The Big 5 – “Who” is your Underdog? – Week 2


Sometimes just a spark is all that’s necessary

Today’s post was originally going to explore the topic of small countries’ efforts towards independence but an entry in our Two Cents Tuesday Challenge: Lost moved our train of thought in a different, yet quite related, direction. We were  reminded of a cigarette brand whose late 60s marketing was geared exclusively to women. Even though the memory had nothing to do with ponderings on smoking, advertising or even women’s liberation, the idea behind the campaign, the quest for determination, did.

Virginia Slims groovy slogan of “You’ve come a long way, baby!” reached back to those generations who had come through depression, a few world wars and huge changes to gender roles in both social and domestic milieus. Fast forward fifty years and it is all the more poignant for despite the radical adjustments we have all made, things really aren’t a whole lot better. In fact, one might argue that they are worse. Our own mum has been known to shake her head in disbelief and mutter “I don’t know how you do it” which is odd considering how both she and her own mother conducted their lives, taking risks and acting outside of accepted convention – besides, like them, it is not as if we have much choice in the matter.

We have, sadly, been duped by the media machine that decided we could be everything to everyone all the time: that we could not only wear the pants but have a closet filled with matching hats that we could defiantly don all at once or interchangeably on a whim. We were told, tempted, nagged, chided, berated and reminded that we could do anything we desired if we really wanted to – be saint and sinner, sacred and sex object, saboteur, sage and saviour. It is not true.

There is a dark and pervasive strain of something or other that has been poisoning the well of our being. As usual, we thought it was just us in our little bubble feeling put-out and put-upon but the more we read and created a dialogue, it became apparent that there are many of us out there suddenly realizing that the moment we stop to take a breath we feel like we are drowning. The author of the post that led to all this postulation wrote of a certain state of being lost, in a “fog… that suffocates the quality of daily life”. Is this malaise generationally endemic? Has it struck only North Americans who have been bombarded by false hope and the pipe dream of attaining super-womanhood or is it a plague that knows no borders? Who can say: it is the stuff of discourse but some days it makes us want to just start a fire under the whole thing…

This fortnight the Big 5 Challenge is dedicated to all those of both genders who are still fighting the big battle, one in which a constantly metamorphosing enemy defies pinpointing and where the front lines keep moving from day to day.

Who is your Underdog?” – young or old, timid or bold, flash in the pan or kicking the can, cartoon or larger than life …

We would love to know who flies above the crowd for you.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, some great entries and the guidelines for this challenge can be found here: Need more info, want to browse past themes or get the badge for your blog? See HOW DOES THIS WORK.

The Big 5 – Who is your Underdog ?


still waiting

One of our earliest memories is sitting in front of a small black and white set (yes, Virginia there was a time when there was no colour) watching classic cartoons. We could easily relate to ordinary, spectacle-wearing Shoeshine Boy magically transform into his canine alter-ego Underdog and knew every word of the opening theme song. It had kitschy graphics, iconic villains and simple plot lines that that never failed to amuse. The series was filled to the brim with stereotypes – helpless, arm-waving young ladies, Soviet mad scientists, Irish-accented cops and Italian gangster-styled robbers – everyone was fair-game for the cartoonists and they put their hands to everything that would be considered politically incorrect today. Our pre-school mind wondered why Underdog had such a big forehead (he was a beagle) and why his superhero outfit was a baggy, oversized t-shirt: we just couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t go to the store and get one that fit properly… In retrospect, that was all part of the charm and the whole genre, along with many of the other animated shows of the time, were a huge formative influence not only on our artistic sensibilities but on the way we deal with real life.

Popular culture has been pounding us with the notion that we could have been heroes for awhile now and everyone from the government to the media has their agenda on how best to exploit it. The false importance attached to the arbitrary definition of success in all things personal and public has become overwhelming but at the same time there seems to be a shift in ulterior motives, personal responsibility, even our sense of how the smallest actions, or lack thereof, have far-reaching consequences. In a society that increasingly acts without any moral compass, it is getting harder to be fearless and noble, to distinguish who merits our adulation or respect and sadly, who deserves our investment of time and emotion. Depending on the day, we are both superhero and everyman but, as the comics have told us in all their four-colour glory, everyone has their soft spot and so this fortnight’s Big 5 Challenge asks:

Who is your Underdog?” – young or old, timid or bold, flash in the pan or kicking the can, cartoon or larger than life …

We would love to know who flies above the crowd for you.

For all those who are new readers to Across the Bored, here are some guidelines for the challenge: HOW DOES THIS WORK?

  1.  I will post some commentary such as the above on one of the five Ws (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN or WHY and sometimes HOW) and then ask you to respond on the same.
  2. Your point of view on the current week’s challenge can take any form: a reply in the comment box, in a new post with a quote, a motto or saying, an essay, poem or opinion of yours or attributed to someone else, a piece of music, a song, a video, a work of art, photograph, graffiti, drawing or scribble – but it has to be about the topic!
  3. Challenge yourself to dig deep for an answer.
  4. The Challenge will be open for 14 days (there will be a reminder post at the 7 day mark) after which I will post another.
  5. ENJOY, have FUN and TELL your friends and fellow bloggers.

SO – Create your Big 5 Challenge post

  1. Then add a link to your blog in my comment box.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your post, title your blog post “The Big 5 Challenge” and add the same as a tag.
  3. If you would like your reader to see what others are presenting for the same challenge, add a link to the “Big 5” challenge on your own blog.
  4. Feel free to pick up your badge on The Big 5 Challenge page.
  5. Remember to Follow to get your weekly (hopefully) reminders.