Obsession.

Obsessed: Preoccupy or fill the mind of something or someone continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent.

In the novel Kindred its not hard to argue that Rufus is pretty much a psychotic raving lunatic. He is in love with Alice Greenwood and forces a sexual relationship on her. It makes you wonder what happened in his life, that he wanted love so desperately from another person, yet was not able to give it in return. I think all his emotional and mental issues can be traced back to his parents and their treatment of others and their son. Most mothers have undying love for their children, Rufus’s mother definitely took this to a whole new level of clingly-ness. Throughout the novel she was starved for her sons affection, even hatefully jealous for it, towards Dana. His father though described as being, “fair” was angry and violent. I think the phrase, “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree”, is perfect  for how Rufus inherited these traits from his parents. He witnessed his parents actions his whole childhood and eventually those actions were instilled in him for how he treated other people. These traits from his parents created a poisonous cocktail and with mixed with immense attraction for Alice just created an accident waiting to happen. Rufus was crazy for Alice but was so selfish and twisted in his idea of love that he did not care about what he did to their children or the emotional turmoil that he caused the woman he loved. Consequently this results in Alice’s suicide

Meet The Robinsons Supplemental Viewing.

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

            I’m going to start by saying that, though I am twenty years old, I thoroughly enjoy watching animated movies—particularly Disney movies! So when I was digging through my mother’s monstrous movie collection looking for time travel movies, though very conventional, I chose Disney’s, Meet the Robinsons.  The quote above was at the end of the movie and I think it is perfect for time travel to the future. Everyone is curious about what the future will hold for them, their life and their destiny.  Louis, the main character, had a dream and he went for it with everything he had.

The movie begins with a baby being abandoned at an orphanage; he is named Louis and grows up in the orphanage , being rejected again and again by possible adoptees after showing them his skewed inventions. Louis decides, although abandoned by his mother, that she is the only one that could really love him and vows to make a machine that helps him find her. He designs a machine for the school science fair and in the process keeps his roommate, Michael “Goob” Yagoobian” awake for days. Louis’ Project scans memories and he wants to use it to see his mother’s face so he can attempt to find her. He takes it to the fair—which was an epic failure—and meets a boy who claims to be from the future and tells him to watch out for a man in a bowler hat. Wilbur, the boy from the future, later shows up at the orphanage and takes Louis to the future. In the future, which has turned into a utopia, Louis meets Wilbur’s crazy family, which, after meeting him, offers to adopt him—until they learn he is from future; they then say he has to go back. Louis is then kidnapped by Bowler Hat Guy who tricks Louis into fixing his memory scanner so he can patent it for himself and ruin Louis’s future. Then Bowler Hat Guy reveals that he is Louis’s roommate Goob, and he wants to ruin his life for revenge for keeping him awake, causing him to lose his little league came and ruining his life. He is working with his Bowler Hat, Doris, who wants to get revenge for being a botched invention created by Louis.  Goob leaves Louis, takes the memory scanner and drastically changes the future for the worse. Louis goes in another time machine, which was created by his future self, Destroys Doris and makes things right with Goob, bringing things back to how they were supposed to be. Louis find out he is the father of the Robinson household in the future, which means he will be adopted and become successful one day. He returns to the past having never met his mother because he knows that everything will work out perfectly.

Meet the Robinsons is a pretty conventional time travel story. There is a genius kid, a time machine, a villain, a possible botched up future, voila! A time travel movie. It’s pretty much a science fiction movie for kids, with the creation of all the neat little inventions, including the time machine. When comparing it to the books we read in class I think it comes closest to The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Mainly because there is an awesome time machine that this genius creates and, though they go to the future in very different ways with different intentions, they still come to a world that has been completely changed. The Time Traveler finds a world that appears to be a Utopia, but the human race has been transformed for the worse. Louis goes to the future, which is also a Utopia, and everything in his life is perfect and easy and the world is beautiful. So they are similar in the sense that they are both science fiction time machine stories but with different endings.

Another theme we talked about a lot in class with several of the stories, Chuck Klosterman sums up very well in “Eating the Dinosaur.” It is one of the philosophical questions associated with time travel. He says,

“If you change any detail about the past, you might accidentally destroy everything in present-day existence. This is why every movie about time travel makes a big, obvious point about not bringing anything from the present back in time, often illustrated by forcing the fictionalized time traveler to travel nude. If you went back to 60,000 B.C. with a tool box and absent-mindedly left the vice grip behind, it’s entirely possible that the world would technologically advance at an exponential rate and destroy itself by the sixteenth century.”

This unfortunate event occurred in Meet the Robinsons when Goob made the memory scanner invention his own and patented it so the future Louis could never get rich, invent things and change the world into the utopia it could have been!  The effects were extraordinarily negative with the entire future utopia changing into a dark, depressing world where Wilbur and his family never even existed.  Luckily. Louis was able to travel back in time and make things right.

If you’re a kid at heart this movie is very enjoyable. It has an easy plot that is nothing compared to Primer so your head won’t spin while watching it. It has cheesy humor and good animation and a decent story line with a typical Disney happy ending. It also has pretty much my favorite movie scene of all time. (DON’T JUDGE ME.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWoM8Fr1z4w

Curious Case of Benjamin Button Supplemental Reading

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Supplemental Viewing


This may sound harsh, and you may be wondering how this relates to a supplemental viewing on time travel, but I shall get to that part soon, I promise. The fact is I really, really dislike studying the subject of English. Despite my objections to taking English classes, I must admit that studying it has improved my critical thinking skills and my ability to see things from another point of view. Now, how this relates to time travel is once upon a time I used to believe that time travel was pretty conventional. Yeah, there’s this guy and he wants to change something or see something, so he builds a scientific machine or magical device, goes back in time and gets in some sort of a bind and blah, blah, blah the protagonist saves the day and THE END! But, as I said, this class had taught me to see things through a very different light.
In the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the movie starts out with the birth of a child, on the day that America wins World War One. Just days before Benjamin’s unfortunate birth, one of the most famous clock workers in the country revealed a clock in the New Orleans train station that he designed to run backwards, hoping that just maybe that time would run backwards, and all the young men lost in the war would come home, including his young son. Mysteriously, this caused Benjamin Button, the son of a local button mogul, to be born an old arthritic and sickly baby. Consequently, at the sight of his disfigured son, the mogul abandoned him to a local retirement home where he was taken in and raised by a woman who worked there. It is safe to say that Benjamin Button experiences things through a very backward and unconventional way; beginning life as an elderly man, and growing into a young man and then slowly leaving the world as strangely as he came, as a helpless newborn.
So I think that the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button simply shows a different sort of time travel. No its not like The Time Machine, where a machine takes the Time Traveler to a time in the future that he’ll never get the chance to experience, but it is a time travel of a different classification. Technically, when you think about it, we are all traveling through time, moving on to new experiences and places as we age. Benjamin Button just had the mysterious liberty of experiencing it as we do, but in reverse order. Instead of revisiting something or someone of historical importance of the past, or allowing our imaginations to concoct technological possibilities of the future we come to know the life of Benjamin Button.
I think one of the reasons that; people choose to travel through times is they want to experience something different than anyone else in their time has experienced. Sure you can read about something or hear about it, but the experience is what makes it real. Benjamin Button didn’t have a choice in the matter on how the events of his life took place, but he embraced the fact that things were different for him. He was curious about his own life, how he became to be, but showed indifference when people expressed sorrow or interest, saying it was the only way he knew.
Another topic we have talked about numerous times in this class is the effect that the travel had on the person or the world. Benjamin Button did not cause a negative domino effect on the entire world or even the people around him, but it did have an effect on his life. Everyone heard the saying when referring to someone, “oh he’s an old soul”, or “he’s a young soul” .Well Benjamin certainly had this, and it did not have a positive impact on his life. As an elderly man, who had only been living on the earth a few years, he had a sense of curiosity. This could not be satisfied, and led him into dangerous situations that could have been traumatic but actually helped him learn things no one had been able to teach him because he appeared to be at the wrong time in his life. The effect of living such a backwards life led Benjamin Button to mostly live the life of a wonderer. His relationships were crippled by his backwards way of living because everyone he loved was always moving in another direction. Eventually he slipped into oblivion backward. He was not taken away by death but maybe slipped away into the “not to be seen again” realm prior to birth.
The movie, overall, is one of my top favorite movies of all time. This plot is unique and movies along the course of Benjamin Button’s unique life interspersed with odd little bits of humor, “Did you know I’ve been struck by lightning seven times?”. I think the special effects of the movie were mind blowing. No, there weren’t any superpowers or monsters, but it did show the actor, Brad Pitt, in pretty much every decade of his life plus some. What I’m saying is that the transition of Benjamin Buttons age was done very creatively. The movie did not just show old man young man baby. It showed the eras he was living realistically as he “unaged”(ha), and you were provided with subtle hints the area in which he was living through, such as hairstyles, clothing and glasses. The movie was most entertaining as it took a radical departure from all movies dealing with time travel. We want our imaginations to be goaded into “experiencing” something so unconventional, so reversed as normal age progression. Paradoxically, as Benjamin Button will just fade away, our memories will increase as we hold on to the desire to keep him with us.

“Strange times to be a Jew”

Let me just start off by saying that I searched for a while to find a website that translated English into Yiddish/Hebrew and was going to show some of it on here, but, apparently, wordpress hates Yiddish so if you’re curious like me take a look at this website: http://yiddishtr.com/hebrew_l2.html! Before reading this book my only exposure to anything Yiddish was hearing the accent of Tommy Pickles’ grandparents in the show “Rugrats” when I was like seven. So, needless to say, I was kind of lacking in the area of Yiddish knowledge–along with a majority of people in this class. I think another problem with people understanding the book is the use of at least a hundred Yiddish words we’ve never seen heard before so finding the meaning of the words makes it so there are not quite as many speed bumps while reading. I also wanted to look a little bit into the history of the Yiddish language and where it comes from. For starters, Yiddish is a mixture of mostly German and some Hebrew, however it doesn’t really sound German anymore because the pronunciations have changed so much since the language started–which was estimated to be around 900 C.E. They do not know the exact time it came to be because, like most languages, it was first spoken, not written. A funny thing is that “Yiddish” is the Yiddish word for Jewish (what do you know?). The first people to speak it were the Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, who were very different from the Sephardic Jews who spoke other languages. Yiddish was not some teeny little language that only a few tribes spoke; at one point eleven million Jews (out of eighteen million) spoke the language. At this point in time it is safe to say that Yiddish is a dying language.  Through the years many people have started using it only has a second language, even forgetting most of it; most of the six million Jews in the Holocaust were Yiddish speakers. Currently, there are only 250,000 Yiddish speakers in the United States. Since most of us don’t know Yiddish I have taken the liberty of translating some of the words in the novel, particularly the common and cool sounding ones 🙂

Dybbuk: An angry or malicious spirit of a deceased person.
Biks: Bulls.
Shvits: To Sweat.
Shiv: A sharp weapon.
Sheygets: A non Jewish boy.
Noz: This is the Yiddish word for nose but is used to refer to policemen in the novel.
Shadyl: A wig worn by religious Jewish women to keep non family member men from seeing her natural hair.

The Ethics Of Time Travel. But Really Garbled Thoughts From My Stream of Consciousness.

In the book and movie that we have studied so far in class bot of the plots involved time-travel that was completely intentional-in that a machine was built by humans that had the motivation that it would take the characters to another time. Some stories involving time travel-such  as the Time Travelers Wife or Rip Van Winkle-The person that traveled had virtually no control over their fate; that is not the case with The Time Machine and the movie Primer. Is it morally right to go back and change you’re fate or the fate of another person? Technically if a person has already experienced something they have retrocognition- which means knowledge about the past, for whatever event that occurred. Hypothetically if given the chance, would you go back and change something you experienced? The problem is that if it was possible no one would really know if there would be some massive domino effect of negative events spurred from the fact that one minute detail was changed about life. A person might possibly negatively alter up their entire existence or use the time travel to cause harm to someone else. Then we have the other side of the fence where it was your destiny to irritate the passage of time and challenge or change things just so the things you know in your life will turn out as you know them. Back to the ethical side of this, in both The Time Machine and primer-both had travelers that were both looking into personal gain. The Time Traveler in the book the Time Machine was not so much as the the main characters in Primer because he was simply satisfying his curiosity craving that is a part of human nature-he was just on the quest for knowledge of the future which was only a little bit selfish because he didn’t know what the consequences would be for all of human kind. However, in Primer the two main characters didn’t seem to care if what they were doing was ethically right. They decided to keep the fact that they had built the machine from other partners, they invested in stocks that they knew would benefit them and in the final moments of the film it showed Aaron working with a bunch of French, obviously working on another time machine. So to add to this big ramble I think time traveling is potentially dangerous and a bit selfish because there are so many people that would use it for evil purposes than people that would use it for the benefit of man kind.