On Your Left

Introducing Manu (@manuclearbomb), the newest addition to the FOTS team.

Hi I’m Manu and I LOVE “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

What kind of open is that? I don’t know, not a great one. Yeah it’s an excellent movie, filled with some excellent butts (Hi Chris Evans), but really it landmarked two major changes for me personally. For one, it made me start reading comics for the first time. I now read upwards of 30 issues a week, exposing me to the origins of stories and character I’ve long loved in other mediums.

And the other? It made me want to start writing.

Lamentably, my thoughts on the film would be relegated to Twitter (as much of mine are), but I knew that I wanted to start putting my thoughts down. I’d finally get the opportunity the following year when my friend asked me to write up Game of Thrones for his baseball site. The experience was laborious but rewarding, a cathartic experience for an obsessed fan.

I’m not sure I can describe my writing in a way that doesn’t sound banal. I focus heavily on thematic elements and how they interact with technical flourishes, but really, that’s what we all do. I also love to dive deep into lore and explain (“manusplain”) to my audience items that are only briefly touched upon. And I love using a lot of words, often very loosely or incorrectly. I’m verbose and I’ve learned to live with it.

But also, as a person of color, social justice and incluvisity is another lens from which I view art. I believe strongly that representation matters, and that when modern art touches on themes of race, gender, and sexual identity, it should (at the very least) do so thoughtfully. That said, I try to ensure my analyses don’t become myopic or reductive. There’s a fine line between championing diversity without treating art as something that must be made to satisfy every end consumer. Hopefully that balance will come through in my work here.

Bored? Fine. Let’s just get into what I like.

I think (book) Jaime Lannister is the best written character in the Western canon. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie ever. I’ll die on the “Parks and Recreation is the greatest sitcom of all-time” hill. Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Potter story and the movies are better than the books. Grandma’s Boy is the singular stoner film of our lifetimes. Fellowship is the best of the three, but Two Towers is the more impressive adaptation.

Every joke or quip I make is rooted in some Golden Era Simpsons Joke. Baseball is king, and I hope to live to see the Cubs be kings one day as well. I really, really hope that Rey is not a Skywalker. It’s Bucky and Steve, not Adam and Eve. Radiohead and rainy days appeal to me on a carnal level.

That’s just a taste of incoherent mess that is my brain. Hopefully something in that mess will make you happy, make you think, or make you aware.

So [extreme Steve Rogers in an elevator voice] before we begin, does anyone wanna get out?

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