Journal Questions for the Week of August 23, 2011
1. Hey my name is Sam Prina, and I’m sure you’ve all noticed me at some point by now. I’m that girl with the dark curly hair and hard-to-miss-mega-height. Not that I mind being tall – in fact, I couldn’t love it more. From the day I was enrolled in a Chilean elementary school, I stood out. Then when I shot up and became the tallest kid my age, I stood out even more. It wasn’t easy to be thrust into a school with kids who didn’t know a lick of English, but full and sudden emersion was how I learned. I didn’t get much schooling there – at least not the traditional, U.S. approved kind. They didn’t really know what to do with me so I mostly roamed around the avocado fields, playing with gargantuan stray dogs, jumping streams, and reading any book about animals I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I love reading and that’s one of the reasons I was so excited to get into this class. Also, being a shrink in training, the line between good and evil fascinates me. We all have a dark side and I’m eager to break down the criterion that distinguishes heroes from villains. Well, that’s a leaf from my crazy book for you. And by the way, that’s not blood on my face. It’s ketchup and mustard; the marrings of a food fight ;)


2. We watched a children’s movie because they’re freaking awesome. Even though it was tailored for younger audiences, people of all ages can observe Clark Kent and the Joker and find something in their characters that connects with their own. The world is often littered with shades of grey when it comes to morality and decency, and even though there’s good reason for that, it’s refreshing to escape into a children’s book or movie where things are more clean-cut and black and white. Growing older does mean growing stronger, smarter, and more independent, but we watch children’s movies to remind ourselves about the wonderful things that it means to be and think like a kid.

Journal Question for the Week of August 30, 2011
1. This quote sounds like something Utterson might say or think about Jekyll. This is evidenced by the fact that most anyone else in his position would probably have turned him into the police at some point. Utterson, however, is one of those rare, undyingly loyal bosom friends, and he kept his silence where law enforcement was concerned. Even though his ‘blood ran cold in his veins’ at the thought of Jekyll having anything to do with the Carew murder, he believed that there was something good left in his dear friend – more good than evil anyway.

I like how you applied the quote to Utterson. I didn’t even think of that. But it’s so true. He is a loyal friend and he chooses to see the good in Dr. Jekyll.

- jserru jserru Sep 1, 2011Jaclyn

I really liked how you related the quote to Utterson. He chooses, like Lincoln, to weigh whether Jekyll is more evil than good in his decision to reject or accept him. While he is deeply disturbed by Jekyll's connection to Hyde, he still views his friend in a good light and decides to remain "loyal" to him rather than turning him over to the authorities. - Lenarama Lenarama Sep 6, 2011

Journal Questions for the Week of September 13, 2010
1. The ability to mangle and destroy a large amount of people in a short space of time definitely seems to have something to do with it (and this doesn’t leave Beowulf out, mind you, *wink*). Further than that however, it’s tricky to lay down general guidelines around all the villains in the poem. Though the unifying norm does seem to be the fact that they feed the ‘revenge-through-killing-even-more-people-cycle’, they all remain very different types of baddies. Perhaps the villainy guidelines in this poem are exactly that: In order to be a successful villain in this epic, you have to possess complex discrepancies that separate you from the fold and from other monsters. They require outstandingly different motives, intentions, and drives from one another.

~Less Eville~
1. Batman (can't try to steal Superman's girl and expect to get off scott free.)
8. Grendel & Beowulf (sorry, when you judge and make up our mind about someone without even trying to see if there’s any hope of coming back for them, then you’re just as evil in my book. Take that Beowulf.)
10. Mr. Hyde (pure evil after all)
~Most Eville~

3. I’m glad you stopped everyone last class and reminded us that yelling over one another isn’t exactly the best way to go. I was finding it distracting and rather unpleasant. I see an accomplished conversation as being a comfortable exchange of words where one doesn’t have to be afraid of being constantly cut off. I mean, there are some interjections that must be made, but steady interruptions are a little rude. I like to think of Dumbledore’s honorable example in the 5th book when Professor Umbridge cuts across him during his turn to speak at the start of term feast. After he is taken aback, he simply sits down smartly and pays her rapt attention, thus demonstrating to his students and staff the proper way to listen to someone – and that is to contain yourself until they are done talking.

I love how you refer to Dumbledore!!! I really like how you think that Beowulf is evil too. I thought it too when I was reading but thought to push that idea aaside. He was evil just like the villains. But do you think that inside every hero there is a little evil? I like your criteria for a villain also.
- jserru jserru Sep 8, 2011Jaclyn

Journal Questions for the Week of September 20, 2011
1. A show like Dexter can now be popular in our society because of the change in norms we’ve experienced in the last century. It is now exceptionally mainstream to study psychology somewhere and at some point in your life. Dexter is a psychologically fascinating (not to mention, hilarious) character, and that gives us a perfect excuse to watch him do what he does best. I’m not sure a television series like this would have been as successful in the past. Since the beginning of television, producers have worked their way up on the shock scale. What was considered gruesome and inappropriate for television “back then” would be considered laughable now. But take Dexter back to the 70s and I think you’d have a bit of a problem.

2. These four men all seem to be incapable of helping themselves. Dexter can’t help himself when it comes to dismembering, and Superman can’t stop himself from helping people. They all seem to have this unsated, empty place inside them. Superman and Batman fill theirs by saving people and Dexter and Dr. Jekyll by giving into unorthodox desires. Additionally, if you excluded Dr. Jekyll, they would all be vigilantes. I don’t see those four as being so different from Beowulf in that regard. I mean, sure, part of Beowulf faced those monsters out of the goodness of his heart, but another part of him benefited similarly.

3. Because there are some freaking weird people out there. Haha also, I suppose the fact that a vampire can make you immortal by drinking your blood has something to do with it. The concept of choosing someone to be eternal along with you is akin to loving someone forever. You’re not going to turn someone really annoying into an immortal being. Hopefully, you’d choose someone that you’ve stalked for awhile and kind of like.

4. Well, for one, he passed out of knowledge before the invention of DNA analysis. Also, from what I understand, only five murders were attributed to him at the time. Not as many chances to screw up as, say, Ted Bundy had. And finally, you have to think about the possibility that he moved away when the press started coming down on him or that maybe he died.

Your'e answer to the third question made me laugh :) Cause if someone pieced my neck with their teeth I would be much more inclined to call the cops and visit the doctor to make sure I didn't catch anything. Also I really like your answer to the second question. I couldn't think of any way to relate Superman and Dexter, but I can see how your relation works for not just Superman but for all the other characters as well. - reinada reinada Sep 16, 2011Reina

I definitely agree that the idea of taking an immortal lover is very romantic. That's a powerful appeal. Plus, vampires have lived a long time, so if they pick you they must think you're pretty special, out of all the other women they've been with. - MilesDixon MilesDixon Sep 19, 2011

That is very interesting what you said about those 4 characters not being able to help themselves. I hadn't thought of it like that.
- tylerjames1992 tylerjames1992 Sep 20, 2011

I never thought of the four characters that way it is a realy interesting theory! -sdimpfel

Journal Questions for the Week of September 20, 2011
1. The gods definitely do not approve of Medea’s plans, but they do nothing because they were sworn to secrecy. Their unwillingness to intervene raises the age-old idea that our ‘creators’, our god(s), gave us the gift of free will. If they struck every ill intentioned human being down, there would be no point to living on this earth. The gods have to allow us to do what we’re going to do.
2b. I would like to believe there is a peaceful method to solve every dilemma – if we only think long and hard enough. Sometimes, however, events call for action and we must answer with our decision. The matter of taking a human life is very serious, so for me, the validity of a cause doesn’t rest on a limit that is measured in numbers, but on whether I feel that it is the right thing to do. A cause becomes unjust when I feel that even one life has been unrightfully taken.
3. I struggle with the same demon that we all struggle with – and that is our tendency towards violence. Even the most demure and innocent natured person experiences those moments when some base instinct inside you suddenly tells you to strike. Having those potently powerful impulses is completely normal. It is how we react to those instincts that defines what kind of person we are. EDIT: I guess I totally missed how literal this question was. It probably would've helped if I was there that day. Anyway, my inner animal would be a wolf, no doubt about it. Their loyalty, strength, instinct, and group orientedness are things I strive for and the fact that they chose mates for life is something I can relate to and admire.

Villain-O-Meter: Medea > 10, Jason > 9

Interesting. You say that they do not interfere because of free will. Why then, do they interfere so often in other's affairs? Particularly in cases where one kills kin since it is viewed as such a sin? I really don't think "free will" mattered very much to them. - Roxypotter13 Roxypotter13 Sep 27, 2011

I like how you touched on the idea of free will in relation to religion. and i completely agree with your thoughts about the importance of even one life.
- tylerjames1992 tylerjames1992 Sep 27, 2011

Journal Questions for the Week of September 27, 2011.
1. They don’t seem to differ all that much, except that it seems to me that female villains might be slightly less common than male villains. I base that on the fact that, statistically, women commit murder a lot less often than men. I suppose one also has to shed light on the sensual differences between male and female baddies. On the whole, it seems to be a common trend (ever since Eve) that female villains use some form of seduction to befit their evil purposes. Men, of course, do it too, but we don’t pay as much attention when that happens.

2. In Sleeping Beauty, color plays a very base and instinctual role. When certain colors are applied to certain situations, there are some very classic and widely felt reactions. Now when we’re talking about people, one of the first obvious characters to look at in terms of color is the lovely Maleficent. She obviously needs to spend some quality time at the tanning salon. Her complexion is pretty pale, but it is also pretty green. Both of these factors are legitimate causes for concern. First of all, she’s obviously not spending a whole lot of time in the sun and this gives us the feeling that there’s something not quite right with her somehow. She’s definitely got getting enough Vitamin D. The fact that her skin is greenish in hue also makes us suspect some kind of illness – whether it be psychological or physical. Then again, we might just take one look at the color of her skin, see that it is different from ours, and feel suspicious. Just because it’s different. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. She also wears a lot of black, the color of darkness and night – things for which we hold eternal distrust. These colors and elements are creepy enough standing alone, but tabling them together into one extreme rendition is what Sleeping Beauty is all about.

Journal Questions for the Week of October 4, 2011
  1. Both Iago and Othello killed their wives. Killing anyone is pretty evil, but killing your wife, the person you’re sworn to protect, is even worse. Also, they both misuse the good gifts life has given them. Iago perverted his gift of cunning intelligence by using it to get the people around him to do his vile bidding. Othello abused his gift of Desdemona’s love by choosing to lose faith in her on so little.
  2. I wouldn’t be unbelievable if Dexter Morgan had some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When Dex was younger, he went through a traumatic and bloody ordeal (I’ll spare the details for those who haven’t gotten that far). When he faces a similar situation in his adulthood, he has a panic attack and faints. Reacting this way to a situation that reminds you of an old trauma is something that is often seen in people diagnosed with PTSD.
  3. Not to seem redundant, but I’d like to draw some parallels between Dexter and Daredevil. Well, the first parallel is both their names start with ‘D’ – that’s the important one. Also, they both ‘lost’ their father at a young age and grew up to serve in professions that deal with law enforcement. They also both lead double lives where they eliminate the baddies they come across in said professions in traditional vigilante style.
  • Villain-O-Meter: Iago > 8, Othello > 9

So i definitely just finbished watching season 1 of Dexter (absolutely amazing!!!!) And I totally agree. Who wouldn't be somewhat messed up after that ordeal? I liked how you pointed out that they both abused their gifts, would have never thought of that, but it's soooo true.
- jserru jserru Oct 7, 2011JaclynSerru

PTSD would be a good disorder to classify Dexter with. I have actually seen that part of the series and this makes sense. I also like your comparisons between Dexter and Daredevil... especially the vigilante comparison, but the first letter thing is pretty deep.- Droybal Droybal Oct 11, 2011

Journal Questions for the Week of October 11, 2011
  1. Cars and computers don’t have the intention or ability to willingly hurt us. Wild animals usually don’t either. It’s when there’s something wrong that we become afraid. We fear wolves with rabies and men who are addicted to raping women. We fear those who aren’t in control of themselves.
  2. Batman is, to say the least, a little unconventional in this movie. He definitely has his eyes on the prize, and he doesn’t seem to give as much thought as he should to those who get in his way. But this isn’t to say that Batman doesn’t have his good qualities. His actions are heroic. Batman risks his life, and he sacrifices his happiness, his desires, and his very body to protect the people of Gotham. Batman isn’t perfect – but unless a man be part villain, it isn’t a compliment to call him a hero.
  3. Does Batman twice spare the Joker's life because of some moral code? Or is it because Bruce is indeed reluctant to exterminate the man who 'completes' him and vice versa? Is there perhaps something about the Joker that Batman relates to?
  • Villain O Meter: Joker >> 10 (Unless he's utterly and functionally insane.)

I absolutely love your Dark Knight questions!! It's hard to tell if Batman is morally against killing someone.. It kind of seems as though he wouldn't be. But that only leaves your other question- is it that he doesn't WANT to kill the Joker? If so, is he truly as heroic as we're all making him out to be? - mlerussell mlerussell Oct 16, 2011

It is true that cars and computers don't willingly want to hurt us, but some some people are still really afraid of technology. On the news this morning they were talking about the risk cell phones have of giving you cancer, and how people want to know preventative methods. So in this regard, cell phones can hurt us, even though they probably won't and it's not like they want to. Cell phones love us as much as we love them, which is a lot. But I must agree that I fear men raping women much much much more than cell phones. - reinada reinada Oct 17, 2011Reina

Journal Questions for the Week of October 18, 2011
  1. This quote makes me immediately think of Dexter. He, like the watchmen, eliminates threats to society. But who watches Dexter to make sure he doesn’t make a mistake or go off the deep end? In a ‘perfect’ world, we might hope that there was some supreme, just, and all-knowing god or deity to watch over us all and keep things fair. Sometimes it is unfortunate that we do not live in a world like that, but all we can do is try our best to do our duty to keep our part of the world healthy and safe.
  2. Not really, having a ‘license to kill’ isn’t any better than not.
  3. Both Carnage and Venom had evil intentions before they bonded with the symbiotes, and they both realized that the alien companion inside them was taking them out for ‘joyrides’ while they were asleep. They knew their free will was compromised and they knew how to get rid of these parasites, and yet they both did not act on this information. Venom and Carnage are both equally as culpable on this front.
  • Villain O Meter: Comedian>>9, Rorschach>>3
In a 'perfect' world, you and I would watch Dexter. Okay, actually, in a perfect world Dexter wouldn't exist, but that's something else entirely. What kind of things should we do (or what things are our "duty") in order to keep the world healthy and safe, as you say?

Do you think that Dexter's dad plays a part in watching over him? I know he is only in his mind however he gives him guidance and keeps him from making foolish mistakes. - Oct 24, 2011

I would say our duty to this world is to formulate our own set of morals, update them when justifiable, and never compromise them. If you stay true to yourself, you stay true to the world. Sometimes, however, what you honestly believe is right is wrong. That's why we have all sorts of people in this world to keep it balanced. The people who have the right idea are here to stand up against the people who have the wrong idea.
And I think Dexter's Imaginary-Harry does help keep him in check. But unfortunately, he is only a figment of Dexter's imagination that embodies his conscience - not actually another person with a different perspective. - samanthaprina samanthaprina Oct 26, 2011samanthaprina

Journal Questions for the Week of October 25, 2011
  1. I wish I was omnipotent and all-seeing enough to justly and accurately outline what is good and what is evil. I wish there was a clean cut answer to every morally complicated decision. But there isn’t. So if there is anything that is inherently good or evil, well, I can’t be an adequate judge. All I can do, all any of us can do, is do what we honestly think is right. Like Rorschach, we should never compromise what we believe in.
  2. It’s that old Nature vs. Nurture argument. I can say, with substantial certainty, that no one is born evil. But we are born with predispositions that our environment can exacerbate. Life handed Tom a crappy card; his genetics and his upbringing combined to make sure of that. He can’t be blamed for those dark, twisty feelings he endured, but he is accountable for how he chose to handle them.
  3. From observing modern vampires in books and television, it’s pretty clear to see what an erotically driven society we are. Dracula catapulted this sensual take on vampires and we have only continued to build on it. I think society is going to continue expanding until audiences are bored with vampires. The real question is: What are we going to sexualize next?
  • Villain O’ Meter: Ozymandias>>9, Dr. Manhattan>>5

Journal Questions for the Week of November 1, 2010
1. "[M]ost of us never really grow up or mature all that much -- we simply grow taller...the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales [remains]."-Leo RostenWe began the semester looking at a children's work. What new insight can you bring to the child-centered works we'll be looking at the for rest of the semester? What can be gained by this exploration?
2. From Angelica's presentation: (H. H. Holmes) Why are people so fascinated by things that are so gruesome and morbid?
3. From Stephanie's presentation: Many times people blame their actions on demons--why is this an excuse that people use?

  1. When we first got into analyzing villains, we started with the clean cut characters of Superman and The Joker – or characters that we thought were clean cut. After exploring the more complicated and complex characters from the more mature stories, we’re now bringing that analytical eye back to children’s stories. We are now more prepared to delve into these fairy tales and scrutinize them as we would our more mature stories – and in doing this we discover that these seemingly less mature stories actually have a myriad of underlying mature themes.
  2. I believe that all human being have the capability to execute gruesome and morbid actions. We all have thoughts. What interests us is learning about those who actually act on those thoughts and urges.
  3. This tendency to blame our actions on demons comes largely from religion. The idea that each of us posses a shoulder angel and devil that whisper in our ears. We like this concept because it means that the evil ideas that enter our heads come from outside sources and not from within us.
  • Villain O’ Meter: Cinderella’s Step-Mother >> 7, Cinderella’s Step-Sisters >> 5.

Journal Questions for the Week of November 8, 2011
1. Make a case for Peter Pan as the villain of the story
2. From Sam's presentation: Was Snape mostly a villain? Why or why not?
3. From Kharli's presentation: Did Spike deserve redemption after what he tried to do to Buffy?

  1. Peter Pan just isn’t a villain. He is a child, with all the blamelessness and lack of liability that affords. In addition to that, he has this magical Alzheimer’s that takes away even more of his accountability.
  2. My presentation.
  3. I think anyone who meekly and steadfastly labors with all their heart to right their wrongs deserves redemption. Spike worked hard and endured many excruciating trials to regain his soul. He also sacrificed his life to save the rest of the world. If redemption was possible, I think he earned it.

  • Villain O’ Meter: Peter >> 0, Hook >> 5

"...he has this magical Alzheimer's..." Awesome. I love how you completely disregarded the question and went with what you felt. I was torn on deciding whether or not Peter was a villain or just a child. Children can be pretty villainous sometimes...(they scare me).- lduran02 lduran02 Nov 14, 2011

I like your explanation of why Spike should have been redeemed. I believe he deserved it after his trials as well. - Roxypotter13 Roxypotter13 Nov 13, 2011

Lecture #1
I volunteered at the Eastside Animal Shelter to help out with the dogs there. Before the senior volunteers would allow me anywhere near the animals, however, I was commanded to attend several long lectures about animal behavior. I was very surprised at how much these volunteers had gleaned about dog psychology from just working with the dogs at the shelter. At the lecture, they taught us about some of the different types of canine aggression. Territorial Aggression registers when a defensive dog (usually an un-neutered male) feels like his territory is threatened. Examples of aggression in canines are growling, the bearing of teeth, raised tail, raised hackles, unbroken eye-contact, flat ears, stiff legs, stalking, charging, barking, biting, and lunging. When dogs are Fearful Aggressive, it usually means that they do not have the option of running away from the situation. When dogs are scared, they will almost always choose the ‘flight’ response over the ‘fight’ response. The most important thing I learned, however, is that dogs can sense our inner strength. It made all the difference in the world to think confident as well as show confident body language.

Journal Questions for the Week of November 22, 20111.
When Ender found the queen's egg, he decided not to tell the world until he was sure they could accept it. To that end, he wrote a book about the Buggers and their point-of-view, hoping to elicit empathy in mankind. The problem with this is that, when Ender does decide to reveal the truth, his lie will be viewed as a deception, and any empathy he has managed to cultivate may fall prey to suspicion. How can Ender prove to the world that he (and ultimately humanity) wasn't being manipulated by the Buggers?
2. From Reina's presentation: Do you believe that Rasputin was a real holy man? Or were his predictions and healing just luck, fraud or coincidence?
3. From Jamie's presentation: Why do you think Disney chose to portray Hades as an evil villain to Hercules?
  1. That’s a hard question to answer. Most of Ender’s life has been about being manipulated. It would fit the pattern if he was manipulated by the Buggers too. There really isn’t a way for him to prove himself. Being human is about being manipulated. We all knowingly and unknowingly manipulate each other every day.
  2. The odds are definitely off the charts when it comes to Rasputin. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something special about him.
  3. Death is a very traumatic thing for our culture. We don’t talk about it or accept it as much as, say, people in the Victorian Era did. Hades had connections with death, so it was only natural for Disney to vilify something that our culture fears so greatly.

You have a really good point, that being Ender spent his whole life being manipulated. But for the most part he was being manipulated to save the world and to be brought to his full potential. It is of course possible that he is being manipulated by the buggers, but I think to think that he is not and they actually good aliens. - Nov 27, 2011

I realy like your point about being manipulated and it really shows how close to home Ender's game comes even thought it is set in a completely alien environment the characters are still human and human's as a species never really change. -sdimpfel

I liked the way you put why Disney made Hades a villain. I completely agree. Out of the most famous gods, Hades is by far the one that has the most potential of being a villain. - HeyThereAri HeyThereAri Nov 29, 2011Ari