The REAL Economic Truth of Puerto Rico

Math about the Puerto Rican Financial Crisis: Mythbusting the Colonial Nature of “los Mantenidos”

Reading Aloud (#26): T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915)

An amazing poem with a myriad layers of meaning. A hundred years have passed since it’s writing and it is still as powerful now as it was then.

Sketching a Present

IMG_0844 pp. 2-3 of The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 (w/ undergrad notes)

My favorite poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” turns 100 this month. I first read T.S. Eliot in the spring of 2004 (my second semester at Northern Michigan University) and recall that I did not think much of him until Austin Hummell, subbing for Mark Smith (the instructor of record), invited the class to follow along as we read through “Prufrock” aloud. Professor Hummell’s enthusiasm for the poem—or perhaps just his excitement at getting to teach it—managed what I so often fail to do with my own students: it made me interested. Interested in Eliot’s similes (“Like a patient etherized upon a table”?). In his imagery (“yellow smoke”? “sprawling on a pin”? “a magic lantern”?). In the poem’s utter sadness (“I do not think that they will sing to me”). Its allusiveness (“S’io credesse che mia…

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Episode 157: Rediscovering Scott Pilgrim Versus the World

My laptop has been under repairs for the better part of two weeks. Roommates have allowed me to use other means but man I miss my own technology. Laptop has finally returned to my possession and it’s ALIVE!!! It’s been a while since I wrote something here so I want to try something that’s been in the back of my mind beyond the constant academic analysis of serial literature. The idea is to make reviews of nerdy movies and tv shows on a regular basis. A few are already scattered already on the blog already but this might turn into a semi weekly thing that might give me a reason to watch new and classic stuff. Might even turn into a collaboration thing with another website, updates on that as they become apparent.

In the meantime, let me look back at a geektastic film that always brings a smile to my face. I speak of course of Scott Pilgrim versus The World, an awesome movie based on the ridiculously incredible graphic novel series. A while back I reblogged an interesting piece on what the series/adaptation teaches us about dating and life. Unfortunately, the original post seems to have been deleted, which meant that a lot of people went to a broken link and that’s never good. I intend to remedy this by going on a flashback of the film and the article to reconstruct some memories of both. Since this is a review, I’m going to try and keep spoilers to a minimum just in case you haven’t seen it at all or just recently and I can pique your interest into a nerdy viewing party.

Scott Pilgrim is considered a the nerdy masterpiece of cinema. The characters are relatable, the humor is topical without getting dated, and the references to every kind of fandom will make sure that everyone will point something out time and time again. During my first viewing many years ago, I found it to be amazing and recommended it to all. Friends of mine then mentioned something that stuck with me, “the movie is perfect if you’ve never read the comics.” As with all adaptations, the source material creates a background that can never truly be replicated in another medium. Thus, expectations crashing against reality mans that there will be disappointment of characters and storylines that are glossed over or even completely erased. I only have minimal experience with reading the original graphic novels but they are indeed amazing and are well worth a read. Or if you prefer a more interactive form of storytelling you should check out the 8bit homage videogame of the series that should still be around through the Play Station Network (which I happen to have thanks to my brother) or through X-Box live (I think) and goes through pretty much all storylines. Plus, you can play as Scott, Ramona, Stills, or Kim in 4 player co-op.

As for the movie itself, the narrative is familiar enough once you boil it down to the basics. Guy is at a bad stage in his life, guy meets girl, needs to do crazy stuff for their relationship to exist, trials tribulations and other problems ensues, and then problems are resolved. The awesomeness comes in the fact that the apparent romance takes place in a comedic action extravaganza where fighting people is supremely common. Canadian cops must not be able to enforce any assault laws. And yes, the movie takes place in Canada, technically Toronto and you can see a lot of the filming locations here. The movie feels like a video game with all the over the top everything and that is where a lot of Scott Pilgrim’s fun stems from. Where else can Michael Cera be taken seriously as a martial arts master while giving hope to many nerds like myself with similar physiques of being able to survive a fight. The second you see this movie you need to enforce the division between reality and fantasy to enjoy it. The moment your mind starts making the thought of “this could never happen in real life” all the joy is immediately sucked out of the movie.

The fantasy of Scott Pilgrim is what makes it so enjoyable. It is a world where you and your friends have a rock band, beating people gives you money, and if things go badly you have a second chance. The action and rock band scene might look at first glance like hyper machismo in full force but the presence of all things geeky sprinkled throughout scenes and conversations manes this film nerdvana. Speaking of all things geeky, you guys should check out my friend Yume Hasu, a pop culture reporter who wants to keep the nerd populace informed. Plus, she put a Scott Pilgrim reference in her last video so the shout out seems appropriate. You can check her out here and see her most recent llamatastic video below.

So, see/rewatch the movie and enjoy the awesomeness that is this movie. Plus, here’s the secret song from the soundtrack that didn’t make it to the movie but is totally worth listening to.