Friday, June 17, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

I think it's about time to read Gilead again. That's all I got in terms of books right now.

We saw X-Men: First Class this past week, which gives the origins of the X-Men all the way back to before Professor X and Magneto met (and, of course before they were known by those names). We are given more backstory to Magneto's time in the concentration camp, and the evil character who killed his mother and against whom he seeks revenge through the movie. Xavier (who has hair and can walk), meanwhile, actually took the woman eventually known as Mystique under his wing from a very young age. The seeds of mutant discrimination are planted as the movie goes on, and Mystique and the eventual Beast wrestle with their own self-loathing issues as well. In Mystique's case, it's interesting to see that Xavier actually contributes to those feelings, and yet there is no culminating retaliation. Truthfully, Xavier is a bit of an arrogant jerk, and it's particularly highlighted by these occasional exchanges with her. This was a pretty strong starting point, although some of the details don't mesh with the trilogy from earlier years.

And that's to say nothing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which we were inspired to see a few nights later. Hints of Wolverine's story were given in those movies, and while they do flesh that out they do it in kind of a bland, typical-action-movie way, along with throwing as many other recognizable mutants into the mix as they can, ultimately mutilating the whole thing. Xavier is paralyzed as a young man in the latest movie, here's Xavier still walking. Emma Frost is the bad guy's confident right hand woman in the latest movie, here she is as a young, scared little girl. That's to say nothing of what I understand is the overall craptastic treatment of Wolverine's story from the comic books, although I'm sure there's at least some of that in every superhero movie. Maybe I shouldn't be comparing the two movies, but I'm sure there's been a lot of that. Overall, this was disappointing and underwhelming.

So, Chris is still employed on NY Ink, even after the last episode ended in a shoving match between him and Ami. In fact, he's part of the opening credits so I guess he's sticking around. I haven't seen the episode that aired last night, so I don't know if it gets worse again, but the second ended with Ami and Chris wrestling in Ami's makeshift basement gym, and this somehow earned Chris some credibility with the rest of the shop even though he got his butt kicked. Meanwhile, somebody will have to enlighten me as to whether this is just the New York thing, but there were parts of the episode where people just decided to yell at each other, particularly the shop managers. Then Chris of all people inserts his two cents about how silly it is that they're arguing and how they should just handle the situation they're yelling about, and they all turn on him and blame him for the shop drama. It was ridiculous. If the drama with Chris is subsiding, we'll still get plenty of it from these other workers, and probably for little to no reason other than their personalities drive them to seek it.

Gordon Atkinson (the artist formerly known as Real Live Preacher) writes a letter to his doubting daughter.

Here are Mumford and Sons performing "Dust Bowl Dance:"