceptable piece of literature. It might even be appropriate for children, unlike everything else about Miley. Which brings us to:

“Party in the USA”
by Adele

Face it. She’d sing it better. Adele’s been so angsty lately (trying to set fire to the rain and all. She must be so frustrated) I’d like to see her getting down and shaking those God-given gifts. We know that when a Jay-Z song is on in Adele’s taxicabs, you better believe she puts her hands up.

Freud’s Early Theories
by Tara Gillespie

If you think about it, it wouldn’t be too different: My Immortal (the world’s worst fanfiction) and Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams are both mostly about sex/mostly wrong about sex. But if our favorite “goff” wrote it, we’d have the added pleasure of trying to decipher what words were behind the awful spelling in addition to laughing at his concept of penis envy and her concept of orgasm. Maybe she’d throw in some Harry Potter references*** along with her My Chemical Romance worship, extensive description of fishnets, and use of the phrase “passively frenching.” On the negative side, there will undoubtedly be a morbid amount of it’s/its confusion, but on the plus side, as far as we can tell, Tara wasn’t on cocaine, unlike Freud.

Glee
by Tommy Wiseau

Oh hai: it’s another artist who lacks command of the English language. Be honest with yourself — you don’t watch Glee for its**** gripping storyline. Having America’s most multi-untalented artist write/direct/produce/star/fornicate in the musical TV show can only make it more interesting. You know you want more of the writing that made Tommy’s masterpiece, The Room, so fantastic — what better way than to sit down with a bowl of popcorn to a fusion of pop culture featuring quotable magnificence such as, “You ah tearing me apaht, Wachel!” and “I did NAHT hit on Kurt. I did NAHT.” Best of all, we get to hear more of his wonderfully attractive accent/speech impediment as applied to music. Which, of course, he’ll arrange and sing entirely by himself.

Unfortunately for you, I have no suggestions on how to improve your terrible English paper. And so, I leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:
You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,
You have heinously read all Sir Twattingworth spews.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
(Just as long as it sounds like Erman Shmavenues).

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*Another soul who understands the beauty in a footnote. All I want for Christmas is his semen in a petri dish with the reproductive cells of Bristol Bacchus. Bristol, dibs on being godmother.
**I’m all for realistic children’s literature, but I was really attached to Uncle Monty. And did anyone else develop a phobia of Lachrymose Leeches in Lake Michigan?
***Godwin’s law of NU: the longer a conversation continues between two NU students, the more likely a Harry Potter reference becomes.
****Did you see that apostrophe? No, you didn’t, because it does not belong there. It belongs in the first sentence of that paragraph.