Edumacation

The fall school term starts next week. That means I’m getting ready to apologize to my students. That’s right. I begin every course by laying out the class procedures, and that includes an apology on behalf of my colleagues, most of whom would never apologize themselves, nor even accept that they have something to apologize for. But many of them should. They are in a very esteemed, important position, and they abuse it, to the students’ detriment.

I spent this past week in assorted faculty meetings and workshops. I’ve been to some real doozies. I actually ended up walking out of one discussion session that purported to debate the merits of open-book vs. closed-book exams. I’m totally open-book. For me the whole point is to apply what you have learned, and to effectively use the resources available. As one of my students once put it, the world is open book. But I certainly want to hear other perspectives, so I went.

I was dismayed to discover that pretty much everyone else in attendance was from the psych department, and they were earnestly engaged in drawing up clinical support for continuing to use closed-book exams that could be done on scantrons. I was also appalled to realize just how utterly closed they were to any other position. I kept trying to make the case for the way open-book fosters critical thinking, until one attendee, who had up until that point contributed nothing to the discussion, accused me of being obstinate. I pointed out that I wasn’t making things personal and asked if he could do the same. He responded by saying I was refusing to “get it,” while others nodded in agreement. The moderator just sat there. I realized I would get nothing more out of the discussion and left. Not, I confess, before directing a very personal comment in his direction.

It would be easy for me to dismiss this as laziness on teachers’ parts. As an English teacher, I chose my job, and that means taking home stacks of essays and devoting hours of time to reading them (one of the things that has made it extremely hard for me to read non-critically, for pleasure). But it’s galling to realize there are other teachers getting paid the same as I do for little more than delivering canned lectures to a big hall full of students, and then three times a semester offering the same multiple-guess test that takes ten minutes to run through the scoring machine. Then they congratulate themselves on a full day’s work. At the end of one semester, as I sat facing one of several piles of papers that would occupy the weekend, one teacher stood feeding scantrons through the machine while another came up behind him, waiting his turn. He remarked to the first guy, “It never stops, does it?” It took all of my self-control to not shout, “It hasn’t even started for you!”

But it’s not mere laziness. In the exam workshop, the frequent argument for closed book was that it increased retention. Again, they were relying on psychological studies. But they had no interest in explaining why retention of facts was actually so important. It made me sad. They see learning as being synonymous with memorization. They had deaf ears to my observation that most of their GE students had no interest in psychology and weren’t going to pursue it as a career, and making them memorize dry facts wasn’t going to change that; if anything it would have the opposite effect.

They didn’t understand that. They, like many teachers, couldn’t comprehend how everyone wasn’t as fascinated by their subject as they themselves were. And, of course, they also fell back on the old conceit that, even if you aren’t interested, these facts are the most important facts in the world and everybody should know them.

There’s an arrogance to my profession, and, in truth, when it gets to that point, I suppose I’m glad they just want the students to memorize facts; it’s better than what other teachers do. I attended a workshop on “sexism in the classroom,” where I noted that everything we offer in the classroom comes down to differing interpretations of the material. Several history teachers shook their heads smugly at each other and one of them said, in the most condescending tone imaginable, “Well, that might be true in English class, but in History we deal with facts.” I wanted to point out that the real study of history isn’t about facts, but the interpretation of facts. In the words of Woody Allen, “If the Nazis had won, people would understand the history of WWII very differently.” I listened to them then go on about how they saw the primary purpose of their classes as being to correct all the historical misinformation the students have learned over the years, due to the erroneous, fallacious ways it used to be taught. I wanted to say, “And I’m sure it was taught by teachers every bit as confident in their ‘facts,’ as you are in yours.” But I didn’t. What would be the point?

These are the teachers I have to apologize for. The ones who agree with me that it’s all about critical thinking, but have confused critical thinking with “right thinking.” The ones who are certain that, if you have all the facts, you will inevitably form the same opinions they have, and, if you don’t, it’s because someone hasn’t explained it to you sufficiently.

People accuse higher education of being a “hotbed of liberal indoctrination.” Guess what, they’re right. I consider myself a knee-jerk moderate, and I cringe at how proudly some of my colleagues would actually embrace that role. I once heard a fellow English teacher tell another, “I couldn’t possibly give a passing grade to an essay that advocated such-and-so position.” Really? Then find another job, because you’re grading their writing, not their opinions.

I know a number of science teachers who make it clear that, no matter what class they teach, they really make it about advocating for “ecological stewardship,” or whatever the current buzzword name is, and encourage their students to get rid of their SUVs and drive hybrids instead. What, do you have a stake in Tesla? I’m all for environmental responsibility, but not when the course subject doesn’t warrant it.

I once passed a classroom near the end of semester where I heard a teacher saying to her students, “I know many of you hate my guts. But I also know that, as a result of this class, two of you have joined the National Organization for Women. That makes it all worthwhile.” Seriously? Alienating a large number of students in order to get a couple to join your pet political cause? Horrific.

I’ve known sociology and political science teachers who require students to participate in a political protest rally. Required. I wonder if they would get credit for joining an anti-abortion protest in front of Planned Parenthood. Raise your hand if you think the answer is, “Hell no!”

I’m self-aware enough to realize that I am not above advocating. All teachers have their pet issues, and I consider myself very fortunate that one of mine happens to be individual expression. I make it central to my heavily discussion-based classes. I tell my students I know they have had classes where they quickly learned that the objective was to figure out the teacher’s pet issue and parrot it back, and, if they didn’t agree, to keep their heads down and try to survive. Many of them nod, having experienced this more than once. I tell them there’s nothing that can be done about that, but my class is different.

I tell them that, if they have an opinion they know others will not like to hear, it’s their duty to express it, so we can consider it. I make it clear that if their opinion is full of crap, we will explain that to them, in very clear terms. But that’s not to belittle them, but to make them strengthen their arguments, to think critically about what they believe. I tell them to never be afraid of their opinions, and in my class to have the confidence to disagree with each other. And with me. I tell them I love being disagreed with (good thing, too, because it happens a lot). It’s nice to hear another spin on something I believe, something I can use to strengthen my own argument, but just having my opinions bounced back is narcissistic. It’s much more interesting to hear other views.

I love to jump into the fray. Alas, that’s usually when it goes sour, because people tend to take being disagreed with personally. They can’t separate their opinions from their identity. That’s the mission I have. I want the students to see that holding a particular opinion doesn’t make you a bad person. Or a good one.

I like to think it works. I’ve had multiple students tell me they didn’t like English class until mine, that they actually looked forward to class, and finding out new ideas. For many of them, it’s the first time they really listened to what others think, and realized there may be validity to it. It’s the first time they ever really thought about why they believe what they believe. And for a tragic majority, my class is the first time they ever felt anyone was interested in their opinions, or that they were worth writing about.

They’ve been indoctrinated all right. Indoctrinated to sit silent, take notes and just regurgitate “facts” and proscribed opinions. That doesn’t teach them to think for themselves. It does the opposite. I can only assume many of my fellow teachers have themselves never thought critically about what they do, or else they’d be saddened by the results. I hope.

Not that I think I’m likely to change things. My arguments fall on deaf ears, even among my colleagues who claim to be about being open to other ideas. It’s tragic. They see their mission being to challenge, undermine and subvert their students’ biases. But if anyone challenges their own biases, look out! They will vent their full wrath on any student with the temerity to do so.

But I’m not afraid to try. As I tell my students, you rarely ever change people’s minds. But if you can get them to say, “Damn it, now I have to consider this!” that’s success. It’s often the best you can hope for. It’s how we learn and grow.

That’s why I’m sad that people rarely see fit to comment on any of my articles here. I want to start a conversation. Even if you disagree. Even if you call me a sexist jerk. Say something. My students participate. There are days where the conversation is so vibrant, and so many hands are raised, that I have to assign numbers and encourage them to write down what they want to say so they don’t forget before I get to them. “Write it down!” becomes a catch-phrase. I never discourage anyone from speaking up, but I tend to favor calling on the ones who don’t as much. I don’t want the loud ones to talk less, I want the quiet ones to talk more. And sometimes there are no quiet ones. Those are the days I love my job. And in my advanced class, I eventually even bow out and sit down, and let the students themselves take over the class and lead the discussion. It’s exhilarating.

I’m not out to make them think the way I do, to indoctrinate them. And yet, I am making them think the way I do: critically, with an open mind. I want you to do that too. Please, join the conversation.

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Depression

The recent death of Robin Williams has hit the media like a small shockwave. Particularly the implications that he committed suicide have surprised and startled people, along with the revelation that he suffered lifelong Depression. “How could it happen?” we ask. Nobody saw it coming.

Actually, yes, people who knew Williams probably did see it coming. Perhaps they just didn’t want to see. It’s too painful. It’s easier to turn away. And, to be fair, mental illness such as Depression often requires a considerable force of will on the part of loved ones to not turn away, indeed, to not run away entirely. I know this, because I’m there.

I have Depression, along with a couple other potential diagnoses it’s not worth going into. I have been in and out of therapy my entire life and have tried every medication there is to try. Some work better than others, but none of them have had significant, long-term benefit. So I just have to manage it. Let me tell you what that’s like. This is not based on any sort of psychiatric research. It is merely my own perspective. Take it for what it’s worth.

Depression means seeing the worst in things, especially yourself. Depression magnifies every little setback and inflates it to disaster proportions. Depression makes you quit before you start. Depression makes you resent the things that should be helping you, preventing you from reading books in your genre because you are seething with jealousy that this author got published and you haven’t. Depression clings on to every scrap of pain, bringing it back again and again. Things that other people simply “get over,” whether it be the rise of violent content in teen fiction or a polite rejection from an agent who wasn’t even on the top of your list, magnify and stay with you, and every mention brings on just as much anger, sadness or frustration as the first time. It doesn’t get easier with time. Small challenges become insurmountable barriers. Fear and doubt consume you.

Depression is to be your own worst enemy. When you have Depression, you know how you get, and you do your best to control it. Some do so with greater success than others. Success is a key element. Some channel their pain, as Williams did into comedy. This is common. Others write or paint or create music. And some do so to a degree that actually allows them to find real success, again as was the case for Williams. But for the majority, this is not the case.

Success might give you something to use to reassure yourself, a tangible validation, but your symptoms impede success. When you have Depression, you can’t trust your own abilities. You are full of self-loathing. Even when others tell you you are good enough, you just can’t believe it. Eventually they give up, and you see this as proof they didn’t really mean it.

Except it’s not that simple. You do know they meant it, and when that doubt manifested, you wanted to remind yourself that there are people who believe in you. But you can’t help yourself. That’s the worst part: knowing how you get and feeling powerless to stop it.

Now let’s take a moment and address the obvious reply. Those of you who have not experienced real Depression are no doubt saying, “So when you get those feelings, just remind yourself and don’t let them pull you down.” Even therapists offer variations of this attitude. But it’s like telling someone with cancer to just stop having tumors. Or telling an infertile woman to just get pregnant. She can’t. Neither can someone with Depression. You can’t just “feel better.”

But it’s tiring for people who don’t understand that to feel like they have to keep propping you up. They get tired of being encouraging over and over again, only to have you blow it off and keep going on your downward path. They may well take it personally, and tell you your attitude is hurtful. And eventually they withdraw.

But you know your attitude is hurtful. Your pain is increased by the knowledge that it is affecting others. That’s what drives you to pull away, and even to contemplate, or actually attempt, suicide. “They’ll be better off without me,” you think. And that’s based on knowing with utter clarity just how unpleasant you can be to be around.

Even worse, for most of us living with Depression, it may well impede us in reaching our fullest potential, but it’s not enough to keep us from basic function. That’s why people are so shocked when you suddenly take drastic action. “I had no idea,” they say. Because you go up and down. Not in a bipolar way, but simply because some days are better than others. You find those things you can hold on to, that make you feel better, at least for a time. It might be music or nature or exercise or games or any number of other things. Some of them don’t always meet with approval, such as gambling or thrill-seeking or pornography or meaningless sex, but you cling to them as some sort of lifeline.

But inevitably the darkness returns. You can feel it coming back. You don’t want it to. You wish with all your heart that you could keep the tiny positive you had claimed. Even in the depths of despair, there’s a tiny piece of you standing on the outside, begging the rest of you to please stop. Yet at the same time, in some strange, indefinable way, you also almost welcome it back, like a comfortable old friend, albeit a toxic one. You find a perverse pleasure in the darkness. And sometimes you wish it would come on even stronger, strong enough to give you the motivation to overcome your fear and really do something to end the pain once and for all.

But you don’t. So you pretend. To avoid losing what little support you have, you learn to put on a happy face. Sometimes it slips, in bursts of anger or cynicism or dark sarcasm that goes too far. Other times your game face is good, but the pain is still there, and comes out in other ways. Keeping it down doesn’t make it go away, it just increases your sense of isolation, your resentment that you have to pretend, you have to put a lid on your intense pain so that the people around you don’t get slightly bummed. That thought increases your anger at the unfairness of it all. So you let it out in some different forum. Social media has been a real problem, allowing you to say things on line you would not say in the real world.

It’s a cry for help, but it’s an odd one, because it sounds like “The hell with you all, don’t help me!” But you just want someone to understand, so that you don’t feel all alone, and jealous of all the people around you who really are happy. Yeah, you know their lives aren’t perfect, they have their own struggles. But you resent the fact that you know that on some level, they are mad that you keep going on about it. They have a hard time too, but they deal with it and don’t keep acting all miserable, so why the hell can’t you? “None of us have it easy,” they say, “But when you go on about how you’ll never make it, it just makes us feel worse about ourselves. Don’t give us your problems, because we have problems of our own.” True. But one of them isn’t Depression. Again, putting it in medical terms, it’s like trying to climb a mountain while dealing with a collapsed lung. Your companion has no such condition. You are in pain as you labor your way up, but you dare not say anything, because he’ll just say, “Hey, I’m short of breath too, but you don’t hear me complaining!”

Of course, you can reject the analogy as flawed, because someone with a collapsed lung has no business climbing a mountain. But that simply proves my point. A person with a collapsed lung has no business trying to climb a mountain, so a person with Depression has no business trying to _________. What? Go ahead, fill in the blank. Take your time. What do I have no business trying to do? Be happy? Be successful in life? Maintain healthy relationships? Continue to be alive? Guess what, if you said any of those things, the Depressive person will likely agree with you whole-heartedly.

In my case, I have to keep myself from feeling like I have no businesses trying to break into a competitive industry like contemporary publishing. More than one of my fellow authors has told me that, with my negative attitude, I’ll never make it. They are right. The industry has no room for negativity. This wasn’t always the case. Many of history’s literary and artistic giants had psychiatric disorders, making them very difficult people. The internet is full of inspirational anecdotes about people ranging from Lincoln to Einstein who struggled, yet managed to achieve greatness. The long-standing assumed connection between genius and madness has in fact been confirmed by recent research. There is a proven correlation between creativity and mental illness. This is strong enough that there is a rising movement to stop prescribing mood-stabilizing medications to kids with ADHD as it may be destroying the spark that makes them special. A whole meme has popped around Bill Watterson’s Calvin going on Ritalin, with the result that Hobbes ceases to exist.

But today’s publishing industry is all about results. Agents and editors say they want to nurture a brilliant talent, but in fact they want someone low-maintenance, someone who will produce. Even if the results are mediocre, the important thing is that there’s something being delivered. And anyway, all the literary subtleties will get erased when they make the movie.

True, there are exceptions. Veronica Roth suffers from severe anxiety disorders, yet has managed to become very wealthy in her early twenties. But she’s an exception. When agents look up queriers on line to make sure they are stable and happy, how many great talents are they passing over? I’m not saying I’m one of them. My Depression won’t allow me to think that. And it also keeps me from sending out those queries because I’m sure I’ll just get rejected, so what’s the point? A self-fulfilling prophecy. As I said, my own worst enemy. But I’m also cognizant enough to know that, if I do generate interest, if I do get picked up by an agent, if I do get a lucrative book deal, if my book does become a best-seller turned into a series of blockbuster movies, it won’t matter. I’ll still have Depression.

RIP Robin Williams.

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Living in the Land of the Lost

I see that 22 Jump Street is doing reasonably well, and getting moderately positive reviews. It’s the sequel to 21 Jump Street, which was, in turn, “based on” the late-80s television series. That series is most notable as being the first real success for the FOX network (preceeding The Simpsons by two years), and for introducing the world to Johnny Depp, who would, of course, go on to bigger and better things. I’d like to say that the minute I saw him, I said, “This kid is going to become one of the great actors of our time.” Yes, I’d like to have said that, but I didn’t. Oh well.

I wasn’t especially a fan of the series, it being yet another triumph of style over substance that typified 80s action shows. But that’s not the reason I have no interest in seeing either movie. As I said, they’re “based on” the series, but in the same way that some horror movies are marketed as “based on a true story,” meaning, “Yeah, there was a family, and, yeah, they did move into an old farmhouse in Connecticut. Beyond that… we may have taken a few liberties.”

These movies are just part of a recent trend of taking an existing TV property and turning it into a broad comedy spoof. This bothers me. Now, it’s not exactly a new phenomenon to make a movie based on a TV series, although before that it was more common to go the other way, and make a series based on the movie. But in those cases it was capitalizing on a popular property, and often made use of existing sets, writers, and sometimes even cast members. There are many examples, but usually they are a poor shadow of the source (anybody remember Delta House?). Indeed, only four series stand as not only matching, but indeed surpassing, the movie in terms of quality: The Odd Couple, M*A*S*H, The Paper Chase and Alien Nation.

But now it goes the other way, further proving just how much the film industry is devoid of ideas. They used to make movies based on Broadway shows, with varying levels of success, whereas now they make Broadway musicals based on old (non-musical) movies: Little Shop of Horrors, The Producers, Hairspray. Then, even more bizarrely, the shows get made into new movies, thus giving us, in effect, a movie based on a movie. No wonder the film industry has decimated the publishing industry. When they reach the point that they make movies out of comic books, and then claim these are serious films instead of the popcorn b-movies they actually are, just dressed up with cookie-cutter CGI, there’s little hope left.

So it’s no surprise that the movies are mining old TV shows for ideas. We can see this at least as far back as the Star Trek franchise. But those movies were a direct continuation of the original series. More often we see what amounts to a “reboot.” The problem there is that, once the property is in the hands of a different set of people who had no connection to the original, they all-too-often reveal a total lack of understanding of what made the series what it was.

We can illustrate it with Star Trek itself, which has been given two movies of a reboot that is pretty far removed from the series (although I give them credit for a clever way of discarding continuity while maintaining it at the same time). The actors are generally well cast, but the writers clearly have no idea what made the original characters tick. Chris Pine’s Kirk always seems to be heroic by accident and is at no time the deliberate man of action portrayed by William Shatner, and Zachary Quinto’s Spock isn’t a man wrestling to control his human side through logic so much as just a guy with Asperger’s Syndrome (and don’t get me started on his affair with Uhura!). Karl Urban’s McCoy is spot-on, but we have yet to see him have the sort of heartfelt philosophical conversation that revealed his real role in the series: the embodiment of Kirk’s conscience. To the filmmakers, I pose Guy “Crewman #6” Fleegman’s great question from Galaxy Quest: Didn’t you guys ever watch the show?

The problem with reboots is even more clear with Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible movies, which are so oblivious to the whole nature of what made the series great that they begin by completely undermining the entire premise, and then eschewed most of the series’ key characteristics, except in the most shallow ways (“Wasn’t there a part where a guy would peel off a mask? Let’s make sure we have that.”) I was initially impressed by the first movie, until they pulled out the rug. I have to say that I would have rather seen a whole movie with Kristin Scott Thomas and Emilio Estevez, the only ones who seemed to understand how Mission: Impossible worked.

That’s the thing. I loved the show, because it demanded that viewers pay attention and think, and I was hoping for a serious treatment by people who got it. It makes me very sad when that doesn’t happen. But it’s far, far more painful when an old property is used as a basis for broad, farcical comedy. I’ll give a pass to the Brady Bunch movies. The original was itself a comedy that even those involved considered inane, and playing up the anachronistic qualities was inspired. But it’s a different thing when something intended to be serious is run through the fart-joke machine. I will grant that, in retrospect, we can look back at these shows and say, “I can’t believe this was considered good.” But they were. They were limited by the conventions of the day. Starsky and Hutch was an over the top action show, but it was played straight, not as a vehicle for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson to play further iterations of the exact same characters they play in every movie. The Green Hornet may have been campy, but its venerable premise was a good one that went back to the days of radio drama: a wealthy man who masquerades as an underworld kingpin to bring down real criminals. It deserved a serious treatment using all the resources available today. Its fans would have loved to see that, rather than Seth Rogan playing yet another clueless idiot.

Which brings me to the most egregious example of all: Land of the Lost. For those unaware, this was an early 70s Saturday kids’ show produced by Sid and Marty Kroft, already famous for their incredibly surrealistic, puppet-driven shows about kids trapped in a bizarre world best appreciated under the influence of hallucinogenics (seriously, that’s the only way H.R. Pufnstuf or Lidsville make any sense at all). But Land of the Lost was different, an attempt to do serious science fiction, an ambitious goal on a 70s kids’ show budget.

People may not realize that the show was actually conceived and developed, not by the Krofts, but rather by Star Trek writer David Gerrold. He laid out an astonishingly sophisticated, mind-bending premise of a pocket universe with its own laws of physics, then invited his friends to come and play. By which I mean established, serious science fiction writers like Larry Niven, Norman Spinrad, Samuel Peeples, Theodore Sturgeon and the inestimable D.C. Fontana, who contributed the powerful “Elsewhen,” essentially inverting the premise of her animated Star Trek story “Yesteryear.” The result was one of the most intelligent, sophisticated “children’s shows” in the history of American television, equaled only by the contemporaneous animated Star Trek, which similarly refused to dumb things down, believing children were sophisticated enough to handle serious ideas.

Yeah, the special effects were famously cheesy, and the acting uneven, but the heart was there. The rules were consistent, so that the idea of riding a river that went in a circle, or standing on a mountaintop and seeing yourself in the distance, would be profound and believable. We were fascinated by the mysterious pylons that dotted the landscape; bigger on the inside than the outside (sound familiar?), they controlled every part of the Land, including weather, earthquakes, and possibly even time itself. The backstory was rich and ripe for discovery, giving us a lost civilization and the bestial Sleestak, who were their descendants, rather than ancestors. The writers even invented an actual language for the missing-link Pakuni.

The characterizations were also strong and complex. Here we had a quiet, dependable father doing his best to take care of his kids while repressing his own profound loneliness, and a teen hero who screwed up as often as not, but whose heart was in the right place. And then there was Holly. A feisty, resourceful young girl decades before that was in fashion, she was treated as an equal by her father and brother and was the first crush for a whole generation of boys. I suspect my own fondness for strong girls started with Holly, and I guarantee she would have no patience with Katniss Everdeen’s angry bullshit.

After the first year, the original writing team left. They weren’t even sure the series would continue, ending the season with “Circle,” a mind-blowing finale that had the Marshall family escape the Land by stranding themselves in it (you have to see it, and even then you’ll still be confused). The show was renewed, and a new writing staff took over, but quickly proved that they completely understood the concepts, building on the Land’s strange mysteries (leaving some of them exhilaratingly unanswered), and producing some of the best episodes of the series, notably “The Zarn,” “The Pylon Express,” “The Longest Day,” and “The Musician.”

The third season was another matter. Yet another writing team came in, and relied on dumb formula, where some improbable fantasy character would inexplicably arrive, interact with the main characters, and then leave. They saddled the show with truly ludicrous things like a two-headed swamp monster and a fire-breathing dinosaur, and had the characters meet the Abominable Snowman, the Flying Dutchman and Medusa. Sheesh. Only “Timestop” was even close to what the show had been, not surprising as it was a holdover from the previous year.

A remake/continuation appeared in the 1980s, but it was rather goofy, although it still tried to stay true to the sophisticated concepts. This cannot be said of the Will Ferrell movie that came out a few years back, and tanked. It was clear that, despite Ferrell’s proclaimed fondness for the series, all he really seemed to know about was the dinosaurs and the generally embarrassing production values. No doubt he would sit around with his friends laughing about how ridiculous it was. My heart sank when I learned he was behind the movie. Because I wanted what those of us old enough to actually have watched the show wanted: a serious treatment that would finally do justice to the show’s brilliant ideas. I wanted realistically rendered dinosaurs. I wanted the Sleestak to be truly scary, rather than just basketball players shuffling around in rubber suits. I wanted the bizarre, unreal landscape of the Land to be brought to vivid life (distant mountains that are close up, and so forth). I wanted a rich, provocative story.

But that didn’t happen. Nor will it at any point in the foreseeable future. Not so long as the film industry is devoid of creative people capable of deep, complex ideas, making Hollywood the real Land of the Lost. As long as they continue to mine anything they can for an easy buck, the downward spiral that has allowed us to see nearly a dozen “Marvel Movies” that are all basically the same thin “plot” over and over, and has taken interesting old concepts and literally taken a dump on them, and their fans, we won’t see improvement. I’ve been accused of insulting young fans of today’s lame entertainments, but what about the insult to us older fans of the original source material?

What about you?  What old series would you like to see given a serious, respectful treatment?  Or do you like the comedy spoof approach? Do I need to get out of the way and stop complaining? Tell me if I’m wrong about all this.  Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last.  Please, join the discussion.

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