Wednesday Videos Dancing in the Buffyverse

WednesdayVideoI love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel so this video of all the dancing moments in the shows, set of “Footloose”, was a gift from above. This isn’t the best edited video of all time, but I sure got a kick out of it, and I laughed so hard when Giles started shaking his magic gourd that I fell over. I’m a simple woman of simple pleasures, what can I say.

For a more tightly edited video, here’s a movie mashup of over 100 dance scenes set to “Uptown Funk”

Gateway Drugs: Anime (The YA version)

door opening onto poppiesThis month’s Gateway Drugs is brought to you by my thirteen year old girl partner in crime, who shall henceforth be referred to as Meiko.  I know nothing about anime so I called in an expert!  Without further ado, here’s the words of our Young Adult anime guru, Meiko:

First I asked Meiko for some background.  Meiko, what is anime?

Anime is a style of drawing and japanese animation.  It can be about anything, science fiction, or fantasy, or everyday life.  I prefer the ones that are comedy.

So Meiko, what should I be watching?

Acchi Kocchi

It’s about a girl who has a crush on a boy and is nervous about it.  It’s something you could sit down and watch with your family.

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Going Home Club

It’s about a girl trying to find out how much fun they can have in their club before they have to go home.  It’s a comedy anime.  It is suitable for all ages.

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Attack on Titan

This one if more for older kids, like thirteen and up.  The titans come down and try to eat people.  I don’t get that one, but my uncle likes it, and you might like it if you like science fiction.

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Sailor Moon

It’s mainly about a girl who meets a cat that can talk.  A bunch of girls get together because they have superpowers, and they try to protect a princess.  This could probably be for any age.

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Black Butler

My friend likes this one.  It’s about a boy who signs a contract with a demon, and now the demon is the boy’s butler.  But to get the demon butler, the boy gave up his soul.  My friend thinks it’s interesting because it’s different from most animes.  Most animes aren’t about angels and demons combined – or butlers.  This is more for middle or high school kids or adults.

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Angel Beats

It’s about people fighting gods because they think their lives are unfair.  I like it because it’s interesting.  If people die they come back to life.  My other uncle recommended it to me.   It’s also for grades eight and up I think.

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Inuyasha

This is about a guy with a demon dog and a girl who falls into a well, into an alternate universe.  She frees the demon dog.  She and the dog have to find all the shards of a crystal because if it gets in the hands of evil, the world will be destroyed.  This one is good for ages thirteen and fourteen.

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So to everyone else online, what are your thoughts?  What anime should I be watching?  It’s a whole new world out there.

Friday Book Club: Dracula and The Angel in the House

SWT-Book-Clubs Once upon a time, there was a poet with the rather wonderful name of Coventry Patmore,  He published a long poem in installments between 1854-1862.  This poem, called “The Angel in the House”, laid out an image of womanhood that became the Victorian ideal.

‘The Angel in the House’ ideal was based on the premise that women were superior to men morally and that their role was to provide a stable, serene domestic environment for their husband and their children.  The Victorian Era was a time of great social instability, and men of every socio-economic class were in some way affected by the changes of their society.  The Angel was to provide a sanctuary from a troublesome world, and to provide moral guidance to men and to children.

Believers in the ‘Angel in the House’ ideal believed that a woman should be intelligent and well-educated enough to converse with her husband and teach her children, but she should not engage in intellectual pursuits.  She should not work outside the home and of course her behavior would always be socially proper and sexually pure.  In this ideal, a man lucky enough to be married to an Angel should appreciate her and not treat her badly.  But if he did, she must patiently guide him towards better behavior, and stoically endure her own suffering.

So, let’s talk about Lucy Westnera and Mina Harker, in Dracula.  Lucy Westnera is like that blonde girl in the slasher movie who has (*gasp*) HAD SEX.  Although Lucy is, presumably, a virgin, she’s enough of a flirt that you just know poor Lucy isn’t going to make it to the end of the book.  She’s sweet, she’s kind, all the men adore her, but they like her a little too much, and she likes them a little too much.  She’s not “pure”.

But Mina is the Angel incarnate.  She’s smart, she’s well-educated, she has practical skills, but she is content to use them to assist her man – she has no ambition to strike out on her own as one of those “New Women”.  The “New Women” was a phrase coined towards the end of the Victorian Era that described women who resisted the Angel in the House ideal – they were self-supporting and independent, and often rejected the idea of monogamy.

Mina Harker is also the heart of the group.  When Jonathon is ill, her one thought is to nurse him back to physical and emotional health.  She comforts Lucy’s suitors with supreme tact and kindness.  She is the moral guide of the story, insisting that one should not hate Dracula, but be thankful that with his death he will be restored to God.  Mina is capable with a firearm but chooses to remain in the background both as a matter of strategy (she may be controlled by the Count) and as a matter of temperament.  It is the men’s job to protect her and it is her job to emotionally and spiritually guide the men.

I do think that Stoker plays a bit of a double game in Dracula.  Mina makes fun of the “new woman” but she seems a little envious of them as well.  And in the original manuscript, Lucy says, “I almost envy mother sometimes for her knowledge, when she can talk to people whist I have to sit by like a dumb animal and smile a stereotyped smile till I find myself blushing at being an incarnate lie.  And it is so silly and childish to blush and without reason too.”  This does not appear in the published manuscript, but it, combined with the ambivalent attitude of Mina towards professional women, suggests that Stoker’s views about the roles of women were not as clear-cut as a quick reading of Dracula suggests.

Should you be interested in the original poem by Coventry Patmore, poemhunter.com has the complete poem, “The Angel in the House”.

Personal Aside:  Nathaniel Hawthorne was a huge believer in the ‘Angel in the House’ ideal.  I did my senior thesis on Hawthorne and his views on women.  Mercifully, I’ve forgotten almost everything I’ve written, although I’m left with a strong impression that Hawthorne was a brilliant writer and a colossal jerk.  Hawthorne’s gothic novel House of the Seven Gables, published in 1851, has a character, Phoebe, who is a textbook example of the ‘Angel in the House’.