Batman’s Utilitarian Belt

In Peter Singer’s “The Drowning Child and The Expanding Circle,” he talks about society’s approach on ethical dilemmas. Years ago, it was easy to say that problems in other countries are far off and disconnected, but today it is much more complicated. With technology bridging the gap, its difficult not to see all the problems that the world faces. Singer notes more about the individual’s ethical reasoning per situations, and how ethics defines individuals’ goals and self-interest. To reach one’s goals, an individual is faced with many an ethical dilemma, often a difficult decision to determine the individual’s end goal. Singer concludes that in today’s age of cynical and self-interested ethics, defining our life by “major goals” is the meaning of an ethical life

The article “Calculating Consequences: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics” provides a detailed description of utilitarian ethics, and what an ethical gray area it is. Singer’s approach and utilitarianism both challenge the common, every-day self-interest way of ethics. Only, utilitarianism completely disconnects the individual from the dilemma, and works by assigning values to benefits and burdens, and what outcome would have the benefits outweigh the burdens.

I Think He Might Be Blue…

Alice Walker’s “Am I Blue?” relates a story about a lonely horse to many themes of depressing humanity. The story tells of an isolated horse who goes through may different “human” emotions, and reacts with the same feeling a human would. When Blue was presented with another horse after being alone so many years, it was timid at first, but warmed up to her. When the horse was taken away, Blue was visibly devastated, and had a changed personality. Walker said she could see Blue’s entire attitude change just from looking in his eyes.

Walker notes that Blue’s emotions are very clearly what we call “human.” Blue is trapped in this small space with limited to no interaction with others fro his species, and even when he does get that sought after interaction, it is controlled by his owner. The owner decides everything for this horse with no consideration of how the horse feels.

Of course, talking about this would make anyone feel for Blue, and would say its a travesty that he was found in such an isolation, but this isn’t something I think about everyday. Walker’s piece is thought provoking and is meant to make the reader think about their life and things that they don’t normally think about, but without considering the idea of this horse’s torturous life, it would seem totally normal.

・゚: *✧・゚:* G e n d e r_i s_W e i r d *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

In my study, I researched the effect of watching gendered media on children. My primary focus was the Disney Princess line of products and films. I worked backwards, and read up on common ways gender is represented among children: blue & pink, gender reveal parties, etc. When researching this, I came to the very obvious conclusion that the parents force these gender roles on their children, which is supported by societal acceptance of differentiating gender.

There are many aspects in a growing child’s life that influence their perception of gender, or anything in the world, really, and the entertainment they intake is a huge one. A little girl who only wants to watch Disney Princess movies will basically learn from the movie things that she doesn’t yet know. If she doesn’t understand why the princes are often depicted as strong, she can infer that perhaps it’s a predominantly male trait. While there are exceptions, most princess films depict their princess and  prince characters in strict gender roles, assigning the prince as strong, and the princess as weak. There is a bit of an obvious problem with giving young girls role models that are inherently weal and unable to save themselves from trouble. At the same time, it is problematic to give young boys role models that are required to be strong and emotionless 100% of the time. This can put a strain on young boys that eventually leads to toxic masculinity, and an expectation on young girls to grow up into hyper-attractive princesses that can’t do anything for themselves.

Barred From Reentry

Vomit. That big stain you’re wondering about is vomit. Ten-year-old vomit from when I was a kid. I leaned over the edge of my bunk bed and aimed for the trash can below me, only to splatter puke all over my video game collection. My precious, precious video games. And my brother on the bottom bunk, I guess.

Kingdom Hearts, released March 2002 on the PlayStation 2. The first of a long, popular game series. This particular copy has been with me for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of running around in this little world, fighting monsters and helping cartoon characters in their little worlds. The music, the dialogue, the artwork on the cover, everything about this game reminds me of simpler times sitting at home in front of a TV.

The story of the game follows the main character, Sora, as he ventures through many different worlds, trying to fight back the darkness and save his friends. The game beats the player over the head with its message that hearts have connections to others, and how even worlds have hearts. Sora must save these worlds’ hearts from the darkness that threatens to overtake them.

Its all very corny, but either way, this game is very important to me. Not the vomit stained case, I mean the game itself. The world I traveled in as a kid. All those characters I met and interacted with. In some way, it feels like my heart made a connection with the game. (Corny, I know)

But, alas, this game is almost two decades old, and the copy of the game, as well as the PlayStation 2 it was played on, are both very worn down. The game’s disc no longer works and is now nothing but a pretty decoration. I have no access to these worlds I spent so much of my life in, and the connection I made to the game is almost severed.

Fortunately, its not all that dramatic in reality. Kingdom Hearts is the first installment of a very popular series, so it makes sense that the game was re-released on many different occasions. I do in fact own a re-release of the game-

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMix released in 2014 on the PlayStation 3 as a remastered version of the original game with extra content. The ReMix version introduces additional scenes and extra secret battles to the game, as well as slightly improving the graphics.

It was seemingly perfect. When I purchased the ReMix, it had already been years since the original copy of the game stopped working, so upon playing it again, I had finally been reintroduced to the world I had left so long ago. But something was off…

The music was still beautiful, the dialogue was still awkward and fun, so what had changed? Why didn’t it feel right? I experienced the game in a different way, and it was on account of the additional content added to the ReMix version. It was still fun, and I found my love for just the same, but it wasn’t the exact world i had found myself in as a kid. This isn’t the game that I accidentally puked on one sickly night. That game is somewhere else… Somewhere I don’t have access to…

This is a PlayStation 2 memory card. The one from my childhood. This memory card holds the save data from all of my childhood games, including Kingdom Hearts, the original, vomit stained version. Inside this memory card is the exact place I left off the last time I put the game down. The last time I paused and saved the game, and turned off the console. The very last time. I wonder if I knew at the time that it would be the last time I would wander around that world. I’m sure I didn’t, I was pretty young at the time. But I like to think I took a walk around one last time, just soak it all in.

The City and The City: Breach vs. breach

In the beginning of The City and The City, the language used is intentionally confusing to keep the reader on their toes.  Many words and phrases are used without explanation and the reader is meant to figure out the meanings of these words by contextual evidence and further reading through the story. One of the most important mysterious in the book is deciphering the meaning of Breach.

“Is there any chance we’re looking at breach?” (p. 14) is the first mention of breach in the book. Immediately after, words like “total” and “crosshatching” are used, and no other context is given. The reader is only able to pick up on this unknown word and continue reading, hoping to discover the meaning later on.

“‘Breach?’ I said. Drodin look startled. So in truth did Corwi, though she covered it. When Drodin said nothing, I said, “Don’t you think we’re watched by powers?” (p. 45) “‘All this Breach shit.'” She lowered her voice on Breach.” (p. 45). In this scene, the word “Breach” is capitalized, and seems to give a different meaning. Its easier to assume what Breach means at this point, given that the characters seem to be cautious of even speaking the word. But it clearly has a different meaning than “breach” with a lowercase. These words are intentionally left ambiguous for the reader to become intrigued and want to look further into.