Tag Archives: review

Glee, Popularity Without Identity

I simply thought that anyone with a strong identity will not care about what other people say. I thought that they will never feel threatened by others. But I guess I was wrong. Not only on serious issues like culture or religion, but also for the award winning television series: Glee.

Glee

I’m a big fan of Glee. I always found the series to be inspiring. My favorite episode in the first season is “Hairography” with Lennon’s Imagine which they covered in a collaboration with disabled students. There was also the “Laryngitis” episode, where Rachel sings U2’s “One” with Sean, a paralyzed ex-football-player who taught her there’s more to life, than just being popular singer.

That’s why I couldn’t wait for their second season, where more inspiring stories will be brought by the amazing cast and characters. But then, something went wrong with Glee, who seem to lost their identity. They began to cover new pop songs from the current Top 40 chart that are, not particularly special. I almost lost my mind when Rachel sings Katy Perry’s Firework in the “Silly Love Songs” episode about Valentine’s Day. The story, the scene, and the song does not match at all!

This is the problem with identity.

If a big commercial series such as Glee can lost it, then what about us, normal people who are constantly influenced by the mainstream culture? Based on the Glee case, their decision to switch identity has caused them to lose at least one of their loyal fan: Me. And who knows how many other fans think the way I do.

And that’s what you get when you are focusing so much on trying to be like the rest of the world. Our perceptions towards the world is different one another, and it made us think differently from others. When you become too similar to others, you have lost your unique traits that has made people love you.

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Lesson From The Movies: Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia Movie Poster (2009)

I recently watched Julie & Julia. This movie was based on a true story about Julie Powell, and Julia Child. Julie Powell’s blog on which this movie was all about: “The Julie/Julia Project” is still accessible until today (although no updates was made since 2004). I felt related with Julie Powell in some way, and I think everyone who loves to blog will too.

Here’s why.

Julie Powell (Amy Adams), is a woman in her thirties who felt bored at work, but have a hidden a passion to write. One day (after a friend’s blog called her as “the writer whom books were never published“), she realized that she never accomplish anything in her own life. She never finished anything and never worked hard enough to achieve something.

She took the humiliation as a wake-up call, and decided to write again. With the support of her husband, she made a blog to record her cooking experiments based on Julia Child‘s cook book called “Mastering The Art of French Cooking.” She cooked everyday, and blogged her experience afterward. At first, nobody responded to her posts. But after a while (a couple of months, actually) she began to receive messages from readers who thought her blog was interesting.

After quite some time, her blog gained more popularity and Julie Powell was featured in the New York Times. She received offers from various publishers who were interested in cooperating and creating a book together. All of her hard work, passion for cooking and consistent blog-writing, finally start showing a sign of happy ending (and a couple of pounds as an additional weight gain). Her unique ability to write was quoted in this article, where she wrote “I’m miserable so they can be happy. I’m like the Jesus of extreme cooking. I got fat and very unhappy for their sins.”

Julie Powell has taught us (bloggers, in particular) to keep our passion, to be consistent, to finish whatever it was we have started, and to embrace our creativity each time we’re trying new experiments. For her, the boredom at work can be compensate with cooking at home and put it on blog. All she need was a laptop, an internet connection, and a whole lot of butter.

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Lessons From The Movie: “The Kids Are Alright”

Nic & Jules on "The Kids Are Alright"

Homosexuality issues are always interesting and at the same time provocative. Nic and Jules are two women who fell in love with each other, they got married, and they’re both using the same sperm donor to conceive Joni (Nic’s daughter) and Laser (Jules’ son).

One day, Laser and Joni are trying to discover their biological father (the sperm donor), and it triggered the family’s problems. Conflicts began to rise. But as the movie reached its ending, we will find the ‘hidden’ message behind it, that “a family who was built by a lesbian couple is still a ‘normal’ family, where your children are also living a normal life.”

(read more about this movie)

The movie proved that the definition of “marriage” has shifted. Marriage is no longer something that can only be done by a man and a woman. It belongs to everyone. More men are marrying another men, and more women are creating a family with another women.

It’s a fact. But it’s not what our kids will learn in school. At least in my country, where schools are following basic rules where reproduction and marriage is a process that must involve a man and a woman, having an intercourse and so on. It is also contrary to the subject of religion, which Indonesian kids are also learning in school.

So how do we explain the existence of homosexual couples to our children?

I don’t have an exact formula for that. Although I must admit that the thoughts of having a son who grow up to be gay, is not something that will make me happy. But I also don’t want him to grow up hating and cursing gay people. I know some parents are using religion as their ultimate weapon, but this country’s condition often misused it and made people trapped in some sort of ‘unreasonable fear’ with hatred towards diversity.

The only thing I have in my mind is to provide as many information as possible. Because knowledge is the key that will help him decide what’s best for him.

For this purpose, I must continuously maintain a high amount of communication. I’d rather have my son asking me silly, stupid, sensitive, and eventually confusing questions, than to have him asking someone else and receive a false explanation.

We all have our own way to educate and raise our children. But, Nic and Jules’ conflicts are happening to all of us. Their decision to hide Paul (the sperm donor, Laser and Joni’s biological father) from their children is not a wise decision. Families shouldn’t hide anything because families must not keep any secrets. If we want our children to see us as a source of knowledge, then no matter how awkward and abnormal or embarrassing the fact maybe, they deserved to know from A to Z.

The world and life is not a fairy tale, our children must prepare themselves for battle. With proper guidelines and love, hopefully they will have a solid understanding about whatever it is that’s going on around them. Thus, they will have a strong foundation to help deciding what’s best for them. We can only provide our support, but eventually we will have to learn to let them go, trust them in taking their own decisions.

But just like the other parents, I am also still learning and trying, and sometimes failing..

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[REVIEW] Album: Florence & The Machine – Lungs (2009)

Florence + The Machine "Lungs" (2009)

Yes, it was because of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards which was held a couple of weeks ago that I discovered Florence and The Machine when they were nominated for Best New Artist, if I’m not mistaken. I might be a mommy but I’ve always and will always try to keep up with the music industry, I was instantly attracted to “Dog Days Are Over” (watch the official video on YouTube).

Dog Days Are Over is also the first song of the album “Lungs” which was released on July 6, 2009. I still don’t quite understand what Florence is trying to tell us through this song. From my point of view, she is trying to remind us about all the things (or person) that matters the most for us. While love, due to its pain and uncertainty, must be left behind. I couldn’t agree more! Dog days are over, dog days are done, it is a must that we should left everything that causes us pain.

It’s a good choice to put the song as the first in this album, because her next songs are somewhat confusing. So I fast forwarded until I bumped into “Kiss With A Fist” which basically tells a story about domestic violence, in a good way, where having a fight is a normal part of any relationship. On her blog, Florence said that she wrote this song after graduating from high school. The lyrics of this song is very creative and made me laugh, such as “you hit me once, I hit you back, you gave a kick, I gave a slap, you smashed a plate over my head, then I set the fire into our bed.”

Another song that took my attention is titled “You’ve Got The Love.” Somehow I see a spiritual side in this song, that no matter how hurtful life can be, and although at times you might lost your faith, having someone to love and love us in return is still helpful for us to see things clearly. “Calling You A Liar” is also catchy, just like this other song I like “Cosmic Love.”

Florence grew up in Camberwell, south London. One of her earliest musical memories is standing on top of the trunk where her dad kept his vinyl collection, dancing with him to the Rolling Stones. She felt that she wrote her best songs when she’s drunk because that’s when the freedom came. “You’re lucid,” she explains, “but you’re not really there. You’re floating through your own thoughts, and you can pick out what you need.” (read more about Florence on her blog).

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