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Posts from the ‘Archive of Childhood’ Category

Would you fight or Run?

When I was in middle school in South Korea, it was winter, friends and I enjoyed the freedoms from end of finals! Middle school in korea, students go to school for one or two weeks more even final is over. During this time period, students usually bring movie video to watch. However, in my memory, that day was unusual day because I had big culture shocks from the movie “Battle Royale”.

According to website,battleroyalefilm.net, the movie “Battle Royale”, a film by the veteran Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, tells the story of a dystopic future in which each year, a randomly-selected 9th grade class is kidnapped and sent to a deserted island where they are equipped with weapons and are forced to kill each other until one survivor is left. The movie, which premiered in Japan on December 16, 2000 amidst much controversy, is based on a bestselling novel by Koushun Takami.s. Movie rental cost two dollars, but it was rated R, so i don’t how my friend brought this movie. We discussed about this movie many times, and in society, movie brought issues.

Recently, I reminded this movie when I read the ”Hunger games”.  So I was curious that, “Will this movie bring many issues as Battle Royale did “? , because they may have different components, but main theme is same, kid kills kid. However I found that  there are no big issues because of ‘kid kills kid’ theme. I realized that this difference reaction may be cause by culture difference. From the class discussion, classmates really didn’t mention about ‘kid kills kid’ subject, except me. They were more focused on other subjects. In Asian society, there are big imitation culture. When one trend hits, people imitate that trend to be one of most people because Asia culture is based on collectivism. Therefore many Asia countries worried what if the violence of movie “Battle Royale” cause imitated act from children. Even cultures are different, kid kills kid theme is suggestive, and everybody would think that, “what if i was there?.  And answers for most them? Run.

Battle Royale and Hunger games

If you want to read How these are similar and different? Click the Image.

Conservative themes in The Hunger Games

In the introduction to her book Raising Your Kids Right: Children’s Literature and American Political Conservatism, Michelle Abate briefly discusses conservative themes present in Young Adult fiction (9), but does not extensively discuss the genre. This exclusion led me to examine a topical Young Adult novel, Susan Collins’ The Hunger Games (and by extension, the recent film adaptation), and its relationship to conservatism. At first thought I was sure that there was little connection, but further investigation has changed my mind.

dystopian The first conservative connection agrees with Abate’s assertion of children’s literature affirming libertarianism. The novel is set in a future where North America is governed by a ruthless totalitarian regime that constantly oppresses its citizens sense of self and has direct control over all production and manufacturing. Throughout the book and series the main protagonist, Katniss, constantly rebels against the government, making her a compelling hero for a political group “concerned that the United States is rapidly drifting toward socialism and that the size and strength of government is infringing on individual freedoms.” (11) This theme of rebelling against big government is often seen in many YA dystopian novels.

Christianity has also been closely connected to the American conservative movement, especially since the rise of evangelical Christians in the 70s and 80s. Since the release of the novel’s film adaptation, several reviewers have cited elements of the film and novel that seem to connect to Christian themes. Reviewers at The Washington Times and The Christian Post point out the main protagonist’s self sacrifice asserts Christian ideals and connects her to Jesus. Another review connects another character, Peeta, to Jesus, drawing from “the Bread of Life” that he offers to Katniss, and the fact that he was left for dead, spent several days in a cave, and emerged “resurrected.” Although some of these connections may be a stretch, the fact that Christian groups across the nation are appropriating the novel and the film into sermons and bible study are evidence that some similar themes are present.

Perhaps it’s the fact that many of these stories can be interpreted in different ways that allows scholars to align them with specific ideals (although Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed probably can’t be argued many different ways). Conservative propaganda or not, Michelle Abate has definitely been successful in making me take closer looks at the literature children, and adults, are exposed to.

Peeta Bread, get it? From Starryskye.org

The “Wanna Be” Barbie

Bratz Dolls

The original Bratz

When I was younger I had Barbie everything. I had the Barbie dream House. I had Barbie and Ken; I had just about everything. Except I never had a black Barbie. I really didn’t the purpose in getting one. They looked exactly like the white Barbie except with a darker skin color. As years went on more and more Barbie stuff would come out. There would be new Barbies, new Barbie accessories. However, one day I was watching TV and I saw something that wasn’t Barbie. I saw Bratz. the Bratz dolls really intrigued me. Bratz dolls came out in 2001 when I was 9 year old. The Bratz dolls were made by MGA Entertainment. These dolls looked like they were for girls of different ethnic backgrounds. They originally started off with 4 girls; Sasha (black), Jade (Asian), Chloe (White), and Yasmin (Hispanic). There was one for every girl that may have wanted one. Bratz did not start off with just one white doll and later add on another; they began with different dolls. This gave little girls more of an option to pick which one they wanted. It also helped because these were dolls that were more like them. In our class discussion of Ethnically Correct Dolls, I felt like this connected to the discussion. It was mentioned in class how it was harder for the little black girls to connect to the white Barbies because they lacked black features. I found this to be true. I didn’t want a black Barbie because it looked just like the white ones. They had the same features, the same type of hair. Nothing was different. However, with Bratz I could relate more to those. The black Bratz doll had curly hair, big lips, and had the same color eyes as me. I feel like the Bratz creator was truly thinking about every little girl when they created these dolls. I have to say Bratz was my favorite doll to play with growing up.

Creativity and Nintendo

The popularity of the several Nintendo game systems that were released in the 1990s had profound effects on my creative mind.  I used to draw pictures of superheroes fighting villains and dinosaurs attacking cities whenever TV seemed unappealing.  These ideas I used for my doodles were mostly a result of the amount of Nintendo 64 I played at a young age.  Games like Star Fox, Rampage, and Super Smash Brothers, as their titles may suggest, are packed with colorful and unique characters and environments that would captivate any seven-year-old American boy.  My relationship with these games was so intimate that I began drawing pictures of my favorite characters at school and eventually in my room while doing homework.  Consistently practicing my artwork every day (out of sheer enjoyment, I might add) so that I could draw the characters just right, my skills developed to a point where I could draw Donkey Kong, Star Fox, and Mario better than the the older kids.

As a result of this newly developed talent, doodling became a hobby in which I indulged whenever I was not watching TV or playing video games.  I’m still pretty good at drawing Spider-man and Medieval Dragons, and I owe this to Nintendo.  Countless hours of flying through space and battling giant turtles inspired me to start drawing and opened my creative mind.  In my last two Archives of Childhood, I’ve asserted the importance parents taking the time to observe what electronic media their kids are indulging in and then determining how often they should indulge.  Now, I have proved how important it is for parents to think about the positive effects of at least some exposure to video games.  Some children may have creativity hidden within them, and video games may help bring them out.

Music- same stuff, different day and age.

Being a 90′s child, we grew up with Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. We were the children of Barney, Winnie the Pooh and the Mickey Mouse crew. As we grew, so did all of our TV shows. One staple character that will forever stay with me, is Goofy’s son- Max. Max made his big debut with A Goofy Movie featuring him as a pre-teen in high school with an embarrassing dad and a crush on a beautiful girl. A story everyone would come to relate to in their own time. The music from the movie was not the main point, but it did however play a big supporting role in the trials and obstacles Max finds himself in througout the film. Powerline was the name of the biggest rockstar in the movie, anybody who was anybody knew him and loved all of his songs. Max was not the most popular kid in school, but after interrupting a school meeting ran by the principal, by blaring a Powerline hit and lipsyncing along- his life was transformed and he became the coolest kid on the block. What child didn’t want to be like Max Goof?

 

Max’s actions definitely had consequences- the principal claimed Max “dressed like a gang member and caused the entire student body to riot”; if Max’s father did not fix his son’s attitude, Max was going to end up in the electric chair. Thus, the rest of the movie takes it from there.

I chose to bring this movie up because in recent class discussions we have moved onto the topic of music- more specifically hip-hop. We touched a little on how music will influence youth, and this movie shows the perfect example of a kid who has iconized this particular musician, and uses it to impress his peers. While the song holds no bad words, it is still a presentation of a person being “cocky” and demanding attention from those around him so that he can get what and who he wants in life. With crazy cool dance moves and a beat that makes you want to dance along, it’s no wonder kids would have wanted to surround themselves with this type of music that creates a quiet confidence when you sing along. (Yes, I’m guilty of knowing every word!)

In the boat of hip-hop and gansta rap, much of the older generation blames hip-hop music for corrupting the youth. In George Lipsitz article “The Hip Hop Hearings” he mentions all the adults that were against the music because it would encourage disrespect towards the law and only encourage delinquent and criminal behavior.  All that gangsta rap was truly doing was rebelling against law enforcement. NWA is the main group the hearings were against, but they were not the first to use music to create “rebelious behavior”. While the gangsta rap may have stirred up some change in the children with how they talked and dressed, when has there been a time in history when music didn’t? Young adults rebelling against the government goes as far back as 1969 with the Woodstock concert in New York. People only feared gangsta rap because they brought on a more explicit and violent tone to their rebellion.

Artists using music to influence adolscents has been a constant trend throughout American history. We can not forget about when Elvis Presley first became a big shot- he danced using his hips. Moves like his were never seen on television before, and he had to be censored from the waist down so that the youth would not be exposed to such scandalous behavior. Yet, he became an icon. Same story with Madonna and how she embraced women’s sexual freedom and sang and dressed in ways that mothers and fathers never wanted their daughters to. Yet again, she is an icon. NWA paved the road for later artists like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. to be able to express their opinions about young kids that grow up in these low socioeconomic status neighborhoods and the  discrimination they felt.

Music is always changing with every new generation that comes forth, however it’s effects on the listeners will always remain strong and constant. I feel that by adults always labeling certain types of music as the catalyst for madness and mayheim, they should reflect on the music they listened to and grew up with (Elvis, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Nirvana, etc…) and remember how looked down upon they were at one point.

No music; no life.

Lunchroom Politics or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gushers

A variety of the General Mills' Fruit Gushers. You always pick out the red and green anyway.

During my childhood, namely throughout 90s and early 2000s, kids’ snacks were evolving. As always, cheap and pre-processed goodies were easily available in every grocery store, strategically placed on lower shelves and in bright, eye-catching packaging. However, it seems that a new trend took hold, whereby advertisers and the companies producing these packaged snacks began to re-brand their products to appear healthier and more nutritional while still maintaining the appeal of ‘kets‘.

Of course, it’s fair to say that notable examples like General Mills’ Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Rollups, Fruit Gushers, and many more were and still are convenient filler items for packing children’s lunches or as a midday snack requiring no more effort than a quick trip back into the house. Despite their names, they are little more (or no less) than glorified and gelled candies.
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Move it, football head!

One of my favorite TV shows from young, couch potato-ing days was “Hey Arnold!” Airing on Nickelodeon from 1996-2004, “Hey Arnold!” was an animated TV series which followed the adventures of the title character, Arnold, and his friends, family, and neighbors in the fictional city of Hillwood.

The main character, Arnold, a blonde kid who wears a tiny red hat on top of his large, football-shaped head, lives with his grandparents in a boarding house, which they own, located in the heart of a busy metropolis. The boarding house, called Sunset Arms, is a very cramped residency, filled with several quirky characters from vast ethnic backgrounds, who provide Arnold with a colorful home life. Arnold’s best friend is Gerald Johanssen, a hip, black kid who knows all of the urban legends in the city. Helga Pataki, a girl in the group, comes from an upper-middle class background (her dad has a great, beeper empire) and is secretly in love with Arnold, though she disguises this by acting cruelly towards him. Arnold’s other friends are very culturally diverse as well, including Jewish, South American, Japanese, and rural children.

“Hey Arnold!” is reminiscent of our recent unit in class covering the childhood of disadvantaged, urban youths, because the show is one of the few children’s animated series to be set in a completely urban environment. Several of the characters, including Arnold, are missing one or more parents from their lives. Much like in our Elizabeth Chin readings, the children’s neighborhood is not very open to play. In the episode “The Vacant Lot”, the children, fed up with cars interrupting their street baseball games, find a rare, open, grassy lot in the neighborhood which they attempt to convert into a baseball field. The children converting their neighborhood into a place in which they can use for play is similar to the girls in the Elizabeth Chin reading who make their white dolls more like them by braiding their hair. In both instances, children are able to adapt the situation they are confined to into something they can enjoy more.

Below is the “Hey Arnold!” episode, “The Vacant Lot”