It’s the end of the month, folks. Pour a stiff one and steel yourselves as we venture down memory lane and into the breach once more and plumb the depths of my preteen self’s attempt at fanfiction. This month, we tackle the sixth chapter of AvP: The Story, wherein we’re introduced to this novella’s United States Colonial Marine protagonist, Corporal Andrew Harrison. Be prepared for a 12-year-old’s embarrassing recreation of Marine lingo.
As anyone who frequents my Facebook profile knows, I’m a fiend for the absurd. My wall is a veritable art gallery of the staggeringly inexplicable, an endless list of links displaying nature and society’s greatest “what the fuck” accomplishments. Over the last half year or so, I’ve included among this debris several short cartoons, all of which seem to defy anything resembling sanity. They invariably feature freakish, hastily drawn characters, all devoid of pupils, babbling on in idiosyncratic voices and residing in a world devoid almost entirely of sense.
At first glance these animations appear to be the work of a schizophrenic ex-Nickelodeon employee, but in fact the man behind them—writing, illustrating, voicing and piecing them together singlehandedly—is a relatively sane Fort Smith, Arkansas native by the name of Brad Neely. And for all the seeming incomprehensibility of his filmography, this bearded, bespectacled Arkansan has become one of my favourite comedians as of late.
The following fragments were found scribbled on several napkins left at Professor Brian Cox’s table in a London pub.
I want to talk about Jesus.
Chances are that first sentence alarmed a few of you. On my behalf, whoa, now. Whoa. Those close to me know I’m the last person to go on some rambling faith-based diatribe, and likewise know I’m not inclined to go on an anti-religious rant either. So for the next thousand words or so, let’s lower ourselves back onto our collective haunches and chill. There’s no better time: today’s Easter Monday and a holiday. And, given the season, it’s fitting to kick back and examine Martin Scorsese’s controversial 1988 film, The Last Temptation of Christ.
I don’t often talk about my Harry Potter fandom. Though I’d been reading the books since 2001, it wasn’t until last summer that I sat down with J.K. Rowling’s seven novel series and truly realized their depth and creativity. I could go on for pages listing the heptalogy’s qualities, but I don’t have the time and I imagine whoever is reading this doesn’t have the patience. So for today I’m just going to focus on one of the books’ strongest suits: characterization. Particularly, I’m interested in how Rowling fleshes out Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and how the depth she gives to the character later on in the series significantly impacts Harry’s own decisions in the final book.
For all of his eccentricities and endearing witticisms, Dumbledore wasn’t even close to being one of my favourite characters for a long while. I discovered The Lord of the Rings not too long after reading the first HP novel, and anything I might have found appealing about Rowling’s old wizard was supplanted by my discovery of Gandalf the Grey (later the White). Both characters had the same, grandfatherly charm, but Gandalf was, when called upon, a warrior, whereas Dumbledore was more often than not a passive, expository figure, popping in near the end of each novel to provide Harry with context and congratulations. On a more shallow level, there was also the fact that, being old, grey and wise, Dumbledore seemed a knockoff of his Middle-earth parallel, and therefore inferior (ignoring the influence that King Arthur’s trusty mage, Merlyn, must have had on Tolkien). But there’s a lot more to the wizard than the archetypal foundation he’s built on suggests.