The Big Bang Theory Effect

It all started with an innocent remark form my friend. I’m going to apply the Marxist theory to ‘The Big Bang Theory’, she says, as it was assigned for homework in my English Lit. class. Then there was a good, solid ten minute discussion about television shows and TBBT was mentioned, followed by a comment from my Psychology teacher the very same dayintelligence can be perceived as attractive. It’s not an exact quote because my memory sucks like a straw, but that’s not the point. My point is that WHY IS THIS SHOW FOLLOWING ME?!

I’m not complaining or anything — hell, I like this show. This is simply an observation that somehow overcame me during Psychology class. I mean, my teacher was right. Nowadays, intelligence equals attractiveness. With the onslaught of the superhero films like The Avengers (and various forms of the franchise) and TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, the whole nerd-esque look is gaining momentum.

It’s now ‘cool’ to like nerdy things. Brainy, as they say, is the new sexy.

Yeah, sorry. I just needed to plug this in. I think it’s perfectly relevant.

I’m not saying being a nerd automatically means you’re intelligent, or that being intelligent makes you a shoo-in to be a nerd. Frankly, I don’t know what I’m trying to say here other than TBBT is following me. (I’m caught up on the series, just to let everybody know.) Anyway, below is a lovely paper written by that friend I mentioned at the beginning. Her name is Lizzie and here’s a link to her blog.

Enjoy reading!

An aspect of Marxism says that‘Marxism is about how your social circumstances determine much, if not all of your life.’ This idea can be applied to the TV show The Big Bang Theory and the characters of Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Raj Koothrapali, Howard Wolowitz and Penny. The show centres on these characters, which are scientists, except for Penny who is an aspiring actress and waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. This particular episode of TBBT is a Christmas episode in which Leonard’s mother, a psychiatrist, visits Leonard and Sheldon. Marxist theory can be applied to this episode as Sheldon and Beverley Hofstadter discuss previous events that have happened. Sheldon refers to Leonard as having ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ caused by ‘unresolved childhood issues’. Therefore, Leonard, according to Marxist theory, is the way he is because of the social circumstances in which he grew up. Sheldon refers to Leonard as ‘coming from a remarkably high-achieving family’. Leonard also explains how his Christmases went as a child, which was unusual to Penny’s Christmas traditions. This sort of childhood and experiences that Leonard had explain the reasons for his behaviour as an adult. Leonard now enjoys Christmas more, because he never got to enjoy traditional Christmases as a child. Contradictorily, Sheldon, who is more blunt and seemingly cleverer than Leonard, grew up in a family with more traditional values and celebrated Christmas as most Western families do. Combined with Sheldon’s personality, his social circumstantial experience of Christmas as a child determined his attitude toward Christmas as an adult. These are more specific examples of applying Marxist theory to this episode of TBBT.

The characters of Leonard, Howard, Sheldon and Raj can be explored through Marxist theory. Their ‘social circumstances’ are their jobs as scientist: Leonard as an experimental physicist, Sheldon as a theoretical physicist, Howard as an aerospace engineer, and Raj who works in the physics department as a specialist in particle astrophysics, and all of them at Caltech University. Their occupations, according to Marxist theory determine their consciousness. This is according to the Marxist statement: ‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.’ The group of best friends and co-workers form a group of what is the epitome of all that is geeky and nerdy. They enjoy playing video games and are interested in comic books and sci-fi such as Star Trek. It could be said, due to Marxist theory that these men do not engage in their hobbies and enjoy it because they think they do, but they do these hobbies and enjoy it because of their position in society as clever scientific thinking men. Their social circumstances and positions in society determine what things they enjoy and the hobbies they prefer. They think that they personally choose their hobbies, but according to Marxist theory, ‘choice is [but] an illusion’.Their minds are not free, they only think they are.’ The way these men make a living set the conditions for their social, political and intellectual lives. Hence, the conversations and experiences that they share actually occur as a result of their occupation or social circumstances as scientists. Because they are scientists/clever people, they think and speak and act like scientists/clever people.


On Prose and Female Characters

I have planned to spend this afternoon working on Maths equations, but screw it — I want to talk literature.

In preparation for the A2 English Literature that I shall be taking next school year if I get the grades (*fingers crossed*), all potential students have been advised to choose whatever books they want to study (at least two, but preferred three) from the Canon and otherwise finish reading them over the summer holidays. And, being the person that I am, I absolutely had no idea what to choose — I desperately wanted to work with one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, but a little part of me wanted to be “taken seriously” as a literature student and so I ended up with:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (chosen by my English teacher)
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’ve finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale quite a while ago, and I found it enjoyable once I managed to get into the story. I had spent the first half of the book annotating like mad, I barely enjoyed the novel for its narrative until near the end. I’m reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles and as I’m well into Phase Five, I can safely say that I’ve found some similarities between the two books.

One, there’s the format — both books are split into separate sections. Two, there’s utterly depressing aura radiating from the text itself. Three, there’s the clear helplessness within the female characters.

And it infuriates the living daylights out of me.

Yes, I know I ought to search for something positive and focus on that instead… but I simply can’t bring myself to — at least, not unless I forget about Gilead’s treatment towards women, its double standards and complete backwardness when it comes to rebuilding the population. Moira was one of my favorite characters throughout, yet once I found out that she betrayed her beliefs by working at Jezebel’s, I was ready to take out a tub of ice cream and just wallow.

In Tess of the D’Urbervilles, how on earth can I ignore Tess and her complete reliance on Angel Clare? He is a hypocrite who refused to forgive Tess for her past indiscretions, despite having the same situation as her! Admittedly,  I still have the rest of the novel to read through but, if I’m honest, I’m finding it very difficult to see the two lovers in good lights at the moment. They somehow remind me of Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but at least those two had the decency to admit to their selfishness and just be plain mean to other people.

Tess absolutely adores Angel; she bloody well idolizes him and I can’t help but think that Hey, this can’t be healthy. Has she never seen Twilight?? (That’s a joke, if you can’t tell.) While I can’t blame her for having to go through what he did, I do blame her for putting Angel on such a high pedestal. Do you know that bit where he was sleep-walking and he carried her into a coffin? Tess admitted to not being afraid at all! If anything else, she liked being to close to Angel.

IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE WIRES IN YOUR BRAIN? HE’S PLACED YOU IN A COFFIN! If that’s not going to convince you, Tess, understand that he’s doing it in his sleep! His subconscious wanted you dead! Once you had revealed your past, the Tess he once knew was dead to him — and you still enjoyed his sleep-kisses. I’m sticking by my opinion of Angel being a hypocrite, by the way.

I sincerely hope this novel can redeem itself to me… there’s still the odd two hundred pages to comb through. In the end, Wuthering Heights “redeemed itself” when the second generation found happiness despite the faults of the first generation. I suppose what I’m looking for in Tess is some form of a happy ending… and that’s really a wrong mindset to be in, now that I think about it. Not all stories have happy endings.

But still. Is it too much to ask for Tess to grow a pair and stop being the victim in everything? (Or am I essentially asking a penguin to fly?) I have no idea.

Moving on, I’d like to end this post on a lighter note. After all, what spurred me to type this post up was the sight of this beautiful, beautiful quote:

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.

John Watson on Irene Adler

It’s a very striking first sentence. I must admit that two whole novels (A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four) and two short stories (A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League) into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, I seem to find his prose enjoyable. Before, I struggled with his choice of words and seemingly random succession of scenes; now, I whiz through it like a pro. I could take this as a sign that perhaps my quarrel with Tess will be resolved in time, but then again…

…I have no problems with Sherlock’s and John’s characters, nor do I dislike Hardy’s prose style. It’s Tess herself that I have a problem with. Oh dear.

Over and out.

Busy, Busy, Busy…

I’ve been so swamped up with school work, I think a part of my molecular structure has morphed into a bee or something. Geddit? Busy bee? ^__^

School has pretty much taken over my life. I know I’ve complained about the lack of work I’ve had in the past, but honestly, I was not expecting this. I mean, I don’t mind waking up as early as seven am (not much, anyway). And I don’t mind the fifteen to twenty-minute walk (depending on speed) to school either, once I figured out which way to go. What I’m really worked up about is the school work.

the basic gist of my schedule

At the beginning of the school year — that is, just two weeks ago — I was taking four lessons: English Literature, ICT, Media Studies and Mathematics. However, after the first few lessons, I decided to quit ICT because it was not what I expected. Researching about the NHS and Britain’s dental health was not what I wanted to do after leaving school, so yeah…

As for English Lit, I had to read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and do essays — pretty easy, though it requires some time and effort. Media Studies is, to be honest, not what I expected. It’s a BTEC course, meaning there would be no exam and your grades will be based on the homework and projects in class. I’m trying my hardest here to get Distinctions.

And for Maths, well… (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but) I miss the Maths in the Philippines!! Back there, all you had to do was listen to the lesson and do the work your teacher assigned you, then pass it the next day. Here, the teacher has to go over points again and again, and then assign homework to be passed the next week! The suspense kills me. I am so not used to the British school system yet >_<

So it seems I’m a very hard-working student who does her work immediately and days before it’s due. But then, how come I feel to swamped all the time? Perhaps it’s because on top of the homework, I have to do house chores as well. Or maybe it’s the fifteen to twenty-minute walk (depending on speed) that eats my energy away.

I dunno, but either way, I’m as busy as a bee.

Things to do:

  1. For English Lit.
    • finish reading The God of Small Things
    • watch several versions of Hamlet
    • research on 1950s America (in preparation for The View Under the Bridge by Arthur Miller)
    • buy a copy of The View Under the Bridge by Arthur Miller
    • complete the first three grids on the Hamlet booklet
  2. For Media Studies
    • essay on “What is Media Studies?”
  3. Maths
    • complete the re-do of the unit test (don’t ask; I got a 62%)
    • check/mark exercises F, G, H and I
    • oh, and start writing more neatly (as if that is possible for me)