Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cupid and Psyche -- Urashima

Cupid - 2 Weeks Too Late for Valentine's Day!

Cupid and Psyche is a Greek a tale about beauty, jealousy, and love. When I read it, it made me think of the story of Urashima. In both cases, a mortal marries a God. In both, the mortal begins to miss their mortal family, and request a chance to see them again. And in both, the mortal is forbidden from doing a very simple task - opening a box - yet both fall into temptation and are punished for their disobedience. In both cases, the mortal is flawed in that they are human, and could never live up to the God-like expectations bestowed upon them. Fortunately, Psyche's story ended much more joyously than Urashima's.

Cupid and Pysche was one of the more different stories that we have read, in that it, like traditional Greek works, included many Gods and interactions with them. Urashima was also different, being a Japanese story, with different motifs and morals than most of the other stories. However there were still many clear similarities between these stories and other "Beauty and the Beast"-type tales. Check them out on the other blogs from the class.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Little Red - Expanding Chests

This assignment was to find a cartoon that included Little Red Riding Hood. Instead of going to Google Images, I went to YouTube, just to see some funny stuff. I came across this video and decided I just had to use it. It's 100%, absolutely, ridiculously unheard of crazy.

This video is an advertisement, so the statement it is making is not social or political, but instead economic. I like that. The company's goal is to sell more products. However, instead of showing how amazing their product is, they go for the humor angle. We see this every day in commercials for Bud Light, Dorito's, etc - every time a certain product with laughter, or another positive emotion, we are more likely to buy that product.
Here, the company uses Little Red as an innocent girl at first. She is wandering through the forest, and she is so kind and gentle that all the animals come out to join her. A song begins, and she dances along with the animals. The overall feeling of the ad is cutesy, and overall not all that interesting.
However, we come to the line which translates roughly to "expanding chests," and we see that the animals that have joined Little Red have incredibly large busts. This is a play on words because "expanding chests" is an expression similar to "warming hearts." The ad is thus making two jokes at once: it is using the expression as a play on words, and it is showing animals with over-sized bosoms.
Then at the end, we see a male animal with equally large testes. This is an attempt to leave the viewer with one last laugh - as much to Red's reaction as to anything else.
This video is effective because it is emotionally stimulating. When one watches this ad one may laugh, or one may shake one's head in disapproval; however one does not watch this ad and not react.

A subtitled version is below. Bet you can't guess what kind of company this is.

English Version

Instead of making things more clear, this version just makes me wonder more about the production of this commercial. The link between Little Red and the company is so weak. This ad relies 100% on the emotional reaction of the viewer.

Expanding, EXPANDING!

Monday, February 13, 2012

For Some Reason

My fonts have gotten all messed up. If only I was a master of html, i could fix it. Perhaps Chops can lend me a hand.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


As we learned this week, psychology can be used to help explain Fairy Tales. (As I learned this week, psychology is an incredibly difficult word to spell correctly). However, not every psychologist agrees on the interpretation.

The two psychologists (I just spelled that correctly on the first try!) that our guest lecturer Dr. Mazeroff focused on were Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Freud and Jung were both very intense and dedicated - apparently when they first met they talked for 13 hours straight! - but their theories were very different.

Jung's ideas centered around the idea of the "collective unconscious" shared between all humans. He theorized that all humans, everywhere, share certain "archetypes" deep within, a sort of memory of the human race as a whole. These archetypes can be anything - the ones I noted include: the Wise Old Man (Dumbledore, Gandalf), the Primeval Forrest (Forbidden Forrest, Fangorn Forrest), the Shadow (parts of oneself that one did not know existed; read: Voldermort's soul inside Harry), the juxtaposition of Two Worlds (Muggle world vs. Wizarding world, the Shire vs. Mordor), and the Shapeshifter (Snape, Gollum), among others. Jung posited that these basic ideas are embedded into each human's DNA, and that Fairy Tales were a way to transcend all races, continents, and time periods. Jung believes that because the elements of a Fairy Tale are so universal, the minute details carry greater importance. For instance the stones that Hansel dropped were white, which may signify a sort of child-like innocence. Jung believed no part of a story was too small to carry some matter of great importance.

Freud, on the other hand, predictably applied his theories of Id, Ego, and Superego, and of consciousness, to Fairy Tales. Each tale contains dilemmas based on each layer: primal desires (Id), rational decisions (Ego), and moral decisions (Superego). Freud linked Fairy Tales to dreams, in that they supposedly reveal the inner workings of our brains - workings that we may not be aware of. (OMG! Prepositions aren't words I end sentences with!) Freud's model of consciousness, when displayed on a PowerPoint by Dr. Mazeroff, most closely resembles an iceberg. At the top, "above sea level," are the thoughts and perceptions we experience, and are aware of (i.e. "psychology" is hard to spell). Just below the "water" are the memories and knowledge that we call upon as we need it (i.e. The number for the Red Sox box office is 877-REDSOX-9; the number for WEEI is 617-779-0850, or toll-free at 1-888-525-0850). The deepest (and largest) part of the iceberg is the unconscious level - things we want or need or feel, but cannot exactly identify (i.e. Harry Potter returns to the Mirror of Erised because he has never known his family and longs to be loved and cared for). According to Freud, Fairy Tales reflect each aspect of our consciousness, revealing truths we cannot consciously identify.


The quotes from my blog last week were from:

1. Little Red Riding Hood

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is a Fairy Tale?

This post will serve two very nice functions. First, it is my assigned blog for the week, so doing it will complete my homework. Second, this will allow Nicole to better understand if all of Aliah's favorite stories can be classified as "Fairy Tales" or just plain stories.

The most important element of fairy tales is the magic. All fairy tales have some form of magic, which allows heroes (and villains) to do unexpected things. However unlike legends or myths, fairy tale magic is not the intervention of a God into the world we know. Instead it is set in a place where the magic is taken for granted. For example, when you read Rapunzel, you never say to yourself "now that doesn't make sense! How could she survive so long in the tower without eating anything?" When we read fairy tales we must have a suspension of disbelief that lets us imagine that the stories are possible.

Another extremely important characteristic of fairy tales is the adaptability. Whereas myths and legends are based on true events, fairy tales are not. Whether you believe each fairy tale has a unique birthplace or that fairy tales sprung up in multiple places simultaneously, you cannot deny that they are, at their core, fictional stories. Also, fairy tales do not have authors, because they were exclusively told orally for so long. Because there is no original author nor an original true story to follow, fairy tales can change very easily. In fact, every single person that hears a fairy tale becomes a potential changer.
To illustrate this, imagine you just finished reading The Hunger Games. The movie is due out next month, and your friend wants to know the story before he goes with you, so he asks you to tell it to him (since he has not time to read it). In telling the story to him, a couple times you remembered incorrectly and said something that was not in the story. In this case you made a mistake. You messed up. And if you re-read the books and tell the story again, you'll probably get it right this time.
With Fairy Tales, there is no right or wrong way to tell the story. If my mother tells me the story of Beauty and the Beast, and then I tell it to a friend with some different details, I have not wronged anyone because there is no author. And as long as i kept the main ideas, the archetypes, in place, then I have only adapted the work in my own unique way.

There you go, now you know a bit more about identifying Fairy Tales. I will leave you with one last way of distinguishing between Fairy Tales and other stories: if the culminating scene, the climax, shows a complete lack of emotion and of detail, you are reading a Fairy Tale.
Here are two climaxes from two timeless works - see if you can identify which is a fairy tale (bonus points for naming the books; I omitted the names of any characters):

1) "[the villain] fell upon [the hero], and ate her all up."

2) "[the hero] was upon them, and the terror of his coming filled the enemy with madness. [The enemy] fell on their faces before him...Like a black smoke driven by a mounting wind, they fled."

Note: I will post in a couple days the credit for these quotes, but for now I would like to see if my readers can identify the famous books first.