The Color Green In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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The color green has appeared in many different works over the years, and has been said to symbolize everything from nature to death to the devil. One of the most prominent works to feature the color green is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the classic tale of a knight whose honor and self-control in the face of temptation is tested when a mysterious challenger arrives in King Arthur’s court. The poem has been upheld as a purely Christian poem that enforces Christian ideals of chivalry and honor. The meaning of the ending of the poem, however, has long been in debate. The reveal of the true identity of the Green Knight and Sir Gawain’s decision to wear the green girdle as a badge of shame have split scholars on the meaning for decades. However, I surmise that the poem can be best understood by viewing the Green Knight as an incarnation of God, with his complex morality being explained by the similarly complex nature of the symbolism of the color green. Simply put, the meaning of the color of the Green Knight is not static throughout the poem, but it’s meaning is fluid depending on the scene, with the color overall being used as a sign of bad luck.

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Hannibal: What Tumblr ‘fannibals’ mean for the NBC Series

[The following is an essay written for my TV Analysis class]

            NBC’s Hannibal’s first episode, Aperitif aired on April 4th, 2013 to 4.36 million viewers. The show is based on the acclaimed crime, horror, and drama novels by Thomas Harris. The NBC series stands as a reboot for the cinematic Hannibal franchise, which became popular after the success of the 1991 cinematic adaption of Silence of the Lambs in which Anthony Hopkins famously portrayed the character of Hannibal Lecter, although the first Hannibal film was actually the 1986 film Man Hunter, an adaption of Harris’ Red Dragon. While the first three episodes enjoyed rating of around 4 to 3 million, the rest of the season’s rating hung around the low 2 million mark. Continue reading “Hannibal: What Tumblr ‘fannibals’ mean for the NBC Series”

Remembering Sarah Jones: A Look at Safety on Film Sets

The Following is an essay written for my English 3080 Class. 

            While the tragedies of the past have helped make work safer and compensation pay easier to get, workplace injuries are still a huge problem in the United States. In 2012 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 4,383 people died from work related injuries, and a study published my the University of California estimated that 53,000 died in 2007 from work related long term diseases, such as cancer (COSH 6). Being injured or killed while at work is still a large problem, a problem that has been recently shoved into the spotlight by Georgia’s growing film industry. On February 20th, 2014 a tragic accident took place in Savannah, Georgia during the filming of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Continue reading “Remembering Sarah Jones: A Look at Safety on Film Sets”

The Relationship Between Film Genres and Film

The following is an essay written for my American Film History 1 class. 

Genres are the labels we give to a film to describe the type of film it is. When a person is asked to describe what a film is, they will most likely begin by stating its genre. When a film is labeled as a comedy, or a thriller, or a horror, there are certain tropes and elements that are associated with that genre. This makes film genres different from other systems of classification. In order to properly examine just how different film genres are from other genre classification systems, and why it’s different, one must first define what a genre is and what it does. Once that is done it is important to look at the recurring settings, character types, and plots that appear within that genre. Another important element to look at to properly understand genres is the conflict going on in the story. Lastly it is important to understand how genres evolve in order to properly understand why things are done in the way they are. Using Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder, we will examine the effects genre has on film.

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The Cultural and Political Impact of V for Vendetta

The following is an essay written for my Film as Literature class.

V for Vendetta was a work of major cultural importance for over a decade before the 2005 film adaption helped spread the messages and themes of the film worldwide. Originally in publication from March 1982 through May 1989, V for Vendetta is the brainchild of Alan Moore, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest comic book writers of all time. The film centers on V, a terrorist out to destroy the fascist government of dystopian future England. While the film itself makes many important points about freedom, liberty, individual choice, and the damage totalitarian control does to them, what makes this film remarkably relatable to the current cultural and political atmosphere of the world, American in particular, is its ability to unite all of these themes under one symbol: the Guy Fawkes mask. The Guy Fawkes mask has a long history, dating back to 1605 and the failed Gunpowder Plot, to its current use as a symbol for protest and the power of revolt. V for Vendetta, by augmenting a preexisting historical figure, has changed the way that the youth of the world protest, both socially and politically, by giving all protesters a single symbol to express their ideals.

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Modern Family: An Analysis of the pilot episode

The Following is an essay written for my English class.

Stereotypes have had a prominent role in American comedies, particularly sitcoms, practically since their introduction. ABC’s newest hit comedy Modern Family is no different. The cast is diverse in every way, and the writers use that to diversify the characters and get away with using obvious stereotypes placed upon gender and sexuality. The show is presented in a mockumentary style and focuses on three families who are related through marriage. Phil and his wife Claire represent the nuclear family; Jay and his new wife Gloria represent the inter-generation family; and finally Mitchell and Cam represent the homosexual family structure. Modern Family cleverly uses gender, racial, and sexual stereotypes to make the audience bond with and identify with the characters on-screen, and by combining these stereotypes with the mockumentary style Modern Family is able to give off a feeling of realism that makes the characters even more relatable.

Modern Family gives off a feeling or realism not found in many sitcoms, and that is due in a large part because it is presented in a mockumentary style. A mockumentary is a type of film or television show in which fictional events are presented in the form of a documentary. By using this style the show is able to give off an aura of realism not found in normal sitcoms. It makes its characters and their interactions that much more believable and relatable despite the sometimes crazy situations the characters find themselves in. Another valuable addition the mockumentary style allows Modern Family to take advantage of is interviews. Character interviews are worked into the situations to give a particular character’s opinions and thoughts out in the open, yet the other characters they may or may not be talking about do not know what is being said about them. This allows the audience to get inside the minds of the characters where in normal sitcoms the characters have to state what they are thinking in conversations with other characters. Not only does this help make situations funnier, as the audience knows what is going on in the characters mind as the situation is playing out, but it also helps deliver that sense of realism, letting characters say things to the camera they would never say to another character on the show.

The Dunphy family is the first family we see in the pilot, and within minutes we can know everything about their character. Phil is the stereotypical lovable, immature, goofball of a man, and Claire is the responsible, mature woman of the household. This can be seen through the first scene in which we see Claire and Phil in which they are preparing their children for school. Claire is the one who is actually doing the work to get the kids to school on time, while Phil is too busy on his phone to be of any help. Later, their son Luke accidentally shoots his sister Alex with his new BB gun, and Phil does not want to carry out the agreed upon punishment (shooting Luke with the gun.) Claire forces Phil to act responsibly and to not just be the ‘cool dad’ that he perceives himself to be. Both these scenarios plays off the stereotype that the women of the house is the one who actually does the work and gets things done while the husband is mostly there to enforce the rules and to punish the children when they break the rules. Weather this stereotype is accurate or not isn’t an issue, because most nuclear families can relate to feeling this way every now and then. In this way Modern Family successfully uses the stereotype of the nuclear family to relate the Dunphy family to the audience.

While Phil and Claire represent the common stereotype of the nuclear family, Jay and Gloria Pritchett represent the much less common inter-generation family structure. We find Jay and Gloria at a soccer game for Gloria’s son from a previous marriage, Manny. Gloria, being the stereotypical hot-blooded Columbian women, is chanting and raving for Manny while Jay reads a newspaper in his foldout chair. Soon Gloria is exchanging heated words with another mom, and Jay has to defuse the situation. Jay is depicted as being a stereotypical old man, which can be seen particularly well in the scene where he has trouble getting out of his chair when a much younger man is hitting on Gloria. Jay can also been seen using a stereotypically older mentality later in the episode when he tells his homosexual son, Mitchell, that he shouldn’t adopt, and that if he has to it should be a dog. The inter-generational family is less common than the nuclear family structure, so Jay and Gloria are more stereotypical so that the audience can relate to them since most don’t know much about this kind of family.

Another kind of family many people are not likely to have a lot of knowledge about is the last couple we see, the homosexual couple of Michelle and Cameron, who are on a plane heading home after adopting a Vietnamese baby. Cameron, who goes by Cam, is what many would consider the stereotypical homosexual man. He acts very feminine and shies away from conflict, except when his loved ones are involved. Cam is also very theatrical as can be seen later on in the episode when Cam and Mitchell are announcing to the rest of the family that they have adopted. Cam walks out holding the baby up in the air while the song ‘Circle of Life’ plays, parodying the opening scene of Lion King. His partner, Mitchell, acts much more masculine and is more aggressive as can be seen when he decides to give the passengers of the plane ‘the speech’ about not judging homosexuals after a misconstrued comment. Most people are unlikely to have the same amount of expose to homosexual families as they are to the nuclear family structure, so they what they know about them is shaped almost entirely by the media. Much like with Jay and Gloria, Cam and Mitchell are both stereotypes so that the audiences will be able to relate to them.

Each major character in Modern Family represents a different stereotype. These characters are stereotypes so we can relate to them right off the back. Of course all of these characters have their own quirks and personality traits that make them fun to watch and unique to the show, but usually these traits are extremes taken from the stereotypes they are portraying. Modern Family takes these stereotypical characters and does something unique with them by putting them in the same extended family. How often does one find a homosexual family structure, an inter-generation family structure, and a nuclear family structure within the same extended family on an American television show? With the combined use of relatable stereotypes and a momentary style, Modern Family is able to create an authentic sense of realism not seen very often in modern sitcoms.

Hollywood and Piracy

The following is an essay written for my History of Motion Pictures class.

Ever since the birth of the Internet, piracy of media has continued to rampage and severely damage the profits of many media sources despite heavy opposition. This can be seen the strongest in the music industry. Annual music profits are the lowest in history, and while the film industry hasn’t been hit as hard at the music industry, Hollywood has taken a bit of a beating in the age of the Internet. Filmmakers are very aware that their films will be pirated, and because they accept this they have found ways to try to lessen the impact that piracy has on the industry. While the industries having their work pirated try to pass legislation, there is an ethical debate about the morality of piracy and how badly it actually hurts those who make it. Piracy is nothing new, but ever since the coming of the Internet it has spiraled to the point where it could very well ruin industries. While the debates about piracy and the legislation designed to contain it continue to rage on it remains fact that piracy, whether you are for it or against it, could very well be the end of the media industries (or at least how they are currently structured) that entertain us from day-to-day.

Through legislation and a reworking of the release system, Hollywood has been able to hold back piracy to a degree, but it has in no way stopped it from happening. Currently, there is a bill in the House of Representatives called Stop Online Piracy Act, which is similar to the Senates Protect IP act. In effect it would “make it a felony for any website to stream copyrighted material, and essentially allow the blacklisting of entire domains.” Now this bill isn’t specific to the film industry, it is just one of the latest attempts to stop Internet piracy, but there have been ones aimed specifically at the film industry. In 2007 Hollywood released a document that showed that fifty-percent of film piracy happens in Canada, and quickly Hollywood began lobbying for a bill of legislation to be written to correct this. They got their wish and the CMPDA was written. This bill gave a maximum of five years in jail for any person who “any person who knowingly operates the audiovisual recording function of any device in a public place while a cinematographic work is being exhibited.” The film industry also sought maximum penalties of one million per recording in this bill. Legislation is not the only way the film industry has defended itself against piracy. Many studios have sued piracy websites like The Pirate Bay for having their films ready for download via torrents. Studios have also moved to releasing films on the same day, or within a few days of each other, to lower the chance of the film being leaked online before it is released somewhere else. In 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked to the Internet before the film was even finished. The film industry is doing all it can to keep itself from losing itself to piracy like the music industry through laws and lawsuits. Up until now it hasn’t been doing as good as it might have hoped, but that may all change if the Stop Online Piracy Act is to be passed.

Laws like the Stop Piracy Online Act will continue to be made as long as piracy is an issue, but while all that is happening there is an ethical debate about piracy. There are many people in the world do not see it as a bad thing at all. Over the years there have been studies that have come out claiming that people who pirate songs buy up to ten times more music then they steal. Claims like this support piracy by saying that it makes people more likely to buy a song or CD if they know that they like the song or album. Others justify piracy buy saying that it gives people who could normally never afford to see these films or listen to this music to be able to enjoy them. In this way piracy increases the potential mass audience of the media being pirated. Then there are those who completely oppose piracy. The argument for this side is almost always that it hurts the artist. “If I make a film or an album and all that is going to happen is that people steal it, why would I continue to make films or music?” The debate about whether it is ethical to pirate media is ongoing and will most likely continue as long as piracy continues to be a problem. What many of these people who pirate songs and movies need to be conscious of is that by illegally downloading this media they are in turn hurting the studios that make it.  The artist may not be hurt as much as the studio, however it is the studio that provides these artists the means with which they make their art. If we hurt the studios by taking away they make their money they will, being the business that they are, stop doing business in their industry. If the studio can no longer make money by putting out films or albums, then they will either shut down or go to another business model. Since piracy is not likely to stop any time soon, studios will more than likely have to reorganize themselves in a way that will allow them to make money in the new market created by piracy.

The debate about piracy goes on, as does the legislation being announced to try to fight it. However, piracy will never stop as long as there is a way for it to continue to live on. Rather then trying to save a dying system with legislation and lawsuits, perhaps studios should reorganize themselves to better fit the times. How this would be done is up to the studios themselves, but it is a much better option than going bankrupt.