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Dear Readers,

Apologies for no post in June! It was a busy month.
However, one thing this blogger wants to share is a a protest I participated in on the 26th June. The protest was regarding the recent horrific abuses done by the Trump Administration to Immigrants and Refugee families. The Protest was organized by Save The Children’s Youth Organization, specifically the one located in Stockholm. The protest was held near by the US Embassy.
The protest consisted of speeches from both activist and immigrants themselves, talking about both the current situation in the US as well as the increase of racism in Sweden.

I will share some pictures from the protest down below.

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Sign says: “My Europe Does Not Build Walls”

The man speaking in the above picture was the organizations spokesperson.

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A lot of parents themselves where there to show solidarity to separated families at the border.

 

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Yes M’am!

That is all for today.
Take care! / Maaretta

Dear readers,
My published article on the young Somalian- British poet Warsan Shire is out in the latest printing of the magazine “Hjärnstorm” (A Swedish magazine that focuses on art and literature). You can read more about it here.

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I have now written twice about Ms. Shire’s poetry, and have gotten very acquainted with her work. My latest article chronicles her career as a poet and her collaboration with the pop star Beyoncé for the 2016 visual album “Lemonade”. Ms. Shire’s poetry collection, “Teaching my mother how to give birth”, is brilliant. Check it out if you haven’t.

During my research for the article, I was fascinated by the poem “Dear moon”. I live next to a nature reservation, where they have a lot of live stock, including goats, ducks and cows. These things combined lead to me creating a retelling of the poem; one which is affectionate and more humorous. As follows:

“Dear Cow”

Dear Cow,
We blame you for tummy aches.
For the lactose that hurts.
We blame you for the pancakes
that make us fat.
We blame you for pollution.
We blame you for flies
that appear near you.
and yet we say we tamed you
You furry, unimaginable thing

 

That’s all for today. Take care/ Maaretta

Note: Today Stockholm held it’s 2018 Comic Festival, where the Finnish Artist and comic book creator Hanneriina Moissenen spoke of her latest work, “KANNAS / The Isthmus”. This blogger had seen Ms. Moissenen talk in 2016 at the same festival, and wrote an article on it for a project that due to complications never was published. So it will now appear here. Enjoy! (Unfortunately, this post will be predominantly in Finnish).

Kulturhuset, Sergel Torgetilla Tukholman keskustassa tarjoaa monipuolisia elämyksiä kultuurin eri aloilta. Siellä on myös joka vuosi suuri sarjakuva festivaali. Tänä vuonna yksi tähti vierailijoista oli Hanneriina Moissenen, suomalainen taiteilija ja kirjailija, jonka elämänkerrallisesta sarjakuva ”Isä” on myös julkaistu ruotsiksi.

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Hanneriina Moissenen on syntynyt vuona 1978 Joensuussa. Hän opiskeli taiteilijaksi, mutta nuoren taiteilijan rakkaus sarjakuviin ja kangas kirjonta töihin johti hänet nopeasti kokeilemaan erinlaisia ilmaisu muotoja. Moissenenin kirjonta taidetta on ollut esillä sekä Suomessa että ulkomailla ja hän on julkaisut kolme sarjakuvaa. ”Setit ja Partituurit” (2010) kertoo häpeästä. ”Sen synty ja muita Vienan hävyttömiä ja hulvattomia starinoita” (2005) on yhdistelmä musiikkia ja sarjakuvaa. Viimeisin ”Isä”, joka on Moissenen läpimurto teos, jukaistiin vuonna 2013.Tässä teoksessa hän käsittelee dramaattista aihetta, oman isänsä katoamista kun hän itse oli vain kymmenen vuotta vanha. Teos käännettiin Ruotsiksi nimellä ”Pappa” viime vuonna ja sai suuren positiivisen vastaanoton. Sarjakuvassa on 60 Moissenenin omin käsin tehtyjä kirjonta työtä , jotka hän teki uudestaan Ruotsiksi ”Pappaa” varten . Suomenkielinen versio on tällä hetkellä loppuun myyty.

Hannerrina Moissenen oli Lauantaina 7. toukokuuta keskustelemassa Ruotsalaisen ”feel bad”-kuningatteren nimetyksi Åsa Grenvalin kanssa. Moderaaattotina toimi Sofia Nordin ja kaikki kolme puhuivat Englanniksi. Sofia Nordin aloitti tapahtuman selittämällä että he kolme jakoivat lavaa, koska Nordin on tehnyt töitä Åsa Grenvallin kanssa monia vuosia ja että hän on todella syvästi vaikuttunut ”Pappa”-sarjakuvasta. Grennvallkin ihaili Moissenenin teosta.

Hanneriina Moissenen kertoi aloitus repliikissään mikä ajoi hänet kertomaan Isänsä katoamisesta. Hän halusi kuvata sitä mitä tapahtuu katoamisen jälkeen ja kertoa mikä oli elämän tilanne ennen dramaatista tapahtumaa. Moissenen sanoi huomanneensa miten monet kirjat joiden keskeinen aihe on läheisen ihmisen katoaminen eivät juuri koskaan käsitelleet sitä mitä tapahtuu uhrin perheille, miten uhrin lähimmäiset reagoivat ja kokevat tragedian. Kirjoittaessaan ”Isä” Moissenen koki että oli nimenomaan tärkeätä tuoda esiin hänen omat tunteensa ja ajatuksensa isän katoamiseen liittyen. Hän halusi rikkoa hiljaisuuden johon hän ja muu perhe olivat ajautuneet aivan liian pitkäksi aikaa. ”Koin myös että minulla oli vastuu kertoa tästä” Moissenen rehellisesti sanoi, ”sillä se on vain ne jotka ovat kokeneet läheisen perheen jäsenen katoamisen jotka tietävät miltä se ihan oikeasti tuntuu”.

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Keskustelun jatkuessa keskeiseksi aiheeksi nousi ymmärrettävästi ”trauma” koska se on molemmille kirjailijoille, Grennvallin ja Moissenenin, todella tärkeä teema. Moissenen selitti miten katoaminen on hyvin erillainen traumaattinen kokemus siinä suhteessa että he jotka kokevat sen eivät tiedä mitä tehdä päästäkseen trauman yli. ”Jos kokemusta vertaa esimerkiksi läheisen ihmisen kuolemaan niin siinä tilanteessa on selkeitä rituaaleja kuten hautajaiset, jossa kaikki saavat avoimesti surra. Mutta minun perheellä ei ollut tätä vaihtoehtoa . Sen sijaan ihmiset olivat avoimesti törkeitä, liian uteliaita, ja jopa syyttivät perhettäni siitä että Isä oli kadonnut. Ihmiset tuntuivat välillä ajattelevan että perheemme oli huono ja siksi isäni jätti meidät” Moissenen sanoi ja totesi: ”Jos isäni olisi kuollut sen siaan että katosi, ihmiset olisivat olleet empaattisempia. Emme myöskään tienneet pitkään jos isästä pitäisi sanoa ´hän oli´ tai ´hän on´”.

Molemmat kirjailijat kertoivat että yksi tärkeä teema heidän teoksissaan on luovuttaminen. Mutta tässä tapauksessa luovuttaminen, toivon menettäminen, ei ollut ainoastaan paha asia. ”Luovuttaminen oli suuri osa sitä prosessia jonka kautta pystyin hyväksymään että isä ei varmaan koskaan palaisi” Moissenen muisteli. ”Oli helpotus vihdoinkin virallisesti hyväksyä isän kuolema. Näin äitini ja minä saimme aloittaa suru prosessin. Me molemmat päätimme kirjoittaa kokemuksistamme ja se johti siihen että me vihdoinkin puhuimme siitä, mitä oli tapahtunut. Meidän keskustelut jatkuivat päivittäin monia tunteja ja se oli aivan mahtavaa”.

Sofia Nordin kysyi kirjailijoilta myös heidän suhteestaan luontoon . Moissenin sarjakuvassa ”Isä” on runsaasti tarkkoja luonnon kuvauksia. Tämä ei ole sattuma, ”Luonto ja luonnonkuvaus oli tärkeää minulle jo lapsena . Luonto, tai tarkemmin sanottu metsä, oli läpi koko lapsuuteni sekä suuri lahja mutta myöskin suuri vaara. Sain luvan leikkia metsässä mutta aikuiset aina myös varoittivat että en saisi mennä liian syvälle metsään. Joka vuosi ihmiset eksyvät metsässä tai hukkuvat järveen. Myöskin viimeinen huomio isästäni on kun hän oli järvellä. Luonto on niin hyvin kaunis, mutta vaarallinen, toisin sanoen todella monikerroksellinin osa elämäämme. Kun tein sovun isäni katoamisen kanssa, luonto oli tärkeä osa sitä hetkeä”.

Kun isän katoamisesta oli kulunnut kaksikymmentä kaksi vuotta, Moissenellä oli taide näyttely Buenos Airessissä. Kun hän vieraili siellä, tapahtui suuri käännekohta hänen elänmässään.

Moissenen lähti kävelylle ilman kompassia tai kartaa. Hän löysi pienen kaupungin, joka oli kuin hänen lapsuuden unesta. Kaupungissa hän myöskin löysi baarin nimeltä ”Volver”, joka tarkoittaa espanjaksi ”Palata”. Hän jatkoi vielä matkaa syvemmälle metsäänja nukkui vieraassa luonnossa koko yön, ilman karttaa tai makupussia. Kun hän aamulla heräsi ja löysi tiensä takaisin Buenos Airesin keskustaan, hän huomasi selvinneensä, hän ei ollut kadonnut. ”Se oli hyvin mytologinen hetki” Moissenen muisteli.

Keskustelun päätteeksi Moissenen kertoi rituaalista, jossa hän sanoi hyvästi isälleen. Moissenin perhe on alunperin Karjalasta ja hän on usein käyttänyt karjalaisia motiveja taiteessaan.Kun hän palasi järvelle, jossa hänen isänsä oltiin viimeksi nähty hän teki rituaalin karjalaisen kultturin mukaisesti :siinä kuolleet kutsutaan luoksemme ja sitten he lähetetään takaisin kuoleiden luokse ikuisesti. Moissenen kutsui isänsä luokseen ja palautti hänet takaisin kuoleiden luokse. Tämän kokemuksen jälkeen hän pystyi lopullisesti tekemään sovun isänsä katoamisen kanssa

Hanneriina Moissenen kertoi myös kirjoittavansa sarjakuvaa sodasta ja elämästä rintamalla. Päähenkilö on sotilas joka ei kestänyt enään sodan kauhuja ja lähti karkuun rintamalta. ”Tämä on ollut yksi suomalaisen kirjallisuuden suuremmista tabuista” Moissenen totesi. ”Kun kirjoitan jostakin aiheesta, haluan aina löytää uusia näkökulmia ja tarinoita. Kaikki teokseni ovat tulleet halusta kertoa ulkopuolisten, erillaisten ihmisten tarinoista”.

Hanneriinan teoksia voi lainata Serieteketistä, ostaa Adlibriksen kautta ja muuten kannattaa vilkaista kauppoja, jossa sarjakuvia myydään. Moissenen sarjakuvat ovat koskettavia ja hyvin persoonallisa,kannattaa lukea!.

Teksti: Maaretta

Kuvat: Shujie Zhang

 

 

While other events may have left much to be desired, 2017 was a goldmine for movies. Several countries produced a slew of important films. Masterpieces like “Get Out” and “Three Bilboards Outside of Edding, Missoura” from the US; “Hobbyhorse Revolution” from Finland; and “Strawberry Days” from Sweden. There were wondrous, deep, dark, and diverse stories told by the cinematic artists of the time. Stories about underpaid workers, and documentaries that explored girlhood through unusual hobbies.

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Especially class and morally grey characters became a major subject in American cinema of the time, showcasing situations that lacked a clear right or wrong scenario. One of the most noticeable examples of this kind of film was the experimental biopic “I, Tonya”, directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Margot Robbie. It tells a Rashomon-style tale of the infamous figure skating star Tonya Harding. Harding was known for two things. The first is that she was the first American woman to land the difficult and sublime triple axel in US Championships. The second, however in contradistinction to this axel achievement, was the brutal attack her husband Jeff carried out on fellow athlete Nancy Kerrigan in 1991. The first, assuredly a wild accomplishment to the skating career of Ms Harding; the second a devious action that still has a obscuring shadow lingering over it, shrouding the extent of Hardings involvement. To this date the degree of participation is still wildly speculated upon and runs the gamut of total to no involvement whatsoever.

While “I, Tonya” has been marketed as a biopic, the film offers a lot more than a fall from grace celebrity tale. It is also a story that deconstructs the idea of a self-made person, detailing the spirals of domestic abuse and showcasing the complexities of truth. In fact, when this blogger had left the theatre with her friend and we were discussing it, the friend in question stated: “If anything, this film depicts that there is no bigger tragedy than that of a child who was not loved”.

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“I, Tonya” opens by setting up the mock-documentary (mocumentary) like style, with a unseen camera crew interviewing Tonya, her ex-husband Jeff, her mother Lavona and her ex-coach Diane, all sitting down to recap Tonya’s life, leading up to “the incident”. The audience is introduced to the early girlhood of Tonya. Her childhood was imprinted through growing up lower class and marked by intense physical abused (almost daily, it seems) committed by her mother Lavona. In one particularly heartbreaking scene of her childhood, the young Tonya remembers being abandoned by her father, who she has seen as someone who she could turn to in troubled times. Despite her desperate pleas, her father eventually disappears, divorcing Lavona and leaving Tonya abandoned to the mercy of her abuser. The filmic narrative of Tonya’s childhood is the beginning development of a person created in the grasp of hopelessness and resentment.

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Tonya’s adolescence and early youth forces her to a deeper alienation as her days are continuously marred with classist mocking from her peers, both at her school and at her skating lessons. Tonya mentions, between these childhood filmic flashbacks, that she has always consider herself, and been open about the stance of, “being a redneck”. This declaration is both an ironic echo of the dual shame and pride of her lower-class origins, as well as a implementation of the harsh narrative arch forming the later tale of Tonya.

When Tonya becomes a teen, she meets her future husband Jeff. They bond almost immediately. In one particularly telling scene, Tonya and Jeff meet up and Tonya talks about her fur-coat, saying: “I bought this recently, my family has money – my stepdad was unemployed for a while but now we have money”. Jeff replies with a simple, matter-of-fact “My family is poor”, which brings a smile to Tonya’s face. Tonya is used to having to hide her poverty, so much that she tiptoes around the fact when speaking with Jeff. When Jeff, whom Tonya is attracted to, openly speaks of being poor, this gives a clear comfort to Tonya. The smile that we the audience see on her face shows us that Jeff is one of the first people to give Tonya the sense that she doesn’t have to face a stigma for her upbringing. This hope is later crushed when the abuse begins, now at the hands of a new loved one, Jeff.

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“I, Tonya”’s narrative structure delves into a number of possible scenarios in the manifestations of Jeff and Tonya’s relationship. Jeff in the interviews claims he was not abusive, and that it was Tonya who abused him. Tonya claims that Jeff hit her almost from the start of their relationship. The third option, haunting this interchange, and one the audience sees with a subtle third eye of the film, is that both were abusive towards one another. Lingering over this interaction the film effectually connects the violence Tonya experiences at her mother’s hands and the violence between Tonya and Jeff. In the mid-section of this montage we see a Jeff abusing Tonya followed unsettlingly with them immediately having sex. This filmic section breaks when the younger Tonya turns her head to the camera and states: “My mum hits me and she loves me, so it must be the same with Jeff, right?”. The destructive, horrid link of Abuse and Love is continued when Lavona berates Tonya for staying with Jeff despite the obvious bruises, to which Tonya states: “Well, where must I have gotten the idea that hitting is ok from then, huh?”. As all interchanges between the mother and daughter this tense conversation leads to Lavona hurling a knife into Tonya’s arm (a scene so shocking that the audience gasped in horror).

 

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Lavona

Tonya ensnared in a (potentially mutual) abusive relationship is narratively linked to her abusive childhood. Circling continually in the warp connection of love and abuse, Tonya has learned to normalize violence as well as her resentment and bitterness steaming from Lavona’s mistreatment. Oppression begins at home where the anger and violence are justified in toxic affection. What sad events were to unfold already found ground in Tonya’s house, community and life.

While skating gives Tonya a sense of purpose, it also is a place of great conflict; from early on, despite her performances being impressive, the judges give her lower scores due to her costumes that are, as the film shows, homemade. Tonya, due to not being able to afford the outfits expected of a skater, is furiously frustrated at the disadvantage her class gives her, and, when finally finding the voice to confront a judge about this injustice, pleads “can’t it just be about the skating?”. The fact that Tonya financially struggles as well as having a non-nuclear (or healthy) family is a burden which is not easily carried and is socially realized in the skating community when one judge admits to her low-scoring being a function of her class and not “having a wholesome American family”. The filmic narrative looks deep into the realities of class and deconstructs a very old idea of the self-made person and the American dream.

 

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A Furious Tonya

Being from an abusive family, and revolving continually about those whose love is professed in the ambiguous intents of violence, it is not strange that we experience a Tonya that lingers in the fields of anger. The film shows a Tonya often unable to cope with her temper. These bouts of fury devolve quickly becoming often unpleasant and uncontrolled. These elongated episodes of rage combined with the stigma of “white trash” attached to a kitschy costumed Tonya creates a valley of unfair treatment by the judges to which Tonya is not able to emerge from.

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Often, in the style of holding up the idea of the American dream, the rags to riches trope overlooks the fact that being poor is, as Chris Kraus stated in “I Love Dick”, more than just the physical experience of lacking basic things, but also a mental experience – one that can leave actual psychological wounds. People that are able to escape and survive poverty have to still deal with the painful memories; for example people who have gone hungry will develop “quirks” later on in life, due to the fear of experiencing hunger again. In stories of people moving from one class to another, the psychological complications are often ignored. To further complicate things, classist behavior also exhibits itself in different ways in our society. “I, Tonya” avoids these problematics and explores an honest depiction of class and surviving poverty without sugar-coating. The journey of moving from lower class to the field of a sport founded on the upper residues of society creates a plethora of problems, hesitations and even scars. It is far from the clear-cut move and simplistic revision, from lower to upper as our society naively states. Tonya’s navigates a complex set of emotions and social emotions in regard to her. She deals with the insecurities and stigma of being poor, and the scars and traps of a dysfuntional family (another aspect where people judge the poor more harshly than other classes). A new narrative towards the poor is necessary. One that shows the actual horrific struggles, imprinting of the deadly experience of poverty, and the harsh insecurities caused in great lack. This new narrative is springing forth and is essential to the grand understandings of all classes within our social systems. “I, Tonya”, doesn’t shy away from this new, uncomfortable and frank narrative.

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Beyond the themes of class and abuse, “I, Tonya” has a great cast and uses the trope of the unreliable narrator excellently. The narrative progression of the film plays with the audiences expectations, granting the viewer space for their own interpretations, and opening speculation of how things may have truly have been. The uncertain is the progressive gear in the films structure and, in regards to the incident of the violent attack on another skater, the viewer is left unbound in knowing how much did Tonya and what understandings she had?

The film yields up a Tonya who is hot blooded and prone to anger, but is still a compelling anti-hero or anti-villain (depending on your interpretation). The characters are often unlikeable, but complex. The film is also visually stunning. When Tonya is first seen skating in competition, it feels like you’re on the ice with her. Moving, dynamic, uncertain, the film gives a ambiguous narrative of truth and a stunning visual of movement.

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“I, Tonya” is a remarkable triumph: a movie about a controversial, upsetting subject that ends up saying much more than one would expect. It is definitely a film worth seeing in every sense of the word.

I Tonya - 2017

Today is World Poetry Day! In Honor of this day, here are two poems written by your truly.

 

At Market with Lover and his father

A seagull stole his ice cream.
I gave him mine.
His dad said he’s useless

Dream

My arm was itching
So I flayed it


only issue afterwards was how
to go the whole day hiding it?


there´s only so long
I can keep holding
my sleeve down

Take Care/ Maaretta

“I Am Not A Witch”: Review!

“I Am Not A Witch” (2017) is a Zambian film that mixes magic realism with biting social commentary. For those interested in dipping their toes into African Cinema, I highly recommend!

With Love/ Maaretta

Today is the last day of Black History Month! In Honor of this, here’s some reading recommendations, from comics to novels to poetry.

Normal post will return in March!

Take Care/ Maaretta

Finland had it’s 100th year of Independence celebration this year! To Honor this I made a video about The Finnish Language! View it below.

Take Care!/ Maaretta

 

Bob’s Burger” is a sleeper hit animated adult show that started in the shadow of gigantic hits such as “South Park”, “The Simpsons” and Seth MacFarlene’s multiple shows; however as time went on, the show gained attention due to the confluence of its notably likeable characters, well-written humour, and for focusing on a functioning though financially precarious family. Nowadays “Bob’s Burger” is regarded as one the best currently-running animated shows on the Television landscape and it’s not hard to see why. Woven throughout the myriad of individual tales of the week “Bob’s Burgers” tells a simple yet enduring story of a family who, despite communally running a struggling restaurant love and support each other. The show also has a very accurate, non- stereotypical neurodiverse teenage girl in the character of Tina, providing great representation. Along with visualizing characters often not seen in the tv- scape the interplay of the cast often showcases actions which subvert and often avert common gendered stereotypes and tackles the struggle with ordinary but always stressful, economic issues in subtle and complex ways. “Bob’s Burger” has been discussed on this blog before, back when the show had only one season out, and per this writing they are engaged with season eight of their still strong run.

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Tina and the real ghost”, is the second episode from Season five and that seasons Halloween special. The episode starts in an appropriately spooky manner with a repair man refusing to go into the restaurant’s basement, with the adamant rebuttal that there lingers an unnatural spirit in the dark abodes of the basement. Bob is annoyed by the unprofessional behaviour, but his wife Linda and the kids get excited at the idea of a haunted storage room laying beneath the restaurant and their home. The family decides on the rational action of spending the fateful hours of the night using a Ouija board in an attempt to contact the alleged wandering spirit. While using the board, the family is informed that the ghost’s name is Jeff, and after some clever manipulation and outlandish commotion they decide that they have to lure the ghost into a shoebox where it remains captured. The children are thrilled with the idea of having a ghost in a box, seeing it as an odd form of friend or pet.

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While Gene and Louise use the box to get attention from the other kids at school and Bob uses the image of a “haunted restaurant” for free publicity, Tina develops the beginnings of a relationship with Jeff the (supposed) Ghost. Taking the box on a date to a butterfly conservatory (Butterfly houses are enclosures for the breeding and display of butterfly populations) and after a butterfly lands on her mouth, Tina sees this as a sign of communication with Jeff of the most intimate display. Tina, now enamoured of the subtle moves of Jeff takes the box to school, where having a ghost boyfriend leads to Tina becoming quite popular.

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The undeniable attention Jeff and his shoebox gives to the once wallflower Tina creates a seething jealousy in the main bully Tammy. With Tammy agreeing to the obviousness of Jeff’s reality only to set the stage for a break up between Tina and Jeff, and acquiring the shoebox, and Jeff’s affection, for herself. Once again Tammy ascends to the top of the Popularity summit and Tina finds herself forlorn at school and in love. Whilst Tina mourns her loss, Louise, in her guilt at Tina’s breakdown, admits to the parents, Bob and Linda, that she played a prank on the family during the Ouija board event and move the planchette (the moveable pointer on the spirit board) to emulate a spectre and give this young ghostly presence the name Jeff. Louise tormented by her sisters pain desires to admit her deceit to Tina, but the Bob and Linda argue against this course of action to spare Tina from further sorrow. This plot twist, where the parents suggest further deception, sets up the episodes climax.

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Left to right: Jimmy, Zeke, Tammy and Jocelyn

Now All Hallows eve has come around and the Belchers (the family name) children go trick-or-treating. Tina, putting on a brave face, joins her peers, including Tammy with the shoebox, and her siblings for the night. Deciding to promote the evening of Halloween eve by entering a graveyard, Things take a further creepy and unsettling turn when the group decides to enter a mausoleum.

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As per the usual, the door to the crypt slams shut and after all attempts fail to reopen the mausoleums’ door, the already fearful group discover a message written on the wall: “You are all trapped in here forever, signed Jeff”. Naturally panic ensues and Tammy repents of her actions in absconding with both box and Jeff. Hearkened by this situation, we as the audience are relieved as we feel the protagonist Tina will not be further bullied, but the shock comes when Tina, herself, notes that Jeff isn’t real. Tina confesses her doubts about the reality of the spectral plane and her only half playful acceptance of Jeff as existing. Noting her suspension of doubt bout ghosts was finally cut short when her suspicion of the fantasy of the ghostly world was confirmed when she overheard Louise’s confession to her parents.

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Tina starts to wonder about her own suspension of disbelief. Why did she embrace the nothingness of the myth of the ghost? She concludes to her group of friends and siblings that Jeff or his world of the spectral realm isn’t real, but the things that are desired from him still are. Jeff embodies cravings, wants and desires unfulfilled and nebulous. Tina wanted a boy to pay attention to her. Zeke, one of the kids in the gang, admits that he believed in Jeff because he desperately wanted to believe in an afterlife. Gene wanted someone to watch TV with. After the group has their epiphany, Tina states: But we don’t need Jeff to get these things from ourselves”. The conversation is continued with: “It’s ok (that there is no afterlife) it just means we have to take advantage of the here and now”. Tina calls on herself, without a Jeff, to embrace herself. Tina shows Gene that one can watch Tv by himself (it is no reflection of being unwanted) and (as rule of funny) the group tells Tammy to stop being mean and horrible. The Group makes peace and Tina gets complimented on her prankster skills as it is revealed that she had planned and executed the entire evening.

This scene introduces in a simple, yet a very authentic depiction of arguments about the meaning of existence in a transcendental world and of sceptic response that no underlying (transcendental) world is needed to give meaning to human existence. Commonly this argument goes that without the meaning given by another (outside, higher world) there would be no meaning to this world. In this episode of ”Bob’s Burger” Tina gives a response to this rhetoric of transcendental meaning, while also understanding why some have the need for beliefs in the supernatural. The Graveyard scene is stage as a discussion of how people, for various reasons, attempt to seek comfort, hope and affirmation through their beliefs. As Tina understandably wants attention from the opposite sex, Gene desires acceptance and company, and Zeke finds the idea of life being short and eventually final terrifying. The episode operates as an honest, yet sympathetic portrayal of the many reasons for the superstitious or the belief in afterlife, but at the end of the narrative story, Tina herself, stands for the truth in the world we live in. Life and the world we live in give meanings as bounty, but often unseen in our doubts and insecurities. At last, tells Tina, life – being short and inevitably temporary – is therefore precious and should be treasured. To say yes to things, like doing things by yourself. Find meaning, especially in what makes you happy. And, as in Tina’s case, meaning is empowering oneself instead of looking for validation elsewhere.

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Bob’s Burger” is interesting not only in showing a working class family with subversive gender presentation, but also provides interesting and subtle secular depictions as well. Unlike most family centric television narratives in the west, where the main leads mention or go to church seemingly regularly, Bob’s Burger” obviously avoids the embedding of religion both in its depiction of the family and the community. Jimmy’s, a character close to the family and a love interest to Tina, causally cements this gentle abandonment with the line and philosophy ”there is nothing after death, but that’s OK”.

As more of the western world turns towards a secular, world centred meaning system, presentation is important, as well as giving vital understanding of where people of the current contemporary moment exist as life and philosophy. The scene with the kids in the mausoleum gives a pitch-perfect depiction of such. It is honest and a sweet, optimistic alternative way of viewing life: we can give to yourselves meaning and importance, despite there being no supernatural forces.

Dear readers,

Below you will find two poems I’ve recently written. The first came about the #metoo campaigns that has shocked both the USA and Europe. The other regarding people and reading.

Best regards/ Maaretta

Here is a Thought

On a tram at 22 PM a man
comes up and in a shove-like manner
taps on my shoulder
slurs words, I shake my head not understanding
the same man says, waving side to side
front back
“Do you wanna fuck”
shaking my head, I get up from my seat and rush
as near to the conductor’s booth as possible
standing for the rest of the journey there

People now most likely are thinking:
“Well he’s drunk, not to take so
seriously”
Yes he is drunk
So?
should have sipped water, then

The Simplest Version

Pile up the books from sale
the mobile will immortalize it
uploaded to facebook
after a few seconds someone
informs, disguised as a question
´darling, who reads anymore´?