Mythology And Movies: How “Accurate” is Thor?

Later this year, another film based on the Marvel canon of Thor will be released, adding to the overall Avengers saga. Like the first film released in 2011, Thor: The Dark World will see the heroic titular character battle against powerful beings to protect humanity.

We at Scholar Hero, however, are concerned with how much the film will departure from the original Norse mythology on which it is based. This article gives us an idea of how well the first movie did.

Film Thor vs. Mythical Thor: Fair       

The character of Thor is an admirable interpretation of the Norse god.  In tradition, Thor is a “warrior god” who often did battle with large beasts in order to protect the world of humans and the world of gods.

However, unlike the blonde, well-groomed face of Chris Hemsworth,Mythical Thor was red-headed and sported a large, bushy beard.

Hiis hammer Mjölnir (pronounced, MYOO-NYEER, we think…) is truly represented accurately in the film. Mjölnir is powerful, wielded only by its owner, and always returns to Thor’s mighty clutch, just as it does in the film.

What about the other gods?

Film Odin vs. Mythical Odin: Poor

Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is too peacefully represented in the films. Odin scolds Thor for starting a war with the frost giants of Jotunheim, but the mythological Odin would be the one causing the war. Odin is commonly associated symbolically with war, strife, and madness. He uses black magic and is a far cry from the virtuous depiction in the film.

Film Loki vs. Mythical Loki: Poor

Many mythologies have some version of trickster god. Nordic mythology is no different. Like any trickster, Loki is relentlessly mischievous. His actions rarely have long-standing complications, adding color to their experience. The films portrays Loki (Tom Hiddleston) as an evil mastermind more akin to the Odin of the myth.

What will they get right and wrong this second time around? Thor: The Dark World hits theatres on November 11th.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

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Professor Spotlight: Dr. Leo Chavez, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

For the third part of our professor series, we contacted professor of anthropology, Dr. Leo Chavez.

1) Who is Dr. Chavez, and how would he describe his academic career in general?

“I am a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  I earned my Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University.  My research focuses on Latin America and Latin Americans in the United States.

“My research examines various issues related to transnational migration, immigrants and medical care, cultural models of cancer risk factors, and media constructions of the “immigrant” and the “nation.”

“I am the author of Shadowed Lives:  Undocumented Immigrants in American Society (3rd Edition, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning 2013), which provides an ethnographic account of Mexican and Central American undocumented immigrants in San Diego County, California.

“My book Covering Immigration:  Popular Images and the Politics of the Nation (University of California Press 2001) examines the ways immigrants are represented in the media and popular discourse in the United States between 1965 and 2000.

“My recent book, The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation (Stanford University Press, 2008; 2nd edition 2013), examines the role of media spectacles in helping shape how Latinos are constructed as a threat to the nation and for undermining claims of citizenship.

“I recently published “Undocumented Immigrants and Medical Care: Popular Perceptions and Empirical Realities” in Social Science & Medicine 74 (6): 887-893, 2012, and “’Awakening to a Nightmare’: Abjectivity and Illegality in the Lives of Undocumented 1.5 Generation Latino Immigrants in the United States,” with Roberto G. Gonzales in Current Anthropology 53(3):255-281, 2012.

“I received the Margaret Meade Award in 1993, the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists’ Book Award for The Latino Threat  in 2009, and the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s award for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America in 2009.”

2) What first inspired you to pursue a career in academia?

“As with many people, I was inspired by a great professor I had at college, at UC Santa Cruz.  I thought it would be a great life to examine important issues that affected peoples lives. I have been fortunate to be able to use my research on immigration in ways that can provide insight into the struggles and obstacles immigrants encounter as they try to make a better life for themselves and their children.”

3) What are you currently working on?

“I am always working on some aspect of the immigrant experience.  At present, I spend a lot of time examining how immigrants and their children are represented in the media.”

4) What kind of change would you like to see in the culture of academia?

“I think a greater willingness to use research to understand problems in the wider society.”

5) What advice would you offer to aspiring academics?

“Work on issues that are important to you.  Take chances.  And try to think beyond the halls of academia to influence the society you live in.”

 

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Educated Entrepreneurship: The Boston Globe’s Interview With Bill Aulet

Can anyone be an entrepreneur? Bill Aulet, the director of the Martin Trust Center For MIT Entrepreneurship, sure thinks so. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Aulet gives his insight on the development of a startup company.He claims that proper education is key, and anyone can be educated. Here are some other highlights:

Entrepreneurship Belongs to the Disciplined

Bill Aulet believes that entrepreneurship can be taught but few universities address the overwhelming desire for such courses. In response, he has written a book (Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup) that seeks to mentor those looking to create their own business.

 

Bill Aulet’s resource for entrepreneurs.

The Demand for Entrepreneurship Never Ceases

Entrepreneurship is a response by people who don’t see themselves working in big firms or on Wall Street. While a large number of people might share this approach, the country can stand to have many up-and-coming self-starters developing companies. Not everyone can have their own business, but there is always plenty of room.

A group of aspiring, and educated, entrepreneurs. (Photo Source: EG Focus http://www.flickr.com/photos/egfocus/)

A group of aspiring, and educated, entrepreneurs. (Photo Source: EG Focus http://www.flickr.com/photos/egfocus/)

Success = Failure + Failure + Failure + Failure …

Failure happens. This truth is to be expected, but it shouldn’t be accepted with resignation. Entrepreneurs need to approach their startup with a never-say-die attitude. Failure could be bad, but it is in the past—the goals are still out there to be attained.

For the full interview and more insights from Bill Aulet, visit: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/08/11/mit-bill-aulet-charts-steps-start-success/bfwVKBE7TT4LceDrh1zb8O/story.html

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Of Sight and Sound: How Technology Helps Impaired Students

Technology in universities have an overall positive effect on accessibility, and for some students, that means more than just having fewer books to carry.

  • 1/3 of disabled youth attend some kind of postsecondary school in the United States.

  • People with hearing or visual impairments were more likely to attend college.

  • About 1/4 of disabled students receive no accommodations from their university.

Many technologies respond to the needs of the impaired, offering university textbooks with a variety of tools on common handheld devices. While some books are scanned images of the pages, others are fully digital text with variable font size and text-to-speech capabilities.

Google's app store is adding academic books in addition to their already popular ones. (Photo Source: Wesley Fryer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/)

Google’s app store to add academic books in addition to their already popular selection of literature. (Photo Source: Wesley Fryer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/)

In spite of all this technologies, problems of inaccessibility still persist. Recently, a blind student in Louisiana was unable to access the online materials for a course and was forced to withdraw. Fortunately, the Justice Department ruled that universities cannot buy material that is not available to all students.

We at Scholar Hero only hope that both technology and policies continue to move towards total accessibility for all students. Nothing should stand in the way of an equal education for all.

Powerful tools for the disabled student. (Photo Source: Yutaka Tsutano http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivyfield/)

Powerful tools for the disabled student. (Photo Source: Yutaka Tsutano http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivyfield/)

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/09/google-play-adds-digital-textbooks-for-rent-and-purchase/

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/29/disabled

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/26/settlements-put-colleges-duty-ensure-blind-students-access-materials-under-new

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Broadening Narrow Studies: Interdisciplinarity For University Students

Collaboration solves problems and creates new ideas. However, students are being pushed into overly-specific fields of study. Professor Don Nutbeam, vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, explores this issue and the benefits of a interdisciplinary research.

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Left: Don Nutbeam. (Photo Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office http://www.flickr.com/photos/foreignoffice/)

Broader studies are gaining importance as potential employers demand flexibility from graduates. Career fields of the future will likely look very different from the ones today, and these graduates will have to navigate a large network of employment paths. It is the university’s role to provide as many paths for success as possible..

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Southampton University. (Photo Source: John Goode http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnieb/)

Fortunately, universities are beginning to embrace interdisciplinarity in addition to traditional programs. Professor Nutbeam’s own school started introducing courses developed for adaptability.The University of Manchester created the University College For Interdisciplinary Learning to properly prepare students for less subject-intensive fields.

While a full transition for traditional universities will be difficult, great things usually happen when intellectuals come together.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The Batmen Around Us: Five Real World Choices For Batman

For better or worse, Ben Affleck, one of Hollywood’s most divisive members is set to play the caped crusader in the upcoming Superman/Batman crossover film, directed by Man of Steel’s Zach Snyder.

Whether or not Affleck could play Batman, could he actually BE Batman? Probably not, but we at Scholar Hero thought critically about the real life people that could. Our criteria was simple: Batman should be:

  • healthy

  • wealthy

  • wise

  • and possibly insane.

Here are our five could-be choices for the real-life Batman:

Dustin Moskovitz

What else is there to do when you’re a young, handsome, tech-savvy billionaire? The Harvard dropout earned his fortune as one of the co-founders of Facebook. When he’s not developing new technology and helping charities, our guess is that he’s checking the Walls on the BatCave.

Keanu Reeves

Reeves’ life has been plagued with many personal misfortunes that might drive anyone to half-crazed heroics. He is also one of the most private celebrities in Hollywood. His life is relatively unassuming compared to  Bruce Wayne’s, but that just makes for a better cover. Lastly, as we all know, “he knows kung fu.”

Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren might be an aging 80’s action star, but the recent Expendables movie shows us that the Swedish-American bodybuilder still has the skills and the fitness to lay down a serious beating. Does he have the intelligence to be Batman? Lundgren holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and he’s a member of MENSA. Seriously.

Will Smith

Could Will Smith go from Fresh Prince to Caped Crusader? While he did not attend college, he was admitted into an MIT pre-engineering program, and people would be hard-pressed to call him unintelligent. He may not be crazy enough to be Batman, but one could speculate after this interview.

Christian Bale

Bale is one of the finest method actors of our time. In order to prepare for the role, Bale somehow… became Batman. He put on pounds of muscle and went through intense training to learn his combat skills. Moreover, he is known for his sudden, violent tirades. He is fit, wealthy, and crazy, and he also knows exactly what it’s like to be Batman.

Who is our choice? Now that Affleck is taking the cape and cowl in front of the camera, we suspect this could all be a cover for Bale to assuming his duties full-time.

Unless Joseph Gordon-Levitt has something to say about it.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The Academic Doctor Who

With the enormous press over a new Doctor casted and the show’s 50th anniversary approaching, Doctor Who is one of the few popular, long standing programs on TV driven by the relentless pursuit of knowledge.

Doctor Who is a BBC science fiction series about an alien named The Doctor who explores time and space for the sake of general enlightenment. Doctor Who began as a children’s education series, and while it has evolved into the popular mainstream, it still has much to teach.

Property of the BBC

The Doctor might be over 900 years old and possess a limitless mental encyclopedia, his capacity and passion to learn and explore never ceases. He is the perfect embodiment of the archetypal scholar.

His adventures, however, are often interrupted by dangers such as aliens, cyborgs, or natural disasters. Like a true pacifist, the Doctor opts to solve any problem through research and discovery rather than violence.

Pictured: A time machine. (Property of the BBC)

The doctor also believes in the power of collaboration. He recruits a human Companion with him on his adventures, usually because he delights in seeing their curiosity.

What drives the series of Doctor Who is the core belief that knowledge is worthwhile, world-altering, and meant to be shared with others. In other words, Doctor Who is a fundamentally a show for the academic in all of us.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.