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Black Panther: Not the First Black Superhero in Film but is most Impactful

With the hype surrounding Marvel’s latest film Black Panther, there is a lot of focus from word of mouth and marketing that this is the first black superhero on the big screen. That is not true however as many have been shown in tv and films before such as Blade and Luke Cage. Yet Black Panther’s role for POC representation in film is much more culturally significant than the other african-american superheroes that appeared on the big screen before the King of Wakanda. By comparing how the others were represented in comparison to Black Panther today.

  • An important part of this needs to be the discussion occurring around the film in relation to social and cultural issues that did not occur when other Marvel films were released. No one sat around discussing the importance of Thor being blonde (god I hope they didn't), but many people are discussing what Black Panther means and what it reflects about American society. I think this is an important topic to get up on The Artifice. – SaraiMW 23 hours ago
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  • @SaraiMW That's what I mean for this idea, I was just giving a summary and you just got the exact purpose of this topic. – Ryan Walsh 22 hours ago
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  • Something worth considering is that in 1998 (when Blade was released) superhero movies were far from being the pop culture touchstone that they are today. Prior to the launch of the MCU in 2008, the whole genre was a niche with limited appeal beyond the comic-nerd subculture and fans of action blockbusters. Though Blade (along with the first X-Men and Rami's Spider-man trilogy) is considered to be an ancestor of the contemporary dominance of the genre, what makes Blank Panther such a big deal is that it is the first POC lead in a (feature) superhero movie SINCE superhero movies have been the biggest thing in the world. This is a good enough topic, but I think it fixates too much upon the media narrative's unfortunate misuse of the world "first," and thus fails to see the forest for the trees. It consequently forces those of us who like to nitpick (myself included) to jump into "corrector-mode," which may distract from what a monumental moment for diversity/representation in mainstream media this really is. Just my two cents. – ProtoCanon 14 hours ago
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  • @ProtoCanon So then what would be the best way to make sure that this topic doesn't devolve into nitpick territory about technicalities? – Ryan Walsh 13 hours ago
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  • Hard to say, since this whole subject can be a bit of a minefield. I think the important point would be to stress precisely what makes the release of Black Panther a big deal, DESPITE it not being technically the first of its kind. This includes things like historical and cultural context (as I mentioned above), but can also pay attention to the film's commentary on colonialism, globalization, and diplomacy, as well as the uniqueness of its Afro-Futurist aesthetic being so uncommon in the landscape of big-budget Hollywood filmmaking. You're addition of "but most impactful" is the more crucial point, so it might be wise of the author to spend more time exploring that than the more salacious "not the first" talking-point. – ProtoCanon 10 hours ago
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Rebuilding The Future

The year 1960 saw the release of George Pal’s imaginative production of H.G.Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’, considered by many to be a classic. At the end of the film, the main character ‘George’ returns to the distant future to help the newly liberated yet child-like Eloi build a new society, taking just three books with him to aid his venture. As his friend comments to another character ‘…which three would you have taken?’. Considering the wealth of knowledge we have access to in the 21st Century, which three books (factual or fiction) would you choose and, more importantly, why?

  • A great topic to consider as it will require addressing the roles of particular texts - do you take manuals, do you take "great literature", do you take religious texts? What is most valuable in literature in relation to history and cultural change and how do we measure this? – SaraiMW 23 hours ago
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Discovering Harry Potter: Does Age Matter?

This is a fairly personal topic I’d like to write myself, but will leave to more experienced Potterheads.

I was ten when the first Harry Potter book came out. I grew up in a moderate, but still observant Christian family who considered it too much of a risk to expose me and my then-six-year-old brother to a series that contained any form of witchcraft. I didn’t read the books then and later, got too busy with other books. Besides, I didn’t want to be labeled childish for carrying around HP paperbacks in, say, high school.

As an adult, I’ve finally gotten around to opening my Hogwarts letter and starting the series, and it’s been a lot of fun. However, I can’t escape this fact: I’m a thirty-something woman. I have a different HP experience than the average 11-year-old.

And so I’m curious to see an analysis of this phenomenon. Does age matter when you’re discovering HP for the first or two hundredth time? How do children and adults view the series differently? Are there less or more "mature" ways to interact with it? Or, as I suspect, has Harry Potter bridged age gaps in a way other book series can only dream about doing? If yes, how did J.K. and Harry do it?

  • Oh, this is a really good point. I grew up with HP and participated in fan culture while it was still going on, but recently met someone who never got involved until last year. We both love the series, but we have vastly different interpretations and relationships with the HP universe. Partly because of age, sure, but I think also because of our relationship to the fandom/culture surrounding it. – Emily Esten 5 months ago
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  • A nice idea for a topic, Stephanie. I have to confess to having a little bias in favour of the HP books as I was an extra on the last HP film, but having said that, I too discovered the books shortly afterwards. So, at the tender middle-age of 49 I started reading them. As an adult, what I discovered was a remarkably consistent form of storytelling that also matured and darkened in its subject matter as its young readers grew up. One thing I will credit Rowling with is encouraging a generation of children to do what successive UK governments had failed to do - namely to read for pleasure! I enjoyed discussing the stories with my nephew as he grew up and trying to solve the great puzzle, so in that respect alone it helped to connect the young and the not so young in a shared literary experience. It also opened up a few interesting discussions with other adults who saw me reading the books on the Tube; those who, perhaps under different circumstances, I might never have spoken to. – Amyus 5 months ago
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  • I grew up with the Harry Potter series so it's an important part of my childhood. I was actually too young when they first came out, so my mom would read them to me as bedtime stories instead. It turned into a bonding experience as my mom became almost equally immersed in the wizarding world as I was. I'm sure it was a different experience for her than it was for me. Since I was a child and the Harry Potter series involves a "coming of age" narrative, the human issues I was reading about were mostly on par with my own experiences growing up. The books and my life could co-exist side by side. For my mom, it perhaps provides a bit of nostalgia. It takes her back to when she was younger and makes her feel like a kid again. Feeling "like a kid" again while reading the books and actually being a kid while reading them is obviously a completely different perspective. Perhaps, for adults, it provides a mini-vacation from a world that seems to have lost a bit of its magic. It reminds you of an innate sense of curiosity and wonder we often lose as we get older. For kids reading them, there is perhaps less of a barrier between the wizarding world and our own. After all, Harry Potter incorporates our own (Muggle) world and the wizarding world within the same universe. The wizarding world seems like an undiscovered realm that we're too oblivious to realize is hidden right under our noses. The capacity for human ignorance can be astounding, so why can't there be a bit of magic we've failed to notice? Our entire existence is both a miracle and a mystery. Maybe J.K. Rowling is a witch herself! She certainly cast a spell on several generations worth of readers. As to how she did that so successfully, that's a more difficult question to answer. Audiences tend to like the ole' good versus evil storylines. Its voices aren't solely adolescent ones either, which separate it from YA that almost exclusively focus on kids' perspectives. I also greatly admire anything that's relegated to being mere "children's entertainment" which is instead handled with maturity and depth and acknowledges kids' capacities for awareness and intelligence that exist outside of adult comprehension. – aprosaicpintofpisces 5 months ago
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Star Trek Discovery: Ash Tyler

In Star Trek’s newest installation Star Trek: Discovery, we are introduced to a character named Ash Tyler, potrayed by Shazad Latif. Ash was a prisoner of war in a Klingon ship, was tortured and ultimately raped by one of his Klingon captors. You see Ash dealing with symptoms of PTSD that progress through the show. Ash’s mental state causes flashbacks, which ultimately lead to violence and even death of those In his way. How does the sympathy of Ash’s place as a male rape victim clash with the violent nature he takes on when having episodes? Is he less sympathetic or moreso because of these violence inducing flashbacks caused by the torture he recieved?

  • Considering the current state of sexual assault/harassment that has been plaguing our society for much too long, it is easy to see it as a strictly woman-based struggle...Men who are sexually abused, and the way they cope is almost a nil discussion...kudos for the insight and the well thought out topic. – MikeySheff 6 days ago
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Cool guys and glasses in anime

In anime there are many stereotypes which deviate from Western views. For instance, the boy in school with glasses and straight A’s may be worshipped in Japan but oppressed in Western nations. I would love it if someone could research the value of these stereotypes in different cultures!

  • Sugata and Tomoki from Heaven's Lost Property would be good to compare and contrast with a similar duo from American culture because of how respected Sugata is compared to Tomoki despite having similar intentions and for lack of better word interests. – alexpaulsen 3 days ago
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Technical Competence Vs. Quality in Classic Cinema

I recently re-watched Tod Brownings 1931 adaptation of Dracula, along with the Spanish language reshoot made the same year. Later, I watched an analysis of both films that was arguing the english language version was superior due to the technical proficiency of the camera operator. They compared the number of tracking shots, pushes, and dolly shots, then judged the quality of the film based off those numbers.

Personally, I find this to be somewhat of a silly way of judging a film’s quality, but I couldn’t help that agree with the author of the video that the English version looks much better than the Spanish one. Should the technical execution of a film, especially classic film, play a role in our subjective judgement of it?

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    Of Monetary Value: The Artistry of the Undervalued

    In this day and age the arts are one of the most freeing career paths a person can choose, from drawing and painting to animation and sculpture the field is vast and full of potential. Discuss why people devlue the art of learning these subjects, often expect work to be done for free, and then celebrate the art as beloved. Do we value the work and undervalue the artist? Is this ideal changing? Discuss how this mindset and belief that art is not of valur affects the "little" guy while allowing large main stream corporations to become highly monetarily successful.

    • The devaluing of art is constantly present in creative communities and it's a vicious cycle. The mentality is that "the smaller you are (reputation-wise) the less you can charge" otherwise "you'd be bigger," and "you have to work for it." And this thought process stifles one's ability TO grow while in a constant lack of proper support. Rather than pay a small creator for the time and effort they put into their work, people flock to brand merchandise or cheap widely distributed prints. What it boils down to is a lack of understanding on the part of the consumer for the market: they try to equivocate the price of the products while completely unaware of the resources spent to make them. "Why pay $20 for this when I can get it for $5 somewhere else." The need to make money in any form, forces small creators to accept low wages or to be paid in "exposure" because it's that or nothing, which in turn justifies the devaluing of their and others' art in future. So the cycle continues. Since art is so accessible, and there are so many artists out there, it's hard to stop this from happening. I'd love if the article included ideas on how to combat this mentality and educate consumers on where their money is going when supporting small creators. – Slaidey 6 days ago
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    • I also should have added that I do think the attitude toward smaller creators is shifting in some regard. Mentioning Patreon and sites which help support creators is relevant to the topic and could be worth mentioning :) – Slaidey 6 days ago
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    Star Trek: Discovery - Decent or Dud?

    An analysis of the newest addition to the Star Trek franchise. Does the 2017 update to beloved 80/90s spin-offs like DS9 and Voyager really pack the same punch? Or is possible that older TV shows and their newer instalments are want to be affected by nostalgia and fans, as much as they are by new script and plot?

    • I think this is a relevant discussion to have, although it would be a little tricky as there is so much conjecture even between the original series. It will be interesting to look at how each series actually was received and how the new version relates to that also. As a show that has had a series of iterations and significant changes, I think in a way fans would be more accepting of the "newness" of the Discovery series, however, whether it is meeting the same needs in its contemporary target audience could be a different discussion. – SaraiMW 7 days ago
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    Film

    Race and the Revived Dead: White Zombie and Night of the Living Dead
    Race and the Revived Dead: White Zombie and Night of the Living Dead
    Avengers 2012 vs Justice League 2017: A Lesson in Narrative Storytelling
    Origin Stories: Do we need them?
    The Superhero Origin… Again?

    TV

    The Walking Dead: The transformation of Rick Grimes
    The Walking Dead: The transformation of Rick Grimes
    Mindhunter: A gritty insight into criminal psychology
    A Female #doctor13: Why the Controversy?
    The Successes and Failures of Sesame Street and Arthur

    Animation

    Samurai Jack: Exploring the Newfound Maturity
    Samurai Jack: Exploring the Newfound Maturity
    The Double-Edged Stigma Faced By Western Animation
    Best and Worst Disney Role Models for Girls and Young Women
    Feminism and Disney: They’re Not As Different As You Might Think

    Anime

    Attack On Titan: Anger as a Source of Motivation
    Attack On Titan: Anger as a Source of Motivation
    The Appeal of Slice of Life
    Psycho-Pass: Understanding Structural Violence
    Parasyte: Exploration of what it means to be human

    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

    Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
    Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
    The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading
    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
    Finding the Bridge Between Superhero Comics and Hip-Hop

    Literature

    Macleish’s play J.B. and the Problem of Evil
    Macleish’s play J.B. and the Problem of Evil
    What is the Purpose of Dystopian Literature?
    The Philosophy of Conflict in Literature
    Araby: Intercolonialism In Ireland as Portrayed by James Joyce

    Arts

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Internal Guilt
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Internal Guilt
    Picasso’s Guernica: 80 Years Later
    Women, Culture and Politics: Buffy’s Critical Bite
    Enhancing Performance: Self-Care for All Artists

    Writing

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference
    Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA’s Red-headed Stepchild
    Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?