New “Mockingjay Part II” Trailer Released

A brand new Mockingjay Part II trailer was released today and it looks absolutely heart racing. From the trailer it looks like things are picking up right where Part I ended and boy are they heating up.

I’m super excited for this last installment of the Hunger Games franchise. So far the Mockingjay installment has been my favorite of the series. Something was missing from my chest when the lights went up after Part I. I was incredibly moved. The second part is bound to be just as breath taking.

This is a film America really needs to see right now. With the parallels of police brutality and class struggle between Panem and our own world, Mockingjay sends a powerful message. We need to unite as people and overthrow that which oppresses us. While a film franchise is hardly the solution to these problems, it raises awareness and gives the public a vessel through which to learn. Mockingjay Part II couldn’t come soon enough.

Mockingjay Part II hits theaters Nov. 20.

Feature image by Daily Mail.

Best of 2014: Music

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Movie Soundtrack

  • Chef
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Wish I Was Here

Results here.

Best New Artist

  • Charli XCX
  • Jhene Aiko
  • Kiesza
  • Sam Smith
  • Sia

Results here.

Album of the Year

  • Childish Gambino’s Stone Mountain/Kauai
  • Kiesza’s Sound of A Woman
  • Pharoahe Monch’s P.T.S.D.
  • The Root’s …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
  • Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour

Results here.

Single of the Year

  • Hozier – “Take Me to Church”
  • Kendrick Lamar – “i”
  • Kiesza – “Hideaway”
  • Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake – “Love Never Felt So Good”
  • Pharrell – “Happy”

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Video Games

Best of 2014: Music – Best Movie Soundtrack

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Movie Soundtrack

  • Chef
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Wish I Was Here

WINNER – Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol 1

Guardians of the Galaxy definitely had the best soundtrack of the year, and the best part of that is that it didn’t include a single song that was produced or released in 2014. All of the songs on Star Lord’s Awesome Mix: Volume 1 gave so much more life to the movie (not that it really needed it) and the fact that it’s only the first volume of what must be a series is hilarious, AND that it’s comprised of music that seemingly was made a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is just awesome. If anything, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack did its part for pop culture this year by hopefully introducing an entire generation of One Direction fans to the glories of classic rock. Oh how I long for the days when the sounds that came out of the radio qualified as music… – Keriann

Second Place – Chef

Nothing has made me happier and more inspired in 2014 than this soundtrack. Every time I am in a bit of a rut creatively, I throw on this album, and I am instantly productive. Like in the film, the music reflects the happiness that Chef Casper feels throughout the film as he does what he loves. It’s also incredibly diverse, as the flavor (haaa) of each genre in the soundtrack is the reflection of whichever city they are traveling to, form the LA progressive version of Wu Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” to the Latin-inspired “A Message to You, Rudy” to my personal favorite, the New Orleans brass band rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” There’s something for everybody here in this variety platter of child (and old person)-friendly soundtrack that is every bit as upbeat as the movie. – Sherif

Third Place –The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

At first, this seemed to be like any other action film soundtrack (purpose being to blend into the background a tad while still enhancing the tone of each scene of the film). It wasn’t at all special up until the part with the “Hanging Tree” song. The entire sound to the movie began to revolve around that simple, yet catchy song. Instantly, each scene that played it or any variations of it became instantly personal to the viewer. Later I began to hum it to myself consistently, making me look back to the emotion wrenching scenes took place at the start of that score. That what a good soundtrack should do, enrich the film and make it even more memorable than it was. I loved it, and might buy the soundtrack for myself. – Jojo

RUNNER UP – The Fault in Our Stars

I am constantly listening to this soundtrack. It seems to have a song for every occasion on it. Need to get pumped? Play “Bomfalleralla” immediately. Need a minute to just cry? Play “All of the Stars,” lay out in the backyard and gaze up at the stars. Wanna dance around your apartment in your underwear? Put on “Boom Clap” and go to town! And for you fellow writers out there, TFIOS has great music that won’t interrupt your thoughts as you type out the next great American Novel. This soundtrack doesn’t include score from the film, but seeing as most of The Fault in Our Stars is not score, you’re not missing anything by them not having it on there. Like I said in my review of the album back in June, “This album is definitely one you want in your music library… whether or not you’ve seen the movie. It is full of songs either to soothe your broken heart or get you jamming on a bright Summer day.” – Charlotte

RUNNER UP – Wish I Was Here

Zach Braff’s crowd-funded indy film, Wish I Was Here, was just as every bit beautiful and reflective as his first film, Garden State. This was one of the only indy films I can remember with an all-original soundtrack – and most of the tracks are used at one point or another in the film, driving home that extra dose of feels that the movie sent you home with. If indy music like The Shins, Bon Iver and “a whole bunch of other bands I’ve never heard of” are your thing, then you may want to give Wish I Was Here a listen. – Sherif

Next Category: Best New Artist

Parallels in Fandom: Three Finger Salute; The Hunger Games In Real Life

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With the recent release of the third installment of The Hunger Games franchise “Mockingjay Part I”, audiences are flocking to theatres to see brutal fight scenes and heartbreaking struggle on the big screen. The Hunger Games franchise is phenomenally successful, although this year’s film didn’t bring as much money in as anticipated ($123 million. How that’s a disappointment, I’m still not sure.) Millions of fans around the world were excited to see the newest film, dressing up as Katniss and other characters. My college even had a Hunger Games costume contest during dinner (ironically) to celebrate the release. And yet, for many viewers, the story’s themes hit a little too close to home.

Economic inequality is rampant in our world. People live paycheck to paycheck. They survive on food stamps that often fail to buy essential items. This Christmas, there will be many families who will have nothing to put under their tree. Graduates struggle to pay off student debt every day. And what may be worse of all, is if you are born in poverty, you’re likely to stay there, much like the citizens of Panem. There is no transferring from district to district. If you live in District Twelve, you will work in District Twelve, you will starve in District Twelve, and you will die in either District Twelve or the Arena. Meanwhile citizens of the Capital live comfortably. Our world, unfortunately, works on a similar system. Those who are born into poor families, are likely to stay poor. Those who are born into financially stable families, aren’t likely to find themselves in economic struggle. While we don’t have a President Snow or a Hunger Games, per se, but 98% of our citizens still live very much like those of Panem while the Capital lives abundantly because of the misfortune of the lower class.

There are little to no government aid programs in Panem. Katniss’ father dies in a mining accident and the family loses a large part of their income. Were there a worker’s union in Panem, this never would have happened. And had it not happened, Katniss’ mother wouldn’t have gone into a deep depression and with no access to mental health care, been unable to work, further cutting the family’s income. Due to neither of her parents able to bring in income, Katniss had to take care of the family herself. This left the family to starve because the Capital provides no food stamps. Not only that, but the justice system is corrupt and feeds on the racial division in the Districts. And all of this is because of the Capital, which controls all twelve districts, and shares none of the wealth.

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Seem like fiction? If only. Only 6% of Americans have union protection in the workplace and have met the same fate as Katniss’ father. Millions of Americans can’t afford desperately needed mental health care and lose their jobs like Katniss’ mother. One in six Americans go hungry, and food stamp benefits were slashed in the last year. African-Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white citizens. 2% of the country still controls the majority of the wealth. The Hunger Games may seem like just a franchise, but there is a lot more going on here than just a simple book.

It’s not just our government that’s causing economic inequality. Companies such as McDonald’s and Walmart pay their employees so low that most workers can’t afford to feed their families without a second job or reliance on food stamps.

Walmart pays its associates less than $25,000 a year. That isn’t enough to cover the basics for worker’s kids, let alone pay their bills or support their families. Managers of Walmart are also known for manipulating work schedules so that employees have a hard time working full-time; therefore, these workers don’t receive benefits and usually receive insufficient paychecks that negatively affect families, budgets, and ultimately lives. What’s really upsetting is that Walmart brings in an annual $16 billion in profits and a recent Fortune article stated that Walmart could afford to give workers a 50% raise without hurting its stock prices. There’s no reason Walmart can’t afford to pay their workers better. Not to mention, many workers were unable to spend Thanksgiving with their families this year.

walmart is poverty

McDonald’s is even worse when it comes to economic inequality. McDonald’s employees make less than $11,000 a year. Managers at McDonalds are also known to manipulate schedules so that employees aren’t eligible for benefits and employees do not have the right to unionize, which keeps them from being able to bargain for better wages and working conditions. The CEO of McDonald’s, Donald Thompson made $9.5 million in 2013. It would take an average McDonald’s worker 864 years to make that.

Fast Food group with banner

These companies are just like the greedy Capitol of Panem. Just like the Capitol, they are cashing in on the cheap labor of its people and offering no workers compensation or benefits. Were these companies to raise their wages to $15 an hour (which they could afford to do) employees would experience a significant increase in the ability to take care of themselves and their families. Not only that, but a recent study by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce shows that Walmart pays its workers so low that most employees have to rely on food stamps and other Government programs. This cost taxpayers $900,000 at just one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin. They estimate that Walmart costs taxpayers roughly $8 million in subsidized food, living, and healthcare all because they won’t pay their workers enough to get by.

So what can we do about this? We can become the District 13 of our country. In “Mockingjay,” District 13 is an underground militia determined to unite the Districts of Panem and bring the Capitol to justice. They do this in several ways, but waging a full out violent war isn’t going to help our fight against economic inequality. A large part of District 13’s strategy for overthrowing the Capitol is educating the people of Panem of what President Snow was doing; taking the public eye away from the glittering jewels of reality television, fashion, and materialism and focusing it on the real issues. We as activists need to take economic inequality and put it out in the open. We need to show our country how pressing an issue this is. Education is our strongest ally in our fight against inequality.

The Harry Potter Alliance has been fighting for economic equality for over a year now and on Black Friday members visited Walmart and McDonald’s locations, passing out flyers to location managers about the way their workers are treated, informing them of the awful truth of what the companies they work for are doing. The HPA has also been using the hashtag #MyHungerGames and urging people to share their economic inequality stories with the world through everything from short tweets to long blog posts. By doing this, they are showing the real faces of economic inequality; the real faces of the Districts.

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We need to take the public eye off of which guys are hottest in The Hunger Games franchise and reveal the bigger themes going on in the films and in our own country. Who cares if The Hunger Games have hot guys in them!? Suzanne Collins wasn’t thinking about hot guys when she wrote the series. Her concern was bringing these issues to light and inspiring people to do something about it. We can be the District 13 of our world. We need to raise our three finger salute to the skies and overthrow the Capitol of economic inequality.

 

Photos Courtesy of The Harry Potter Alliance, http://www.fastfoodforward.com, MCT, and Lionsgate

Video Courtesy of The Harry Potter Alliance

Monthly Movie Preview: November 2014

After the month of October brought us a handful of diverse, good movies, we come to the barren wasteland that is November. Aside from a new Oscar contenders, indie films and family blockbusters, this November looks to be a relatively quiet one. Take advantage of the time off and go see one of these movies!

November 7 – Big Hero 6

Starring: Ryan Potter, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., TJ Miller, Maya Rudolph, Alan Tudyk

The powerhouse combo of Marvel and Disney have teamed up to bring us the newest, and probably one of the best, animated feature of the year.  Big Hero 6 is based on a comic series of the same name, chronicling the adventures of Hiro Takachiho, a kid genius who is forced to join a group of superheroes to save Tokyo.  The comic seems much darker, with its roots engrained in the aftermath of WWII.  The Disney movie will be a light version, using similar characters, but giving a lot of heart to inflatable robot Baymax, the robot who wants to help people.  I don’t know if it was the first trailer released, or the epic song they play during the preview, but I’m pretty sure this is the kind of inspirational animation that I might need to bring my box of tissues to. – Adrian

 

November 7 – Interstellar

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane from The Hunger Games)

The mad genius Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan at it again. After a couple years off from directing, the legendary filmmaker who brought us Momento and The Dark Knight trilogy is taking us out of this world in Interstellar. This film focuses on space travel, and Earth’s need for a sustainable life source. To add to the validity of the storyline, physicist and longtime colleague of Stephen Hawking was brought in as scientific consultant to the movie. While Interstellar has some star power attached to it in Oscar-winners Matthew McConaughey, it will no doubt rely on its heavy sci-fi elements and beautiful effects to bring people in. Look for this film to be as awe-inspiring visually as it is in subject, so this might be the one time that you pay the extra bump to see this movie in iMAX. – Sherif

 

November 14 – Foxcatcher

Starring: Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

Who would have known that the only thing keeping Steve Carrell from looking like a total sex offender was his eyebrows? Carrell, who takes a step outside his normal funny-man role (waaay further than The Way, Way Back), plays a creepy millionaire who sponsor wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz to win a gold medal as part of “Team Foxcatcher.” In real life, the story of the Schultz brothers is one of triumph turns tragedy, and has already been subject of a book called Wrestling With Madness. Long story short, sponsor John Eleuthère du Pont (Carrell) becomes schizophrenic and murders Dave. While I hope that this doesn’t become another platform movie for mental illness, I hear that the movie is chilling and suspenseful; some great performances by trio of stars here could really take this movie from cliché to something with substances. – Sherif

 

November 14 – Beyond the Lights

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, Machine Gun Kelly

The movie is a romantic drama which is both written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. When the pressures of stardom pushes Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) to attempt suicide, Kaz (Nate Parker), a police officer, saves her from throwing herself off a building. A romance soon buds as both are pressured by fame and family who threaten their relationship. I like the preview. I am a sucker for romantic dramas and the story looks engaging enough. I don’t know if it’s a romance to blow use out of the park, but it looks like an emotionally-fulfilling movie. It also has some great actors that I know I’ll get a lot of entertainment out of. I might not go to the theater to see if, but I will definitely see it when it come out on DVD. – Jené

 

November 14 – Dumb and Dumber To

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Laurie Holden (Andrea from The Walking Dead)

So… Is Jeff Daniels low on money? Did Jim Carrey lose a bet? I can’t see any other reason that these guys would want to get together and do this absolutely laughable movie – and not the type of movie that you laugh with. The only thing that I’m really glad to see back here is the dog van. I was a huge fan of the original Dumb and Dumber, and even snickered at Dumb and Dumberer, but from the trailers, this looked like another recycled bastardization of a classic 90’s film. If you’re really hoping for some nostalgia, cross your fingers and hope that the Farrelly brothers can bring back the magic, but chances are you will be better off seeing Big Hero 6 and Interstellar for the second time instead. – Sherif

 

November 21 – Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Pete Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s CGI’d face, Donald Sutherland, Natalie Dormer

The wait is almost over!  Mockingjay is here, but not to its fullest; we will have to wait a whole year for Part 2 to be released.  But what we have is the beginning of the Revolution.  While I loved the book Mockingjay it is one of the few books I have read that I thought, “I would love to see this on the big screen.”  The battles are sure to cause goosebumps, Katniss’s use of celebrity is sure to produce a fire within her young audience, and the deaths of beloved characters may start tears in the eyes of tweens around the country.  While the first two movies were aimed toward a younger generation of girls, I feel that Mockingjay becomes very adult – much like Harry Potter did at the end.  I know that this movie will create the same atmosphere; the marketing strategy is brilliant by using the same marketing campaign that President Snow uses on the people of Panem – a direct attribute of the mature nature of the story. – Adrian

 

November 21 – V/H/S: Viral

Starring: Emilia Ares Zoryan, Emmy Argo, Gregg Bishop, Nick Blanco, Dan Caudill, Angela Garcia, Amanda Hall, Justin Welborn

VHS: Viral is the third installment in only two years to the relatively well received found footage VHS series. Like the others in the series, VHS: Viral will include one overarching storyline as well as a handful of individual stories. This time around, we’ll meet a group of fame hungry young people as they take to the streets to try and get some footage of the runaway ice cream truck that has captivated all of Los Angeles. Yes, you read that right. While the main storyline sounds like a bad version of Twisted Metal, the short stories within the movie range from really intriguing (Parallel Monsters, about monsters within parallel universes) to just plain the stupidest thing I have ever heard (Dante the Great, about an actual magic cape). VHS: Viral seems to be the weakest addition so far, this time even attracting the least exciting directors for each short. Judging from the trailer it seem like it will have its moments, but where the other films had somewhat weak segments and awesome segments, it’s seems the juxtaposition this time around will be just alright and god awful. I’ll give it a shot, because I always do, but I’ll probably hate myself for it. – Keriann

 

November 21 – The Imitation Game

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones)

Get ready to learn somethin’ ‘Murica.  Unlike the flurry of WWII movies made in recent years, The Imitation Game follows a British group of scientists who use computer science via the Enigma machine to break the Germans advanced communication codes.  Spearheaded by Alan Turing, the group uses their technological prowess to learn the codes created by the Nazis.  Based on the true events, the film is sure to shed some light on the major contributions of other countries in the war.  Turing is credited with making some of the biggest contributions and advancements in the war, possibly stopping the war from continuing for an estimated two to four years longer.  If you want to learn more about Alan Turing’s life (warning: it ain’t pretty), I highly recommend checking out The Enigma by Andrew Hodges from your local library. – Adrian

 

November 26 – Horrible Bosses 2

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad), Keegan-Michael Key (Key from Key & Peele)

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis are back to commit crimes against employers for a second time in Horrible Bosses 2. If you saw the original Horrible Bosses, you know that the three of them have excellent chemistry and they are one of the funniest groupings of comedic actors I’ve seen. Director Sean Anders looks like he knows how to do a sequel right. He took what was already a funny movie and just built upon it well. He brought back the main cast of characters and kept the favorites in Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey. Jennifer Anniston is also back but….meh. They also bring the talents of Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine. You wouldn’t expect to see Waltz in a comedy but I have a feeling he’ll be good. I liked him in The Green Hornet, yeah I said it. Chris Pine looks like Gary from Team America: World PeaceThis time instead of trying to kill their bosses they’re the bosses. When Christoph Waltz comes around to take over their company with some slick investments the trio decides to get their hands a little dirty again with a terribly misguided kidnapping of Gary Pine. Horrible Bosses 2 looks to be a very successful sequel, which can be hard to do with comedies, just ask Will Ferrell. Takes some time around Thanksgiving to see this one.

 

November 26 – The Penguins of Madagascar

Starring: Tom McGrath, John DiMaggio, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong

The lovable quartet of special ops penguins make their return after stealing hearts in the Madagascar trilogy, as well as getting their own cartoon series. As far as family movies go for the holiday, this is it, and that’s not a bad thing. Penguins of Madagascar could be a hit, and 20th Century Fox is really pulling out all the stops to make sure that it is, accompanying the movie with a video game and a comic book mini-series. I don’t think the train has already left the station just yet for Madagascar, but with the lackluster reception of Madagascar 3, this definitely feels like more of a desperate attempt to gain back an audience than a capitalization on a growing franchise. Nevertheless, Penguins of Madagascar is sure to guarantee some good laughs and a sure-fire way to entertain the whole family during your Thanksgiving Day break. – Sherif

Parallels in Fandom: “Wizards VS Peacekeepers” Police Brutality, Racism, and Media Censorship in Ferguson

Police brutality has been making headlines with the recent murder of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Peaceful protests asking for justice that have followed the shooting have been assaulted by police with the use of rubber bullets and tear gas. Policemen have even fired into residential areas as protesters fled, with no regard for citizens who were not involved in the protest or regard for damage to personal property. Those documenting the protests and other acts of police brutality have been told to shut their cameras off and have been faced with violence if they do not comply. Even reporters from major news organizations have been arrested without cause and assaulted in at least one reported account. These infringements on civil rights have gone for the most part unpunished; officers getting the equivalent of a slap on the wrist from their superiors. Our country’s police departments are becoming more like military operations every day.

While watching a livestream of the protests happening in Ferguson, I thought of two books that parallel to what has become of our police department. Both The Hunger Games and The Harry Potter series touch on police brutality, racism, and media censorship.

For those of you who haven’t read or seen The Hunger Games, it takes place in a futuristic America named Panem which is split into twelve districts with a powerful Capital that rules them all. The equivalent to a police force in these districts are ironically called Peacekeepers and they keep the citizens in line by any means necessary. The means necessary frequently involve— especially in the second book, Catching Fire— brute force, public floggings, and strict curfew with deadly consequences if not obeyed. Anyone who speaks out against the Capital, whom the Peacekeepers serve, is met with swift retribution.

In Catching Fire, after Katniss, the heroine, speaks about Rue, a young girl who was murdered, during the 74th Hunger Games Victory Tour, a man from Rue’s district raises his hand in a three finger salute and whistles Rue’s famous four note tune. This starts an uprising in the district and the man is shot for inspiring it while others meet similar retribution.

The protests that have been occurring in Ferguson, MO have been met with paralleling brutality. Those who are standing up and demanding justice for Michael Brown have put their lives on the line for what they believe in, and police officials are having none of it. They have been gassed and shot simply for exercising their right to assemble. It’s shocking to see how similar these policemen are to the Peacekeepers of Panem.

Photo Credit to AP

The character named Gale in The Hunger Games is arrested and whipped by Peacekeepers for poaching. Katniss jumps in front of the Peacekeepers and her celebrity status effectively saves Gale from more abuse. She is the “darling of the Capital” and the Peacemaker realizes he can not harm Katniss without President Snow coming down on him. If it weren’t for her celebrity, she would likely be shot and killed for standing up.

This again parallels to what is happening in Ferguson, as Ryan Reilly from the Huffington Post and Washington Post Wesley Lowery were arrested in a McDonalds, assaulted, detained, then let go without any paperwork. They had interviewed one of the police men earlier that day. Had these reporters been regular citizens documenting the events of Ferguson, they would most likely still be in jail. Fear of backlash from the media is likely why the reporters were set free without charge, similar to a fear of backlash from the Capital in The Hunger Games in the case of Katniss standing up for Gale.

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So how does Ferguson relate to Harry Potter? One major theme of Harry Potter is indeed racism. While racism in our world is primarily about the color of one’s skin, it is quite different in the Wizarding World where everything has to do with bloodlines. Draco Malfoy frequently uses the slur “Mudblood” to insult Hermione Granger and does so again in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Filch’s cat Mrs. Norris is found petrified. “Enemies of the Heir beware? You’ll be next mudbloods!” Muggleborns like Hermione have to work extra hard to overcome the stigma put on their bloodline. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows we see that this type of racism is even evident in the Ministry of Magic when Harry, Hermione, and Ron pass by a statue in the building that depicts muggles and muggleborns being crushed under a pillar. Th pillar reads “Magic is Might” and purebloods stand atop it.

Harry Potter also relates because of how it talks about media censorship and consolidation. The Daily Prophet starts harmless enough, but as the books progress, and especially in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it becomes a tool for the Ministry of Magic and by extension, Voldemort himself. The Ministry refuses to accept that Voldemort is back and labels Harry as “Undesirable Number One” for spreading the truth about the Dark Lord’s return. When reading The Daily Prophet, wizards wouldn’t find anything about the Wizarding War or the horrible truth of what Voldemort was doing. The only reliable news outlets such as Potterwatch had to act carefully for fear of retribution. Xenophilius Lovegood, owner, editor and reporter of the independent paper The Quibbler, is one news source that does not escape retribution. After printing articles about Voldemort’s return and the war, his daughter Luna is kidnapped and the reporter is forced to print lies, then ultimately kidnapped himself. Because of how cautious reporters had to be during the war, few citizens had access to the truth.

Reporters big and small on the scene at Ferguson put themselves at risk. “Turn your cameras off!” is frequently shouted by police before shooting into the crowd. Like The Ministry of Magic and Voldemort in Harry Potter, they don’t want the truth of what is happening to reach the public. Police will target reporters and often damage camera equipment. Police have even gone to taking down sites where livestreams of what is happening are posted. There is so much false information being passed around that many people don’t fully understand what is happening. There has been speculation on whether the name of the officer released as the one who shot Michael Brown is actually true.

So what? How will spotting the similarities between fiction and reality make a difference? Well, it has made a difference in the past. In 2007, StopBigMedia.com teamed up with The Harry Potter Alliance in an attempt to stop media consolidation. They launched the website Potterwatch to “illustrate the dangers of allowing giant corporations to swallow up local, diverse media outlets.” They did this in three ways. First, they pointed out the parallels between media consolidation in the Wizarding World and media consolidation in our world. Second, they released “Rocking Out Against Voldemedia” a free compilation album of Wizard Rock songs on the topic of media consolidation. Lastly, they urged fans to write their congressmen about the issue. And you know what? It worked. The two groups made the Senate reverse the FCC’s ruling.

When we take a familiar story like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and we tell people, “Look! The same thing is happening right now and you have the opportunity to stand up and stop it!”, people can better identify both what the problem is and how to combat it. If fictional characters can fight against this and win, why can’t we? The answer, of course, is that we can. We can stand up like Katniss and Harry Potter and fight against brutality and racism. We as fans can come together and be a Dumbledore’s Army for the real world. The Harry Potter Alliance is already asking fans to cast a Sonorous Charm, the spell that makes your voice louder, on the protesters in Ferguson by sharing, retweeting, and reblogging documentation of the brutality. Both they and author John Green, a huge supporter of The Harry Potter Alliance, are keeping tabs on Twitter feeds and livestreams that are reporting on the issue. When it comes to Ferguson, our most powerful magic is our voice and we must use it. If we don’t, the Voldemorts and President Snows of our world win.

Sources: News.Mic, The Harry Potter Alliance, and Freepress.net

Photo credit to AP and Wesley Lowery

Cover Photo Credit to The Baltimore Sun; The Dark Room

Music credit to Roonil Wazlib

Videos credit to The Harry Potter Alliance, Freepress.net, and Warner Bros.

Weekend Wrap-Up…April 6, 2014

You join us here on a Sunday afternoon, sans-Walking Dead. But rejoice! Season 4 of Game of Thrones is here to fill that gap in your life. Check out this titillating preview.

In other Game of Thrones news, Natalie Dormer (Joffrey’s wife, Margaery Tyrell) has posed for GQ in a very risqué way, luckily for us.

More Throny madness! Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) will be playing Commander Lyme, commander of the rebellion and leader of District 13, in Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

The Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston, has signed on to write a memoir about his time filming Breaking Bad. If you’re like us, you will buy one hundred copies, build a fort out of them and scream at everybody who passes to “get out of your territory.” The book is due out next fall.

If you haven’t made time to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s not too late. Wanna hear about how awesome it is? Check out our mostly spoiler-free review here.

Arrow just got a whole new level of crazy last week. Summer Glau’s character isn’t what she appears to be. That is, unless you’ve seen this Twitter picture of her in Ravager gear! Ravager is Slade Wilson’s daughter, and one bad B. Summer Glau is usually as deadly as she is beautiful, so I can’t wait to see her tear up Starling City.

Michael Bay’s TMNT (sigh…) has chosen to replace two of its voice actors. The new Leonardo and Splinter voices have been awarded to Johnny Knoxville – yep, the guy from Jackass – and Tony Shalhoub (WingsMonk). I swear, you can give yourself an aneurism worrying about this movie, but it’s best to just let it happen.

To celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary, Cartoon Network will be airing an animated short, made by the master himself, Bruce Timm. If you don’t catch it tonight, I’m sure that it will be YouTube gold by this time tomorrow.

DC Animated’s next film, Son of Batman, is one of my most anticipated things of 2014. Check out this new clip that features Batman putting the hurt on Killer Croc. The movie comes out May 6th.

If you’re looking to blow some money, the Limited Edition Season 4 Blu-Ray set (wow, that’s a mouthful) for The Walking Dead has been announced and is now available for pre-order. Fans of the show will recognize the walker on the cover as “Tree Walker,” the walker Herschel convinced Carl not to put down.

Michonne and Rick are having a baby! Just kidding… Danai Gurira revealed the “news” to Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week.

Spiderman 2099 is back! The futuristic web-head made some guest appearance in Superior Spider-Man, but Miguel O’Hara will be getting his own series this July.

The Big Bang Theory is planning a Star Wars Day episode.  And Bob Newhart is going to be Sheldon’s Jedi Master.  Hmmmm….

Will Chiwetel Ejiofor be James Bond’s new nemesis?  We approve, but only if he dies a good death.

Ridley Scott + Halo + Digital Movie Short = Nerd Heaven?

There have been some new casting decisions made for Better Call Saul.  Several lawyers and a few criminals.  But really, we just care about Mike.

Kid President is getting his own show.  Unfortunately, its on a network no one has.  But good for that little fella!

The Volume 3 release of Batman: Death of the Family will come with Joker mask.  Yeah, that one.

Have you seen the new trailer for Lucy?  It has ScarJo and Morgan Freeman.  Sold.

Yeah, and there is that Gremlins remake.  Is nothing sacred?!

written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear