Martin Duque Anguiano
If you couldn’t already tell, we’re going through some things right now as a nation. The last few months have been a bit of a reckoning with respect to sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. From Harvey Weinstein to James Franco to Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics: the jig is up. And, surprise-surprise(!), the issue is more widespread than many ever wanted to believe. Pay particular attention there, because I want to make this abundantly clear: Most of us knew in our heart or hearts this was a deep, systemic issue not contained to any one industry or corner of society, but few of us wanted to actually face the music that was playing. Well, now there’s no hiding from it and we, as a culture and civilized society, are having to really take in the moment.
This process requires a great deal of repentance. There is a lot of forgiveness that must be sought. There are a lot of apologies that must be delivered. Sadly, we’re not very good at any of those things, most of the time. Particularly the act of apologizing. You see, we can’t just say, “I’m sorry, what I did was inexcusable, please forgive me,” with sincerity and that be the extent of our apology.
I don’t normally do resolutions when stepping into a new year. That being said, I do have a few goals to work towards this year. They’ll probably translate in an amazingly boring tone, but you know what they say about baby steps.
I enjoy reading, and from a large swath of topics, but a considerable amount of my reading consists of long-form news stories and investigative reports. Things that take longer than 5 minutes at a time to read. I’d like to focus more on reading books this year. I’m constantly fascinated by people who have developed a consistency in their reading habits. My reading is so sporadic that eventually it trails off as we approach the last quarter of the year. I had a goal last year of reading two books a month, and that started off well enough. Until, that is, about April. Then the wheels fell right off that one, so we’re back to square one this year. I didn’t wait until January 1, 2018 to start, though, I started back in December.
I pay for this website as a space to hang up my work for anyone who stumbles into it to see, so I should probably make it a more worthwhile investment. Writing, like anything, is a commitment. I delete exponentially more than I write, it’s almost depressing. I take a lot of notes on things I want to put words to, and then never bring them to a point where I can hit “publish.” As with reading, I want to develop some sort of rhythm or consistency for writing something, then actually publishing it. If there’s one person to whom I’m really taking notes from, it’s Seth Godin. Please, do not regard that as me wanting to write incredibly practical, helpful, and insightful pieces. While that would be a worthy goal, I’ve always admired how Seth Godin is able to say so much, in such small spaces. You’re not going to spend 10 minutes reading his post, but you’ll spend quite a bit of time digesting what he’s said.
I don’t feel like I exercised my creative muscle last year as much as in years past or as much I’d have liked to, so I intend to work on more personal and commercial projects to make that happen. Whether it be in graphic design, web development, or musically. I haven’t played a gig outside of a church-related function in years and had a couple experiences this past year that sort of stirred up some ideas I’m interested in pursuing. We’ll see.
There is more video content available than ever before and every source of content creation on the internet that isn’t already producing video content is pivoting to video. But how much of it is actually quality video content? I don’t use Facebook much anymore, but the last time I logged in on my desktop, I scrolled through my feed and it was 90% video content. And, sadly, none of it was all that engaging or worth viewing. It was actually quite inundating and aggressive and I wasn’t logged on for more than a couple minutes at the most. It was so overwhelming that I simply closed the tab. It’s also worth noting that I love film and televisions shows, and I tend to get wrapped up in more than I can keep up with at one time. But, I think I want to spend less time giving my attention to video screens and par back my video consumption considerably. It’s probably going to alienate me a bit at the office water cooler, but I think such a step services the other two goals I’ve already noted.
This is the last one I want to talk about, and probably the biggest. As Twitter increases our character limit to 280 and allows us to put together threaded tweet storms from the compose screen, we’re all talking more and listening and reflecting less. Or, we talk first, then consider what we’ve said later and stomach the regret. I’m of the belief that we live in a culture that doesn’t listen to understand, but listens simply to respond. That being said, I think we could all stand to talk a little less and listen and reflect a bit more. I feel as though I published as many tweets as I deleted before publishing in 2017. We’re not bound by a rule that requires our Twitter feeds to be a stream of consciousness in 280 characters. We can edit. We can delete before publishing. It’s okay. This is reflecting before tweeting and asking yourself it you really need to publish that thought. It’s good to be fun, engaging, and even entertaining if possible, but reflect a little.
Furthermore, I want to listen not just to myself, but to others even more so. As I stated a minute ago – we live in a society more motivated to listen in order to respond rather than to understand. Everyone has passionate opinions about a wide range of subject matter, and I want to understand where people come from on a personal level. It’s easy to analyze from 30,000 ft. and make generalizations based on assumed and collated bits of knowledge, but it’s a lot harder to say “Tell me,” and then to just listen to what they have to say without loading up a rebuttal or a “well, actually…” for when they’re done. I want to do more of that, though. Just tell me and let me listen and reflect on what you’re saying and why you might hold that viewpoint. If I want to convince someone of something, anything really, then I need to understand more.
That’s it. That’s where I’m leaning this year.
I’m posting the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War because I’ve been reflecting on what a creative accomplishment the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) truly has come to be. If you’re more of a casual fan of the films that make up the MCU, here’s some history.
The MCU officially started with Iron Man in 2008. The film began production in 2007, which is typically the reference point for when the MCU came into being. Over the course of a decade now, 17 films have been produced which comprise the MCU. Yes, 10 years and 17 films. And there are already 7 more we “officially” know about that have been green lit for production. Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, has already stated that they already have 10-20 already in the planning stages. This is just staggering to ponder if you really consider everything that producing a major motion picture film involves. It really starts to venture into the realm of ridiculous when you consider that all of these films… all of them… are connected in one way or another; be it be common plot devices or character crossovers, a thread weaves through all of them. And, with the release of Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018, that thread finally starts to pull and bring all 17 of those films together. Technically it will be 18 films by the time Infinity War is released because Marvel’s Black Panther will receive it’s theatrical release in February 2018. But, who’s counting at this point?
Suffice it to say we’ve never seen anything like this in film. Star Wars created a galaxy far far away that now encompasses 8 films with the 9th to be released in December 2017. All of the Star Wars film with the exception of one film (Rogue One) all connect to form one main saga, but since Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney in 2012 and the main saga restarted, additional anthology films have now been released or slated for release within the next few years. And, as groundbreaking as the Star Wars galaxy is, that still doesn’t even touch 17 –soon to be 18– films. Its’ remarkable. Even if you don’t necessarily like Marvel’s films, or are just a casual moviegoer who’s caught a few of them, you still have to be somewhat impressed at the feat itself. I recently had to design 4 posters all tied to one theme and I swear it nearly broke me.
I’ll be there in May when Infinity War is released. There is one more Avengers film planned after Infinity War, which was originally billed as Infinity War: Part II, but that has since changed. Filming for Avengers 4 is being completed back-to-back with Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s probably a safe bet that the 4th installment will be tie off over a decades worth of storytelling.
Marvel Studios has certainly adopted a formula for their films through the years. This is to the dismay of some moviegoers as they feel it’s become stale. And, being owned by Disney, there is a certain amount of safety to each film that ensures even younger audiences can partake in the joy. Again, this is to the dismay of some moviegoers. But, it hasn’t stopped these films from being entertaining and fun –with the exception of a few titles. I’m looking at you Thor: The Dark World.
My son loves Iron Man and all the Marvel heroes, but at 6 years old he’s never watched a single film from the MCU, save for that one day he caught a few minutes of the first Avengers film on TV, which was obviously edited for TV. It will certainly be fun in a few years when he’s older and we can sit down and just marathon those movies together.
As much as I love art, until today I knew absolutely nothing about Marfa, Texas. Nothing. I'm a little ashamed. The fact this place exists seems like nothing short of a miracle, and now I want to go. The reason we love art museums so much is because of the immersive experience they offer. Marfa features the installations of Donald Judd, among others, and each seems to offer its own unique and immersive experience. Place looks amazing, nothing more need be said. Take a moment and watch this episode about Marfa from The Art Assignment.