worchard

  • worchard wrote a new post, Assignment Sheets, on the site Superhero 2 weeks, 1 day ago

    The short paper and research paper assignment sheets have been added to the “Handouts” section of the course blog, in case you need to refer to them later.

  • Coworkers’ wandering eyes in the faculty room were intrigued by the “demonic possession” title of Ramzi Fawaz’s article “Consumption by Hellfire: Demonic Possession and the Limits  of the Superhuman in the 1980s, […]

    • Can you compare the Hellfire Club’s meaningless concerns in regards to the “potential immortality of manipulating Jean Grey…[the] disloyalty of exploiting fellow mutants for financial gain” to current society (Fawaz, 221)?

      By this you mean most of the GOP’s platform for 2020?

      I’m kidding, of course. The Hellfire Club is a much more efficient organization than either of our political parties. Their ruthless pursuit of power is aptly summed up by their name, something that reminds me of a description of Littlefinger in the Game of Thrones series: “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” The astonishing lack of conceptualization and imagination in the Inner Circle of the club seems impossibly crass, base, and foolish. Why would a global cabal attempt to manipulate a godlike entity for their own materialistic purpose? Isn’t that religion’s job?
      Sadly, the Hellfire Club reflects our own reality all too well. They are ambitious, egotistical, power-hungry degenerates who cannot find satiety despite having an embarrassment of riches. How many real-world power brokers attempt to manipulate forces they do not understand to tyrannize their fellows? The arguments here can apply to gun control, abortion rights, nuclear energy, fossil fuels, climate change, just to name a few. Phoenix is life incarnate and thus the center of all science, religion, and philosophy. The Hellfire Club’s attempt to control her is just one more version of the most ancient tale of man’s overreaching arrogance, going back to Genesis. Pun intended.

    • The first quote in your 1st question was regarding the “immortality” of manipulating Jean….I got to thinking on that for a while and decided to look it up on pg 220 of Fawwaz’s essay. It is the “IMMORALITY” of manipulating Jean…BUT…going along YOUR exact words(immortality), I can still see a relevance in that, as in, a moral decay in society as a cost of securing huge financial windfall for the next ten generations to come who belong to that powerful dynasty, THUS cementing their FINANCIAL IMMORTALITY. I actually liked your quote, as what Fawwaz says is quite already obvious and goes without saying. Currently there is just speculation and nothing on paper. not just the current administration being accused of placing family in key positions for financial gain, but conspiracy theories of the W administration and its lackeys on having profiteered from the Iraq invasion on false pretenses.

    • Fawaz argues that “demonic possession [i]s a metaphor for the rapacious expansion of late capitalism” (205) and that “The Dark Phoenix Saga” simultaneously implicates individuals and the societal structures they inhabit for the corruption that comes from the quest for economic power (209). Jean’s transformation(s) in the Saga exemplify this. Just as the economic elite rely on the labor and spending of the lower classes, Wyngarde and his peers in the Hellfire Club rely on Jean – a non-elite (in regards to finances and political power) – as the “key to [their] victory” (Claremont 74). Later, Jean realizes that Wyngarde had accessed her “most private fantasies – the prepressed, dark side of [her] soul,” indicating a desire for upward mobility that is common – and just as commonly unrealized – among the lower and middle classes (Claremont 107). Her assertion that Wyngarde “gaver [her] what [she] secretly wanted and used that to destroy [her]” (107) is resonant of Fawaz’s claim that when it comes to moral deterioration as a consequence of consumerism, societal structures (in this case, symbolized by Wyngarde and his elite club) are as culpable as individual choice; although Jean admits to a personal, although secret desire to rise in status, Jean would likely not have succumbed to her “dark” side without a corrupting influence. Jean’s transformation is related as primarily a consequence of outside forces, and this is highlighted by the image of a strong, crushing hand that represents the power of the economic elites over all others (107). Ultimately, Jean is helpless against the transformation to Dark Phoenix, suggesting that individual agency is minimal when opposed with the strength of outside forces; the only way Jean can protect herself and others from her God-like powers is to self-destruct.

    • I found Fawaz’s arguments in his essay really exquisite. Before this reading, I never really thought about the Marxist dichotomy between superpowers and capitalism or the gendering of possession. I think what intrigued me the most, however, was the concept of demonic (or in this case “alien”) possession, and how it ultimately challenges the role of a superhero. By our primary understanding of superheroes as confirmed in Coogan’s definition of superheroism, we often define superheroes by their powers; therefore, the idea that a superhero’s acquisition of powers can potentially negate their identity as a superhero is fascinating.
      As Mind Master articulates in Issue 129 of the “The Dark Pheonix Saga,”Within her angel’s soul–As in all our souls–lurks a devil, a yang counterpart to the surface yin” (7). According to most moral philosophy, each of us possesses a potential for both good and evil. As Jean’s psychic capabilities as The Pheonix begins to grow, her morality is compromised which addresses another aspect of Coogan’s definition, mission.
      When we consider Jean Grey’s exemplification of superheroism in “The Dark Pheonix Saga,” we are placed in an interesting position as her mission and powers are juxtaposed with one another. She progresses in terms of power, but when her acquisition of power comes to the detriment of the universe, she makes the decision to sacrifice herself and relinquish her power, thereby, preserving her mission. Although Jean is initially able to use the Pheonix’s power to save the world, the Pheonix’s desire to gain more power leads to the destruction of several worlds, and as a result, “Jean decides to sacrifice her own life…choosing to rob Pheonix of its human host rather than see the universe, and her mutant family, obliterated by its power” (Fawaz 208). In order to “assess” Jean’s role as a superhuman in the saga, the reader must choose between which aspect of a superhero’s definition constitutes their superheroism more: their powers or their mission. If we believe that powers are the variable that exemplify a character’s identity as a superhuman, than Jean’s superhumanism is actually compromised. However, if we consider their mission to be more important than their powers, than Jean demonstrates the ultimate act of superheroism as paralleled before her by other sacrificial characters such as Christ and Beowulf. Personally, I believe that Jean’s superhumanism is exemplified in her sacrifice. I know that Fawaz commented a lot about the correlation between Jean’s powers and the theme of female liberation and gender politics, but when it boils down to a superhero’s purpose, I think that Jean’s identity as the Pheonix is best exemplified when decides to relinquish her power for the sake of her mission.

    • I believe Jean Grey idealism behind her powers exemplify her being superhuman according to Fawaz “ “All creation is her domain to do as she pleases” pg 211 She is an ideal God like figure with her powers as she seem unstoppable. Fawaz continues “The narrator begins by equating her original manifestation of Phoenix with the universal “goodness” of human race”pg 211 Jean superhuman ideology revolves around what she does with her powers. Her superhuman abilities make her seem both like a god and devil. She can either save humans or pass on corrupt judgement.

    • Can you compare the Hellfire Club’s meaningless concerns in regards to the “potential immortality of manipulating Jean Grey…[the] disloyalty of exploiting fellow mutants for financial gain” to current society (Fawaz, 221)?
      Well prof. Orchard that is a tough cookie to crack. I will go with my gut and say that the Hellfire Club is doing what Bernie Madoff did to his investors. Hear me out please, the aforementioned club is trying to gain the golden goose of power, immortality. By doing so, they are stripping themselves of any kind moral and ethics to reach this goal. The same could be said in today’s times when powerhouses like Odedrecht (an international construction company) obtained power and influence in many countries by buying corrupt politicians. Furthermore, the Hellfire Club and Odebrecht seem to have in common this desperately need to retain power at any cost. Thus, Fawaz insightful argument is valid and, more importantly is a reflection that the social corruption continues to be a problematic in the comics genre.

    • Can you compare the Hellfire Club’s meaningless concerns in regards to the “potential immortality of manipulating Jean Grey…[the] disloyalty of exploiting fellow mutants for financial gain” to current society (Fawaz, 221)?

      I really find it interesting how Fawaz is re-interpret’s Jean Grey’s ultimate corruption and destruction; he writes, “[R]ather than an expression of Jean’s inability to control her evil impulses, it is the Hellfire Club’s manipulation of her personal investments away from the X-Men toward the aristocratic trappings of the Club’s inner circle that facilitates the birth of Dark Phoenix” (221). In considering your first question, professor, it’s a bit of the dark-side of the American Dream — that there are personal sacrifices that need to be made and relationships that need to be used (or abused) to our advantage to gain forward momentum in our Capitalistic society. In the fantasy world Wyndgarde constructs, Jean falls prey to the “old-world” ideals of marrying up for your own personal benefit and gain, and in the real-world we see what that “marrying up” has morphed into as we have moved from a feudalistic society into a more economic/capitalist society. Jean’s dilemma with this, though, stems from a manipulated struggle between her own wants and desire (however manipulated they are) and what she wants to uphold as a member of the X-Men. I think this reflects out society too as the “norms” tend to tell us to uphold conflicting values about family and community, while also being encouraged to continually seek professional growth (promotions, higher salaries, devoting time to employer, etc.).

    • In the “Dark Phoenix,” narcissism is presented in various ways that can relate to both genders. Jean Grey desires to wed an aristocratic man to avoid any financial issues. Like Todd mentioned in his post, she believes in the idea of “marrying up” (hypergamy). On the same token, the Mastermind desires Jean Grey for her powers so he could “level up” and dominate the world additionally with her powers. So, he desires power for his own financial need. They both are taking advantage of each other’s opportunities and statuses for their own advancement.
      In addition, the time period of the comics is also significant. Tom Wolfe considered the 1970s and 1980s as “the ‘Me’ Decade” (Fawaz, 201). It was a time of self-exploration; freeing your body, desires and even clothes. For instance, Storm is the only X-men that wears the least amount of clothes as the others and is too free with her body. Because she is part of nature, she is a great example who desires freeing herself of oppressed positions.
      Throughout the comics, especially in the “Dark Phoenix”, Jean’s last name “Grey” symbolizes her perplexed state as a mutant superhero or “god”. She is not black or white; she is grey, in between and stuck in the middle. By then end, she cannot choose to be completely good or evil. Ultimately, she chooses to be on the good side again which then leads to her destruction by the act of sacrifice.

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site Superhero 1 month, 1 week ago

    Sign Up Sheet for Main Blog Entry and Class Leadership
    English 781
     

    September 6 on Umberto Eco, “The Myth of Superman”

     
    Mary

    September 13 on Ben Saunders, “Wonder Woman: Bondage and Liberat […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site SUPERHEROES 1 month, 1 week ago

    Sign Up Sheet: Main Blog Entry and Class Leadership
    English 391
     

     

    Sept 4 on Umberto Eco’s “The Myth of Superman”

     
    Michell E.

    September 6 on Matt Yockey’s “Wonder Woman for a Day”

     
    M […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site SUPERHEROES 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    José Alaniz, Death, Disability, and the Superhero

    Tom de Haven, Our Hero: Superman on Earth,

    Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.

    J. B. Gabillet, Of […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site SUPERHEROES 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Course Syllabus (print version)
    Blogging Assignment Sheet
    Class Leadership/ Presentation Assignment Sheet
    Short Paper Assignment Sheet

     

    Powerpoints

    Golden Age (Superman/ Wonder Woman) […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site SUPERHEROES 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS
    due in class on the date assigned
    Texts followed by two asterisks (**) are recommended, but not required.
    These texts will form the basis of presentations and blog […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site Superhero 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    José Alaniz, Death, Disability, and the Superhero

    Tom de Haven, Our Hero: Superman on Earth,

    Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.

    J. B. Gabillet, Of […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site Superhero 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Course Syllabus (print version)
    Class Leadership/ Presentation Assignment Sheet
    Blogging Assignment Sheet
    Short Paper Assignment Sheet
    Research Paper Assignment Sheet

     

    Powerpoints […]

  • worchard posted a new page, on the site Superhero 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Week 1/ August 30                                     […]

  • worchard wrote a new post, A Note on Texts, on the site Superhero 1 month, 4 weeks ago

    I hope that you are enjoying the summer. I’m writing because you are enrolled in English 781: Superheroes—History, Theory, and Practice. In the class, we will read a wide array of comics, from the beginnings of […]

  • worchard commented on the page, on the site Deja's Mind Junk 6 months, 1 week ago

    This has a good structure. You start by addressing the prompt and connecting it to two texts. The accounts of the dream in WH and OW could be improved with some basic summary (a line or two) that reminds us what happens and that locates the reader in the text. I like that you use the term “repress” in your discussion of the dream. Another term…[Read more]

  • worchard commented on the page, on the site Deja's Mind Junk 6 months, 1 week ago

    This all sounds reasonable. Remember that the goal isn’t to know everything about that text, but to have one or two interesting things to say about each work. The theory section is a wildcard–there’s no guarantee that anything that we covered will be on the exam. The best tactic here is to take some notes in your texts, and make some connections…[Read more]

  • worchard commented on the page, on the site Bad Romance Blog 6 months, 1 week ago

    This all sounds reasonable. To relax, you’ll want to be orderly about your work this week, and to make sure to get good rest the night before. Remember that you’ll have the texts and your annotations in the exam setting. The key thing is to be able to say something specific about the texts you use. Since these are exam answers (rather than…[Read more]

  • Maria Theresa Bulzone is an English Teacher at Our Savior New American School.  She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Speech Communications. Her literary interests i […]

  • worchard commented on the page, on the site Bad Romance Blog 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    This starts off strong with a clear definition and application to Albee. The Donne example doesn’t seem quite like it is personification: his seduction depends on the flea remaining a lowly flea. It’s not as though the flea is given human attributes or seen to have feelings. The flea’s creatureliness is what the metaphor counts on. But, because…[Read more]

  • worchard commented on the page, on the site Bad Romance Blog 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    This starts out well with a clear account of the term and its implications. You might also highlight how the unreliable narrator’s bias forces the reader to try to read the text more scrupulously, filtering our the predispositions of the narrator.

    It seems that you ran out of time, though. In the exam, you could return to this to flesh out…[Read more]

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