Thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

TW: Suicide, Rape.

13 Reasons Why is a new Netflix series that is powerful and emotional, and also problematic. It’s the story of Hannah Baker, a girl who commits suicide, but not before leaving behind 13 tapes explaining the 13 reasons, or more specifically, the 13 people she feels had the biggest impact on why she chose to take her life.

Right off the bat, I want to say that overall, I did not like the show, and many of my thoughts listed here are reasons why I didn’t like it. I also want to say that many, but not all, of these thoughts are just my opinion, and you’re welcome to disagree with them (my intention is not to convince you, but rather just to get my thoughts out and organized).

If you are reading this, I assume you have watched season 1 in its entirety, and so this may very well contain spoilers. If you haven’t watched the show yet, while I can’t honestly recommend it, watching it will make it easier to understand what I’m talking about.

1.The Show Feels Superficial

Throughout the show, I kept being reminded that it was a show, that it was fake, and that rather than depicting something real, I felt like it depicted the idea of something real. The interior shots of homes, especially Clay’s, Hannah’s, and Bryce’s looked like they were taken straight out of IKEA or Rooms to Go. And when you’re trying to tell a very real, personal story, it doesn’t help to think these characters live in a furniture store.

And I feel the same way about the characters, like they were taken from the trope store. Liberty High, to me, doesn’t feel like a real high school, it feels like the producers watched a movie about high school, and said “Let’s do that.” The characters are the typical tropes you’d expect: Jocks, loners, preps, geeks, etc. And while each of these characters is developed and given a personality, their trope always feels at the forefront.

Likewise, I feel like the shows attitude towards suicide is much the same. Like they heard about suicide or read about it in a book and said “yeah, let’s do that.” (for context, the show is based on a book).

2.Clay is a Boring Main Character

Clay is the main character, and I honestly don’t understand why. He’s boring, uninteresting, and at times really really annoying. He’s a compulsive liar (and a bad liar at that), he has no defining characteristics, except a scar on his forehead and a pouty face. He makes rash and impulsive decisions out of anger and confusion. And he’s upset about what happened to Hannah.

And I feel like nothing about Clay changes throughout the show. He gets a little angrier, but I feel like there’s no climax for him, no turning point, I feel like he just learns more information about Hannah and gets angrier or more confused, but nothing about his character changes. And I feel like there are plenty of other characters who would’ve been a better main character, my first pick being Alex (guess we’ll have to wait for season 2 for that, though).

3.Hannah Blames People for Not Doing Something

Clay doesn’t stay with her in the bedroom, after she tells him to “get the fuck out!” Zach doesn’t speak up about the letter in class. And Mr. Porter doesn’t go after Hannah after their talk. And I think it’s completely unfair of Hannah to be mad at them or blame them for what she did, because she expected them to react in a certain way.

I feel most strongly about this in regards to Zach who did nothing but try to be nice to Hannah. He said something stupid about her ass, “I like you for so much more than that,” I believe it was, and Hannah overreacted at him. And while I can understand where she was coming from, I don’t feel it’s fair to hold him responsible.

4.The Show Makes No Attempt to Help

One of the glaringly obvious flaws of the show is that I, as a viewer, never felt like the show wanted to help me if I were considering suicide (I’m not, but there’s undoubtedly viewers who are). The show makes no attempt to offer resources or portray that there are options to get help, and if fact depicts the opposite idea, that getting help is useless (in the case of Mr. Porter). And I feel like in this way, the showrunners cared more about showing suicide than helping prevent it (“glorifying it,” as some have said).

The show also has this overtone of “We need to treat everyone better,” and maybe we can stop this, but doesn’t offer any ideas on how to do that. I feel like, especially with the last few episodes (depicting rape, and suicide in great detail), and the addition of Alex killing himself (which they decided not to show), that the showrunners were more concerned with getting an emotional response or making the viewers uncomfortable, than actually trying to make a statement about suicide, or suicide prevention.

5.Showing Was Unnecessary

I feel this is true with both the rape scenes and the suicide scene. We didn’t need to see it to know it happened, or how emotionally-damaging it was. We already knew Hannah committed suicide, and we didn’t need to see Jessica or Hannah being raped to know it happened. Of course the ratings will be better if you show it (just take a look at Game of Thrones, that practically makes its living killing off and raping characters).

Suicide prevention experts have commented about how irresponsible depicting the suicide is, and how it’s likely doing more harm than good, saying that, statistically someone who witnesses a suicide (even fictional) or was close to someone who committed suicide is more likely to commit suicide themselves. The percentage is small, but still very real, and should be taken as a serious concern.

What’s especially troubling is that the showrunners were told this, and yet continued to defend the show in favor of artistic expression and authenticity. And for me that’s incredibly troubling.

Final Thoughts

I can’t recommend 13 Reasons Why, because it’s an irresponsible, distasteful, depiction of suicide, that doesn’t care about or try to help anyone who might be experiencing the same things.

 

 

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People Standing Around

A few months back, I started going to, and in that same time period, stopped going to a friendly local game store in Tampa, FL. Armada Games. Which, by the way has an amazing and friendly staff, with an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, and a very nice location. And the reason I stopped going, aside from being slightly out of the way, had nothing to do with the store or its staff. In fact, if that were the only deciding factor, I would’ve been back all the time.

The problem was with the people standing around. Armada games hosts board game nights every Monday around 6pm, and from the handful of times I went, I saw that they had a pretty decent-sized crowd every time, with plenty of regulars, and even free pizza and discounts if you say you’re going on Meetup. And I’ve honestly not seen many FLGS’ with such dedication to making sure their attendees have a great time.

The problem is, week after week, I found myself actually playing very few games. It wasn’t for lack of demo games (they had a great selection on the shelf), or lack of people bringing in their own games, it was a lack of people wanting to play games. Which sounds downright ridiculous, because it’s a board game meetup, but on more than one ocassion, I found myself trying to find a game, with little or no success.

And the problem wasn’t that everyone was already in a game, or there weren’t enough players. No, the problem was that there were people standing around. People saying “I want to play a game,” or “I’m looking for a game to play,” and so on. But when I asked them “hey, want to play this?” or “Did you have a game in mind?” their answer was “no.”

And I could understand if it was the same person every time, or if the game I was suggesting wasn’t for them, or if they were just indecisive, but this happened week after week. Plenty of players, plenty of options, but no one wants to play anything. And I don’t want to go to a board game meetup to stand around and do nothing, and pretend like I want to play something, I want to actually play something.

Anyway, just thought I’d share this odd experience. And I want to say if you’re in the Tampa area, check out Armada Games. It’s a great store with a great staff (no, they didn’t pay me to dote on them). I just wish I had a better experience with the players there.

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Why Every SAW Knock-Off Sucks

After SAW came out in 2004, people went insane with knock-offs, each one trying to be gorier and more greusome than the last. It was the height of the “torture porn” genre. Everyone and their mothers was making one of these movies, and you know what? They all sucked. Here’s why.

Warning: There may be spoilers ahead. Continue reading

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Why Comparing Console Specs Is a Waste of Time

Playstation just announced its new, upgraded, version of the PS4, called “PS4 Pro,” and of course, all anyone can talk about are its specs, and that’s fine, I mean, that’s the whole deal, right? A PS4 with better specs, more teraflops and the like. 4K resolution and all that good stuff.

But what people are also doing with this information is comparing it to Microsoft’s new version of the XBox One, Project Scorpio, and this happens every time a new console is released. And that…is a waste of time. Why? Because in the long run, none of it matters. Here’s why: Continue reading

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7 Stupid Realities of the Wizarding World

J.K. Rowling’s magical world of Harry Potter seems like every child’s dream, but there’s some often overlooked stupidities and inconveniences that exist there. Here are 7 stupid Realities of the Wizarding World:

1.There’s No Electricity

J.K. Rowling says electricity makes electronics go haywire, so none of the conveniences we appreciate today exist in the wizarding world. If you want information, guess what, you gotta go to the library and find the book that has that information, or have Hermione as a friend, I suppose. You can’t look it up, say, on the internet.

You also can’t text your friends, you either have to be right there in the room with them, or send a handwritten letter by Owl. I guess they technically have Facetime, though, it just operates on a fireplace, rather than an Apple product.

But it’s not just super convenient modern technologies that are affected by this. There’s no lamps, save for maybe oil lamps, people use Candlelight in the wizarding world, or sunlight. I guess they can magic some light out of their wand, though, so that makes up for it.

2.No One Knows Math

Well, at least, it’s not taught at Hogwarts. This is extremely odd, because the students take classes where math would be useful, like Potions, where they have to measure ingredients. Heck, simple arithmetic is undoubtedly useful whether you’re a wizard or not.

There are probably accountants who work for the Ministry of Magic, right? Where did they learn math? Do they even use math?

Sorry British followers, I meant “maths”.

3.Wizard Money Makes No Sense

Money comes in 3 forms in the wizarding world, 3 very very odd forms. Bronze Knuts, Silver Sickles, and Gold Galleons. And the exchange rate is about as convoluted as could possibly be. You might be thinking 4 Sickles make up a Galeon, or 10 Knuts make up a Sickle, or something like that, and if you are thinking that, you’ve learned nothing about how ridiculous the wizarding world actually is.

No, 1 Sickle is equal to 29 Knuts, yes 29! Not 25 or 30, or 50, or anything that makes sense, twenty-frickin’-nine! Oh and Galleons? No, not 29 Sickles, it’s 17 Sickles or 493 Knuts. In a world without math, what the actual fuck? Who understands this system? (Goblins…only Goblins).

Oh, and did I mention there’s no paper money? It only comes in coin form, so every wizard or witch has to carry around a big satchel of money, if they plan on buying anything. Remember how I said there’s no electricity? Yeah, that means no credit or debit cards either.

4.Dumbeldore is A Terrible Person

In almost every single book, Dumbledore allows the students of Hogwarts, especially Harry, and by extension, Ron and Hermione, to be threatened by and attacked by multiple things that could kill them. In the first book, Every student is able to access the third floor corridoor, where a giant, three-headed dog is waiting there. (It’s not one of those firendly dogs, either!)  He leaves a mirror in a random room, where anyone could stumble upon it, a mirror that Dumbledore himself says people have wasted their lives away in front of.

In the second book, several students are terrorized by, and nearly killed by a monster, and instead of sending them home while he deals with the threat, he just…lets it happen. In the end, much like in the first book, Dumbeldore doesn’t even do anything to stop it, Ginny almost dies, and Harry risks his life (he could’ve easily died too) fighting it. And when he tells Dumbledore about it, he isn’t even phased. Not to mention, this is the second time, in two years that Voldemort, the most powerful evil wizard in the world, has appeared at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore keeps running the school like normal.

And this continues book after book.

I’ll also add that Dumbledore hired Snape, an ex-Death Eater, who is consistently abusive to his students, to work at his school. Once more, he calls this abusive man his friend.

Let me also say that teachers at Hogwarts are not given any kind of background check, and Dumbledore regularly hires potentially dangerous teachers to be around children. If they conducted background checks, nearly every Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher wouldn’t have been employed throughout the series.

I guess that’s why he’s called “Dumbledore” and not “Smartledore”.

5.Slavery Is Perfectly Okay, and Nobody Questions It

Nobody except Hermione. Hermione is adamantly against the enslavement of House Elves, and any time she expresses it to anyone, they laugh about it, like it’s no big deal, to the extent where, I believe it’s Ron who says, “They like it.”

Remember when I talked about how Dumbledore is a terrible person? Yeah, these are his slaves. Technically they’re Hogwarts’ slaves, but he runs Hogwarts, so you do the math…oh wait.

This whole side-story about Hermione trying to put an end to this is like an episode of the Twilight Zone; where she knows some obvious injustice is going on, and nobody takes her seriously. It’s insane.

6.Wizards Have Stupid Things for No Reason

In the first book/movie, Neville gets a cool magic invention called a “Remembrall,” which reminds him that he’s forgotten something. Sorry, did I say “cool”? I meant completely stupid and ridiculous. The Remembrall is a ball of glass that works like this: If you forget something, it fills with smoke. That’s it. It doesn’t tell you what you forgot, or when you forgot it, or anything. It just fills with smoke. There’s an invention in the wizarding world that works similarly, although it does tell you what you’ve forgotten, and there’s no smoke. It’s called a piece of paper and a pen. What’s that? Wizards don’t have pens?

Yeah, that’s another thing, wizards use ink and a quill to write. That’s it, that’s the whole thing, but why, though? Pens and Pencils aren’t electronic, and there’s no practical argument for quills, pens already have ink in them, you don’t need an inkwell to use them. What’s the point?

Remember when I talked about how Dumbledore is a terrible person and how he subjects his students to dangerous things all the time? Well, usually those dangerous things aren’t things students are required to have…then again, sometimes they are. Case and point, the Monster Book of Monsters. A book that will bite you relentlessly unless you stroke its spine, but of course nobody is told that until they get to class.

The Wizarding world is full of studpid shit like this.

7.Hogwarts is a Death Trap

If Jigsaw was a wizard, Hogwarts would be the result.

I’ve already talked about how Dumbeldore has almost no respect for the lives of the students at Hogwarts, subjecting them to terrible creatures and people, and usually these things come from the outside, or they’re teachers hired by Dumbledore, but Hogwarts itself has a shocking number of dangerous things in and around it.

The Womping Willow. A tree that swings and strikes and attacks anyone who gets near it.

The Forbidden Forest, which is full of deadly, bloodthirsty creatures who have no problem killing people. (Did I mention Dumbledore allowed students to go into these woods in their first year?)

The Lake, which, like the forest, is full of deadly creatures that would have no problem killing students. Did I also mention that first year students must travel by boat, across this lake to get to Hogwarts, but more experienced students, in later years, get to take a safe carriage ride to Hogwarts.

The Staircases move, and, at least in the movie, some of them don’t have handrails. (These are staircases sometimes 3, 4, maybe 5 stories high.)

Peeves the Poltergeist torments students and teachers, sometimes in ways that could seriously injur them.

In Quidditch, the bludgers could knock a student unconscious, break their bones, or potentially even kill them. Granted, these things are easier to fix in the Wizarding World, but I feel like that shouldn’t be an excuse to subject students to them.

You know when Scooby-Doo and the gang go into a haunted mansion, and there’s all sorts of crazy stuff going on, like suits of armor trying to chop their axe into one of them, or secret passages and trapdoors causing them to disappear? That’s basically Hogwarts.

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List of TCGs and ECGs

Here is a list of currently-supported TCGs, ECGs, LCGs, etc. If I missed something, please feel free to comment, or send me a message and let me know what I missed.

The entries on this list will provide links to their official websites, or in lieu of an offical website, they’ll link to their entry page on Boardgamegeek.com. Continue reading

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TCGs vs. ECGs – A Comparison

Before I start, let me say that what I say in this post is based on my own personal experience, and that your experience may very well be different. Nonetheless, I think this information is valuable, and I’d like to share it with you. Continue reading

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