On April 20th, 1999, twelve students and one teacher were murdered in a mass shooting at Columbine High School.
Two weeks ago, fourteen students and three teachers were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
What if, nineteen years ago, my generation reacted as the kids who survived the massacre are reacting now? What if we had an Emma Gonzalez and a David Hogg back then? Would we have had a public audience with then President Clinton and a televised town hall, meeting with our elected representatives and speaking up for those whose lives were lost? Would we have walked out of school and marched in solidarity against gun violence? Would we have publicly shamed our elected officials for taking money from the NRA? Would we have demanded the legislation of sensible gun laws and the strengthening of our mental heath system? Could we have prevented the unnecessary future loss of too many innocent lives, had we spoken up then?
I honestly don’t know. I only know that these kids are speaking up in a way that should have happened a long time ago and perhaps now, in 2018, change will finally come.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
The every man or the every woman has been used as the emotional skeleton of a character by any number of writers over the centuries for a reason. He or she has a universal quality that any audience member or reader can relate to. In Fiddler On The Roof, Tevye is not only the main character, but an every man.
Married with five daughters, Tevye earns a meager living as a dairyman in early 20th century Russia. Like any good father and husband, he is doing the best he can to provide for his family. He is also a stubborn man who is clinging to his beliefs in an era when things are changing. But while he can be insanely stubborn at times, he can also be progressive and is willing to let his children live their own lives as they see fit. Even, if that means going against the spoken and unspoken rules of his society and era.
To sum it up: The reason that Tevye speaks to so many of us is that he is just an average Joe. The audience does not have to be Jewish or have roots in Eastern Europe to understand Tevye or the reasons for his actions. He speaks to all of us because he is trying to do the best he can while balancing a changing world and his own foibles. If a writer can create this character, they are likely too succeed because of the universality of the character and the audience’s ability to relate to that character.
On January 23rd, 1985, Thundercats hit the small screen.
The cartoon told the story of a species of human/cat creatures called Thundercats. While their planet was destroyed, a small band of survivors, led by Lion-O were able to get escape. They now live on a planet called Third Earth and continue to battle the forces of Mumm-Ra, who is forever looking for a way to get his hands on the Eye of Thundera, the source of power for the Thundercats.
What I remember about this show is not only was it well done (for a children’s cartoon at least), but it had a diverse array of characters.
And yes, someone decided a few years ago that Thundercats needed a reboot. Personally I think that the my generation’s Thundercats was and still a good program, but to each generation, their own.
Satire, if created properly, is incredible fun to watch. It also points out the ridiculousness of certain situations.
The 2006 movie, For Your Consideration, takes place in modern-day Hollywood. Someone on the internet has announced that a low-budget film entitled “Home For Purim” has started to garner Oscar buzz. That one post starts to snowball as more hands get involved in the film and this simple low-budget film (and by extension, the lives/careers of the actors) has become much more than it was initially meant to be.
Starring Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, this movie is a perfect satire of Hollywood and how making movies has become ridiculously much more than telling a human story with human characters.