My New YouTube Channel!

Hey y’all, so as you know, I want to be a filmmaker, and so I’ve started a brand new YouTube channel for my more serious work. The old one will still be there for my vlogs and fanvids and such, but now, if you want to view my original, narrative content, you can check out Rainbow’s End Studios, which already has three videos up: Going Down?, a short horror movie; Writing Struggles, a sketch about a writer’s inner monologue; and Losing My Mime, a dark comedy about a girl being stalked by a mime. And coming soon, on May 8th, Take Me Away, a fantasy short film. I hope you all tune in! Thanks! ~TRL

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The Man In The Backseat: Why The Urban Legend Still Gives Us The Jitters

Halloween is my favorite holiday because I love candy and costumes, but weirdly enough, I don’t like being scared. The only horror movie I’ve ever liked is Get Out, but since I’m a white person, that movie wasn’t meant to scare me. Among its many valid interpretations, Get Out is a parable about cultural appropriation (analogized as the white people literally taking over the identities of black people). In most movies, I, a young white woman, would be the victim. In Get Out, I am the villain.

Movie monsters are an interesting study because they’re usually a commentary on society’s fears and prejudices at that time. For example, in 1954, Japan created a movie about a terrifying, giant radioactive beast stomping through the streets of Tokyo. Godzilla came out just nine years after the United States dropped atomic bombs on two major Japanese cities. And nearly two decades before that, RKO Pictures produced a film about an uncontrollable animal from Africa falling in love with a white woman and trying to steal her away. King Kong represents Anglo-Saxon fears of black men “despoiling” helpless, innocent white women, and really betrays how black men were thought of at the time–uncivilized, animalistic, and destructive. Movies like The Thing From Another World or Invasion Of The Body Snatchers are metaphors for the American people’s fear in the 1950s of Communists hiding among them, et cetera, et cetera.

But nobody is afraid of King Kong or Godzilla anymore. In these more tolerant times, we’ve come to empathize with the monster and see its human qualities–in some cases, such as vampires, we’ve even come to romanticize the monster. Which brings us to the other type of horror story–the urban legend.

One of the very first urban legends was a real, flesh-and-blood man: Jack The Ripper. Even though he only killed five women (that we know of), he is history’s most remembered serial killer for his mystique and brutality. Over the years, Jack The Ripper has become a cautionary symbol to women everywhere: be chaste and virtuous, and don’t go out at night alone.

Every serial killer-based urban legend owes something to Jack. Nearly every one starts the same: a special bulletin on the radio or TV warns locals of a dangerous man who’s just broken out of prison or an insane asylum and is rumored to be in the area. The next thing you know, he’s hiding under your bed or outside your car parked on Lover’s Leap, his hook gleaming in the moonlight.

And when you really break down these legends, they usually stand for something. Take the famous “Man In The Backseat” story. A woman is driving home at night on the highway. There’s an 18-wheeler tailgating her, flashing his high beams. The woman gets annoyed or panicked, but finally makes it home, only to discover the trucker behind her was trying to warn her of the danger behind her. Or she stops at a gas station, gives the attendant her credit card, only for the creepy looking attendant to tell her that her card didn’t work and that she’ll have to come in the store. Once she’s out of the car, the attendant informs her that there’s a man with a knife hiding in her backseat.

This is a tale that is meant to get people to not judge a book by its cover. In most horror stories, the creepy guy–like the trucker or the gas station attendant–would be the killer preying on the helpless woman. In this tale, however, the creepy guy is the one who tries to help the damsel. We don’t even see the killer until the very end. From a young age, we’re taught not to trust strangers, but we’re generally more likely to trust them if we find them attractive, or if they have an “honest” face. In a way, it’s a story shaming society for judging others unjustly based on their appearance or mien. The woman dies because she was unwilling to heed the words of someone trying to help her–she dies due to her own fallibility as a human. And fallibility is inescapable for humans.

Urban legends are so deviously ingenious in their creation, because while everyone logically knows that they aren’t true, they’re just plausible enough that they could happen. We share them with each other, giving them validity by saying they happened to a friend, or a friend of a friend. We know there’s not an axe-wielding murderer hiding in our backseat…but what if? ~TRL

Don’t Let Boys Be Mean To You

My mother is a huge doormat.

Growing up, she always impressed upon me the importance of forgiveness, whether or not the party in the wrong deserves it–or even wants it. It’s no wonder that she stayed married to the same abusive man (my father) for 17 years until he died or why she was willing to let me suffer the daily torment of bullying until I was on the verge of suicide at age 13.

But that’s our burden as women: having to excuse bad behavior. Because if we don’t, when we speak up against the ones who are doing us wrong, we’re labeled as bitches, or that we’re too sensitive, or that we can’t take a joke, or maybe it’s that time of the month. Either way, our legitimately hurt feelings are just labeled as us being overly emotional, and are dismissed. And that’s wrong.

I had a bunch of guy “friends” in school, most of which thought it was hilarious to tease me and insult me nearly to the point of tears. I took their harassment and belittlement, because I knew if I protested, I would be considered too much of a girl to hang with the big boys. When I was 17, I once asked myself why I hated spending time with my friends. At age 21, I now realize they were never my friends in the first place.

But I’ve realized that no matter what friendships you think you’re losing, you have to stand up for yourself. You can’t just let bad behavior slide because “boys will be boys”. Boys will never develop empathy or compassion until we make them listen to us. So if someone is making you feel upset or comfortable, speak up. If you can see that your friend is being hurt by someone else’s words, don’t just laugh along with their abuser. We’ve been letting boys be mean to us just for the sake of getting them to like us for far too long, and it’s completely unacceptable. ~TRL

Our Last Day Of Freedom

The Internet is a great place, isn’t it? On the Internet, a Swedish kid with a webcam can pretend to be scared by video games and make an assload of money for every 10 minute video he cranks out onto YouTube. You can connect with anyone on the globe who has a computer, whatever pornography you want is probably somewhere out there, and a surly autistic white girl like myself can rant about TV shows till the cows come home.

For the poor and oppressed of America, the Internet was our land of milk and honey. In a world where money speaks louder than real human voices, a free platform like this was the only real way that we stood a chance to be heard. But no more.

Today is the end of the free Internet.

If you’ve been on the Internet for longer than a week, you’ve probably heard of net neutrality. And today marks the FCC’s repeal of it. Essentially, this gives big Internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner the power to regulate their customers’ access to the Internet. Before today, all Internet services and websites were equally accessible thanks to net neutrality.

What does this mean for you, dear reader? Well, say you have a Netflix account. But say that your Internet provider has their own streaming service that they want to push onto their customers. They now have the power to slow your Netflix service down to the point of not being able to use it…unless of course, you pay extra for access to it. Think of it as a cable company selling you channel packages…except on the Internet instead of satellite TV.

This is capitalist greed at its finest. Politicians and big corporations do supervillain team ups like this all the time. A free idea exchange like the Internet is a threat to a totalitarian like Donald Trump. So he and his administration would do anything to shut us up. Like…getting in bed with big businesses that can manipulate the system and squeeze money out of their customers if certain restrictions on their power are removed.

Although weirdly enough, Chancellor Tiny Hands isn’t the culprit this time (at least, not directly). The man responsible for the repeal of net neutrality is a stocksucking reject character from The Big Bang Theory named Ajit Pai. He is currently the chairman of the FCC (put into that position by guess who?). Pai cares more about cozying up to ISP fat cats and his stupid fucking giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups novelty mug than the American people’s right to fair access to information, and the right to share it.

This isn’t just about the ability for bleeding heart feminazi Marxists like me getting to bitch about…whatever. This concerns everyone. From the college grad student doing research for their dissertation, from the unemployed stoner watching porn in their mom’s basement. This is just one more way your government is stealing your voice. We all need to prepare ourselves for a new age in America. Because this could be our last day of freedom. ~TRL

The “Conservative Intellectual” Drinking Game

It’s very simple! Take a drink every time these words or phrases are mentioned:

  • “Leftist”
  • “agenda”
  • “white genocide”
  • “cultural Marxism”
  • “fake news”
  • “cuck”
  • “virtue signaling” or “white knighting”
  • “Dunning-Kruger effect”
  • “PC culture”
  • “Liberal bias”

Then, also drink every time it’s claimed that feminism is ruining our culture, a white boy thinks he can use the n-word, or anytime the Nazis are defended. And you must down an entire bottle of sake whenever one of these guys preaching to you from a YouTube video is named after an ancient Mesopotamian ruler or has a skull sitting in the background of his room. Keep drinking. Just keep drinking. Don’t stop drinking till you black out from intoxication and exposure to arrogant stupidity and hatred. ~TRL

New Beginnings

Today was my first day at my new university…and man, was I trepidacious.

Uprooting yourself from what you’re acclimatized to is always a traumatic experience. I had to leave my school, my teachers, my apartment, and my friends all back in Waco. A new start. And this time, I didn’t really want one.

However…it hasn’t been the awful experience I was dreading.

My apartment is nice. Bigger bedroom, bigger closet, my own bathroom! Bliss, thy name is privacy. Also, no more crummy bitch monsters as roommates. The three girls I’m living with now are nice, considerate, and friendly. They actually invite me to do things with them! The other day we all went to a comedy show at our school together, and yesterday we went to one of those Paint-A-Plate places and got froyo afterward, then went for a late night swim. This is what the college experience is supposed to be, not hiding in your bedroom watching Netflix because your roommates hate you.

So, the first day. First of all, my new campus is sprawling compared to my old one. As I mapped out my schedule, I realized with some despondency that I had quite the daily trudge ahead of me.

My first class was Writing For Mass Media. I…don’t really have an impression of it yet. The teacher just introduced herself, told us which book to buy, that was pretty much it. I guess we’ll see.

After that, I had History of Costume, and on my way there I made two interesting discoveries: tomorrow night, there’s a “lavender mixer” for LGBT+ students. Shoot, you know I’m going to that! Where my people at? But what am I going to wear?

The other discovery was…Brian! An old friend of mine from high school. Brian was one of the few theatre kids who wasn’t a total asshat. (His name isn’t actually Brian, but I changed it to protect his identity.) Seeing Brian, to me, was a good omen that maybe, everything here would be okay.

When I signed up for History of Costume, I thought I was signing up for an easy A – boy, was I ever wrong. The teacher walked in and immediately referred to herself as Satan. Never a good sign. I also found out that I have to write a 10 page term paper on costumes from a historic movie. Oh well. I do like a challenge. And after writing a goddamn 26 page paper on trans bathroom rights issues for US Government this past spring, this is gonna be no sweat.

My last class today was Intro To Visual Arts (it’s just for a credit). This one was on the completely opposite corner of campus. I only had five minutes to get there. Needless to say, I was a little late. But the teacher is cool, and I explained my situation, and she said it was fine if I came in a few minutes after class started, that lots of students had that problem. God, college professors are such angels.

So the verdict for this day?…surprisingly okay. I’m definitely gonna have to get myself in shape for all this hiking I have to do (and maybe invest in a good pair of walking shoes), but overall, I had a pretty damn good first day.

They say girls go to college to get more knowledge. Well I’ve been in college long enough to know that the first day is always the easiest – it’s all uphill from here.

Oh well. At least my last class is next to a Taco Bell. Olé. ~TRL 🌮

Why All The Villains Are Gay

More than likely, you’ve watched a TV show or movie where the protagonist and their same sex opponent have…weird sexual chemistry. Maybe the villain gets up in the main guy’s personal space; maybe they make lewd innuendoes; maybe they tell the hero they were meant to be together or something. Sounds romantic, almost, in a really twisted way.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, about why a lot of villains are Ambiguously Gay, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a matter of homophobia (necessarily). Let me explain. On my blog post about Hannigram, I talked a bit about enemyslash, and why I thought Bryan Fuller chose to inject his series with an overdose of homoerotic subtext (if it can even be called subtext anymore). I mentioned that it was Hannibal’s intention to seduce Will to the dark side. Emphasis on the word seduce. In a similar fashion, Passion Of The Nerd covered the lesbian subtext between Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Faith represents Buffy’s shadow self, Slayer power left unchecked. If Faith is symbolic of temptation to act out of selfish wants instead of duty and the desire to do good, it would make sense, then, that Faith would be…tempting.

Often times in film and television, the main character’s archnemesis reflects them, is their dark half, like Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello. A classic archetype for this equation is Professor Moriarty from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventures. Both Holmes and Moriarty are geniuses, but whereas Holmes uses his wits to defeat crime and do good, Moriarty employs his in committing the crimes. Which is why BBC Sherlock, a slow burn gay romance between the famous consulting detective and his army doctor life mate, has produced one of the most overtly homosexual Moriartys in Holmes canon history (thank you, Moffat and Gatiss).

Usually, the dark mirror half can recognize themself in the light mirror half, and wants to combine their forces to be even stronger. Thus, the villain must seduce the protagonist to the dark side. To better mirror the two characters, they’re often made the same gender (since, you know, men and women can’t be equals, right?), so when you produce Doctor Evilman trying to coax Goodguy Heromale to the dark side, ho yay is bound to follow.

Course, I could be completely wrong and it could all be a plot for the viewing public to associate queerness with being evil, but I like to think positively, you know? ~TRL