Week One:
1. My name is Angelica, but sometimes I go by Annie.
I like coffee, tea, tennis, my beautiful family, the great state of New Mexico, floral patterns, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I believe in Cinderella stories; cliché, girly, typical. Sorry about that. I dislike brussel sprouts, the idea of luck, and people who fail to see the beauty in diversity.
I hate liars; I believe we established that well during class.
I am a biology major and all I want to do is make sick kids better, probably pediatric oncology, we’ll see.
As I was doing my Public Speaking homework before this I read, “Be sincere, Be brief, Be seated.” So I’ll be seated now.

2. We watched a children’s movie in class so that we could see the things we missed as children. As kids we knew the Joker and Lex Luthor were “the bad guys” but now that we’re older we can see further into their villainy as it relates to the outside world. Rather than seeing the Joker as a fictional character we can see more clearly into his psychopathic characteristics and his demented mindset that makes him so willing to kill. Furthermore, we can relate Lex Luthor to a modern day power hungry businessman, interested only in money and glory. By doing this we can understand the movie as it relates to modern society even in the most subtle ways.

Week Two:
Question 1: Abraham Lincoln wrote that “the true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good.” Relate this quotation to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Answer 1: This quote by Lincoln is relatable to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde though the characters in the story. We established, during class discussion, the manifestation of both good and evil in Mr. Utterson. While he respected his friends wishes not to intrude in his personal life, abided to the moral contract of his proffesion, and was always well mannered and impartial, qualities which we consider to be "good", in the end Utterson failed to save his friend Dr. Jekyll from his death by ignoring several intuitions and even witnessed events that something was clearly wrong. We can see again that "There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good" in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, although Jekyll's intention was to have them remain two separate entities, they were fated to collide as one could never exist infinitely without the other.

Week Three:
Question 1: The poem Beowulf expresses distinct characteristics that are necessary for an individual fulfill to be a good king, as we discussed in class. What guidelines are implied for successful villainy?

Answer 1: From what we have seen in class, these are some characteristics a villain must posses:
  • A villain must be conscience of the decision it is making to do evil
  • A villain must either preform, encourage another, or not take part in stopping an atrocious act.
    • ie: Joker- Preforms atrocious doings (killing, stealing, setting things on fire)
    • ie: Lex Luther- Encourages Joker to kill etc.
    • ie: Mr Utterson- Does not take part in stopping Jekyll and Hyde
  • A villain must look "evil" "mean" or "bad"
    • ie: Joker- come'on, he's green Hyde: "There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable."
  • A villain must be stopped either by death (Hyde), or a hero, (Grendel)
  • A villain should never show regret or remorse for his actions.
  • A villain must make repeated decisions to do evil.
  • A villain must driven to do evil by being an outcast of society, or the fear of being an outcast of society.
    • ie: Grendel is an outcast, the sound of the mead hall and him not being part of it drive him to do evil
    • ie: Dr. Jekyll creates Mr. Hyde because if he let his evil be manifested though his own personality, society would not accept him.

Question 2: Create your own Villain-O-Meter. As the semester progresses, rank each villain we encounter on the scale, compared to the others. You can use a 1-10 ranking system, a chart, or whatever way you choose in order to show the relative positions of each baddie.

Answer 2: Villain-O-Meter
Villains on a Scale from One to Ten:

Superman Villains:
Lex Luthor: 4.5
Joker: 7

Jekyll and Hyde Villains:
Jekyll: 3
Hyde: 7
Mr. Utterson: 4.5

Beowulf Villains:
Grendel: 6
Grendel's Mother: 3
Dragon: 3

Madea Villains:
Madea: 8
Jason: 5
Chorus: (if they were capable of stopping Madea from killing her children) 6

From Presentations so far:
Dracula: 6
Were wolfs (who choose to be ware wolfs) 6
Jack the Ripper: 6
Mao Tse Tung: 9

Sleeping Beauty:
Maleficent: 6
Her Bird: 3

Dark Knight Villains:
Joker: 9

Iago: 8
Othello: 7

Ozymandias: 8
Edward Blake: 5

Rapunzel's Parents: 4
Frau Gothel: 6
Step Mother: 5
Wolf: 7

Peter Pan:
Hook: 4
Peter: 3

Question 3:
How would you characterize a successful class discussion? What features are present? Which are absent? How would you suggest we best accomplish such a discussion?

A successful class discussion is one that allows everyone's voice to be heard. The best part of having a class that is structured as a discussion seminar is that we get to share ideas and feed off the thoughts of other people in our class. The different ideas allow people to see things from others' point of view rather than just writing a paper and focusing on solely the things an individual can extract from a book. It's really all about the flow of ideas and diversity of everyones opinion.
Features that are present in the discussions are that everyone has good ideas and they are willing to share them, although sometime this comes at the price of not allowing everyone to speak. We could have a better class discussion by allowing those who don't talk as often to speak and also by not talking over other people. We need to remember that listening can often be just as important as speaking, we create new ideas by listening.

I love that you put Mr. Utterson as a Villain and your well-thought out reasoning for doing so. I think your point changed my veiw on his decision not to dig too deep into Jekyll's affairs. I thought it was just propriety, but it is a type of villainy. Thank you for pointing that out! - sdimpfel sdimpfel Sep 13, 2011

Week Four:
Question One: Why do you think that Dexter is a series that enjoys popularity in our particular moment in history? Could it have been popular at another time? Why or why not?
Answer One: I believe that Dexter is a series that is popular in our time because we are living in a world where people are afraid. Consider all of the stories about rape, child molestation, and murder that make the news terrifying, now consider that we hear about many of these cases and they are never solved. After being let down by so many public service officers, people are captivated by the idea that there could be some sort of "vigilante" bringing justice to all of those who do harm to society. With that being said I don't think it could be so popular at another point in time because of the gruesome killing, we can only be as unaffected by these killings as we are because we are exposed to violence so frequently through television, media, and even games.

Question Two: What parallels can you draw between Dexter, Dr. Jekyll, Batman and Superman? Go beyond the surface. How are they different from characters like Beowulf?
Answer Two: Dexter, Batman and Superman are similar beyond the surface because they are similar on the surface. On the surface Dexter, Batman and Superman do not appear "evil" in any way, they are good looking and lack any type of physical deformities. Why is this? Because despite these characters' abilities to do things that would be considered "villainous" in any other context; killing people, torturing people for answers, and even stealing, they do it for a noble purpose, which removes the villainy from the act. The thing that ties all of the characters together including Dr. Jekyll is that they all have two aspects to their personalities in some form or another. Dr. Jekyll has a completely separate counter part and persona, Mr. Hyde. Dexter is a caring boyfriend, brother, and dedicated detective on one hand but on the other he is someone capable of gruesome murders to people who cause harm to others. Batman and Superman lead lives as both heros and ordinary members of society. Overall, these characters are far more complex than Beowulf who operates simply based on the fact that he is good, it is inherent for him, it's not a choice.

Question Three: From Miles's presentation: Why is the character of Dracula/the drinking of blood considered sexual?
Answer Three: Dracula is considered sexual because the things he does are forbidden. Generally, men that are forbidden or dangerous are far more enticing than anything easy, plain, or "normal". What makes me qualified to make this assessment? I'm a woman. Not only is Dracula associated with being forbidden, his actions are sexual in themselves, let's be honest, he sucks on women's necks.

Question Four: From Hunter's presentation: Why did Jack the Ripper get away with his crimes when the media coverage/police investigation so great?
Jack the Ripper got away with his crimes because although the media coverage was great, the police and detective work wasn't. The truth is Jack the Ripper operated late at night and murdered his victims so gruesomely, it left people across the world shaking to hear about it. He installed a fear into people so great that nobody was willing to stick around to be an eyewitness to such a killing for fear that they themselves would be killed and there wasn't the kind of technology in forensics that there is now that would have allowed him to be caught after the fact.

I think the idea of Dexter being a vigilante is really cool because he kills people not only to satisfy his own needs, but for the greater good. He saves the lives of those that the killers would have murdered. I also like how you pointed out the dual identities of the characters we have talked about and contrasted them to Beowulf who doesn't have another identity and, unlike the others, acts good because it is his nature.- Droybal Droybal Sep 19, 2011Daniel

I very much agree with the fact that Dexter, Batman, and Superman were more complex than Beowulf who was inherently good. i also like what you said about them not appearing evil in any way, as we were talking about the fear of physical deformity in class. Do you think that any other generation throughout history has been so conditioned to accept violence as a social norm?
- tylerjames1992 tylerjames1992 Sep 20, 2011

I agree with your reasoning in the question on Dexter. I feel that the thought of a vigelante is really apealing to a modern audience. -sdimpfel

Week Five:
Question One: In Medea, there are several characters who know of Medea's plans, and yet they do not try to stop her. Why do these characters let villainy happen? Do the gods approve of her choices? What are the implications of their approval or disapproval?
Answer One: During the time period divorcing a woman meant leaving her helpless, defenseless, weak, and left with absolutely nothing. After being left by Jason, Madea was "ruined" she was left without a homeland, without anyone that she could turn to and most importantly, left to be alone for the rest of her life because she could not be remarried. Even if it meant killing her children, Madea wanted Jason to feel the same pain of having nothing. I think it is safe to say that the gods "endorsed" her demented ideas for revenge because despite the atrocities she planned to commit she was neither stopped nor persecuted by The Furies, in fact, she rode away in a flying chariot.

Question Two:From Kaylee's presentation: Choose either (a) or (b)
(a) Is Mao's quotation, "In this world, revolution is the mainstream" still true?
(b) Do you have a limit or a threshold of how many people can die before a cause becomes unjust?
Answer Two: Turn on the world news any day of the week and you are sure to hear a politician demanding a "revolution in healthcare", or an "economic revolution". The world we live in is constantly changing, and evolving. Nothing is, or ever will be 100% functional, and in that sense, there will always be a demand for revolution in form or another.

Question Three: From Lawrence's presentation: Everyone has an inner beast, an animal hidden within the subconscious. What is yours and why?
Answer Three: I think my inner animal is probably a dolphin, I realize that a dolphin doesn't fit the requirement of being "beastly" but I don't thing that I do either. In all reality, I hate confrontation and if something was bothering me, you'd be the last to know. I know my size and that may be part of the reason I don't pick fights. More than anything, I could spend all day long in the ocean, if I had it my way, I'd be back in the Cayman Islands scuba diving for the rest of my days.

Can someone please tell me where to find the topics for the paper?

I most certainly see your point about Medea. I do think it is kind of a leap from breakup to child murder to get back at a mean guy; however, I mean, it didn't become a literary classic by being unoriginal and bland.
As far as your reaction about revolution, I completely agree and wrote something quite similar in my response.
And a dolphin, huh? I guess that's pretty cool, I can kinda see it, I can't swim though so I'm pretty jealous of your dolphin water skills.

Anywho, this was Hunter

Week Six:
Question One: How do female villains differ from male villains?
Answer One: So far, from the female villains we have seen in class, it seems that they differ from male villains in that they are more attractive and seem to be much more powerful rather than pathetic in any way. All of the male villains we have seen have had some sort of deformity or "unhuman" quality. The only quality that set Maleficent appart was her color but she still had very feminine features, she was also tall and shapely unlike some of our "small" male villains ie. Hyde. Madea had no description on any deformity at all and was depicted as a very powerful influence throughout all of the play.

Question Two: How is color used to portray aspects of good and evil in Sleeping Beauty?
Answer Two: I don't think it is the colors used in Sleeping Beauty that set good apart from evil so much as the shades. Everything that surrounds Maleficent is either very dark or dull. Consider her castle, every time the castle is shown in the film it is surrounded by dark clouds of purple, gray and black. While Maleficent and one of the fairies are both green, Maleficent has a significantly more dull hue, as compared to the bright green shade of the fairy. All of the animals that do work for Maleficent are black, gray and brown, all of which are dull colors. The fairies and Sleeping beauty herself on the other hand are all depicted with bright shades including the fairy dresses, Sleeping Beauty's dress, and even the shades of Sleeping beauty herself (ruby lips, hair gold as sunshine). Basically, the shades of color in the movie are used to indicate what is good with bright and intense colors and what is bad, with dull or dark shades.

Week Seven:
Question One: Make a case for Iago as villain, and then, using at least two pieces of the same evidence, make a case for Othello as villain.
Answer One: Lago is a villain because of his deception, his manipulative nature his great overreaction and because her murdered his wife. Lago deceives just about every other character at least once throughout the play, he deceives Cassio by formulating a plan to make him seem like he is after Desdimona, he deceives Othello by convincing him that Desdimona has been unfaithful and he even deceives his own wife by not telling her his need for Desdimona's handkerchief. Lago is also villainous due to how manipulative and unsympathetic he is, Lago essentially used anyone he sees fit at any time and when they have served their purpose for him they are worthless in his eyes. Lago overreacts entirely is turning Otello into a murderer because of an unfounded belief that Othello was involved with Emilia. Finally, as if Lago weren't villainous enough, he killed his own wife.
The last two reasons are what make Othello villainous as well. He was entirely too overreactive and he also killed his wife. Othello overreacts totally by killing Desdimona on one piece of evidence was a total overreaction. He is also villainous like Lago because in the end his wife died at his hands regardless of who planted ideas of her infidelity in her head, Othello was ultimately the one to killed her for the alleged infidelity.

Question Two: From Tyler's presentation: What is one character (hero or villain) so far that we have looked at that could have an undiagnosed mental disorder?
Answer Two: I think a character that we've seen that definitely has an undiagnosed mental disorder is Dexter. I haven't seen a lot of the show so I don't really know too much about what's behind his desire to kill but even in the first few episodes there was the scene that talked about him killing animals when he was younger. there's got to be some thing behind that.

Question Three: From Emily's presentation: Pick 2-3 villains (from anywhere) and draw parallels between them; looking at actions, appearance, backstory, etc. How are they recycled villains?
Answer Three:
Cruella DeVil (1961)

Yzma (2000)

Physical Similarities:
  • Pointed Chin
  • Bony Figures
  • Old looking faces
  • Pointy Cheeks

Charachteristic Similarities:
  • They both do that eerie smirk
  • They are both reasonably "fashionable"
  • They both take their plans seriously.

I just have to say I think Yzma is my favorite Villain of all time. and she kind of reminds me of my grandma. yeahh... - Jamiea.book Jamiea.book Oct 6, 2011

Week Eight:
Question One: We have discussed how when something defies what is natural, we find it scary, but what makes something unnatural? There are a lot of elements to our world that are not natural, i.e. cars and computers, and yet we do not find them scary. What causes this difference?
Answer One: We have discussed that things that are "unnatural" are the things that scare us, but I would like to propose that perhaps we have been using the wrong term or phrase by calling these things simply unnatural. It is true that cell phones, computers and and other type of technology do not coincide with the word natural but the reason that these things do not scare us is because they do not go against the "social norm." When we say natural we mean anything that is common or expected in everyday life, we are afraid of things that do not fall into those categories, those are the things to us that are "unnatural".

Question Two: If you had only this movie (The Dark Knight) to judge Batman for his actions, what would you define as heroic? Would you define anything he does as villainous? From where do your decisions originate?
Answer Two: I would define batman putting himself at risk to save others as heroic, such as Harvey Dent. I would also think him heroic for not killing the Joker at the end of the film, I think that it says a lot about his character. The final heroic action by Batman was to take the blame for Dent's final killing spree so that Gotham could find hope in the darkest of times. I really do not think that Batman's actions are villainous in any way.

Question Three: We'll begin our discussion next week talking about The Dark Knight. Develop your own question to kick off discussion and post it here.
Answer Three: Why doesn't Batman kill the joker when he has the chance? Why is this important?

Week Nine:
Question One: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"--who watches the watchmen. How can this idea relate to our overall study of villains in this course? Who should be responsible for monitoring what's happening in the world? How do you see your own role?
Answer One: This study relates to our class because along with the study of villains come the study of heroes. I think we have seen several cases where it becomes so easy to idolize many of the heroes of books we have read or movies we have watched. When an individual, or a group of individuals gets put on a pedestal that high above everyone else it is easy to forget that they too should be monitored. In our society, there are no masked adventures in thights, or dragon slaying warriors to look up to, but there is the government. The government is in place to watch over and to protect us but it is our job as citizens to keep a watchful eye on them as well. We can do this by keeping track of political changes, people running for different offices and new legislation that is being suggested.

Question Two: From Jaclyn's presentation: Are privateers less admirable than pirates because they had permission to be "bad?"
Question Two: I think it's hard, and maybe this is only for me personally, to consider privateers or pirates admirable. These were men, or in few cases women, who killed and stole for a living. They were people who were selfish enough not only to take the belongings of others, but their lives as well. On the other hand, from a Hollywood perspective I think it is far easier to glamorize and to make stories about pirates as opposed to privateers because being bad is what makes money.

Question Three: From Daniel's presentation: Do Eddie Brock (Venom) and Cletus Cassidy (Carnage) share the same levels of responsibility for their actions?
Answer Three: I believe that they do both share the same level of responsibility because they were both aware of the symbiotes that were inhabiting their bodies and were willing to let them kill.

Week Ten:
Question One: Do you think there is a standard of morality that can be applied, regardless of external details and situations? That is, is there anything that is inherently good or evil?
Answer One: I do not believe that there can ever be a "set standard" of morality. Knowing if something is a good or an evil act depends entirely on the given situation. Take the Watchmen for example, they are a group of ordinary people who take it upon themselves to rid the world of criminals. As can be seen with Rorschach, sometimes this comes at the expense of beating a criminal within an inch of his life, or killing dogs even. These are things that if looked at with out any context whatsoever could be considered evil, but when you see these incidents in the terms of the situation that surrounds them they seem almost justifiable.
Question Two: From Ari's presentation: was Lord Voldemort born evil or was he a victim of his upbringing/life circumstances?
Answer Two: I know that I could be shunned forever for the following statement, but I have never read any of the books, nor have I seen any of the Harry Potter movies. That being said, from what I could tell from Ari's presentation, and her impecable drawing abilities, Voldemort seems to have fallen victim to the circumstances in his early life. I think this question is an excellent follow up to the previous one and since I answered that I do not believe anything can be inherently good nor evil I'm going to have to stick with that in saying that Voldemort became evil because of his trials.
Question Three: From Lena's presentation: How does the vampire lore of today reflect on society and what do you think the next era's lore could hold?
Answer Three: The vampire lore of today reflects our society in that it is a far more sexualized concept. The things that we associate with vampires, some of the words we wrote down during Lena's presentation, included sexual, blood, night, and man. In comparison to some of the examples of older vampires from around the world, the idea that we have of vampires today makes them far more human and relatable. I think that vampire lore in the future could continue to sexualize the vampire and make it even more "human-like".

Week Eleven:
Question One: "[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 Rosten
We 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?
Answer One: I think that as we look at children's works as we grow older we can begin to see much further into them. After all, these movies, books, and stories were written by adults and when we reexamine them as adults we can discover new concepts and ideas from familiar works with the comfort of in some way, being able to feel like a kid again.

Question Two: From Angelica's presentation: (H. H. Holmes) Why are people so fascinated by things that are so gruesome and morbid?
Answer Two: I think for me personally, I am fascinated by things that are gruesome because I cannot understand them. It seems that anything that is unlike our own nature attracts us to it, as a general rule.

Question Three: From Stephanie's presentation: Many times people blame their actions on demons--why is this an excuse that people use?
Answer Three: I think that this is a commonly used excuse because demons are a commonly feared entity. It is far easier to blame the problems or the actions of an individual on something that is mysterious and puts fear in people than something concrete.

Week Twelve:
Question One: Make a case for Peter Pan as the villain of the story. Also, please update your evil-o-meter if you haven't recently.
Answer One: Peter Pan can be considered the villain of the story because he causes children to despise becoming older. He put fear into the children's minds about something that did not need to be feared at all. Furthermore, Peter Pan showed himself to be selfish in many different circumstances. Peter wanted to keep the children in wonderland with him and when they finally returned home and he promised to return for wendy every year, he quickly forgot.

Question Two: From Sam's presentation: Was Snape mostly a villain? Why or why not?
Answer Two: Snape was mostly a villain for the same reasons that Peter Pan was a villain. He was very selfish. Although he did make an effort to save Harry Potter and his family, the effort was only made for the sake of the one woman he loved, with no consideration for any one else involved.

Question Three: From Kharli's presentation: Did Spike deserve redemption after what he tried to do to Buffy?
Answer Three: It's really hard to make a decent stab at this question since I have never seen the show so I do not know the extent of Spike's villainy. It seems however, at least in the case of the rape that Spike could have been legitimately confused because Buffy had given him mixed signals before giving in many times prior. On the other hand, if Spike did willingly and knowingly rape Buffy, regardless of what else he did to redeem himself, it is hard to say that he should be forgiven or shown remorse in any way. Rape is simply unacceptable.

Week Fourteen:
Question One: 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?
Answer One: Ender can convince the world that they were not being manipulated by the buggers by simply explaining to the world what he was told. I think that perhaps part of the point was that there may not be a way to "prove" that the bugger story was true to the humans. Perhaps it was a matter of the rest of the world finding the compassion, understanding, and empathy that Ender was already able to find.

Question Two: 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?
Answer Two: Rasputin's predictions and healing were luck. After his treatment of women, fraud, lies, and destruction, it is impossible to consider him a holy man in any sense of the word.

Question Three: From Jamie's presentation: Why do you think Disney chose to portray Hades as an evil villain to Hercules?
Answer Three: I think that Disney chose to portray Hades as a villain because of the association of the underworld with hell and furthermore, hell with Satan. It is easier for a young audience to follow a story that they can make connections to from things they have already seen or heard. Another reason is that naturally a hero (Hercules) needs a villain, especially a children's movie, to show that good prevails, so they chose to put Hades in that role.

I think that Ender can convince the word too! He has to show that the Bugger's didn't understand that the humans were even alive. Your description of Hades as a villain also makes a lot of sense.- Droybal Droybal Dec 1, 2011

October 7th: A Night of Hope
Joel Osteen hosted "A Night of Hope" at the pit at UNM. I went with my family. I was very interesting to see a preacher that I watch every sunday morning on television live. His message was that regardless of what is going on in your life at any given point, even though it may be hard, there is always something bigger and better in store. His conviction that we are never alone with our struggles was inspiring.

October 28th: Dracula
I went to go see Elite dance studio's annual performance of Dracula. My sister and friend Jordan was one of the lead roles so going to support her was my main motivation, however, once I was watching I was intrigued by how the story was interpreted through dances and costumes, I would definitely recommend the show to anyone looking for a new perspective on an old story.

November 30th: UNM Dance Final
UNM had their final dance performance for all begining ballroom classes on November 30th in Johnson Gym. There were several different styles of dance from tango to belly dancing. It was incredible what the classes were able to learn in only one semester. There were several different themes for each type of dance from all of the classes including a Harry Potter themed dance.