But Where Would They Keep The Guns?!

, , , , | Friendly | February 25, 2019

(My British friend and I are on a road trip in the USA that started in California and wound around to Kansas before heading back. She’s been to the states before, but a lot of what’s going on around us still involves some minor cultural differences. She’s also a massive fan of the TV show “Supernatural,” which is how we ended up in Kansas to begin with. We’re stopped at a red light on a four-lane highway when she asks me a question out of the blue.)

Friend: “Are Dodges small vehicles?”

Me: *knowing that’s a question that has an ambiguous answer at best* “Why do you ask?”

Friend: “There’s a story in the fandom that the car in Supernatural was supposed to be a Dodge Charger, but they changed it to an Impala on the day of the first shoot because they couldn’t fit a dead body in the back of the Charger.”

Me: “Ah. Next lane, two cars up. That’s a Charger.” *it is, indeed, a smaller car but I don’t think it’s particularly noteworthy* “And that white thing coming at us is also a Dodge.”

(She looks across at the oncoming traffic and sees a Dodge Ram 3500 with a long box, extended cab, duallies, and a lift kit.)

Friend: “Oh.”

Me: “North American vehicles will fall anywhere between ‘can park it on the sidewalk’ and ‘built to tow a house up a mountain.’ Usually from the same brand.”

(Later, after getting back home, I’m relating this story to my mother. I get as far as telling her about the switch in vehicles before she cuts me off.)

Mom: “You can so stick a dead body in the back of a Charger! Just keep folding! Your grandmother once brought a moose home in a Gremlin, for crying out loud! Heck, given the right incentive, I could fit a body in the hatch of that Fiat we rented in Montreal, and that thing was tiny! They are showing that dead body far too much respect!”

(For the record, every single one of my relatives had the same reaction to this story. Mom’s particular spiel was just the most memorable.)

Desensitized To Violence

, , , , , , | Learning | February 25, 2019

(I’m taking a class on the history of animation. One of our assignments is to go to the library where there is a video reserved for the class to watch in our off time, featuring various old theatrical cartoons that were banned from television for various reasons, mostly due to being politically incorrect. After this, we have to write a paper on it. On the day that the assignment is due, we end up having an in-class discussion on the cartoons that we saw. One cartoon, in particular, looks like it came out either in the late 1920s or early 30s, and everyone keeps talking about the beginning that had a rather blatant Jewish stereotype.)

Me: “Wait a minute. So, we’re discussing a cartoon that ended with piles of dead bodies, many of which were dismembered, and there was even an on-screen decapitation, but the part everyone here is hung up on is the Jewish stereotype that was on screen for about three seconds?”

American Culture Sure Is A Picture Show

, , , , | Friendly | February 18, 2019

(I am an American living in Mexico in the 90s. I’m ice skating with my girlfriend when “The Time Warp” comes on the PA.)

Me: “Oh, this is from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Girlfriend: “What’s that?”

Me: “It’s an American movie about a transvestite scientist who creates a Frankenstein-like man to be their personal sex slave. But it turns out the doctor is an alien. In the US they have midnight showings of the movie, where the men wear women’s underwear and people say all these crazy quotes and throw things at the screen.”

Girlfriend: “I see.”

(It was then that I learned there are some concepts that simply do not transcend cultures.)

I’d Like An Ice-Cream Planet Myself

, , , , , | Learning | February 14, 2019

(My film studies class has been watching “Planet of the Apes.” The second day of the film, the teacher takes a few minutes to ask if anyone has questions about the movie or the notes we’ve been taking. One student voices a complaint:)

Student: “How come they ended up in a field? Weren’t they on a desert planet?”

Teacher: “Well, they thought they were on a desert planet, because they didn’t see any plant life, but they just happened to land in a desert.”

Student: “But that doesn’t make sense! Either they’re on a desert planet or on a living planet; you can’t have both!”

(By now, several other students are snickering.)

Teacher: “Well, what type of planet is Earth? Earth has deserts and fields, and polar regions–“

Student: “Earth is an Earth planet!”

(The entire classroom bursts out laughing. The teacher sighs, turns around, and pretends to write on the whiteboard.)

Teacher: “Today on Things Said in [Teacher]’s Class: ‘Earth is an Earth Planet.'”

The Spider-Verse Is Already Big Enough

, , , , , , , | Related | February 13, 2019

(My husband and I have taken our three-year-old son to see “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” He has been to movies before and is always quiet and completely enthralled by the movie. When Spider-Man first appears, he points to the screen.)

Son: *loudly* “Batman!”

(There’s scattered giggling from adults and older children. I shush him and speak in a whisper.)

Me: “No, not Batman. Remember? Mama told you that we’re seeing Spider-Man.”

Son: *also whispering* “Spi-yer-Man?”

Me: “Yes, Spider-Man. But we have to be quiet.”

Son: *whispers loudly and points again* “Spider-Man!”

(For the rest of the movie, he is silent as he eats his popcorn and sips his drink. But then, Miles Morales shows up in his black and red Spidey suit and:)

Son: *loudly and excitedly as he points* “IT BATMAN!”

(It seemed like the entire theater broke into a giggling fit at my son’s enthusiastic mistake.)

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