Posts Tagged ‘Blake Whitmore’

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student.

With Obama’s approval rating at an all-time low and serious issues like raising minimum wage and Obamacare being hot topics, people are flocking to Facebook to voice their opinions. Inevitably, debates begin. Friends are lost, family members are enraged, and rarely is a solution ever met. But with these 5 easy steps, you can win every Facebook argument ever.

1. Copy & paste EVERYTHING into Google
Research to find out if anything your opponent said is inaccurate or from a terrible source, like Joe Shmoe’s blog or Fox News. Chances are your opponent has done little to no research on this important political topic, just like you. So find all of their errors, manipulate them to your advantage, and finally exploit them!

duty_calls2. Present data & numbers
It does not really matter if your data has sources; people like numbers. List dollar amounts and percentages so people will think you are smart and informed. Be specific too. Throw in a few decimal places to make is all look legit.

3. Repeat yourself over and over and over and….
If your opponent did not respond the way you hoped just rephrase your statement and comment again. Eventually you will get the right wording that they will understand and ultimately you will change their opinion.

4. Expand your vocabulary
Make sure to use large words that you only vaguely understand. Your opponent will think you are more educated than them. Make sure to hit on all the hot button words you heard on the news while walking by the television this morning: socialized healthcare, debt ceiling, deficit, and economic inflation. We are all unparagoned, so you have to assert that you are smarter. You want to make sure to nidificate the situation. Throw in a excogitative statement about Bitcoin, because no one actually knows how that works, but you can sound like you do!

5. Put your foot down
Your opponent is definitely wrong. Make that very clear throughout the argument. Start your statements with, “The cold hard fact is…”. That makes it sound super serious and really important. It will terrify your opponent and make them cower in fear behind their keyboards. They will eventually submit and tell you that you were right. You knew you were right from the beginning, but there’s nothing like validation from Facebook friends you haven’t seen in years.

Congratulations! You now have the skills to win any political debate on Facebook!

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Blake Whitmore, RMU Student

Four years ago I went to the premiere of James Cameron’s Avatar with my boyfriend, his brother, and their friends. They were all older than me. When we shuffled into the crowded theater with our arms full of oversized colas and popcorns, a girl from the middle of the theater called out to my boyfriend and his brother. I immediately recognized her, Gabriella from my Algebra II class the year before.

We scooted past Gabriella to the empty seats she saved us while trying not to brush our butts against her. It turns out she was there to meet up with the group. Apparently they had known each other for quite sometime. It shouldn’t have surprised me. High schools are a complicated web of intertwined awkward social circles.

When my boyfriend introduced Gabriella and me, I started to say we already met, but she extended her hand with a smile and said, “Nice to meet you.”

I sat next to this girl for an entire year and she did not even vaguely remember my face. I smiled, shook her hand, and simply replied, “Algebra II. Second period.” She squinted at me and tilted her head. It was coming back to her. Her eyes widened and the light bulb was flickering.

“Oh my god, you’re that super smart girl!” The smile dropped off my face. Gabriella went on and on about how I was amazing at math and that I was the only sophomore in that upperclassman course. My boyfriend laughed knowing it all sounded just like me, but I was not so delighted. I had so much more to offer, but my one defining trait to Gabriella, was that I was good at math.

In a high school of 2,557 students it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Everyone quickly rushed to their niche and tried to leave their mark. The theater kids all wanted a leading role. The athletes wanted scholarships and trophies. The band kids all wanted that rare solo. If my mark had been that I was good at math, what was I to do with the D I just earned in Honors Trigonometry that quarter.

This moment in the theater started me down a dangerous path. I wanted to be perfect in every way and I wanted to be remembered for my successes, not my shortcomings. I would do anything to be the best, no matter perfectionistwhat it cost me. My physical health began to deteriorate and I just kept pushing forward. I had all A’s, was working on the yearbook, taking 4 AP classes, had a solo in the marching band show, and was nominated for homecoming queen only to land in the hospital a few weeks later, but I still thought I could be perfect.

My perfectionistic ways were hazardous. I never thought I was good enough. I didn’t think anyone would remember me or think highly of me. Perfectionism was my shield. I had it in my mind that if I was perfect in every single way I could avoid all shame and avoid being forgotten. I was living for others.

There is no such thing as perfect. For a long time I thought I had failed, but there are so many more outcomes than perfect and failure. That black and white thinking never leads anywhere enjoyable.

I was doing everything to please everyone else, but nothing to please myself. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, and my head was pounding. Once again my health has caught up to me. My body is yelling at me to slow down, to take a break, and just relax, but this time I am listening.

 

By Peter Stern, Philosophy Faculty

As I find myself getting older with ever increasing grace, realizing more and more how selflessly I’ve dedicated myself to helping others in myriad ways small and large, and yet still feeling like I should work more to further improve myself, I can end my day on a happy note and look forward to waking up the next day on an upbeat note as well.

I say these things not out of conceit or to blow my own horn–not as something personal, but as business, meaning it’s impersonal and objective, no different from saying that two plus two is four. I’m simply giving an honest appraisal of myself, taking note not only of my successes but also my shortcomings. For like arms and legs, fingers and toes, we humans wherever we happen to live and work and however young or old we may be we all unfortunately have some shortcomings.

This doesn’t mean we’re bad people who are out to harm others and need to be carefully watched and monitored. Nor does it mean we’re bereft of virtues and our lives must, of necessity, turn out badly. Oh contraire. Despite our shortcomings, we’re perfectly capable to doing good things and being regarded, rightly, as good people. So when I describe my virtues and the way grace follows me about, I’m being perfectly objective without ignoring I also suffer some shortcomings, though, since I wish to highlight my honesty, I should mention that these shortcomings seem to be decreasing both in number and severity as I continue working on them.

Of course by publicly making these claims of virtue, I expose myself to the possibility some may dissent from what they believe is my far too rosy account of my person. So be it. For I’m sufficiently convinced my virtues speak for themselves and that enough of you very dear turtles reading this post will find no difficulty agreeing with me and hence rise to my defense should some misguided personage wish unfairly criticize me, for their own purposes, whatever those purposes may be.

I wish to emphasize my virtues here in the Turtle because I believe one of my best traits is the graciousness and good cheer with which I take criticism. I don’t get angry or resentful, nor do I mindlessly lash out at my critic or critics. My response is the precise opposite. I welcome criticism since I view it as an opportunity to grow and mature. Here’s the kind of person I am: If I’m doing something wrong, I want to correct the situation as fast as possible. Criticism isn’t about hurt feelings and defensiveness; it’s about correcting mistakes, growing in depth and breadth, and becoming more accomplished in whatever one’s doing.

Now that you, you ever patient, understanding, and insightful Flaneurite, fully realize where I’m coming from you can better appreciate my immense disappointment in reading the post of a Flaneur reader furiously attacking my previous post about the hopelessly hackneyed phrase “thinking out the box.” This ruthless effort to undermine my integrity and philosophical commitment to clear expression and deep thinking jarred my hard won equanimity. As far as I was concerned the reader willfully chose to misunderstood the point my post was making.

Peter Stern's reaction to Blake Whitmore's critical post.

Peter Stern’s reaction to Blake Whitmore’s critical post.

The critic implied I wanted folks to remain victims of our pedestrian, shallow, mindless , and power crazed country. In fact, my point was precisely the reverse. I wanted to encourage people to think and create for themselves unfettered by mindless cliches about creativity and liberation.

I believe it’s no longer possible to pick up a freshman textbook on writing, or thinking, or communicating, or interpreting without running across the term “thinking out of the box,” so ingrained in the brains of our generation has this unwonderful phrase become. In fact my point was that its cliched status renders it incapable of inspiring genuine creativity and the kind of liberation which encourages becoming a free spirit.

One of the ironies of that phrase is that it conjures up one of the key issues inherent in wanting to go outside today’s system, whatever term we happen to use to describe it. The problem is this: if everyone’s doing it, is what they’re doing really liberation? For instance, if 2/3 of Wall Street traders sport tattoos, are tattoos still tattoos? Or if Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales sell record numbers of grunge jeans, are grunge jeans still grungy? Or if you prefer let’s ask if almost all poets are writing in free verse is that verse any longer really free?

This is one way to characterize the problem of telling people to think outside the box. Exhorting them to think outside the box places them firmly inside it, with the additional drawback that they mistakenly think they’re really outside it and liberated. In many ways, after discussing Plato’s Cave Parable this week with RMU Humanities Professor Mr. Gerry Dedera,  I thought I could see parallels between the box cliche and the illusions the cave prisoners regarded as real.

Plato's Parable of the Cave illustrated.

Plato’s Parable of the Cave illustrated.

In conclusion, let me say that my critical reader helped me see that I should have stated more explicitly that I thought the box metaphor was the kiss of death, yet that for some people it could indeed inspire them to live a liberated life. On the other hand, implying that most people will be transformed by the notion of going outside a box leaves me cold and worried it’s the box, like Plato’s cave, that they’ll never leave.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student

As much as I enjoyed reading Dr. Stern’s post last Friday, “Where to Think,” I have to disagree with it. “Think outside the box” simply means don’t let ordinary rules, societal standards, and normal everyday constraints restrict your thinking. Although the saying has been around for a while, it isn’t one I hear annoyingly too often. If I didn’t think “outside the box” I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher gave us this worksheet that asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I left that question blank, because I was 6 for crying out loud. I think 18 is still too young to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, but nonetheless my teacher insisted I answer it. Even when I was 6 I was a rebellious, outspoken little child. I refused to answer, so my teacher pulled me aside and started rattling off suggestions. I remember the list well, because it was my first experience in memory of gender profiling.

thinkoutsidetheboxMy teacher asked me if I wanted to be a nurse, teacher, stay at home mom, secretary, librarian, or the First Lady. I asked what “the First Lady” was and she told me it was the President’s wife. I was excited and told her that was it. When I brought home my worksheet to my mom, she asked why I would aspire to be the first lady and not the President. I told her because only men have been President. My mom said, “Don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it never will.” At that moment my mom began raising a little feminist who always thought out of the box and for the next two years I wanted to become the President.

My dreams of becoming the President faded to the background of my personality after learning what the job actually entails, but that never took away from the importance of that moment in my childhood. Seven years later I was attending Catholic school in one of the strictest dioceses in the country, Lincoln, NE. I was an ambitious 7th grader who always asked questions, especially during religion class and science class.

I started to notice that after a while my questions weren’t getting answered and the teachers began to be annoyed by my questions. Some teachers and administrators also showed signs of distrusting me. One instance was when I needed a permission slip signed. The school accused me of forgery and asked my mother, who confirmed it was her signature. Discouraged by my teachers, I felt like I had done something wrong. After weeks of frustration I was reassured of my actions through yet again the phrase, “Think outside the box.” A teacher said the phrase in an English class, not directly too me, but it left an impact because at that point I needed to remember that thinking differently is good.

Those moments lead to my realization and coming out as an atheist, a self-identity I consider very important to who I am today. My strong opinions and will power come from the very phrase Dr. Stern hates, claiming is due for retirement. NEVER! If people quit thinking outside the box then nothing will change, rules will be blindly followed, and humanity will be boring. “Carpe diem” has been around for centuries and it’s not going anywhere, so why should “think outside the box”? These words of wisdom should never die.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student

Ever since I was little I have watched a lot of television, but I always just saw it as research. I dream of being a television writer or screenwriter for film, so watching television and analyzing characters and stories is just preparation. I enjoy deeply analyzing everything I watch. Anything from Family Guy and South Park to Hannibal and Game of Thrones is worthy of deep analysis of how and why it works.

breaking-bad-logoRecently I was talking to my mother about Breaking Bad; she hasn’t seen any of it. When I said it was coming to an end my mother responded, “Why? I thought that show was so good.” I smiled, because I agree entirely that the show is great. I explained to her that despite the show being possibly the greatest show of all time, show creator Vince Gilligan is smart in ending it now.

Breaking Bad has changed television in a way that I can’t even put into words how important it is to the medium. I know I am not the only one going on and on about Breaking Bad, and some continue to argue The Wire is still the best television show, but Breaking Bad did something Lost, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Dexter, and even The Wire never did.

There is a general outline people follow when writing screenplays for television and film. The outline varies based on whether it is a half hour sitcom, one hour drama, or film, but generally pretty similar points are always hit. The major point that is always hit in sitcoms and some one hour dramas like, Law & Order and Warehouse 13, with a lighter feel is the reset button. At the end of every episode an event happens to kind of reset the show. A problem is usually solved within one episode and then another will present itself at the end to set you up for the next episode. As for most one hour dramas, the characters change a little over the course of the series due to the over arcing story that spans the season or longer, but overall they are still recognizable by the end.

Tony Soprano was incapable of change. The cast of The Wire wanted to change, but in the end the system proved to be too big. Dexter Morgan is still a serial killer and the cast of Mad Men are still conniving their way through advertising . Then we meet Walter White. Vince Gilligan took things to an all new level for television.

In Mad Men and Dexter the premise does stay entirely the same, which most shows have to, and the characters have changed only in subtle ways that seem, well normal to an extent. Walter starts out as a chemistry teacher with cancer that struggles to support his family, so he decides to cook meth with a bumbling former student. Now he is a drug lord, mass murderer, and a very terrifying man. The change is so drastic that the show is almost unrecognizable from the pilot now.

It is a transformation similar to Michael Corleone in The Godfather, but even more drastic and detailed. Granted, The Godfather is about three hours long, but after the finale of Breaking Bad there will have been 62 episodes and that’s just a little more than 49 hours that we have spent with Walter and Jesse.

Walter’s transformation is comparable to literary classics of The Great Gatsby and the fellowship from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the key is that this was television, the medium everyone scoffed at and turned up their noses. People have always thought higher of film and books, but television is coming into its own. Looking at this year’s Emmy nominations I could only stand in awe of how far television has come. Breaking Bad was nominated alongside Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, and Mad Men for best drama series. Breaking Bad ultimately took home the Emmy for Best Drama Series.

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and the cast on stage after winning the Emmy for Best Drama.

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and the cast on stage after winning the Emmy for Best Drama.

Back to my mother’s question of why to end such a brilliant show; well, there hasn’t been much of a reset button on Breaking Bad. It has constantly been moving forward at a rapid pace. The characters have all drastically changed and so has their environment and the circumstances. This chapter of Walter’s life is coming to an end. Rather than drag out into more story like The X-Files and Supernatural , which both clearly went past the originally planned storyline, Vince Gilligan has decided to end the story and I respect him for that decision. The show ends this coming Sunday in what I am sure will be an epic finale.

Thanks to Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, and the other shows nominated for Emmys this year, television is no longer a medium to underestimate .

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student

When I was 16 years old, I drew out my first tattoo in a notebook in the back of my AP American Literature class. It was based off of a saying that my color guard instructor used to say to us before a competition. “Hearts on fire. Heads on Ice.” It meant perform with passion, but keep a cool head. The last part always made me think of a serial killer with a freezer full of severed heads, so I changed it a little to “Hearts on fire. Minds on ice.” I sketched out a heart: photo (51)not the silly little Valentine’s Day shape, but a real anatomically correct human heart. I did my research to make sure it was as close to correct as possible.

The idea of tattoos enamored me as an aspiring artist. I loved the idea of displaying art on my skin for the rest of my life, but as I got closer to finally getting my first tattoo I began to get a barrage of complaints and reasons why I should never get a tattoo. I was told I would never be able to get a job and never look good in my wedding dress. Or there’s the always entertaining question of “What is it going to look like when you are older?”

I reply, “Badass! I will be the most badass old lady around. Still longboarding and inked up.”

I put a lot of thought into my tattoos. They have great significance to me and I carefully select talented artists to ensure an excellent piece of artwork in the end. For my first tattoo, I made sure that I liked the same idea for 2 years! I made sure this wasn’t one of those week long obsessions like that weird rock collecting phase I went through. I finally made it official in March of 2011. I was 18 years old and had just finished a month long stay in the hospital at University of Michigan at the tail end of 2010. Basically I was feeling like I had not had the ability to fully celebrate my 18th birthday. A monumental birthday when people normally go to the club, buy lottery tickets, and register to vote. Voting is exciting, right?

I spent my 18th birthday in a recovering room after I had an emergency surgery, so when I finally got my first tattoo it felt like the perfect thing to close out an incredibly difficult chapter in my life. My tattoo was beautifully done by Fred Story in Davison, MI at Strange Daze Tattoos.

Since then I have had two more lovely pieces inked onto my body. Conan O’Brien’s famous pompadour is on my right wrist, reminding me of my inspiration in comedy and that he and I both went through shit in 2010. (See 2010 Tonight Show Conflict) His farewell speech from the Tonight Show really resonated with me, particularly the part where he addresses cynical fans: “I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you. Amazing things will happen.” At that moment in my life I was angry at the world and didn’t understand why my health took such a turn, photo (49)but those words were exactly what I needed to hear.

On my left wrist is my younger sister’s signature. She has my signature as a tattoo as well. My sister and I didn’t always get along the way we do now, but these days I feel like I can talk to my sister about things I could never bring up around friends or other family. My sister and I are currently very far from one another; she goes to school in Florida. My tattoo reminds me every day though that our bond is deeper than any friendship you make simply by happenstance. photo (50)

I do not regret my tattoos and I know that I will get more. I have a good job, I will look stunning in a wedding dress, and I will be an inked badass old lady. So, to all the haters out there: tattoos are certainly not for everyone, but just like politics and religion you are not going to change my mind about them.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student.

I enjoy looking around at all the different people on the CTA red line train during my morning commute. I look around making up elaborate back stories for the all the individuals. The woman sitting across from me had a small stain on her dress. I imagined it was from a cup of coffee a few months earlier. She went on a date with the most amazing guy that made her laugh a little too hard, causing her to spill a little of her frothy whipped mocha coffee on her dress. The small mark never fully disappeared, but the dress fit her too well and had too many memories to throw it away now. The engagement ring on her finger seemed new, since she continued to play with it and spin it around her finger. She seemed happy and that made me happy.

A man sat next to me. He hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. Dark plump bags rested underneath his eyes. He pulled out a small pair of glasses and put them on and reached for a notepad from his bag. He began writing, but I couldn’t tell what because it was in Russian. I recognized it because my roommate and her family are fluent in Russian. I imagined that he moved here years ago to benefit his three daughters. He wanted them to have a better life than he had, so even though his degrees in Biomedical Technology weren’t recognized in America he and his family packed their bags. He picked up an entry level position at a telemarketing firm to support his family. He worked long hours and got paid barely more than minimum wage. His only escape was the small short stories he wrote in his notepad. He seemed sad and that made me sad.

ImageI did not know these people and they didn’t know me. We pass countless numbers of people every day through our morning commutes and our trips to the grocery store. Only for a brief moment are we a part of that person’s life, and them a part of ours. I look up and down the train car one last time. Most people are buried in their phones and tablets, but I catch the eye of a woman at the end of the car. Her clothes were tattered and covered in filth. Her toes showed through the holes in here sneakers. Her blank stare read like she had no home, no place to wander to after a long day. She doesn’t look happy or sad as a man knocks into her pull cart and doesn’t even acknowledge her existence. I smiled at her. She smiled back and I got off the train to walk to work. I know nothing about her, but I will never forget her.

Walking up the stairs to work I wonder if she will remember me. Will the newly engaged girl with the cute stained dress remember me? Will the Russian writer even know I was there? I looked down at what I was wearing: a summer dress and flip flops. What did that give away? Do they guess at my back story? Every weekday morning my alarm clock goes off at exactly 7:00 AM. I get up and begin the daily routine. That word routine makes me cringe. The mundane routine of a 9 to 5 job has finally set in, but I still look forward to my commute. I leave my apartment at exactly 8:15 AM with a travel mug of hot tea and a good book in hand. I run up the stairs of the CTA platform only to barely miss the train heading south. I place my headphones in my ears and press play on whatever Spotify playlist I have a hankering for that morning. I crack open my book and read a few chapters before the train gets really crowded, but no one notices. I am just another passer-by.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student.

 

Fictional characters are as real as we make them. They can live forever. They entertain, inspire, and sometimes terrify us. Their death can upset us; their accomplishments can please us. There are a whole lot of fictional characters, so what makes some so iconic? I have decided to take a look at my favorite fictional characters and figure out just what makes them so memorable.

 

1. The Doctor- Part of the most cross generational show on television, Doctor Who, the Doctor has entertained, educated, and inspired generations. The Doctor himself is a complicated character with an interesting story arc. He started out as a grumpy old man who traveled through space and time with his granddaughter, on the run from his own people, the Time Lords. Fast-forward through 50 years of character development and you see a badly damaged man trying to do his best to save and inspire humanity. Without Doctor Who science fiction writing and television would not be the same.

 

2. Han Solo-There is a lot of talk about Star Wars VII, and with that comes the triumphant return of the coolest gunslinger in outer space, Han Solo. He was the lone ranger of the future until running into Luke starwars4Skywalker and Princess Leia. Throughout the original trilogy Solo learns the importance of working with others to fight for the common good and restore peace and humanity to a struggling galaxy. Han Solo was a great practical smuggler with sarcastic wit.

 

3. Dr. Hannibal Lecter- The NBC series Hannibal was just signed for a second season and with it returns the terrifyingly brilliant Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He is a super intelligent psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. For fans sometimes the lines are blurred between antihero and villain. Lector walks this fine line throughout all adaptations of him and that is what makes him so interesting. He is charming and smart, but then you remember he eats people. The creation of Lecter has been highly influential when it comes to writing a great villain.

 

4. Sherlock Holmes & Dr. John Watson- The first duo to make my list is the consulting detective and his loyal friend and author/blogger. Sherlock’s snarky, anti-social, attitude coupled with his powers of deduction and supreme intelligence made him a man that women, and even men, cannot resist. You hate him, but you still love. Without Dr. Watson recounting their tales of adventure what happened at 221B Baker St. would never have been quite as entertaining. Current adaptions of the pair are BBC’s Sherlock and Elementary on CBS. Funny fact: Sherlock never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” in any Arthur Conan Doyle story.

 

5. Batman- The superhero with no superpowers, but loads of money, Batman is one of DC Comics flagship characters. Nothing makes for a hero like serious childhood trauma, or the murder of Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne. Batman being a vigilante made him all the more popular. The character became so popular he got his own comic book in 1940 and the rest is history. Television series, movies, and a whole lot of merchandise followed making Batman an extremely influential comic book hero.frank_miller-batman

 

6. Indiana Jones- Dr. Henry Walton Jones Jr. is an archaeology professor that wears a tweed suit, but much like a superhero, after the lecture is over he dons his fedora, grabs his bullwhip, and becomes Indiana Jones. It is the idea that after the grueling workday is done, he can have an adventure and save the world at the same time that makes Indiana Jones an appealing character.

 

7. Dracula – The second villain to make my list is the bloodsucker that spawned the modern day vampire. He is cunning and clever. Since the original novel Dracula has been the subject of a number of films. As of 2009, an estimated 217 films feature Dracula in a major role, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes (223 films). Films involving vampires have used the image of Dracula for their basis of vampires’ characteristics. It is evident that without the original Dracula our monster movies could be very different.

 

8. James Bond- He has had many faces over the years, but 007 always introduces himself last name first with a cunning tone. Originally created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, Bond is subject of the longest running film franchise in history starting in 1962, with Dr. No starring Sean Connery. James Bond is a handsome British Secret Service agent who often fights what seem like campy super villains. Bond is an inspiration to spy characters and we just can’t get enough of him.

 

9. Romeo & Juliet- This could not be a list of famous and influential fictional characters without at least one mention of Shakespeare. There is nothing more appealing than forbidden love. Many of Shakespeare’s works have been adapted and performed on stage and film, but, in addition to Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet is possibly the most recognizable storyline. Often with a little less death, the story has been told to all ages hundreds of times over since Shakespeare’s time. What would love stories be like without them?

 

10. Harry Potter- The newest character on the list, Harry Potter hit the shelves in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997. Throughout the series, which goes on in six more novels, Harry works to overcome the leading antagonist and his parents’ murderer, Voldemort, who wishes to become immortal and conquer the wizarding world. Harry’s tough beginning to heroic victory makes him a much loved character. J.K. Rowling created what is possibly the most successful series since J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.


As a writer, I dream about creating a character as influential and memorable as the ones I listed. All of these characters have spawned film franchises, books, comic strips, cartoons, and television series. They will live on forever entertaining and inspiring future generations to come. They are the greatest people to never live.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student.

Growing up you could throw out my Barbie dolls for space ships and aliens any day. From the Han Solo decal on my bathroom door to the Keep Calm and Allons-y poster in my bedroom I think it is pretty apparent I am an avid science fiction fan. Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and A Brave New World are some of my favorite amazing tales of adventures through outer space or dystopian futures, but after watching one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes titled “Blink” I started thinking about science fiction and the number of astounding predictions in books that came true.

In the episode “Blink” we are introduced to a terrifying new villain, the Weeping Angels. The Weeping Angels are aliens who appear to be statues that cannot move when you look at them.  When you look away though, they are quick and if they touch you they will zap you back in time. So, my theory is that famous science fiction authors are great at writing about futuristic technology and events because they were actually sent back in time by the Weeping Angels. Alright, I know that isn’t possible, and my inner Whovian is showing by Imageeven considering that the Weeping Angels exist, but this did get me thinking about all these wildly outlandish predictions in science fiction that ended up becoming reality.

  In 1950, Ray Bradbury wrote one of my favorite science fiction novels of all time, Fahrenheit 451. In the book Bradbury writes, “And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.” To me it sounds like Bradbury is describing earbud headphones, which did not become popular until 2001 when they were released with the first-generation iPod. In addition to earbuds, Bradbury writes about the obsession that people have with their “parlor walls.” The walls were described like giant interactive flat screen televisions, not too far off from today’s technology. It is also said that people could talk with friends or family through the digital wall and today we write on each other’s walls on Facebook. Ray Bradbury actually warns in his short story “The Pedestrian” about the loneliness that can come from constantly paying attention to the millions of screens around us when protagonist Leonard Mead is actually arrested for the crimes of taking a walk and not owning a television. Maybe more people should take the hint.

Image Bradbury was not the only visionary in the science fiction world. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 where he describes a “newspad” which sounds eerily similar to an iPad which was introduced on January 27, 2010. Clarke also writes about virtual reality games in his book The City and the Stars in 1956, long before the first virtual reality game. In 1909, author E.M. Forster wrote The Machine Stops were he describes hexagonal workspaces that sound an awful lot like cubicles, which did not enter offices until the 1960s. The most astonishing of all the predictions was Hugo Gernsback’s ability to describe radar in 1911, 22 years before its first use.

 All of these predictions are pretty amazing and it is fun to think that sci-fi writers are actually time travelers, but in reality there is something even more exciting happening here. It is more likely that sci-fi writers are paving the way for the future. Do you know how many posts on Facebook I have seen about people asking about wanting their hover skateboard from Back to the Future Part II? A lot! It turns out that the imagination of sci-fi writers creates technologies and images that readers want. Sci-fi authors are among the most important writers, because their dreams, their warnings, and their amazing stories push society to make them a reality.

By Blake Whitmore, RMU Student!

 Sitting in the movie theater with my jumbo popcorn and my Coca-Cola I prepare for my favorite part of going to the movies, the trailers. I absolutely love the trailers. Every time I Imagehear “No Church in the Wild” by Jay-Z and Kanye West I can picture that old 1920s car pulling up to a dramatic stop in The Great Gatsby trailer. Trailers get me excited and pumped up to see a much anticipated film, but lately I have been noticing something about movies coming out; they aren’t original. Even though I cannot wait to see a dapper Leonardo DiCaprio portray one of my all-time favorite characters, the story is not original to film. It is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same title.

With much anticipated flicks like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hangover: Part III, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Lone Ranger, Kick- Ass 2 and countless other films scheduled to come out this summer, very few are original stories. Sequels, adaptations, and remakes litter the theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited to see some of these films, but I miss the days of Toy Story, Indiana Jones, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, and The Iron Giant to name a few. Granted original films these days are still around: Django Unchained, Argo, and Beasts of the Southern Wild. They are just rare beauties.

At the 2011 US Box office, the top 9 grossing films were all sequels, the 10th film was Thor, which is an adaptation of a comic book. Not until number 14 on the list do we get to an original screenplay, Bridesmaids. This has been an ongoing trend though and now Hollywood has reached a new all-time low, rereleasing films in 3D. I was disgusted to see that now we are seeing films that were released years ago in 3D, when the films were never originally intended to be viewed in 3D.

The film business is just that though, a business, and like many businesses history suggests that cinema is cyclical and the industry is just waiting for someone to nudge it in the right direction and take a chance. Despite the summer of sequels I mentioned, 2013 could be a great year for big budget original cinema, the first in quite a few years. This year three sci-fi flicks our coming to theaters including Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, Elysium starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and Gravity with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Also the exciting new Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman thriller Now You See Me will be in theaters in May. Unfortunately that just means that in 2020 we will probably be sitting down to watch Oblivion 3 or the Now You See Me franchise, but don’t worry cinema will always come back around, so save me a seat.