The story of Doctor Frankenstein and his creature is a classic horror story as well as a classic literary tale. The idea of a monster created from salvaged parts of human beings and given life by a “mad scientist” is one that inspired many books, movies, and TV shows. It’s tantalizing to humans to think of creating a new life form that mimics humans and has human understanding but isn’t human. However, in the original tale the suffering of the creature is an important part of the story and a warning about the pitfalls of creating another life form.
The original story was written by Gothic writer Mary Shelley when she was just 18. At the time the novel was written the Industrial Revolution was just coming into full swing and the novel was written as a warning against widespread use of machines as much as it was written as Gothic and Romantic novel. Understanding the context that the book was written in is very important to understanding the significance of the story. Machines that were being created at the time were represented in the story by the monster itself. Pieced together from parts, made larger and stronger than humans, and designed to make life easier for humans it’s not hard to see the correlation between the two. The monster breaking free of Doctor Frankenstein’s control is a metaphor for what Marry Shelley saw as the fate of humankind if it became too dependent on machines.
At the heart of the story though are the classic elements of a Gothic tale that inspire both fear and understanding in the reader. The story of Doctor Frankenstein working in his lab day and night to try and figure out how to bring the monster to life is horror storytelling at its best, and the film versions of the story leave little of the grisly process to the imagination. After a moment of triumph when Frankenstein is able to bring the creature to life comes the horrible realization of what he has done. He has created an incomplete life form, one that will suffer endlessly and needlessly because even though it has the capacity to feel it lacks the capacity to reason or understand at a functional level. The size and strength of the creature make it frightening and dangerous, but Mary Shelley also wanted readers to feel sorry for the monster and its suffering.
The monster that Frankenstein creates is really the first zombie representation in Western literature. Brought back from the dead with limited reasoning and understanding but an insatiable desire to survive the Frankenstein monster touches off primal fears of what comes after death, the existence of monsters, and the terror of being hunted by something totally alien to the human experience. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was a novel about the human condition as well as a story intended to frighten and fascinate readers. Movie versions of the story, like the classic 1935 Boris Karloff Bride of Frankenstein movie, presented a very different version of the original monster. Both versions will live forever in popular culture thanks to the impact of the story and the visual impact of the monster as brought to life by Boris Karloff.
Sarah Palin burst onto the American political scene practically overnight when she was selected as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential election. It was a shock to the press and to most of the American people that McCain selected her to be his running mate since she has very little national political experience. McCain’s staff and McCain himself said that Sarah Palin was selected as his running mate because of her common sense approach to politics and her ability to connect with real people.
Controversy about the choice started immediately. Palin has only been the governor of Alaska for a very short time, and had an unwed pregnant teenage daughter which pundits speculated would not play well with the Republican’s conservative Christian base. At the time she was introduced as McCain’s running mate and the Vice Presidential nominee Palin has almost no foreign policy or national political experience and made several notable blunders in her dealings with the press that almost cost her the nomination. Her lack of knowledge about the workings of government was skewered in the news and commented on frequently by the press.
However, Palin used her folksy charm and plain manner of speech to gather support and a large percentage of the Republican base did embrace her even though she was criticized in the press for her lack of experience and lack of knowledge about politics and national policy. As a former beauty pageant winner she was able to use her looks and charm to win the favor of most of the Republican party but not enough to beat then-Senator Obama . Some analysts say that the choice of Palin as a running mate may have cost John McCain the election, but Sarah Palin choose to stay in politics despite the fact that some Republicans didn’t have a lot of faith in her ability.
In 2009 she resigned her job as Governor of Alaska with eighteen months left to go in her term. She released a book, Going Rogue, which instantly became a best seller. She also became something of a spokesperson for the growing Tea Party movement. The Tea Party is a sub-sect of the Republican party made up of conservatives who believe that the government should have very little, if any, involvement in the day to day lives of citizens. She also works as a fundraiser for various Republican candidates who are seeking money for their re-election campaigns and acts as a political commentator on Fox News. It’s been speculated by the press and by some Democrats that she quit her job as the governor of Alaska to get herself ready for a Presidential campaign in 2012. While Palin herself denies that she has plans to run for the Presidency she doesn’t rule out the possibility and has been quoted saying that she will run if she thinks it is the best thing for the American people and for the Palin family.
G.I. Joe The Real American Hero
G.I. Joe was the first action figure ever produced, and one of the first dolls made to be marketed specifically to boys. When Barbie dolls were first introduced they immediately became popular, but there was no toy equivalent to the Barbie doll in size and scale for boys. The idea of a military based doll was introduced by a toy creator who was inspired by the idea of the military to create a doll for boys based on the armed forces. Citing the 1945 movie The Story of G.I. Joe the toymaker decided to call the doll G.I. Joe, or Government Issue Joe, which was a slang term for Army soldiers. The original G.I. Joe was based on a WWII infantry soldier but had a uniform and gear that blended the styles of WWII and the Korean War. Originally four different versions of the doll were made, one for each branch of the armed forces. The dolls, which were called “action figures” to make them more appealing to little boys, came with a uniform and a few pieces of gear but most of the gear was sold separately in action packs. One of the most prominent pieces of G.I. Joe’s gear, his gun, was sold separately which angered many parents.
After the Vietnam War created a highly anti-military sentiment in the general population the marketing team of the G.I. Joe action figures started focusing less on the military aspect of the dolls and focused on rebranding the figures as part of an “Action Team” that was created to fight the evil Cobra Command who were trying to take over the world. After the rebranding the G.I. Joe franchise became more popular with the public. When action cartoons became popular in the 1980s an animated G.I. Joe series was created as a merchandising vehicle for the action figures and the gear sets which became some of the most popular toys of the 1980s. In 1985 the marketing team again rebranded the line going back to the military roots of the figures and portraying the G.I. Joe team members as Special Forces type operatives who were caught up in a classic Good vs. Evil battle to save the world using super secret military training and cutting edge weapons. The size of the figures was reduced from 12 inches to about 3 inches to make them competitive with the popular Star Wars action figures that were selling out of store shelves all around the world. With the reduced size and then new storyline the G.I. Joe franchise became popular with an entirely new audience.
In the early 1990s interest in G.I. Joe was still strong but waned as the decade progressed. Until the 2009 G.I. Joe live action movie there was relatively little interest in the figures or in the franchise. The live action film renewed interest in the franchise for both older generations who grew up with G.I. Joe and with younger audiences whose first experience with G.I. Joe was the 2009 movie.