Fur, Feathers And Fiction

In real life, I own two adorable guinea pigs named Bobby and Zebra, and our household is made all the more cosy by our cat, Daniel. I love animals. When an animal is harmed or, god forbid, killed in a piece of fiction I am enjoying, I am likely to cry. I often consult doesthedogdie.com, and watching Hachi was a tearful experience for me. In this blog post, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite animals in fiction.

 

Historically, animals have always served a special purpose in fiction. When your characters are animals rather than people, all kinds of satire and societal criticism suddenly becomes possible. Think of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Animals are also sometimes used to convey a life lesson, as they appeal to children as well as adults. Think of the works of Dutch writer Toon Tellegen, French de La Fontaine and Aesop in the world of the Ancient Greeks. Continue reading

On The Objectification Of Men

A Dutch newspaper, Het Parool, published a piece on June 17th about the growing objectification of men in visual media such as film and television. Dutchies can read the article here. I have an opinion on the matter, and I decided to share it with you.

In the article, famous actors are quoted as complaining about being objectified by their audience. One of them is Kit Harington, Jon Snow on Game Of Thrones. The other is our newest Superman, Henry Cavill. Cavill cites an incident where he was catcalled on the street and made profoundly uncomfortable. He argues that lots of women feel uncomfortable when they are the subject of catcalling, and therefore catcalling men is equally unacceptable.

Cavill is right. Catcalling is not okay. Catcalling is never okay. Continue reading

Music & TV

Music and the moving picture can sometimes come together to create something more than the sum of its parts; the song becomes more meaningful than it was before, as does whatever video material you’re watching. This is why soundtracks are so important. In this post, I have listed a number of scenes from TV shows that had exceptionally good soundtracks. From the moment I first watched these scenes, I could never hear the songs without thinking of the shows they went with in my head.

Most of these paragraphs will have at least some spoilers of the specific episode.

The song: This Is Hell by Elvis Costello (Song starts at 1:50 in the video below)
The Show: Gilmore Girls, season two episode five: Nick & Norah/ Sid & Nancy
Why it’s such a great combo

This is the episode in which Jess, originally from a much larger town, moves to Stars Hollow. Of course, he is less than pleased about this development. After showing off his displeasure in a James Dean-like display of rebellion, Jess heads out on a walk through the town. That is when This Is Hell starts to play in the background. The combination of Elvis Costello’s clear, familiar voice and the optimistic tune with Jess’ teenage hatred is just really funny to me somehow.

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Lord Sebastian’s Bookshelf

Welcome to the Character’s Bookshelf. This is where I speculate, entirely outside of the space-time continuum and the barriers of language, what books would be a fictional character’s favorites.

It is the prerogative of the Fangirl to think about fictional characters to cheer herself (or himself, for that matter) up. When I’m in an impossible situation, I find myself thinking: “What would Jessica Jones do?” When a conversation with an acquaintance is not going well, I try to imagine that Aziz Ansari is there to crack a joke. When I mess up my omelet, I wish for Dobby by my side.

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Time And Relative Dimension In Space

It’s the question that has plagued fangirls, quite literally, since the beginning of time. If you had the TARDIS at your disposal, where would you go? Because this kind of thing says a lot about a person, I’ve put together a personal list. Suggestions are welcome. After all, with the TARDIS, everything is possible.

Hammersmith Odeon, London November 18, 1975

We could have seen this gem performed live. As well as literally all my other favorite Springsteen songs.

Shakespeare’s Globe, anywhere between 1580 or so and 1616

Yes, I know the Doctor has been here before. But surely he’d be willing to pay his almost-lover William another visit to please me?

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Delayed on a train travelling from Manchester to London King’s Cross in 1990.

The exact date escapes me, but somewhere, sometime on this trajectory of the train, J.K Rowling conceived of the idea that led to Harry Potter. Wouldn’t it have been miraculous to see the lights of creation flicker on in her eyes?

Have a cuppa with Jane Austen

On recent episodes of Doctor Who,  I have never seen the Doctor meet Jane. Of course that doesn’t mean he hasn’t. I think he would adore her. Besides, I adore her. Oh Jane, most brilliant of literary minds, impart your wisdom upon me. And pour me a cup of darjeeling.

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And finally, I’d love to be a guest at my parents’ wedding.

Lots of other places in time appeal to me, for a multitude of reasons. I contemplated putting the beginning of time or the beginning of humanity on this list, but to me, my parents’ wedding is more meaningful. In a sense, it is the beginning of the world: my world.

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Also, since I don’t actually think the actual TARDIS will be coming to pick me up anytime soon, I think it’s high time David Tennant came by my house to surprise me with this gorgeous dress.

Amy Gardner: Giving Feminism A Bad Name Since 2001

The first time I watched The West Wing I was maybe fourteen years old. From the moment she first appeared in season three, I hated the character of Amy Gardner. Now I’m twenty, and I still hate her. Let me tell you why.

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE WEST WING.

Amy Gardner gives feminism a bad name. She is the reason ignorant people hate feminists. She is the reason the despicable term “feminazi” is still in use. She symbolizes a worldwide phenomenon of feminists being depicted as crazy, and it’s incredibly harmful to the women’s rights movement.

Now, I would be the first to admit that The West Wing is fraught with misogyny. It took me a re-watch as an adult to realize this, but it’s true, and I think it’s largely Aaron Sorkin’s fault. C.J. Cregg wasn’t promoted to Chief Of Staff until Sorkin had vacated the writer’s room. Kate Harper was only conceived of after he was gone. And in the absence of Sorkin, Donna blossomed into the strong independent woman we knew she was all along. Even Amy became more likable after Sorkin vacated the premises. That doesn’t change the fact that at first, she was a nightmare.

We are first introduced to Amy when Josh invents a problem in order to go see her and ask her out. She’s hardly likable. She’s sarcastic to the point of being mean. I admit freely that at first I did not like her because I regarded her as an obstacle dividing my OTP. As long as Amy was in play, Josh would not realize that he had always, always, always been in love with Donna from the very start.

I mean can this guy get his eyefucking under control, maybe? Or replace it with some actual fucking? Donna wouldn’t mind, Josh, she loves you just as much as you love her. Continue reading

An Open Letter To J.K. Rowling

Dear J.K Rowling,

Even as I write this my fingers tremble on the keyboard, my armpits slippery with sweat. How can I, a lowly mortal of the blogosphere, address your divine genius? Yet here I am.

First of all, I want to thank you. I cannot be certain that your writing has made the world a better place, or, indeed, that the written word is capable of such a thing. I can only assure you that your creativity has made my world a little more compassionate, a little more beautiful. You’ve made my life just a little brighter. I thank you for the ways Harry’s anxiety has helped me deal with my own. I thank you for Hermione, who has shown me that being bookish doesn’t mean you can’t also be a badass. Most of all, I thank you for the dedicated fanbase your work has inspired.The Harry Potter fandom has brought me so much joy, so many wonderful friends, and so much more insight into my own creativity and mind. This is something I can never thank you for, because it cannot truly be put into words.

There’s just one teeny tiny thing that I can’t keep quiet about any longer.

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Happy Birthday, Billy!

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Today is Billy Crudup’s 48th birthday. Have a great day, Billy, I love ya. I shall take this opportunity to celebrate what is perhaps the greatest achievement in cinematic history: Cameron Crowe’s 2000 masterpiece Almost Famous, in which Crudup played the role of the charismatic rock star Russel Hammond. What do I love about Almost Famous?

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Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

I understand you don’t come to this blog for fashion advice. Really, I do. I’d laugh in your face if you did, because my idea of fashion is matching the color of my sweatpants to my hoodie. But every once in a while, a fashion item comes along that hits the perfect intersection of stylishness and bookishness. In such cases, I cannot help but blog about it. Forgive me.

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Jealousy

Shakespeare, Othello: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”

Another playlist for my blog, findingsofafrenziedfangirl. This one is about jealousy.