Author Archives: Kevin Frazelis

Buffy the Patriarchy Slayer

In recent times, the once sinister and devilish Vampire race have been castrated by Hollywood Film industry. In their place they have been replaced with dark, brooding and very sparkly vampires who exist to charm girls and men to buy movie tickets. The image of the vampire has shifted from the days of “Nosferatu” to the “Twilight” series but on overarching theme does remain in the narrative; the dominance over women. The story is the same girl meets vampire but is not sure if she meets vampire at all. The next step is the either girl figures out on her own or vampire reveals his true identity inadvertently and then all hell breaks loose. We either have a love story or something sinister occurs and girl must be rescued.

This is a common dynamic in the Vampire/Human dynamic until Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer debut probably around fifteen years ago. (Shit, I am old!) Buffy was probably one of the bigger TV shows in its time and also one of the first to have a strong female character in a vampire dynamic. She was incredibly strong cheerleader that spent her time hitting the books as well as murdering everything from vampires, werewolves and various other devilish creatures in Sunnydale. Buffy does fell into the stereotypical girl/vampire relationship like Bella but her relationships were starkly different. It was a TV show so obviously she had to have those types of romances but she is never made into a victim from it. She was completely capable of saving herself in she was in any trouble from enemies or evil doers. Do her vampire boyfriends help her from time to time? Of Course, but it never turns into a one sided dependency that weakens her as a character. She has even been willing to sacrifice her vampire lovers if it interfered with greater good of the community. So the Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the modern day response feminist response to the male dominated vampire dynamic.

A Million and One Adaptations of a Christmas Carol

Years I ago when I was a kid I received my first TV as a Christmas gift during a magical time called the “nineties.” The first thing I ever watched on that TV and the only thing I ever watched on that TV was the Flintstone’s version of “A Christmas Carol.” Fred was obviously Scrooge and so on. This made me think about how many times has this book been adapted because I feel like everyone and their mother knows this story, yet I have never ever read or was even inclined to read this novel ever in my life. This prompted to question how many adaptations of this novel and its various different forms, also the inclusion of pastiches, parodies and other uses.

Scrooge adaptations have been adapted in various formats from theatre, cartoons and various films. I did some research and it seems that the 1951 version “A Christmas Carol/ Scrooge has been rated from different sites as the best adaptation because of the darkness that the movie brings to the original story. The portrayal of Scrooge by the English actor “Alastair Sim” takes the cake as far the all-time Scrooges. The movie also has acclaimed notoriety because it includes a Marely death scene that adds to the overall dark undertone of the narrative. The movie was actually shot in England and maintains authenticity all throughout the film; which has helped the movie maintain it status.

The most recent adaptation that has reached mass success is Jim Carrey’s star driven “A Christmas Carol which amassed over 318 million dollars. It was a modern adaptation using CGI in order to recreate the story and also passing down the story to a newer generation of children. This film is also lauded for its scary nature and its honest adaptation of Scrooge’s character; which never comprises Dickens’ classic in order to fulfill its desire to match the production costs of modern day Hollywood.

I guess the question is at this point, is what exactly is so amazing about a story of old man who does not care about charity and is an asshole? I think it is because we all at certain times embody scrooge at different parts of our lives. We all tend to get very obsessed in our personal endeavors and fail to see the simple beauties of life that surround us and focus on the negatives. This is also a result of aging as well, as we become more jaded and paranoid and lose our childlike sensibilities because we believe have to behave more “professional” and “responsible” in order to gain respect in the different aspects that of our lives that we pursue. I remember as child, I would do anything for most everyone in need but as an adult I have looked away at various homeless people and changed the channel on the feed the needy commercials because I simply did not care for whatever reason. Scrooge continues to exist and will always exist because at certain times we need to be reminded to relax and think about other people instead our struggles in life. Or else ghosts will threaten you and small children will die because of your selfish actions.

The Orphan Narrative

While reading the first few chapters of “Jane Eyre”, I thought to myself that I have read this narrative before in the past. It was not Jane Eyre but something similar; it was not until the passage “On that same occasion I learned, for the first time, from Miss Abbot’s friends, who considered the match beneath her; that my grandfather Reed was so irritated at her disobedience, he cut her off without a shilling; that after my mother and father had been married a year.”

That I saw the comparisons to the Harry Potter series. I do not expect Jane to eventually find her way to Hogwarts but the concept is the same to a certain degree. Harry and Jane are both orphans who have to deal with abusive and morally bankrupt relatives. They also bare the same struggles more or less because of their parents marrying out of the hierarchy. The vehement disgust or just bitter indifference that both titular characters deal with is eye opening because of the fact, the settings for these books are so different; the issues with lineage should not be the same in relation to orphans.

The comparisons do not stop their because of the dynamic of the cousins are relatable. The novel starts with Jane receiving her daily abuse from her cousin John Reed, who seems highly malicious for a young man of his age. This mirrors the Harry and Dudley dynamic very well but a certain difference does exist because John applies more thought to his actions; whereas Dudley just like to hit Harry because he could hit him. The element of gender roles most likely plays a heavy hand in John’s abusive tactics towards Jane as well as everyone else’s indifference to his misogynistic behavior towards Jane.

“I knew he would soon strike, and while dreading the blow, I mused on the disgusting and ugly appearance of him who would presently deal it. I wonder if he read that notion in my face; for, all at once, without speaking, he struck suddenly and strongly.”

Mr. Reed clearly has issues he needs to resolve very much, most likely with his mother but Sigmund Freud has not been born yet. Poor Jane! The indifference from everyone else in the family strongly resembles the manner from Aunt Petunia who looked the other way various times at the abuse that Harry suffered at the hands of her son and the behavior of her husband. Mrs. Reed and all the way to Bessie, it is clear that no one finds Jane to be martyr in the slightest. The current way of thinking is that she should be happy for the life that she has been given from the Reeds. This arrogant thought is the same arrogant thought that course through the beginning of the Harry Potter novels as well. The idea that orphans are the lowest of the hierarchy and should never complain about being mistreated because begging is clearly a worse fate to be subjected to.  The similarities do not stop because of the comparisons between the “Red-Room” and the “Broom Closet.” Harry and Jane also share the honor of having rooms just designated for them to be punished. I also found it to be very interesting that both of them are called by their first and last names, which must be a way to distinguish orphans from the everyday family.

The only dramatic difference that I saw from “Jane Eyre” and the “Harry Potter” series and even “Emma.” The scene where Jane meets the school master is highly morally didactic it its approach. It’s a homage of some sorts to old British children’s literature that was meant only educate young boys and girls to learn to honor thy god and help them find themselves on the right path.

“Do you read your Bible?” “Sometimes.” “With pleasure? Are you fond of it?” “I like Revelations, and the book of Daniel, and Genesis and Samuel, and a little bit of Exodus, and some parts of Kings and Chronicles, and Job and Jonah.” “And the Psalms? I hope you like them?” “No, sir.” “No? oh, shocking! I have a little boy, younger than you, who knows six Psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, a ginger-bread nut to eat, or a verse of a Psalm to learn, he says: ‘Oh! the verse of a Psalm! angels sing Psalms;’ says he, ‘I wish to be a little angel here below;’