Some prom issues and prom’s role in solidifying youth identity and autonomy

Prom is one of the major events in American high school life, which is widely seen as a rite of passage into adulthood where freedom begins. It is usually held at the end of the school year but early in the year, pre-prom planning already takes place for decisions about theme, location, decoration, music, menu and others (Best 2000).

The contemporary prom is associated with iconic images: groups of prom-goers arriving in the scene with limousines walk on red carpet, priding themselves on their expressive evening dresses and accessories or expensive suits and ties. After the celebrity-like red carpet performance comes dinner and dancing time. In addition, participants are also eager for the announcement of a prom queen and king, where 2 of the most popular students gain the titles. To some prom-goers, driving around for displaying their showy outfits is part of the fun. Later, the celebration night likely continues with private parties or after-prom event provided by the schools or non-profit groups (Best 2000). As they play an important part in American high school scene, proms have been portrayed in many American teenage films, such as “10 things I hate about you”, “American pie”, “mean girls”, and TV series like “friends”, “Sabrina the teenage witch”, “Buffy the vampire slayer”. Today, proms have spread across countries to become a trendy celebration in high school, probably due to the popularity of American movies and TV shows. In Britain, where 85% of high schools have adopted the norm (according to British council), some primary pupils can now take part in a prom (McVeigh 2012).

Alongside its immense attraction and popularity across countries, proms have long been raising concerns about youth consumerism and youth safety, as remarked by Bert Nelson:

“prom time is both the best and worst of times. It should be a happy and memorable occasion for students and their families. Sadly, it sometimes becomes a tragic and memorable occasion for an entire community” (1994 cited by Saslow 1994).

Regarding the issue of youth consumer culture, within the context of booming prom industry (where prom services thrive), the escalating levels of prom-related spending and today showy performances of the self (to the extent that some of them are even aired on local TV) reflect an expansion of youth consumerism, which many parents have found problematic. In the US, an average cost per person spent for the night amounts to $500, fundamentally on limousine rent, clothing and accessories, hair styling and prom ticket. And that excludes post-prom spending. On top of that, post-prom occurrences pose a number of problems about youth safety, where a prom night may expand to a prom weekend (Saslow 1994) and engage heavy underage alcoholic use. On such an occasion, many teenagers perceive drinking not only as a way to celebrate but also a common ritual of entering adult world. PAD (parentsactionondrugs.org) contended that after-prom private parties, possibly at someone’s home, in a hotel or at a camp ground, provide chances for wild drinking behaviors without adult supervision, which could even lead to drugs use and unrestrained sexual acts. To minimize the post-prom problems, teens have been encouraged to attend supervised after-prom events organized by parents or some non-profits groups, and to increase the effect of the approach, prizes are introduced to attract more of their attention (Mannette 2013).

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Apart from its significant role in signifying new independent stage of life, prom creates emotional once-in-a-life-time memories of high school life, where friendship and togetherness are celebrated. Besides, Dr. Caroline Schuster proposed that the appeal of contemporary prom is also rooted in red carpet experience, where students seize a chance to appear and behave like celebrities (Williams 2012). According to Miller (2010), the Hollywood-like opening of a prom night emerged as a tradition at the beginning of the 21st century, and around 2005, filming and broadcasting of proms on some local cable TVs even started to involve in the scene.

“The new age of participatory media has turned the prom into a fast-emerging vehicle for teenagers’ self-conscious displays of stylized drama” (Miller 2010, p.12).

Originally, proms have been identified as a space of self-presentation and “self-(re) invention” for the youth, “in which to express a range of confrontational youth stances” (Best 2000). More precisely, prom fashion display and acts imply adolescents’ establishment and insistence of individuality. Furthermore, the after-prom related problems about youth safety reflect the trend of teenage resistance to control from schools and adults in general, as highlighted by Best (2000):

“located at the intersection of school, commercial, and youth cultures, proms are contentious spaces wherein kids work through central issues surrounding questions of authority, class, diversity, sexuality, and romance”.

References

Best, A., L., 2000. Prom Night : Youth, Schools, and Popular Culture. [online]. New York: Routledge

British Council, 2016. Prom time [online]. Available from: http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/uk-now/read-uk/prom-time [Accessed 24 April 2016].

Mannette, A., 2013. The supervised after-prom party: Now with cars, iPads and other goodies. Chicago Tribune [online], 17 May 2013. Available from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-17/features/sns-rt-us-usa-prombre94g0ma-20130517_1_after-prom-party-two-students-ipads [Accessed 24 April 2016].

McVeigh, T., 2012. How British children have embraced the high school prom. The Guardian [online], 3rd June 2012. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jun/03/high-school-proms-in-britain [Accessed 24 April 2016].

Miller, M., 2010. Taking a New Spotlight to the Prom: Youth Culture and Its Emerging Video Archive. Journal of American Culture, 33 (1), 12-23.

Williams, S., 2012. Fairytale ending: the rise of the British prom. The Telegraph [online], 10 August 2012. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9459579/Fairytale-ending-the-rise-of-the-British-prom.html [Accessed 24 April 2016].

Saslow, L., 1994. Post-Prom Activities Worrying Schools. The Telegraph [online], 12 June 1994. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/12/nyregion/post-prom-activities-worrying-schools.html?pagewanted=all [Accessed 24 April 2016].

Anime Conventions – where East meets West

Anime conventions are when people celebrate their fandom for Japanese animation, comic books and other related media (1). Though starting in Japan, the practices were originally influenced from the West, namely American sci-fi conventions in the 1960s and 70s (2). That cycle has come full circle: anime conventions have become phenomenal in the US, and began sprouting in Europe since the first Japan Expo in 2000. There are more than 200 of such events per year in the US, drawing masses of people, as many as 192,000 in 2011 (3).

At the conventions, attendees would expect comic vendors, news panels, various contests and even celebrity guests (1). However, it is cosplay that draws the most attention at those anime parties.

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Many scholars have pointed out the transcultural differences of this practice between different countries. Originally in Japan, the biggest anime events, usually attracting 600,000 visitors, do not focus on cosplay but rather on selling self-published magazines (3). An organizer of Japan Expo stated its emphasis on spreading Japanese culture, which includes various other aspects outside of anime. Nevertheless, cosplay abroad is much more popular at anime conventions, when 75% visitors spend at least a day in costumes (3). “Cosplay [is now] a more accepted hobby in North America than in Japan,” cited by Kelts – author of JapanAmerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the US.

The presentation of cosplay at conventions also differs between countries. In Japan, it is often the case that cosplayers team up to take group photographs, or pose professionally as an individual for an official or unofficial photo shoot (4). The photographic practice at events is deemed serious, well-rehearsed with utmost dedication and professionalism from the cosplayers.

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This strictly organized affair is much different from that in the US – which is called a “chaotic affair” (5). Cosplayers would roam the conventions in costumes and go about their normal activities.

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Photographs are taken by other party-goers and there is no photo shoot or posing. An American cosplayer made his remarks, having attended conventions in both the US and Japan, that while cosplaying at American conventions is much more casual and relaxed, at Japan conventions “there is a particular etiquette that cosplayers have to follow” (5).

In a similar aspect, Wang (2010) (6) stressed the difference between cosplaying at Japanese and Chinese conventions: cosplayers in China add their own interpretation to original pieces and often perform in groups, while Japanese cosplayers stay loyal to the characters and prefer single activity. This is due to the fact that original works from Japanese authors are difficult to find in China, and also the collectivism culture in China poses heavy influence on how cosplay is practiced. He concluded that local elements have given new significance to an original culture.

The reason for this cultural acceleration, or better yet, cultural boomerang, is the interest it generates (7). Anime conventions and cosplay catch worldwide attention since they resemble something from the past (American sci-fi conventions) and as this practice moves, it changes while remaining recognizable to the original models. As put by Kelts and his partners (3), Japanese anime is vigorously accepted overseas because they appeal to both adults and children, and feed on the lack of entertainment for women in the US. As can be seen, this cultural movement is characterized by newness and novelty, when each country and region adds its own spin to the approach.

Consequently, cultural hybridity is apparent in the adoption of anime conventions across the globe. Cultural hybridity includes diverse intercultural mixtures (8) and requires a cross-cultural contact to happen. When anime conventions take place in China, cosplayers add their own cultural values, taking objective factors into consideration, to the practice and make it different from the original. Likewise, American con-goers are more interested in adding their creativity to the pieces while Paris fans respect the original work and emphasize on replicating the characters (3). In addition, it is asserted by Kraidy (8) that through the help of the mass media and exchanges of people, ideas and practices, cultural commodities move thus enabling a hybridization. In France, it is necessary for a manga/anime to be published in French before gaining popularity. However, the Internet is now playing a major role, with illegal channels for exchanging the work, and the rise of online community for people to share the same interest. This has explained the phenomenal movement and hybridization of anime conventions and the act of cosplay.

In conclusion, anime conventions have generated worldwide popularity and are now a common practice in numerous countries. The fact that the practice varies in each country and region with a local twist only adds to its longevity and influence.

 

References

(1) Ellis, G., n.d. A Parent’s Guide to Anime Conventions. AnimeCons [online], n.d. Available at: http://animecons.com/articles/article.shtml/1074/A_Parents_Guide_to_Anime_Conventions [Accessed 20 April 2016].

(2) Kelts, R., 2011. JapanAmerica: Cosplay in the USA. 3am Magazine [online], 16 December 2011. Available at: http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/japanamerica-cosplay-in-the-usa/ [Accessed 20 April 2016].

(3) Kelts, R., Sirdey, T., Perez, M. and Fukuoka, T., 2011. Evolving Cosplay, Manga, and Anime Sweeping the World. Wochi Kochi Magazine [online], 2011. Available at: http://www.wochikochi.jp/english/topstory/2011/12/cosplay-manga-anime.php [Accessed 20 April 2016].

(4) Peirson-Smith, A., 2013. Fashioning the Fantastical Self: An examination of the Cosplay Dress-up Phenomenon in Southeast Asia. Fashion Theory [online], 17 (1), 77-111.

(5) Benesh-Liu, P., 2007. Anime Cosplay in America. Ornament [online], 31 (1), 44-49.

(6) Wang, K., 2010. Cosplay in China: Popular Culture and Youth Community. Thesis (MA). Lund University.

(7) Urban, G., 2001. Metaculture: How culture moves through the world [online]. University of Minnesota Press.

(8) Kraidy, M., 2005. Hybridity, or the cultural logic of globalization [online]. Temple University Press.

 

Ultra Music Festival: Electronic Dance Music Culture

Many of us have experience partying in a nightclub with friends. People love to take a few shots and drinks then started to dance to the ear-blasting bass music. At the moment, it seems like there is nothing to care about, only the good vibes and good music. What if it is an outdoor party that comes together with amazing production in term of stage, lighting and sound systems while 165,000 partygoers dance and have fun like nobody’s business? Isn’t it sounds incredible and extremely fun?

Nowadays, youth tend to have very specialist and discriminative music tastes with strong preferences to electronic dance music played at clubs and big outdoor parties. Clubs and parties with loud music, garish design and lighting effects bring the feelings of liberation and escape from daily routine. These events also cross boundaries of class, race, gender and sexuality. Incredibly, music festivals have the ability to gather and unite people from all over the world and came together just to party.

Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is an annual outdoor electronic music festival that occurs in March in the city of Miami, Florida, United States. Other than United States, the festival has expanded itself to 18 other countries including Korea, Crotia, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, Chile and etc. The DJ line up that present by UMF is also one of the key highlights of the event. Deadmau5, Hardwell, Skrillex, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and etc are the prominent artists who invited to perform at UMF.

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When it comes to music festival like UMF, it is all about electronic dance music (EDM). In other words, EDM is more than just dance music. It is definitely bigger than that because it is also about electronic dance culture. That is the key finding extracted from a survey that carried out by Electronic Music, Technology and Youth Culture Study which included a total of 437 Beatport users in the US and asked them to share their thoughts and feelings about EDM, technology, festivals and brands (1).

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A popular hand sign represents PLUR that often can be seen at music festival.

Besides, Ott and Bill stated that music is among the most central and significant ways that youth articulate style and hence a sense of self (2). EDM is thus a relatively new culture catering to a younger generation. In the EDM scene, PLUR is the value embraced by ravers. PLUR stands for peace, love, unity and respect. Basically, it represents the music, the people and the good vibes, especially in music festival like UMF. Culture moves because of its attention-grabbing along with matching people interests (3). Inevitably the youth quickly adopted and incorporated with EDM culture in their life because our younger generation who are indeed seeking to create a world with the sense of peacefulness, love, unity and respect.

Moreover, Kandi is a common accessory that can be identified in music festival. Kandi are bracelets made out of chunky beads or pony beads of many colours given as friendly gestures at parties and raves. Kandi primarily consists of plastic bracelets garnished with designs or wording of some sort. It’s 100% customized to each individual. It has come to represent a kindness that brings the rave community closer by being a conversation starter that can double as a gift. It can be viewed as a form of fashion trend which cultivated among the community.

However, there is always a dark side for us to look into when it comes to everything. In his book, sociologist Dick Hebdige said “subcultures form out of their replacement of one or several previous subcultures which disappear through a process which includes commodification by the establishment and media and eventual assimilation into the larger mainstream culture” (4). The commercialization of rave subculture has changed the way some ravers view the subculture. One of the biggest issue is the price of the ticket is increasing year by year. Although commercialization helps the culture to grow faster and spread wider yet it is ruining it in a way. Perhaps this is a natural cycle of change that every subculture will go through eventually.

References:

(1) SFX, 2015. Electronic Music, Technology & Youth Culture: Audience Insights Group.[online]. Available from: http://sfxii.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Electronic-Music-Technology-and-Youth-Culture.pdf [Accessed 23 April 2016].

(2) Ott, Brian L., and Bill D. Herman., 2003. Mixed messages: Resistance and Reappropriation in Rave Culture. Western Journal of Communication 67.3 (2003): 249-270.

(3) Urban, Greg. 2001. “The Once and Future Thing” Metaculture: How culture moves through the world. U of Minnesota Press. Available from: https://youthcultureandmedia.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/metaculture_how_culture_moves_through_the_world.pdf %5BAccessed [Accessed 23 April 2016].

(4) Hebdige, D., 1979.Subculture: The Meaning of Style [online], 179. London: Methuen. Available from: http://www.erikclabaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/181899847-Subculture.pdf [Accessed 23 April 2016]

Figure from 583 AC to 21 century…

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In 2013 there was a remarkable acting regarding the most important character in Islam  after Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr Al Siddig .This series has brought the biography of great character for the mind of large number of Muslims people. hence ,this character is Omar Bin Alkhatab.the purpose of choosing this series is to represent the considerable influence of this great character from earliest  time until 21 century.

First of all, this essay is going to provide the reader by over view of his life and his personality as it has shown in the series . Therefore, his full name is Omar ibn Al-Khatab ibn Nufayl ibn AbdulUzza he was Born in 583 AC thirteen years after the year of the Elephant. Interestingly he was considered among his tribe as the most person who has a high level of rhetoric and eloquence in Arabic language, as its known Arabic language is distinguished by these two characteristic. beside that Omar Bin Alkhatab was educated at that time he was Able to write and read although his job was a tending sheep in his village.  Moreover he was good at many sports such as wrestling, riding and horsemanship.

In fact, he spent haft of his life in (aljahlyliah). even after Islam is emerged due to  he had a loyalty to his first faith and as not to being different from his tribe .however Omar went from being one of the strongest opponents of Islam to one of its staunchest belie.

Based on history of Islamic resources which mentioned many reason makes Omar Bin Alkhatab one of the most influence figure for Muslim people firstly: he defend for prophet Muhammad and Islam from any assaulting whether orally or physically which came from many people surrounded them  who were opponents of spreading Islam. Next: he was a great leadership which appeared from his attitude with people when he becomes ‘KHALIFAH’ after Prophet Mohammed dead. Third: his clear contributions in supporting Islam such as he sought to establish an Islamic calendar which starting from (Hijrah) therefore, currently there are many Muslim countries adapted to this Calendar especially regarding Religious rites. Moreover: he seems to be perfect module to any leader due to his reputation is great and has large number of nice characteristic which could be clear from his words .here is some Quotes of his utterance :

On the other hand, the series is considered as historical genre which has cost a large amount of money approximately 200 million Riyal .in addition the giant effort, hence there were two producers take the responsibility of make this series that are (MBC) center of Meddle East television and the Qatar institution of media. Interestingly, the director resort to choice two person to act this character  hence he choice one for his features and others to act his voice .however the Actions in this series which is contain 31 episodes is about his life from  when he was child until he dead .what’s more, this work is a huge work and accurate work due to the Scenario of this series revised by well-known Islamic scholars. Furthermore it has translated to several languages such as: English and Urdu.Omar series

All in all, nevertheless the character is from early age, the influence of him is reminded same among Muslim people which could be clear from the large number of book published whether by Arabic or other languages  which tend to consider his as  an inspiration person to many Muslim people due to his great characteristic.

References :

Azimi, A., 2016. https://islampeace1.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/jerusalem-and-umar-ibn-al-khattab/. [online] islam the religion of pease. Available from: https://islampeace1.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/jerusalem-and-umar-ibn-al-khattab/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2016].

Anon, 2012. [online] Available from: http://insideislam.wisc.edu/2012/01/important-figures-umar-ibn-al-khattab/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2016].

Anon, 2016. [online] Available from: http://www.al-islam.org/restatement-history-islam-and-muslims-sayyid-ali-ashgar-razwy/umar-bin-al-khattab-second-khalifa [Accessed 19 Apr. 2016].

Ahmad, K., 2011. The Series of: Men and Women Around Muhammad.

 

 

 

The Twilight Saga’s influences on worldwide pop culture

The Twilight Saga, written by Stephenie Meyer, has been identified as one of the contemporary pop-culture phenomena, and a Vampire Renaissance. Although it had faced prior rejection of 14 agents, it immediately achieved a best-seller status upon its first novel’s debut, “Twilight” (Sawer and Mendick 2010). The series includes 4 novels, telling the love and life story of Bella Swan and a vampire, Edward Cullen, from when they fell in love in high school until they stood together defending their daughter against the Volturi, the most powerful and influential coven of the vampire world. “Breaking dawn” is the last novel of the series.

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To summarize, during Bella and Edward’s honeymoon, Bella showed early symptoms of pregnancy. The couple hurriedly returned home due to the risky condition of her pregnancy, where her half-vampire, half-human child was growing very speedily. When Jacob Black (the young werewolf in love with Bella, also her childhood friend) discovered Bella’s bad health condition, he tried to convince her to have abortion, yet Bella insisted on keeping the baby irrespective of the danger it brought. Informed about Bella’s pregnancy, Jacob’s werewolf pack planned to murder her and the baby for their fear of the possible risks induced by a vampire-human child. However, Jacob, along with 2 other werewolves, sided with the Cullens to protect the pregnant Bella, fighting against the pack. At the same time, since the baby grew up so strong that it broke many of its mother’s bones, the Cullens decided to take it out of her. Bella then stopped breathing, where Edward had to inject his venom into her with a hope that it could save her, transforming her into a vampire. Later, her daughter, Renesmee, was mistakenly reported to be an “immortal child”, whose power was uncontrollable. As the creation of an immortal child was against the rules established by the Volturi, they set out an attack to destroy the Cullens. Facing the fatal risk, the family persuaded vampires around the world that Renesmee is not an immortal child and asked them to be their witnesses. On the day the 2 groups confronted, Aro, the Volturi’s leader, got to know the truth about Renesmee through her telepathic power, still whether she remained a threat to the protection of vampire world was still uncertain to the Volturi. Finally, thanks to Alice and Jasper Cullen’s return with a vampire-human man who could solidly prove that hybrids were no harmful to the secret vampiric world, the Volturi were convinced and left the Cullens and their allies in peace.

As of 2010, its 4 books (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) had been translated into 39 languages and sold roughly 100 million copies (Pomerantz 2010). In the UK, along with its huge commercial gain, the series contributed to a rise of 20% in sales of sci-fi and fantasy fictions between 2005 and 2010 (Sawer and Mendick 2010). Following the novels’ success, their blockbuster movie adaptations generated even wider public attention and a great number of fans around the world, adding up to the popularity of the original works. The film series also helped young actors, Kristen Stewart (playing Bella), Robert Pattinson (as Edward) and Taylor Lautner (as Jacob Black), shoot to considerable fame (Ross 2015). Critics have referred to The Twilight Saga as Vampire Renaissance, where it resulted in a “massive influx of vampire-related entertainment”, such as HBO’s hit “True Blood”, “The Vampire Diaries” – one of The CW’s most watched TV series, 2012 “Dark Shadows” starring Johnny Depp, 2012 “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, 2013 “Beautiful Creatures” (Ross 2015). Interestingly, another publication and box-office success, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, had been inspired by Bella and Edward’s romance, where the most obvious correlation between the 2 plots is the female protagonists’ willingness and eagerness for dangerous relationship, which put them at risks of suffering violence from their lovers. Besides, a possible “Twilight effect” among teenagers is the exchange of “love bites” (Hartenstein 2010), which means the behavior of biting boyfriends/ girlfriends, or even close friends, to show affection. The series’ teenage fanatics even go further to “exchange blood with each other to prove their passion”.

Questions regarding a sensible reason for Twilight’s worldwide popularity have been raised among both film critics and wide audience. The books have actually been negatively judged for a mediocre writing style, a somewhat poorly developed plot with main characters lacking personalities and depth, and its advocacy of a plain love story of an unhealthy relationship. One assumption about its attraction to young people is that “Edward and Bella spend some 2,000 pages in tortured anticipation of sex” (Valby 2012), where Edward resisted the temptation many times before the marriage, even though Bella was up-front about her desire. In fact, the author created a romanticized vampire world, in which soulful vampires, with supernatural talents, refused to feed on human blood and go for animal blood instead. In this respect, Twilight stands out from a range of literature of vampire themes, which has long been exploited the fearful nature of vampires, including sexuality. Furthermore, Twilight is a romantic fantasy with horror elements: its immense focus on romance makes it more likable in the mainstream, at the same time the dark side of vampiric experiences added a thrilling quality to the series. However, more research effort is still needed to decode this pop culture phenomenon.

References

Hartenstein, M. 2010. Teenagers inspired by Twilight sink fangs into each other in new ‘biting’ trend, parents fear risks. Daily News [online], 7 July 2010. Available from: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/teenagers-inspired-twilight-sink-fangs-new-biting-trend-parents-fear-risks-article-1.467584 [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Meslow, S., 2012. After ‘Twilight’: Where Do Vampires in Pop Culture Go From Here? The Atlantic [online], 19 November 2012. Available from: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/11/after-twilight-where-do-vampires-in-pop-culture-go-from-here/265393/ [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Pomerantz, D., 2010. Inside The ‘Twilight’ Empire. Forbes [online], 28 June 2010. Available from: http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/22/twilight-kristen-stewart-robert-pattinson-business-entertainment-celeb-100-10-twilight.html [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Ross, A., 2015. 8 Things That Wouldn’t Exist Without Twilight. Time [online],5 October 2015. Available from: http://time.com/4057415/twilight-anniversary-anna-kendrick/ [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Ross, A., 2015. The Vampire Craze in Popular Culture Isn’t Dead Yet. Time [online], 27 October 2015. Available from: http://time.com/4061384/vampires-twilight-halloween/ [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Sawer, P., Mendick, R., 2010. Success of Twilight films leads to boom in sales of fantasy novels. The telegraph [online], 31 January 2010. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/7112976/Success-of-Twilight-films-leads-to-boom-in-sales-of-fantasy-novels.html [Accessed 9 April 2016].

Valby, K., 2012. The ‘Twilight’ effect. The telegraph [online], 31 January 2010. Available from: http://www.ew.com/article/2012/11/16/twilight-effect [Accessed 9 April 2016].

The sun of Arabic literature ‘’Ahlam Mugtaganmi’’ and ‘’Memory in the Flesh.”

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Jensen (2002) affirmed that “Dhakirat Al Jasad” or ‘’Memory in the flesh’’ is an Arabic novel, which written by the Algerian author ‘’Ahlam Mustaganmi’’ in 1993. Simultaneously, the story published in Algeria and Lebanon. Additionally, the novel won Naguib Mahfouz Prize for literature in 1998. The novel has reached a high level of popularity in the Arab world, Selling an unprecedented 50,000 copies.

It is worth mentioning that ‘Mustaganmi’’ so called ‘’ the sun of Arabic literature’’ (ADAB 2005).   As an Arabic appreciation because of her unique, distinguish novels. Such as Fawda el Hawas (Chaos of the Senses), El Aswad Yalikou Biki (Black Suits You so Well), Aber Sareer (Bed Hopper) and Nessyane.com (The Art of Forgetting) (Mustaganmi n.d.).

Markedly, “Dhakirat Al Jasad” has being taught in many universities in the Middle East as an obligatory curriculum in literature field. Particularly, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia and Bahrain. Additionally, to some European univariates. Case in point, Sorbonne University (Ibtesamh Magazine 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

Available From http://www.ibtesamh.com/showthread-t_83816.html

Generally speaking, the novel ‘’ Memory in the Flesh’’ telling a love story between an Algerian girl named ‘’Hayat’’ and an Algerian soldier called ‘’Khaled’’ who experienced several issues in a political, economic and social level during the French colonization. Losing Khaled’s arm during the Algerian revolution is another area of consideration. The Champions of the story have met each other within old age almost fifties which add a distinctive flavor to the story as the author mentioned. She described that writing love stories in your fifties seemed to be like a delicious craziness moments similar to your teenage ages.

If we were questing the circumstances for meeting the champions each other, it could be stated that the lovers have met each other in an undeniable moment in an exhibition of art in Paris, at the time ‘’Hayat” was in her forties and ‘’Khaled’’ aged in his fifties. Henceforth, ‘’Khaled’’ fall in love unintentionally. Above all, ‘’Khaled’’ left his country aftermath his shocking from the ethical aspects of the Algerian nations. Meanwhile, ‘’Khaled’’ considered his love to ‘’Hayat’’ as irresistible, precious love as it thrives/compensate his life with the entire elements that he lacked it’s from his country. Resulted, in seeing her as an ideal Algerian girl with virtual ethics.

There is a clear sense of togetherness and solidarity among the lovers due to their sharing of all suffering, wounding during their country colony. Importantly, the novel is mixed between a love story and historical overview which emphasized that the definite possibility to emerge love  in human’s heart with the eruption of war. Undoubtedly, the novel involved rehabilitation dimensioned which resulted in providing a numerous number of critique to some of the social aspects in the Arab region and Algeria mainly. It can be acknowledged that, the novel named by ‘’Memory in the Flesh’’ due to the losing of ‘’Khaled’s’’ hand during the Algerian revolution (Alenizi 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

Available From http://azpot.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/blog-post_05.html

Building in what mentioned above ‘’Memory in the Flesh’’ novel has witnessed the transformation from being merely famous, the successful story in the mood of reading to TV series by customizing real scenario written by the Syrian author ‘’Reem Hanna’’. The is a clear indication that the TV show has scrutinized beyond the profound details and ritual of the Algerian customs and traditions to imitate it due to the high sense of being the boast of the Arabic culture and Arabic language as it exemplified by Mustaganmi writing style (Alghad Newspaper 2016).

Translated from Arabic into English by Amal Almoualed

Available From http://www.alghad.com/articles/773847-%

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Interestingly and from a personal analysis, Mustaganmi has proved her sense of proudness by selecting the ‘’Arabic language’’ to release her novels. By applying this concept to the content of the story, it’s clearly that the novel involved an apparent influence of the Algerian culture regardless the hegemony of French colonization during that time. Furthermore, Mustaganmi writing style always tends to be fully of emotions and affections with the aim of attracting, influencing the readers, and that’s considered crucially successful from a personal perspective.

Moreover, the style of the outfits of the actors and actress are more likely to be in Arabic Algerian style, the truthfulness and pureness of respecting your partner in love correlation or whatever it was are part of the crucial characteristics of the Algerian society in that time. One of the notable paradox and conflicts in the novel is that depicting the Arabic man through ‘’Khaled’’ as the dominant, authorized, trustable from the Arabic community.

Whereas, the woman always weak, suffering from love invading due to following her affections. Suddenly, the table moved to be upside down by changing ‘’Hayat’’ personality from being vulnerable women to intelligent, manipulative women who can fight for being independent of love torture her.  She was ending up by marrying another man, after socking him for being in correlation with his close friend before his death. Ultimately, Khaled forced himself to forget her and having other relationship with a French girl. But the same consequences won’t enable him to enjoy his love.

References:-

  1. Mustaganmi, A., n.d. Original Work. [Online] Ahlam Mustaganmi. Available from: http://www.ahlammosteghanemi.com/#!about-english/c1pfk [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

  1. ADAB, 2005. A brief of Ahlam Mustaganmi novels. [Online] ADAB. Available from: http://www.adab.com/literature/modules.php?name=Sh3er&doWhat=ssd&shid=1168 [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

  1. Alenizi, F., 2016. Summary of ”Memory in the Flesh” novel. [Online] Azpot.blogspot.co.uk. Available from: http://azpot.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/blog-post_05.html [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

  1. Alghad Newspaper, 2016. Converting ”Memory in the Flesh” from written novel to TV series. [Online] Alghad Newspaper. Available from: http://www.alghad.com/articles/773847-%25 [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

  1. Ibtesamh Magazine, 2016. Ahlam Mustaganmi and Memory in the Flesh! [Online] Ibtesamh.com. Available from: http://www.ibtesamh.com/showthread-t_83816.html [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

  1. Jensen, K., 2002. Ahlam Mostaghanemi’s Memory in the Flesh | Al Jadid Magazine. [Online] Aljadid.com. Available from: http://www.aljadid.com/content/ahlam-mostaghanemis-memory-flesh [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].

 

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner is a series of young adult science fiction adventure novels by James Dashner. This pentalogy consists of five different versions which include The Maze Runner (2009), The Scorch Trial (2010), and The Death Cure (2011), as well as two prequel novel The Kill Order (2012) and The Fever Code (2016). The Maze Runner (TMR) was published on October 7, 2009. In this article, we will dig into the impact of TMR which is the first release that we have identified across the entertainment industry as well as Internet.

The novel started with a boy wakes up in a metal box with no memory of who he is. The only thing he remembers is his name, Thomas. Doors open overhead revealing a community of young boys all living on a type of farm surrounded by very high walls. The place is called the Glade. Outside the Glade, beyond the walls is a massive Maze populated with monsters, known as Grievers. Every month a new boy is sent to the Glade. Each week supplies come up through the elevator that Thomas rides. Eventually, Thomas meets the leader of the Glade, Alby, and his second in command, Newt. There is also Chuck who becomes his friend. Gally emerges as a rival who is suspicious of Thomas. Minho is the leader of the Runners, the Gladers who go out into the Maze in an attempt to map it and find a way out. Then, the story continues as they fight against Grievers and find a way out. After they have escaped from the maze successfully, then they realized everything that they went through was an experiment. The goal of the experiment is to find those children intelligent and resourceful enough to find a way to defeat the Flare and save humanity.

An adaptation is seen as interpretation, as a specific and original vision of a literary text, and even if it remains fragmentary, it is worthwhile because it embeds the book in a network of creative activities and interpersonal communication (1). TMR was also made into a film in the year of 2014 by 20th Century Fox. The film was also a commercial success, as it topped the box-office during its opening weekend with a $32.5 million debut, making it the seventh-highest grossing debut in September (2). Let’s take a look at the trailer below.

Other than Harry Potter and Hunger Games, TMR has its own dedicated fan base too. Large number of people is obsessed with James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic dystopian trilogy. Apparently, the Internet is filled with with insanely brilliant and occasionally disturbing fanfic, fan art and even videos paying tribute to Thomas, Teresa, Newt, Minho and the rest of those crazy klunks.

Let’s start with the Newt Day. It is the day that fans celebrate his life as Newt died on the 250th page of The Death Cure. Therefore, the 250th day of every year would be the Newt Day.

newt day

Sometimes, fans with great creativity can create something amazing, such as the Minecraft Maze Runner. Millions of children across the world spend their days digging holes in a virtual landscape called Minecraft (3). It is an independent computer game designed in 2009 by self-taught Swedish programmer Markus Persson, who claims it now has over 100 million registered users. Perhaps one of TMR fans is a Minecraft addict.

There are also tons of fans drawing can be found on the Internet. Definitely it is hard to imagine the amount of time and effort that have been given by these ‘creators’

Apart from the fans, MTV has also joined the bandwagon by making a reality show out of TMR. It is known as The Million Dollar Maze Runner. Based on the number of criticism that the show has received, we can tell that it was not a success. However, through this we can see the hype that TMR has brought to the entertainment industry.

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Lastly, even in Korea a parody of Maze Runner is made featuring K-Pop idols 2PM’s Ok Taecyeon & Nichkhun, M.I.B’s Kangnam, and NS Yoon-G. The lead role is played by the Korean-American star of the original “Maze Runner” movies, Lee Ki Hong aka Minho.

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From film adaptation to Internet and entertainment industry, the influence of TMR is inevitable. It used to be a young adult fiction novel but now it is no longer just a novel because the Maze lover will continue to celebrate the Newt day and also creating fanfic as well as art piece.

 

(1) Marciniak, M., n.d. The appeal of literature to film adaptation. [online] Available from: http://www.lingua.amu.edu.pl/Lingua_17/lin-5.pdf

(2) Box Office Mojo, n.d. The Maze Runner (20014). [online] Available from: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mazerunner.htm

(3) Raven, D., 2014. What is Minecraft and why are millions of children addicted to it? [online] Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/what-minecraft-millions-children-addicted-3970439

Lord of the Flies – an enduring influence

Published in 1954, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (LOTF) is a literary phenomenon and a major contribution to the author’s legacy, which won him a Nobel Prize in 1983 (1). previous_lord_of_the_flies

The novel tells of a group of survival schoolboys deserted on an island, stripped of civilization and gradually humanity when two divided groups fought each other for power rather than unite for a common goal (i.e. to return home). One group, led by Ralph, who stands for civilization and moral commands, with his sidekick Piggy – a symbol of intellect and rationality – is determined in maintaining a signal fire for rescue. The other group led by Jack, however, is more interested in hunting and killing, which represents savagery and lust for power. The boys believed in the existence of a beast on the island, which prompted the latter group into killing a sow as an offering. It is implied later that, the beast actually lives within themselves, which manifests when the boys acted increasingly savagely and killed each other. For an imagery demonstration, please refer to the trailer of its movie adaptation in 1990 below:

Regarded as “chillingly realistic” (1) (p. 1), “fusing rage and grief”, LOTF presents a view of mankind in its truest nature – evil and cruel when left to their own devices, and that morality is forced upon oneself by civilization rather than an innate goodness. Unlike a typical young adult novel, LOTF is straightforward and without a poetic attempt. The lives of adolescent boys are not portrayed sentimentally (1), but the employment of allegory, symbolism and plot techniques is what made it unique. It has been noted by critics that LOTF share several similarities with the Bible (2). For example, the island resembles Garden of Eden in being originally pristine but then corrupted by evil. The title itself literally means Beelzebub – a powerful demon in hell, a Satanic figure that evokes the evil within each human being. A noteworthy quote from the ending, when a naval officer came to the rescue, sums it up: “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy” (3) (p.209).

Another parallel can be drawn between the boys’ society and a political state, where the older boys are the ruling leaders and the younger are common people – having little say. While Ralph and Piggy develop relationships with the young boys as in protecting them, Jack and his tribe bully the little, ruling with fear and terror: “Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority” (3) (p.182).

Due to its humanistic values, the novel is required reading in schools and colleges. It constantly makes the lists of best novels and recently landed at 74th position in 100 best English novels in the Guardian’s list. In addition to worldwide acclaim, the novel exerts numerous cultural influences. There have been two film adaptations in English, one in 1963 and one 1990.

The first one was a critical success, earning the director a nomination for the Golden Palm at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival (4) while the second one, though filmed in colour, was a modest success. A play was adapted by Nigel Williams, debuted in 1996, which was regarded as a “strikingly powerful version” (5).

Several reality shows borrow the idea from LOTF. To name a few, Survivor, first aired in America in 2000, is one of those which set the objective for participants to survive in remote areas. The key resemblance is the division into a minimum of two tribes that competed against each other.

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Reality show Survivor (2013)

Being even more faithful to the novel, another reality show (Boys and Girls Alone) broadcast in 2009 in the UK featured children who lived without adults. A huge number of complaints were lodged, when bullying and challenging behaviour escalated. A show spokesman claimed “It is a bit of Lord of the Flies, but there was no murdering.”

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Reality show Boys and Girls Alone (2009)

Additionally, an episode of The Simpsons titled “Das Bus” mirrored LOTF in every way, when the Simpson children’s bus crashed and they landed on a deserted island.

In other fields, LOTF was also a significant inspiration. In 1996, Iron Maiden released a song named “Lord of the Flies” with recognizable lyrics like “Saints and sinners/ Something within us/ To be lord of the flies.” U2 released a track in 1980, with its name borrowed from Chapter 7 in LOTF “Shadows and Tall Trees,” bearing a strong parallel to the corresponding chapter. More recently, in the movie “Silver Linings Playbook”, the female character played by Jennifer Lawrence refused to let the male counterpart read LOTF in their studio, while saying: “I can tell you all about Lord of the Flies […] Humanity is just nasty and there’s no silver lining” (6).

 

All things considered, in this increasingly unstable world, where “events take place every day on our mean streets are more horrifying than anything the little monsters do to one another on Golding’s island” (7), it might be hard for the novel to strike that disturbing and shocking impression on the youths. However, its humanistic and literary values stand strong and remain a lesson for us all in reflecting on our truest human nature.

 

References

(1) Frank, E., 2010. “Lord of the Flies”: The Educational Values of Golding’s Text [online]. Pell Scholar and Senior Theses. Paper 58. Salve Regina University.

(2) SparkNotes Editors, 2007. SparkNote on Lord of the Flies. SparkNotes [online]. Available from: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/flies/ [Accessed 24 March 2016].

(3) Golding, W., 1954. Lord of the Flies [online]. Global Village Contemporary Classics.

(4) Festival de Cannes, 2016. The official selection 1963. Festival de Cannes [online]. Available from: http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/C5681AD0-D07A-457E-9797-3DF69DD03FBA/year/1963.html# [Accessed 25 March 2016].

(5) McCrum, R., 2015. The 100 best novels: No 74 – Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954). The Guardian [online], 16 February 2015. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/16/lord-of-the-flies-100-greatest-novels-william-golding-mccrum [Accessed 25 March 2016].

(6) Explore William Golding, 2012. William Golding’s legacy: His enduring influence on popular culture. Explore William Golding [online]. Available from: http://explorewilliamgolding.com/william-goldings-legacy-enduring-influence-on-popular-culture/ [Accessed 25 March 2016].

(7) Ebert, R., 1990. Lord of the Flies. Roger Ebert [online]. 16 March 1990. Available from: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/lord-of-the-flies-1990 [Accessed 25 March 2016].