Rick and Morty = Catharsis

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One of my close friends introduced me to Rick and Morty and I immediately fell in love with it.  At first, I just thought it was really funny and an interesting parody of Back to the Future.  In summary, it is about the adventures of a young kid called Morty, and his grandfather named Rick who’s a brilliant, alcoholic scientist.  But when I kept watching the episodes over and over again, I realized that there was a certain level of catharsis I felt after every episode.  Rick and Morty is a unique adult cartoon in that the comedy is just as relevant as the emotional moments.  Also, the existential euphemisms that are said throughout each episode hit hard while also allowing you to feel less responsible for the bullshit surrounding your life.  For instance, when in one of the episodes, Rick explains to Morty that, in summary, love is just a chemical reaction that drives us to reproduce and marriage is a waste of time (basically an illusion).  Although these are not new ideas being presented in any quotes of the show, it’s the way it’s presented that becomes funny and relatable to adults, especially late 20-somethings.  Qualities like this make Rick and Morty one of the best adult animated shows ever made, in my opinion.

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Existential Crisis 60% of the time, all the time: 

The reason I say it’s most relatable to late 20-somethings is because we have hit the point in our lives where we realize that all the dreams we had growing up will most likely not happen and we just have to settle for the life we have available.  This realization of realistic goals and the hopelessness involved in it is a main theme that seems to drive the show.  For instance, at the end of the episode “Rick Potion #9,” Rick and Morty completely changed the universe and every person except their family turn into monsters.  Rick decides to send them to an alternate universe where this did not happen in order to continue their lives.  However, their other selves in this new universe die in a freak accident right before they get there, so they have to bury their other selves and take their places in their alternative universe family.  At first, Morty is traumatized by this incident and has a difficult time coping with the fact that he buried himself.  But then, a few episodes later when they’re watching TV with the rest of the family, Morty’s sister Summer becomes upset and Morty wants to console her.  He does this by saying, “nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die, come watch TV.”  This is within a matter of two episodes that Morty eventually copes with his mortality and understands how hopeless and meaningless life can be.

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Humor and Ignorance:

On the flip side, however, it also relates best with our age group because of it’s humor.  Most of us have a dry sense of humor that teases on the ridiculousness of social expectations.  At the beginning of the “Rickle in Time” episode, Rick says a joke about an obscure reference to Morty and Summer, and they both laugh at it.  Then he responds with, “Oh, you agree, huh?  You like that redgren grumbholdt reference? Yeah. Well, guess what? I made him up. You really are your father’s children. Think for yourselves. Don’t be sheep.”  It hits the radical bone in a person while also being hilarious.  Morty’s father, Jerry, is depicted as a fairly unintelligent individual that is constantly trying to prove himself as “man of the house,” and most jokes about the mundane life of social expectations usually center around him and his failing marriage to Rick’s daughter and Morty’s mother, Beth.  A perfect example of this is the entire episode of “M-Night Shaym-Aliens!” when Jerry is in a poorly-made simulation that aliens created without realizing it, and ends up having the best day of his life without doing anything remotely intuitive.  All the while, not even considering that anything was weird about the day at all, even though the simulated people were clearly acting robotically and unreal.  This show plays off the ignorance of people in society, and flips it on the person to wake them up to their universes.

Catharsis: 

With all this, why I truly find joy and catharsis from watching this show is that I work in, more or less, customer service.  All day, everyday I deal with people that put their own, sometimes insignificant needs in front of anything else going on around them.  I work at an abortion and family planning clinic that, although most situations and concerns of our patients are true and real, there is always a handful of people we deal with on a daily basis that love to ruin people’s lives with their petty bullshit.  Whether it’s insurance issues that are out of our hands, the protesters outside of our clinic that we have no control over, their own personal lives that we have nothing to do with, or literally anything else they feel like making up to vent their emotions out on someone, we have to deal/fix these problems with a smile on our faces.  And watching a show that makes fun of people that care too much about bullshit and slaps people in the face with the reality that nothing matters and everything is random feels really…really good.

So there you have it.  Watch the show.

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Freedom of Speech – What speech?

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I had an interesting discussion with my family last night about freedom of speech, and thought I’d follow up on some points I lacked the words to finalize throughout the night.  Unfortunately, I seem to come up with my best responses to questions 4 hours after I’m asked them, so here is my way of sharing those with the world.

Now, just a bit of background on my family and I: my opinions and ideas are pretty different from everyone else’s.  Not to say it’s a staunch difference with no middle ground, there definitely is on some points, but more or less I stand alone during these lovely discussions.  I lean towards a more liberal standpoint, while everyone else is a bit more on the conservative side.  Sometimes way more, but it depends.

So! With that being said, here is what was discussed.  The whole discussion started with the controversy over FIFA trying to have the Mexican soccer fans apologize for saying “puto” during the games.  It’s incredibly offensive toward gay men, and in my opinion, there should be some apology from the fans or team.  However, my family disagrees.  They saw this as a direct attack on freedom of speech.  According to my father, he describes this as the start of controlthought, controlspeech – basically 1984.

I couldn’t handle this being said.  I usually stay quiet around the family when said topics are brought up, so as not to constantly start an argument (which, with many of the things I’ve heard, I could probably start an argument every family gathering…but hey, who wants to be that guy all the time), but this I could not let slide.

I think it’s ridiculous how this country’s majority has started arguing that the protection of cultures, societies, or just different groups of people is a violation of the freedom of speech.  Since when has the freedom of speech been about, “hey, I want to insult gay people so as to make them feel less than myself and excluded…it’s my freedom of speech!”, instead of what it actually means, “hey, my ideas on the global economy’s impact on small business in the US is different than yours…let’s discuss!”  When the hell did that happen?!  I find it interesting that it’s become an issue only during the Obama administration.  The fact that democrats have been in power, suddenly not getting away with insulting people has become a violation of human rights instead of just punishment for being an asshole.

This, of course, bled into a discussion on race.  Sorry, but I wish it could be understood that no matter how much one wants to deny it, white males still have so much more privilege in society that it’s sick.  And the fact that I’m even having an argument with white males about race is kind of funny because race has never been an issue for them.  My brother and cousin are hispanic, but would first identify themselves as a Caucasian, male before anything else…I don’t know why.  Anyways, the discussion was on quotas and how certain employment positions, specifically in local and national government positions, are more likely to be served to minorities than white people.  This is a problem for them.

First, it’s kind of ironic since one of the positions being discussed was a police officer, when in fact, the majority of people in prison are minorities for crimes that a white person could have equally committed but not gotten as much punishment for.  That is happening throughout the country and it’d probably be hard to find a single shred of evidence has shown otherwise.  But I digress.

Quotas are unnecessary these days, I believe that.  However, their existence correlates with a bunch of other factors.  Take education for instance.  The way that society has created a  horrible education system, especially for inner cities, already leaves kids at a disadvantage.  Then there comes opportunities such as internships, jobs…anything that looks good on paper.  This isn’t always easy to come by, especially if someone is barely affording school as it is.  Now, suddenly this person, who is just as capable and willing as the next guy, is expected to just get a job right away, when on paper they don’t look as capable and willing as the next guy?  Society hasn’t  yet become as equal opportunity as white males would like to think.  Not yet.  There is still a fucking wage gap between men and women.  I get paid less because I have tits.  So yeah, not exactly equal opportunity yet.

From this point, we went on to discuss the arbitrary decision of who decides on what people should say, how they should be punished, and how this power shouldn’t be given to the states, but to the people.  I agree that society, most of the time, will take care of itself in these situations.  However, if you have something like a large group of soccer fans straight up insulting gay people, something needs to be done.  And as “arbitrary” of a decision it is, it’s necessary to get the point across that being an asshole is not right.  This is not controlling speech…that is not what it means.  And the fact that someone considers this as a violation of freedom says something about one’s outlook on life: I can say whatever I want to say about you, but how dare you insult the church.  Yeah, that makes so much sense.

In closing, I just want to make it clear that my cousin, brother, and father obviously don’t think it’s right that these Mexican fans are saying this, nor are they completely racist or sexist.  Their opinions are for the ideas, not on the words being said.  Also, I love that I can discuss these issues openly with my family, even though we have different ideas on life.  Because that’s freedom of speech in a nutshell. 

Glamorized Jobs: the “Sexy Bartender”

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So I know I’ve explained earlier that I bartend, and have been doing it for about 3 years now (to some, I’m still an amateur, and I’m ok with that).  And based on my experience, although limited, I’ve seen the glamorization that comes with the job.  For some reason, bartenders are automatically really cool people.  The bartender handles alcohol, is knowledgeable about alcohol, and presents a welcoming personality for the crowd they are waiting on.  Along with all that, it is a customer service position, and it is usually a position filled by someone a bit more outgoing, experienced in life, and easily to talk to.  These are all traits that can obviously seem very attractive to the bar attendees.

However, I still find it very baffling that, regardless of the environment, the bartender comes off as far more alluring than that particular person would be if they were not tending bar.  And this could be alluring in a sexual manner, in a dangerous way, or just an exciting curiosity.  Nevertheless, the bartender is has suddenly elevated in a level of attraction.

I’ve bartended for bars, clubs, strip clubs, restaurants, and catering companies.  You can say I’ve been around a majority of different environments that bartenders would be present.  And, in every single situation, there was not a single shift that went by where I wasn’t talked to by someone with greater interest than is necessary.  This either led to a lengthy conversation about my background, an asking for my phone number, or a questioning of my relationship status.

Now…what leads people to do this?  I’m a moderately attractive woman, no Coyote Ugly chicka, but I have been hit on in random, daily situations on occasion.  But, this never happens nowhere near as often as while I’m working.  When I’m bartending, it’s as if suddenly I turned into Jennifer Lawrence and all eyes on me, when before I walked in the room unnoticed.

With all this, I guess it’s just being in a position of serving alcohol while trying to seem appealing to others.  All the while, working in a position that has been sexualized by media.  Look at receptionists, air stewards, housekeepers, and many others that have fallen in the same stereotype: a female in a position of service and willing to be taken advantage of.  (And, before I go further, I understand this pertains to men in the same situation, but I’m female, so that’s what I go with at first, sorry.)  This creates this allure of being open to anything and everything…at your service.

As much as I love bartending, and still enjoy most of the interactions I have with my customers and co-workers, this never-ending glamorization still bothers and confuses me.  It doesn’t help either that my cousin, a single, older male, wants to become a bartender to meet women, even though he’s had the same secure job for years.  Great, not like people do it for an actual living or anything.

Half Latina, half White (Part 1)

I’ve been reading this book lately called Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  about a Nigerian’s experience living in America and the UK.  I’m still a little more than half way through it so, when finished, I’ll offer a decent review, however I do like it so far.  I did have an issue with it nevertheless.  I did not enjoy her critique on Hispanics:

“Hispanic means the frequent companions of American blacks in poverty rankings, Hispanic means a slight step above American blacks in the American race ladder, Hispanic means the chocolate-skinned woman from Peru, Hispanic means the indigenous people of Mexico.  Hispanic means the biracial-looking folks from the Dominican Republic.  Hispanic means the paler folks from Puerto Rico.  Hispanic also means the blond, blue-eyed guy from Argentina. All you need to be is Spanish-speaking but not from Spain and voila, you’re a race called Hispanic (p105).”

Coming from an Ecuadorian, Polish (more like European mix, but mostly Polish) background, I’ve been able to stand for two worlds that came together through my parents.  I have embraced both cultures and I love both families.  However, they are not the same.  There are always similarities between many cultures throughout the world, but these, along with the staunch differences are what is embraced.  I love that I can speak Spanish and make empanadas with my mom, but talk about fishing in Wisconsin and eating polish sausages and sauerkraut with my dad.  These differences are embraced and remembered as…different.  My hispanic (mind you, I use Latina and Hispanic interchangeably because I’ve heard both interchangeably) culture is not just a Spanish speaking white person.  It’s not just a Spanish speaking black person.  My hispanic side is a race of it’s own.  Being Ecuadorian is a culture all in it’s own.  It cannot be generalized, summed up, or blurred.  It is particular, intricate, and unique.

In Americanah, she speaks of how Americans generalize all Blacks, whether non-American or American into one category: African-American or Black (depending on the PC of the person).  This, to her, is unnatural since, not long before, she was Nigerian, not just black.  This desire for close ties to one’s identity stands for everyone, and that needs to be appreciated for Hispanics as well.

Now, Chimamanda is a brilliant women, so I am not critiquing her as an intellectual, nor her ability to study race.  However, I just wanted to share a personal point of view on being Hispanic, biracial, and willing to share. :]

Time is Now – Russell Brand

He’s hilarious and brilliant.  Those two traits, at times, seem to go hand in hand, especially with Russell Brand.  I think, out of the obvious inspiring words that any intellectual being can’t not appreciate, what made this video stand out from all the others on this website is the way Russell Brand explains his ideas.  He does not hold back and does not give a shit.  He just, speaks.  Not only that, he speaks of what people are really thinking.  Then he explains how we should actually do something about the hungry dog in each of us yearning for some god damn righteous scraps.

This information is not new, and everyone is aware of it’s daily effects.  The 1% will always be real and get worse unless we actually believe…the time is now to change that.

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