Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cartoons and Anarchy

Maybe its because I have been writing this blog or maybe its because I am in my mid-twenties and am going through a quarter life crisis, but either way I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of person I am. When you watch TV or read books, it seems like everyone fits into one easy category; the cheerleader, the emo, the jock, the Goth, the party animal etc. I know that fictional characters are represented this way in order make them easier to fit into a plot line but lately I’ve been wondering just what cliché stereotype other people think that I’d fit into.

The thing that really got me thinking about this just now is Netflix. So N. and I got Netflix a few months ago. After you have it awhile, it starts to suggest genres of movies you might like. Netflix suggested two genres to me based on what I usually watch: Dark Fight-the-system documentaries and Classic Children’s Animation. So basically an automated computer system tracked my interests and decided that I want to start a revolution…or watch some cartoons. Pretty accurate but just a little bit odd.

I kind of feel like weird juxtapositions of character traits have been a consistent theme in my life. The first time I thought this about myself was when I was a freshman in high school and took a creative writing class. To give you a little bit of background, in ninth grade I was your typical 14 year old girl, kind of shy, super giggly when I got around my friends, I was a cheerleader and got pretty good grades…a pretty normal kid. Our first assignment was to write a short story on whatever subject we wanted but it had to be fictional.

Everyone came to class and we had to read our stories out loud. Most of the girls wrote about love, or at least the fourteen-year old girl idea of love. The guys tended to write about hunting or sports. There were quite a few kids that wrote about a teenager fighting with his or her parents and some people wrote about a fight among a group of friends. By the time everyone else had read theirs and it was my turn, I started to feel pretty nervous.

Here is a basic run-down of my plot line. It was set in the future and it was about a guy that had committed a crime so he was living in a forced labor camp. He wanted to run away from the camp but the government (which was a huge, evil entity of course) had implanted a tracking device in all the prisoners’ thumbs so that they couldn’t get away. My story was about how the guy drinks a bottle of stolen vodka, breaks the bottle and uses the broken glass to cut off his thumb. He then runs through the woods, with a trail of blood behind him, until he finds an abandoned cabin. He sleeps there until he is woken up by one of the guard of the forced labor camp kicking him in the back telling him he cut off the wrong thumb. So, yeah, basically the shy, sometimes giggly cheerleader, stood up and announced to the whole class that she was a gigantic weird-o that made up stories about people cutting off their appendages. Needless to say I got a lot of weird looks.

I continued this trend through most of high school. I placed second in the science fair but then got called to the guidance counselor because the chemistry teacher thought that I had a drinking problem. I’d get praise from my English teacher for taking night classes at the local college for fun, but then sell black market book reports I’d written to most of the kids that were taking her class (FYI pretty profitable business, I made like $200 one semester).

In college, it was the same kind of thing. From one point of view, I was a shy, polite girl who worked at the campus bookstore, tutored English for the university, edited the college newspaper and volunteered on the weekends at a homeless shelter. From another point of view, I was the sarcastic girl, who spent a lot of her time drinking, taped huge pro-choice stickers everywhere on her uber catholic, republican roommate’s side of the room, organized a middle of the night road trip to Canada during finals week out of boredom and who could frequently be seen chain-smoking outside the dorm building in the middle of the night. Mixed in with all this was the fact that I was president of the Socialist club on campus for a few years, went to anti-war protests and was in a feminist group called the Militant Madonnas. Also, I loved to shop.

So yeah, back to my original point, I am not sure what kind of person I am. Probably just a pretty normal one, because in all actuality I don’t think that anyone really fits into one of those ready-made categories. But it is still interesting to think about sometime. But I think I’ve spent enough time trying to figure it out for now and will probably go watch some TV, maybe I’ll finish that documentary I was watching about health care reform in the United States…or watch another episode of Rocko’s Modern Life. Either or.

1 comment:

  1. I had just found out that Rocko is on netflix! It's a dream come true. Incidentally, don't let your head explode but Heffer and Spongebob have the same voice actor.

    If you can find that short story will you post it?? It sounds awesome! I don't remember if we were in the same class but I did have to write a story for Mr. Baumann once, and it was based on a TV movie I saw on ABC Family. You can imagine it was really high-quality literature.

    This prompted me to see what netflix suggests for me... "Feel-good scifi and fantasy from the 1980s" and "critically-acclaimed romantic comedies." Um, ew. I didn't want to know this about myself. Thanks a lot asshole.


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