Last January, I began a course required at my school called "Critical Reasoning." I have found this name to be a little misleading. Personally I think the class should be titled "Random trivia and an essay about symbols," or maybe just "how to bullshit 101," or even possibly, "everything you learned from IB that you really don't need another class for but since we don't recognize IB we don't know you are already a master of bullshit." Seriously though, I didn't need the class. I should have realized this the previous semester when my teacher to the precursor class (English Composition) introduced me as one of his "star students" to his girlfriend at a poetry reading and told me at our final review I would breeze through the next class. Also, I think my 107% in the class also speaks to that idea as well. And I'm barely even trying.
Anyway, the only assignment for the semester focused on an 2,000-3,000 word essay where we had to take existing symbols based off of artwork that inspires us and our life experiences, alter them, and create a new symbol that represents some aspect of ourselves or our lives. Seriously. That was our only assignment. Welcome to art school folks, where we work SO hard and students complain at the very slightest reading or writing assignment and therefore get out of most of them! I bet you are thinking you should have gone to a private art school now, huh? Instead of taking the assignment very seriously like most of my classmates, who wrote about serious aspects of their fundamental personality and experiences that made the person they are today, I decided to write about the entire theme of this blog: being a badass. And now I present to you that essay. Because I can. Think of it as the foundation of this entire blog. The origin draft of this was much more lewd and, in my opinion, funny, but my teacher made me tone it down since I GUESS this is an academic paper. Or something. Whatever.
Also, I totally got an A on this. Just sayin'
I am Moosicorn
Believe it or not, I am one incredibly nerdy and awkward white girl. Call it part of my inherent nature, or perhaps there is some psychological reason that I have never been capable of communicating in a functional manner with people, but, whatever the cause, I am sick of it. My social anxieties will reduce me to a whiny, melodramatic mush no longer! From here on out, I want to dedicate all efforts towards transforming into a badass. This is my greatest hope and dream, as it will mask all my ineptitude into something awesome. I want to be “cool,” whatever that is. I want to be strong and brave; I want to have endurance, both physically and mentally. I want to be uncaring, level headed, and unattached to the world and other people. I want to be above regular human flaws, with an air of mystery surrounding me. I want people to look at me with respect in awe and whisper to each other “Who is that? What do you think she does when she goes home? Wrestle bears?” Because if I can’t have regular relationships with people, they might as well think I am just too awesome for them.
|Fig. 1, Dark Knight Movie Poster,|
It isn’t enough to just want to be a badass. Not only do I have to put the effort into it, I have to make a symbol too; because if I don’t know what represents a badass, how will I ever be one? The first thing that comes to mind when I think of what a badass is would be Batman from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (see fig. 1). I have never been a huge Batman fan, but I saw this movie three times during its opening weekend. The character of Batman in the film is the pure embodiment of badassery. Unlike any other super hero, Batman doesn’t have any super powers. He makes his strength out of exactly what he is, which is why I hold even more respect for him. He is all about business, and no one can take him down. So what symbol to derive from this film but any other than the classic Batman logo? It is what everyone thinks of when batman comes to mind (see fig. 2). It reads immediately as the symbol for everything Batman stands for: justice, strength, stealth, and the ability to stand up for yourself in a powerful way, even when the world is against you. All of these things fit into my own definition of a badass. Beyond that, though, the Batman logo means even more. The yellow oval, in traditional Batman costume, is worn on his chest. Not only is this symbolic of the bat signal, and also a simple, striking representation of his trademark, but the bright yellow oval was meant to act as a target to Batman’s enemies. According to Robert Greenburger, author of The Essential Batman Encyclopedia, it was located on his strongest piece of armor- his chest plate- so at to attract enemies to shoot there rather than his face (29). The symbol thus becomes a representation of not just who Batman is in general, but his cunning and strength.
|Fig. 2, Batman Logo|
|Fig. 3, Batman Logo sans Bat|
This symbol would be quite fitting for what I want to be when I one day become a badass. However, since I do not dress up as a bat and run around to incite justice, I would obviously want to remove the bat. Instead, for my symbol I kept the yellow oval (see fig. 3), which is what works at the target and distraction to Batman’s—or my—strongest point, which in this case would be my badass nature. In place of the bat, I have chosen to place another animal that will come to represent me: the unicorn (see fig. 4).
|Fig. 4, Unicorn Symbol, Unicorn Games Studio Logo|
According to Dr. J Michael Stitt, “In Medieval times, unicorns were representative of purity and thus Christ” (1). Do I mean to represent Christ? No. But do I want to represent purity? Yes, because a badass, while perhaps is not pure in the traditional sense of morality, is pure in the idea that they are not tainted by typical human flaws and emotions. The unicorn, of course, holds other symbolism in more modern times as well. Kate Trudeau, of the University of North Dakota, states that “the unicorn generates tremendous power and energy, the image embodying great magic, mysticism, and wonder” (1). As I said, I want to be a badass that has power and mystery, which, by this account, is also what the symbol of a unicorn contains. Unicorns are also known to be “peaceful creatures who try to avoid contact with humans. They prefer to remain hidden” (Hedden 24), which also adds to the idea of a badass being unattached and unaffected by other people. An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols further lists all the things a unicorn has come to symbolize feminine principles of chastity, virtue, and strength of mind and body, as well as incorruptibility (Cooper 183). All of these things are a part of the badass I want to be: a girl with strength and ideals that no one can upset, although perhaps the whole idea of chastity can just be for my public image.
|Fig. 5, Unicorn and moose in combo become|
the almighty "moosicorn."
One thing I would do to add a little more edge to the unicorn—because let’s face it, people often don’t take unicorns as a very serious idea, just look at the humorous game “Robot Unicorn Attack,” as an example—is add on a pair of moose antlers. This would thus transform the unicorn from just a regular old ordinary unicorn into a moosicorn: a beast that knows no bounds in its power (see fig. 5). This addition would be made for a few reasons. First of all, “Moose,” is my nickname and has been so for the past five years ever since I became a counselor in training at a Girl Scout camp in the Rocky Mountains. I picked this name as it seemed fitting for my location, and seeing as how I consider the Rocky Mountains my home, it has become an important part of my identity. My experience growing up in their habitat has informed me that they are quite a sight to see. They are large, intimidating, and very dangerous beasts to take caution around. It is difficult to detect when they are agitated and thus they are responsible for trampling people to death every year (Conger 2). This is exactly how I envision a badass to be. And besides, if there are any aspects to being a badass that I have already acquired, it would be that. I mean, ok, I’ve never actually trampled someone, but you know what they say about if looks could kill. Overall, this combination of a unicorn and a moose into a moosicorn represents a powerful beast that any badass would be proud to channel.
|Fig. 6, Calvin and Hobbes illustration, Bill Watterson|
For my next symbol I have drawn inspiration from one of the greatest comics of all time: Calvin and Hobbes (see fig. 6). I know what you are thinking. What is badass about a little boy and his imaginary friend/stuffed tiger? I’ll tell you: just about everything. How can one not see how epic it is that a kid can have so little restraints in his imagination and actions? He can dream up just about any situation and actually carry it out in real life, despite what his peers or other adults may think or could possibly do to him. Besides, did you ever see him go sledding or get in that little red wagon downhill? That kid had guts. And when he inevitably crashed, he would just shrug it off. There is nothing more badass than having that kind of youth, spirit, and creativity. Because of this creativity and spirit, Calvin and Hobbes could easily be represented by the symbol of the fountain (see fig. 7). “It is said that water gushing forth is a symbol of the life-force of Man and of all things” (Cirlot 113). Calvin has a superior life-force in his youth and creativity, and so will I, one day, when I become as badass as him. Also, it is stated in Cirlot’s Dictionary of Symbols that, “[Jung] links [the fountain] with the ‘land of infancy,’ the recipient of the precepts of the unconscious, pointing out that the need for this fount arises principally when the individual’s life is inhibited and dried up” (113). Hey, that is just like when I mentioned how my life needs to be improved it in the beginning of this essay, isn’t it? Perfect, the fountain is just what my badass self needs to get going.
|FIg. 7, Fountain Symbol|
The fountain is traditionally depicted as flowing upwards, as this is usually how fountains work. When I place the fountain into my new badass symbol, I will have it sideways. I not only want to spurt my life force up, but all around me, in the direction as others. Perhaps I mean this in the way that I want to share my strength with others or maybe I mean this in the way that I want to kick ass and take names with my strength. That is just another part of the mystery, isn’t it? All you need to know is that is propels me forward, towards my destination of the badass kingdom. I will also triple the image of the fountain, so as to assure all that my life-force is that much more superior (see fig. 8).
|Fig. 8, Altered Fountain Symbol|
|Fig. 9, An early Masonic version of the Eye of Providence|
with clouds and a semi-circular glory, detoxorcist.com
My final addition to my mega-symbol would be the all-seeing eye (see fig. 9). The all-seeing eye pretty much explains itself, as it is an eye that sees all. It is most noted as the symbol of the seal of United States currency, and is also popularly known as the symbol for the fraternal organization, the Freemasons. According to Dr. S. Brent Morris, “The eye on the seal represents an active intervention of God in the affairs of men, while the Masonic symbol stands for a passive awareness by God of the activities of men…Its meaning in all cases, however, was that commonly given to it by society at large -- a reminder of the constant presence of God” (3-4). Once again, I have unintentionally given myself a large religious link, although in this case it works as it is a little more broad in its meaning. Because this time it is not just a representation of Christ, but God himself. Yes, a badass should have power that rivals that of God, because truly, what can be more badass than that? Also, written in Sunstone Magazine by Allen D. Roberts, “The idea is that his eye is all seeing, or ‘all searching,’ …Power is also implied” (44). God’s eye seeks out everything, and so will mine. Part of being unattached to the world is about being able to be objective and observe that which you could not if you were among the regular ranks of men. The badass I hope to be will have this power that God holds, as seen through this symbol.
|Fig. 10, The all-seeing lazy eye|
However, just because I will one day see all will not mean that it will process or even that I will necessarily care, seeing as how a badass does not care about many things. I think the perfect way to represent this is to give the all-seeing eye a visual deficiency such as amblyopia, or lazy eye (see fig. 10). According to the National Eye Institute, “Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly” (1). Once again, my brain does not necessarily want to use the eye to see all. It is overwhelming after all, to know all that goes on, so thus this dysfunctional eye serves as an accurate representation of my vision as a badass. Besides, people with amblyopia often have to wear eye patches to help cure their deficiency. And if an eye patch is not badass, then I don’t know what is.
So how do all of these come together? First, the yellow oval will encircle all the other symbols, as to keep them all constrained into the “strongest point,” as on Batman’s armor. The moosicorn will serve at the centerpiece to the symbol, as I feel it is the closest representation of me because of it’s moose antlers and also because it is representing a living thing, or in this case, me. The eye will be super imposed over the moosicorn and become a part of it. The fountain will be bursting forth from the moosicorn, symbolic of how it is my life force. And there you have it. The badass I hope to be, all contained into a single point of strength and power (see fig. 11).
|Fig. 11, "I am Moosicorn," the new symbol to represent my soon to be found badass nature|
So all these symbols have come together and now are blossoming into their own symbol lifehood, and it needs a name. As I said before, it all centers around the moosicorn, who is truly supposed to be me. This Moosicorn stands for all the power, the unfeeling and incorruptible strength I will one day come to acquire, with it’s eye that sees all but doesn’t quite get it, and the fountain flowing forth of spirit and abundance. All of this fits into who the mooiscorn is. Tie this in with the Batman oval, and suddenly, it all comes together in the greatest Batman quote. “I am Moosicorn.” Because when Batman says “I am Batman,” he is saying everything who is, everything he has ever done and stood for, his strength and justice, are all a part of his identity as Batman. And so is the same for the moosicorn. When I say “I am Moosicorn,” I mean to say that I am all of these things that this symbol means to represent. It says “I am a badass.” And with such a firm statement, who would dare question it?
Batman Logo. Digital image. VectorTemplates.com. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. <http://www.vectortemplates.com/raster/batman/batman-logo-big.gif>.
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