Movies, Shows

What Should I Watch? And What I Have Watched, in Total Chaos Because Organization is for No One

By Finch Pierson

Sorry for this… it’s random and I’m hoping for recommendations for cool stuff to watch. So here are lists of stuff you can skim, if you don’t read it and instead just give recommendations that is cool.

          What I have watched most or all of this year and last year (probably an incomplete list because I forget things):

  • Bojack Horseman (almost finished) —I love this series.
  • Big Mouth —this is my comfort series
  • Legally Blonde –a classic
  • Mean Girls – another classic
  • If Anything Happens I Love You —clearly I was sobbing
  • Black Friday — A masterpiece
  • The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals — The first of the Team Starkid musicals I watched. I used to hate musicals growing up because most of the ones I witnessed were terrible, but now I have seen so many good ones.
  • Firebringer
  • Twisted: The Untold Story of A Royal Vizier — so much better than Disney
  • Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog — A good musical, fairly short, but still has an engaging, if strange musical.
  • Loki — A great series if with a somewhat convoluted plot.
  • Wandavision (one episode left) — Better than the Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • Captain America and the Winter Soldier — An okay series.
  • Gravity Falls — A good comedy show, primarily with a target audience of children, but meant to be great for all ages.
  • Helluva Boss — watch this
  • Hazbin Hotel — watch this as well
  • The Suicide Squad — A great movie
  • The Dragon Prince (watched most of it) — It is a super great show that gives of ATLA vibes.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (finished the most recent series) — A good comedy anime.
  • School Living Club — Gives off Angel Beats vibes.
  • Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun — A rom-com anime.
  • Naruto (part way through) — A classic anime.
  • Six the Musical — A musical I watched with my sister.
  • Dumplin’ — An amazing movie.
  • Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen — trigger warning (it discusses rough topics such as physical and sexual assault, r*pe, transphobia, homophobia, abuse, and other such topics). The documentary talks about trans representation in the media throughout history and the ways it has affected the LGBTQ+ history. Can be pretty traumatic to watch at some points. It is definitely meant for an adult audience.
  • Princess Mononoke — One of Studio Ghibli’s movies. Beautiful animation.
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (a lot of it) — This series is chaos.
  • New Girl (I watched some of it. I fell asleep during a few episodes because of utter exhaustion, not that anything really happened in those episodes really, etc) — It’s not bad so far. A random unrealistic comedy thing where sh*t just happens.
  • Bo Burnham: Inside — It was interesting, it had some good parts.
  • Miranda Sings —this was a very strange show.

          Currently I’ve been watching The Voice with my siblings.

There are gonna be repetitions in the lists probably, who knows.

Stuff I’m Planning on watching:

  • Hawkeye — Some of my relatives are watching it.
  • Black Widow — I am very excited to witness this movie, a relative whom I am good friends with recommended this as their favorite Marvel movie.
  • The Owl House (I’ve watched a little bit) — A series many people I know have watched and love.
  • SheRa (I’ve watched a little bit) — I’ve heard so much about this.
  • Demon Slayer (I’m like 10 episodes in) — I am hoping to watch this with a friend.
  • Komi Can’t Communicate — It was recommended to me.
  • Adventure Time (I’ve seen some of it) — I’ve seen some of it and listened to some of the music.
  • Steven Universe — I wasn’t allowed to watch this growing up so as I am an adult I now desire to watch what I missed in the past.
  • Kiss Him Not Me — I heard it’s great, and that is not all…
  • Fruits Basket (Again I’ve seen some of it) — it’s meh, but supposedly it got better.
  • Attack on Titan — Super good
  • Demon Slayer — Again this is here.
  • Arcane — I’ve heard it’s great and keep getting pestered to watch it as soon as possible.
  • New Girl — I guess this is showing up twice
  • Legally Blonde the Musical — Yup
  • Mean Girls the Musical — Because Mean Girls is a classic
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower — It has been recommended many times.
  • The Edge of Seventeen —I’ve been told that this is good and sad and really want to watch this.
  • Moxie — I’ve heard that it is a feminist movie, and as a feminist myself I wish to watch and review it.
  • Inside Job — It looks like a fun comedy from the trailer thing I saw.

If you have any recommendations, please send them to me. I am hoping to eventually review everything on this list including as many of the recommendations as possible.

          This sh*t-post is brought to you by Finch J. Pierson. Sorry and goodbye.

          ~Finch Pierson (he/they)

Books

: Decoding the Trans Generation :

Travers, A. (2018). The trans generation: how trans kids (and their parents) are creating a gender revolution. New York, New York University Press. Pp. 263. $18.95

Dr. Ann Travers (they/them) in their book “The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution”, covers a variety of topics regarding the lives of trans children and their families. Dr. Travers themself identifies as transgender, or trans, and uses they/them pronouns to refer to themself throughout the book. They briefly mention their own experience of being trans and then go on to describe how they went about writing this book. For this book they interviewed 19 transgender (and gender nonconforming) kids and young adults and 23 parents of transgender (and gender nonconforming) kids (5). They choose the subjects of their interview from both the United States and Canada.

Those interviewed told the stories of the struggles they faced, and Travers added in their own observations. They covered topics such as discrimination, bathroom laws, gender segregated spaces, family circumstances, transitioning, healthcare, and general safety. Travers presented various plans and how they are and are not effective for solving problems related to the lives of trans people, they support these statements with a combination of scientifically backed medical information, statistics, and the personal experiences of those they interviewed. While, clearly, Travers has a bias toward what would be considered more liberal views, they are very careful to refrain from giving emotion-based arguments to demonstrate their points. While they do rely partially on the personal testimonies of others, they back everything being said with data. They also report going back between months and years later to check upon the individuals interviewed and their families and note any changes to circumstances. They are also clear in that they will not give the real names of those interviewed for those individuals’ safeties. Their commitment to giving data and statistics and providing clear references for these makes this book worth reading for those with any form of political views for its informative value.

The book has a pleasing format that makes it easy to understand and read through. Travers uses blocks of quote with differing formatting from the rest of the text to give a visual break between ideas. They also separate sections in chapters and give specific headings to allow those reading to understand what is being said and addressed in each. The inclusion of extra resources at the back of the book is also quite helpful. The transitions between testimonials and other information are smooth as well.

One very important aspect addressed throughout the book is the concept of labelling, both how people choose to be labelled and how others label them (especially in the case of institutions). On this Travers notes, “Government identification often presents trans people with an insurmountable barrier to social transition. “M” or “F” sez markers on government identification play a fundamental role in imposing a binary based sex category on kids and in enabling or preventing freedom of movement” (27). Throughout the book Travers explains that this can easily out a trans person who was formerly stealth (meaning they are able to present as their gender in an affirming way and are not known to be trans). While they may be able to later petition to have these markers changed eventually, there are many who do not define themselves along the assumed binary (male vs. female) at all and as such these markers can be especially painful as there are rarely other options. Travers goes on throughout the book to suggest that there may be no real binary at all and that the spectrum of gender is much more complicated than what can be summed up using one of the three most common labels; male, female, and nonbinary (5).

This is the basis of the idea behind the “Gender Revolution” that Travers explains (1). While the title of the book may be confusing for some, it in many ways accurately portrays the overarching theme of the work. This book extensively discusses gender theory, gender identities, legislation regarding these, and the difficulties and challenged faced by transgender individuals and those closest to them. Travers makes sure to not only interview the parents of these kids, but the kids themselves to get the most accurate picture of their lives. They also look into the histories of events and the institutions that either helped or harmed these children and their parents. They included children of various ages, identities, races, backgrounds, etc. They interviewed many parents as well, including one parent who had lost their transgender child to suicide, to hear about the parents’ perspectives on what was happening in the lives of their children.

At the end of the book travers gives a four point action plan with the goal of helping transgender individuals, this includes pushing institutions to change their attitudes and behaviors towards those who are trans, making healthcare more accessible, tearing down gender separating systems, and making assisting trans kids and making their lives easier the main focus of new political actions. This is the conclusion that Travers brings to their book, giving their views, bias, and intentions explicitly to avoid any possibility of conclusion. This plan is what they spent over a hundred pages backing with research and testimonies.

            Before Travers begins, they go through explaining the various definitions they will be using. This makes the text in and of itself much easier to read and understand. They also pause to explain specific circumstances and meanings throughout the chapters to give the readers a chance to fully understand the information they are being given. This educational formatting is furthered by the inclusions in the back of the book, such as three appendixes offering various information, a glossary full of definitions for terms used in the book, several pages of notes for clarification, an extensive bibliography that gives many options for further research, and an index. All of this added together, along with the books style, makes it ideal for use as a teaching tool. One could begin reading with virtually no knowledge on the subject and still be able to understand the book’s content. That is not to say the book is best for all audiences, the book does cover such topics as sexual assault, physical assault, abuse, hate crimes, self-harm, suicide and suicide attempts, and other sensitive topics, as such, audiences who may be triggered or are not in a good mental or emotional state to read about such things should most likely not attempt to read this book. This book would be ideal for one wishing to learn more about the life experiences of those who are in the LGBTQ+ Community (not just transgender individuals), gender theory, or legislation regarding such topics and its effects on society.

            Overall, this book is worth reading for almost anyone who wishes to learn more about the diverse experiences of others. It is worthwhile as an educational tool as well and cites many other research tools that the author used. The amount of information they provide and the way in which they conducted their research are excellent. A negative would be their inability to cover certain topics in depth, go farther in explaining the situations regarding certain events, and that while they did a lot to address the diversity among the LGBTQ+ community, they could have done more to address the history behind certain views and events. While they did give a very comprehensive explanation of terms used, they were unable to address many other aspects of what it means to be a member of the community. Despite these downsides, one positive was that they were able to, with grace and dignity, discuss the tragic death by suicide of one child. This child’s mother was interviewed, and Travers worked to make clear the struggles the both the child and his mother went through and did not dishonor his life or legacy. In conclusion, this book is well worth reading and potentially using in a classroom setting to educate students and teachers alike on an aspect of diversity in the world that is often unaddressed or addressed poorly in today’s society.  

Reviewed by Finch Pierson

Citation Style: APA

Please support Dr. Ann Travers (they/them) if you can, the link to buy their book is: https://nyupress.org/9781479885794/

They have many lectures available on YouTube and there are many more reviews of their book available there. If you cannot purchase their book I hope you are able find it at a library near you. They have also written several other books that I look forward to reading soon.

Prequel or something to everything I said

            I chose this book because it was important to me to be able to read some more queer literature. As a trans person I am super interested in literature on people in my community. It was difficult to find this book as it was not in the system for the college I went to. I was manually wandering the aisles for anything queer related that was even mildly positive and scientific. I finally found a section with titles such as “Gay is Good” and “Gay is Bad” sitting almost next to each other. This held all the books that wouldn’t come up in my search of the system. I was so excited that I took out a ridiculous amount of books from the library and carried them to class (lowkey probably outing myself to everyone with all the rainbow covers).

            Here is where I finally found the book “The trans generation: how trans kids (and their parents) are creating a gender revolution” by Dr. Ann Travers. This paper was my final for the required class I was taking at this college. It was my way of subtlety outing myself to my professor. I enjoyed writing this paper though I have made some edits and plan to make a revised version once I have access to the book again. Full respect to Dr. Travers for all their work in writing this book. It was a hard read that was painful at points though it was comforting to find some queer literature somewhere on the campus.

            As someone who has also dealt with being suicidal and attempts, it was difficult to read about other trans people (especially kids) and their battles with suicidal thoughts. It was especially difficult to hear about the child who was given a name the same as mine who ended up dying.

            So I guess this is my introduction to you all. My name is Finch Pierson I am a trans man and I use He/Him and They/Them pronouns. I am bisexual. I will be guest writing on occasion. Most of what I will be writing will be on topics such as queer culture and literature and stuff like that. There will be a lot of other stuff as well. Not sure what will happen yet.

If you have any questions feel free to ask me. My email is Finchpierson@gmail.com. I will try to respond as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Finch Pierson

He/they

Writing

Writing Prompts (Collection 1)

1. A love story, but set during the pandemic. The lovers can only communicate via text or social media. Consider play format.

2. Basically the opposite scenario. Two people who hate each other are quarantined together due to pandemic conditions. Perhaps they are roommates that just had a fight and now are forced to spend all their time in the room.

3. An adventurer who once visited a fantasy world and came back to tell the tale is now whisked back to that fantasy world–as an elderly person. What new adventures will they embark on? What old friends will they rekindle friendships with? What old hatreds will rise up in the face of ancient enemies?

4. An alien from another world comes to Earth, but this alien has all the features of a dog and is mistaken for one despite being a sentient being with intelligence much higher than the average human.

5. A researcher looking into their family genealogy come across a few black sheep in the family with dark pasts, and interlocking stories. Or, just for laughs, research your own family history and write about all the skeletons in the closet. At least those of the dead–avoid the scandals of the living ones.

6. A budding chef develops a red meat allergy from a tick. That, along with her gluten allergy, makes it difficult to achieve her dream of becoming the top chef in her state. But she shall persevere, nonetheless!

7. One day, night never falls. Why? How long does this last? How do the inhabitants of Earth survive an endless day?

8. A child goes into a coma and hears everything that is said around them. Do they wake up and confront people or ask about things? Do they lose hope because of what is said around them?

9. An over-powered teen psychic is mega-popular, but people disappear for good after they are “friend-zoned” by him. What happened to them?

10. This one is for the literature nerds out there. The Sound and the Fury, but from Caddie’s perspective.

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Music

Song Analysis: Odd Future by Uverworld

Song Analysis:

Odd Future by Uverworld

(Featured in My Hero Academia)

Intro

For my song analyses, I prefer to choose songs that I enjoy, and that have elements of storytelling built into them. Occasionally, I will choose a song that is not good in order to break down what is wrong with it and why it is terrible. For this one, I chose a good song from an anime I appreciate.

Analysis

Parsing out the meaning of a song written originally almost completely in Japanese is not easy. To help, I will analyze several English versions, including one literal translation and two with more artistic license. The problem with literal translations is that they typically do not convey metaphorical meaning and the feel of the original music. I do, however, think that it is worthwhile to consider the literal translation because that is what artists who try to sing English versions of the song have to deal with. Besides, the literal is one layer of any story and of any song, and it should be studied for its own merit.

Keep in mind this analysis is based entirely on my interpretation of the lyrics, which may or may not be accurate. I do not know Japanese, and I am no expert. I am relying on translations done by others.

Literal Translation

The lyrics I am using, including the ones in direct quotations, come from this website, called Otenkiame Translations. I will be pulling lines from the lyrics, but I will not analyze the whole song.

The song starts by asking if we are ready, building anticipation. From the first section of the song, my favorite part is the phrase:

You’ll have room to enjoy the contradictions.”

What’s being advertised here is not a form of doublethink, as in George Orwell’s 1984. In that novel, characters held contradictions in their mind as a result of political indoctrination. It is not a form of mental syncretism, but rather the acceptance and acknowledgement that contradictions exist and can be appreciated.

It reminds me more of Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury by Charles Williams, in which a character has characteristics of both Christ and the Devil. The character does not seem contrived at all because of it–instead, it makes for a richer text.

There’s no worth in an unending today.”

This quote I see as saying that we have to allow the present to subside into the future. If we can’t let go of today and are afraid of the future than we won’t be able to move forward with life. A future, even an odd one, is better than being without a future and a destiny.

The square sky’s unable to fill the gaps in my heart.”

This reminds me of all the times I have heard people say that you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. The fact that even something as broad and endless as the sky is not sufficient nor is it the right thing to fill all the broken parts of a human person resonates with me. Someone’s heart cannot be filled even by what seems infinite.

we’ll have days we’ve bragged there was nothing we wanted to be.”

This part is so true! So many people will brag about not caring, about not knowing what to do. It’s like the cool thing these days is not to care about anything. Kind of like a stereotypical bad guy/bad girl attitude.

Dark pasts I’ve built up like they grow on trees.”

That is beautiful imagery. Having a past with darkness that seems only to grow is like that of one of the Byronic heroes–heroes with a past, who brood and struggle. The Batmans of real life.

I keep my ideals.”

This is like the soul of the song, the focus. Keeping one’s ideals in a world that is less than a perfect, before a future that is, well, odd–to say the least.

I will embed 30 seconds of the song in the original Japanese below, but go to Spotify or Youtube for the whole song.

The Amalee Version

The lyrics I am using, including the ones in direct quotations, come from this website, Musixmatch.com. I will be pulling lines from the lyrics, but I will not analyze the whole song.

Even if you fall take one step.

You can breathe again in one step.

It can be that easy in one step, and that’s it!”

I feel like the meaning of these lines did not come across in the literal translation. Taking life step by step is not a bad approach. There is plenty of times I just think in terms of hours–just make it one more hour, and everything will be fine. Then resetting–just one more hour, and it will feel better.

You can’t rewind these days but you can change your direction.”

Yes, you cannot change the past, but the future is not set in stone. You can change trajectory, altering your course through an odd future.

And we see we can be the heroes straight out of our dreams.”

I’m guess Amalee got this line by comparing the original lines and watching the anime to get a feel for what it is about. I have included a link to Amalee’s process for translating songs at the bottom of this page if you are interested. It changes the focus from being a distinguishable individual to being more than that–a hero.

I like this version of the lyrics as well. I think it fits the anime better while staying true to the song itself. I will embed 30 seconds of the song below, but go to Spotify or Youtube for the whole song.

The Natewantstobattle Version

The lyrics I am using, including the ones in direct quotations, come from this website, AZLyrics.com. I will be pulling lines from the lyrics, but I will not analyze the whole song.

Everything is like dust escaping me.”

This is kind of interesting imagery. The feeling of being deflated of substance.

What’s going on? I gotta guess.

I’m a bit different from the rest.

And this was all just a test for me.”

The rhythm of this song is great, but it doesn’t have many unique lines or what I would call a serious poetic style. Sure, it sounds good, but it doesn’t have the depth of the literal translation or the Amalee version.

I will embed 30 seconds of the song below, but go to Spotify or Youtube for the whole song.

Does it Fit the Anime?

Sure, I can see it. The My Hero Academia series is all about how Midoriya is supposed to become the number one hero. It’s moving from a measured past to a definite but undoubtedly very different future. Each of the members of Class 1-A are very individual, all “a bit different than the rest.” Obviously the hero portion from Amalee’s fits the anime. Most of all the concept of keeping one ideal’s in the face of a odd future fits this anime, as Midoriya strives to uphold his ideals and those of All-Might.

Conclusion

If I had to find a meaning in this song, it would be that no matter what, be who you are and embrace your odd future and whatever it brings. Don’t be shortsighted, and if you feel like your heart is broken and nothing will fill it, you are not alone. This is an anthem of individualism and the human condition, kind of like This is Me by Keala Settle.

Links

Song versions

Lyric versions

My Hero Academia Version

Amalee Article

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