Hank Green and Donald Trump (no, wait, come back)

Hank Green is one of the unofficial overlords of YouTube. He and his brother Hank and their Internet followers hacked YouTube so the front page would be filled with videos about charity. Multiple times. And YouTube helped them with later iterations of the project.
They also run VidCon, which is like the YouTube Comic-Con. YouTube helps them with that too, these days, but they started without their official involvement and it’s still entirely their event.
Hank helped create, among MANY other projects, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which has inspired and influenced countless other literary-inspired webseries, which you should watch.
He’s one of the most influential nerds on the planet, and he’s always humble and gracious about it. I want to talk specifically about his recent YouTube video.
I’m about to break one of my rules and talk about politics, but only briefly and indirectly. Brace yourself.
For context, in case you didn’t know, Hank Green is not a Trump supporter. In his recent video, Hank said the 2016 election was one of the things that inspired him to rethink his system of choosing priorities. After the election, he feels like all the things he does to make the world a better place may not be doing enough. He’s newly inspired to improve the world, which is a great thing, in theory. But from my perspective he’s been doing just fine!
Hank’s biggest contribution to the world is a small country’s worth of like-minded people inspired by him and his brother to make the world better without direct supervision. Those same people will see this recent video. They may be newly inspired to improve the world, which is a good thing. It’s a nicer way to respond to Trump than being stressed out about the future.
I don’t think Hank is a person of faith. He’s not inspired to make the world better by Christian-based morality, but that’s fine. Meanwhile, we Christians have our own imperative to do good things. We can take new inspiration from things like politics if we want to. But we shouldn’t feel some added responsibility for saving the world. Trump isn’t slowing God’s plan down all that much.

Did that make sense? What do you think? Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

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Beauty and the Beast…and the Gay Guy [We’re Going There!]

[Isaac gets up from a long night’s sleep. As he steps out into the main room towards his computer, he walks past a large elephant wearing a “LeFou is Gay” banner. Despite the elephant, Isaac sits down and writes at his computer.]

It’s official. 10:00 PM showings at theaters should not be a thing. I think I’m officially too old for them.

Anyway, I saw Beauty and the Beast last night, and it was good. At least, I liked it. The visual effects were amazing. The acting was incredible. Even though they added a few songs, the adaptation was spot on with its original. I wouldn’t call it my favorite Disney movie, but it was pretty good. Also, it has Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Magneto) as a clock and Ewan McGreggor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) as a candelabra. What’s not to like?

[The elephant sneaks up behind Isaac and rests its trunk on his head. Comically clasped in its trunk is a “LeFou is Gay” flag, which the elephant waves.]

Oh, yeah. That.

This movie features Disney more-or-less caving to the “include a gay character” demands of popular culture by turning LeFou, the comic relief foil to Gaston, into…well, Josh Gad.

To be frank, I didn’t really care about LeFou in the original. He served as an expositional character for Gaston. He didn’t have enough character development in the original.

So, do I like him now? No. Not really. And not because he’s gay; it’s because he’s Josh Gad. I don’t know why I don’t like him. I can’t put my finger on it. It’ll probably come to me in summer.

While LeFou’s…development is unwarranted, it actually neither adds nor removes anything from the story. Aside from two, maybe three scenes, LeFou is played more as Gaston’s war buddy / protégé than his gay best friend.

In fact, the movie actually has a few scenes where the writers could’ve gone completely overboard with the “gay-ness,” but didn’t. For example, Gaston at one point asks LeFou why he hasn’t found a girl. To which LeFou replies, “I’ve been told I have a clingy personality.” No sarcasm from me: there’s nothing gay about that.

So, in short, was LeFou’s homosexuality necessary? No. Was it blown out of proportion in the movie? Not really. Beauty and the Beast was still Beauty and the Beast even with a gay character.

Take the movie as you will, dear readers. I enjoyed it at least.

After all, did I mention that it has Magneto as a clock?

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

Only the Fist can defeat the Hand? Who thought of that?

In Netflix/Marvel’s fourth and final Defenders lead-up series, Danny “Iron Fist” Rand is a former shaggy-haired rich kid who goes missing, presumed dead, only to return home with an impressive skillset and a mission to fight evil. His company has been corrupted, partially due to the father of his old friend. Sound familiar? I think someone at Marvel has been watching Arrow for research.
Daredevil’s Catholicism is a driving force in his superhero motivations. Meanwhile, Rand is a Buddhist monk. He’s all about karma and dharma. It’ll be harder to find a correlation with Christian faith. But you know me; I’m going to try.

After fighting to regain control of his family’s company, Rand turns out to be kind of a horrible businessman, but only because he’s a disturbingly good person. He gives his assistant a cute little Post-It note origami flower and makes it a priority to get her dental plan reinstated. He cares much, much more about helping people with his company’s products and making up for their professional mistakes then making a profit or a good public impression. This can all be attributed to his altruistic philosophy that he learned from Buddhist monks.
Problem is, he prays to spirit-dragons or something. He seems to believe in nirvana-reincarnation-whatever. He meditates to channel power from within himself and it works. I personally suspect “chi” is the same pseudo-magic that Doctor Strange uses with different branding. Surprisingly enough, my nerd perspective makes this one easier to accept from a Christian perspective.

But Iron Fist is still my least favorite Defenders series. The story starts well, but it kind of becomes a mess. Isaac, you say you like the characters? I did, too. But most of them will zig-zag back and forth until you don’t know who’s on what side and who’s betraying whom.
Also:
I loved Daredevil, particularly Season 1. Even if some of the supporting cast was more interesting than the hero, that’s a point in their favor considering how effective Charlie Cox’s performance was.
I know practically nothing about abuse victims or recovery. But based on my limited understanding and given the unique situation on Jessica Jones, I’d say a happy and genuine romantic relationship between two consenting superheroes, even if it starts with a random guy in a bar, shows progress and recovery, just like choosing to protect others from your former mind-controlling creep rather than skedaddling.

Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

Leading into Iron Fist: a look at the other Defenders

So, I wanted to do a review on Iron Fist when it came out on March 17. However, the time between March 17 and today, March 22, has been super busy between homework and work and meeting friends.

I only watched one episode. I will be handing in my Geek Card at the end of the article.

However, “just one episode” is about what I’ve seen of the other Defenders shows—Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.

So why not break a few rules and write a review on all of them?

 

Daredevil (5 episodes watched)

So, of the ones I’ve seen so far, this is the one I liked the most. I never really got into Daredevil, the hero, before. And after watching five episodes…

…I’m still not invested in him. Sorry, but the characters never really got to me. I felt more attached to Matt Murdoch’s lawyer friend than Matt Murdoch himself. It’s like watching Cinderella and only liking Jacques and Gus-Gus.

[pause] So what if that’s how I watched Cinderella?! They’re my bros!

 

Jessica Jones (3 episodes watched)

Oh, where do I begin with this show?

The thing I liked about it was that it fills a strange niche of shows about abuse victims/survivors. Not a lot of shows toy with this idea, at least not as a main selling factor.

Conversely, I’m not too keen on the content of the show, sexual or otherwise. I don’t feel too invested in a character who acts and lives like an abuse victim—because she is—and then hooks up with some random guy at a bar. It doesn’t feel in character for her.

Speaking of some random guy at a bar…

 

Luke Cage (2 episodes watched)

This is one of the shows that I really don’t want to write about, simply because I don’t know what to write about it. The longer I think about it, the more I realize that I’m really in no position to talk about it.

So I’m not going to.

 

In Sum

So, to reiterate. Daredevil, I didn’t like the characters. Jessica Jones, I didn’t like the characters. And Luke Cage…is Luke Cage.

So, yeah. What can I say about Iron Fist so far?

 

Iron Fist (1 episode watched)

The characters are pretty good.

 

[Pulls Geek Card out of pocket.]

Also, here’s my Geek Card. I’m handing it in for not watching the first season of Iron Fist within the first week of its release.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

Are Nerds Social Outcasts?

“Do you think that so-called nerds find belonging in today’s society more than ever? Nerds no longer seem like the outcasts but are now an equally important group in social forces.” – A commenter a few months ago.
As I said way, way back when, nerds tend to make lots of money, but they’re normally behind the scenes doing Silicon Valley-type stuff. They’ve always been an important group in certain “social forces,” but now they are increasingly coming into the foreground.
Deadpool is the highest grossing R-rated movie since Passion of the Flipping Christ. The 20 highest grossing movies of all-time include Star Wars 7 and Rogue One, both Avengers movies, Cap 3: Civil War, and (believe it or not) Iron Man 3. The CW has given the Green Arrow five seasons of TV and two (or three, depending on how you count) spinoffs, with more in the works.
But it’s not just movies and TV. Just recently, John and Hank Green hosted NerdCon: Nerdfighteria, celebrating 10 years of nerds coming together over their common passions and then working together to decrease the amount of suck in the world and increase the awesome, mainly by donating to charity. That community also sponsors a successful British soccer team; jocks wear a nerd logo on their shorts!
Bill Gates is one of history’s greatest nerds and one of the most influential people on the planet, and these days he uses most of his resources on charity. J.K. Rowling and a coalition of Harry Potter fans also do charity work.
Today, then, the common theme is not only making lots of money but also giving lots of money to worthy causes. With nerdiness comes passion, and passion is an excellent tool for accomplishing whatever you set your mind to. With nerdiness comes community, as well, so a single nerd with an idea that will benefit the world has access to a lot of help in making it a reality.

Side note: the top Google search results seem to disagree with me. I asked whey nerds are more accepted in today’s society, and the common answer seemed to be that they really aren’t, and they’re still just as misunderstood as they once were. Since I wasn’t a nerd in the pre-Gates era, I can’t know for sure what’s changed since he “made nerds cool.”

Any other questions? They might get answered!
Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

Is “Legend of Zelda” Christian?

The thing that separates me from most video game reviewers is my funding. While groups like Game Grumps, Peanutbuttergamer, and many others have already played Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and done their reviews on it.

I, on the other hand, am perpetually one paycheck and/or a really good excuse away from buying the game. Though, I did finish Wind Waker recently. I am currently in therapy because of the ending.

I came across a video on YouTube published by a fellow who goes by Gaijin Goomba. (I have been a fan of his work for quite some time, and I recommend giving his videos a watch.) One of his recent videos caught my attention. It was titled, “Legend of Zelda’s UNBELIEVABLE Origins in Christianity!”

Needless to say, it seemed right up my alley to give a response. Despite how the title sounds, he was actually in favor of the Christian symbolism in the early games. My only disagreement was in his interpretation of the Holy Spirit, but I think that’s something that varies from doctrine to doctrine. (I see the Holy Spirit as God, present in the world today. Not His presence, but Him being present.)

Although, the last time I wrote about Legend of Zelda, I noted it for having a lot of polytheistic themes. The three goddesses who formed the Triforce (Naryu, Din, and Farore) being the main reason, though I think we can add the implied reincarnation of the main characters to the list. While Mr. Goomba’s argument for the symbolism makes sense, I am still hesitant to call it a Christian game.

However—and this is a massive however—I do not agree with the arguments for the games being anti-Christian or satanic. As Mr. Goomba pointed out, there are people who see Zelda as such. I found one that called the games, “The Devil’s Playground.” I don’t want to go into the argument against that viewpoint, but I should say that I am not one of them. I know satanic when I see it, and Zelda isn’t.

So, what is Zelda then? Well, it’s a good video game series. I play them, and I enjoy playing them. They aren’t directly Christian, though they have Christian symbolism. And they aren’t satanic, despite arguments in favor of it. They require a fair amount willing suspension of disbelief, but doesn’t everything these days?

I may write a follow-up to this post after I play Breath of the Wild, but no promises. I will post a review on it after I buy and play it.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

Our Name is Legion, for we are Legit Insane

Watching Legion makes me think about Doctor Who. Then again, I’m a nerd. There was a time when looking at linoleum made me think about Doctor Who. (Bonus points if you get that reference.)
David “Legion” Walker is a Marvel mutant, like the X-men. In the comics, he’s the son of Professor X, he’s the most powerful mutant since Apocalypse himself, and he’s completely off his rocker.
In the new TV show, David Haller was sent to a mental hospital because he heard voices and saw weird stuff. Then he met some people with superpowers who told him he isn’t really crazy. He’s just telepathic and telekinetic.
As I said, it makes me think of Doctor Who. There was a little girl who heard voices and saw fairies. Her parents gave her medicine. Then she met the Doctor, and he said she was psychic. He even said the grown-ups were silly to want to shut up the voices. See the problem here? What if Doctor Who is teaching kids that if they hear voices, they shouldn’t listen to doctors or take their medicine? Legion runs the risk of teaching the same lesson.
Normally, at this point I would say something about wisdom and discernment. But Legion is different. In the comics, it is made very clear that yes, David is telepathic and telekinetic and all sorts of other things, but he is also undeniably clinically insane. Characters in the show keep suggesting that no, David, you’re not sick. You’re just insanely powerful. But of course, what if he’s both? That would be worse. That would be terrifying.
Slowly, the show has revealed that the devil creature haunting David’s subconscious is an actual monster, not a manifestation of his so-called sickness. It’s a really clever twist: you’re sick, David – no, you’re just a mutant – nope, you’re being haunted by the ghost of *Spoilers* and you’re not fully in control of yourself or your mutant powers. Surprise!
Yeah, mental health is a serious issue. Fandoms shouldn’t make light of it. But Legion isn’t making light of anything. It goes so not light it has a Viewer Discretion Advised label; when even the non-Christians are nervous about the content, you know something’s up.
No big Christian connection this time, but it’s been about a month since I brought up Doctor Who. I felt it was due.

Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog