7Fates: Chako (Prologue-Ep 2) A Digesting, Reviewing, Partaking, Analyzing, Moment

Alright. My love for BTS is a secret by no means. If you didn’t know though…I am absolutely enthralled in everything that is the top global 7 member k-pop group-BTS

For Context: Earlier this year, it was announced that BTS would be doing a collaboration with Webtoon– one of the most popular graphic comic website/app in the bizz right now. It was January 14, 2022 that the first episode, “The Prologue”, was published, yet somehow I still have not given myself the opportunity to read it. It’s now March 31,2022. I will admit that I am no avid comic reader, and I only started because of BTS; however, three months later I am seeing what this comic has to offer.

The Webtoon comic is titled 7Fates: Chako and is loosely based of the 7 BTS members. I’m going to be focusing on the first three episodes, including the prologue, to focus on what the comic has been initially giving as I have started it off.

Warning –Spoilers Ahead– Warning

Right off the bat the reader is thrown into an action scene. It is a vivid moment which I assume is introducing the audience to the main 7 people. There is little dialogue in this action scene which could have easily left the reader extremely confused as to where/who/what is even going on, but this isn’t the case. This strategy actually works for a number of reasons.

For starters, since there are such few words written, each word passing becomes vital. The writing team knew an immediate fight scene could be overwhelming with 7 new characters being introduced all at the same time, so a third person narrator gave a very broad description of the story as the main protagonist and antagonist groups were introduced– the Chako team and the Beom monsters.

The delivery can be compared to a microfiction. Like in a microfiction, one wants to say the most with the least amount of words. This is exactly what they did while giving the reader enough information to be interested but not overwhelmed.

After this, the story dives into what seems to be a few moments in the past before the intense prologue scene. The story continues to unfold by jumping back and forth through time. The actual characters aren’t time traveling, but the story is being told by flashbacks and flashforwards. Now, this is exciting and keeps suspense from one transition to another and all, but I am afraid it can be just slightly confusing at times. Luckily so far, when a transition happens, it will begin with two seconds of the scene from where the reader previously left off. 

I’m not saying shifts through time are a bad way of telling a story at all, especially because the main character keeps recalling lost memories about his past in this story. For some reason though, the flashes through time do not feel like smooth transitions to me. It’s almost giving me reader’s whiplash. I hate to say any negative critiques about anything associated with BTS, but this couldn’t be a truthful review without me mentioning this.

Other than that, through the first three episodes I am having no major negative feelings that would cause me to cease interest. Granted I may be a little biased 😉 I feel like so much and not much has happened already, and I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. I’ll leave that up to your own judgement. 

But yeah! This is a fun story that is outside my usual reading zones, and I am glad BTS were the ones to help me explore other horizons of story telling. If you want to see what I’ve been clamoring on about for an entire blog post check out WEBTOON and search for 7FATES: CHAKO for the weekly updated series. Hopefully you won’t be disappointed. I haven’t been so far  Thank you so much and have a great day

California Governor Wants Mental Health Courts for the Homeless

 

Mental Health is a serious issue that has mainly been overlooked in the past, and it happens to affect a good percentage of homeless people.  Some of these people are too poor to afford care, or simply do not realize they need it.  Some mental illnesses lead these people to be a danger to themselves and others which often causes trouble.  Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed having mental health courts who can order treatment and care of the homeless.  This would keep them out of prison and allow them a place to stay and receive treatment for mental illnesses or addictions without just being thrown in jail.  While if they refuse to treat the addiction they will receive punishment.  While many argue there is not funding for the project, the Governor says it is more than necessary to help these people that have no one else to help them, and that the money could be used more efficiently in the government.

 

While there will be an initial cost of the project, overall I believe it would help the economy.  Potentially dangerous homeless people can cause devalue in property.  Also, if the program is successful it will help people get over their addiction or get on the proper care regimen to function properly in society.  If these people are able to get on their feet then they can likely get jobs and contribute to the economy, therefore improving it.

Personally, I think this is a necessary step in the right direction.  Is it a perfect solution?  No, but nothing truly is.  It is definitely time to address the issues of those who are looked down upon by society and offer them a helping hand.  If we help others, oftentimes it will come around again as someone helping us when we need it. 

 

Mental Health is real, and it is supper important.  Many people have the misconception that it is not purely because it is something you cannot see.  However, the sooner we start to address the problem the sooner we can start to recover from it.  We are in a seriously bad time of mental health, and something needs to be done about it.  We work too much and put everything before our self care, particularly countries like America where corporate runs everything. 

Works Cited

Thompson, Don, and Janie Har. “CA’s Governor Wants Mental Health Courts for Homeless People.” AP NEWS, 3 Mar. 2022, apnews.com/article/homeless-california-

gavin-newsom-919b1464a03a27ffbe503a31088249d1. Accessed 4 Mar. 2022.

 

I Have Called You By Name

At the beginning of last month, Wednesday March 2 was National Read Across America Day and our literary class went outside to read for the entirety of fourth block. We all grabbed our books and spread out across the main lawn of our school campus. Some of us laid out on the dry, cool grass and some of us sat on the smooth, chill concrete sidewalk. Embracing the sunlight or the cool shade of a tree, we all got comfy to begin reading. The book I brought to read (and that I’m still reading) is called I Have Called You By Name by Jerry B. Jenkins. (I also read Tactics by Gregory Koukl, which is a very good book as well, but its not what I will be focusing on today.)

I Have Called You By Name is the novel version of the first season of the show The Chosen. This show, just to let you know, is a totally crowd-funded multi-season TV series that has its very own app (working with Angel Studios ). The show is completely free to it’s viewers due to other people’s contributions. Being fully crowd-funded, it also has absolutely no ads and is only streamed on The Chosen app, which you can get on your device or on your smart TV. 

the first book is a written form of the first episode, along with the beginning of the book including the written form of the Shepard, which is a short episode that Dallas Jenkins (the front man and creator and scriptwriter for The Chosen) created for his church’s Christmas show on his friends farm. This episode is what inspired the entirety of The Chosen. 

After the book tells Jesus’s birth story, it jumps to tell a piece of Mary Magdala’s story; her childhood and her father reminding her the words of Isaiah 43:1 “… fear not, for i have redeemed you: i have called you by name, your are mine. Then the book goes to show us her as an adult, struggling with the consequences of her being possessed by demons. The next section tells us about the Pharisee Nicodemus being stopped on the road by the praetor of Capernaum, Quintus. they talk of who they serve and mention unpaid taxes, a tense conversation that ends with Quintus making a confusing fish analogy. 

the story moves on to introduce us to Matthew, a Jewish tax collector who is methodically getting ready to go to work. then next few chapters bounce between Matthew’s experience as a hated Jew  and Nicodemus experience of being a praised rabbi that is told to go help the Romains. 

after that, we get to see a fistfight. the fisherman brothers, Simon and Andrew — with Simon in the center of the group of men, fighting one of his wife’s brothers Jehoshaphat. just as Simon is about to win,  Jehoshaphat’s brother Abrahim beats Simon and truly wins the fight. 

The Chaos Chapter: Freeze (Part Two)

Welcome to the third installment of the Tomorrow X Together review series! In this blog, I’ll be reviewing the last four songs from their second studio album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. I’m working my way back in their discography, so in the next post about them, we’ll move to min1sode: Blue HourFreeze was their most recent release when I discovered the group, so I hold it near and dear to my heart—-and that means you have to like it too! If you want to listen to the album yourself, you can do so here: 

https://open.spotify.com/album/5Zdr9vactwnJH4Vpe9Mid9?si=LsDSOcS_Rd6GWvHBgbvRmQ

 

Before We Get Into It   Because this is a blog mostly viewed by my peers, I make the choice to use the simple English translations from the reliable sources available to me and discuss those versions of the writing. They are not perfect reflections of the original writing, and unfortunately, they cannot capture the nuance of the writers’ words. If you enjoy music in languages that you yourself are not fluent in, I strongly encourage you to seek commentary on your favorite tracks from native speakers!! I find it really fun/interesting to research elements of music that cannot be conveyed through translation software, regardless of how advanced it might be, and it can be super helpful in getting you the full picture of what the artist(s) intended to capture and/or accomplish with their work.

What if I had been that PUMA

The fifth track in the album, “What if I had been that PUMA” is one of Tomorrow X Together’s most wildly underrated tracks. With a similar them to the last song featured on their first full album (The Dream Chapter: Magic), it shares the difficulties of a narrator stuck between two opposing choices: “A” or “B”.  While the Korean title translates closely to “Balance Game,” the mention of a puma in the English title is a reference to the lines: “At the zoo but can’t guess when / What would the puma feel?” and “Pick your answer A or B, it’s a balance game with a puma and I in front of it.” The puma represents a more primal version of the narrator; it has the choice of staying in a cage to suffer and ultimately die or trying to escape by taking intense risks. It alludes to the human version of this struggle: deciding to live in a cycle of dissatisfaction, or take chances on themselves, their dreams, and their desires and chance losing the stability of unhappiness. “Probability is fifty-fifty / My choice will become a reality / But I’m not sure either way / Close my eyes and guess it, guess it / Choosing between A and B / Don’t know if it’s the right answer, I’ll leave it up to luck” are lines that depict the narrator’s sheer uncertainty about which choice will best serve them–they worry about being haunted by regret for their decision, so they leave it to fate to avoid feeling responsible for the circumstances they end up in.

No Rules

This is one of those songs you feel guilty about bobbing your head to once you remember the meaning of the lyrics.  Due to the similar titles, it can be interpreted that “No Rules” is somewhat of a sequel to the preceding track “New Rules” (also from The Dream Chapter: Magic), which expresses the narrator’s desire to make their own rules in life. Now, the narrator has achieved the freedom they so desperately desired, but it seems to have come with a cost; they realize that their youth was the real freedom, and that adulthood comes with its own set of expectations and standards. This feeling of frustration is exemplified with lines like: “I’ve never wanted a routine / The alarm that rings whenever it’s my time to sleep / Yeah, why the hell does it exist? / My stretching belly fat is a bonus / Now there’s no bruises I can hit anymore / Yeah, I wanted to be a punk / Oh, but did I just become a real idiot?” The emotional impact of still being confined by the unspoken rules that society has designated for successful adult living is very prominent in the song.  “Left foot or right foot first? / Is it A.M. or P.M. right now? / I’m confused because all of the broken patterns / Don’t know what’s right, I don’t get it.” It indicates that the narrator has lost their sense of control over their life, and that they are living in bitterness about how they must move in accordance with the rules without giving thought to how or why.

Dear Sputnik

“Dear Sputnik” is the superior B-Side—I said what I said. Songwriter Huening Kai captures a wonderful blend of sincere intensity with his powerful lyrics that perfectly suit the pop-punk style of the track. The title is a reference to the artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, to successfully orbit Earth; the definition of this Russian word can also be translated to “fellow traveler” or “guide.” The song describes the journey of a narrator who is lost in the frozen emptiness that is space, until they discover their own sputnik, a unique connection that helps the narrator heal and move forward with their life. As would be expected, there are many metaphors comparing love and loneliness to terms related to space, such as “Let’s engrave eternity in a starlight” and “In a crumbling world / I found a star called ‘you.'” The consistent inclusions of the onomatopoeia ” oh, oh, oh-oh” left space for the performers to show the feeling of moving toward something greater throw their singing, with each “oh” sounding higher and louder than the last. Word choice seems to be influenced by the narrator’s fierce passion for the person and relationship they are describing, and the narrator speaks in ultimatums, leaving no room for the discussion of possibility that their feelings may fade or the relationship may come to an end; the small choices solidify that the idea of this connection not lasting is too devastating for the narrator to even consider, and it further clues the audience in on how bad the mental place they were in before was before they met their “sputnik.”

Frost

“Frost” is another favorite track of mine; the concept of the song itself is a bit darker than anything featured in Tomorrow X Together’s music, although the same cannot be said for their music videos, which usually feature snippets from the group’s complex and borderline-painful original storyline.  The lyrics help transfer the narrator’s feeling of claustrophobia and being trapped to the audience with lines such as “The hole stuck in my heart is getting bigger / That small island enclosed in a veil” and “At the tip of my tongue, I call out that name / See only my icy breath.” The narrator has this tortured tone that immerses in the audience in this frozen wasteland that they find themselves trapped in, and the incorporation of adlibs personifies the eeriness of the strange, isolated setting, as well as welcomes us into the mocking illusions that haunt the narrator. It does an excellent job of easing the audience from the pop-punk style of Tomorrow X Together’s other songs into something darker and more chilling.

why the folklore trilogy is a storytelling masterpiece

as writers, we often find ourselves picking apart every single detail of a story, down to the smallest nuances of a character, their purposes, and their motives. “august,” “betty,” and “cardigan,” are often referred to as the trilogy of taylor swift’s “folklore” album.

the three main characters include augustine, james, and betty. if this were any traditional story (with a beginning, middle, and end), we would see the beginning of the relationship between james and betty, then it would follow into the affair and aftermath.

instead, we begin with “betty,” ironically written from james’ perspective. using context clues, we can infer that betty and james were together before he became involved with another woman. he ponders the idea of coming directly to her, apologizing, making excuses for himself, and essentially saying that it was her all along – that he loved her, even though he was cheating over the summer. the song ends very ambiguously, with no one really knowing if betty ever took him back or not, or if the intervention even happened.

next, “august” is written from the perspective of augustine, the “other woman.” rather than demonizing her and playing on the homewrecker trope, “august” contains beautiful imagery surrounding her feelings of inadequacy. she feels guilty for loving a man who was already in a relationship, and she feels betrayed by james, because she doesn’t feel like she has the right to grieve a relationship that she was never supposed to be in.

finally, “cardigan,” is written from betty’s perspective. this is where we learn that, if the intervention ever did happen, she had the strength to turn him down. of course, lost love still lingers and still hurts, which she entertains in this song. in a certain way, it connects back to the storyline in taylor swift’s red album, with the underlying theme of, “i knew this was a bad idea, but i did it anyways, even though i knew it would haunt me.”

by now, everyone and their second-cousin’s pet snail knows about the folklore album, but what does it mean, and why, as writers, should we care?

there are so many instances of foreshadowing and detailed connections, as well as the full development of a story, its characters, and why it’s important to look at a situation from all angles. most people, when faced with someone like augustine, would immediately jump to blaming her for letting a man cheat with her. that is entirely not the case, though, and even if it was, it brings in the idea that it wasn’t what she wanted. everyone talks about how love is blind, and augustine’s point of view holds more weight when someone understands that she may not have felt like she had a choice, or she legitimately may not have had one. 

even those who have no sympathy for cheaters can find pieces of themselves within james, and especially those who have been cheated on or been a second choice can resonate with betty’s character. it’s a gentle reminder that we are all flawed, and we are all trying our best.

finally, it’s worth noting that the storyline carries over into so many other songs on the album and its successor, “evermore.”

what are you waiting for? give it a listen

The Holy Trinity: Sweet Home

There will be mild spoilers in this review! It mostly focuses on examples of writing tools from the first episode and knowing about the situations mentioned shouldn’t take away from your viewing experience, in my opinion. But if it means you’re more likely to watch the show, then yes—this blog is bursting with bad, terrible spoilers! It actually includes a spreadsheet of all character deaths and relationships and—

See the source image

If you ever hear me yelling about shows that are overdue for another season, expect to listen to an essay’s worth of conversation about how much Sweet Home deserves it. Released on March 2, 2020, Sweet Home had all the markings of a hit television franchise: fascinating, sympathetic characters; clever storytelling matched with a pace perfect to keep audiences on the edge of their seats; and a rejuvenating spin on the classic, apocalyptic trope the world has come to adore. In addition to the terrifying monsters that have overtaken the city and the apartment complex, the series depicts characters facing hardships in mental health, mistreatment, trust, loss, and navigating the warped perception of morality and obligation that comes with life-or-death situations.

Foreshadowing covers the show with an eerie fog. Within the first twenty minutes of the show, the protagonist Cha Hyun Su narrowly escapes death on two separate occasions.  On his way to his new apartment, a furious blade escapes a weedwhacker and is mere inches from hitting him directly in the face; later, we find out that Hyun Su moved here with the intention of taking his own life, and he contemplates jumping from the roof of the building before he is distracted by one of his neighbors. The inclusion of these incidents gives the audience the sense that Hyun Su does not feel like he is in control of his own fate. He considers suicide inevitable and is at the mercy of the world moving around him. At the end of episode one, his nose begins to bleed profusely, a sign that he has been infected with the disease that is turning people into vicious monsters. In literary terms, his contraction of the disease is a manifestation of his lack of power, and it brings him the toughest version of the battle to stay in control of his own mind and ultimately, to stay alive.

There is a lot of situational irony that accompanies a person turning into a monster. Instead of opting for each individual who becomes infected to have the same condition, the writers took a more creative approach. If they cave into the infection, they will become a monster whose design is based on their deepest internal desire. Before her death in Episode One, one of Hyun Su’s neighbors is seen talking on the phone with her friend and petting her cat, saying that she wishes she was able to eat whatever she wanted. Hyun Su is notified that his package of food was placed outside his door, but when he goes to retrieve it, he finds that it has been ravaged, with packages leading to the neighor’s bloodstained door. Hyun Su sees the mangled corpse of her cat before a hand reaches out, pulls it back into the room, and seems to begin feasting on it. He retreats to his room, only to have the neighbor approach his locked door, asking for help; when he refuses, blood begins to poor from her nose, a sign of infection, as she screams about how hungry she is and begins beating on the door with startling strength. Later in the show, a monster with protistic legs is seen running at the speed of light, and a woman who lost her child becomes a large, nonviolent fetus. It is the inclusion of small details like these make the show so captivating; the audience gets these subtle reminders that the monsters were once people with the most human desires we could possibly think of, and it makes us even more fearful about the safety of the characters we have quickly grown attached to. Although, we still experience this spark of curiosity of what kind of monster each person would turn into. 

None of the leading characters in this show are perfect or have ideal intentions. Most of the leaders are forced into the position by circumstance, and they are weighed down by the hard decisions that they never wanted to make in the first place. Like other characters, Hyun Su is borderline forced into finding the endurance to fight the infection and, in turn, the trauma that resulted in the dreary mental state we saw at the beginning of the show. In the midst of this atypical situation, the writers present us with an exacerbated version of a common problem: if something positively affects the whole is an individual morally responsibly to make sure that action continues, despite the internal conflict it causes them and others? Written to be eerily relatable, the characters’ circumstances always have the audience asking themselves what they would do if they were in a particular person’s place, which makes the story all the more fascinating. 

Sweet Home has a special place in my heart, as it was the first foreign drama that almost immediately reeled me into an emotional connection with the characters. It is truly one of a kind in its content and presentation. Two years without a second season has been a tough ride for its many viewers, but they can find comfort in knowing that the Webtoon the show is based on is available to read in full. https://www.webtoons.com/en/thriller/sweethome/list?title_no=1285&page=1

Reviewing “The Hit Man”

https://maynardjgvsu.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/the-hit-man.pdf

Hey >.>  “The Hit Man” is a genius story written by T.C. Boyle in 1977. This blog post is only made possible by his mind and literary work of course. So, this is what happened…

It was Reading Across America Day, and I needed a juicy book to sink my talons into. I went to my teacher– the magnificent Clinnesha Sibley– who had recommended me a book of short stories by a man named T.C. Boyle, the book titled The Human Fly and Other Stories. Next thing I know I’m losing my marbles over the stories I’m reading from the book. 

From the anthology of short stories, I chose “The Hit Man” to write about today because it is so simple yet so conveying. (Above is a link which provides an online copy of the story. You won’t get a virus by clicking it, just a great read. Here it is again in case you missed it the first time 😉

https://maynardjgvsu.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/the-hit-man.pdf

A Disclaimer: I am no professional story reviewer. I am simply sharing what I stumbled upon and thought to be a bomb read.

“The Hit Man” is a compelling story of a man’s entire life. The main awe factor is the way in which the story is written, which is in these sections. As you may have seen or read from the links provided, we are introduced into the story by an unnamed narrator who recalls moments from The Hit Man’s life. (The main character is named The Hit Man.) He continues revealing this mysterious Hit Man by small snippets of information. Some sections are on the chunkier side and others are only one sentence, and that’s all they need.

This works so well. What I thought at first would become choppy, turned into the opposite. The story flowed effortlessly which was achieved by keeping all the fragments of The Hit Man’s life in chronological order. Sections tying into one another helped execute Boyle’s plan as well.

One example of this is with the “Peas” section. I thought The Hit Man becoming frustrated with peas was Boyle trying to show The Hit Man’s humanity. It was even kind of funny to me. However, after reading on to the “Moods” section, I see it is his short temper that was being spotlighted.

There was also a lot of imagery that compared The Hit Man to the Grim Reaper. Throughout, The Hit Man is constantly being recognized by his black hood. Another reference is when The Hit Man receives a golden scythe trophy. He also is thought to be this hellish character as he “pets” a three-headed dog after raking leaves on his lawn and igniting them.

This only further helps build the personality file of who The Hit Man is, an unstoppable and dangerous man. I think it was a smart choice to do this because since there isn’t much space for character building through the section storytelling, it helps readers to already have a foundation laid. That way, they are able to quickly absorb The Hit Man’s aura and move on to finding out even more about him.

There is one thing I didn’t quite get…I hate to even say this…It was the “Talk Show” section. I don’t have much to say on it because I just wasn’t sure what its purpose was. Also, I was curious about the logistics behind The Hit Man revealing his identity; however, it was still very interesting to read.

Overall, “The Hit Man” was such a fun thing to start with for my journey into reading more often. Of course, I highly recommend you give it a try. Be safe out there and try not to make too many enemies because you never know…just kidding. But seriously be safe 

Call Me By Your Name Review

 

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

Disclaimer: This is my review of the Call Me By Your Name through its film and script, not the book. Credit to authors and director mentioned below.

The movie Call Me By Your Name takes place in the Summer of 1983, “somewhere in Northern Italy.” Oliver is a foreign exchange student who comes to live and study under Professor Perlman for the summer. The professor’s son, Elio, is a young, bright boy who loves to dance kinda funny.

The film follows the complicated relationship of Elio and Oliver who begin to bond incredulously. What begins as simple infatuation evolves into insatiable desire.

One of the biggest things this movie shows is how stellar character interaction can be for ultimate audience satisfaction.

                  It must be talked about! See? Elio agrees. 🙂          

For starters, Call Me By Your Name does an incredible job at utilizing indirect dialogue. There are too many moments to keep track of, but perhaps one of the best to mention is when Elio is expressing to Oliver how he feels about him.

Elio never just comes out and says, “I like you.” He talks to Oliver in a certain way where he beats around the bush with his language, and Oliver follows along talking in a similar fashion.

It just makes sense. It’s the 80s and society was in a different place, especially with the topic of sexuality in public, as they are in during this conversation. It also keeps the audience figuring out the plot themselves rather than simply having it laid out for them. Here is the scene from the film.

This is only one of many scenes that showcase this indirect style of dialogue that courses through the film’s structure.

A picture from the above mentioned scene.

There are also many subtle notions that are easy to be overlooked but help the storyline. One of these instances when Oliver is eating a poached egg for the first time. He struggles at first and ruins his first egg, but after he learns he devours the egg.

Elio’s mother, Annella, suggests he have another.

Oliver responds with the line, “I know myself. If I have three, I’ll have a fourth, and then more.”

The script elaborates after this line by writing, “ELIO has never heard someone Oliver’s age say, I know myself. It’s somewhat intimidating. He lowers his eyes.”

This highlights how early on the power dynamic Oliver and Elio struggled with in the beginning of the film began. I imagined it perhaps started later on when the two were more vocally catty.

Perhaps I am reading too much into it. For me though, upon reading the script I have noticed more spots that could have easily been overlooked watching the film, whereas a viewer might only focus on the more obvious scenes shown.

Another powerful scene that deserves its own moment is probably toward the very end of the film. Elio’s father has a talk with Elio about their relationship, and it is very emotional. It adds all the closure you didn’t realize you and Elio needed by that point of the film. Here is the video and script for the scene.

This is actually very unique for a LGBTQIA+ film. For the gay male character to have such a supporting father is not a common thread of almost any gay films/shows. Besides the closure and diversity it delivers, this moment deepens the layers of the father’s character. It shows how insightful and observative he is, while also providing care for his son he knows is hurting. This scene hits the audience at an already rough point of the film, but it is vital.

Overall, I can only hope I did this movie the justice I feel it deserves. Call Me By Your Name has been such a great addition to cinema, and has phenomenal acting. Like writing aside, the actors/actresses serve.

What’s not to love about this movie? I invite you to go take a trip to Italy through the film and see for yourself (possibly again) what I’ve been geeking over for an entire blog post. You might just have a good time 🙂

Thank you to André Aciman for writing the book. Thank you to James Ivory for writing the screenplay. Thank you to Luca Guadagnino for directing the movie. You guys thankfully made this story come to life. Again, thank you so much. <3

Tackling Self-Esteem and iNsecurity: Supermodel-SZA

 Released in the summer of 2017, SZA’s debut album, CTRL, gave many people a relatable grouping of songs which ventured into the workings of today’s relationships, insecurities, self-love, desire and so many more topics heavily affecting today’s’ generation. CTRL, as explained by SZA, is an album all about the concept of her control over her personal life. This album features 14 songs, each being unique and different than the last.

The opening of this album is a song featuring SZA’s vulnerability about a toxic relationship which leads to her questioning her beauty, her worth and analyzing her insecurities worsened by this relationship.  This song is none other than “Supermodel”.

Supermodel Sticker by SZA

“Supermodel” is introduced by SZA’s mother in a short skit. 

“That is my greatest fear
That if, if I lost control
Or did not h
ave control, things would just, you know
I would be… fatal”

As previously stated, CTRL is an album all about the concept of controlling certain aspects of our life. What can we control? How much control do we have? Do we have any control at all over our life? These questions, unfortunately, are not answered in this album, but it does call the listener to question these things.

Following the skit is an acoustic guitar chord which SZA describes as sad in a video interview with GQ. The song easily put me in a relaxed space on the first listen causing me to really sit and hear the lyrics with a cleared mind. 

I would describe the first verse of “Supermodel” as SZA’s coming clean  moment. It is in this verse that she reveals a moment of unfaithfulness to a partner after being abandoned by them on Valentine’s Day. I would even go so far as to say this song is a message directed towards them.

“I’m writing this letter to let you know…” begins this songs leaving it to  be interpreted as a letter. As the song progresses so does the direction of this letter. It’s a tennis match between a letter to herself and her past lover. She pleads for his validation of her beauty and love as she simultaneously questions why she can’t stand the thought of being alone and why she puts up with his lack of validation and love.

As the song progresses into the chorus drums are introduced to the song creating a rhythm which instantly lulled me. Still seeking validation from her partner on her outer beauty, she still ventures on to question why she isn’t comfortable with her own self.

I could be your supermodel if you believe If you see it in me, see it in me, see it in me; I don’t see myself” is the core of this entire song. When most people think of a supermodel, myself included, they think of high-confident people with charismatic energy and discipline about themselves. In these lines of the chorus, SZA wishes to be seen of a woman with confidence and status while she also fails to see it in herself causing questions concerning her self esteem and insecurity.

These are all very true topics that are relevant in today’s society. Comparisons of one’s self to “supermodels” or social media personalities, the normalization and often times praised culture of toxic and unhealthy relationships, the seemingly non-existent control people don’t think they have of their life. SZA did an amazing job putting all of these topics into one song with the lyrics while the actual musical production of it is sweet and calming.

The song goes on to the second verse which still talks of her seeking validation and wondering coming to the conclusion of why she chose to stay in an unhealthy relationship, which wasn’t love. And the chorus plays again and as the song closes it features the backing vocals of Pharrell, music artist and producer.

This song is a contemporary masterpiece, dissecting into the vulnerability of SZA, leaving something so relatable and beautiful behind it. I thoroughly enjoy this entire album and recommend it anymore, no matter what genre of music you like there is surely something on this album to satisfy your musical palette. I will be leaving links to the GQ interview previously mentioned and a link to song on YouTube. Be sure to check them out and I hope you enjoy the musical artistry of SZA and Supermodel. 

Thank You for Reading,

A Girl Lost in the Garden with Pretty Little Birds <3

 

Sexist Walmart Uniform Policy

Hello, today I will be reviewing an article about Walmart’s truck driver uniform policy and how it is discriminatory towards female drivers.

Check out the article here:

Www.cbsnews.com, 13 Jan. 2022, www.cbsnews.com/news/walmart-lawsuit-diana-webb-truck-driver-alabama/

Diana Webb, a female Walmart truck driver recently filed a lawsuit against the company because the uniforms were tailored to men’s bodies and didn’t fit women properly.  Webb states she had to search for other clothes that were similar to the uniform that would fit her.  When she asked Walmart to reimburse her for having to buy her own uniform clothes, the declined stating they would have to pay for all the females to buy their clothes if they paid for hers.  Webb decides to file a lawsuit against Walmart for this sexist policy of not having an appropriate female uniform.  Drivers can wear their own pants, however the men get their pants washed for free by Walmart, if the women elect to wear their own pants instead of the incorrectly fitting uniforms they also have to wash them themselves.  This might seem insignificant, but it is unfair to have a service available to men while not having that same service available for men.  Webb has also filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the blatant misogyny.

Considering the company has 54% female employees, this could lead to a significant but necessary loss for the company.  Uniforms need to be provided for the female employees that are not uncomfortable and don’t fit correctly because of their different body shape.  Walmart is a giant corporation, but since this sexist custom has come to public light, they will likely see a loss in business until the issue is corrected.  

In my opinion, this should have never been an issue to begin with.  Everyone knows men and women normally have very different body shapes, and accommodating uniforms should be provided by the company.  I hope Webbs wins the lawsuit and that the company must change this policy for the inclusion of all female drivers.  It is honestly ridiculous at this point that things like this are still happening in 2022.  Misogyny seems to be just as rampant now as it was 30 years ago, because we are unwilling to make progress.  Men refuse to give up the hold they have, and sure some things may seem petty and small, but every little straw will eventually break the camel’s back.

Unfortunately many policies such as this still hinder females from having the same privileges as their male coworkers; if the company is gonna provide and maintain proper uniforms for the men, they need to do the same for the women; anything less is unfair and discriminatory.  It is no surprise to me this happened in Alabama, the south is notorious for being discriminatory to anyone who doesn’t fit into the perfect little box of straight, white, neurotypical male, and if your a women you have to know your place- and honestly, nothing disgusts me more.  I am glad that this women is taking a stand to these policies that are unfair to female workers, companies need to provide equal opportunities for everyone.  Walmart is a company giant, and companies like that tend to think they can do whatever they want and no one will stand up to them, well, someone did, and I wish her the best in getting a little closer to equal opportunity.