After walking out of the theater, I was upset that War for the Planet of the Apes was billed as a summer blockbuster. On paper, the film meets the criteria: it has a big budget, CGI action sequences and notable stars. Yet in the midst of its noisy and spectacle-driven contemporaries, War for the Planet of the Apes stands awkwardly out of place. It boasts a quieter tale and seeks not simply to thrill but to instruct as well. The blockbuster appeal serves as an invitation to a wider audience, who are treated to a delightfully introspective film.
If you’re here for an in-depth thinkpiece on what happened two weeks ago, you’re in the wrong place. I don’t want to give you my hot take on how Hillary missed the rust belt Forgotten Man, or talk about Trump supporters who are boycotting Hamilton and writing “Trump” on their Starbucks cups. By this point we’ve seen all of this time and time and time again on our Facebook newsfeeds. Instead, I’m going to talk about the less sexy side of politics. More specifically, the side that requires people like you and me to step off our Cornell campus and out from behind the comfort of a column, and into the world that we think and learn and write about everyday here.
Think big and carve your own paths, urged Prof. Bruce Monger, earth and atmospheric sciences, in his “last lecture.”
The last lecture series, hosted by Mortar Board, brings speakers to reflect on his or her life experiences and share thoughts with students, as if it was the speaker’s last lecture. In his lecture titled “My Slightly Unusual Life-Journey And Some Important Things I Have Learned Along the Way…,” Monger recounted how he grew up in the small town of Shelton, Washington, where the two main industries were saw mills and logging. Despite his deep love for science as a child, Monger said in high school he “just mindlessly sort of followed what [his] friends were doing,” taking carpentry and woodshop instead of science classes. After high school, he continued to follow his friends and went into the logging business, “because that’s what everyone else did.” However, during one solo motorcycle trip to Colorado during a summer vacation, he had an epiphany that changed the direction of his life. While checking into a motel, he realized, “That’s what adults do…I’m totally an adult. I’m in charge of everything now.