The Legend of Korra Season 4 Trailer Creates “Balance” For Final Season — Nerd Girl Corner [VIDEO]

20120505230717!The_Legend_of_Korra_opening_logo‘Ello there, friends!

Please excuse the serious hiatus I’ve been on. Between straight laziness, event coordinating, and a host of other things depleting my motivation, I have not been able to write any funny stories, listicles, and the such for you guys. But that’s going to change. Why, do you ask? That’s ’cause The Legend Korra Season 4 trailer dropped today, and much like last season, I’m insanely stoked. Oh, and I’m definitely doing a trailer breakdown. *DING*

So first, before all else, watch the trailer. No, really — watch it:

There’s so much going on — not as much as last season — but clearly enough for me to lose my breath (especially in the last two seconds).

Here goes: Continue reading

Avatar and Legend of Korra Give Girls With Disabilities Power — Nerd Girl Corner

I have no problem admitting that I am a 20-something-year-old woman who enjoyed watching all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender (with a special love for Book 3: Fire), and am now watching it’s sequel/spin-off, Legend of Korra. Now, while the first two seasons of Korra — Book 1: Air and Book 2: Spirits respectively — didn’t fully meet my expectations of the franchise, I must say that this latest season, Book 3: Change, is shaping up to be amazing. Now it’s no secret how excited I was for this season. I spent almost an hour breaking down the EPIC trailer that was released, chock-full of bending goodness. But the last few episodes Korra‘s latest season, just made me realize how awesome this franchise is, when it introduced for the second time, a person with a disability accomplishing amazing feats. Continue reading

My Brain Scratching Affair With Disney Movies Presents: Cinderella (VII)

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series-long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.*

After a very long break, I’ve decided to return to my wonderful franchise with the ever-shallow Disney flick, Cinderella.

4047cinderella

 

So the first question I had, after looking back at the film, was why didn’t Cinderella’s dad have a will? For a man who cared sooo much for his little girl — and had to endure the death of his own first wife — how could be be so careless? Yes, I can grasp the fact that maybe life insurance policies didn’t exist, but the WILL has been around since the dawn of time. What would’ve happened if Daddy Rella died  before he married Lady “Bitch Face” Tremaine? Cindy would’ve just became a penniless ward of the state. Daddy missed the ball on that one.

Next, Cinderella was better than most children, because I couldn’t understand how she could stand years of mental and physical abuse. I mean, first she got kicked out of her nice room — and we still don’t know what it was turned into — forced to live in an attic, and then do ALL the housework?  She didn’t have a third cousin on her mother’s side to run away to? If I were Cindy, the first thing I would’ve done was moved out of the place and moved in with a close friend of the family or something. Make a living out of cleaning and singing and do the damn thing.

Third, who the hell is Lady Tremaine’s baby daddy?

 

I love how every single Cinderella movie leaves out any kind of back story of her previous husband/baby daddy. Did he divorce her? Was he even a Lord to give her a lady title? Did she kill him for the money and then moved on to her next target?

And just how did Cinderella’s pops died?

I smell foul play — especially from Lady “Bitch Face” Tremaine.

Also,  why was it that the ONLY animals that could coherently talk in Cinderella were the mice? We can understand everything they say, but Bruno was left to grunt and growl like a regular dog, the birds had to chirp their words, Lucifer meowed, etc. Did Disney just run out of money to hire actors to speak for them?

And what about all this baby fever the King had?

If he wanted a baby around so much, why didn’t he just remarry (what the hell happened to his wife in the first place? Disney and these damn “dead wives”!) and have a baby of his own. He was freaking KING. He definitely could’ve done that. His eldest son still would’ve been his successor and when he croaked, he could leave his new wife to raise to new prince/ss.

Oh, and please let’s not get me started with the fact that Anastasia and Drizella were so ugly, they couldn’t have even been drawn to look like humans…

They look like straight cartoon characters — no bust, half-moon eyebrows, the works. Furthermore, their dad must’ve been one unattractive dude to produce THOSE faces. That’s probably why Bitch Face killed him. #ISaidIt Side note: who names their child “Drizella”? You know what, let me leave that alone because people name their children worse…

Another thing that killed me was Cinderella’s shoe being able to fit only HER foot.  You mean to tell me, that not one OTHER person in that entire kingdom was a size 4 1/2?!

Furthermore, who the eff uses a shoe as a means for identification?! Like come on, the prince can’t be that dumb. Why didn’t he round up all the blondes in the kingdom between 5′ and 5’5″ and then work from there? So you mean to say if a red-head or a girl with a pixie cut fit the shoe, then that was the girl from the ball? If I was Cinderella, I would’ve been offended. This dude thought she was SO beautiful, but couldn’t remember her features enough to have a sketch artist draw a photo so he can send his goons out to search for her. Laziness… and straight disrespectful.

Now here we go with the thematic portion of today’s head scratcher:

Theme One: You Need to Know Who You’re Marrying

Cinderella’s dad made the ULTIMATE mistake when he didn’t check who the hell he was marrying before bringing Lady BF Tremaine into his house with her two fugly children. Yeah, he thought he was bringing in mother figure for his daughter, and thought she’d be compassionate because she has kids of her own. Yeah, NO! This is a culture of #TeamMe and he should’ve known better to think that that woman would ever consider Cindy as a part of her family. Furthermore, Cinderella should’ve probably thought twice about marrying Prince Charming. If he couldn’t even remember what she looked like, can you imagine what else you would forget? Can you imagine if Cinderella went missing? He would probably have to give the guards her shoe to place on all the dead bodies in the kingdom to see if she was dead too.

Theme Two: Parents Need to Invest in Life Insurance

I know for a fact my own mother is scared poopless of the term life insurance because it really should be called “in case of death” insurance. But guess what? When you have children, and early deaths run in the family, your behind needs to make sure you have something saved away for your kids’ future. If Cindy’s dad thought more about making sure she was taken care of and less about bringing another female into his house, he would’ve written a will saying that Cindy got EVERYTHING and that Lady T was only there to supervise until Cindy got to marrying age. Then, Lady T could marry her off to the first thing that batted his eyes at Cindy and then she could’ve paid that dowry off, sell the house, and found herself an even richer man… to later kill and inherit his fortunes.

Theme Three: Slave Labor Can Exist in Your Own Home

Cinderella basically ran that house — cleaning, cooking, window washing, tending to the animals, etc. with no pay, no guarantee to her home, nothing. Basically for free. Out of the goodness of her heart, but more so because she was abused. In the beginning of the movie the say that she was treated terrible and humiliated, which means to me they probably broke her like a slave. Yup. Cindy was a slave in her own home. The only thing missing in a cotton field and a whip in Bitch Face’s hand.

Theme Four: Mice Are Still Creepy Ass Pets

I was never a person for mice as pets. They’re small, they get into everything, they breed quickly, they carry diseases, they eat everything… they’re just kinda gross. And the fact that they SPOKE in this movie creeped me out even further and resolved me to the notion that they’re just creepy ass animals.

 

Theme Five: Make Sure You’re Really Over Your Clothes Before You Throw Them Away

One of the scenes that really disturbed me in this movie was the scene where Anastasia and Drizella ripped apart Cinderella’s dress that used a COUPLE scraps from the sisters’ old clothes. I don’t know about you, but it always made me feel dirty… almost like a rape scene. I almost thought they were going to leave her naked on the floor with Bitch Face smiling in the corner. But this just makes my point that you should always make sure you’re really ready to throw your clothes away before you do. These girls really weren’t over their items like they thought they were — or maybe they were just jealous it looked nicer on Cindy than on them. Either way, they weren’t down with Cindy’s rat and bird friends upcycling their scraps to make her a half-way decent dress. So, before you dump away your old clothes, make sure you’re really over them. You never know what gems you could be missing.

Theme Six: Godparents Can Be Really Great in a Pinch

If it wasn’t for Cinderella’s fairy godmother, she probably would’ve just offed herself in that fountain when those skeezers ripped up her dress. But Ms. Bibbity Boppity Boo came and gave her a new dress, pumps, a fresh hairdo, and transportation, and that really made me appreciate having god parents. They’re purpose is to basically help the child when the parent can’t and in this case, Cindy needed all the help she could get. So make sure to show your god parents tons of love. You never know when you’d need them to spot your five bucks for cab fare.

 

Theme Seven: Don’t Let a Man Get You Sprung

If it wasn’t for Cinderella acting all sprung about the Prince when she heard he was looking for her, she probably could’ve avoided that whole being locked in her room waiting for the mice to save the day thing. But her head was so far up in the clouds, she didn’t have enough sense to play it cool and strategize getting out of her in-house slavery. That’s a lesson to you ladies — don’t get so hung up on a man, that you lose all sense and reason and then find yourselves in trouble you could’ve easily avoided.

Theme Eight: Be Nice to Everyone Because You Never Know When They’ll Be Rich Enough to Help You

One, if not the BIGGEST lessons learned from Cinderella is the idea that you should always be nice to people, no matter how much you really dislike them. Hear me out: Cinderella had a beautiful voice, right? If Lady Tremaine had invested money into Cindy being musical, she would’ve had the best singer of the kingdom bringing in suitors (and their money) into that house. As a matter of fact, if Bitch Face treated Cinderella with an OUNCE of niceness, got Cindy a dress for the ball, and let the prince play with her feet, then Cinderella just might have moved the whole damn family into the castle. Instead, she wanted to be a stingy prude. And what did it get her in the end? An old rickety house and two daughters no one wants to marry. Boom.

Theme Nine: No One Likes a Nasty Pussy

I will end this post with the most gratifying scene in this entire movie — Lucifer the Cat’s death. That was the nastiest cat I’d ever seen in my life and I genuinely hated him. When he fell from the tower of the house to his horrific death, I was happy. Pleasantly happy. He caused trouble for Cinderella, he tried to eat her mice friends, he got Bruno in trouble. He was just Damien re-incarnated into a cat. And no one like a nasty cat. Now, if you want to take that heading to mean something else, you can very well do so because I’m all for double entendres and in this movie, it definitely applies.

My Undying, Unflinching Love Affair With Disney’s Gargoyles

So I recently wrote a post for BlackGirlNerds.com about my love affair with Gargoyles and well, I decided that I should post it here as well … just in case some of you guys are hardcore fans.

I can’t deny it. I am a girl who is hopelessly in love with the cartoons of the ‘90s. These shows probably sculpted quite a bit of the geekiness that I’ve come to embrace in my life, but no show has possibly affected me more than Disney’s Gargoyles. When the show debuted in 1994, the opening score immediately drew me in (and to this day I still hum it). It was dark, scary, and (as I continued to watch) more than what met the eye.

If you’re not familiar with this amazingly awesome show, then you should be ashamed of yourself. But just to bring you up to speed, Gargoyles followed a clan of nocturnal creatures aka gargoyles that turned to stone by day and were warriors by night. After being betrayed by the humans they swore to protect, the clan was placed under a magical spell that turned them entirely to stone. A millennia later, billionaire David Xanatos (voiced by Jonathan Frakes) purchased their Scotland home and implanted them on his New York City skyscraper, where the spell was broken and they’re brought back to life. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a hot ass show to you?

From bottom left to right: Bronx, Hudson, Goliath, Broadway, Brooklyn, and Lexington (bottom center)
But it gets better.

The gargoyles, led by Goliath (voiced by actor Keith David), must now adapt to their new surroundings and they make a new friend in the process — police detective Elisa Maza (voiced by Salli Richardson) who in turn becomes their human guardian. Initially the show starts off with billionaire Xanatos trying to “befriend” the gargoyles for his own schemes of world domination, but later the show gets layered with the ever growing yet low-key attraction between Goliath and Elisa. It was obvious these two loved each other, but couldn’t be together because they were two different species. I mean, who didn’t hear Keith’s voice and melt instantly, right? But it gets better when Demona, Goliath’s former lover, came on the scene. Not only was she one hell of a villainess with her plot for human genocide, she was especially hateful towards Elisa for being the new object of Goliath’s affection. This ultimately made her hate towards humans richer. Oh — Demona was also Goliath’s baby mama. Yeah.

Much later we learned that some of the gargoyle eggs were saved before the horrifying betrayal (seen in the opening credits) and one of them is Goliath and Demona’s daughter, Angela. She joined the clan (which up until this point was strictly male), and tensions rose almost instantly between Broadway and Brooklyn. Broadway ultimately won Angela’s heart, but that led Brooklyn down a dark path for a while and boy wasn’t it one hell of plot line.

The show would weave Celtic lore and Norse mythology with characters from Shakespearean plays and — no lie — prepared me for college lit and history classes. As a child, I wasn’t attune to everything that was going on, but there were some things that I could truly appreciate. For instance, Elisa Maza was probably the first bi-racial cartoon character I had seen on TV. Being the daughter of an Amerindian father & African-American mother meant the world to me because we were finally seeing a real representation of the people who reside in NYC — multi-ethnic. We saw that Elisa had a brother and a sister and they were all different colors: her brother was a dark-skinned, while her sister was a little lighter with curly hair. And as for the police chief? She was a Latina named Chavez. Realism was on this show, whether you liked it or not.

Gargoyles exposed its viewers to different cultures; in one episode we learned of Anansi the Spider in Nigeria, and the legend of the black panther (or jaguar — I don’t know my felines that well) while on another episode we met Coyote the Trickster and understood his role in Native-American mythology. We saw King Arthur in his tomb on Avalon and the purported “aliens” that came to Easter Island. I learned the Oden was missing an eye before I watched Thor and met Macbeth before reading the play in high school. To sum it all up, this show had everything for me. There was action, history, magic, myth, love, and it was wrapped up so beautifully, that it effortlessly caused me to want to know all these “nerdy” things. This show was the beginning of my “blerdy” journey, if you will. I will admit, I didn’t keep up with the show during its final run in 1997. By then, the show moved from weekday afternoons to Saturday mornings which was a major bummer. It was only showing once a week AND on the day I was allowed to sleep late.

Trying to catch up with it was a task and I couldn’t keep up. When I heard it was cancelled, I was so upset, but the show lives on in me forever … obviously. I intend to find the Gargoyles DVD on Amazon, buy them, and have my own children watch them (when I have children, that is). Now excuse me, while I hum the theme song to sleep and imagine Goliath roaring into the night’s sky.

– See more at: http://blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-undying-unflinching-love-for-disneys.html#sthash.c55PTPqz.dpuf

I am currently contemplating my next post … which will more than likely be cartoon related, as I really do miss the cartoons of my childhood.

My Brain Scratching Affair With Disney Movies Presents: Pocahontas (VI)

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series-long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again. *Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* This month’s installment of my return to my head scratching questions and off the wall theories tackles the EVER racist movie Pocahontas.

First things first: I know it’s pretty inherent how RACIST this movie was, but I’m going to mention it anyway. If you guys are unaware of Pocahontas, she was the chieftain’s daughter of a Native American tribe on the East Coast that got in good when the white man came in, took over and basically said “move over redskins, this is our land.” In some ways, Pocahontas was a traitor to her people, but in other ways she help founded this nation in all its racist pride. However you want to look at it, look at it that way. Anyway, I definitely had a couple problems with this flick. For one, this story is GROSSLY exaggerated and deeply racist (did I say it was racist?), but I’ll talk about that during my lessons section. But I had a BIG PROBLEMO with Pocahontas. She passed on a fine male specimen in the form of Kocoum. Yeah, he may not have been the most talkative of the bunch, but he was strong. And I guarantee you, he would’ve been kind AND boy knew about Pocahontas and her wild-woman-diving-off-cliff ways and probably wouldn’t have changed her (like the English tried to do in Pocahontas II, but I’m not getting into that now). You messed up, Pocahontas! YOU DONE MESSED UP!


Not only does she pass him up for the white guy (who ultimately takes the blame for killing Kocoum), but the white guy she passes him up for leaves her (yes, OK, he got shot — big deal) and DOESN’T come back like he said he would! Hmm … you sure know how to pick ’em Po-Po. And was it me, but didn’t it look like Pocahontas’s bff Nakoma wanted Kocoum? Think about it … she was always telling Pocahontas that she’s got a good thing going AND she was the one who ran to Kocoum (not anyone else in the tribe) when Pocahontas was doing the sneaky-sneak with John Smith.  Am I the only person who thought that Nakoma was hoping that Kocoum would see Pocahontas and get all like “forget that ho” and then date her?

Pocahontas-Kocoum-and-Nakoma-pocahontas-13194955-500-272Hmm, I smell a home wrecker…
Just sayin’…

Another thing: what was with all the unattractive British dudes? The only ones worth baggin’ were John and Thomas. AND they gave poor Tom a hard-ass time for not knowing how to shoot. That’s why this damn country is so trigger happy. There were other questionable things in this film, like what the hell were these Indians SMOKIN’?! Think about it: Pocahontas’s best friend was a raccoon, a hummingbird and a talking tree bark. A TALKING TREE BARK. I mean, I feel like there was some hallucinogenics in those pretty leaves that were always circling Pocahontas, no? I mean, how else did she learn to speak English so damn quick — Rosetta Stone? Well, it’s about that time that we get into the thematic lesson portion of this here post, so here we go:

Theme One: America Was Built on Trigger-Happy Racism

Yeah. I had to go there. And we know this is a universal FACT. From the moment that we’re introduced to John Smith in this movie in all his dashing, blonde-headed glory, this dude is boasting about all the ships he’s sailed and all the natives he’s killed. And when he comes to America, the first thing any of these fools do is pull out a gun on some “shoot now, ask questions later” nonsense. Pocahontas sang it best:

You think I’m an ignorant savage And you’ve been so many places I guess it must be so But still I cannot see If the savage one is me How can there be so much that you don’t know?

For real, like how to forage food, learn the layout of the land, or ask the natives for help. Really John, really! And despite them “getting along” at the end, they really didn’t. The white man came back, treated the Natives like shit, ran them off their land, went to Africa, brought slaves over and still acted like they owned the land.

You think you own whatever land you land on… …You think the only people who are people Are the people who look and think like you

Sang it girl. Sang it!

And if you think I’m being a little over the top, look at the lyrics  to the (albeit beautiful) song “Savages” :

What can you expect From filthy little heathens? Their whole disgusting race is like a curse Their skin’s a hellish red They’re only good when dead They’re vermin, as I said And worse They’re savages! Savages! Barely even human Savages! Savages! Drive them from our shore! They’re not like you and me Which means they must be evil We must sound the drums of war! They’re savages! Savages! Dirty redskin devils! Now we sound the drums of war!

You know what that is?

And that sad part? This mentality is VERY much alive today. Thank you Disney for preparing people of color for the real world.

Theme Two: Interracial Relationships Are a Risky Business

Don’t get me wrong now — I’m all about loving who you want to love. But let’s be real — this movie showcased how truly difficult being in an interracial relationship could be. First there was the language barrier (until they smoked some of the good stuff from Mother Willow’s bark) and then there was the whole cultural thing. I mean, just look at the faces of everyone who saw Pocahontas and John Smith Kissing…


#NOTPLEASED

Having an interracial relationship is a a tough business, especially if you come from two cultures that are literally worlds apart. However, you have to learn to remain strong and make necessary (and fair) sacrifices to make the relationship work. Stay true to yourself and the one you love, forget the haters and things will work out … hopefully better than they did for Po-Po and John.

Theme Three: ALWAYS Break Off Old Relationships Before Entering New Ones

Tale as old as father-freaking time yo. I ALWAYS blamed Kocoum’s death on Pocahontas AND Nakoma, but mainly Pocahontas. Why? Homegirl knew she was engaged to be married to that fine bear claw tattooed mofo. And instead of keeping it real and saying “Hey Kocoum, I don’t think this whole marriage thing is going to work out for me,” she just sneaks off to see John Smith. And what happened?

Kocoum died … he DIED!

Sigh. If it’s one thing you can take from this movie, it’s that if you are in a relationship (forced into it or not) and you no longer want to be with the person, sneaking around is the worst way to get out of it. It’s better to just make a clean break before anyone gets anymore hurt than they need to be. Yes, Kocoum would’ve been upset and his pride would’ve been low. But how much you want to BET if Pocahontas had just broke it up, Nakoma would’ve been there to pick up the pieces? Please redirect your eyes several photos above, and search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Theme Four: Men Need to Learn How to Ask For Help Or Directions

So, this Ratcliffe fellow, gets on a ship, lands in the Americas, calls his settlement in Virginia “Jamestown” and swears up and down the place is filled to the brim with gold. However, because of his pompous and prideful attitude, not only was there no gold, but he ended up shooting someone and getting in trouble.

Men NEVER like to ask for directions, and this is a prime example of what happens when you don’t. You see, Ratcliffe could’ve just told the Natives “take me to your shiny yellow thing” and they would’ve shown him the only gold they had was corn. OR they could’ve shown him some semi-precious jewels which Ratcliffe could’ve brought back to England. But noooo. He just had to be all “I know what I’m doing!” And where did that get him? Bound, gagged, and on a boat waiting to be tried in England.

Theme Five: Racially-Motivated Deaths Have Escaped Justice For Centuries

OK, so Kocoum comes to Pocahontas’s defense (as he’s told she’s in trouble) and attacks John Smith. They fight and it looks like Kocoum is about to win, but Pocahontas joins in to break it up. When Thomas sees the throw down, instead of helping Kocoum off John,  he pulls out a gun and shoots Kocoum dead.

Thomas shoots Kocoum

John Smith takes the blame, but guess what? He gets off when Po-Po stops her daddy from killing him (in that Old Testament way of eye for an eye, mind you). To add insult to injury, Thomas — the one who KILLS Kocoum — gets to go back to England and everyone’s like “let’s stop the fighting and be friends.” Meanwhile, when John Smith gets shot (and SURVIVES), they lock up Ratcliffe, gag him and get ready to send his ass to prison when they get back to England. Kocoum dies, and everyone’s like “aww, let’s move on.”

This, ladies and gentleman, is the moment that I realized that I was being taught racially-motivated hate crimes have gone unpunished for forever, and we can expect this saddening trend to continue to go on until we demand justice for ALL our fallen brethren. #NeverForgetKocoum

Theme Six : Sometimes It’s Best to Be Single

Pocahontas single handedly got two men shot, one of whom died. Real talk, who needs all that stress in your life? One guy likes you, but he’s just not your type. Then another guy likes you, but his people won’t accept you as his woman. What’s a girl to do? That’s when you learn that sometimes it’s best to just walk away from all these men and wait until you can get what you deserve (though personally, Po-Po had a great thing with Kocoum, but eh, she wasn’t feeling the dude).

And in the end, that’s what happened. John Smith went off to England with the “promise” of returning (but never did), Kocoum’s death faded in the background and all Po-Po had left was Meeko (the raccoon), Flit (the hummingbird), Mother Willow and her earth-spirit “herbs.” *Of course, until Pocahontas II, where she meets John Rolfe, but we won’t get into that now.*

Theme Seven: Animals Are The Only Things That Truly Know How to Adapt

I had to give a quick shout out to the animals in this film, because as a person fond of pets, I found that the only things that learned how to adapt to their given situations, were the animals. I mean, Meeko saw (well, smelled) John Smith coming and did what he had to do to get food. He even accepted John with the quickness, though Flit took some time. Now Percy, Ratcliffe’s dog, took a little time to adjust. But unlike John Smith (who probably could’ve been healed with Native American holistic remedies instead of traveling on a ship for MONTHS (which could’ve killed him) for “medical attention”) Percy stayed. Why? Because he adapted.

Lesson learned: animals are a million times more accepting AND resilient than humans. BOOM.

Theme Eight: Exaggerating History Makes it Better to Swallow

So for many of you who watched Pocahontas, going “oh, that’s so sad, why didn’t she go to England,” blah-di-blah, just remember that this film was a highly exaggerated version of the truth. In fact, Po-Po was a young girl when she met John Smith, that whole “Daddy don’t kill him” thing was possibly a stunt and/or ritual (if it even happened at all). Then, when her people and the settlers started squabbling AGAIN, they kidnapped her. Yes. They held Po-Po ransom! And when her people couldn’t meet the settlers’ demands, they kept her. And NO she didn’t go to England like she did in Pocahontas II with John Rolfe and decide “I love my Native American ways.” Instead, she adopted Christianity, changed her name to Rebecca, got married to Rolfe, had a baby and then went to England where she was dubbed a princess of her tribe (though they probably didn’t care) before dying on her journey back home.  Of course that’s “too deep” for a Disney film, so you know do what you must to get it out there: throw in some music, boost her age up, and make it all a lesson in racial (in)equality and you’ve got yourself a hit! Sometimes hearing the truth is a hard pill to swallow. And maybe many people wouldn’t have felt inclined to like Pocahontas as much if they told what really happen. So we get a mix of history and fun with Pocahontas being the brave, strong-willed, beautiful, red-skinned chieftain’s daughter who helped disillusioned traveler John Smith paint with the colors of the wind.

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part V) – Mulan

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series-long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.*

This month’s installment includes my head-scratching questions and off-the-wall theories about Disney’s retelling of the Chinese legend Mulan.

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My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part IV) – The Lion King

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s most famous tale The Lion King.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I was not and still am not in love with The Lion King. Continue reading

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part III) – Aladdin

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s diamond in the rough Aladdin.

Another one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, Aladdin is just another enchanted musical film based off of one of the many stories of 1001 Arabian Nights. In the original story, it’s said that Aladdin may have actually been Asian, as the story does take place in the Middle East, which is… near Asia. Either way, one of the many reasons I adore this movie is because of how ‘street’ it feels. While I’m not at all a fan of movies that are set in a country with its inhabitants speaking in another dialect or accent, I let Aladdin slide for his somewhat Brooklyn-esque demeanor though he should sound more like a Habib from Pakistan.

I also liked the idea that Jasmine was kind of tough-as-nails to counter with Aladdin’s diamond-in-the-rough persona. While I did think that Disney was sipping on some Shakespearean ‘Taming of the Shrew’ for his picture of Jasmine, the fact that I believed Jasmine could hold her own in a male dominated world made me respect her. Though I do wish she got more sassy when that man was about to chop her hand off. She should’ve known better though, nothing’s free. They didn’t build the palace for free… or maybe they did (shrugs)… One of my many quirks with this movie is how Jafar played the role of a mafioso, but not to its fullest potential. I say that because he was constantly glamoring the Sultan with his snake staff and never once thought to glamour Jasmine into marrying him. I think that would’ve made things 101 times easier for him, no? But I guess he just liked things the hard way.

Another problem I had: why were the royal guards of Agraba so damn stupid? Not only could they NOT capture Aladdin, I’m quite certain he wasn’t the only person doing his dirt in the city.Was there not enough crime to sharpen their ability to actually capture someone? And how stupid or sheltered rather, were they to not recognize Princess Jasmine when they found Aladdin in his little roof-top shanty house? I mean, even Superman had a bit of disguise with glasses and a curly bang, but she had a hood over her head. You can’t tell me she looks that much different with a HOOD on her head?! And since when is the royal Vizier more important than the Princess? I mean, her saying ‘release him’ should’ve been ten times more important that Jafar calling him in, no? And was it just me wondering or did you ever question how crusty, dusty and calloused Aladdin’s feet actually were, running around barefoot day and night? He must’ve had some serious hobbit feet cause in that hot sun, I don’t know how he did it. Also, I don’t understand how these people just accepted a guy with a flying carpet into their palace without even asking where the hell he got it from. I mean the Sultan asked for a ride on the thing (which I might have asked for too), but didn’t ask “where did you get it from? how old is it? how is it alive?” These people were some kind of slack.Then again, I couldn’t expect any better from a Middle Eastern Sultan who let his daughter walk around in a crop top. Are you kidding me? Okay, sure Jasmine’s body was banging, but she wasn’t a part of some harem. Arabic dudes these days ain’t standing for that hot mess… especially with a girl with that kind of temper… oh HELL no. OH and did I mention, another Disney princess without a mother? Yeah. Now you’re seeing the pattern, aren’t you.

Now we all know that one of the many characters that made this movie was Robin William’s Genie, but this also made me question that actual nature of the genie. Think about it, if a Genie can only grant you three wishes, what good is he to you when your three wishes are up? Do you throw him away until the next person comes to find him or is he like a slave that can only do menial labor that does require a wish like a slave? Can I tell Genie to pick cotton without “I wish” and he’ll do it? I mean, if you can’t wish for more wishes, what good is he afterwards? And so we’re onto to the educational part of this lecture:

Theme One: Not All Homeless People Are Crazy Alcoholic Crackheads

This movie makes a great point of showing children that not all bums and poor people are stinky, nasty alcoholic fueled low lives that sell their bodies for crack. We meet Aladdin who is a bum and a thief, but a kind-hearted one who shares his bread with his (possibly rabid) monkey friend Abu and stray children left to die in the streets. He was a victim of circumstance, not having any parents (again a would be ‘prince’ without parents) or any money to support himself in his adulthood. Aladdin also had tons of sense for a young man who probably never went to school. He was able to secure clothes, food and shelter for him and his pet without breaking much laws, maintain a decent relationship with some of the people in the neighborhood and was able to walk around the streets without people wanting to gag at his odor which MUST have been exacerbated by the hot Middle Eastern heat.


Theme Two: When You’re A Woman, It’s Okay to Be a Bit Bitchy!

So if it’s one thing that Princess Jasmine taught me, I must say that it’s okay to be a bit of a bitch from time to time. Jasmine went through what most females go through on a daily basis with dudes trying to get all up in her pockets and her va-jay-jay and she wasn’t having it. And she held no restraint when it came to telling these guys off. She even let Raja get in on the action and bite a man’s ass because she wasn’t just going to let any swarthy looking ‘ooh baby I’m hot & I got money’ foolio come into her midst without coming correct. She didn’t even like Aladdin in the beginning when he was trying to be Mr. Fancy-Pants with her. If it’s one thing I have to admire about Jasmine, is that she wasn’t standing for any man’s bs. I mean, she caught Aladdin in his lie (even though she didn’t know how deep it went) and made sure to give Jafar a piece of her mind. Atta girl!

Theme Three: There’s Always Corruption in Politics

No matter where you go, there is ALWAYS corruption when it comes to politics and Aladdin is the #1 case in which we blatantly see abuse of power and ambivalence to the needs of the common people. Let me dig into the Sultan really quickly- while in my mind he is meant to be one of the “good” characters, the fact still remains that this man was the ruler of a kingdom where he would rather spend more time playing with miniature dolls and feeding a pretty bird crackers, than figuring out what to do with these homeless people on the street. Why are there no orphanages or workhouses? Why does Aladdin, who’s already poor as it is and has to contend with a (possible lice-ridden & rabid) monkey for a pet, have to give his food away to poor starving kids? Bad Sultan, very bad!

Next you have the fact that the Sultan’s second-in-command is running shit under the Sultan’s nose. Not only does he use his little snake staff to hypnotize the Sultan in order to get what the wants, he runs the palace guards to search for Aladdin, not once but TWICE! The first time, he has them lock him in prison and fakes his death, and the second time they threw “Prince Abooboo” over the cliff! Some SERIOUS mafioso “sleeps with the fishes” shizzz! I have to admit, I gave Jafar his props for that one – the shiz was GANGSTA! THEN he tries to force the princess to be his chick?! That screams scandal! Makes me think of all those politicians with side-piece chicks, or prostitutes… If that isn’t an abuse of power (forcing a woman who hates you to love you), I don’t know WHAT is. BUT my point is that even in cartoons, politics are a risky and often messy business.

Theme Four: Knowing Your Geography is Tantamount

Prince Ali of Babwa? Are you kidding me? And why is it that no one in the palace thinks to look on a map for Babwa? I find it really ridiculous that they would allow a Prince from an unknown country, village, community or whatever roll up in the palace and say I’m here to marry your daughter. What if they wanted to travel to Babwa or join the kingdoms? What would’ve happened then? I mean, when a foreigner marries nobility, usually the woman goes to his kingdom and the territories are merged. Jafar was the only one thinking. Really though, Babwa? This is why as kids, we are taught geography – so when some dude comes in your house from a made up place, you can call his ass out on it and send him packing!

Theme Five: Be Careful What You Wish For

So of course, there is the element (as with ANY genie tale) to ‘be careful of what you wish for.’ Though Aladdin wished for money and a title, he was given a heap load of trouble with almost ‘sleeping with the fishes’ and well, being revealed as a poor hack. Then we had Princess Jasmine who wanted to be free and live a life without restrictions and found her hand nearly chopped off. Seems that if you want to be free and uninhibited, you end up poor and even then you’re not free from the law in your ass for stealing. And things also got worse when it came to Jafar who initially wished to be sultan, then a powerful sorcerer and then finally a genie. When asking for power, we see here in this Disney tale, it’s something that always leads to a serious downfall. This touches again on the subject of corruption in politics and ultimately the idea of power being the root of evil. But then we also think of what happens when you ask for simplicity – Jasmine may have found a guy she liked but what was she gonna do? Live the rest of her life as the common-law bride of a street rat? Hmm…

Theme Six: You Can Change Your Life, No Matter Your Circumstances

Now this is a  serious rags-to-riches tale that can probably do a world of good to anyone out there who is looking to better their life. Not only did Aladdin come from nothing, he came from being one of the most disliked street urchins of Agraba to the princess’s main squeeze (WOOT)! Sure he lied, but what rags-to-riches story doesn’t have a little fib, here and there? A lot of people make themselves out to seem more than they appear. And that’s all that it comes down to right? Faking it ’til you make it! But on a serious note, it does give those out there with nothing to them the hope that maybe some day, they will find a banging rich girl bored with life to be their sugar mama.

Contributing to Yahoo!

Hey there,

I’m now an official Yahoo Contributor and have started off with some poetry. So if you can, take a look, spread the word as views = pay.

Here’s a sestina about a dreamy elf:

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-moonlit-elf-10729005.html

And a haiku about winter:

http://voices.yahoo.com/beautiful-winter-10728971.html?cat=47

Thanks!

Happy Holidays-

w/ love

-Alja

My Brain Scratching Affair with Disney Movies (Part II) – The Little Mermaid

As I’ve previously written in the first installment of this series long ‘editorial’ (if you will), the following posts are created to air out more or less, ‘adult’ grievances and flush out underlying (as well as obvious) themes that I’ve found while watching these childhood movies over again.

*Please Note: I do not ‘blame’ Disney for any of my findings, as these are films based on very old fairy tales, however, as Disney has animated them I will continue to say ‘Disney’ as a reference. **Also, not all cartoons animations of childhood fairy tales were the brain child of Disney, so I will attribute the production companies accordingly.* 

This month’s installment includes my head scratching questions and off the wall theories about Disney’s favorite little fish The Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid

I really enjoyed this movie as a girl. Jodie Benson did a fantabulous job with her vocals in this movie and how can anyone forget the song, “Part of Your World.”  This adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale is pretty darn good, especially since in the original version the prince marries the woman he thinks is his ‘savior’ and The Little Mermaid, well… dies. In this version, we’re introduced to a precocious little red-head named Ariel who falls madly in love with a human. We’re given tons of wonderful colorful characters to love including Flounder the gullible guppy and Sebastian the musical crab. While, this is yet again one of my FAVORITE movies to watch — its musical content is enough of a reason to watch — I have some questions to ask: Continue reading