1) The idealistic belief in the existence of good people whatever the setting, be it in the Oval or a fictitious black ops military unit where the inconvenience of reality is flouted in favor of a storyline just never loses its appeal. This was originally a post all its own but then I realized I've got Friday Linky Party anyway.
In the spirit of my usual Let's Find A Use For Every Bit Of Useless Knowledge Because Why Waste The Effort, here's what I learned about comic book stories and movies:
You guys catch the recent Gi Joe: Retaliation movie?
Sometimes I think parenting makes you a lot less picky about what movie critics say, you'll take whatever movie is being shown nearby at the precise time your baby has gone to bed and your elder one has settled in down for his Youtube unwinding on a Saturday night. So anyway after thinking the movie was not too bad (the beer, olives and chips-and-cheese-dip might have something to do with it) and having heard how reviled the first one in particular was, I went kaypoh-ing online.
Now, growing up I loved comic books. I can't remember when the last time was that I read one, but from a childhood of X-Men and Transformers and the occasional Avengers, I don't do too badly on trivia when all the comic book movies start coming out. But I don't always make it to the movie, so I started reading entire storylines online while expressing milk (still find some of the comics today too violent, compared to what I used to read as a kid). Also variations. Which was how I found fanfiction.net.
At which point you might wonder why I read at all.
Because, however fantastical (evolution giving rise to mutants who can cause thunderstorms, anyone?), story lines and characters follow the tastes and preferences of their targeted readers. I figured it can tell you a lot about the people creating them and the people they are created to entertain. It is a big indication of popular culture in that time and place. Or start an interesting fact vs fiction vs what could be fact theoretically, with your kid.
For e.g., take Captain America - his was a character created to inspire during wartimes. All the "noble" characteristics of the ultimate soldier serving his country. No real surprises that after the war they put him in an iceberg until such time when his real powers of rallying the troops and inspiring nationalistic tendencies would be needed again. (Or, you could just get Chris Evans to fire up a female fan base for you to make big bucks on, during an ailing economy :D)
And so that was how I got interested in the GI Joe storyline.
There is this whole fascination with the rivalry between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, so let me try to put this the "Captain America Way" -
In the comic book story, Storm Shadow is Japanese-American but with a long ninja clan history in Japan, whereas Snake Eyes is a blonde-and-blue-eyed Caucasian American. Both were in the Vietnam war (Japanese-American portrayed as having served his country - that's the US, not Japan, and I should just say the words Pearl Harbor Nearly Two Decades Prior To Vietnam if you wondered why I was that curious), Japanese-American brings his white friend back to Japan where his mysterious ninja clan adopts him....... Lots of bloody feuding and a spin-off ninja clan because of the disagreement among clan members re adopting the white guy... White guy then surpasses Asian guy in Asian martial art, thereby fueling rivalry.......... (Even if you aren't a nerd like me, quite interesting right, the storyline the writers arrived at?)
(And then of course White American Ninja must instead choose Uzis and various other guns to (I suppose) appeal to the guys who like the comic stories about the American military and there's that whole part of the States that really loves their guns......)
But wait, there has to be a link in there somewhere, so here it is:
This is an e.g. of the kind of fiction written by a fan of a particular comic book (and there's like, umpteen short stories for free about all manner of characters). Bearing in mind I have zero interest in soldiers and wars, I'm the first one to wonder why I liked the story and happily stuck it through the entire 87+k words. I think it's because, somewhere in the seemingly mindless antics of bored army grunts in between moments of sheer terror (btw my cousin served in the British Army and was deployed to Iraq) is a story about a nerd who wants to help injured people on the battlefield, while sticking to his pacifist views - read that again and wait for it to sink in - serving in the middle of an elite military unit known for adrenaline-junkie jocks.
Somewhere in there, whatever the setting, is the story of someone proving himself using his brains and guts while still not giving in to peer pressure or intense bullying.
And people write these things for free as a hobby. Isn't that just cool?
Ok, this next also cool:
2) The Obamas threaten to get the same tattoos if their daughters ever want to get tattooed. AND they'll put it on Youtube! CHANGE-ing parenting notions everywhere. Along with all that other stuff...
3) Youtube's 10 most watched videos ever. Gangnam Style, Call Me Maybe, no surprises there. But you guys seen Charlie Bit My Finger... Again? Rockstar loved this way before it made top 10, having watched it repeatedly and yes, never, ever let Her Highness near his fingers.
4) Morning TV Wars. I don't even watch Morning TV, but occasionally I follow the soap opera that has been Ann Curry's departure in yet again another example of Why Is It The General Consensus Is Bankers Were Cutthroat When People In Other Industries Can Prove Just As Shitty. Not a popular opinion I know, but it was an eye-opener for myself that in fact a lot of other assumed sunny happy professions are in fact..... not. It should not take me this long to arrive at Wherever There Are People There Is Both Good And Shittiness.
5) For the Friday afternoon that is No Brainer Youtube Time. Big Cats Love Boxes Too:
Aaaaand these two's Good Weekend shot for the week:
Rockstar's Aw, Shucks look is because I had to practically lasso him from being chased round and round on the bed by the baby (still having that personal space thing, whereas she's still determined to get a cuddle from the bro) so he could just get a hug over with.
Her delighted look says it all.