Some reflections on Infinity War and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lots of spoilers.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a movie about consequences.
Heroes usually have the luxury of avoiding consequences, as they go from episode to episode always succeeding. Star Trek II is quite explicitly about how Kirk has avoided consequences for his entire life, starting with him beating the Kobayashi Maru scenario at Starfleet Academy.
David: Lieutenant Saavik was right: You never have faced death.
Kirk: No, not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and – patted myself on the back for my ingenuity.
In Star Trek II the consequences all come at once, whether it is a long-forgotten enemy or a son.
And in the end, the ultimate consequence, the death of Spock.
Which, in usual Heroic fashion, turns out to be reversible in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
James T. Kirk: [Looking up from the planet surface to see the remains of the Enterprise burning in the atmosphere] My God, Bones, what have I done?
Leonard McCoy: What you had to do, what you always do. Turned death into a fighting chance to live.
And Star Trek II and Star Trek III are about the dialogue between the needs of the many and the needs of the few, or the one.
Sarek: But at what cost? Your ship. Your son.
James T. Kirk: If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.
Infinity War Part 1 is definitely also about consequences, as I have written in Infinity War Part 1 – a universe out of balance. Presumably Infinity War Part 2 will be about the search to undo what has been done in Part 1.
I have to say that Star Trek II & III are rather more elegantly and clearly about these philosophical questions and about the consequences of a lifetime of heroic actions, but these ideas nevertheless are in Infinity War and (presumably) will emerge in Part 2 as well.
In ROT13 because spoilers.
Gur trareny bhgyvar vf cerggl pyrne, naq vf onfvpnyyl: Gvzr Fgbar.
Bgure guna gung, vg frrzf irel yvxryl gung Pncgnva Zneiry jvyy cynl n ebyr, naq gung Gbal Fgnex jvyy nyfb or xrl. (Guvf vf n svggvat flzzrgel, tvira gung Veba Zna ynhapurq gur Zneiry Pvarzngvp Havirefr va 2008.)
Gurer’f n cbffvoyr vagrerfgvat pyhr sebz gur Zneiry qrfpevcgvba bs gur (znyr) Pncgnva Zneiry (Zne-Iryy), va gur Cebgrpgbe bs gur Havirefr frpgvba: “Gunabf orpnzr pbaivaprq gung ur unq qenvarq gur Phor bs vgf cbjre naq qvfpneqrq vg, nyybjvat Pncgnva Zneiry gb teno gur Phor naq erfgber ernyvgl gb n gvzr orsber Gunabf unq tnvarq pbageby bire gur havirefr.”
Gur erfg vf cerggl zhpu qrgnvyf.
Va Vasvavgl Jne Cneg 1, vg’f vagrerfgvat gung znal bs gur fgbarf ner jba ol Gunabf jura fbzrbar tvirf gurz hc gb fnir n fvatyr yvsr. Ybxv tvirf Gunabf gur oyhr Fcnpr Fgbar sebz gur Grffrenpg gb fnir Gube (naq qvrf nf n pbafrdhrapr). Tnzben tvirf Gunabf gur ybpngvba bs gur benatr Fbhy Fgbar gb fnir Arohyn (naq qvrf nf n pbafrdhrapr). Qe. Fgenatr tvirf Gunabf gur terra Gvzr Fgbar gb fnir Fgnex (naq qvrf nf n pbafrdhrapr). Ner gurer tbvat gb or nal pbafrdhraprf gb gur snpg gung yvirf jrer serryl tvira sbe nyzbfg rirel fgbar?
Gur rzcunfvf ba Gunabf naq Gvgna (juvpu vf n cynarg, abg Fnghea’f zbba Gvgna) vf vagrerfgvat. V pbhyq frr gur Gvzr Fgbar orvat hfrq gb jvaq onpx gb Gunabf ba Gvgna ybat ntb naq univat uvz unir gb svaq n orggre pubvpr guna xvyyvat unys gur crbcyr. Cerfvqrag Gunabf bs Gvgna? Be jvaqvat onpx gb Tnzben’f cynarg naq univat uvz znxr n qvssrerag pubvpr (guvf frpbaq bcgvba frrzf dhvgr hayvxryl).
Vapvqragnyyl guvf tvirf zr na bccbeghavgl gb zragvba gung guvf irefvba bs Gunabf vf onfvpnyyl n cnegvphyneyl haercragnag Nagba Xnevqvna / Xbqbf “gur Rkrphgvbare” bs Gnefhf VI, rkprcg jvgu yrff Funxrfcrner.
Vg’f cbffvoyr gung fbzr bs gur punenpgref jvyy unir gb qvr. V pbhyq frr Gube qlvat. Znlor abg Gbal Fgnex abj gung ur’f zneevrq. Ohg zbfg jvyy pbzr onpx.
Vg nyfb erznvaf gb or frra jurgure gur hfr bs gur Gvzr Fgbar jvyy nyfb haqb zhpu bs gur qrfgeblrq jbex bs cerivbhf zbivrf. Thneqvnaf bs gur Tnynkl – fnirq Knaqne. Vasvavgl Jne – xvyyrq unys be zber bs gur Knaqnevnaf? Gube: Entanebx – fnirq Nftneq (va gur sbez bs fbzr bs vgf pvgvmraf). Vasvavgl Jne – xvyyrq Nftneq (va gur sbez bs nyy bs vgf pvgvmraf fnir Gube).
Cneg 2 unf nyernql orra fubg. Fperrajevgref Puevfgbcure Znexhf naq Fgrcura ZpSrryl unir fnvq “Jr qba’g jnag — naq pregnvayl bgure zbivrf unir orra npphfrq bs guvf — gb gryy bar ovt fgbel, phg vg va unys, naq fgrny lbhe zbarl.” Vg’f uneq gb frr ubj guvf jba’g or gur pnfr hayrff Cneg 2 vf ernyyl n frevbhf qrcnegher. Gurl fnl vg vf: “Jr vagraq gurz gb or irel qvssrerag rkcrevraprf,” ZpSrryl fnlf. “Gurl ner cenpgvpnyyl qvssrerag traerf, V’yy gryy lbh gung. Vg jvyy srry gung jnl. … Jr jbhyq yvxr gb gryy gjb pbzcyrgr [fgbevrf].”
“N dhrfgvba naq na nafjre,” Znexhf nqqf.
Cerfhznoyl gur dhrfgvba vf “Qb gur arrqf bs gur znal bhgjrvtu gur arrqf bs gur srj, be gur bar?” (v.r. ubj qb gevyyvbaf bs yvirf jrvtu ntnvafg n fvatyr yvsr?) naq gur nafjre va hfhny zbivr snfuvba vf “gur arrqf bs gur bar bhgjrvtu gur arrqf bs gur znal”. Guvf vf nyernql n gurzr vagebqhprq va Cneg 1. Naq vg zvtug rira or Gunabf va gur raq jub haqbrf jung ur qvq, fb gung ur zvtug erfgber whfg bar yvsr, Tnzben.
August 20, 2017 watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Wikipedia is constantly changing, including editors who are very keen to delete content and tell you “wikipedia is not …”
In the version of the Satchel article on Wikipedia at the time of this writing, many of the cultural context references have been removed,
although a restored section with the Indiana Jones, Hangover and Guardians of the Galaxy references is surviving.
UPDATE 2018-05-17: There is a single anonymous user who, apparently not content with having already removed thousands of characters worth of the article, has again returned to remove the “In Popular Culture” section, again. The user’s edit history shows a consistent focus on removing popular culture references from articles. END UPDATE
Below is an earlier version of the article with more extensive references. (I will admit that not every single cultural reference in the version below is needed.)
As a side note, I think, but was unable to confirm, that references to satchels in the 19th century may be actually be something more like a Gladstone bag.
|This is an old revision of this page from 10:16, December 4, 2017 (with the first image changed to a previous version and some pop culture references removed). This revision may differ significantly from the .|
A satchel is a bag, often with a strap. The strap is often worn so that it diagonally crosses the body, with the bag hanging on the opposite hip, rather than hanging directly down from the shoulder. They are traditionally used for carrying books. The back of a satchel extends to form a flap that folds over to cover the top and fastens in the front. Unlike a briefcase, a satchel is soft-sided.
Roman legionaries carried a satchel (a loculus).
The traditional Oxford and Cambridge style satchel is a simple design that features a simple pouch with a front flap. Variations include designs with a single or double pocket on the front and sometimes a handle on the top of the bag. The classic school bag satchel often had two straps, so that it could be worn like a backpack, with the design having the straps coming in a V from the centre of the back of the bag, rather than separate straps on each side. This style is sometimes called a satchel backpack.
There is an example of a schoolboy’s satchel in the collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
The school satchel is described as “the bag of choice for 1950s children”.
A 1959 photo shows schoolgirls with satchels (schooltassen) in the Netherlands.
The use of school bag satchels is common in the United Kingdom, Australia, Western Europe and Japan. In Japan the term for a school bag satchel is randoseru. The Unicode for the school satchel Emoji is U+1F392.
In cases where the school bag is a hard-sided box, it is a briefcase rather than a satchel.
Much of the popularity of the satchel as a fashion accessory in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada since 2008 is driven by the Cambridge Satchel Company, whose product was on a Guardian gift guide in 2009, and was described as a cross-body bag in a 2010 article.
In popular culture
In literature, the satchel is often associated with the classic image of the English schoolboy: “And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel” is a phrase from Shakespeare’s monologue All the world’s a stage.
In Mark Twain’s 1869 travel book The Innocents Abroad he reports that upon arriving in France in 1867, “With winning French politeness the officers merely opened and closed our satchels”.
In the Little House on the Prairie novel By the Shores of Silver Lake, the Ingalls family carries two satchels on their train ride west.
The satchel is referenced in the movie The Hangover, where the character Alan Garner says “it’s not a man purse, it’s called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.” The bag he was actually carrying was a Roots Village Bag. Following the attention due to the movie, Roots released a larger bag, called simply The Satchel, however the design of both the Village Bag and The Satchel are not the same as the traditional satchel.
The satchel is indirectly referenced in the nod to both Indiana Jones and The Hangover in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where the character Peter Quill says “It’s not a purse, it’s a knapsack.”
In Kiki’s Delivery Service, Kiki carries a satchel when she leaves home.
In My Neighbor Totoro, Satsuki Kusakabe, her friend Michiko and other school children can be seen wearing satchel backpacks as they go to school.
Television presenter Monty Don often carries a satchel when touring gardens.
In the BBC Two television series Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit, presenter Mary Beard is seen carrying a satchel while visiting various ancient locations.
In The Captive Prince by Scott Chantler, Topper says “I think I’m going to need a bigger satchel.”
In Captain Blood (1935), Peter Blood carries a satchel. END UPDATE
In Rear Window (1954), a satchel can be seen on the table of L. B. “Jeff” Jefferies. You can see it when he is writing the note. END UPDATE
- Messenger bag
- Mail satchel
- Magic satchel
- Cambridge Satchel Company
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Satchels.|
- Satchel, merriam-webster.com, Accessed 28 October 2009
- Satchel, thefreedictionary.com, Accessed 28 October 2009
- Amay, Joane (16 January 2013). “Current Obsession: The Carriel Bag”. Lucky magazine. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.
- Wikimedia Commons – File:Camille Saint Saëns – George Grantham Bain Collection.png also on Flickr and at the Library of Congress – ggbain 19050 / LC-DIG-ggbain-19050
- Heidelbaugh, Lynn (April 29, 2006). “Satchel for letter carriers”. National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Flickr – State Library of Queensland – Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, January 31, 1929
- satchel – MISC.541-1992 – V&A
- Williams, Sally (6 July 2009). “How magic of Harry Potter is creating a fashion for stylish satchels”. WalesOnline. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Flickr – Nationaal Archief / Spaarnestad Photo / W.P.W. van de Hoef, SFA003001968
- “7 Ways to Make Your Child’s School Bag Lighter”. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- “School Satchel Emoji”. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
- “Christmas gift guide 2009: Men’s accessories”. The Guardian. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Cartner-Morley, Jess (24 April 2010). “How to dress: Cross-body bags”. The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Lukas, Erin (23 December 2011). “The story behind the explosion of the Cambridge Satchels”. Fashion Magazine. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Williams-Grut, Oscar (23 January 2014). “Moneybags: humble British satchel conquers the world”. The Independent. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- “TheRaider.net – Research – Indy’s Gear – The Shoulder Bag”. Archived from the original on 5 Feb 2015. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.
- Memorable Quotes from The Hangover, IMDB.com, Accessed October 29, 2009
- “Village Bag on the Silver Screen”. 14 Aug 2009. Archived from the original on 27 Jun 2010. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.
- Doran, Sarah (14 Feb 2015). “Fascinating behind the scenes facts from Shaun The Sheep The Movie”. Retrieved 23 Aug 2015.
- Williams, Nakisha (13 September 2012). “Style Hunter: Must-Have Messenger Bags”. Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.
- Williams, Nakisha (13 September 2012). “Style Hunter: Must-Have Messenger Bags”. Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.
It’s not common, but sometimes a movie can be better than a book. Clearer, more focused, or just reimagined.
Neverending Story by Michael Ende – The book drags on, including a war. The 1984 movie is a much more focused, clearer story. Incidentally the Neverending Story II (1990) and Neverending Story III (1994) are terrible. In my usual approach to my personal canon, I have decided they don’t exist.
(Sequels with rollerblades are terrible. 1985’s Return to Oz… rollerblades. Terrible.)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick / Blade Runner – The book is typical Philip K. Dick, which is to say weird, dense, hard to follow. The 1982 Blade Runner movie is much better.
Movie Different Than Book
It’s pretty hard to compare Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg to the the 1995 movie, as Jumanji is a short kid’s picture book. The core ideas are in the book, but basically the entire storyline of the movie with the town and the kids is added. It made a pretty good movie.
Movies Adapted Into Books
This is a whole other universe that I will mention but not explore. Pretty much every major science fiction and fantasy movie that didn’t originate as a book has a book adaptation. Sometimes they illuminate or give a different view of the story. For example E.T. (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in his adventure on earth) by William Kotzwinkle in 1982 has rather more Dungeons and Dragons than you might expect. And continues into its own (not very good) 1985 sequel E.T. The Book of the Green Planet.
Also see previous post: Book Better Than Movie.
These are books that are better than the movies made from them.
It is a big challenge to take the complex, lengthy and often internal dialogue of a book and transform it into a short visual representation.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – It’s unfortunate that, having done a masterful job on The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson messed up The Hobbit (2012, 2013, 2014) by trying to turn this simple tale into an epic. Tolkien himself had revisited The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings but abandoned the rewrite, finding that trying to make Hobbit more like the Rings took away from the integrity of the story. I look forward to a remake that gets it right.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – This is great as an audiobook. It could have made a good movie, but instead The Golden Compass (2007) went very heavy into the church side of things, and basically didn’t do justice to the book.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman – This is a good audiobook, read by the author. I don’t remember the 2007 movie that well, but it didn’t capture the book.
Ender’s War by Orson Scott Card – This is probably unfilmable as written, but nevertheless the core of the story is the practice battles that they fight, which the 2013 movie failed to capture.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I don’t really remember much about the movie, but I recall the 2004 movie failed to capture the book.
Contact by Carl Sagan – Turned into a very USA religion versus science 1997 movie, which is not at all the nature of the book.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I find the book better than both the original radio drama and the movie, because of Adams’ gift with written language. The humour of a line like “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” is hard to replicate in audio or film.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I had a lot to say about the many ways in which the Ready Player One (2018) movie totally failed as an adaptation of the book.
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – I like this as the Stephen Fry audiobook. The first two movies directed by Chris Columbus had a good visual sense of Hogwarts and the students, in particular the importance of the house colours and a special school with a uniform. The third movie by Alfonso Cuarón in 2004 tried to do some grand theme about time and lost all of the visual sense and the understanding of being away at a special school, trying to make it just ordinary kids.
But Still a Good Movie
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – This is an example of a book that takes full advantage of literary techniques, including a lot of author asides. It is a very funny book. It made a good movie, but the movie couldn’t capture all the complexity and technique of the book.
The Martian by Andy Weir – The book is funnier than the movie, and the book has the luxury of being very highly technical, which wouldn’t have been feasible in the movie. Still a good movie though.
Also see next post: Movie Better Than Book.
Plain Kate is a well-constructed, harrowing journey by American-Canadian Erin Bow, “author of young adult novels that will make you cry on the bus”.
I gave it 5/5 on LibraryThing.
To some extent the determination of the character and the difficulty of her journey reminded me vaguely of Lyra in The Golden Compass, although they are very different books.
I really like Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar. It is a kind of hybrid book: mostly text, but with some beautiful images. Unusually, the images are integral to the story – they advance the story, rather than just illustrating something in the text.
Here’s what I said in my review on LibraryThing:
In a story of a shattered world, beautiful art and wonderful ideas are seamlessly melded together.
An unusual book design in that the images themselves are narrative – they don’t illustrate events in the text, they tell new parts of the story.
I rated it 5/5.
Jan Gehl spoke in Ottawa in 2010.
His book Cities for People is an excellent guide to understanding how humans experience the city and how to make good environments for people.
You can also watch Jan Gehl’s ideas in the documentary film The Human Scale.
Jeff Tumlin spoke in Ottawa in 2012, at the Planning Summit (which is now gone from the city’s website).
His book Sustainable Transportation Planning provides the context for understanding the current built environment and how to change it (it’s not just a planning manual, it’s a set of tools to help people work better with planners).
His book Walking Home frames the discussion as a journey from the suburbs we built back to the dense urban environments people are rediscovering, and that are best for humans.
W.H. Whyte has never spoken in Ottawa, because, well, he’s dead.
His book City, from 1988, is a fantastic exploration of how public space is actually used, and of how people actually experience the urban landscape.
W.H. Whyte, Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl are all intensely scientific in their approach to the city: they observe, they measure. This is quite different from the modernist and brutalist approach, which asserted and imposed.
Note: Rescued this blog post from 2013, seemed about time to post it.