An Englishman Abroad

unnamedIt is often when we are abroad that we see the best and the worst of people. There is a reason for the enduring stereotype of the Ugly American, after all. Even at our best overseas, we are a rough-and-tumble sort of people, and it shows: rougher, simpler, more violent, more enterprising. Indiana Jones might be an excellent example. But let us examine the virtues of another stereotypical nationality in the larger world. Let us examine and appreciate the abiding image of the Englishman abroad.

We all have a picture of what this looks like in our minds, this creature from the days of colonialism, when the Empire was still at its height. Continue reading

Beware the Frozen Hype

T2014-04-17 Frozen img01he hype is wrong about Frozen. Doubtless you’ve seen the fan art, rave reviews, and musical tributes flooding the Internet. Frozen encourages viewers to be themselves, and challenges the traditional fairy-tale trope of love at first sight, say the critics. But if you’re like me, you’re sick of being told the moral of Frozen, and doubly sick of hearing “Let It Go” in a thousand different forms—because really there can never be too many covers of a Broadway-style, award-bait song about throwing off the restraints of fear and social expectations (/sarc). But please, don’t mistake me: Frozen is a great movie—just not for the ubiquitously-trumpeted reasons.

Continue reading

A Night Dancing

2013-09-20 Swing - patterns (95)-001

It’s a glorious evening; the DJ begins
Now to play so the air fills with tangible song,
While I turn and then ask as she, seeing me, grins,
“Would you like to come dance?” and Yes, she’ll come along.

 

Thus I guide her, away from the weary week’s woes,
To a space on the dance floor where’s room for us two. Continue reading

Our Dragons are Different: Redeeming Fiction’s Greatest Enemy

2014-4-3 Dragons are Different img01Dragons. They’re everywhere.

Not in the flesh (or perhaps in the scales), to my extreme disappointment and dissatisfaction. But it is clear that more and more modern fantasy has featured the flying lizards in one capacity or another. Off the top of my head, without hesitation, I could name ten books, movies, and video games produced within the last decade that involve dragons in some major capacity. I would also freely admit to enjoying many of them.

Others engaged with pop culture and the long history of Western literature do not share my excitement about the abundance of dragons in popular media Continue reading