New Quarter, New Me (ft. Research)

Hello dear reader, and welcome back to the gloriousness (re: absolute mess) that is my blog. I’m afraid that this will be my last quarter with you, but alas, all is not lost! Not yet at least, for here we are to embark on another fun adventure.

Now, today is going to be the most unstructured blog post in the history of blog posts. (Citation pending.) This post will feature a brain dump of ideas for my final research project, so prepare yourself for lists galore. For context, this project involves both examining a cultural production or an “artifact” about war and analyzing a particular aspect of it. This means I have free reign in choosing any topic; the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, this is not nearly as fun as it sounds. Rather, it’s actually incredibly difficult. There are two things that I’m trying to keep in mind for this project:

1) Is it original? I want a topic that won’t be over researched, something refreshing. However, what’s limiting me thus far is that I’m not sure what is both a “fresh” topic and one that I will be able to find actual academic research on.

2) Can I make a solid, original argument with it? Sure, I could look at art from the French and Indian War, but I don’t know what I could say about it that isn’t cliche. And yes, I could examine a war in Ruroni Kenshin, but I don’t know that it would be a good argument. Finding that crucial balance is driving me nuts.

I could go on and on about my frustrations, but that would hardly be interesting. Instead, let’s take a look at some of the topics I have in mind. Prepare yourself for media.

A. “Hero of War” by Rise Against, 2009 | This is one of my all time favorite songs to cry to (I can’t be the only one with a playlist like that). Singer and songwriter Tim McIlrath wrote the song as a response to the horrors of the Iraq War, and the album it is featured on, Appeal to Reason, is a response to the Bush Administration as a whole. Part of the “fun” of this song is that it’s incredibly descriptive and gives me a narrative to play with; it’s a glorified narrative poem with guitars. Moreover, if I so choose, I could also look into examining the music video, which has more war content than just a soldier’s perspective. Downside: available research is minimal-to-nonexistent about the song itself, though there are many interviews with the band’s perspective and many resources about the war and PTSD.

B. Nena’s “99 Luftballons” v. Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” | I’ve only linked you to the original, German version of the song, which is widely recognized as an anti-war song with traces of anti-government sentiment. The translation of this song, popularized by the band Goldfinger, has a somewhat similar plot line, minus the important protest undertones. Downside: research is, again, slim for the song itself, though the band has given many interviews about their opinion on it and its reception. However, should I choose to do these songs, I suspect I would be focussed more on a formal analysis of the lyrics than a contextual analysis of the fictitious story.

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C. Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth | The main focus of this story is actually a girl and mythical wonders, but a majority of the tension is raised from resistance to the Franco regime after the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Maquis resistance group and the Ofelia’s Falangist stepfather are based on actual factions that were locked in combat, if guerrilla on the resistance’s end, post-Civil War. These interactions and the look into the lives of resistance fighters that del Toro offers is incredibly fascinating, and I think that there are a lot of important connections between this fictional Spain and real life. There is actually a ton of research already done about this movie and the Spanish Civil War resistance movements, which makes it the most easily accessible artifact I would be examining. del Toro’s Pacific Rim was also a contender for my interest.

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and finally, D. A case study of the fictional character Magneto, specifically in the 20th Century Fox film adaptations of the X-Men | Magneto is easily one of my favorite comic book characters, because he is just so righteous. He has a lot of war history throughout his many manifestations, but in the 20th Century Fox X-Men series, he is specifically linked to WWII-era Nazi Germany and the Cold War. Because of his extremist ideology, he is likened to figures such as Malcolm X and Meir Kahane. Magneto is a Jewish Holocaust survivor that was specifically experimented on by Nazis for weaponization. He comes to America seeking revenge against his experimenter during the Cold War and becomes involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s a lot more to him, but already there’s plenty to analyze about Magneto’s character as a result of war, both in his actions and ideology. Downsides: again, there is a lack of academic research about this character, though there is not a lack of analysis from other sources. The X-Men series has been analyzed, and the wars mentioned are heavily researched.

 

If you thought anything stood out, let me know please! If not, well… we’ll see if I even go with any of these ideas.

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