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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Reconfiguring Mythology

(I wrote this essay a few years ago after watching the first ‘Avengers’ movie and before the showing of “Prometheus.” Screenwriters and movie producers have mined the pages of Mythology and Legend for their movie projects. Both Marvel and DC (and their partners) keep coming out with movies where their resident superheroes either make friends or clash with mythological and legendary characters and creatures. Watch “Wonder Woman” and you’ll see how elements of “Greek Mythology” were fused into the movie. Go watch the latest “Transformers” movie next and find out whether Merlin, King Arthur and the knights of the round table sided with the Autobots or with the Decepticons.)

Recent movies I watched (“Clash of the Titans”, “Thor” and the “Avengers”) have brought me endless amazement.  Amazed because my favorite characters in classic literature come alive in fresh story lines stuffed with visual and sound effects  that are breathtakingly outstanding and astounding.

But more than the amazement, the said movies  also inspired  me to revisit the subject in Literature that I have always considered most interesting – Mythology.

Of course we know that the Titans are entities from Greek Mythology. Seemingly, movie producers are casting their lots on the Titans nowadays. “Prometheus” (which is the title of the movie that soon I will be watching) himself is another Titan.  What remains to be seen is whether or not in the movie Prometheus plays out his role of stealing the heavenly fire for the benefit of humanity.

Conversely, Thor and Loki, who appeared in both “Thor” and “The Avengers” are both characters in Norse Mythology.

Generally,  script writers and movie producers  are seemingly mining the pages of Mythology  for their movie projects.

Movies similar to the aforementioned clearly show how enormous advancement in technology  benefited  Mythology.  There’s nothing now that creative writers can’t describe in their narratives that 3D and 4D computer graphics can’t project unto the silver screen.

The unbelievable visual  effects made possible through Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) thrill movie goers and startle them no end. This is one of the best ways to present Mythology. All those imaginary creatures, out-of-this world settings and incredible circumstances would no longer be left for the audience to imagine but for their eyes to feast upon.

What would be the educational implications of this modern rendition of Mythology?

Teaching the said subject has become easier and learning on the part of the students become more fun. For teachers, the movie versions (or even just a few clips) of stories from the pages of Mythology may serve as their audio-visual materials. Discussions during  classes will be greatly augmented by the visuals students see in the movies. Lest we forget that the current generation of learners  are visual. The better they learn when presented with images, pictures and colors. With the right  movies, they learn while having fun.

It could be true that the movie versions of Mythology may make students disinterested with reading but one thing we should bear in mind is that the learning landscape has changed. Through viewing learning could be achieved as well. Viewing, just like reading , has lately been classified as a macro skill in language also.

These reminds me of the suggestion made by one of my students in Creative Writing before. She said that to make sure that the students would read the original story and not just rely on the movie version one activity that could be designed is ask them to find the portions of the original story modified in the movie version.

Could it be that learning Mythology becomes more effective through “viewing” than through “reading?” This is not saying that today’s generation of learners should no longer be encouraged to read. For each area of knowledge there is a corresponding macro skill most applicable. Methinks that for Mythology it is “viewing.”

However, teachers need to pay attention to the discrepancies between the original story and the movie versions. They have to warn the students about such.

For instance, in the movie “Troy”, the Trojan war took place in less than a month. In the original story (Homer’s Iliad), the war ended after ten years. The movie also shows Paris killing Menelaus which is not the case in the original story. The foregoing are but a few of the many discrepancies.

The teachers have to be on the lookout for possible changes to the original story. They themselves need to recognize the changes so the students get to be informed.

Perhaps the movie producers needed to tinker with the original storylines of the “classics” to make the movie versions more cinematic. Understandably, not all the details in the original stories can be included but at least the brains behind the movie production be sensible enough not to change significant details in the story.

Another thing that teachers should be ready for are questions like “Are the Hulk and the Iron Man mythological characters?”

“Myth” is traditionally defined as a story about gods, heroes or imaginary animals which has been handed down  from  one  generation   to another from primitive  times  and is  usually of a religious nature. Additionally the  purpose  of myths is   to explain some belief or natural phenomenon.

Should the foregoing definition be considered, the Hulk and the Iron Man are not mythological characters. In the movie “The Avengers” only Thor and Loki fall in that category.

Experts differ in opinion as to whether or not the companions of Thor and Loki in “The Avengers” be classified as mythological characters. Others contend that they are simply fictional  characters or superheroes that appear in comic books. Their stories do not bear the prerequisites for a myth.

Some are saying that stories in the comic books are part of “modern mythology.” It is not. In a strict sense the term “modern mythology” is delivering classic mythology using as medium the modern technology available nowadays.

What could really be considered as modern version of mythology are the “urban legends.” “Batman,” also a famous character from the comic books is said to be part of urban legend. Thus, if the  comic book character Batman, technically, is a Mythological character, urban legends being a modern version of Mythology, what about the rest of the comic book characters?

Then, the discussion goes in full circle again.

But who knows, with characters from Mythology and comic books finally brought together either as friends cooperating or enemies locking horns in the movie “The Avengers” a redefinition of the term MYTH may follow.

Source: Reconfiguring Mythology

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PAGHILUMIN

depressed-man-at-the-lake

Heto ako’t sa pighati’y nalulunod
Sa bigat ng lumbay puso ko’y nadurog
Ngayo’y nagsusumamo’t naninikluhod
Bumalik ka sana’t pawiin ang lungkot

Pagbalong ng luha ko’y iyong pigilin
Bisig mo’y ibuka at ako’y yakapin
Andap sa puso mo’y hipa’t pag-alabin
Damdaming kong sinugata’y paghilumin

Sakit mong idinulot iyong pawiin
Bumalik ka na’t muli akong mahalin
Ikaw ang tanglaw ko sa mundong madilim
Kay hirap mabuhay nang ‘di ka kapiling

Nasaktan akong labis nang iyong iwanan
Paggulong ng luha’y ‘di ko mapigilan
Bumalik ka’t halik labi ko’y dampian
Pighati sa puso ko’y iyong tuldukan

(Mula sa awiting “Unbreak My Heart” ni Toni Braxton)

Warriors-Cavs: It’s 3-1…Again

Warriors-Cavs

The Cavs avoided the dreaded broom and prevented the Warriors from celebrating a historic sweet 16-0 Playoffs sweep.

The Warriors’ flirtation with a perfect Playoffs record ended. However, despite losing Game 4, the faithful citizens of Dub Nation are not worried believing that the 2017 NBA Larry O’Brien trophy is still heading to the San Francisco Bay area. They may be right for it would take a super human effort to win 4 straight games against their “juggernaut” of a team.

It may seem a tall order to recover from a 0-3 hole to make a series a little more competitive but it has been done in the past. NBA records show that there were 9 teams that forced a Game 6 after losing the first three games and 3 forced a game 7.


It would take a super human effort for the Cavs to win 4 straight games against the “juggernaut” Warriors. They had that kind of effort in Game 4 clinching them a win. But still the “Hydra” from San Francisco Bay is up 3-1. Do the Cav’s “Hercules” (Lebron) still have what it takes to slay the many-headed monster? The Cavs indeed face a herculean task of clawing back from a 1-3 hole. They did it last year. Would they be able to do it again this year? They cut one of the Hydra’s head (Curry) last year. But cut one head and two heads would emerge from the fresh wound. It happened. Curry’s back playing healthy and with him sprang the Hydra’s additional head, Durant!

All roads lead to the Oracle, not of Delphi, but the arena in San Franciso on Monday night! Let’s see who the basketball gods favor this time.


The New York Knicks snared 3 consecutive wins after losing the first 3 games of the 1951 NBA Finals to push the Rochester Royals to a deciding Game 7. The Knicks lost the deciding game though, something that the Warriors could hope would happen should the Cavs, again, succeed in bringing the series to a winner-take-it-all finale.

The Warriors and their legion of hopefuls are counting on the fact the no NBA team has brought home the championship trophy after going down 0-3. But the Cavs and their throng of believers are certainly not looking at the picture anymore as rising from a 0-3 grave but climbing a 1-3 mountain. And there was a team who succeeded in scaling that mountain to become NBA champions…the Cavs themselves.

Déjà vu? Not exactly.

Just like last year, after four games, the Warriors are up 3-1. Then, horrendously, they  dropped the next 3.

Will history repeat itself?

Nobody knows.

However, the circumstances (which favor the Warriors) are much different this year. Now the Warriors have a Kevin Durant and a healthier Stephen Curry. These are the reasons that made basketball experts believe that it’s almost impossible for the Cavs to recover from either a 0-3 or a 1-3 deficit.

But, again, nobody knows what would happen. With Lebron finally getting ample support from Irving and Love, the Cavs are harder to beat. It’s worth noticing that when Smith finally got out of his scoring slump, they almost won in Game 3. Smith again came out to play in Game 4 scoring 5 threes and Tristan Thompson, finally, played the way he was expected to contributing 10 boards and 5 points. Finally, the Cavs won. Not only that Lebron’s teammates started contributing, but the Cavs are also finally shooting better from downtown.

Analysts of the game are unanimous in saying that the Warriors need to need to win Game 5 to end the series. If not, the possibility of a playing a game 7 is strong. Then, it can be anybody’s ballgame.

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