Halsey, Without Me, and Narcissism

Halsey. Don’t get me wrong, I like her music. Plus, she’s cute. But this song is complicated. Actually, that might be an understatement. Let me explain.


When I first heard Halsey sing “Without Me” in a beats (headphones) commercial, I was instantly hooked. It was catchy, and the beat was good. Sometimes, that’s all I need.

However, once I downloaded it and started listening to the lyrics, it was a whole other story. It became a trigger. (Triggers are real, whether you like it or not). Because the song is about someone putting someone else above them on a kind of pedestal, and no matter how hard you try, the other person is in the relationship is never satisfied.

Narcissists will try and make it sound like they are the ones putting all the energy into the relationship. They love the refrain of this song:

Tell me, how’s feel, sittin’ up there

Feeling so high but too far away to hold me

You know I’m the one who put you up there, name in the sky

Does it ever get lonely?

Thinking you could live without me.

Narcissist love to make another person feel that they can’t live without them.

But wait, there’s a flip side!

If you think about the refrain a bit more, it becomes clearer that the song can also be about the non-narcissist in a given relationship. The “non-narc”, so to speak, spends so much energy trying to please the narcissist. Trying to figure out what they can do to try and avoid an explosive argument about something trivial. Never knowing when the narcissist will throw out a hurtful comment as if it’s nothing and they say they’re “just kidding”. Doing their best to hide all the things they care about because they know that if the narcissists finds out, the things that make them happy will be ruined. So much so that happiness normally associated with what makes them happy won’t seem real.

In other words, Halsey’s “Without Me” is a kind of validation that toxic relationships exists. It gives me hope.


Outlander has a Brianna problem?


I was going through my saved articles on Google the other day, when I came across this one. I definitely see where the author is coming from, but I don’t agree with everything, and their argument is confusing at times. I’m going to try and make sense of it here.

Let’s rewind to the beginning of this season for a bit. The only reason Brianna went through the stones at all was because she missed her mother. And I mean, who wouldn’t miss Claire? She’s just the right balance of maternal and practically fearless. Brianna probably wasn’t thinking about what living in the past would entail. She was listening to her gut feelings. So when she arrives in the eighteen century, she’s almost totally out of her element. Which is why I have a problem with this:

As I feared, Outlander doesn’t really engage much with Brianna’s cognitive dissonance of suddenly living on a plantation, surrounded by slaves. Much like the show often does with Jamie and Claire, she’s written in a way that attempts to absolve her of any accountability. 

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, AV/TV Club

Brianna is just trying to learn how to live life in the 1800s, and all she really wants is for Roger to come back to her – not to mention she probably regrets what was said during their brief first fight as a married couple, because at the end of the day, she still loves him.

So, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Brianna to examine the conscience of the white man and regret what has happened in history. And anyway, the show obviously wants to focus on Brianna and Roger’s relationship because 1) it’s a really good storyline and 2) Brianna and Roger are basically #relationshipgoals.

And I’m sorry, what’s this about Claire being “written in away that absolves her of accountability.”? If anything, Claire is very aware of history, and perhaps unlike Brianna, she’s never afraid to speak her mind. She literally tells Jamie that she can’t own slaves. And obviously, Jamie listens because he knows that his wife knows what she’s talking about (she’s from the future, for crying out loud), and owning slaves doesn’t exactly sit right with him either once Claire gives him a piece of her mind.

Frank wasn’t exactly a saint …

At the bottom of the article, almost as an afterthought, there was a bit about Frank:

I love when the show shouts out how good Frank was, because if we’re being honest, Frank was a really, really good guy! He handled his wife longing for someone she met while time traveling incredibly well!

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, AV/TV Club

Don’t get me wrong, Frank really loved Brianna, and that was nice. In the books, their relationship is adorable. It’s only natural that Brianna wouldn’t know how to feel about Jamie at first. But that’s as far as Frank’s relationship with Claire went. If I remember correctly, when Claire came back after going through the stones the first time, her made her burn all of her eighteenth century clothing. He wanted her to completely forget about Jamie. Obviously, she couldn’t do that, and he was jealous. I’m not saying Frank had no right to be jealous, but he could take a page from Edward Cullen’s playbook.

In The Twilight Saga:  Eclipse, Bella kisses Jacob before the battle so that he doesn’t go into it with hurt feelings because she’s going to marry Edward. Edward heard Jacob’s thoughts, of course. When Bella says “I don’t know what happened,” Edward tells her “I do; you love him.”

Maybe if Frank were able to understand that Claire also loved Jamie instead of expecting her to forget about him, they could’ve at least coexisted better.

How do you like them apples, AV/TV Club?


Controversy and Backlash in Media

Recently, my mother and I watched The House with a Clock in its Walls. We were thinking about what movie we could watch (or go to see), and that was the one that popped in my head for some reason.

My mom decided to look up the reviews on Amazon, and they were kind of horrible. Mostly one star reviews. But they didn’t tell the whole story. Most of the comments were about how people didn’t want their children watching anything about necromancy – bringing someone back from the dead.

While necromancy was in the movie, both my mom and I though the backlash against it was ridiculous. First of all, the only people who would complain about it are people who know what necromancy is (I actually had to explain the concept to my mom). The general movie audience probably isn’t going to be bothered by it.

Secondly, the minority of people who complain are probably super religious and Christian. I don’t have anything against religion, but I do think people can take it too far sometimes and hide behind it as an excuse or justification for their behavior.

Kind of like the time I “got in trouble” with a book …

The Golden Compass

From Kindergarten through eighth grade, I went to a Catholic school. Naturally, my worldview growing up was shaped through that lens. It wasn’t until I went to a public high school that I realized I wasn’t going to be surrounded by people who shared my religion.

But I digress. One day, during religion class in seventh (or eighth) grade, we were talking about family or something like that, and somehow, The Golden Compass wormed its way into the discussion. My teacher dropped a bombshell: the book was written by an atheist.

I was immediately struck by a huge pang of guilt. I think I actually said “oops” out loud. I had already read The Golden Compass. And, as with most books I read, I enjoyed it. I didn’t have any idea that the author, Philip Pullman, was an atheist.

This is probably the part where someone would say “ignorance is bliss”, but I don’t think that applies here. I loved the book. I’d go back and read it (and pick up the other two books in the trilogy) in a heartbeat. I’ll have to look and see if I still have it.

My worldview isn’t going to change just because an author is an atheist. It’s not going to make me un-believe what I believe. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, my school had a similar beef with the Harry Potter series. You know, because of all the “witchcraft” in it. Ridiculous, right?

I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was fifteen, but this debate wasn’t the reason. I just wasn’t interested before. Now, there’s no going back. Sometimes I wish I had read the series growing up so I would’ve been the same age as the characters, but I think I got more out of it because of my age. I was able to read between the lines a lot more. Really, all I want in life is my Hogwarts letter.


The Problem with YOU


Netflix made an original series out of Caroline Kepnes’s novel You. I liked it; it’s neither good nor bad. But that’s not saying I don’t have any problems with it at all.

The other day, I found a meme on Facebook, and I shared it with my friend, who has also read the book and watched the series. Kaitlyn is actually the person who introduced me to the book and gave it to me to read.

On the surface, and perhaps for the fans who have only watched the series, the meme is funny. After I was done laughing, though, it made me really mad. Like, blood-boiling level mad.

Simply put, the meme makes light of what Joe did. Especially what he did to Beck, being that he wanted her to be his girlfriend. “Nice guys” aren’t perverted stalkers who kill people. A real, decent man wouldn’t even think about doing something like that. He wouldn’t kill people just because he felt they got in the way of his “fantasy” either.

However, that is exactly what Joe Goldberg did. He’s not a loving, caring boyfriend, even though he might seem to be sometimes. He and Beck do have a relationship, but it doesn’t last long. The whole time, Beck’s friends were trying to tell her that something wasn’t right about Joe. She didn’t see it for herself until it was too late.

Joe Goldberg. Once a stalker, always a stalker. And that’s not something to laugh at.


A Quiet Place plot hole?


For a horror movie, A Quiet Place wasn’t all that scary. I usually avoid horror movies like the plague, but Emily Blunt is my “Rachel Platten of Movies”, so I decided to give it a chance. (If you’ve read my blog at all, you already know how important Rachel Platten is to me).

However, there seems to be a bit of a plot hole. Set in a post-apocalyptic Midwest, the movie follows the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) as they fight for survival. Their enemy is a creature that responds to sound. If anybody makes any sort of loud noise that’s not muffled by other noise, it will kill them.

But here’s the thing: Regan Abbott is deaf. (Fun facts: Millicent Simmonds is actually deaf – it was an important thing for John Krasinski, who also directed the movie. He wanted someone who had experience with not being able to hear anything). Her father, Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) spends pretty much the entire movie trying to get her hearing aids to work so that she won’t be caught by one of the creatures if she happens to accidentally make a noise.

And this is where the plot issue comes into play. I guess I should say it’s a spoiler alert too. It turns out that Regan’s hearing aid actually repels the creatures. She held it up to a speaker, turned the volume all the way up, and let the hearing aid squeal with feedback. The creature backed away, almost as if it were hurt somehow. But other than that, they seem to kill anything that makes the slightest noise – hence hardly any spoken dialogue in the movie.

How does the creature function? Maybe they’ll explore/explain that concept in a sequel?


Tweet vs. Twitter Post


It’s no secret that President Trump loves to tweet. What I’ve noticed, however, is how news articles refer to this activity. Some say something like “[Trump said] in a Twitter post”, while others say “tweeted” or “said in a tweet”.

Personally, I think “Twitter post” is a mouthful. It’s much easier to say “so and so tweeted”. Not to mention that “tweeted” is what someone might expect to see, as it’s technically the past tense of “tweet”.

Why doesn’t the Associated Press set a standard? They pretty much have a standard for everything else, as far as I know. Currently, it seems to come down to a publication’s preference, but I’m not even sure publications have their own standard. Sometimes they’ll say “tweeted” at first, and then say it another way later. Unless they only switch it up like this to avoid repetition of phrases, which would kind of make sense.

Maybe the AP Style Guide hasn’t set a standard yet because a president using Twitter as much as Trump does is still fairly new; no other president has used the platform like he does. Isn’t that all the more reason to set a standard though? Even if Trump doesn’t stick around, his social media use could still set a precedent.


Mary Poppins Returns



Years after her first visit, Mary Poppins returns to help the Banks family – Michael, his sister Jane, and his children John, Anabel, and Georgie – through difficult times.


This movie was magical. There’s no other way to say it. It was almost like Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were crashing a mini Mamma Mia! reunion: Julie Walters, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep were in the movie as well, though they didn’t have any scenes together.

It was slightly weird to see Lin-Manuel Miranda not playing Alexander Hamilton, and his English accent took some getting used to, honestly. That’s not saying it was bad, just different.

There’s no replacing Julie Andrews in the original Mary Poppins, of course, but Emily Blunt really did the role justice. No other person could have filled Andrews’s “Mary Poppins” shoes. And those are some big shoes to fill; Julie Andrews is iconic. However, there is a special appearance by someone who was in the original Mary Poppins. Sorry, no spoilers. Just go see the movie.

Just like the original, this movie combined live-action with animation. It was really fun, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a nice, warm, and fuzzy world to escape to for two hours. Pity it doesn’t last longer.


Guess What, I’m a Millennial


I came across another BuzzFeed News article the other day. This time, though, it’s something I completely agree with.

Millennials. We were born at some point between 1981 and 1996. So, I came into play two years before the cutoff. At first, life was easy enough. I did well in school, I had friends (to an extent), and I was generally happy.

However, per usual during the teenage years, I began to rebel a little bit — to the degree that I could. My mother had hounded me about my academics for years, and I was itching to go to college and get away from her micromanagement.

But I burned out way too early. I ended my freshman year with a 2.9 GPA. So I threw myself into the fall semester of sophomore year, convinced I could get a 3.0. I worked my butt off. I hardly let myself take any breaks, and I was proud of myself for getting my assignments done on time.

My hard work didn’t pay off. I didn’t get the grades I thought my effort deserved. I didn’t understand; how could I work so hard and not be rewarded at the end?

I spent the next two and a half years trying to get my mojo back, but it never fully recovered. It was really hard to make myself care about anything after I worked myself to the bone for naught.

When it came time for graduation, I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared; school was all I had ever known. I never had a summer job because my mother only let up on the micromanagement for those three months, and I wanted to enjoy them.

I think the “millennial” stereotype gives us a bad rap. Not all of us are entitled and whiny, though some of us definitely are. I’d be willing to bet that the rest of us are just burned out from life. We’re burned out from all the expectations society puts on us, whether they’re real or perceived. We’re so busy trying to check all the hypothetical boxes that we don’t take the time to think about what we actually want for our lives.

So, all the Boomers and Gen Xers can say what they want, but they will never understand the whole picture. It’s impossible to describe and explain burnout, because everybody’s experience with burnout is different. I’m just here to validate others’ feelings in a way that has never been done for me.


Mary, Queen of Scots


Josie Rourke brought John Guy’s book to life. His book, Queen of Scots:  The True Life of Mary Stuart, tells the story of the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her sister, Elizabeth I.

Rourke took the source material and jogged with it. The saying goes, “took [insert thing here] and ran with it”, but the movie took few creative liberties, if it took any at all.

Soirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, were amazing. Ronan definitely gets more screen time though. The movie is split between the courts of the two queens, but Mary isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with her army and subjects. Elizabeth I just sat back and let her henchmen and counsel do the all dirty work.

The costumes and sets were great as well, and there was lots of riding. Let’s just say Soirse Ronan on horseback isn’t hard on the eyes at all.

The movie itself is a frame story, beginning and ending with Mary, Queen of Scots’s head on the chopping block during her execution. And while the movie is satisfying, the audience probably needs to have base knowledge of the history going into it. The explanations at the beginning and end of the movie don’t really cut it. People are still trying to read them when they disappear.


Is Barnes & Noble desperate?

Lately, I’ve been seeing commercials for Barnes & Noble here and there. It’s kind of weird, because I’ve never seen a commercial for a book store in my living memory. At first, I though it was cool; my favorite store does commercials now. But then I thought about it.

Why would they be making commercials all of a sudden? They need to get people in the stores because they’re not making any money. Or worse, they’re bleeding money.

The most likely culprits here are audio books and ebooks. While I am not against either of these formats, I prefer physical books. There’s just something special about holding a book in my hands and turning the pages.

It’s probably also because I didn’t grow up with all the technology we have today. The iPhone wasn’t even a thing until I was a teenager. And of course, I wanted one. I felt like everyone in my high school had one but me; I didn’t get one until college. These days, it’s weird to see someone without an iPhone.

Case in point, if Barnes & Noble ever went out of business, I think I would die. I was crushed when Borders went under. Borders didn’t even have the book I wanted at their going-out-of-business sale. I think the last books I ever purchased there were Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Confession: I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was fifteen. I had seen some of the movies though.

I really hope Barnes & Noble finds a way to stick around for a few more years. Audio books and ebooks just aren’t the same.