So the next hero I want to talk about that has inspired me over the years is also from my childhood but has in one way or another appeared in my life throughout. That is Spiderman. I‘ve read the comics, I’ve watched many of the cartoons. There’s been the movies and when I was about eight one of the best moments of my childhood was coming home from school one day and finding a Spiderman costume on my bed. I think I ended up wearing it for two years finally growing out of it. I think it almost ended up as a Spiderman crop top. (Oh if I only knew then what I know now.) I have also read many articles (philosophical and otherwise on the character) including one assignment in Uni with regards to freedom and Responsibility. He is probably the character on this list I can write most about bar one. However I will be restricting this post to simply writing about why he is such a role model to me personally and not discussing the many philosophical and interesting aspects of the character.
So what is it about Spiderman that I look up to so much? Yes I would love his powers and the idea of swinging a round above the city. I love the scenes where Spidey is just resting against the wall as easily as some people relax in a chair. When out with friends I use to squat on the top of wall probably looking less like Spiderman and more like I was on the loo.
First there is the most famous moto associated with Spiderman which is with great powers comes great responsibility. This is a lesson that Peter Parker leans after the death of his uncle. Since then he has done everything he can to help out his fellow man. Yes there have been times when he sees his powers as a curse and on times even tried to give up being Spiderman and yet he always comes back knowing he can help mankind. It is something that seems to be ingrained into Parker’s nature. In fact there is a What If? Story where it’s not Peter that gets the Spider powers but Flash Thomson who goes on to become a criminal. Parker uses his scientific knowledge (with help from Doctor Octavius) to build a Spider like frame and defeat Spiderman, So even without his powers Parker wants to try to help people and do the right thing. As with life we too have to take responsibility for the lives we lead and for me personally this also means doing my best to help out the people in my life. This also means having to take responsibility for the mistakes that we have made in life. In one story ‘Parallel Lives Doctor Octopus rants at Spiderman blaming him for denying him a normal life and blames the world for making him suffer. In other words he fails to take responsibility for his own life. The philosopher Sartre indicates in Being and Nothingness that a man’s freedom comes from absolute responsibility. This is something I learned in Uni but could relate to due to Spiderman having been that role model for me.
The second thing that I draw from Spiderman is the fact that no matter how tough things gets he never gives up. Even when the odds are stacked against him he still finds the strength to carry on. No matter how many times he is beaten down and brought to his knees he will find a way to get back up. Either this is because he is aware of the responsibilities he has or because of the people in his life he finds a reason to rise back up. There have been many times in my life that I have felt exactly like this. Ok I May not have been physically beaten down but sometimes that is how it has felt with life beating me down. Spiderman is one of those heroes that I think of in those times that makes me get back up and try harder.
Finally he also adheres to a strict moral code and never crosses the ethical line he has set for himself. He doesn’t kill. There is of course a similarity here with the lessons I take from He-man in that there is a strong sense of right and wrong and always choosing to do the right thing. But with He-man it is more basic, whereas with Spiderman there is times he doubts himself and questions his actions but yet he still tries to do what he thinks is right even if it doesn’t always work out the best for him. So although both these role models give me a sense of right and wrong from Spiderman I also take a sense of responsibility for my actions and how I live my life. I therefore by my own sense of rules have a responsibility to try and help people. This coupled with never giving in and getting back up is why Spiderman is one of my role models.
A few years ago I was set up on a blind date by a friend of mine. We had a meal at a restaurant and my friend had provided a set of topic cards to give us things to talk about. The date was very nice, the girl was nice and although to my disappointment nothing eventually came of it I had a good time.
Anyway one of the questions was on favourite movie. In typical male fashion I answered Avengers Assemble. It had just recently been in cinemas and to be honest I really liked the movie. Hers was A beautiful Mind which I didn’t know. Well I did once she had told me about it. I had watched it in the past but had never remembered the name of it. A very thought provoking drama. It was a very sophisticated answer to the question, much more than my comic book superhero action adventure. (Personally I recommend both films and if you like A Beautiful Mind I would also recommend Shutter Island.)
Anyway this lengthy and possibly irrelevant introduction brings me onto what I now consider my favourite film which would have provided a better answer to that question had it actually been made at that stage. Boy meets Girl is a movie I accidently discovered on Netflix. I watched it about four or five times over the next few weeks until Netflix took it off. I have since watched it again through other means and I hope one day the UK gets a dvd release of this film.
The story deals with Ricky, a transgender girl. For those who wants to know I’ll outline the plot, for those who would rather try and watch it without spoilers go away, find it, watch it and if you want come back and reads this. So Ricky basically starts having an affair with a woman she has just meet called Francesca who is engaged to be married. It also deals with the relationship that she has with her long term best friend Robbie. Added in to this is the story about how she also wants to be a fashion designer and is waiting to see if she gets into a fashion school in New York. That is basically the plot and if you have read this without seeing the film then still do because this isn’t the real point to the film. It’s thought provoking and the enjoyment comes from watching the drama unfold. It deals with some of the issues that surrounds people who are transgender. Would I say that it is truly representive of how trans people are treated? Given the research I have done on the area since probably not. Ricky lives in a small town and most of the people we see in the film accept her for who she is. There is a couple of confrontations but there is nothing too treating in these. There no real high tension drama where everything is at risk but simple more of a snap shot into the life of Ricky trying to realise her dreams.
Michelle Hadley who plays Ricky is great in what is her first film role and I love the character of Ricky. She comes across as confident, funny and down to earth and hot. I’ve noticed that I’ve even adopted a bit of her style with my own clothes. Part of me wants to date her, part of me wants to be her. When I watched the film I researched the actress and discovered her you tube channel where she documents her transition. It was this channel that got her the role in this film having impressed the director. Sadly she has not been in much since but I would love to see her in other things.
There are so many scenes I like from the film that it would be impossible to pick one. Right from the beginning the film is engaging with just the interactions between the characters. To compare it with another film I like A Few Good Men. That film too is a drama and not action packed and it’s great but when I want to watch it it’s the end of the film with Cruise and Nicholas in the courtroom. That’s the great part about that film. Everything else is just a build up to that moment and once you’ve watched it and know the story you can just go to that scene and watch it. With Boy meets Girl I want to re-watch pretty much every scene from start to finish. There are some good twists along the way and the film’s final message makes it end on a very upbeat note.
So yeah I finally have a drama film as my favourite film which I can talk about the philosophical aspects and social issues of. Sure the Avengers is still a good film and yes it deals with individual egos putting aside their conflicts and working as a team to defeat the bad guy. Then it’s just an action packed finish which I suppose does allow Tony Stark to finally become less self-absorbed and nearly sacrifice himself to save the world. But my favourite moment from the movie is Hulk smashing a raging Loki like a rag doll all over the ground. “Puny God”. It’s my favourite moment because it’s funny. I can rewind the dvd and watching it again. Yep still funny. There’s nothing else to the scene. It’s just a funny moment amongst the tension of the battle. Boy meets Girl doesn’t have no big final playout. It ends on a good note, a hopeful message and a great song that made me really think about things in life. I like films and programmes that makes me question, think or even just inspire me. This film is one of those. It’s the film that made me really question my own feelings on gender and on how I want to express myself. It’s helped me in writing parts of my novel and it’s got me looking deeper into a world that I am finding fascinating and personal.
Several years ago during one of my finding myself phases I wrote a piece detailing a number of heroes that I liked to identify with. Not just simply people that I would like to be because they were cool or could get the women but those role models that had had some influence on my life and the way I now acted. In a way guides where in some situations I could ask myself what would so and so do. On that list at the time were six fictional heroes and one real life person.
The very first one on the list and indeed in my life was He-man. Here I’m talking about the original cartoon series that was shown on Children’s ITV during my childhood. I was big fan of the show. I had the sword. The best Christmas I can remember is the one where I had loads of He-man toys from various relatives and Santa himself brought me Castle Greyskull with I spent Christmas morning with my dad putting it together. Just let me wipe away this tear forming in my eye.
That’s better. Now the reason I loved this show was not only because of the action and the colourful characters. And by colourful I mean colourful as most of the characters (and figures) came in a wide range of colours. Merman was purple, Beast Man orange etc etc. Skeleton was a fantastic baddie. There was plenty of humour with the way he treated his minions and how he reacted to his constant failures. On the heroes side we had comedy with the lovable Orko especially when Man at arms was at the receiving end of one of his backfiring tricks.
No the main reason why I still loved the show later in life (getting hold of the dvds to rewatch it) is because of the positive messages that came with the show. Usually those lessons were highlighted by a small fourth wall scene at the end of each episode. Yes some of them were very basic messages like not going off with strangers and don’t play with sharp objects. But the better messages were about being a better person. Respect for others despite their beliefs, appearance or any other differences. About being morally right. Taking responsibility and not giving up and losing confidence. A full list of all the moral messages presented at the end of the episode can be found here. http://old.he-man.org/cartoon/cmotu/seriesinformation/intodaysstory.shtml
That was the good thing about He-man. He was the strongest man in the universe but really it was the fact that he always did the right thing and always tried to look for the peaceful solution. He didn’t kill or hurt people and would often rely on his intellect more than his strength to win the day. The only things he ever punched was objects and robots. His sword was never used against anyone either. He would go out of his way to rescue the bad guys when their plans got them into trouble. It was the most basic set of right and wrong with no really grey areas. In fact even when he once thought that he had accidently killed someone as He-man he gave up his power feeling he no longer had the right to be He-man. Maybe in the real world it would be hard for someone to be as ‘right’ as He-man but for a child just growing up I feel that this basic message of right and wrong gives a good working basis for someone to develop their own morals from. Here was someone who would never cross the line between good and bad. Even She-Ra his twin sister followed the same values fighting alongside a rebel alliance against the evil ruler Hordak.
For me then personally He-man represents my most basic values. My faith in right and wrong. He is the guide I would turn to if I had a moral dilemma. He also shows me that using my mind more than my physical strength is often better and to try and be none violent. When I was creating my own personal deck of Tarot cards he was also the character I was going to use for strength but not just because of his physical strength but his strength of character. He is also the one who is the strongest connection to the innocence of my childhood. Yes the cartoon looks very dated and simple now but I still have a soft spot for it. Until next time bye.
So in order for people to know me a bit better here are some facts about me which will probably also help tie into the things I’m going to be posting.
1. I studied Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Cheltenham University passing with a 2:1. It wasn’t really what I went to uni for but I enjoyed the subject so dropped my joint studies to concentrate solely on that. I count it as one of my best achievements. I loved it, mainly due to the SU bar where I spent my time drinking Snakebites and having such philosophical discussion as creating a robot monkey army and singing badly to rock songs.
2. I’m currently writing a novel. I started it in uni as part of a writing module I took on writing a novel where I had to write the first chapter of my intended novel. Adapting a short story that I wrote in college that I was partially pleased with I wrote chapter one, thought it really had potential and then sat on it for the next couple of years. On becoming single and therefore lonely I decided I now had time to continue it. As of the time of writing I have written eleven chapters. The novel by the way is about a crossdresser whose alter ego starts to take over which leads them into trouble with a local criminal. The theme I’m aiming for is one of identity.
3. I want to say I’m a racing driver but I’m not. But at the moment I’m looking into it. There are many various paths so I’m not sure. At the moment I’m looking a MX-5 racing and should be going to Donnington soon to watch and hopefully talk to some of the drivers. I have a couple of cars lined up and it’s just a question of money and sorting out all the ins and outs. Hopefully it will all work out so it can be another subject I can blog about.
4. I’ve have however been a Paranormal Investigator. It was a hobby of mine a few years ago and in that time I probably investigated about twenty or more different locations over forty investigations. Sadly the team I was with broke up but I’m hoping that I might get chance to go on a few more investigations again in the future.
5. I’m possibly Trans, or Gender Fluid or something or not. I’m not sure. It’s something about myself that I’m exploring. Either way I’m probably going to talk about things of that nature on here. If that’s something that offends you then I suggest you stay out from the areas that deal with it. You’re welcome to read anything else I post.
6. I’m a massive Doctor Who fan. Have been for years and it’s important because it’s going to come up a lot of times on here. I even wrote my dissertation in Uni on Doctor Who as a modern-day religion.