Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reflections about...Arcadia on Broadway Performance Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 8 PM

It finally happened. I finally got to see Arcadia on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater! I had been looking forward to it and was so excited about it when the day finally came. When we got to the theater, I was so thrilled and in awe to actually be there. It made it real for me. We had really nice seats as well. Because my father had helped me out with the contest, I decided to invite him along to have the other ticket and also considered it as part of my Father's Day gift to him. It was time well spent with him. :)

I really loved the play! The cast, crew, scenery, and music all put together made for a very nice production. As opposed to when I first saw it, which was my freshman year of college for a class in the Alexander Kasser Theater itself, I found myself understanding it more. (In fact, the Ethel Barrymore Theater reminds me a bit of Kasser due to its shape and size.) This time around I had already done my research, read it, and learned more about it, so I wasn't completely clueless. Let's be honest. The play has a tendency to be confusing lol. However, it also has a tendency to be very intelligent as well, which I really appreciate and why I like the play in the first place! What is interesting as well is that I was able to compare and contrast the production on Broadway to the one at my school, and in many ways it was similar, thus bringing back memories. :)

What was really admirable was the enthusiasm of the actors. They were so passionate about their characters' intentions and also seemed more relaxed and at ease with each other than what I recall seeing in my school's production. For example, the characters of Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale sport this rivalry and in many ways I considered Bernard the villain of the story because of how I have seen him portrayed and described and what he says and does in the play. At times I thought they hated each other because of their differing beliefs and personalities and how the often butt heads. However, this time around, Lia Williams and Billy Crudup, who each portrayed Hannah and Bernard respectively, seemed to still argue about their respective beliefs but were more friendly about it. They often laughed and were extremely lighthearted. Even the "insults," didn't seem to sting as much. When one seemed to fail, the other one showed compassion. Hannah didn't belittle Bernard's every move in a way that made her seem condescending and Bernard wasn't as harsh with his critiques. They both wanted to see the other succeed and joked and bantered in a way that friends would, not enemies.

Even when it comes to the relationship between Bernard and Chloe, Bernard was a little more likable in the Broadway version. At the end when Bernard was about to leave, he and Chloe parted on okay terms after he revealed to her that she will not return to London with him. However, in Montclair's production, they included an act that isn't in the script. In Montclair's Arcadia, Chloe slapped Bernard for his rejection because he acted more inconsiderate of her feelings, which is another reason why I feel that the characters' relationships with each other was more on the rocks in the Montclair version than in the Broadway version. It was an interesting addition and I liked it for being unique, don't get me wrong, but it definitely makes a difference when it comes to how one perceives the relationships between characters. It certainly adds a different aura to the final outcome and what you witness on the stage.

I also found myself liking Valentine, played by Raul Esparza, more this time around. Allow me to remind you that I am an English major and Valentine's field is in the mathematics and science department, so obviously I wouldn't connect much with him as I do with other characters. Upon first meeting Valentine, I did not understand him or his purpose in the play at all considering his work while Hannah and Bernard focus more on literature and history. I didn't see the connection, and once I did, I still didn't fully understand what Thomasina discovered, which is what Valentine eventually determines. Don't give me credit though. I still don't now after seeing it on Broadway. I just kind of get it better now than I did. Regardless, I liked Valentine on Broadway because he was so laid back and comical at the same time. I probably understand him a bit better now too, which helps.

What was really cool was finally seeing the show live after seeing clips of it on YouTube. There's something about seeing a show live and seeing performers right there in front of you. It's like, "They are real!" (I feel the same way anytime I attend a "So You Think You Can Dance" Tour lol.) It also gave me a chance to reminisce about my freshman year when I first saw the play with friends and had to write a response paper about the show (which I am thinking about sharing on this blog). It was actually the first show I saw at the Alexander Kasser Theater as a student at MSU, which itself had a magnificent cast, crew, scenery, and music as well, so it is one of my fonder college memories, the main reason why I wanted to attend the Broadway production so badly. :)

Oh yeah, and did I mention that THE MERYL STREEP WAS THERE THE SAME NIGHT I WAS??? She and her daughter were there to support her other daughter Grace Gummer, who played Chloe. That woman is a New Jersey legend and one of my favorite actresses so I am so honored to have been in the same theater with her at the same time! It was funny because when I saw her before the show started walking in with her ticket I thought she looked familiar but it didn't dawn on me right away. Then I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's Meryl Streep!" People were getting her autograph during intermission but I wanted to take a picture with her after the show and perhaps talk with her and do one of my video interviews. But, sadly, she left during curtain call and I wasn't able to find her. Regardless, she was still there, sat a few rows in front of us and on the aisle like us, and walked right by me at one point!

Just in case you don't believe me, I provided you with the status update on the Arcadia on Broadway Facebook page about Meryl Streep's presence to prove it to you. (I edited it for privacy reasons.)












The last point I'd like to make is that I really like the theme music as well. It's so cheery and catchy! It gets stuck in your head, but you don't mind. ;) It is actually the background music of this video and is played at the beginning, middle, and end of the show.


I don't often visit the city, which is surprising considering my theatrical self, because I often like to stick to theaters in New Jersey considering on this side of the river there is not as much hustle and bustle. However, Arcadia and New York City has inspired me to try to see more shows. It is exciting there, after all. In fact, next week I am going to be seeing Jersey Boys with my friend Lauren and her family, so I will probably reflect on that performance as well. :)

I even have some multimedia content for you! Click here to see the numerous photos I took. For the documentary film I took of my experience, which includes ferry rides and Sardi's Restaurant and Grill, please click here.

Thank you so much to the marketing team at Arcadia on Broadway for creating the "My Arcadia Photo Upload Contest" and to all those who liked the photo! I had been interested in seeing the Broadway play since I first heard about it and when it first premiered, and had also wanted to see another production of it since I saw it at school, so I am extremely grateful for being able to see it before it closed. It was a really close call too, because I saw the play only a few days before the last showing. :D 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PBS Kids TV Shows and their New Characters that are Actually Worth our While

In my last post about PBS Kids shows, I ranted about how I really disliked the new characters that were included in "Sesame Street," "Barney and Friends," "Dragon Tales," and, in a way, "Between the Lions." However, I concluded that piece by saying that there have been suitable additions to PBS Kids shows and that I would honor them in another post. This is that post. ;)

One problem I had most with the new additions was that I felt they weren't done correctly, and I expressed my qualms in-depth. However, I have begun to realize that if a show were to continuously add characters, it never bothered me. They didn't just randomly show up but was something that normally happened. Also, it wasn't just one new character but rather a whole mass of new characters. I think my problem too was how just one new character was included, thus messing up the whole dynamic of the show. If new characters are always going to be included in every episode, then it is not much of a shock. And plus, sometimes these new characters aren't in every episode. They just show up when needed, thus serving actual purposes. Unlike the other random new characters, they aren't regarded as part of the main cast as if they were always there in the first place. They are a supporting cast who don't try to outshine the originals, and are thus enjoyable to watch.

The cast of "Arthur" (There are plenty more where this came from)
Of course, what other show could I possibly be talking about but "Arthur," based on the book series by Marc Brown. Now here is a PBS Kids show that caters to both children and adults. I still tune in every time I see it playing. In fact, if you can believe it, there was an episode in which words were bleeped out to teach the importance of not cursing, so you know just how advanced this show is. Plus, it is so diverse. Each and every one of the characters has a different background, and because of these differences, children are able to get a taste of all forms of life. Pretty much every episode you meet someone new and this time the new character makes the show interesting because you know they are there to initiate some kind of plot line or have a lesson to teach. In other words, they are there for a reason. In "Arthur," certain characters are used depending on the theme of the episode.

Vicita
However, I would like to point out that there is one character that has been created for the "Arthur" series and I'm not entirely sure I like her purpose. Her name is Vicita Molina, and she is a recent new character whose family moved next door to Arthur and his family. What I don't like about her is that I feel she was created to be the "toddler" of the group, totally overstepping the role of D.W., Arthur's younger sister. D.W. was the youngest out of the whole cast, next to Kate, her infant sister, but when Vicita showed up all of a sudden D.W. matured. She is now a mentor to Vicita and in certain episodes shares her wisdom with her, being the older one. I don't understand why the producers felt the need to create this character to connect with the younger audiences and have D.W. age while the other characters stay the same. This is the type of show where the characters don't age, and now since the addition of Vicita D.W. kind of has to because then the two characters would serve the same purpose.

Then again, I don't necessarily dislike her either because she is apart of D.W.'s group of friends just like Arthur has his own gang. Also, she is D.W.'s counterpart just like Alberto, her thirteen-year-old brother, is Arthur's counterpart and mentor, so it's all good because it's evened out.

The "Cyber Squad": Jackie, Inez, Matt, and Digit
Another PBS Kids show that incorporates new characters well is "Cyberchase." First of all, as someone who struggled with math in school, I would like to express my gratitude for the existence of this show. Mostly my childhood consisted of shows teaching children reading and science, but there were never an mathematics based shows. Because math seems to be a subject that causes a lot of children grief, a show like "Cyberchase" is needed.

This all being said, in every episode the "Cyber Squad," which consists of human kids who are virtually transported to "Cyberspace" from their homes on Earth, or "earthlings" as Digit often refers to them as, Matt, Jackie, and Inez, and Digit, a "cyboid," run into new characters on different sites in "Cyberspace." These characters are each associated with some kind of branch in mathematics pertaining to the theme of the episode and sometimes return in other episodes.

Here is a perfect example of a decent cast. You have the central cast, but then you have the additional supporting cast who doesn't necessarily invade the turf of the original cast and yet serves a purpose.

Slider
One character I would like to spotlight is Slider, a thirteen-year-old who resides in "Radopolis," one of Cyberspace's sites. He is a recurring character and in a way to me seems to be a member of the "Cyber Squad" along with Matt, Jackie, Inez, and Digit. Now, you might think that this is something that would bother me. Who does Slider think he is, intruding on the Cyber Squad? It was originally the three human kids and Digit and it should stay that way. Why ruin that dynamic, right? Well, the addition of Slider doesn't bother me at all but to me brings something interesting to the show. Here's why.

When we first meet Slider, he actually has his own storyline! His father has disappeared because he is on the run from The Hacker, the series villain, and Slider's goal is to find him one day. Unlike other PBS Kids storylines, Slider's story continues throughout the episodes so it is an impressive tactic to use to keep the audience's interest in the series.

He is also somebody to commend when it comes to gender equality, this time for the MALES. Before Slider's appearance, Matt was outnumbered two to one in the Cyber Squad. Now I know Digit is a male but he doesn't connect to any demographic and isn't human like the other characters, so therefore he doesn't necessarily count. He's more like their sidekick creature friend. Just consider him the "Pikachu" of the group. With Slider around, however, genders even out but also gives Matt some kind of competition when it comes to being the "man of the house," thus creating tension and making the storyline interesting enough to follow. Also, both female humans Jackie and Inez develop crushes on Slider, which is something to which girls their age can relate.

Sometimes you need a character to shake things up a bit and Slider is that character. Also, he does well staying in the sidelines, not outshining the main cast, so he is always a treat when he actually appears in an episode.

Now I am going to talk about a new character that I wish the producers incorporated into the main cast. This is a rarity, so obviously the character must be pretty special. Of course, I am talking about Kyle, the wheelchair kid from "The Puzzle Place." Don't remember him? That's not a surprise. From what I can remember he was only in two episodes and should've been in more.

The cast of "The Puzzle Place." I'm sorry but this is the only photo of Kyle I can find. Kyle is the boy dressed in orange in a wheelchair to the far right.

Let me give you a brief background of this show before I go on, because it is no longer on the air. Talk about gender equality and connecting with different demographics! You do not get more diverse than this! This show had everything! They discussed individual culture, bullying, racism, sexism (That's right, SEXISM!) and so much more!

Let me also break down the cast for you just to show you how much diversity this show covered. You couldn't get more gender even than the cast: 3 boys, 3 girls, a male dog, a female cat, 3 male Peace Police, 3 female Peace Police. The boys consisted of an African American (Leon), a NATIVE AMERICAN (Seriously, how often do you see that?) (Skye), and a Norwegian (Another uncommon demographic) (Ben). For the girls, you have a Jew (Jody), a Mexican (who also served as the resident bilingual character) (KiKi), and a Chinese (Julie).

All that was left to cover was a child with disabilities, and that's where Kyle comes in. Kyle shows up as Skye's friend in a wheelchair and his presence helps Ben learn more about what people in wheelchairs experience. He is a great character to connect with a whole demographic of disabled children. However, like I said, he didn't stick around for more episodes when he should have.

Plus, another reason why he should've been included in the main cast is that he was a puppet like the rest of them, which kind of makes him apart of their group. The other friendships the Puzzle Place kids formed were with actual human children, so therefore puppet kids were a minority, but still the lead characters. I just find it interesting how the producers went out of their way to create an additional puppet character, who would most likely be a lead because he is a puppet like the rest of the main cast and serves a purpose to connect with and represent a demographic just like the rest of the Puzzle Place kids do, and yet they don't use him as often. What was the point then? I understand their reasons for creating him, but if you are going to create him and he does a good job, let him stay. There was actually a reason for him to be there unlike other PBS Kids characters nowadays and yet he wasn't incorporated well.

But then you may say that if he was incorporated into the main cast, the boys will then outnumber the girls four to three. In this case, I say who cares? As opposed to other new characters, Kyle actually does something and is just as important as the main cast.

Well, there you have it. The counter-argument consisting of PBS Kids shows that include new characters and actually do it right. As long as the character does something to contribute to the show, you don't have to question why he or she is there, and he or she doesn't ruin the original feel of the show, it should be alright.

Can you think of other characters that I didn't mention in either post but you think fit the same descriptions? If so, who?

Friday, June 10, 2011

PBS Kids TV Shows and their Not-So-Heartwarming New Characters

If you are a 90's kid like me, then you have probably become attached to certain TV shows that you have grown up with as a child. When these shows go off the air it can be a depressing time, but then you become nostalgic when you see them again and normally it's a heartwarming experience.

I personally grew up with PBS Kids, and luckily, there are certain kids shows from this program that have lasted after all these years. However, I am noticing an unpleasant trend in these shows that needs addressing. For some reason, the producers of these shows feel the need to add unnecessary brand new characters that contribute absolutely nothing to the show and can quite possibly make them unlikeable. The addition of these new characters causes us 90's kids to lose connection with these shows and ultimately our childhoods because they aren't how they once were. It's not the same show anymore. New characters bring a new feel to a show and I'm not exactly sure if that's a good thing. Why change the few shows that actually stick around?

Abby Cadabby from "Sesame Street"
Let me start with my favorite of the new characters: Abby Cadabby from "Sesame Street." She's adorable! Just look at her! She also showcases my favorite color combination, which is pink and blue. However, she might gain a lot of hate from people because she PRACTICALLY TOOK OVER THE WHOLE ENTIRE SHOW! Seriously, if you were to ever turn on "Sesame Street," you'll most likely see her in some scene. She's a fairy and so therefore a lot of her segments have something to do with her causing some minor magical disturbance and then correcting her faults with her wand. Oh. And here's a fun fact. Abby's wand is actually her cell phone as well. She uses it to call her Mommy for advice when she messes up or cannot remember exactly how a spell goes. She even has a CGI cartoon segment called "Abby's Fairy School" (yes, apparently she owns her own school now) in which she attends a fairy school with two other male fairies. Granted, a lot of other characters get special treatment and personal segments as well, such as Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Grover, etc., but that's a different case entirely. These guys are veterans of the show and deserve this. Nobody gave the Abby the right to just show up recently and takeover! She needs to work her way up just like everybody else has.

The cast of "Abby's Fairy School"
From what I hear Abby was created to connect with the female demographic (and what better way to do that that with a PINK character -__-). Anyhow, we already had Zoe, who now sports a PINK tu-tu after so many years of not wearing one, and Rosita, the resident Spanish-speaking monster of Sesame Street, so what was the need for Abby? A suggested idea is that the producers felt that the female Muppets were outnumbered by the male Muppets, but as a child growing up with this show I don't recall this being an issue for me and scarring me for life. I mean, Elmo pretty much relates to either gender. So do the other Muppets for that matter. The Muppets of "Sesame Street" never really focused on anything that was gender based from what I can remember so therefore creating characters for this purpose just deems unnecessary.

Eh, regardless, you can't argue with the fact that she's a cutie-pie!

The dinosaurs from "Barney and Friends": Barney, BJ, Baby Bop, and Riff
Then there is the orange abomination who is placed front and center of the "Barney and Friends" crew to your right. The dinosaurs of "Barney and Friends" are annoying to begin with, but the producers decided to contribute more to the annoyance by adding a brand new character for no reason whatsoever. His name is Riff. Already you should probably know why I hate the addition of this character so much. Riff? They couldn't name him "Biff" or something? He totally messes up the continuity of names starting with the letter "B" now, which is part of what made Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop (three B's in that one!) a trio in the first place!

But why was he created? I honestly cannot think of any good reason. You have Barney, the lead dinosaur and possibly the oldest who can connect with the slightly older children in the audience. Then you have BJ and Baby Bop (Oh, look at that. Baby Bop is wearing PINK, too.) who can connect with younger boys and girls respectively. There was absolutely no need for an additional male character. In fact, I could create a whole gender argument right here. Why isn't the new character a female? Baby Bop was already outnumbered two to one, so if they were going to create a new character why not create a female to even it out? Apparently this was an issue with "Sesame Street" but not an issue here.

However, after ranting about him, I'll say one thing I do like about him. He seems to me to be the least annoying of the four. I know, I can't believe I'm saying this either, but he's the only one who to me is relatable to an everyday kid. He isn't a showoff like BJ, nor is he babyish like Baby Bop, and we all know how irritating the big purple guy can be, and Riff is nothing like him either. He also seems to showcase a fairly decent singing voice, which is something the other three lack. I'm not entirely defending Riff, but I felt this needed to be said.

Furthermore, I do realize that there were other animal characters besides the dinosaurs throughout the years. I recall the squirrel Scooter and bird Miss Etta of seasons 4-6, both of whom I was okay with at the time probably because I was still young and liked them and plus they seemed to be secondary characters who didn't intrude on the resident trio. At least there were still THREE dinosaurs.

Unlike my thoughts about Riff, I have a fairly good idea why Enrique from "Dragon Tales" was created. All of a sudden now there are Spanish versions starring Enrique of the English songs in the "Dragon Tunes" segment, and the Spanish language is used more frequently in the episodes, so it's safe to say that Enrique was included in the "Dragon Tales" cast to connect with the Spanish-speaking demographic and help today's children learn the Spanish language.

Enrique (in the yellow) and original characters Emmy and Max wish on a dragon scale on "Dragon Tales"

Regardless, I really can't stand this kid! First of all, when he was first introduced, I don't recall them ever giving him a background story. Where did he come from? He just randomly shows up out of nowhere. Does he live with Emmy and Max, who are siblings and the original human kids of the show? Is he an exchange student of some kind? I would appreciate him more if he was their cousin so it shows that it's a family affair, but from what I gather, he is a "friend" of theirs. Um...okay.

The cast of "Dragon Tales"
Second of all, Emmy and Max are both Hispanic children who proved in episodes that they are bilingual, so why was there a need to create a third one who has nothing to do with them to serve this purpose? The original kids had everything covered. 

Well, maybe he was created to compliment a dragon (or rather, a pair of dragons) who didn't have a human counterpart up until now. Allow me to backtrack a bit to give you some background. When Emmy and Max were first transported to Dragon Land, they befriended a total of four dragons who remained main characters throughout the series: Ord, Cassie, Zak, and Wheezie. Ord is BLUE so therefore it is suggested that he identifies with little boys and Cassie is PINK so therefore it is suggested that she identifies with little girls. Naturally, Max becomes Ord's human counterpart and Emmy becomes Cassie's. But then there is the two-headed dragon Zak and Wheezie, whose green and purple coloring isn't necessarily gender-based. These dragons fly and the kids ride on their backs, Max with Ord and Emmy with Cassie, so therefore the introduction of Enrique pleased Zak and Wheezie because they haven't had a human child to ride with them up until this point, because it is rare that Max and Emmy ride with them. They even said this in the episode when they first meet him. Well, okay, if that's the case and Enrique was created to be Zak and Wheezie's counterpart, then I have the following argument: Why didn't they give Enrique a fraternal twin sister? Zak and Wheezie are fraternal twins, so why shouldn't their human counterpart be the same? I could make a whole gender argument here now about how Emmy is outnumbered.

I think the main reason why I dislike Enrique so much is the fact that I feel like he is intruding on the relationship Emmy and Max have with Dragon Land. In the pilot episode, they move into their new house and are homesick, so finding the dragon scale to transport them to Dragon Land gave them a sense of feeling comfortable with their new surroundings. For a time, they were the only humans to even know of its existence. Now this other kid waltzes in and I feel like he totally takes that secret bond away. It is THEIR special place. What gives Enrique the right to go there?

From what I see on "Between the Lions," where a family of lions runs a library, there haven't been any annoying character additions, but there have been changes since the premiere in 2000. One that really peeves me is the change of Leona's voice. Leona is the 4-year-old lion cub with the ponytail who has an innocence with which one can identify. Her voice was pitchy, the cute kind, and she sounded like what she was supposed to be, which is a baby cub.

The lion family from "Between the Lions": Lionel, Cleo, Theo, and Leona
Then, after a while, all of a sudden she got this whole new mature, soft spoken voice and now sounds like a young woman, not a little girl. Why did they feel the need to age her? She still carries around her stuffed animal "Lovey," so what's the point? Lionel, her older brother, already caters to the preteen/teenage demographic, so why do this to the young Leona? In fact, they need a young character like her because around four is when kids begin to learn how to read, which is the whole point of the show! Leona is the character who connects to kids learning how to read because she matches their age and there are episodes in which she herself tries to read and also shows some struggle.

This video is from my favorite episode as a child called "A Peck of Peppers." Here you will be able to hear Leona's original voice.


Now check out this episode. Notice how her voice sounds way more mature here? I mean, it's still feminine, but still.


She sounds too old for her age! It annoys me! I don't even like Leona as much as I used to ever since this happened! I know that she's still the same cub but to me the change of her voice changes her personality and makes her a whole new character, an addition, like the other new characters, that wasn't needed.

My childhood consisted of three (not four) dinosaurs who hung out with kids on a playground, two (not three) human children who travelled by a magical force to a land inhabited by dragons, a baby female lion cub with a pitchy voice (not a soft spoken one), and a TV show that has lasted since the 1960s up to now without the help of a fairy that takes up way too much airtime! This is what I know. The children of today watching what these shows have to offer now don't know what I know and I feel sorry for them. They are going to grow up watching these shows with these changes very much intact and be deprived of how things were originally. The only thing I have left that is close to how it used to be is reruns. Bottom line is these shows were fine before these additions. Also, the producers probably had to spend a lot of money on them too to actually make the costumes and puppets and either get brand new voice actors or give their resident voice actors more work. Money that could've been saved if they just left well enough alone!

Oh well. I still want a stuffed Abby Cadabby and Leona for either my birthday or Christmas now. *hint hint* ;)

However, this all being said, as I was writing this I began to think about additional characters that actually do serve purposes in their respective shows, so I will write about them in another post.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Won Tickets to See Arcadia on Broadway!

From the Arcadia on Broadway website and Facebook page
Arcadia on Broadway held a "My Arcadia Photo Contest" on its Facebook page. To enter, we each had to upload a photo of our very own "Arcadia" to win a pair of tickets to one of its final shows and a copy of the play signed by Tom Stoppard, the playwright. After two weeks worth of creating a Facebook event and inviting my friends to "like" the photo, while also going head to head with the other contestants, I became one of the winners! Congratulations to Emily as well, whose photo also gained her victory!

Thank you so much to all those who "liked" my photo and supported me in this competition! I appreciate all of your help!

It's funny because originally I entered just by chance to see what would happen. However, as time when on and I got more and more "likes," I began to taste victory and want it more and more!

I will also write a follow-up post about the actual performance and my experience! :D

The winning photo:

I'm a total Jersey girl, so naturally the Jersey Shore is My Arcadia! I took this photo one night last July at Sandy Hook in Hazlet, NJ. I love just looking out into the ocean and seeing the sunlight glisten on the waves and feeling the sand between my toes. The whole area gives me a chance to relax and get away from everyday stress, while also giving me a peaceful place to think and focus on the beauties and wonders of the area. When you are at the Jersey Shore, you are in a different world entirely. It is a great place to represent New Jersey. :)

I got a package in the mail this morning from NY. I wonder what it could be. ;)

TOM STOPPARD'S signature in a copy of Arcadia I just received in the mail this morning!!!

So you can see it better :)

I even got some bookmarks!




I now have two copies of Arcadia in my possession. The one to the left I got at a Borders and it was the last copy left. I had found this exact copy at the same Borders awhile ago and was thrilled to have it in my hands and be able to read it in the store but I decided not to buy it. I regretted not buying it thereafter because ever since then I couldn't find a copy anywhere else. As time went by I found out that this Borders was closing for good, so I had to go back and check to see if the book was still there before this happened and planned on purchasing it if it was. I wanted to try and see if I can get the same exact copy I originally found. Thankfully, I found the same one (It had been awhile, but if I remember correctly both times it was the last copy left in the store so I was pretty sure it was the same one. Plus, I felt that it resembled the one I had originally read.) with the intention of buying it this time around and now it is mine! I also used a coupon or finished up a gift card or something to buy it, which was also apart of my plan. It is one of my favorite purchases to date! The one to the right is the one with Tom Stoppard's signature. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Responses to "Hey, Guys!..."

I posted my piece about the term "guys" on Facebook awhile ago and got the following responses. I found them pretty interesting, so I decided to post them here. In the responses I had a very intellectual discussion with my cousin Jimmy, who is a fellow writer and critic.
Enjoy the discussion!

Jimmy:
I've thought about this small issue for years. Normally I try to keep things collective, if there are both men and women, I use neutral group terms such as "everyone" because I realize some woman could be irked by by being called a guy; I've done it for years. But then I've noticed it seems that EVERYONE uses the term "guys" often. My family, friends, on TV shows, girls even. It seems to me that the term "guys," despite its original connotation, has evolved into a universal term for most people. I mean, if a group of women call each other "guys," so carelessly, then something tells me that they're pretty mellow and they've excepted being termed as "guy." Thus everyone is more comfortable with it... Either that or people today are just lazy with their vocabulary.

Stef:
Yeah...i've used the term "guys" plenty of times in my life and I'm a girl...but i'm wondering if it is something that I as a woman shouldn't accept as a norm

Jimmy:
I wouldn't think too deeply into it. I'd just keep trying not to offend as many people as possible and let others worry about it.

Stef:
Do you think the term "guys" is offensive? lol i know i am probably thinking too deeply

Jimmy:
I'll be honest with you, with the huge double standard these days concerning gender rolls, I don't think women should be offended when they're called "guys" along side other men. If I'm the speaker and the group is 100% girls, saying "guys" would be too weird for me, but if there's a single guy in the group of girls, then I'd say "folks," because I know if I said "girls," that man would be pissed off because in America, a man wearing a skirt is effed up. Which is why I try to be politically correct when speaking.
But the reason I say 'double standard' is because woman have accomplished so much in this country since then. Women are running for office, they're in the army, working tough jobs, running businesses. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if a woman with a great image became President with in the next few elections because women have accomplished so much. Meanwhile, a lot of men are still worried about being 'manly' and 'wearing the pants' in their family. But you know what I say? "Real men wear pink." You like cooking? Go ahead! Is sewing fun? Then go do it! Do you have a pink sweater that you think looks positively fantabulous? Wear the damn thing! As long as you don't cross dress, then you're cool with me.
But yeah, I don't think women should be offended, as long as they're not being called "guy" personally. Now if you called a group of females "boys," THEN you're asking for trouble.

Stef:
Interesting. Yeah I've been wondering lately what is considered male/female attire and why and who determined it (cross dressing comment). Also, in response to your comment about women accomplishing all these jobs, do you think women strive for jobs men have just to feel adequate as people? Meaning, do you think women want these jobs because it is what makes men successful because being successful in a man's job makes them adequate because it's a "man's world" or is it what they truly want as individuals because they just want to do it?

Jimmy:
I think most women who strive to be successful want to achieve their own personal goals, not because they want to prove they're as good as men, but because it's better for them; They make more money for themselves or their family which gives them luxury. Plus, was there ever a person who DIDN'T want to be successful or in power?
Obviously there are some women who are fueled by their desire to achieve success because they want to prove they're as good as men. And it all comes down to men wanting to be the dominate gender. If I was a girl and I wanted a position and a guy told me that I couldn't handle it because I was a girl. Obviously I'd want to prove the bastard wrong.

Stef:
Yeah that's the point i am trying to make. Because it feels like sometimes women base themselves on what men do...like, what men do in this society is what is considered the goal one must reach...like maybe women model themselves according to what a man's level is because it is the "default" in society

Jimmy:
I think so. History also fuels certain women; Woman weren't even allowed to vote until the 1920s' (?) I believe. And before the 60s, women were seen as mere housewives, a person to look after the house and cook dinner, so really it's not surprising that women strive for success because of recent history.
Should women be bitter today because of how history has treated them? I don't think so, because woman are a more relevant force today than ever. But men worrying about being one-upped by a lady doesn't help much either.

Jack:
Women are, and always have been relevent. Our history books ignore them.
And as for 'mere housewives'. If a woman ever had the luxury to just cook dinner and stay at home - she would have been very well off, financially.

Stef:
What some women argue though is the fact that it seems that some of society thinks that cooking and cleaning and raising children is all were are good for. I wouldn't say women are always relevant because of how they are/were disregarded of rights, considered secondary to men. There are still some stereotypes.

Jack:
All of our institutions treat (or treated until very recently) women as subservient to men - the Church (what ever religion), government, marrige...

Stef:
Exactly. That is part of my argument. I agree women are becoming more equal to men nowadays...in fact, the present is greatest time for women because it is the most powerful women have ever been in history because of we have evolved...but there are still some issues to work on
Got a question for you both: Do you think the term "guys" should not be used at all due to sexism, generalization, and categorization, or do you think it is not a big deal and that people should use it because it's just another way of greeting people?

Jimmy:
Like I said, I personally wouldn't use it when referring to a mixed gender group, and I think it's generally more polite to say "folks" instead. I wouldn't consider calling a mixed gender group "guys" sexist these days, but overall I wouldn't encourage it because it's more polite to be collective. So overall, yes.


Thank you to those who gave me feedback!