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Latest Topics

1

The Pros and Cons of Reboots: Ghostbusters

Due to the controversy surrounding the new Ghosbusters film, what does it say regarding our society and the relation of fandom to changes in existing franchises and fictional properties? Many recent film examples could be used to explore the current state of film and other media.

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    Propaganda in Film

    Discuss how Hollywood films employ propagandistic tactics in order to overtly or covertly influence their audience. Although this is especially prevalent in ‘war dramas’ such as American Sniper, propaganda does operate in many films on many levels, unbeknownst to most of us viewers. Who is designing and delivering these messages, and for what purpose? (This could be tackled from several different angles – specific areas of focus or suggestions for narrowing things down would be greatly appreciated!)

    • Yes! I just watched Civil War and it could be interesting to see how this subject would play out. The movie offers a "liberalish" view on terrorism, so would that be called propaganda? Spoiler Alert: The main guy becomes a terrorist/villain because the Avengers accidentally killed his son, so he decided to take revenge. It is very similar to the liberal argument that American foreign policy has created more terrorists, i.e. drones. By the way, I don't necessarily have a side here, but I think it is fair to say that this is a liberal argument, whether it is correct or not.Also, I would go back to Orwell's All Art is Propaganda. You cannot go wrong with Orwell. – ismael676 2 months ago
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    • It would be good to analyze how ideology works on a subconscious level in the minds of the filmmakers, because I do not believe that some of the propaganda traits in movies are made on purpose. – Andrestrada 2 months ago
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    • What we label 'propaganda' might actually cover a much wider field of investigation than the initial topic suggests. Is the issue of product placement not a form (a fairly blatant one) of propaganda? It would appear to be a direct effort to influence viewers and a have an effect on their behaviour. – ptoro 2 months ago
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    • This analysis could benefit greatly from some historical backgrounding and contextualisation. Look back at the films created by Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany, and compare them to government-financed films of the same era from the US, Britain, and Canada (much has been written about the life and works of John Grierson, the founding commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada). Granted, any didactic piece of art can be viewed as "propaganda" - just pick any film, and take a close look at where its funding came from and the political views of the filmmaker - but it has become somewhat of a loaded term in recent years, chiefly due to media sensationalism and post-Foucauldian developments in the field of critical thinking. It would be a real shame for whoever writes this article to miss out on the obvious because he/she is too busy chasing the more benign phantoms lurking in contemporary media. – ProtoCanon 18 hours ago
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    • For a historical perspective, watching "The Triumph of the Will" is a great example of propaganda disguised as documentary. Leni Reifenstahl claimed she was just documenting the Nazi rally, while there is sufficient evidence that she manipulated the filming to put Hitler and the Nazi Party in the best possible light. – Tarben 18 hours ago
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    Online VS On TV: Is cable becoming obsolete?

    With the internet becoming a popular choice for watching shows, but how often are people under the age of 30 watching a TV show at a scheduled time from a cable provider? Discussions could include the problem of pirating TV shows, the rise of streaming services and the future of millennials buying cable service.

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      In Defense of Anime Filler Episodes

      Almost all of the big anime shows (e.g. One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto) have filler episodes. These filler episodes are met with groans from many fans, especially those who also read the original manga that these shows are based on. Most of the time, these filler episodes are made without any input from the original creator of the source material. Lots of fans will simply skip these filler episodes and jump ahead to the episodes where the canon story resumes.

      For this topic, the author will argue in defense of these filler episodes and attempt to point out their merits. Do any filler arcs from certain anime stand out as quality content despite not being canon? Why shouldn’t fans be so quick to dismiss filler content?

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        Parental Figure Deaths and Superhero Origins

        Losing a loved one is a life-changing event. In comics, it’s common that the death of a parental figure is the catalyst for becoming a superhero. Batman, Spiderman, and Daredevil are just a few examples. Is there a reason that this plot point continues to be reused? Has it become overused, or is it just an accurate representation of the extremes to which the death of a loved one can push you? (Obviously, we don’t tend to become superheroes, but I’m speaking metaphorically.)

        • Batman is the only one who has no inherent powers, and was truly driven to that point by the death of his parents.It would also be interesting to see how many villains have this origin, and were driven to deplorable acts by the death of a loved one. – Tarben 23 hours ago
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        From Princess Peach to Lara Croft: the Spectrum of Femininity in Video Games

        Analyze the diverse spectrum of female characters in video games. First, how exactly do we define femininity? What makes these female characters and their femininity unique? How is their femininity addressed or portrayed? How has femininity in video games evolved over time? Can certain characters fall into more than one "type" of femininity (for example, Lara Croft, who has been both sexualized and emasculated on different occasions and through different games in the series)? It might be helpful for the writer to condense his/her list into a "top five" of female characters that best represent this varying spectrum of femininity in gaming.

        • It would also be a good idea to touch on the BioWare games (Mass Effect and Dragon Age) to show how the female NPCs are treated, and talk about the fact that the protagonist can be either male or female, and how that affects each story. – Tarben 23 hours ago
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        Social Media and Mainstream Journalism

        User-generated photographs or videos regularly dominate television bulletins and the front pages of newspapers, while opinionated blogging also gains significant traction in redefining the field of journalism. Analyze the impact of participatory action on social media in steering journalism, and the implications of this shift in control towards the individual consumer.

        • Very important topic. I think it's sad that our society is viewing a death in traditional journalism with the rise of sites such as Buzz Feed (where copying and pasting gifs off of blogs is more important than critical journalist skills) or even just popular magazines like peoples, etc. I think another interesting social media platform to explore with a topic like this is tumblr. A lot of people (especially young people) use the site as a way to vent their frustrations and write about heavily loaded topics without any sources, etc. It usually causes more harm then good with passion and opinions rising -- especially when these opinions are often skewed or lack research to back up claims. In a way, people use the sight to mimic aspects of journalism but do so incorrectly. – Mela 2 months ago
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        • The Illuminati runs the media. – Riccio 2 months ago
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        • Whenever you're dealing with the traditional journalism vs. citizen journalism debate, it's important to note that many citizen/alternative journalists still rely on traditional outlets to break stories (to the tune of more than 90%). The usual process is that traditional news brings the facts and citizen/alternative journalism brings near endless analysis. – Ian Miculan 2 months ago
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        • A documentarian in Newfoundland, Chris Brookes, had a fun quote about citizen journalists that might be worthwhile for quotation. "I don't particularly care for citizen journalism, I don't think it's good idea. I also don't want citizen doctors or dentists. We train for a reason." – Piper CJ 2 months ago
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        • Social media has an impact on the world, there is no doubt about it. However, social media often lacks: proper sourcing, critical analysis, depth of writing, and much more. Hard hitting journalism will for the foreseeable future be done by large outfits such as The New York Times and Washington Post. Pieces like the recent NYT's one on Amazons work place culture were incredibly insightful. Social media can be an asset, where people can gather and discuss ideas, but the anonymity it presents issues here as well. Twitter arguments are not known for their civility or nuance for a reason. They do provide however extremely important outlets for those who are in areas where traditional streams of information do not flow. Without social media the situation in Syria would be a lot darker than it it currently is. – Aridas 2 months ago
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        • It's a mixed bag with the Internet. I just read an article, "Lucy Bites the Dust," about the scientific debunking of Lucy as a human ancestor. As excellent as the article was, the comments section by scientists was even more interesting. Years ago I read an article on a website that sounded convincing, read a couple of others on the site and realized it was highly literate racist propaganda. Like most people, I assume, I believe in free speech, but also in the golden rule. That use of journalism is a disappointment.Also, keeping in mind the infamous Goebbels quote - "He who controls the medium controls the message. He who controls the message controls the masses" - how much of a thorn is the Internet to the powers who might benefit from keeping us in the dark, if in fact such entities exist? Are there examples of curtailing free speech on the Internet, etc.? – Tigey 2 days ago
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        The Harry Potter Series and its Relation to Terrorism

        In J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed series, there is a clear separation between good and evil. The reader is aligned with Hogwarts and the ‘good’ wizards, and Voldemort and his followers are clearly characterized as evil. Dementors and Death Eaters are continuously attempting to invade the walls of Hogwarts, and are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way of securing power. If J.K. Rowling drew upon World War II for the series, can that view be shifted to how the series can now be read in relation to terrorism? Analyze the ways in which Death Eaters resemble terrorist organizations. What does this say about our culture? How can we learn from the series using this lens?

        • As an idea the Death Eaters exemplify terrorism but at it's core it's really hard to say/argue. I feel like they are the embodiment of terror because the books make it a little too easy for us to see them as people. They don't get character development, like Bellatrix a lot of them come off as just wanting to watch the world burn. On that note, there is always Draco. A good angle this article could take is: Draco Malfoy helping people sympathize with children in radical families. Death Eaters aren't brainwashed by religion like modern day terrorists but as the books point out in a lot of cases they are pressured into it, feeling like they have no other choice, and that it's submit to Voldemort or die. – Slaidey 7 months ago
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        • Are you aiming to explore Death Eaters as "weapons" or terror as as state sanctioned vehicle to spread fear of terrorism or a way to control it. It might be a more effective argument to take Death Easters as weapons of fear and control, given that they are operated under the "state power" which in this case would be the ministry. For example as one of the comments above has suggested here, Death Eaters are clearly not brainwashed but rather, it is their nature and function to spread fear. – aferozan 7 months ago
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        • I'm actually going to go ahead and take this topic up. It seems like an interesting topic to discuss. It's pretty well established that Rowling drew inspiration from the Nazis, but puritan ideology exists even today, and future generations may look back at this series, coming as terrorism becomes a real problem in the world, and may very well assume that was its inspiration. – Adnan Bey 4 months ago
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        • Looking forward to this article Adnan. – Munjeera 2 months ago
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        • There's a pretty interesting (and amusing) video that Cracked made a couple of years ago that might shed some light on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz88P6tL9wc – ProtoCanon 2 days ago
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        Film

        The Importance of Scoring in Films
        The Importance of Scoring in Films
        Easy Rider: An Artful American Souvenir
        Carrie White: Horror’s Most Relatable Anti-Heroine
        Kurzel’s Macbeth: Aesthetics of a War Drama

        TV

        Agents of SHIELD and Anti-Heroes: In Defense of Grant Douglas Ward
        Agents of SHIELD and Anti-Heroes: In Defense of Grant Douglas Ward
        How TV Depicts Abortion: From Maude to Miranda
        Moral Codes: Heroes, Villains, and Agents of SHIELD
        Reinforcing the Traditional Patriarchal ideologies through Situation Comedies

        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

        Why The Joker Is The Best Villain We Have Ever Seen
        Why The Joker Is The Best Villain We Have Ever Seen
        Remembering Superior Spider-Man
        What Batman can Teach Us About Depression
        Overweight Superheroes and Supervillains

        Literature

        The Follies of Glutton
        The Follies of Glutton
        Homosocial Bonding in Marlowe’s Hero and Leander
        The Obliteration of Memories from the Past in the Quest for a Homogenous National Identity
        Cuckoldry in Paradise

        Arts

        Are Fossils the New Art? Analyzing the Lords of the Land Gallery
        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
        Aristotle and the Highest Good
        Swinging Los Angeles: L.A.’s Forgotten Role as a Psychedelic Rock Mecca

        Writing

        The Neediness of a Writer
        The Neediness of a Writer
        Creating a Writing Habit that Works: Muses, Magic and Faith
        A Writer’s Essential Steps to Staying Motivated
        An Inkwell’s Symbolic Influence on the Civil Rights Decisions of John Marshall Harlan