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Issues of Consent, Representation, and Exploitation in the Era of Deepfake Pornography

In the era of rapid advances in artificial intelligence and computer graphics, it is difficult for an untrained observer to be able to avoid, as well as recognise as such, an altered image, and now increasingly also an altered video. Known colloquially as "deepfakes," a portmanteau of "deep learning" artificial intelligences and "faked imagery", these seemingly seamlessly altered videos present challenges for notions of authentic representation, and much has already been written about their potential applications to and influencing of political discourses. Still, several aspects of "deepfakes," potentially made manifest both through high-end editing software and open access mobile applications, remain critically underexamined.
Most evident among these is perhaps the instantiation of "deepfake pornography," which relies on the digital superimposition of real people’s, almost exclusively women’s, faces and voices onto pornographic videos, predominantly for the consumption of male users. Often, the superimposed images and sounds come, or are alleged to come, from images that are considered part of the public domain, have been posted publicly by the individuals depicted or ones in possession of copyright, and in other ways allow for transformative use. The implication is, perhaps, that women’s bodies are to be seen as physical objects that, in an era of the incresing accessibility of image- and video-altering software, may as well be digitally recreated so as to be consumed in a way that circumvents any pesky discussions of consent. It is therefore necessary to take a closer look at deepfake technologies along with the exploitative, often violently mysoginistic as well as cisheteropatriarchal and white supremacist social and legal practices that commonly underlie their predominant uses.

  • I would suggest dropping "pornography" and just focus on three issues associated with "deepfake videos: 1) How extensive an issue is this? 2) How authentic-looking are these videos and can they easily be discredited? and 3) Do they influence public attitudes or voting? – Joseph Cernik 1 day ago
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  • That, too, constitutes an interesting discussion, but one that is already receiving extensive critical and academic attention, hence the idea of expanding it by discussing one of the most prominent yet critically underexplored applications of deepfake technology, deepfake online pornography. – HangedMaiden 9 hours ago
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Devs: The Ghost in the Machine

Alex Garland has been making his name in the film industry for sometime now. Primarily with his contributions to the high concept, hard science-fiction genre. Writer of such films as 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd, as well as directing the films Ex Machina and Annihilation, Alex Garland has an ability to meld incredible storytelling about space travel, artificial intelligence, and futuristic tech with touching human emotion and true to life character flaws. His most recent endeavor has seen him take a step back from the big to the silver screen in his television debut, Devs: an eight-part stand alone series involving quantum computing, determinism, and humanity (in every sense of the word).

The article would highlight several aspects; Alex Garland himself, the technology of the show, the allegorical elements between technology and religion, and the philosophical and ethical issues such as determinism, multiverse theory, morality, and the illusion of free will. This article will be discussing the show in rather in depth details so a Spoiler Warning should probably be addressed rather early in the article.

  • Looking for some genuine feedback regarding people's thoughts about this one. Anything else that should be included or highlighted? Is there anything that should be omitted due to not being as relevant to the subject matter? Thanks, everyone. – FarPlanet 5 days ago
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Grappling Hooks are the Best Feature of any Video Game

Video games have been around for nearly fifty years now. Over the past few decades, trends have come and trends have gone within video game culture. When games started utilizing open worlds, many other games followed suit. When games decided that climbing mechanics were the next big hit, many games began to replicate this feature in their own way. But there is one game mechanic that no matter how much time passes or what stage in the video game zeitgeist we are in that remains, bar none, the best feature a video game can have. That’s right, we’re talking about grappling hooks.

There is just something so wholesome, so endlessly fun, and so rewarding about being able to traverse a wild terrain by slinging a grappling hook and getting the job done; perhaps there’s only one way to cross a wide ravine surrounded by waterfalls, maybe you need to gain the high ground on an enemy and lunge your katana into their torso from above, maybe you’re being chased by a horde of undead and a quick grappling hook to the rooftops if your best escape, or maybe you just want to see what happens when you grappling hook an enemy soldier and tether them onto a moving helicopter.

Explore the top games of the last fifteen to twenty years that featured grappling hooks and discuss the value of such a useful mechanic while also discussing other games, their mechanics, and how and why those mechanics are inferior (I.e. yellow markers to indicate climbable structures, active building mechanics, stealth mechanics, dual-wielding, etc.).

  • OkaNaimo0819, I see your point, but I can assure you that there is definitively enough material and that an article can be written highlighting the grappling hook above all other mechanics. I've gone ahead and added an edit to include your suggestion but perhaps reserve judgment for the final pending article before shooting it down because what you're suggesting is a different article all together. Which you can feel free to write because I'm not going to. – FarPlanet 1 week ago
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  • Uncharted 4 and The Tomb Raider remake both use grappling item. Also, would you count the hookshot from The Legend of Zelda series as a grappling item (Wind Waker also had a great grappling hook). – Sean Gadus 5 days ago
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Castlevania's Big Shift

The third season of Netflix’s series appears to take a big turn towards scenes of "violent" sexuality in its most recent season, almost contrasting that of it’s previous two seasons where there is minimal to no scenes of sexuality. Nonetheless, they do have significance for individual character arcs.

Is this what audiences demanded? Are audiences taking it well, or will it turn off some of its core viewers? How does Castlevania’s video game community react to Season 3? And how do these scenes of sexuality change our previous understandings of characters?

  • This is an interesting topic to explore. This was something I also noticed when watching the 3rd season. I felt that this was a drastic shift compared to season 2. I think that we will have to season how these characters stories progress in season 4 to fully see whether these scenes were effective/necessary. Alucard's scene seem to hint at a dark road for him ahead, so we may have to wait til season 4 to see if those scenes provide to be critical. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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The Fictional Towns of Literature

R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi, Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, and of course, L. Frank Baum’s enchanting Oz. These fictional places imagined by prolific writers possess great character, and ultimately reflect the author’s mindset, intention and desires. A greater understanding of each of these places is pieced together bit by bit through every engaging story written, and eventually come to represent different things in the ways that they are perceived by us, the readers. Interesting questions to perhaps ask would then be: what was the intention of the author in creating such an intricate or elaborate world (all three are depicted beautifully drawn maps) and how did people perceive such fictional towns at the time, as well as what these towns eventually came to represent.

  • I love this. It'd be great to add Harry Potter and The Hobbit/LOTR into the mix! – Jaye Freeland 4 years ago
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  • I would also add, for Latin-American literature, Garcia Marquez' Macondo and Onetti's Santa María. It's quite a wide topic once you are familiar with it; and very interesting. – Felipe Mancheno 4 years ago
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  • Kudos to you for including Malgudi in your thesis statement. Few other places which the potential article writer can write about include Narnia and Panem. Even settings like Gotham can be potentially added into the mix and touched upon. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 3 days ago
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Existentialism in Shounen Anime and Manga

Existentialism is often seen as a depressing philosophy, but I ultimately see it as a hopeful response to absurdity–a struggle for meaning and maybe a better life, whatever shape that may take. On that line of thought, popular shounen series with their various "never give up!" themes and questioning of humanity, morality, religion, and so on, seem to fit right into it. Naruto in particular reads like a bonafide Kierkegaardian Knight of Faith.

Does shounen anime/manga seem existentialist? If so, what kind of specific existentialist themes are in play? Does this help readers coming of age prepare for life by giving them a taste of having to figure things out in the face of adversity (and absurdity)? Or does it exceed itself and become naivety?

More broadly, what’s the relationship between philosophy and fiction? Does fiction “play out” the ideas of philosophy, or does it create its own philosophical ideas?

  • Interesting topic. Shonen is all about existentialism. In any Shonen anime, especially those like Bleach, Naruto and Fairy Tail, willpower goes a long way. Whoever has higher will has higher power. – SpectreWriter 4 years ago
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  • This is a really cool topic -- if I knew more about existentialism I would write it. I think it's important to take into account Japanese philosophy and culture and how that affects the writers of shonen manga and anime. – Chris 4 years ago
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What can we learn from existential philosophy in today's epidemic climate?

How do famous works of existential philosophy: particularly those published in the late 19th/early 20th century fit into the role of human extant today? Specifically to the younger generations that are experiencing a deep uncertainty and fear towards the future? This can be drawn from works by Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, etc.

  • This is an interesting topic. I do think history repeats itself and that there is a lot to learn from philosophy. Also, learning from how humanity survived other hardships and catastrophes is a good thing for people today as well. – birdienumnum17 2 months ago
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  • I also hope someone will write about this topic. But to me, the more interesting perspective is how older people feel about their value and relation to the society given that the pandemic hits them the hardest and there is a growing sense that we may scarify the old and weak so that we can reopen the society for younger people, who are eager to work and socialize. – ctshng 2 months ago
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The appeal of 'ensemble' tv shows

Friends, That 70s Show, Community, The Office, Modern Family, the list spans kilometres. These kinds of ensemble tv shows, where rather than being just one main character, the focus is on a main group of characters, are incredibly popular today.
Investigate WHY that is. Is it something to do with the kind of show – many shows with ensemble casts are comedy or sit-com? Can viewers better find someone to relate to within a group, rather than with a designated sole protagonist? Does it open more expansive avenues for story-telling, when the focus is on six different people as opposed to just one? Does this keep viewers more invested, less bored? Is it the relationship aspect that draws viewers in? Do they enjoy feeling part of the on-screen group’s little family? Arguably, within a group, characters can afford to be more flawed as they have their peers to keep them in check, does this make for more relatable characters? Or is it the opposite, do these shows create caricatures (the smart one, the funny one, etc.) and is that why people enjoy it?

This article should offer specific examples of TV shows and what it is about them that people enjoyed.

There is something about this TV show formula that just works, and an article offering an answer to ‘why?’ could be very interesting and insightful.

  • Interesting topic! The cool thing about ensemble casts is that it gives more audience members a chance to find someone they can relate to. If there's a single defined protagonist, you either relate to that person or you don't. If there's a large ensemble cast, though, then it's more likely you can connect to someone in a fairly major role. – Debs 2 weeks ago
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  • Certainly the writing team has more work cut out for them with an ensemble cast as opposed to one main character. Also, it leaves the door open to additional characters that interact with one or more of the main cast. Ensembles, represent a wider slice of the demographic pie and gives multiple actors a chance to shine. Often lesser character's get a spin-off show for themselves. One main character can be daunting for that specific actor, as many are less capable of truly engaging the audience. If a viewer misses an episode of a one character show, it can be hard to understand what may have happened or will happen but with an ensemble you can play to the strengths of the other actor's character's. If your main star does something outside of work that the viewing public doesn't like, or perhaps is illegal or unseamly it can wreck a perfectly good or even great show. Just look at what happened to the Rosanne reboot. She ruined what arguably was and would have been a multi season hit show. Rosanne flipped out on social media and the show got axed quickly. If I was part of that cast I would have been very upset at what the main character did on her own time. I'll close this out by also saying that it's much harder to handle the eventual fall from stardom if you're a former Superstar that was a singular character, than if you had a group of stellar characters to play with. There's more than a handful of actor's that took that fall hard. Some didn't make it through that pain and ended up destroyed by depression, drugs, alcohol and heartbreak and in the absolute worst outcome suicide. Super Stardom isn't for everyone. – WillyMac 22 hours ago
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Film

How Modern Horror Tropes are Revitalizing the Current Horror Genre
How Modern Horror Tropes are Revitalizing the Current Horror Genre
The Journey of Cult Films
Gender in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Errol Flynn and Fidel Castro: A Movie and A Brief Moment

TV

The Good Place: Philosophically Sound?
The Good Place: Philosophically Sound?
The X-Files: A Feminist’s Analysis of Gender Imbalance
The Mainstream Effect of SNL
Person Of Interest: The Art of putting Kant’s Philosophy into a Computer

Animation

Story of Will Vinton and Laika Studios
Story of Will Vinton and Laika Studios
How Princesses of Color Have Improved the Disney Princess Narrative
The Legendary and Cautionary Tale of The Simpsons
Ray Harryhausen: The Monster Maestro

Anime

Made in Abyss: Gender Politics
Made in Abyss: Gender Politics
Anime in America: The Adverse Affect on Women
The Religious Politics of Hellsing Ultimate
Interpreting Live-Action Adaptations of Anime

Manga

The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
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
Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution

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

The Odyssey: A Father and Son Quest for Kleos
The Odyssey: A Father and Son Quest for Kleos
Why Do Readers Enjoy The Detective Genre so much?
The Long-Term Positivity of Multi-Cultural Children’s Books
Themes in The Book Thief

Arts

Moomins and the Finnish Culture
Moomins and the Finnish Culture
Indian Folk-art: An Expression of Cultural Diversity
Problematic Creators: How Do We Interact With Their Work?
Gavazov and the Eastern European Art Scene

Writing

The Impact of Writing on Well-Being and Self-Development
The Impact of Writing on Well-Being and Self-Development
Riddles in Rhetoric: Learning from Bilbo and Gollum about Linguistic Segregation
Susan Sontag and her love of photography
The Relationship between Travel and Creative Writing