Monday, May 23, 2016

Dennis, starring Kim Kold

Of Mice and Elephants

Preston L. Allen

The film, DENNIS, demonstrates to an extreme and absurd extent the results of a domineering parent on an adult child. The shrewish mother controls the protagonist Dennis by making him feel guilty and dependent on her when in fact it is she who is dependent on him. She is lonely, it seems, because she has no male companion. Early in the film, Dennis shyly tells her, “I’m going to the movies with Peter.” This is not true. He is actually going on a date with a girl Peter has set him up with, but he must lie rather than tell his mother he is going out with a girl. The lie he tells is shown to us as a fib, a “naughty” little boy’s way of deceiving. You can’t see his hands the way the scene is shot, but you can imagine his fingers crossed as he fibs. His mother responds by saying, “It’s okay for you to stand people up like that.” We can see the result this has on the hulking Dennis now completely immersed in the role of the “little boy” who has disappointed his mom with his “sneaky,” dishonest behavior. To make up for is misdeed, he hangs his head guiltily and volunteers to put away the groceries—one of his “duties” she reminds him. In their cramped tiny kitchen, it’s hard to miss that he towers over her--she looks tiny and frail beneath him. If he doesn’t move out of the way, she cannot pass to go into her room—but move out of the way he does. The contrast in their size in this scene is emphasized by the camera angles, and it is important as the director wants to illustrate that a mother of this type can take away the manhood of even someone as physically imposing as this bodybuilder. And thus the mouse controls the elephant much to our surprise and amazement.

This emasculating due to guilt extends beyond the home as is demonstrated by his awkwardness in social situations in general, but especially around members of the opposite sex. Not only does he shrink before his little mouse of a mother, but he is now exposed to other little mice who can sense his condition and victimize him further. This is illustrated quite effectively in the scenes in the restaurant and at the party. At the restaurant he is a disappointment in the eyes of his date, Patricia, because he drinks Coca Cola rather than alcohol, an adult’s beverage. “I’m in training,” he lies. (It is because his mother scolds him when he drinks we will learn in a later scene.) Also there is a noticeable smirk on his date’s face when he tells another transparent fib when asked if he lives alone. “Yes,” he tells her, averting his eyes. You can see in her face that she doubts his words and is debating whether to call his bluff by asking to go home with this enormous “little child man” for a night of “adult” activities. How amusing that would’ve been.

Instead she invites him to a party and he agrees to go, but first he must take the padlock off his bike—his mode of transportation in a country concerned about the environment? Perhaps. In this film, however, it is just one more framing of him as a child—a giant on a child’s mode of transportation. In the scene at the party, he is made to undress and dance by three more little mice for their amusement. When the “real” adult males appear, they are little mice too compared to him in size, but like all mice they sense his weakness and victimize him as well by laughing derisively at him calling him a “lump.” (Of cheese?) No wonder the giant flees down the stairs and out of the apartment.

Finally, the giant “little boy” cannot take any more of this abuse and returns home. He has tried to escape his mom by running away and it hasn’t worked. The world outside his cage is too dangerous and so he returns to the only place where he feels safe. Now he is so humbled by shame and guilt that he cannot face her, but he must take her scolding if he is to regain her protection. She asks him how the movie was, knowing full well he did not go there. Had he gone there, would his shirt be inside out? She observes too that he has been drinking—he is becoming more like his father, an alcoholic (but perhaps a real man?) She goes to bed, leaving the child thoroughly chastised by her insinuations. Wracked with guilt, he goes into his bedroom, takes off his shirt, again revealing his massive physique, but after a while we see him in her room where he asks timidly, “Can I sleep with you?” What does he mean by that? No, this is not incest, but much worse. The mouse says, “Yes, you may,” rolls over, and pulls back the sheet. And the elephant climbs in—so much like a mom and her giant “little” boy, lying safe beside her.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


What happens when someone on the internet makes threats but no form of authority is there to take action? And what happens when someone from the federal government takes too much action and the other person’s privacy has been violated. The issue of whether or not government should be allowed to regulate information on the internet has been very controversial. However, the federal government should absolutely be permitted to regulate information on the internet on the internet while adhering to very strict guidelines and rules.

Every day, people are surfing the web, whether it be school related, a personal question, or even shopping. There are millions of websites out there, some being immensely dangerous or inappropriate. Allowing the federal government to regulate information on the internet will provide an effective way of either halting the behavior or further monitoring to ensure that nothing suspicious has been occurring on the website. In doing so, websites that target children for the benefit of child molesters can be taken down immediately and the appropriate consequences will be given. There are so many websites that either post inappropriate things or lure certain groups of people to them. A recent study showed that 79 percent of Americans believe that the government should do something about the issue of dangerous strangers making contact with children. This same study showed that 62 percent of Americans agree that government should be involved when regarding false advertising (Blendon, Benson, Altman, Rosenbaum, Flournoy, Kim 47). The truth is, the web surfer cannot be certain of who is behind that false advertisement. It could be simply harmless or it could result in the stealing of someone’s identity.

Surprisingly, more Americans are worried that the government will not involve itself enough in the issue of pornography rather than the possibility of the government involving itself too much in other issues. As Americans, we give up some rights to receive protection but how much of our privacy are we giving away when the government is allowed to regulate the internet? Although it can be very beneficial, the reality is that there are also many negative factors. For instance, as unfortunate as it is, there are corrupt officials that may take advantage of this opportunity. This is where the issue of boundaries and guidelines come in to play because without them, the allowance of regulation could get out of hand. Even if it is not intentional, officials may take things too far and violate someone’s privacy. There needs to be rules put in place to limit the amount of perusing that the government does through people’s private things. Another way to prevent the government from getting away with looking through personal information that is out of bounds is to notify the person that their things have been looked through (Stanton).

Another beneficial aspect of having the government regulate the internet is that they would be able to catch criminals by monitoring certain websites. In particular, there was a case where officers put a fake advertisement on the internet to target men who were suspected of prostitution. They received several hits and proceeded to monitoring the website over time. This allowed them to catch multiple people who asked for the price of specific sexual acts (BRIEF). Allowing government to monitor websites like this is beneficial in the regard that it is easier and more efficient to catch people committing illegal acts.

In retrospect, allowing the government to regulate the internet is very rewarding if they adhere to the guidelines. Many cases have proven that it has saved lives and caught criminals. However, it has also violated the privacy of innocent people. Therefore, guidelines should be put in place in order to prevent the government from crossing boundaries that they should not be crossing. As long as these strict rules are followed, then regulation of the internet should be enacted and performed.

  Works Cited Blendon, Robert, et. al. "Whom to Protect and How? The Public, the Government, and the Internet Revolution?" The Brookings Review, 2001. Print.

Stanton, Lynn. "Government seen as 'bully pulpit' for data privacy, internet of things." Cybersecurity Policy Report 24 Aug. 2015. General OneFile. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"BRIEF: Simi Valley police use phony online ad to catch men seeking sex." Ventura County Star [Ventura, CA] 19 Dec. 2012. General OneFile. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. (MDC student M. Hernandez)

Was It Good for You?

Should certain kinds of ads be banned in the interest of health/morality/annoyance for example, alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription meds? Yes I have to agree 100% percent. There are a lot of things on T.V I would not want my daughter to see. A thirty second or one minute clip can change her whole life and mind forever. For example the new M&M’s commercial is very offensive to me as a mom. If you haven’t seen it, just imagine the brown M&M in bed with its shirt off next to a half naked woman, whose husband surprises her. What’s up with that?

I would not want my daughter to think its okay to sleep in the bed under the sheet’s with a candy perhaps, in a sexual way. I’d take that very offensive if she thoughts that way acceptable. Also, I would like to keep cigarettes ads off the TV. As of now they have commercials running daily about people that shouldn’t be smoking, good advertising but can go about it a different way. I know that these ads are designed to keep people from smoking rather than encouraging it, but someone shouldn’t have to peel off their face to get the point across that smoking can cause skin cancer and other problems. This one’s heart is in the right place, perhaps, but it takes it to the point of annoyance.

I believe there are a lot of commercials that should banned from the internet. For example, you would never see an abortion commercial on TV, simply because it’s not a friendly conversational topic that everyone wants to see. The point I’m trying to make is that, women and some men still know without the ads and commercials exactly where to get a safe abortion if needed, or do they? I think it’s common sense, but maybe not. Nevertheless, it is an annoying ad and certainly offensive to many religious groups.

(An excerpt from MDC student J. Holt)

Clean TV

Advertising is one aspect of marketing that has taken control of all types of media. Whether one is simply watching television reading a magazine, a seemingly large percentage is allotted to ads. I believe that certain ads should be banned from established media, such as television and online videos. Advertisement is intended for influential audiences, they may promote dangers, and are ultimately irritating.

The vast majority of people who watch television programs or online videos are children and young adults. These audiences are easily manipulated. With that being said, Children along with teens can learn foul language and behaviors from commercials because they are at an age that they absorb everything like sponges. For example, there is a hot sauce commercial whose slogan is “Franks Red Hot, I put that (censored word) on everything”. Anyone over the age of 7 clearly knows that the word being bleeped is shit, and because it’s on-air children can mistake it for normal expression. Young adults, who are no longer under the watchful supervision of their parents, can go ahead and buy the “brand-new, state of the art, limited edition” electronic cigarette and pick up the nasty habit of smoking tobacco along with it, even though it is being advertised to help smokers quit. One study found that “youth exposure to electronic cigarette advertisements on television increased by 256 percent from 2011 to 2013 and young adult exposure to e-cigarette ads jumped 321 percent in the same time period” (RTI International). Alcohol is another advertised product that can cause health, social and legal problems. “Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people younger than 25; alcohol is a factor in those accidents more than 40 percent of the time” (Feldman). Even though alcohol can cause said problems they seem to be in every other sequence of commercial time. These audiences are being absent-mindedly controlled by unnecessary garbage called propaganda.

Since these audiences are so easily tricked into believing what they’re seeing, dangerous aspects of commercials are perceived as cool and acceptable. Many commercials such as those with cars cruising at high speeds, or people doing “adventurous things” like rock climbing, BMX biking, or skateboarding can make impressionable people replicate said acts. For instance there is a Nike commercial where the protagonist is showing off the newest in footwear while traveling through the city doing parkour, an invigorating yet extremely difficult and dangerous sport. A 12 year old is then put into an arm brace for falling off a concrete bench trying to reenact said commercial. This is just one example of the many cases hospitals receive of child injury after propaganda reenactment. A commercial in which a Jeep is taken off-roading and mudding through traitorous terrain is then simulated by a high school senior, who then not only gets stuck mudding but brakes the axel of the front wheels of his father’s car. The senior doesn’t only face the cost of the car repair but also has to recover from the bruises left behind by the “adventure”.

Lastly, commercials are simply annoying. How many times does one attempt to watch a video on YouTube and get interrupted halfway through the video? We are sometimes forced to watch ads in order to then access the content intended on watching. Not only are we forced to watch the annoying ads, but advertisement is redundant. How many different beer commercials are aired within an hour of t.v time? How many of these commercials are about drinking the beer on a beach, at a party, with friends? All of them! Television stations do not only play commercials in sequence but there are some which repeat the same exact commercial twice in one sequence. And this can really frustrate those who can care less if charmin ultra-soft is tougher than the leading brand but softer than a baby duck.

Some may say that propaganda is necessary for product sales or business awareness. Others, like Chris Moerdyk, will say that even if we ban advertisement the issue of dangers will still prevail and “the only result will be the loss of thousands of jobs in the media, advertising and marketing industries.” Even though people will lose jobs in the marketing industry, if commercials and certain advertisement is banned the generations that drool over while watching t.v will not be brainwashed into buying unnecessary things or acting out like paid stunt professionals in commercials. Not only will they be less likely to act out but those of us who can care less about pointless propaganda won’t have to be forced into watching it.

(M. Martinez MDC student)

Works Cited

Feldman, Richard. "Alcohol Ads Target Youth at High Price." Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, 16 Jun. 2015: A.11. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 04 Oct. 2015.

Moerdyk, Chris. "Government on Ad-Banning Roll." 13 Nov. 2014. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

RTI International. "Adolescent Exposure to E-Cigarette TV Ads Increases Likelihood of..." Pediatrics. Washington D.C, Targeted News Service. 07 Jul. 2015. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 04 Oct. 2015.