Small News

Or as Jay would say “small” “news”.

Just found out last night that starting on August 25, 2014 the makers of The Hobbit (“the” “hobbit”) will begin a worldwide contest to find the ultimate Hobbit fans.

CAN YOU SEE HOW CONFLICTED THIS MAKES ME???

1) It is me. It is obviously me. I am one of the truest Tolkien fans I know, and this after four years at Carleton! (Note: I make a lot of bold statements here! I mean them in a very over the top and exaggerated way, a sort of sweeping statement of emotion. There are many different ways in which one can be the truest Tolkien fan!) I mean pretty much every action I’ve taken since I saw The Fellowship eleven years ago can be traced back to Tolkien. I learned German because it was as close as I could get to Old English in high school. I went to Carleton largely because Barrie M. Osborne, the producer of The Lord of the Rings, is an alumn. If I ever get married (unlikely) it will have to be on March 22, 2015, exactly one century after Ronald and Edith tied the knot. I wore the One Ring from our Lord of the Rings Risk game for almost a year! It is me!

2.) It is obviously not me. True, I think the original trilogy-the origogy, if you will- is the best thing that has happened to me, but I can’t say the same for this new trilogy purportedly based on The Hobbit. I will refrain from ranting in case it hurts my chances. Suffice to say I was less than highly highly enthused.

So that’s my problem. I’m definitely a true enough fan, but what if it’s not in the sense they mean? Not to mention those who win will only be “entered to win a once-in-a-lifetime journey to experience the cinematic Middle-earth in New Zealand, and watch the Trilogy’s epic finale, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, with director Peter Jackson”.

I’m slobbering just typing it. Those crafty devils know how to tempt a person…

Well, until the contest begins and I actually know what it is, I’ll just spend my time learning Elvish, re-watching all the movies, re-reading the books, and maybe actually finishing The Silmarillion. Even for me that book is dryer than butter scraped over too much bread.

This does not include my German copy of the Hobbit, the family copy of all four books, the Silmarillion which I have at home, my Evanstar pendant, the One Ring (which I know is around somewhere it just doesn't slip off unnoticed...), and the 36x24in collage I made of my Lord of the Rings flip calendar.

This does not include my German copy of the Hobbit, the family copy of all four books, the Silmarillion which I have at home, my Evanstar pendant, the One Ring (which I know is around somewhere it just doesn’t slip off unnoticed…), and the 36x24in collage I made of my Lord of the Rings flip calendar.

This is what I’ve been driven to:

Best decision or worst decision? Still can't tell.

Best decision or worst decision? Still can’t tell.

This is all I am anymore:

Working on it.

Working on it.

Ah well, the Shadow is only a passing thing: there is light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

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Required Reading to Understand a Freymiller Child

The exciting sequel! Now that I feel more confident claiming to speak for three other individuals, here’s the list of books that define the Freymiller children. They are not the favorites or even ones that we’ve all read, but I think that they provide us with a common lexicon. This task is quite an ambitious undertaking as I do not exaggerate when I say we grew up in a library.

1) Watership Down by Richard Adams

I got a lot of flack on including this as a movie instead of a book in my previous Buzzfeed inspired list, so I thought to amend this grievous error by describing in full detail the importance of this work to the collective Freymiller child psyche. I don’t know if I can.

Our mom read to us almost every night growing up, and while I was in elementary school, we were read this incredible odyssey (see number 4) featuring almost completely rabbits. This was for me in my crazy-about-anything-furry phase, so hearing about rabbits as main characters was all I really wanted. It took me many years to realize that what I considered to be a children’s book actually had layers of allegory and literary devices.

I still remember being engrossed by the tales (or tails?) of El-ahrairah and the Thousand. And the goofy and easily fooled Rowsby Woof! Oh Rowsby Woof!

Some of my best friends growing up were Fiver, Hazel, the bloody-minded but courageous Bigwig, and, of course, Kehar. Don’t even start talking to me about primroses.

2) Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This may seem a bit… disconcerting to those not acquainted with my family, but when we’re all together and ganging up on a single individual (as is inevitable with a group of four) we generally begin to chant softly “Kill the pig, slit it’s throat. Kill the pig, slit it’s throat.” So, we have that from this book.

Otherwise, I think we just enjoyed knowing that there were other children out there potentially further along in the downward spiral into primativism. It was comforting.

3) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

This is partially, or mostly, between my older brother and I, but he recommended this book to me somewhere around middle school and I found it the most hilarious and heart-wrenching story I’d ever read. I still find it hilarious.

You have flies in your eyes.

4) The Odyssey by Homer

I have vivid memories of sitting in bed listening as my mom said the words “and the rosy fingered dawn” for the umpteenth time. This, I think, was my first introduction to mythology and I loved it. It’s safe to say that my life would have turned out very differently if I hadn’t been exposed to the Homer at such a young age.

5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Well, I think our mom started to worry about us getting a moral compass (see #2 and #7) so she read this to us pretty regularly, just to make sure we still knew what right or wrong was. I think she also wanted us to have a mix of female characters in the midst of all our male rabbits and male school children and male Greeks and whatnot.

Needless to say Scout was and is my role model.

6) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A classic children’s book. Do you know how much wordplay there is in this book? The answer is a lot. More than you could shake a stick at. Enough to choke a horse. Take how many you think and double it and then double it again and then again and then double it again and then twice that.

I always wanted a dog like Tock, but it turns out sticking a clock into a dog isn’t feasible… yet. I believe in the powers of modern science.

7) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

It was a toss-up between this and The Fountainhead, but I just remember my older brother reading the beginning of Atlas Shrugged to me when I was home sick. Fond memories.

You’ve got to love this book if for no other reason than no one else is gutsy enough to stick in a 32 page monologue and still get published.

8) Grover Sleeps Over by Elizabeth Winthrop

Nostalgia thy name is Grover. Our mom makes the best Grover voice. Somewhere between Fozzie the Bear and Yoda.

9) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Took me far too long to realize that the fiction didn’t stop within the pages of the narrative proper. For the longest time I thought the entire forward section to the 25th anniversary was factual, and I thought William Goldman was a terrible person. Then I started to figure things out. Like the slight problem that there is no country of Florin or of Guilder. It all fell apart from there.

I’ve never felt so lied to by fiction before.

10) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Well… Ender was a third, right? And I’m the third child… So I always imagined that my older brother and sister were Peter and Valentine and that meant I got to be Ender and got to save the world by unknowingly sacrificing my soul. I was really excited about that idea.

It didn’t turn out to be true (though if you look at my future plans I may still someday end up in space), but we stilled enjoyed saying things like “The enemies gate is down”. Before it was cool, I might add.

11) House on Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Although I wanted this list to be 10 in order to satisfy some inborn need for evenness, I couldn’t not include some A.A. Milne. Again in order to instill that moral fiber into us, we got the Milne treatment. Don’t know if this really counts as “moral”, but it has something akin to character.

My childhood is pretty well summarized by the invention of the game Pooh-Sticks and by the day that Piglet got a bath. And if you ever hear me saying “tiddly pum” or “if you ask me, which nobody does” this is where it comes from.

The End?

I’m sure I’ve missed some big names, and I’m sure my siblings will correct me, so watch out for another addendum, but this is, for me, a good portion of our development. If you need a summer reading list, you could do worse.

 

Prairie Plants or How To Distinguish Between The One With The Purple Flowers and That Other One With Purple Flowers

In addition to watching 80s Dance movies, this summer I have  job working in the Hernandez Lab! Huzzah!

So far we’ve been doing  a lot of really cool projects with the GRASS experiment which is looking at the effects of the presence or absence of two big C4 grasses. We also came up with a name for the herbivory experiment: FENCE (Finding Evidence of Native Critter Exclusion). So it’s been a lot of grinding litter and smushing up dirt so far, with the hope of coming up with some good data very soon!

Probably one of the best parts of the job (other than the stimulating conversations and SCIENCE parts) is getting to spend at least a portion of most days out in the Arboretum. Specifically the prairie.

For people who don’t know prairie is the term used for North American grasslands, i.e. prairie is found nowhere else on the planet. Sadly much of the prairie has disappeared in the past two or so centuries. Gee, I wonder why. In Minnesota less than 10% of the pre-settlement prairie remains.

There is some good news, though. Many people (such as Mark, Dan, and the wonderful Arb Office crew) are working on creating prairie restorations. All of the prairie in the Arb is restored prairie, with new sections being added about every year. Already certain prairie specialists such as the Henslow sparrow and the prairie vole have made their way to the restored Arb prairie. A hopeful sign that something is indeed going right!

Here are some of my favorite plants from the Arb!

Sage (Artimisia ludoviciana)

Sage! Smells great, easy to distinguish by it's pale almost white coloration.

Sage! Smells great, easy to distinguish by it’s pale almost white coloration.

Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Also smells good! Opposite leaves and stuff.

Also smells good! Opposite leaves and stuff.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed susans have the distinctive dark center and fuzzy almost piercing stems.

Black-eyed susans have the distinctive dark center and fuzzy almost piercing stems.

Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)

A huge species of sunflower, they can grow over seven feet in a single growing season! Their leaves point north!

A huge species of sunflower, they can grow over seven feet in a single growing season! Their leaves point north!

Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

The leaves have a sort of dusty coloring. I really like the look of these plants, because they remind me of the inevitable decay of all life. And they're pretty!

The leaves have a sort of dusty coloring. I really like the look of these plants, because they remind me of the inevitable decay of all life. And they’re pretty!

So that’s some of the work I’m doing this summer. More updates to come.

Dirty Dancing and Frozen: What Have We Learned in 26 Years? Part 1 of 3

In my earlier post, I made the argument that 1) Dirty Dancing is a disguised fairy tale, and 2) it deserves more consideration than it has previously received. So how about a comparison with one of the most popular fairy tales turned film in recent years?

Here’s the story: two sisters are brought into conflict when the younger sister falls for a man she barely knows. The older sister, who has long craved her father’s approval, goes off and does something seemingly dangerous. In the end it is the younger sister’s bravery that saves the day and allows the audience to reject the mistaken faith in the patriarchy. All the action takes place during the summer in a remote and beautiful resort town.

I hope you can see what I’m getting at.

Of course, there are significant differences between Dirty Dancing and Frozen. Intended audience for example: teens vs. children. Companies involved for another: Vestron, a small independent film studio working mostly with producing Videos vs. Disney (if you’ve heard of them?). I’m not arguing that these differences don’t matter, but I think despite the outward appearance of dissimilarity there’s something to be learned from comparing these two movies.

Specifically we may learn the trajectory that representation of female characters and female desire has taken in cinema. We may also discover what “strategies” (if so vulgar a term can be used) might be considered for future film endeavors.

Supporting Female Characters and Female Desire

Let’s begin with a comparison of the main characters focusing both on their depictions and storylines.

In Frozen, the main character is Anna, a young girl (according to the Disney wiki… sigh.) who is daring, extroverted and optimistic. She is also very naive and is reminded of her naivete constantly throughout the film. It’s actually pretty exhausting to watch as at every turn she is told that she isn’t smart enough, isn’t strong enough, isn’t correct in her decision. This includes her initial wish to play (thus causing the repression of Elsa’s magic), her choice of husband, her decision to track down Elsa, her attempt to climb the cliff, her confrontation with her sister and then her attempt to save herself by kissing Hans. This isn’t saying that every decision she made was wrong. On the contrary many times her initiative was the only thing driving on the plot, and it is her impetuosity that in the end saved her sister, herself, and the entire kingdom.

What I’m bemoaning, though, are the responses by ever other character. Here are some quotes: “You can’t marry a man you just met.” (I’d also like to point out that 1) Disney has been applauded for overturning this convention which they previously perpetuated for some fifty years 2) love as magic is really a kind of integral part of fairy tales and shouldn’t in and of itself be condemned); “Anna, no. It’s too dangerous.”; “Stop talking”; “I don’t trust your judgment”. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Let’s compare this with Dirty Dancing. Again we’ve got a young girl, Baby, who is bold and daring. The first night she’s at the Kellerman’s she sneaks out to the staff quarters.

I can't not see this as a Citizen Kane reference.

I can’t not see this as a Citizen Kane reference.

Here’s a rundown of some of the major action Baby takes in the film: she obtains money to get Penny an abortion; she fills in for Penny in the mambo; she gets her father when the abortion goes wrong; she initiates a relationship with Johnny; she gives Johnny an alibi; she dances at the conclusion of the film (of course). Again, maybe these weren’t always the best choices, but they worked in the context of the film and more importantly…

BABY WAS SUPPORTED IN ALMOST ALL OF HER ACTIONS. She get’s the money and, yeah, Johnny is snotty about it, but he also points out that Penny should take it. Here’s only one of the many lines from Johnny showing his support for her choices: “I’ve never known anyone like you. You think you can make the world better. Somebody’s lost, you find them. Somebody’s bleeding–” “I go get my daddy…” “That took a lot of guts to go to him!” Look at that validation! It’s so wonderful to see characters supporting each other and a female character not being questioned at every turn.

Baby, in contrast with Anna, is supported both in the script and by the plot in general in her desire for Johnny and in her decisions and action. This, to me, is a much stronger storyline for female characters. It is true that in Dirty Dancing Baby’s father questions her actions, but that has to do with my second point of comparison between these two films.

BUT since this post is getting out of hand, you’ll have to wait for the second installation! Stay tuned for Frozen vs. Dirty Dancing on representing and overturning the patriarchy!

 

Addendum to Required Viewing

I have been correctly informed that I forgot two vital movies for understanding a Freymiller:

Babe (1995)

Pigs have never looked better. Cats have never been more terrifying. Dogs are slow to trust but quick to love. Mice are the natural Greek chorus.

If I had words to make a day for you! I’d give you a morning golden and true!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

I think this was one of the first “grown-up” movies I was allowed to watch. Sort of. It’s not a grown-up movie but it felt like it at the time.

Again this explains so much about our sense of humor. And again we’re just really big nerds.

So there’s that. I’m sure there are more, but that’s something to start with anyway!

Required Viewing to Understand a Freymiller Child

I’m going out on a limb and speaking for my siblings here as well, but these are the movies you’re gonna have to memorize if you want to fully appreciate the complexities of our family.

1) Robin Hood (1973)

Animated classic. Best thing Disney’s ever made. To this day nothing says love like a fox putting a ring miraculously made out of a lily on the finger of another fox. Justice was never better served than by putting Prince John, the Sheriff of Rottingham, and Sir Hiss to work on a chain gang. Sir Hiss has to hold a nail with his tail. Still the best film adaptation of Robin Hood ever.

Ooo-da-lolly ooo-da-lolly, golly what a day.

2) The Hobbit (1977)

This is a great movie and no one and nothing will tell me otherwise. At least, and please come at me if you’d like, it is a far better interpretation of Tolkien’s original than the floppy, fetishistic, over the top, CGI-laden, poorly paced, atrocity of an adaptation that has recently graced the screen. I’m sorry. I just get a little riled.

So the soundtrack to this movie is wonderful and sounds like a hippie fell out of a tree and straight onto a banjo.

3) Watership Down (1978)

You do not know fear until you have looked into the pale glowing eyes of General Woundwort. I fully believe he could take on a cat and win. Other pluses of the movie: “Can you run? I think not.” “Bright Eyes” by Art Garfunkel.

4) Breaking Away (1979)

God, this movie has everything. Young Dennis Quad. Enrico Giamondi. Quotes like “This hole! This quarry hole is ours!” “They’ll keep calling us cutters. To them it’s just a dirty word. To me it’s just something else I never got to be.” “Oh, Dave, try not to become Catholic on us.” “But, sir, they’re not good enough!”

Bike races. Moocher. Love. Cyril.

Indiana has never looked better and probably never will again. I’ll never forget the trip we took down to Indiana University to see the famous stained glass window broken by Cyril’s misplaced bowling ball. I can tell you this much, you watch this film at the end you will not be asking for a REFUND? REFUND?

5) Chariots of Fire (1981)

Just gonna tell you this, I don’t race on Sundays. That soundtrack, though. Is there anything better than “Jerusalem”? Probably not. This movie taught me everything I know about the bitter sting of success. I mean I’ve never really known that level of success, but I assume there’s a bitter sting based on this movie.

Ah it’s so beautiful, though, and the relationship between Liddell and Abrahams really reminds me of the whole Goethe-Schiller thing. The natural talent and the meticulous worker. It’s brilliant.

6) The Princess Bride (1987)

This is kind of a gimme. But a list without it would be INCONCEIVABLE.

7) O, Brother Where Art Thou (2000)

One of my strongest childhood memories is being sent out into the front room every time the cow shooting scene came on. Even now I get a little psyched out when I actually watch it. The Odyssey has always been particularly close to my heart and George Clooney as Odysseus just makes sense.

It’s beautiful. It’s got a great story. It’s bizarre and hilarious and it explains a lot of my sense of humor.

8) Lord of the Rings: Appendices (2003)

Um. We’re big nerds. Don’t know if this needs explanation?

9) Abbott and Costello: Jack in the Beanstalk (1952)

This is a terrible movie. Of all these movies, do not see this one. There’s a bunch of singing. Really bad singing. But I love Abbott and Costello more than is healthy. There’s also this snot-nosed kid in the beginning who is the worst. Oh man. I miss this movie so much.

10) The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)

Grew up watching the show. Jason Alexander as Boris Badinoff is really great. The main character’s name is Karen Sympathy. Need I go on? It’s pretty darn great. Cartoon becomes live action. Lots of breaking the fourth wall and just terrible terrible puns all the time. Non-stop.

So that should be enough to go on for now. If you make it through this list you’ll probably understand us almost as well as Timmy did. We miss you, Timmy.

 

 

Future Plans. To Save You the Trouble of Asking.

I’m going to graduate. In less than a year. And I’m an obsessive planner.

So when people ask me what I’m thinking about doing after college, I don’t think they’re necessarily prepared for the complicated web of plans and back-up plans and back-up back-up plans that follow. To alleviate the stress for other people and to save myself the saliva necessary to repeat this out loud, I thought I’d write a post about what I’m thinking of doing next June.

Contingency 1- Apply to grad school to pursue an MFA in creative writing.

I’m a biology major. It just makes sense. But actually I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I realized it was something that some people can feasibly do. I think I was six or seven? Since then I’ve been writing and reading pretty much constantly. At Carleton I’ve tried to take as many English/ creative writing classes as possible. I chose to be a biology major because I wanted to approach the act of writing literature from a new direction and because I love the ideas and stories inherent in biology. There’s something beautiful about the spiral of DNA and the interactions between predators and prey cycling in an endless egg. So I wanted to try and translate that beauty into literature. Not to mention since I’m human I read humanity into pretty much every interaction.

I’m applying to Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Syracuse as of now. Subject to change.

Likelihood of this contingency working: Very Low (at least the first two or three times of applying; it’s highly competitive and I still have such a long way to go with my writing.)

Contingency 2- Apply to field research jobs.

Ecology is a fantastic subject. You’re learning about these fantastic webs of life and their subtle influences on one another. It’s just astounding and humbling and crucial. The  more I learn the more I want to share it with other people and the more I believe this is some of the most important work being done today. A bold statement.

Not to mention the work is incredible in and of itself. You get to spend hours outside walking through prairies or forests or river terraces (well sometimes, if you’re lucky). Then you get to spend hours doing soothing and detail-oriented work. I plucked my stuffed animals as a child, ecology lab work is the adult equivalent of this. I adore it.

Then you get to work towards answering these life-defining questions. What is influencing the way nutrients cycle? What effect do these subtle differences have? What makes up a community and how is it formed? I’m geeking out just writing about it. Apologies.

Likelihood of this contingency working: Moderate (I’m probably most qualified for this but it’s also a matter of knowing people and finding jobs. If you know of any, let me know!)

Contingency 3- Get a part-time job (food services? publishing internship?) in a city and work on writing.

This would probably be pretty risky depending on the job found and the city in question. I would like to make money at some point if for nothing else than eating and paying rent. Also, this is such a broad contingency that it seems unlikely to succeed without a more focused direction. It’s still percolating in the back of my head. I have this hazy vision of me working in a coffee shop, but I have no idea how to operate a coffee machine, if that’s what they’re called. I’m friendly, though, so maybe that will help.

Likelihood of this contingency working: Moderate? I’m a really great employee and ever so humble, so who wouldn’t want me?

Contingency 4- Become a Culver intern.

I could earn money. Spend time with the Madre. Dabble on the beautiful shores of Lake Maxincuckee. Interact with… children… I could make it work!

Likelihood of this contingency working: Moderate to high. I think I could swing it. I would be such a chipper intern! So passionate and full of exuberance!

Contingency 5- Make good on that desire to colonize Mars.

If Ray Bradbury has taught me anything it’s that no one is better suited to the Martian climes than a white girl from the Midwest.

TADA!

So those are my plans. I’m trying to do that… networking thing? So if you have… networks? Let me know. Once again, too many words, not enough pictures. I know.

Once Upon the Time of My Life: Dirty Dancing as a Fairy Tale

As any of my housemates could happily inform you, I’ve been on a bit of a Dirty Dancing kick recently. At first, I was confused as to why, until I realized several things:

1) Dirty Dancing has an incredible soundtrack: Otis Redding, Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons, The Drifters, Patrick Swayze singing “She’s Like the Wind”. You can’t beat it.

2) Whoa I haven’t seen female gaze like this since Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. (Remember that one time I took a Cinema and Media Studies class and it totally qualified me to write about film?) Then again, there’s a lot of gazing in Ali. If you know of other good movies with prominent female gaze you should let me know, because I’m sure I’ve seen them and just wasn’t paying attention… but I’d like to watch more.

3) Hey! Dirty Dancing is totally a fairy tale.

Fairy tales have all sorts of definitions, but my definition is based primarily on Bruno Bettelheim’s fantastic book, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Fairy tales by my loose translation of Bettelheim are stories focusing on the generic hero, with no explicit moral (though often an implied morality), that operate by helping both the hero and indirectly the reader to develop. There are plenty of characteristics that might indicate the presence of a fairy tale: a simplistic plot line involving a series of tasks, magic, characters with hidden/mistaken identities, step-siblings and parents, and a conclusion with love or the attainment of wealth.

It doesn’t take much to see how I arrived at my conclusion, then. We’ve got Jennifer Grey introducing the film with the line “That was the summer of 1963, when everybody called me ‘Baby’ and it didn’t occur to me to mind.” In other words, “Once upon a time…” Not to mention the name “Baby”, a generic fill in similar to “The Miller’s Seventh Son” or “A Young Girl”.

Throughout the film Baby is challenged by a series of tasks: finding money to fund Penny’s abortion, learning the dance routine, and finally, providing Johnny with an alibi by admitting to her relationship with him to her father. Through these tasks she embarks on the process of all fairy tale heroes, distancing herself from her parents and creating her own identity.

There are also a host of common fairy tale characters in Dirty Dancing: we have Lisa as the ugly step-sister (Lisa really deserves her own post and might just get it if I’m not lazy); Penny as the fairy godmother (See Tamar Jeffers McDonald’s article “Bringing Up Baby: Generic Hybridity in Dirty Dancing); we’ve got Doc as the overly protective father (think the father in Donkeyskin); and, of course, there’s Johnny straight out of the beast as bridegroom cycle.

The beast as bridegroom cycle includes such stories as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Cupid and Psyche” and “The Frog Prince” (mostly, sort of, debatable). As you have probably guessed, in this cycle  the romantic lead initially appears unattractive if not downright terrifying but through the understanding and perseverance of the hero, the beast is transformed in the end to the appropriate partner. Sound familiar?

Of course, in Dirty Dancing you have a relationship where both characters influence each other and grow together mutually, which is really kind of beautiful.

So what’s the point? Why does it matter if some 80’s dance flick is a fairy tale or not?

I think it is fair to say that few people take Dirty Dancing very seriously; it is often dismissed as overly simplistic and cheesy. How is everything so easily resolved? Why do people express so much emotion? I suppose my point if I have one is to prove that the reason for the simplified ending is the same as in a fairy tale: the growth has already happened, the conclusion can be left to your imagination. Further, by keeping things simple the film continues to allow readers/viewers to fill in their own subconscious desires and needs throughout repeat viewings. Finally, as in most fairy tales, love, and here dancing as well, is a type of magic that helps bring about a positive conclusion.

Of course, if Dirty Dancing is a fairy tale, it is of the German variety. It ends not with “happily ever after” but with the knowledge that the end of summer is still upon them, that despite all Johnny and Baby’s growth and development, they are still due for a separation. In the traditional German ending, then, it is rather “if they are not dead yet, then they are still alive”.

What I’d like people to gain from reading this absurdly long post, is that despite, or rather because of, its simpleness and cheesiness, Dirty Dancing is a classic for a reason and bears more serious consideration. If taken in the context of a fairy tale, Dirty Dancing can be viewed as a story not only of growth for almost all the characters involved, but also as a growing movie for the viewer that changes and shifts as the viewer does.

If you’re still here at the end of this, good job! Here’s a picture of the best laughter you are ever likely to see. Image taken from http://www.moviefancentral.com/sgizzy316?page=21. I cite my sources. Daughter of a librarian for life.

P.S. Stay tuned for a comparison between Dirty Dancing and Frozen.

A Brief Apologia

I’m not currently traveling. I’m not doing research on the cure for any sort of disease. I’m not even in classes at the moment, it being summer and all, but I am still writing. And I’m still thinking thoughts about things, things that I somehow feel would benefit other people.

So I’m going to post things I suppose, and people can or can’t read them depending on their preference.

What could I possibly have to write about? Books, movies, new exciting plant species that I’m learning to identify, the latest Northfield Gossip, maybe if I grow bold some of my worse short stories and short short stories. Get excited.

I’m currently thinking a lot about Dirty Dancing, so get ready for that to hit the webs sometime this week. Possible titles: Dirty Dancing: Better than You Might Think; Dirty Dancing: Why Would You Ever Watch the “Sequel/Prequel”; Dirty Dancing: Beyond Patrick Swayze in Black Pants.