April Begins!

I saw the Final Four on April 1- well, the 2nd half Game 1 (Gonzaga vs. South Carolina), and the bulk of Game 2 (North Carolina vs. Oregon). I had picked Gonzaga and North Carolina as part of the Final Four, but had also picked Villanova to repeat over North Carolina, so… yeah, busted brackets, as usual, but some good games.  I have a soft spot for Gonzaga, but North Carolina’s on a roll to make up for last year, so we shall see who will win the championship between Gonzaga vs. North Carolina on Monday, April 3.

I forget that the NCAA tournament would have quite a bunch of commercials – it’s a definitely a different vibe than the Super Bowl or Oscars. In other words: I don’t know whether I’ll watch the Wonder Woman movie or Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” movie or buy Amazon’s Alexa, but the seeds are planted in my mind. Thanks, commercialism!

I will have to do a full post, but am I glad that FX renewed “Legion.”  The season finale – the tv series overall – a roller coaster of emotion, sound (or in one episode, the lack of sound), and sight.  What will happen next to David Haller, the mutant who has some problems that the rest of us ought to be glad to not have…?

Otherwise, I’m so behind on everything. Oh, and baseball is back.  I need the distraction anyway…

 

APA Stuff to Consider, or Spring 2017 Begins

There is still snow on the ground, even though it is melting.

Worthwhile items about Chinese Americans over at NPR, from last week: gentrification of Chinatowns.  When an immigrant community’s next generation assimilates or moves on, or there are changes in the types of jobs available, a community will change. But, gentrification in terms of race and class – that’s not exactly comfortable stuff.

The story of the Delta Chinese, as fascinatingly portrayed on NPR, is sort of a contrast to the gentrification of Chinatown. It isn’t quite about displacement by class and race, but the evolution of immigration and society is something to remember and reflect on. (btw – definitely worth reading this NPR item, along with the other NPR item on gentrification of Chinatowns).

The NPR item on gentrification of Chinatowns, notably, quoted Peter Kwong, Hunter College professor, and Asian American studies pioneer, who observed that New York City’s Chinatowns may be the last stand of a working class, viable Chinatown.  Sadly, Kwong passed away last Friday, as announced in the news.  (h/t Asian American Writers’ Workshop‘s Facebook page post).  Things to think about, as we consider the history of Chinese in America, and how do we go forward.

 

TV Observations

From March 10: Happy 20th tv series premiere anniversary, Buffy. You saved the world a lot. (ok, I’m paraphrasing the line from one of the season finales – the third or fourth one? The one of many where Buffy sacrifices herself? The tone was just the right tone).

Thank you, Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the rest of the Scooby team of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

I realized that it was the 20th anniversary when A.V Club featured their Buffy Week special. Check it out. A lot of good stuff.

And, goodness, I’m old. I can’t believe that it’s been 20 years?

Entertainment Weekly posted on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s thanks via Twitter, to the fandom for their support.

Vox ranked the episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Constance Grady over at Vox wrote on the subversiveness of Buffy’s feminism. I thought it was interesting how Grady noted that Buffy, the very feminine ex-cheerleader, was very much the beholder of what was the traditional masculine protagonist’s burden of saving the world. And, if I remembered one of the key Slayer mythos episodes correctly, as the slayer, she shook off being chained to the male Watchers (while acknowledging the familial bonds to at least Giles, the senior Scooby member).

David Sims over at The Atlantic wrote on how Buffy, the tv series, was the pioneer of the current Golden Age of tv storytelling – that whole balance of serialization and Monster Of The Week stuff was because of Buffy (in fact, I think “Monster Of The Week” was because of Buffy the tv series, either because tv critics or fans referenced to that, or the producers themselves acknowledged that).  I thought that this article was a fascinating look at television history, anyway.

Here’s where I talked about the series finale of Buffy, through the lenses of an episode of “Angel” (which, yes, if you watched the Buffy series, you should watch “Angel.”).

Speaking of television, lately, it seems like I watch just two shows: “Elementary” (oh, the craziness that constitutes the adventures of Holmes and Watson) and “Legion.”  I’ll have to post separately on “Legion,” but talk about odd storytelling.  It’s tied to the X-Men, but I’m still not sure how or when, if ever, that this will be shown or told.  It’s just been strangely compelling to watch, for me, anyway.

Over at Startrek.com: an interesting post by Timothy Harvie, a philosophy and ethics professor, on the importance of friendship in Star Trek. (I really do not read items that reference Aristotle. Not since college, anyway, and the reference in there to Aristotle – weirdly interesting). Come to think of it, the old ST episodes of McCoy and Spock being ridiculously nasty to each other (strange how I don’t realize how ridiculous they were until I really pay attention) is such a big difference from how they become in the movies – when Spock sacrifices himself for McCoy, McCoy carries Spock’s soul, and Kirk keeps trying to balance them – the evolution of friendship is real.

Actually, one of the biggest morals of ST is how friendship is the biggest and best thing of all (because the things we do for our friends…).

To be even broader: television tends to show how friends become family – how or ties to each other may help rather than hurt us.  Well, good dramatized fictional tv, anyway.  (I do not have an analysis for what we’re supposed to derive from so-called reality television).  Ultimately, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its spinoff, “Angel,” showed how friends working together overcome challenges, whether it was getting through high school, growing up, and maybe saving the world.  The universe of Buffy, much like Star Trek, ends up impacting the fandom – and hopefully has brought people together.

See? Television isn’t all that bad.