R.I.P. Jim Steinman

Songwriter Jim Steinman, best known for writing the Bat Out of Hell album for Meat Loaf, a number of hits for other singers, and a couple of musicals, died last week. He was 73 and had been ill for some time, ultimately succumbing to kidney failure. It took me a few days to figure out what to say about him. I think the best approach is to just tell my story of discovering and experiencing his work.

‘Soul’ and the Transformation Trope

Pixar’s Soul was the center of a meme that circulated this summer, prior to the release of the film, which suggested that it was racist for the lead character, an African-American, to be transformed into a blue-green blob in the trailer. The author cited several films as examples of the problematic pattern. Taking a look at the trope, the cited films, and the context and messaging of each, might be in order.

Of Breakfast Cereals and Cults

So I went down a rabbit-hole a while back and I ended up in a weird place. It started innocently enough, with a discussion of General Mills’ monster-themed breakfast cereals, Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry, but it somehow ended up with a weird Victorian-era metaphysical cult.

The Tomorrowland Promise

Somehow, we were all convinced to abandon the idea of Utopia, to give up on the notion that the future would be better than today. The reason Disneyland’s Tomorrowland was allowed to become quaint and kitsch and eventually retro-cool is that it couldn’t be updated, because we’ve had no vision for the future since the mid-1970s. Or at least not for a future that’s nicer than our present.

More Missing the Point

Recently “Le Messor” had a post here about “Things Geeks Aren’t Supposed to Think,” which included comments on Watchmen; in the comments section, somebody remarked, “I think people really took the wrong lesson from Watchmen.” That got my brain going in a bit of a different direction from what they intended, and the comment I began to draft in response quickly revealed that it wanted to be a post. So here we are. Following in the wake of Greg Hatcher’s dissection of points missed in media, I find myself adding to his list.