Posted in extra credit

Is it time for Christmas music yet?

(Written by Martha S.)

In our most recent episode, I told you all that my family is pretty dedicated to about half a dozen Christmas albums that we have been listening to on repeat for the last 30 years. I gave you one name – A Very Special Christmas, circa 1987 – and now I’m going to tell you the others, because they’re great albums and we’ve finally arrived at the ~socially acceptable~ time of year to be listening to Christmas music.

I’m gonna list these in alphabetical order, because I’m too close emotionally to try and rank them by favorite. I’m ALSO going to include links to my favorite tracks where applicable, for no other reason but that I feel like it.

The Bells of Dublin, The Chieftains (1991)
“A Breton Carol,” ft. Nolwen Monjarret

A Celtic Christmas, Windham Hill (1995)
“Soillse Na Nollag (The Lights Of Christmas),” ft. Altan

Christmas Extraordinaire, Mannheim Steamroller (2001)
“Do You Hear What I Hear”

A Christmas to Remember, Amy Grant (2007)
The title song, duh

Traditional Christmas Classics, various (1989)
“Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson

A Very Special Christmas, various (1987)
“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Whitney Houston
“Gabriel’s Message,” Sting

A Winter’s Solistice, various (1992) (I think)
“A Wexford Carol”

An honorable mention must also be given to A Very Veggie Christmas from Veggie Tales (1996), which I was inexplicably obsessed with for several years (their versions of “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “He Is Born The Holy Child” were my favorite for a very long time).

 

Posted in episodes, extra credit

Extra Credit episode 20.5: Holiday Faves

Hello and welcome to our holiday break episode! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re all super busy making pies or eating turkey or watching football, so we have a nice light episode for you. No homework required!

We still have credentials for you, because continuing education is a very important part of being a pop culture podcaster:

Pete: American Ulysses by Ronald C. White, specifically the audiobook format
Martha: Pokemon Ultra Moon, Nintendo DS game

We’re all about nostalgia on this episode, from Martha returning to her favorite video game franchise down through all the specifically Christmas holiday specials we kind of said we wouldn’t be talking about. We touch on some family traditions, like Pete’s family seeing a movie on Boxing Day to Martha’s family listening to the same six Christmas albums every year, pretty much on repeat. The point is: our  pop culture traditions are as much a part of our holiday experience as trimming the tree or opening presents.

Here’s the full list of the specific media we discuss (general traditions not included):

Martha

Remember the Titans, 2000 film directed Boaz Yakin and starring Denzel Washington
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 film directed by Henry Selick and starring Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Danny Elfman
A Very Murray Christmas, 2015 Netflix special starring Bill Murray (and others!)
A Very Special Christmas, 1987 compilation album (full track and artist listings here)
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 film directed by Bill Melendez, written by Charles Schultz, and scored by Vince Guaraldi
The Twilight Zone, 1959 television show created by Rod Serling

Pete

The West Wing, episodes 2.8 (“Shibboleth”) and 3.8 (“The Indians in the Lobby”)
Elf, 2003 film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell
The holiday musical stylings of Sufjan Stevens
The Dark Knight, 2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale

What are your go-to holiday favorites?

Posted in extra credit

Pen-and-Paper Role Playing Games in the Digital Age

By Pete R.

There are many useful things that traditional pen-and-paper role playing games can teach children and teens: problem solving skills, collaboration, empathy, statistics, storytelling, general interpersonal skills, and countless more. Artistically minded players might draw their characters or major events in their games; narratively minded players might create elaborate backstories, or take on the role of game master and tell their own stories.

However, kids and teens today are also deeply embedded in technology. Not that people aren’t willing to put aside computers, phones, and tablets and pick up a pencil and paper. But some people are more interested when technology can be implemented. Luckily, there are a plethora of options for this. Wizards of the Coast, which published Dungeons and Dragons, has D&D Beyond, which allows players to create their characters online. Many games that use the d20 system have a system reference doc (SRD) website or wiki, which allows quick lookup of spells and other rules. Such resources are useful for both players and game masters––if you game with a laptop, it’s much quicker just google search the name of a spell than flip through a rulebook.

One of the best resources is Roll20. This website allows players to create characters from a variety of systems, and lets game masters develop everything they might need. While it can be used for high tech in person games, it is ideal for playing with far-flung friends. I myself have led a game of Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons with a group that lives literally across the United States. For teens, this can be an invaluable resource if friends move away but want to keep gaming. It can also help teens who live in more isolated, rural settings find a group that they might not be able to meet with in person.

Finally, technology can make gaming more accessible from the sheer price level. There are countless online dice rollers and plenty of free resources for players and game masters. It’s possible to roll up characters and play a game with nothing more than a smart phone and a wifi connection. It’s not the best option, but it means that cash-strapped students don’t need to shell out any money in order to play.

I’m sure there are many more resources that I haven’t touched on here. The important thing is that distance, isolation, or financial limitations are no longer limitations for teens looking to let their imagination run wild and roll some (possibly digital) dice. And for those who love technology, they can incorporate a whole suite of interesting technological flourishes to their games. And of course, there’s still the opportunity for people to crack a physical book and take out some pencils and paper and play like people have been playing since 1974.

Posted in extra credit

Episode 14.5: Extra Credit

Welcome to a special summer school edition of Did You Do Your Homework! As we rework the podcast a bit and settle in to a slightly new format, we’re taking a brief break from homework to talk about what we’ve been experiencing this summer: the good, the bad, and the ugly. What’s been awesome, and what has been a disappointment.

This is also our first episode featuring a guest. To keep our three-person dynamic going, and to introduce fresh new voices to our discussion, we’ll be including super awesome guest stars for every episode. Allow me to introduce our first: Maren, Pete’s wonderful fiancee!

Our Pop Culture Credentials:

Pete: Lemonade, 2017 album by Beyonce
Martha: Black Sails, 2014 tv show
Maren: The Ezra Klein Show podcast episode featuring Julia Galef on how to argue better

In a three-truths-and-a-lie format, we’re each giving you three pop culture picks of the summer – and one disappointment, or dud. These are not things that debuted this summer necessarily, but rather things we experienced this summer, and are bringing to you, the listener.

Our disappointments may be unpopular! Don’t @ us. Go forth, and experience the good things in life, such as gay dad dating sims, the first Christopher Nolan movie to clock in under 94 years long, and cinematic scenes of the sweeping Scottish highlands.

Pete’s Picks

  1. Dunkirk (Film)
  2. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (Book)
  3. U Talking U2 2 Me (Po’cast)

Dud: Arcade Fire Everything Now (Album)

Martha’s Picks

  1. Dream Daddy (2017 PC game)
  2. Wynonna Earp (2016 TV show by Emily Andras, starring Melanie Scrofano)
  3. Motor Crush, vol. 1 (comic by Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr)

Dud: An Ember in the Ashes, 2015 novel by Sabaa Tahir

Maren’s Picks

  1. Outlander (2014 TV show by Ronald D. Moore, starring Caitriona Balfe)
  2. The Big Sick (2017 movie directed by Michael Showalter and starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan)
  3. An Extraordinary Union (2017 nov by Alyssa Cole)

Dud: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 3 (TV Show)

Our theme for August 30 is going to be Forgiveness. Your homework for next episode:

Maren: Atonement (2007 movie directed by Joe Wright, starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy)
Pete: Doctor Who S9 e6 “The Girl Who Died” and s9 e7 “The Girl Who Lived” (2-parter)
Martha: The Walls Around Us, 2015 novel by Nova Ren Suma

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook!

Posted in extra credit

Not an Episode.

(Written by Martha S.)

Hey guys! You may have noticed that there is no episode today! That is my fault and I apologize – the day we were going to record I was very, very sick and had no voice to do so, so our actual episode 11 will go up next Wednesday, keeping to our normal schedule of content every other week. I apologize for false promises and for the delay, it was not my intention to put off our discussion on grief for so long, but life happens sometimes!

In the meantime, I want to address something related to Episode 10 (wherein we discussed mental health in pop culture) that I find pretty amazing: recently, on the second episode of the current season of The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay (the Bachelorette herself) and one of her suitors (namely, Peter Kraus, 31-year-old small business owner) had an open, honest, and simple discussion about how they had both been to relationship therapists and had really benefited from the experience.

I don’t care if you watch The Bachelor properties – in fact, you probably shouldn’t, considering all the shit that franchise perpetuates. I do, though, and so do millions of other people, and despite how you personally may feel about it, it is a media and cultural juggernaut. Having two adult, seemingly normal, very attractive people not only admit to having needed mental health care but benefited from it on a tv show that is such a mainstay in our pop cultural landscape is a huge step in normalizing mental healthcare.

As the Huffington Post points out (in this article here, by Emma Gray):

“In an ideal world, this wouldn’t even be notable. After all, mental health struggles are incredibly common in this country. Anxiety disorders alone impact 40 million adults in the U.S. ― that’s about 18 percent of the population. However, only about one-third of those people get treatment. This gap exists for a few reasons: a lack of comprehensive coverage for quality mental health care, the persistent idea that mental health isn’t “real” health, and the stigma that still follows admitting that you might need mental health care in the first place.”

So yes, more of this please. More real discussions about how normal people, every day, benefit from mental health care.

 

Posted in extra credit

Episode 10.5: Extra Credit

This is not a full episode of our show! Do to personal circumstances, we were not able to record our full Episode 11 for all of our fabulous listeners. In order to bring you the best content possible, we’re shifting the schedule back a week and giving you an extra credit episode to listen to.

We do partial credentials, but really, we’re all about Wonder Woman today.

Click here for the Vulture.com review by David Edelstein that I refer to. Here also is Edelstein’s rebuttal of sorts to his criticisms, which is part explanation and part apology, and which I don’t really buy but am presenting in the interest of fairness.

A word on Fox News’ absurd reaction to the movie at Entertainment Weekly, written by Derek Lawrence, is here.

Click here to read about how all the Amazons are played by real life Strong Ladies.

Episode 11 airs on June 14!

Posted in extra credit

Supplemental: Unwilling Partnerships

By Pete R.

I want to take a step slightly to the side of what the episode focused on. One of the common themes with “strange bedfellows” is that of the unwilling bedfellows. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. certainly fits this description, as neither Napoleon Solo nor Ilya Kuryakin want to be working together. Much of the comedy and drama comes from their hostility towards each other and their eventual coming to terms with each other. In Good Omens, Crowley and Aziraphael began somewhat in this position, but by the time the events of the book occur, they are much more willing compatriots. They have long ago realized that they have more in common with each other than with their bosses, and actively work to subvert the Apocalypse.

So why am I so focused on unwilling partnerships?

First, it can often create really interesting dramatic frission. Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-western masterpiece The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has this relationship at its center as Clint Eastwood’s “Blondie” captures Eli Wallach’s Tuco and forces the hapless bandit to work with him (or perhaps for him?) to find the location of buried gold. For being “the Good,” Blondie certainly acts like a right bastard, and much of Tuco’s time is spent trying to escape from his captor’s watchful eye. So from a purely dramatic and entertainment perspective, unwilling “strange bedfellow” relationships can be rewarding.

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“Rewarding?”

Second, this type of relationship can often lead to characters developing empathy. We spent much of the past episode talking about the importance of developing and teaching “radical empathy” in the modern era (roughly: creating a mindset that actively works towards understanding opposing viewpoints or alternative worldviews without necessarily endorsing or sympathizing), but most of our conversation was about how consuming media can help us develop that radical empathy through seeing other perspectives of lives. However, especially for teens, seeing others undergo that same experience is equally important. Children and teens learn both through their own experiences and through watching the experiences of others. During our teenage years, we struggle to determine who we are, and often establish those relationships by defining who we are NOT: I AM a Theater Kid, which means I am NOT going to hang out with the athletes. Admitting any sort of fault, uncertainty, ignorance, or even acceptance of differences is therefore difficult for many teens to do, even though that is often the necessary first step to begin to empathize with others.

Watching, reading, or listening to people go through that process normalizes it for students and gives them a template for their own actions. “Unwilling” strange bedfellow partnerships provide fertile ground for seeing one or two characters begrudgingly come to accept each other. One of the standout examples of this in recent media is the relationship arc between Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. The relationship begins entirely antagonistically as Brienne grudgingly transports “the Kingslayer” back to King’s Landing. However, over the course of that journey and due in no small part to the horrifying events that happen (it’s Game of Thrones, of course horrifying things happen), the two become close. It is clear that they both respect each other, and perhaps even pity each other; at the very least, they both have a firm empathy for each other, when before there was none.

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For a less intense example, consider the delightful Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok.” This episode has innumerable merits––how to communicate, metaphor and allegory, storytelling as part of culture, things not being what they seem––but at its heart it’s the story of Picard learning more about an alien race known as the Tamarians through undergoing a trying event with a member of that race. The crew begins the episode frustrated and hostile towards the Tamarians, whom they cannot understand. By the end, communication is difficult but both sides have a better understanding of the intentions and mindset of the other. This is the first and most important step to forging empathy and continuing the conversations.

Star Trek: TNG Darmok
“What is this dagger I see before me?”

I’ve highlighted just a few additional sources to dive deeper into this theme, but “unwilling strange bedfellows” is a fairly common trope. Magneto and the X-Men often find themselves thrown into this situation, and many Terry Pratchett books in addition to Good Omens play on it to a certain extent (I’m fairly certain I could find a Discworld book for every topic we will ever cover). The first half of season 3 of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica look at this idea of “unwilling strange bedfellows” from a rather precarious position. Gaius Baltar is the president of humanity, but he is under the thumb of the Cylons. This leads to interesting ethical conundrums, as the quisling must weigh the good he can do as a leader to mitigate suffering against the inherent suffering that an occupied people suffer at the hands of the occupiers.

Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

Extra Credit assigned in this post:

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • Game of Thrones (particularly seasons 3 and 4)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation “Darmok” (season 5, episode 2)
Posted in extra credit

Conservation Follow-Up: The Evils of Capitalism

(By Martha S.)

Can you have progress, can you have capitalism, without the destruction of the natural world?

This is the question we dance around in our eighth episode, without really coming to a solid conclusion. My opinion then and now is that pop culture certainly doesn’t think so. The villain in the stories we discussed is invariably a version of Giovanni Ribisi’s  Avatar caricature, in varying degrees of complexity. But we are a people based on progress – we celebrate scientific advances even as they contribute to the capitalistic society that demands the development of our land into factories, the degradation of our air from pollutants, the poisoning of our water from…well, a whole bunch of stuff. Am I falsely equating scientific and capitalistic progress? Perhaps, but you don’t get the latter without the former, and many scientific advancements originally intended for good get monetized in the end. So I guess what I’m really coming around to is –

Are the ideas of conservation and scientific advancement mutually exclusive?

I don’t have an answer for you. But I do have some supplementary materials for you to read that might help.

Batgirl Annual #2 by Gail Simone
Someday we will do an entire episode on lady superheroes and you’ll get to experience the actual sound of my being radiating with joy, but until then, please pick up Simone’s Batgirl Annual issues. No. 2 does two relevant things: it pairs Batgirl with Poison Ivy, who (like Swamp Thing) is a physical embodiment of Nature Bites Back; and it tells an interesting story about a man using plant cells to grow organs in people that he sells at high cost to rich people who need transplants, effectively corrupting the natural world on a microscopic level. I like this one because it doesn’t describe sweeping geological destruction, but the subjugation of the natural world for (what else) capitalistic gain.

And then Poison Ivy Bites Back.

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Captain Planet
Listen. The main villain of this show was named Hoggish Greedly, which is too good for even me to make up. Regardless, the show gets a lot of credit for how hard it worked to instill a sense of both obligation and empowerment in its viewers – yes, we were told it was generally humanity’s fault for how bad we were messing up Gaia, but we also had the power (“You have the power!”) to fix it. That call to action is missing in a lot of these works; a problem is presented, and perhaps solved, but without a specific call-out to the consumer of the media.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky
As discussed in our episode, Miyazaki has a preoccupation with the relationship and causality between man, science, and natural destruction. Castle in the Sky is a lovely movie about people who created a paradise floating above the earth – its central thesis is basically that when presented with something powerful, mankind will inevitably turn it to destruction, rather than something useful or beautiful. (The exception being, of course, young teens who are still pure enough of heart not to be tainted by masculine ambition.) The opening credits also feature some truly excellent schematics of flying machines.

The Lorax
He speaks for the trees, ok?

Man of Steel
Not the central storyline, but it is worth noting that Krypton implodes because the core of the planet has been mined to the point of internal collapse. Even Kryptonians, smarter and more evolved than simple humans, are prone to hubristic destruction.

Pacific Rim
“We practically terraformed it for them.” One of the things I love about Pacific Rim is that there isn’t really a specific bad guy (other than the kaiju, natch). Unlike Godzilla, it’s not REALLY about how we destroyed the Earth with nuclear power – except that, very subtly, it is. Newt Geiszler (played by Charlie Day) drops a few lines about how the kaiju tried invading during dinosaur times, but the world was too pure, and now that we’ve poisoned it up a bit it’s ready for their take-over. And then Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi save the world…through the power of friendship.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s novels Ship Breaker and The Water Knife
Bacigalupi’s works are interesting in the context of this conversation because they are predominantly about the capitalistic nature of ecological destruction. In Ship Breaker, we meet our main character Nailer on a polluted beach, stripping a beached oil tanker of resources. The United States is a distopic wasteland, with portions covered by global-warming induced flooding and the population divided sharply along economic lines. Nailer makes his living by plundering the ecologically disastrous oil rigs that have been lying dead on his beach for decades.

Similarly, The Water Knife is secondarily about how a large portion of the United States is experiencing deadly dust storms and lethal drought, and mainly about the commercial fight over water and the land it comes from.

Posted in extra credit

Alternative Facts Follow-Up

(Written by Martha S.)

I wanted to follow up our episode on news media with a short discussion of why I picked the topic to begin with. As I have said on the podcast many times, I’m a librarian, and specifically I am a teen services librarian. One of the foundations of my profession is providing access to, and helping people find, reliable information, a principle which is more important than ever these days and particularly for teens, who are far less likely to go beyond their curated social media feeds to find alternate or corroborative sources of information. Teaching information literacy is no longer optional for librarians, it is a necessity. Because of that, I thought it would be useful for us to look at how pop culture presents the news and journalism, and how we react to that.

This past Saturday, Melissa McCarthy returned to SNL to reprise her role as Sean Spicer. Her portrayal has been brilliant, I think it’s fair to say, and highlighted something about the way Spicer is dealing with his role as the disseminator of information for an administration that tells us nothing but lies: hostilely. Spicer, and our current White House, are our antagonists, and they are helping foster a culture of distrust and skepticism when it comes to the news. Our first reaction is to assume that he’s lying (because he is).

One of the things I thought was striking about all the homework we talked about in this episode was that the news sources in them are treated first and foremost as being trustworthy, and then only later shown not to be: CJ is a trustworthy source of information, which is how she gets away with sidelining stories that should be a bigger deal. The Daily Prophet can spread misinformation about Harry Potter because it has a reputation for telling the truth. No one questions Glass’ articles because the New Republic has a good reputation. When we find out those things aren’t true (in the case of The West Wing, we see this develop over the course of the episode), we are meant to feel betrayed. This isn’t how the news is supposed to work! And yet, it does, and recently, it does often and without shame.

Anyway, I don’t really have any more profound thoughts than that I’m sad that our news media culture has turned into one of distrust and hostility. I don’t think it’s new, clearly news has always been a cultivated experience for us so that the people in charge can control the way the population thinks and feels about things (which sounds WAY more 1984 than I thought it would, yikes). I hope some day we get back to a place where I can read a headline and not feel the urge to cross-check in on four other sites, if for no other reason than that I don’t have time for that every day.

Supplementary Materials

Lois Lane: Fallout
The first Lois Lane YA novel by Gwenda Bond, this series follows a teenage Lois as she investigates and exposes scandals for her high school newspaper. Clark Kent shows up only occasionally as a texting partner for Lois to bounce ideas off of, which is really the best use for Clark. I mentioned (awkwardly) in the episode that the relationship between journalism and superheroes is fascinating to me, and it’s fun to read about one of comics’ most famous journalists in her nascent teenage years.

Wag the Dog
A 1997 film directed by Barry Levinson that shows some truly epic misdirection from a president’s shenanigans (Dustin Hoffman invents a war in actual 1984 style to take attention away from a president’s sex scandal, and oh man do I wish that our president would actually be punished for a sex scandal to the magnitude that would necessitate a fake media war).

“Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer
Political music was something we didn’t really have a chance to touch on in the episode, and maybe that’s because it wasn’t totally germane to the conversation. Music, after all, doesn’t really get used as a delivery tool for news – it can’t be timely enough. The closest it gets, I think, is as a way for musicians to enter the news conversation; it’s commentary on the environment rather than an informative source itself. But I appreciate deeply the lyrics from this song (despite not being a huge fan of John Mayer), particularly the lines “And when you trust your television/ What you get is what you got/ But when they own the information/ they can bend it all they want.”

Posted in extra credit

Sacrifice Follow-Up: The Art of Intent

(Posted by Martha S.)

Let’s talk about intent.

Pete and I got into possibly our most pedantic argument yet in our sixth episode, where we realized we’d been thinking about “sacrifice” in two very different ways: as a function of the story (for Pete), and as a function of character intent (for me). I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and unfortunately for Pete, I’m going to have to double down on my position: I think sacrifice is something that a character does, not the plot.

Mirriam Webster is pretty non-partisan on the issue: the dictionary defines “sacrifice” as “something offered in sacrifice; destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else; something given up or lost.” Phrased like that, you could look at the active agent as being the story or plot – giving something up (say, killing a character) in service to the story that is being told. However, I think intent is too important to ignore in this case, and I don’t think a story can be said to have intent. An author absolutely has intent. Characters have intent. Those things combined create your story, which in and of itself has no existence outside of those intents.

Pete’s definitions work fine as a guide to how sacrifice works inside of a narrative, but I’m not sure how useful that is if we’re talking about what a sacrifice means to a character or to that narrative.

Other supplementary materials we couldn’t quite squeeze in:

The Book of Life
A seriously beautiful fable set against the backdrop of the Day of the Dead. Not only does it feature an unwitting (not unwilling – for the distinction, see below) sacrifice, but it also manages to give us a lovely hero’s journey in the bargain. Manolo, our hero, gives up his life to be reunited with the woman he loves – only to find out he’s been tricked, she isn’t actually dead, and now he has to journey through the Land of the Dead to regain his life and save his village.

Constantine: Hellblazer
Oooh, John Constantine. The master of what I’m going to refer to as the “screwball sacrifice” – the sacrifice that looks serious on the surface, but underneath you find that he has given away nothing and taken everything (and then underneath THAT you realize he’s given up more than he perhaps banked on in the first place). In one of his key stories, “Dangerous Habits,” he sells his soul three times and somehow ends up cured of lung cancer; in “Critical Mass,” he separates the worst parts of his soul (and all the other stuff he doesn’t want to deal with) and sends them to hell in his stead. Not to mention all the times he’s put unwitting or unwilling sacrifices into play “for the greater good.”

The Wicker Man
Perhaps the one kind of sacrifice I am willing to admit is plot-driven rather than character driven is the unwilling sacrifice – the people who offer someone up for their own gains, without that victim’s consent. The Wicker Man (the 1973 masterpiece featuring Christopher Lee, not the hilariously misguided 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage) is a prime example of this, with a whole group of people not only sacrificing the poor unwitting Sergeant Howie to ensure their own prosperity but also thoroughly misleading, confusing, and abusing him. They offer up something that is not theirs to give, but I think it qualifies as a sacrifice nonetheless.

A note about Disney films: almost the entire Disney oeuvre contains a sacrifice of some kind. Typically, it involves our female lead giving up something in order to save someone (Anna in Frozen, Pocahontas in Pocahontas, Jasmine in Aladdin), or to be with the man she loves (Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty & the Beast, Tiana in The Princess & the Frog). The use of sacrifice for the main character to gain something they want seems to be a distinctly female trope; selfless sacrifice (or heroic sacrifice, for the sake of others), seems to be distinctly male – unless we’re talking about sacrifice for the sake of family, which again, is codified as very female.

I was going to try and rewrite that last paragraph to make more sense, but I think the point is actually salient, so instead I’m just going to add: in general, female characters seem expected to make personal sacrifices in order to preserve familial structures (I’m including marriage as well as sibling/parent family in this generalization), while male characters are expected to make physical sacrifices for the sake of heroism. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything and characters that do not fall in any of those neat categories (Mulan springs pretty immediately to mind, but then, her story is all about subversion of gender roles so she may be reinforcing my point anyway), but it seems to me to be pretty clear: women are expected to sacrifice for the things they want. Men are expected to sacrifice for the greater good.

In conclusion: bees.

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