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30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Twelve

Day Twelve: Your favorite villain song

“Poor Unfortunate Souls” as sung by the talented Pat Carroll. She has a rich voice and the character was convincingly evil. Years later I also see it as a statement on body issues. You have this large woman, who seems to prefer being large, urging impressionable youth that image was all that mattered in relationships. The message was beauty before personality (not like Ariel had much of one to begin with).


(This was embeddable, but the better version was not.)

In true villain fashion she wasn’t looking to keep a fair trade or make someone happy: she knew it was a path to ultimate power. She used appearance to be the deceiver and dropped the attractive countenance once she got what she wanted. It’s on the inside that counts:

There’s also a bit of a gender fight going on:

And in keeping with the female/evil depictions, I feel I need to add this:

(“Evil Flush” by Ponsho)

This question was tough since are some great songs to choose from. Several years ago I made a CD called “Evil in the Ear of the Beholder” and distributed it amongst my friends. (This may or may not have been illegal.) It included many Disney songs, but a handful of songs from so-called kids’ movies (like Anastasia and Fern Gully). If anyone is interested in the playlist let me know.

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30 Day Disney Challenge: Day Eight

Day Eight: Your favorite villain

Maleficent. I feel there is more I should say. I keep starting a post trying to express my admiration and explain the affect she had on my development as a sociopath. I don’t think that needs saying, though. Most of my friends understand how awesome she is (or at least nod and agree with me out of trepidation).

She wasn’t lavishly greedy or self-absorbed about her appearance. She carried out plans that were out of an inherent desire to cause suffering. She was good at waiting and played to the weaknesses of her foes. And all that because she wasn’t invited to a party. You see what happens when you snub the Mistress of All Evil?

By the by, I was excited to see all the Disney villains in Kingdom Hearts (1 and 2), but I flipped my shit when I saw she was there and, essentially, the one in control. She earned some damn respect in a group that even included a god (Hades).

Not to mention, she wins most epic battle:

Since Sleeping Beauty came out long before I was born, I’m not sure when I first saw it. It was probably shortly after it came out on VHS. Around then (per the Wikipedia page) I would have been 4 or 5. Apparently (per my dad’s account) when I first saw it I stood up and pointed at her shouting, “I DON’T LIKE THAT WOMAN!” In time I changed. It’s all about patience, right Maleficent?

HP777

With the new Harry Potter movie hitting theaters today, I wanted to post a humorous personal experience I’ve had with the series. First I’d like to say that this stems from being a comparative religion major and curiosity brought this upon me. Ergo, I don’t advocate either point of view, although you may be able to tell which side I’m not too fond of.

When Harry Potter first came out there was a lot of confusion from Christian parents about how “good” for their children this series really was. Obviously it encouraged their children to read and have active imaginations, but extremists couldn’t help overlook Potter’s powers. Once the concept sunk in that this was possibly a corrupting occult force, articles and films were distributed to inform the populace that we may just have to burn these books in the street. That’s what you do with books you’re afraid of witchcraft, right?

Okay, I’ll stop with the tired rhetoric. My personal story is that I loved the books and the movies. I ignored the anti-Potter hype because I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. Truth be told, I didn’t know how bad it was until my third year of college when I was immersed in my religion studies and I came upon a movie. The movie was Harry Potter: Witchcraft Re-Packaged. I had (and still kind of do) Pagan leanings at the time and wondered what sort of point this movie could make. It was amazing(ly bad). Harry Potter can be associated with any faith, if you try hard enough. J.K. Rowling, however, wrote with a Christian notion of the power of love. Jeremiah Films set out to disprove that and show Harry Potter used witchcraft as a vehicle to teach moral relativism and the Dark Arts.

I own this film. I have watched it several times. I have watched it with Pagans and Christians alike. I have seen it with several hardcore Harry Potter fans. I have watched it with fellow religion students. (Many of these overlap as you may guess.) But not one of them could find a single point to agree with. What disturbs me is that (judging by the YouTube comments) there are people who took this to heart. Or if they weren’t sure, there are other sources willing to provide answers, such as Christian Answers.net:
“Author Richard Abanes has written a book called Harry Potter and the Bible. He says that the movies and books not only teach anti-Christian lessons on the occult, but also moral relativism, and desensitize children to profanity and off-color humor.”
Also Jeremiah Films is still up and running and although the HP movie is gone from their product page, in its place are several Pagan Invasion movies – including one on Twilight.

Since my father is going to a seminar on a book called The Gospel According to Harry Potter, written by Connie Neal, I did a little research. I wanted to know how the silent majority thought and up popped several recent articles of the same title, not related to this book. I’m sure that every time a new HP book or movie comes out there are similar articles. They are from Christian bloggers and ministers who want to get the word out that they have listened to what J.K. Rowling keeps trying to say:
“In the last book, “The Deathly Hallows,” of which the first two-part movie episode was released last week on DVD, Harry discovers an inscription on his parents’ tombstone: ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.’
“In case you don’t recognize it, it’s from the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15:26.
“In an interview, Rowling said the verse ‘is the theme for the entire series.'”
Randy Patrick of The Winchester Sun

“Only when Harry and his friends learn to trust in that power of love can they defeat evil and transform the wizarding world into a place where — as the Book of Revelation says — there is no more pain or tears.”
Danielle Tumminio of Episcopal News Service

I can’t chose a side for Christianity, but as a student of religion I can say the first argument doesn’t have a lot of solid ground. My personal view is that if someone converts outside of a family’s religion simply because of something they saw on T.V. or read about then there are two issues: 1. the religious structure may not be strong in that child’s life and 2. there may be something else that’s pushing the child to seek love or power someplace else (teens convert or lose faith due to abuse, broken homes, or neglect… just sayin’).

I think the books are well written, but as my friends know I kept going back for

Snape thinks the most corrupting force is fan fiction. Have you talked to your children about slash?

The Overlord of Eeeevil

I have held in high regard numerous villains throughout my life. One in particular that shaped my young mind was Skeletor. He had the looks, he had the castle, and he had a great sinister laugh, but unfortunately he had incompetent underlings. For the NSPCC I changed my profile picture so my friends could enjoy looking at a truly man’s man, Skeletor. My admiration presses me to dedicate a post on the Internet’s view of him.

I was reminded to do this as I was on vacation when my sister sent me a link to Not Now, Skeletor. This tumblr makes him a part of all our beloved childhood memories:

There was the Skeletor Saves auction charity event (for homeless LGBT youth) that had several provocative images depicted here at HuffPo. This one I had to hunt down on another site:

(Via Obvious Winner)

And I had been meaning to post this as a separate pic, but it seems appropriate to include this here:

He is Vigo!

Mom and I caught the SUPERIOR Ghostbusters II on T.V. the other day. Well, we saw the tail end where they have to call on the boys to rescue the city with the Statue of Liberty. Remember how awesome that was? You don’t agree? You can burn. In hell. So says Vigo! (You are like the buzzing of flies to him.)

Unfortunately I can’t get any good YouTube videos of the Vigo scenes, especially the one I wanted of Peter MacNicol’s character. Instead I am reminded of another recent family conversation that will pull today’s post together. I was talking to Dad the other day and tried to remind him of the “happy little trees” guy. He kept saying he could not remember who that was. I was saying over and over that a) Dad had the same hair as Bob Ross back in the 70’s and b) who didn’t know Bob Ross’s lulling, dulcet voice and pleasing artwork? Like magic Ross appeared on channel 13 within the hour. I couldn’t believe it that I had proof of this man’s existence and my father still couldn’t place him. His. Loss. My step-mother who, at first, agreed she had no recollection and then said she had vague memories, was lured in by the show as if the painting called to her somehow.

How do I merge ultimate evil with one of civilizations most Zen human beings? I have the Internet to thank for that. Exhibit A:

(Via Something Awful & their Photoshop Phriday goons.)
Exhibit B (which is one of the best Bob Ross impersonations I’ve seen; usually they are crap):

This got on a weird tangent, but I hope you enjoyed… Bob Ross meets Vigo the Carpathian. (And yes, I do know that Mr. Ross was not always so “Zen”.)

Use It Right – Medieval Torture Devices

It’s hard to write an original piece on this subject matter. There are already plenty of Top Ten lists or quick and dirty descriptors as well as hundreds of books. I’m also sure that for some of my more morbid friends this article won’t present too much new information, but I would like to have it up on my blog for posterity. From Middle School through early High School I loved learning about the Dark & Middle Ages. Specifically torture, the plague, and the Inquisition. Bring out your dead!

I had a recent fever for the flavor of torture because I kept stumbling across sites mentioning devices that I would either be unfamiliar with the name or the specific use (apply directly to…?). I wanted to be better educated. My favorite spot to catch up on learnin’ about Medieval life & times (and the best resource for my post today) is medievality.com. This site has the most comprehensive collection of devices. Now, while everyone is familiar with the Iron Maiden (excellent!), the Chair of Torture, the Rack, and probably several others (depending on what popular fiction you are into), you probably are misinformed about specific details on their implementation. This may be due to how it looks or it could be due to how it is used or spoken about in fiction. I am going to take this time to clarify some points that I found interesting.

For instance: Edgar Allen Poe in “The Pit and The Pendulum” gives the impression that the pendulum is just that: a swinging, semi-circular device like that in a clock, except slowly lowering (even Wikipedia thinks this). Per medievality.com on this subject, we see it as an object used to slowly elevate the arms of the victim. I wondered if this was something they came up with for lack of better evidence. Another specialty website, Occasional Hell, concurred that the original concept is wrong.

Occasional Hell does have a great selection of information (and a coloring book you can buy! – gift idea for me, guys), but we disagree on what “gibbeting” is. The hanging cage or coffin torture or “the keep torture” (no one can agree on the damn name) could be used as lethal or non-lethal and was very cruel torture in which a body was placed in a restricting device and placed outside to die or waste away by exposure and animals. But my understanding of “gibbet” by reading about the pirate Captain “Calico” Jack Rackham* and the reference in my favorite author Mary Roach’s book “Stiff” (Norton, 2003) is that you are already dead when you recieve that sentence. The act of having your body mutilated is sentencing your soul. Displaying it for the townsfolk is a warning:
“To gibbet is to dip a corpse in tar and suspend it in a flat iron cage (the gibbet) in plain view of townsfolk while it rots and gets pecked apart by crows. A stroll through the square must have been a whole different plate of tamales back then.” (Roach, p.41)

Then there is the “Chair of Torture”. Yes, commonly it was used for the pressure applied slowly to drain you… er, the victim, of blood through the spikes.** What is not commonly mentioned is the fire. That thing is metal. Many of these chairs were built with a way of putting coals underneath so it would heat up. Heat & pressure. Delightful. In fact, a lot of torture devices could be modified for heat if someone really wanted to set something on fire – the head crusher, the breast ripper (don’t think about it don’t think about it), the boot. All fun times.

So what are my new favorite torture devices I learned about this week? Well, I found out about the Pear of Anguish:


It has a pleasant shape, it kind of reminds me of a key, and the meaning and method of torture is quite imaginative. There were different sizes and shapes to stick in different orifices (depending on gender & crime). You would be punished with this if you were a blasphemer, supposedly homosexual, adulterous, or a consort with demons. If you didn’t die from it, you could die later from infection or you would be disfigured for life.

And then there’s the Crocodile Shears (I will be hated for this, I don’t care):

A very special… special device. Not used often, but a good deterrent for would-be plotters against the throne. Yeah, sure you could use it for fingers, but it’s just the right size for the part of anatomy that will teach your traitors a lesson. And most likely kill them.

And the less lethal, just plain silly “Mask of Infamy”:

Coming in a variety of shapes and flavors, this told your friends and neighbors that you have been very stupid. Similar to branks (or the shrew’s collar) which was meant to shut a woman up and embarrass her, the Mask of Infamy took it to a whole new level. You not only couldn’t talk, but an image of utter absurdity was associated with you from then on. If you… survived the ordeal.

If you find yourself in Europe, you can seek out museums with torture devices on display, such as The Torture Museum (San Gimignano, Italy) (by the way, I recommend just going to the corkscrew-balloon website if you are into the bizarre and morbid). There are a few spots in America, but most are with replicas. If you go to Medieval Times, they have a little one set up that you can drunkenly stumble through if it’s part of your special pass. I got to go last Valentine’s Day. It was very romantic.

*The awesomest of awesome pirates. If you don’t agree with this, I will fight you. No lie.
**And Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow would make you think it or the iron maiden will have you explode in blood. Still worth the watch. The comedic amount of blood is probably what allows the brain override the nausea factor.

Again, I appreciate anyone who has made it this far through another one of my crazy, delusionally long posts. I know the post is late today. I should have done the research & writing yesterday (had the research, but was lazy). Hopefully my ADD will keep me to shorter posts later this week. And no, I didn’t want to talk about the Judas Cradle.

[Edit from December 2012: This has been far and away the most searched for and read post on my blog. If you sickos get this far please like, comment, or share.]

Hostility Insurance Part Two

When we last left our heroine, she had obtained health insurance from a company that took pity on her circumstances. The benefits of this relationship filled her with utter disdain and enmity. Her are the rest of her tribulations:

I had an option to use this insurance for doctors’ visits (even specialists, which is the important bit here). Since I was being bled dry by their premium, however, I ended up chickening out on the only appointment I had set up during the coverage. $50? Now, the insurance that I had when employed didn’t have a much lower copay, but I was getting paid. (Though looking back, I was getting raked over the coals with that company as well… hahaha.. I’m laughing so I don’t cry.)

My neurologist wanted to see me to make sure I hadn’t had any seizures. The job I had was causing these seizures. Without the job, the medication was doing what it needed to. Ipso facto, I was fine and didn’t need to tell the doctor that in person. It would have been a waste of time and money. I know you can’t really waste an unemployed person’s “time”, but recently the doctor I was going to had an hour’s wait before I saw her. I like to think she was making herself pretty for me.

I moved from Atlanta to New York state, thinking I was taking my insurance with me. Oops. I called to renew and found they don’t cover my new state. That was odd to find out since the parent company was based in New York. I have decided not to call the parent company and go through that nonsense again. I checked out New York State’s Insurance website. Thankfully, New York seems to be a bit more understanding than Georgia. I wonder why that is…

In my new search I have come across several state programs, however some are solely directed at the employed, people only living in NYC, or if you have a pre-existing condition you can pay $400/mo out of pocket. Well that’s helpful [RAGE]. I decided to check the companies listed on the site and call some individually. One said they don’t cover my county (I am not in the city if you can’t tell). So I’m now waiting on an appointment for a sort of welfare insurance? I have to basically present my entire life humbly and tell them I am desperate and broke. Being unemployed is full of new and exciting experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I have not lived a life of privilege. It’s just that had always thought my college degree would take me on a journey of *marginal* success and I’d never be in a situation of struggle like this. Welcome to the real world.

Happy Bunny Graphic #4
via ScrapsYard.com

Edit: I figure I should post the link to part one here to answer any confusions for people only encountering this article.

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