From: Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters… [Open Letter of Admissions]

Hello!

I wanted to personally thank you for joining us here at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. My name is Tiffani. I’m sure you may have already noticed that this is not Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. What a shame! I can assure you, however, that what you will see here will be equally gratifying.

I am a junior at The University of South Florida, double-majoring in mass communications and marketing with a focus in public relations. Why? The answer is simple. I wish to pursue a career in public relations. I wish to work with non-profits in order to assist sick children and wounded animals. I wish to give them a home. I want to give them hope. Wasn’t that not Charles Xavier’s goal?

I chose to blog about the X-Men because I have always been so fascinated it’s allegory to civil rights. Also, I love how even though Eric (Magneto) is told to us that he’s evil, if you look at things from his perspective, he is not evil at all. To him, he’s not the bad guy. He is doing what he can to protect himself and others like him. He has the same goal as Charles, but uses a different method.

How does Machiavelli put it? If the end justifies the means…

I find blogging therapeutic. I have all these ideas and concepts that run through my head. Through this blog, I can see if any others agree with me and if not what was their take away on these mutant story lines. The only other social media sites I use are Facebook and YouTube. I will be sharing my posts on my page in order to receive my friends’ opinions. Of course, don’t forget to share your opinion.

You’re one of us now.

Congratulations on your addmission to Xavier’s School for the Gifted!

Sincerely,

Tiffani Torres

The Apocalypse is nigh

So, for those of you that have seen X-Men: Days of Future Past, let’s talk about that post credit scene. SPOILER ALERT!

This clip takes us back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are chanting “En Sabah Nur.” That is Apocalypse’s name. It translates to The First One. You can see in the clip, very fittingly, there are four men on horses. Does that ring a bell to anyone? The Four Horsemen are very prominent in apocalypse lore.

In the comic’s, Apocalypse is awakened 100 years ahead of schedule by a time travelling mutant. In the movies, they can easily give that story line to Wolverine. He did time travel in Days of Future Past to stop the sentinels. If that’s the case, why doesn’t it seem to affect the ending scene of the movie? That’s an easy question. Logan finally wakes up, figuratively, and remembers the change of events. However, he doesn’t know what they’ve missed. He, along with the team, could have defeated Apocalypse already. Is that a good sign? Does that mean that we don’t have to worry about our favorite characters dying off? Of course it does not mean that. No character is ever safe! We learned that the hard way in X3. What do you think? Do you have any ideas on what the next movie could be about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Character Analysis: Mystique

Hello!

If you haven’t heard of Mystique, boy, you are missing out. She lives up to her name. Mystique is athletic, manipulative and has the ability to shape shift into anyone she wants. In the original X:Men trilogy, she is a member of Magneto’s brotherhood. She is a villain super villain. In the movies, she is used to terrorize Rogue, Senators and the X-Men. She is swift and thinks quick on her feet. As she says in X-Men: First Class, she is “mutant and proud.” However, she wasn’t always that way.

She was once a little girl who didn’t have a home. People were afraid of her. She had no friends. That all changed when she met Charles Xavier. The two grew up together. Unfortunately, the soon to be Professor made her feel ashamed of her blue appearance. When she romantically got involved with Beast, he too made her feel ashamed. He pressured her into taking a cure, which she ended up declining. Why? Magneto had started to make her feel special for who she was. He told her that she was most beautiful in her natural state.

He did what any friend should do. He built her self esteem. Once she had it, she never again wanted to hide herself. She was proud to be a mutant and from then on out vowed to kill anyone who told her otherwise. Of course, that comes later in her life. In her early life, she tries to live more peacefully. When you are a mutant things don’t ever go your way.

Check out her character trailer below!

Uncanny X-Men #308

Its the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right folks, the time of year that you get to stuff your face with delicious food. At least, I will. If any of you end up with any leftovers that you’re willing to share, I’ll be here… patiently waiting… with my fork and knife.

This is going to be a lighter, goofier post.

During my time as an X-Men fan, I’ve managed to come across something special. It’s without drama and very unique. Uncanny X-Men issue #308 manages to make the X-Men seem more like us than they ever had before.

I bring to you, the Thanksgiving dinner.

Uncanny308_ThanksgivingIn this one strip, you see complete normalcy. Everyone’s eating Turkey, smiling and seem genuinely happy to be together. Instead of worrying about another attack, they are worrying about who will be doing those dishes. I’m not gonna lie, I wish that I could be in this comic. If only for the delicious food on the table.

This issue was pretty simple. The X-Men do everyday task such as raking and explaining football. They even build a scarecrow! I’m a little jealous. We don’t have seasons where I live.

What do you think of the X-Men Thanksgiving celebration. Do you think it was a waste of a comic or a nice change of pace?

A Tail of Two Kitties

Fear is a huge motive in the X-Men story lines. Today, I got to witness a first hand demonstration of fear with two kittens. Now you may wonder what a pair of kittens have to do with X-Men. I’d say, nothing. However, I’m analyzing fear at its most primal level and comparing it to characters within the X-Men universe.

So, I am babysitting my friend’s cat Missy. Missy is a 6 month old tabby cat. My cat’s name is Jasper.

Jasper and Missy’s first meeting did not turn out as expected.

Jasper (left) see's Missy (right) for the first time. Jasper immediately flee'd the living room to hide in the bathroom.

Jasper (left) see’s Missy (right) for the first time. Jasper immediately left the living room to hide in the bathroom. Photo Credit: Tiffani Torres

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Charles Xavier, too, cowered in his home. He feared that all of his actions would cause others pain. His power was a burden he could no longer handle.

Jasper is similar to Charles. Something he should have control over, his home, was suddenly so different. He didn’t know where was safe, so he hid.

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Missy see’s Jasper come out of hiding. Immediately, she launches an attack. Photo Credit: Tiffani Torres

Missy, in this real life example, has a closer rationality to Magneto. She believes that Jasper will hurt her, so she lashes out. As I mentioned in my character analysis of Magneto, Magneto attacks before he can be attacked.

Jasper (right) retreats back into the kitchen. For the first time since he adoption, he hisses. Photo Credit: Tiffani Torres

I was surprised to hear Jasper hiss. He really was afraid of this new cat. It caused him to behave differently. A few moments later, he went back into hiding.

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Jasper crawls out of hiding for a second time. Missy prepares herself for an attack. Photo Credit: Tiffani Torres

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Jasper takes a submissive position as Missy hisses at his advances. Photo Credit: Tiffani Torres

Much like Professor X, Jasper chooses to be peaceful. In his home, he submits to Missy so that he may feel safe. She didn’t seem to trust him, however, and he still doesn’t.

I have Missy until Sunday. I hope that tensions die down by then. Currently, Missy is so afraid she won’t even let her owners come near her.

On a brighter note, here is a cute video about X-Men and cats. Happy Thanksgiving!

Check Mate, Old Friend

Professor X and Magneto are always playing Chess in the Marvel movies. While I am sure they love the game, this means something much greater. Its symbolism for the constant battle the two have. They are both the players, the kings, of their own team. Both of them are always trying to foil each other’s plans. However, they both use different tactics. Xavier is much less willing to sacrifice his pawns than Magneto. In the following clip, Magneto uses the clear pieces. You can clearly see most of his pawns are already gone.

I’d like to point out that his sacrifices come to no avail. Xavier would have won. In case you don’t understand the rules of chess, the pawns can only move diagonal and the kings can move one space at a time (with exceptions). If the king were to eat the pawn (which had him in check), Xavier’s horse would have killed the king. He had him in check mate.

I believe in the following scene, the two were playing a real life game of chess.

Unfortunately, because of Xavier’s unwillingness to make sacrifices, Xavier loses rogue to Magneto. Rogue is a major piece for Xavier. One could think of her as the queen since she can absorb other’s abilities. However, as we all know, Magneto’s strategies never succeed and he ultimately loses the game.

Character Analysis: Rogue

Greetings!

Like Magneto’s character analysis, I will strictly be commenting on Marvel Movies’ version of Rogue. Rogue (Marie D’Ancanto) is a member of the X-Men. She is a mutant with the power to absorb other mutant’s power, memories and life force. She gained her powers during her high school years. At the exact moment she kissed her long time boyfriend, her powers manifested, putting him in a coma for the rest of his life. This caused her to run away from home. In my opinion, this is the root of her disconnect with her abilities.

In the first movie, Rogue develops a father/daughter relationship with Wolverine. However, while trying to wake Wolverine from a nightmare, she gets stabbed by Wolverine’s claws. She survives by absorbing his power and healing herself. Later, Mystique, disguised as Bobby (Ice Man), convinces Rogue that she will be an outcast for stealing a fellow mutant’s powers. She runs away but is brought back by Wolverine.

Rogue has a romantic relationship with Bobby. However, she can’t engage in physical contact with him due to her ability. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Rogue decides to get rid of her power by taking a controversial cure.

If you’d like to learn more about Rogue, go here: http://xmenmovies.wikia.com/wiki/Rogue

I believe that Rogue decides to get rid of her powers because she feels that she never truly fit in. No one liked her at home after the incident, classmates looked at her like she was a freak when she stole Wolverine’s powers and she was never able to be the girlfriend Bobby wanted. So when the chance came for her to have all the things she couldn’t, she took it. She can finally receive comfort from someone without fear of killing them.

What do you think?

Fear and Discrimination in X-Men

Today, I am writing about the fear and discrimination featured in X-Men. This is a concept I am sure few have missed. If you have, though, I forgive you. It’s easy to get caught up in all the action.

I mentioned in a previous post that Magneto lashes out to protect himself from the average human. Humans have attacked mutants on several occasions. They aimed missiles at them in X-Men: First Class. In Days of Future Past, they created the Sentinels, an entire race designed to cause the genocide of mutants. Magneto’s intentions seem justified. However, are the humans advances justified as well?

I believe so.

I’d like to clarify that that doesn’t mean that I agree with their actions.

Alright, here is my opinion and, of course, I am generalizing.  People like you and I are afraid of what we don’t understand. As children we cower in fear of what is hiding in the closet or, even worse, under the bed. Adults will go to see a horror flick and cover their face the whole time. Older folks are afraid of dying (aren’t we all.) Religious people cower at the mention of Satan and I am deathly afraid of spiders.

Those are a lot of things to be afraid of in one life time. That is just a short list!

Basically, what I am trying to say is that people have rational and irrational everyday fears. Now, imagine that your sister has the ability to control fire. Imagine that your father can control metal. Imagine that your best friend can read your mind and even control your body. Sounds fun, right? Maybe. You trust those people. Now replace all of those people with your enemies, criminals and untrustworthy individuals. The idea of someone taking control of your body isn’t so fun now, huh?

According to X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse, fear of the unknown is quickly transferred into discrimination and oppression. While those are both inherently bad things, average humans have a right to feel how they feel. A lot of them don’t know or trust these mutants. An average human may wonder what is stopping a mutant from using his abilities to kill or harm children and families. To an average human, the risk is too high and so they take preventative measures. You can read some snippets of X-Men and Philosophy: Astonishing Insight and Uncanny Argument in the Mutant X-Verse here.

What do you think? Are the humans reactions justified? Is there enough justification for them to need to wipe out the mutant race with the Sentinels? Leave your comments below!

Character Analysis: Magneto

I am going to do a character analysis on Magneto. However, I will only be analyzing the version of Magneto from X-Men: First Class. I have focused my time on the following clip. Sit back, relax and watch some mutant action before reading my comments!

The clip above is the climax of X-men: First Class. The team has just defeated the villain, Sebastian Shaw, who had been terrorizing Eric Lehnsherr (Magneto) since he was a boy. Eric is a survivor of the Holocaust. In the camps, Shaw killed Eric’s mother in an attempt to get Eric to use his powers. Eric never forgave him or the countless other’s that treated him so badly during that time.

So you’d imagine after killing the enemy the team would be full of smiles and cheers. That’s not the case, however. The film quickly introduces a new villain: Magneto… or so it seems.

The real enemy is out there…” Eric quickly points out, “Their metal targeting us. Americans, soviets, humans…”

Eric turns the tables with his ability to control metal. Then its his metal targeting them. Is it wrong for Magneto to defend himself? In today’s United States, the Stand Your Ground law might say it’s his right. According criminal.findlaw.com, the law generally allows “people to stand their ground instead of retreating if they reasonably believe doing so will “prevent death or great bodily harm.” Learn more  about that at http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/states-that-have-stand-your-ground-laws.html

In an attempt to calm Magneto down, Charles Xavier mentions that all the men Magneto was targeting are good, honest men, who are just following orders.

“I’ve been at the mercy of men just following orders…” Magneto responds, “Never again.”

With those few words, Magneto’s perspective and intentions are made very clear. He has been through one traumatic event. He was tortured in containment camps because of who he was. People were ordered to hurt him and his family. He will never let that happen again. From his perspective, he feels that the human race will repeat history. This time, locking up and killing mutants solely because they are different. The Americans and Soviets in the ships have, in his eyes, proved his point. Is there any reason for Magneto to believe anything different?

That brings me back to my original question. Is it wrong for Magneto to defend himself? He believes by standing his ground and using lethal force, he is preventing the death of himself, and his fellow mutants, as well as bodily harm.

What do you think?

Making Miracle’s Happen With Dance Marathon at UF’s Director

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Giacini, Director of Dance Marathon at UF. Their Dance Marathon consistently raises over $1 million dollars for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. As Director of External Fundraising, I called to ask for advice on my specific position but saw an opportunity to ask about how they maintain their social media. I hope to continue working with non-profits, so his advice on how to manage a successful team and campaign can help me in the long run. Here is our interview:

T: What writing style(s) do you use?

A: Honestly, I keep my language as simple as possible. Our Facebook page is geared towards our students. If it’s too fancy, facebookers will scroll right past it. No one wants to think about what they’re reading on social media. They just want to read and scroll.

T: What audience do you typically write for? How do you decide? How do you adapt to each audience?

A: We target UF students. Why? Well, you know, this is a college exclusive event. Only gators can participate. That doesn’t mean we aren’t challenging other schools. We do that all the time! It’s a great fundraising tactic. You should consider trying it.

T: I will! We are still growing, so at this point we would likely lose any challenge we issued. Its all for the kids, though, so we’ll think about it. So, can you tell me what you are writing on a day-to-day basis? Memos and emails, or articles and press releases?

A: I think you’ll find this more relate-able to what you do, Tiffani. I write a lot of emails to businesses. I think its easier to call ahead to find out who you should address the email to and ask if they need any additional documentation. Then I’ll summarize what we want from them in the body of the email and attach a formal letterhead.

T: How fast-paced is the environment? How long do you have after being given an assignment to get it in? What happens if it’s late?

A: Things don’t completely work that way over here. We have a team and each person is assigned a different area. We rely on everyone to get their part done. For most of the tasks, its really on each individual’s own time. The rest of the directors are students like yourself. If they don’t get it done, then something will be missing at the event. Its do or die and thankfully everyone on my team does their part.

T: How do they get their writing assignments? Are they finding them on their own?

A: Like I said earlier, I don’t assign them everything. They know what they’re in charge of. They have to take the initiative to get things done and that does mean they find them on their own. I help everyone. I guide them. Sometimes, I will come across something useful and will pass it along. In the end, it is their job to do it.

T: What advice do you have for me? Is there anything you would have done differently in college? Would you have taken more classes to practice their writing style?

A: I think you’re ahead of the game. You’re already so involved with such a well known organization. This experience will get you places. Feel free to reach out to me again. I hope you all reach your goal.

Help me reach my goal everyone! All donations benefit All Children’s Hospital. Donate here: events.dancemarathon.com/participant/tiffily

Chao!