Featured Articles

Literature
66
Film
52
Games
49
Anime
49
Literature
44
Arts
71
Anime
74
Literature
71

Latest Topics

8

Horizon Zero Dawn and the End of the/our World

The narrative of Horizon Zero Dawn is fascinating, and while there are many potential themes to be examined, I keep coming back to how it handles apocalypse and the end of the/our world. In the game’s past, the Earth faces annellation. When all seems lost, the solution is not to cling to some far-fetch hope for salvation, but instead to for pave the way for something new. Obviously, the crises facing Elisabet Sobeck, Aloy, and today’s humans are all very different. Nonetheless, I think this game offers some food for thought as we face our own climate crises: do we accept coming devastation and focus our energies on creating the conditions for a new, better world to emerge? Or do we cling to what we have and try to save the world we know? Where do we locate hope for the future? Do we have to chose between what we have and what might be? Is it possible to have hope for the emergence of something new without total destruction (as happens in the game)?

  • This could be a great topic, though I think HZD is a bit too rosy in terms of imagining alternatives for humans. I think a post-human or even anti-humanistic reading on HZD might provide nuance. – ProfRichards 2 months ago
    1
3

Self-Help through Writing Self-Help

How does the act of writing self-help help writers?
The benefits of writing are widely documented, as are the benefits of teaching others. This, combined with the growing popularity of autoethnography, provides an opportunity to examine self-help authors and their relationships with their material. What benefits (or issues) arise from the act of writing self-help? For example, Sarah Knight (author of the No Fucks Given Guides) says her writing reflects what she has learnt about managing her own anxiety. However, was she already codifying her strategies while learning to deal with anxiety? Did writing help her, or was she simply out to fill a gap in the market?

  • Maggie Nelson's 'The Argonauts' is a great piece of autoethnography that the potential writer could look at when approaching this topic. – Samantha Leersen 3 days ago
    1
5

"We're Here!" is Queer Eye for Drag Queens

HBO’s "We’re here!" is, essentially, doing what the reboot of "Queer Eye" did– heading into rural and isolated communities and confronting the structural limitations of that community, building a pop-up drag show for one weekend. The queens work with a few people (some cis, straight men; some queer folk; some baby Queens) to help them embrace their femininity and performativity. And it is clear that a connection is made. But then what? Queer Eye’s reboot has been critiqued by feminist, gender studies, and queer writers for the appropriation of racialized cultures, the shaming of people living in poverty, and the kind of neoliberalist fantasy that consumerism will save someone. Is "We’re Here!" doing a similar kind of thing? My instinct is that "We’re Here!" is avoiding some of the traps of Queer Eye while falling into a few of them.

  • I approved the topic because I believe the overall concept is solid. But, I would caution against getting your personal feeling involved if you decided to write on this article. Sentences like "My instinct is that "We’re Here!" is avoiding some of the traps of Queer Eye while falling into a few of them." can be ignored by critics as they will simply say they had the opposite feeling. I would lean more heavily into criticism formed by studies or providing evidence from the show for your points. – Blackcat130 2 months ago
    4
  • Absolutely! Good point. And I would agree that anyone who writes this topic should find analytic through points and avoid speculation. – ProfRichards 2 months ago
    2
9

Why have apocalypse-style films and TV shows become so mainstream in recent years?

The idea of an apocalypse has existed in history for hundreds of years, but why in recent times has the idea of an apocalypse become to mainstream? Whether it’s zombies, nukes, or anything in between, these stories have taken a deep root in our modern culture. Is it because we feel detached from our primal survivalist selves? Take for example the show The Walking Dead. The show is a massive success, second only to Game Of Thrones during its run time. Apart from the amazing writing and impeccable acting performances, there is a certain allure to the idea of a group of at-first strangers growing into a family through trials and tribulations and lots of zombie guts. It is also interesting to see how these stories are received in different cultures around the world. For example I know that in many parts of Asia, there is a massive love for all things zombie. Why do you think this is?

  • Good topic! I think apocalypse-style media is cathartic. People consume it as a way to reassure themselves that what they see can't really happen for one reason or another, or that if it did, they would survive. Sometimes people consume this media and plan what they would do in certain situations. There's also an element of dark humor, as in, if we laugh at the poor decisions we think characters are making, the apocalypse won't seem so threatening and potentially realistic. – Stephanie M. 9 months ago
    1
  • Something really cool that was taught at the UNiversity I attended was an analysis of 'Ecocriticism and Popular Culture'. It took a deep dive into enviro-apocalypse stories (like Snowpiercer) - why we tell them and why we love reading/watching them. The concept of 'man vs wild' is a binary that has long existed conceptually as a means by which humans understand themselves. However, contemporary ecocritics have been challenging this binary. Especially now in an age where climate change and environmental catastrophe (referred to by scholars as the Anthropocene) continue to escalate. Things to research when exploring Environmental Apocalypse stores in pop culture: - Anthropocene - Biopolitics - Examples of this in film/literature: Snowpiercer, Elysium, Interstellar, MaddAddam Trilogy (by Margaret Atwood) – Amaani 3 months ago
    1
  • Something to consider: for many people and species on this planet apocalypse is already here and we are living in a post-apocalypse scenario. So maybe these representations of "another apocalypse" are how we confront our reality that we don't want to see. – ProfRichards 2 months ago
    0
  • It might also be worthwhile to bring up how many cultures and people who have experienced genocide often say they live in a post-apocalyptic world and how that translates into the art and media they create (i.e Indigenous, Black cultures) – Anna Samson 5 days ago
    0
1

How technology has changed romantic movie tropes

Consider the role of technology in romantic relationships. For example, how many relationships begin on Tinder and other dating sites. Or how people can meet on social media and get into relationships. How are these things shown in film?
Think of old tropes such as a man waiting 3 days to call a woman after a date. How does that impact audiences to watch these tropes today? For example, with this trope, how would contemporary audiences feel watching “He’s Just Not That Into You” (2009)? If it were remade today, what would be done differently?

  • I think the larger scope would actually be looking at the way in which romance is made, although meeting at a bar and at a workplace are still common, the uptake of romantic and sexual apps highlights the way in which "love" has changed. What I find interesting about the use of many of these match up tools, websites and apps is that they have fulfilled a role once held by friends and family. I think this would be a fun topic to explore and especially to do a little comparison of how love matches are made in film and television today and compare it to those from pre-2000s. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 2 weeks ago
    3
  • Dating 'rules' and romance tropes are different from each other, and it would be worth making the distinction clear in the article. In books and scripts there is a thing called 'beat sheets' which have major events that are expected to occur in a certain genre. I recommend looking up 'romance beat sheets' for this article. Youtubers Jenna Moreci and Alexa Donne have some great material on romance tropes vs beat sheets. I personally don't think technology has changed romance tropes too much. Not everything can happen over messenger/text, though some does. Before this would have just happened over the phone, email or (gasp) letters. – Jordan 1 week ago
    2
2

The Portrayal of Catfishing Within Popular Media

The act of catfishing — pretending to be someone else online to lure someone into a false relationship — has become a somewhat common occurrence. This also means that this behaviour has started appearing in more entertainment media. This, then, begs the question. How is the act of catfishing portrayed in media?

An analysis of this topic could start with the TV show Catfish, which depicts the act as cruel whilst simultaneously often showing sympathy to those who participate in catfishing depending upon their individual circumstances.

Through looking at other examples — either fictional or non-fictional — try to determine whether popular culture depicts this as a severe violation, a minor problem, or somewhere in between.

If possible, make a comment about what this says about societal values.

Note: I have placed this in the Arts category, but it could potentially sit in the other media forms (like TV or Film) if they are most discussed.

    8

    Healthy Relationships in Romantic Comedies

    Romcoms are an incredibly popular genre, and some of the relationships – from the perfect meet-cute to the inevitable dramatic finale – are truly dream-worthy. But a lot of romantic comedies also feature clearly unhealthy relationships. Consider The Wedding Planner, where the male lead is engaged for the majority of the film, or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, where both sides of the couple are trying to trick one another. There are countless other examples.

    It would be interesting to explore why this is. Does a relationship need to be unhealthy (or, commonly, founded upon lies) to be "funny"? Why can we set aside critical judgement of blatantly unhealthy behaviours when we’re watching these movies?

    • Add screwball comedies to that and it would improve it greatly. – leitercary 4 months ago
      2
    • The questions you pose here are very interesting. How would we define “unhealthy” in this inquiry? You seem to imply dishonesty or deception as informing that qualifier, which I think is right, but also, what of other problematics like sexist gender roles set as expectations via swoon-worthy rom com get-togethers? Perhaps this is where some of the unhealthy humor of this genre comes into play, where we laugh at the blunders the characters commit as they themselves attempt to fit the expectations of idealized heteronormative relationships— ‘boys will be boys, girls will be girls.’ – duronen 4 months ago
      4
    1

    The History of Chinese Painting

    The Artifice is a magazine about visual arts so it would be interesting to read an article about how art in China has been evolving since ancient times. The author is invited to focus on the history of painting in this specific cultural context and make it into a story that helps the reader explore different times through the lens of Chiense painters. Using a chronological order would be helpful to follow and making the tone narrative instead of informative would also be more engaging. As an oil painter, I would be intrigued to read something related to the origins of this particular painting type.

      Film

      The Dark Side of Beauty Standards in Helter Skelter: A semiotic analysis
      The Dark Side of Beauty Standards in Helter Skelter: A semiotic analysis
      Racist Undertones in “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding”
      Traffic & Sicario: Reevaluating America’s War on Drugs
      All Cinema is a Special Effect: “Special Effect” Created in Two Spatiality

      TV

      The Good Fight: The Real, The Plausible, and Donald Trump’s Legacy
      The Good Fight: The Real, The Plausible, and Donald Trump’s Legacy
      The Heartbreaking Symbolism of The Clone Helmet In Star Wars: The Clone Wars’s Final Episodes
      The Donald Show: Trump, Television, and Manufactured Reality
      The Portrayal of Feminism in Fleabag (2016)

      Animation

      Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
      Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
      Ren & Stimpy’s History: 30 Years Later
      Disney and Disability
      Disney Characters That Should Get Their Own Spinoffs

      Anime

      The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
      The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
      Anime Versus Cancel Culture
      Perfect Blue: A Genre Study
      Your Name: Finding Love Across Possible Worlds?

      Manga

      Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
      Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
      The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
      One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
      Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions

      Comics

      Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
      Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
      Why Has Batman’s Origin Remained So Iconic?
      Feminist Criticism of Society and Comic Books’ Past
      The Batman/Catwoman Wedding Is Supposed to Upset You

      Literature

      Are Disability and Death Inextricable?
      Are Disability and Death Inextricable?
      How Australian is Australian Urban Fantasy?
      Barnes and Billy, and Living: An Analysis on Slaughterhouse-Five and The Sun Also Rises
      Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’: How Austen Writes an Independent Woman

      Arts

      How YouTube Commodifies Experience
      How YouTube Commodifies Experience
      Welcome to Night Vale: More Conservative Than It Seems
      Dragons: East versus West
      Social Realism, New Masses & Diego Rivera

      Writing

      A Short Guide to a Writer’s Imaginary Critics
      A Short Guide to a Writer’s Imaginary Critics
      Using Musical Theater as a Literary Muse
      The Pillars of Outstanding Stories
      The Impact of Writing on Well-Being and Self-Development