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Latest Topics

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Time travel and alternate universes in Donnie Darko

An explanation of the way time travel works in Donnie Darko, why Donnie was the chosen time traveller, the role of Frank the bunny, and whether or not the events that took place were as a result of time travel or took place within an alternate universe/reality.

For all the DD fans who just can’t quite wrap their head around all the theories.

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    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?

    A major problem with super villains is that after they are defeated and captured they break out of jail to reek havoc again. So what should happen to these trouble makers? Take a look at how different comics deal with this problem and the frustrations and morality struggles heroes face from it. For example, in one of the Crisis on Two Earths stories Superman performs lobotomies on villains to stop them but it is seen as immoral action. In many cases heroes are tempted to kill villains to stop their terror once and for all.

    • How the method used to deal with villains is a reflection of how society does/should/shouldn't deal with criminals should also be taken into account. Media doesn't exist in a vacuum. – Amanda 3 months ago
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    • This is a fantastic topic! I think the moral aspect is the most important in this discussion, and should be the focus. Make sure to consider super villains that also have the ability to do good/have some form of a moral stand. I look forward to reading this! – LilyaRider 3 months ago
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    • I don't know – Zyana Hault 3 months ago
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    • Definitely look at DC's Arkham Asylum and Marvel's "The Vault" as examples of "super-max prisons" and how they do (or don't) work in the context of the greater comic universe. – Tarben 8 hours ago
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    Best Actresses of the 21st Century

    In June 2012, imdb.com posted its list of 25 Best Actresses of the 21st Century. Any glaring omissions? Anyone on it who shouldn’t be? Anyone need to move up or down? What makes an actress either worthy of your list or unworthy of this list? For your favorites, please describe their best performances. For your least favorites, please explain their shortcomings. If you want to deal only with the top ten or pick and choose, that’s fine too. Extra love for anyone who can explain, sanely, why Tilda Swinton’s not on this list – for her Broken Flowers performance alone (c’mon, you didn’t know she was in the film ’til the credits, right?) – gets an e-high five.

    1. Helena Bonham Carter
    2. Natalie Portman
    3. Meryl Streep
    4. Renée Zellweger
    5. Sandra Bullock
    6. Nicole Kidman
    7. Hilary Swank
    8. Emma Stone
    9. Cate Blanchett
    10. Jennifer Lawrence
    11. Gwyneth Paltrow
    12. Scarlett Johansson
    13. Kate Hudson
    14. Mila Kunis
    15. Anne Hathaway
    16. Amanda Seyfried
    17. Keira Knightley
    18. Kristen Stewart
    19. Julia Roberts
    20. Milla Jovovich
    21. Noomi Rapace
    22. Octavia Spencer
    23. Rachel McAdams
    24. Dakota Fanning
    25. Drew Barrymore

    • I feel like Viola Davis should've been included. She always brings such dignity and emotional weight to her roles. – Emily Deibler 2 days ago
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    • I agree. – Tigey 2 days ago
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    4

    Cliches and How To Use Them

    The most damning critique of any work of fiction is that it’s "cliched." Cliches are obvious detriments to the success of a work of fiction, but why? Can there be instances when the use of a cliche actually strengthens a work of fiction? Give careful definitions of terms such as "cliche," and track how an effective storytelling device, or special effect–like the "Vertigo effect" or "bullet time"–becomes a cliche, and whether it can be salvaged after endless imitation. As lazy as it is to pepper a story with overused cliches, ask, can the use of cliches be a good thing (in some instances)?

    • I agree that cliche is such a damning critque. But to answer your question, I think cliches could be used as a good thing, if the writer itself can twist the cliche and create some sort of originality to it and grad the reader's attention even if the reader already knows its a cliche. If that makes any sense! – Tkesh 2 months ago
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    • Clichés can be used effectively when there is a surprise twist to them. For example, M. Night Shyamalan usually writes a story with a twist. – Munjeera 2 months ago
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    • Great topic. How can Bob Dylan use cliches and tap into collective conscience while others are just unimaginative or lazy? – Tigey 2 months ago
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    • It depends how the cliché is being used. For example, you could try twisting one so much to the point where it criticizes the use of original version of the cliché or you can use a tried and true cliché and use it to underline the importance of certain aspects in the story. – RadosianStar 2 days ago
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    • Probably one of the reasons cliches are dreaded as much as they are is because of what it does to the reader. Our minds tend to disengage from phrases we've heard over and over again. I agree with what everyone else has already said about adding a twist to cliches to make them sound more original. That being said, everything we consider cliched now was original at one point in time and the likely reason it's been overused is because it once captured that particular truth so well. Nothing is one hundred percent original anyway, so why are cliches given such a hard time? In the case of cliches, we notice its unoriginality right away whereas other forms of repetition may be better disguised. – aprosaicpintofpisces 3 hours ago
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    Dystopian YA: On the Rise or Facing Death

    Analyse whether or not dystopian young adult novels have become essential reading or a completely redundant genre. Make sure to include examples like The Hunger Games and Divergent and discuss how they have increased the popularity of dystopian fiction for younger readers. Also evaluate newer titles and their impact on the publishing industry (whether or not they serve a purpose, are simply a cash grab, etc.).

    • The popularity of dystopian fiction among YA readers is often explained by it being a theme with which they can personally relate. The world is in shambles and it's up to the young protagonist (representing the future generation) to attempt to fix it. If the state of the world continues on its current trajectory - as the current presidential candidates give us much reason to suspect - the looming threats that can be seen in the novels become all too real. Though this theme feels incredibly relevant at this current historical moment, the mass sensationalism of the genre since 2008 (particularly with the publishing, film, and merchandising industries doing whatever they could to strike while the iron was hot), has very rapidly exhausted its narrative potential - evidenced by how similar the plots of Hunger Games and Divergent are, indicating a lack of original content to fill the demand. Like all fads, it isn't long until people lose interest and move on to the next one. – ProtoCanon 2 months ago
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    • Historically speaking, I think the rise and ultimately extreme popularity of dystopian YA novels is significant. I think it certainly says a lot about our culture. Does this automatically mean it is good literature? For most of it, probably not. Rereading the Hunger Games series will show that the quality of writing is very poor, and the characters are not compelling. I think that we tend to get sucked into these kinds of stories because of how horrifying the dystopian thing is, while we live comfortably with the knowledge that it is a highly exaggerated, excessively violent version of some of the real "dystopian" structures in our society (there are things about our world that are truly dystopian, but I don't necessarily think these are the themes and structures explored in YA novels). It doesn't matter if the book is good or not, we become fascinated because it's so sickening and yet usually unrealistic enough that we don't feel compelled to try and fix things. Years down the road, my guess is scholars will examine the eventual impact of this kind of literature, and it will be studied - but more for its value through the socio-cultural perspective than the literary one. – darapoizner 2 months ago
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    Top Young Adult Movie Adaptions

    Mockingjay part 2 has just come out with the last Divergent movie in the line up for release. Write about the top movies that are adapted from young adult novels. How do they stand up in time? Is their target audience broader than young adults? What similarities or differences are there between them? Movies of interest may be the Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Enders Game, The Fault in Our Stars, Twilight…etc.Of course, there are more out now than ever and the list does not need to be confined to trilogies, so long as it is adapted from young adult books.

    • This is very interesting. I really like this topic, especially your emphasis on the target audience, and what makes them stand in time. You could even talk about the Eragon series. – emilyinmannyc 9 months ago
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    • Oh God that Eragon adaption was infuriating! I like to pretend it never happened. Thanks for your feedback. – Jordan 9 months ago
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    • I feel like there really aren't too many differences in most of the movies you mentioned. Almost all of the movie-adapted young adult novels are in the apocalyptic/science fiction genre. Many of the movies all have the same "feel". I still think this is a good topic though! – Dominic Sceski 9 months ago
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    • What an interesting topic! One could even start looking back time and considering older (pre-Twilight) young adult adaptations, before the genre exploded as a "thing." The Harry Potter series, for example, or less "huge" films Inkheart or the Narnia movies. Maybe the question is, why has young adult become SO popular as a genre? – sophiacatherine 9 months ago
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    • I think "Twilight" would be a good one to talk about. Along with Harry Potter. Those are two series that come to mind when I think about YA movie adaptations. Especially since their Fandoms are so loyal and unwavering. – diehlsam 8 months ago
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    • Too funny, Jordan: my daughter's opinion of the Eragon movie "Ugh. Horrible." – Tigey 2 weeks ago
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    Polyvocality in Literature

    Trace the history and development of polyvocality (a work having multiple narrators, or following varied narrative voices and perspectives from different characters) as a literary form. From its humble beginnings in the canonisation of the Gospels – combining four distinct accounts of Jesus’ ministry and death by separate authors into one collected volume of scriptural authority – to the epistolary style of Samuel Richardson and Bram Stoker, all the way to Modern novels by William Faulkner, Lawrence Durrell, and George RR Martin. How have methods of polyvocal narration developed over time? What social and aesthetic factors may have given it more prominence at certain historical periods? How have these authors’ choices to present their stories from multiple perspectives been reactionary to the long tradition of single narrators, whether omniscient 3rd person or limited 1st person? How is this reflected in contemporary literary styles and trends?

    • Are you considering fiction, non-fiction, or both? If including non-fiction, it might be enlightening to investigate whether polyvocality increases or decreases the accuracy of eyewitness accounts of events, such as those in the four Gospels. – Tigey 7 days ago
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    • Very ambitious. Also, necessary mention: The Canterbury Tales. – TKing 6 days ago
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    • This sounds like a topic that can really be developed and analyzed. The only issue I have here is the word "polyvocality.". Are there other words that can express your idea such as multiple narrators in postmodern literature? I am not sure polyvocality is the way to go but am at a loss to give a concrete suggestion. Perhaps someone on the forum could help. – Munjeera 6 days ago
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    • Tigey: Though I mainly had fiction in mind, there's certainly room for nonfiction as well. It's certainly debatable which category the Gospels belong to (I'd personally categorise them as "Historical Fiction," but am aware of how contentious such claims can be). If whoever writes this topic wishes to follow that thread further, I'd highly recommending reading The Rise and Fall of the Bible by Timothy Beal; he discusses the polyvocality of the Bible at great length, combating the contemporary notion of its univocality as a "magic eight-ball" with all the answers to life's mysteries. TKing: Good addition, that definitely slipped my mind. In all honesty, I've never been a big Chaucer fan myself, but it belongs on this list nevertheless. I'm sure there are countless other texts that I failed to mention, and it's up to whoever decides to write this topic to do their research to fill in the blanks. Munjeera: You're probably correct that there may be a better word for it, but "polyvocality" was the most suitable term that I was able to think of, and often does appear in literary (and biblical) studies. If you think of a better option, don't hesitate to come back here and share it. – ProtoCanon 6 days ago
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    • Another important aspect to mention is free-indirect discourse, when discussing this topic. – danielle577 6 days ago
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    • A famous example of polyvocality is Virginia Woolf's The Waves, due to the excessive use of polyvocality and the great difficulty the reader has in deciphering, at multiple parts in the novel, just in fact which character is speaking. She is known for her streams of consciousness writing, and the novel is so intricately woven that multiple streams of consciousness begin to become embedded--which can be infuriating for some readers, while utterly beautiful for others. I want to write this topic!!! – danielle577 6 days ago
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    0

    Does 'The Get Down' Get Down?

    Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series The Get Down chronicles the origins of Hip-Hop in the Bronx in the 1970s. Does it do this history justice?

    • My question for Netflix is, "What about Brooklyn?" – Tigey 7 days ago
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    Film

    The 21st Century Films Prepared For Classic Status
    The 21st Century Films Prepared For Classic Status
    Why Draco Malfoy is one of the Most Underrated Characters in ‘Harry Potter’
    Fairytales and Feminism: “I Don’t Wanna be Like Cinderella”
    Vague Horror: The Scariest Kind of Horror

    TV

    #Faninteraction: Social Media and Representation in Popular Television
    #Faninteraction: Social Media and Representation in Popular Television
    The Unicorn: An Argument for the Non-Existence of Privacy
    Online VS On TV: Is Cable Becoming Obsolete?
    Agents of SHIELD and Anti-Heroes: In Defense of Grant Douglas Ward

    Animation

    A Look at ‘Zootopia’: How Its Heroine Plays in the Field of Fellow Disney Women
    A Look at ‘Zootopia’: How Its Heroine Plays in the Field of Fellow Disney Women
    Bojack Horseman: Balancing Humor and Dark Themes
    Steven Universe: The Rise of Popularity in Internet Fandoms
    Animated Poetry: A Starting Point

    Anime

    A Response To Miyazaki: The Dark Side of Anime
    A Response To Miyazaki: The Dark Side of Anime
    Pokémon and the Animals in Captivity Debate
    Harem Anime and Manga – Expectations vs. Reality
    Surviving SHIMONETA: Living in a World Without Dirty Jokes

    Manga

    One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
    One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
    Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions
    Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution
    The 5 Saddest Moments in One Piece

    Comics

    Superheroes and Super Villains Who Use Guns
    Superheroes and Super Villains Who Use Guns
    Disability Bound Superheroes and the Representation of their Struggles
    Brian K. Vaughan’s Characters: From Lost to Saga
    What Does a Hydra Captain America Really Mean?

    Literature

    A Sage’s Passing: Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)
    A Sage’s Passing: Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)
    Paradise Lost: A Shift in Narrative Language After the Fall
    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why Must You Be So Cruel to All?
    The Body/Language of Love

    Arts

    Lively Objects: Curating ‘Broken’ Electronic Art
    Lively Objects: Curating ‘Broken’ Electronic Art
    30 Americans
    Are Fossils the New Art? Analyzing the Lords of the Land Gallery
    Making Metal Great Again: How and Why Metal Music May Regain Mainstream Popularity

    Writing

    Where Did All the Editors Go?
    Where Did All the Editors Go?
    The Neediness of a Writer
    Creating a Writing Habit that Works: Muses, Magic and Faith
    A Writer’s Essential Steps to Staying Motivated