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8

The Appeal of Nonsense Literature: A Remedy for a Mad, Mad World?

For many of us, our first exposure to nonsense literature in general came in the form of nonsense poetry. Authors such as Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss and Spike Milligan used non-sensical verse to subvert the power of language to label and own the world. Oxford scholars now suggest the origins of nonsense literature may be found in the 11th century, although there is circumstantial evidence to suggest an even older origin, possibly as far back as Aristophanes.

Nonsense poetry (and, by extension, nonsense literature in general) is now an officially recognised subset of the international language of literature, and elements have even crept into everyday usage. For instance, few people know that the oft-used word ‘nerd’ was invented by Dr. Suess.

In addition to the names listed above, Ivor Cutler, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, François Rabelais, Flann O’Brien, Velimir Khlebnikov and Sukumar Ray (to name but a few) have all used either nonsense or nonsensical structure in their works, as have Bob Dylan, David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Syd Barret (Co-founder of Pink Floyd).

Discuss how the anarchic power of nonsense writing can be liberating, both to the author/writer and to the reader/audience. Choose whatever examples you wish and show how, by breaking the established rules of grammar, punctuation and capitalisation, nonsense can also sometimes even act as a remedy for a mad, mad world.

    8

    Coding, Bait, and Representation: Different Forms of Queer Media

    Analyze different ways that queerness has been tackled in literature over time, with particular attention paid to the shift in recent years away from queer coded characters to queer characters whose sexuality/queerness is explicitly stated and explored in the text. One of the most direct ways to look at this is through fairy tales. Many fairy tales when read through a queer lens reveal a rich queer subtext, even if they were not written with this intention. On the other side of the token, in modern times it’s common to write explicitly queer retellings of fairy tales, which bring that subtext to the forefront and make it textual, rather than regulating it to a subtextual reading. (This could be applied to storytelling as a whole, but it would be useful to narrow it down to one specific medium like classic vs contemporary literature. It could also have examples from TV & anime/manga).

    An article on this topic could also spend time on queerbaiting, which in some ways occupies a unique middle ground: characters that are queer coded enough for queer viewers to find them compelling and therefore a profitable audience, but not so explicitly queer that the writers ever have to commit to that reading (the show Supernatural comes up a lot as an example in these sorts of conversations). With many stories, it is worthwhile to go back and read them through a queer lens due to them containing rich queer subtext that wasn’t able to be made explicit in the time it was written (Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and the Awakening by Kate Chopin comes to mind). However, when it comes to modern stories where censorship is less of a valid obstacle, this reliance on queer coding without explicit confirmation becomes baiting when done intentionally. (There is plenty of grey area when it comes to unintentional queer coding and where that line is drawn.)

    Additionally, this could also explore which types of queer characters are most needed in media today. While queer coding in classic literature is very important to look back on, now that explicit queer narratives ARE more normalized, it feels reductive to go back to storytelling that keeps all of its queerness beneath the surface. Nevertheless, a counterpoint to this push for explicit queer narratives would be that, at times, this type of storytelling can become heavy handed. It may be an issue where everyone’s ideal form of queer representation is subjective.

    • I think it's also worth noting that queerbaiting is often referred to as a marketing tactic - some media will sell the story as being queer, but not actually show this during the piece itself (eg a social media account posting a pride month post featuring a character or two, but these character's queerness doesn't actually get mentioned in the piece of media at all). It's a term that gets a lot of use, and some people seem to use it in very different ways with different meanings. Regardless, I do like this topic idea. – AnnieEM 4 months ago
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    4

    Manga to anime adaptations vs. book to film adaptations

    Do they follow similar patterns or is one typically more successful than the other? What have you noticed about the reception from fans for each type of adaptation? Why do you think these results have occurred?

    • Hmm... interesting subject, but I'd add more explanation as to why this topic is in need of an analysis and reflexion. – Beaucephalis 5 months ago
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    • This could be an interesting subject! Though I feel like the fact that anime is episodic and longer than a movie would make the comparison a little odd - in some ways, I feel manga to anime vs book to tv show could be a more apt comparison. While the latter isn't as common, I feel the differences in the length of a single movie vs a series makes comparing the two in a productive way a little harder. It the comparison being more about the mediums for their structural differences in length rather than being about adaption. There's also a lot of factors here that can influence the difference between manga to anime vs book to film/tv show - the strengths and limitations and costs of animation vs live action, the nature of prose vs manga/comics as a medium, and of course cultural differences between the places making these movies and anime. – AnnieEM 3 months ago
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    7

    The usage of body horror to create a sense of horror in Parasyte: The Maxim

    Analyze the ways in which the 2014 anime, Parasyte: The Maxim uses body horror to elicit a feeling of terror by analyzing body horror as a genre of fiction and an art style. Delve into the artwork of Junji Ito and H. R. Giger, cataloging techniques and defining terms, all to show how Parasyte is a product of a body horror genre.

    • What about also comparing to Junji Ito's works? He is most famous for his tackling of body horror? – Beatrix Kondo 6 months ago
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    8

    Beyond Gratuitous Sadness: Unmasking Trauma Porn in Film and Literature

    Discuss how to discern genuine quality from exploitative storytelling. Gratuitous sadness in movies and books is a contentious issue, with some works blurring the line between genuine emotion and exploitative storytelling. To determine if a movie or book is truly good or just trauma porn, readers and viewers can look for key indicators. Examining the intent behind the portrayal of sadness, evaluating the depth and complexity of character development, and considering the impact on the audience’s emotional well-being are crucial factors to consider. For example, novels like "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara and the 2023 movie "Close" by Lukas Dhont, have sparked debates on the fine line between authentic emotional storytelling and gratuitous trauma exploitation. Understanding these nuances can help discern between quality storytelling and sensationalized trauma porn.

    • I think how you define "genuine quality" and "truly good" should either be elaborated on; or, the effects of gratuitous sadness should be judged according to a less subjective measure than goodness and quality, for example, by authenticity – Yusra Usmani 6 months ago
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    6

    The Accuracy of Book-To-Movie Adaptations

    Book-to-movie films (and—more regularly, now—shows) are especially common in young adult franchises such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. The first three Harry Potter films are some of the most beloved book-to-movie adaptations in history. The latter movies, while successful in other regards, were criticised (especially by book purists) for cutting out, altering, or ignoring large chunks of the source material. I have heard several fans say that they would watch a Harry Potter reboot if it was a high-budget streaming show that adapted each chapter into an episode, with the dialogue and plots and sub-plots remaining exactly the same as the books. Whether this would ever be done remains to be seen,

    Movies face an issue in that they are limited in run-time. While there are long movie adaptations out there (The Lord of the Rings is a prime example), more commonly, they are cut to fit at a little over 2 hours. They prioritise entertainment and a streamlined story. Books can vary in length to a great degree—the first Harry Potter book was around 77,000 words while the fifth (the longest) was around 257,000. Yet the fifth movie (2hrs and 18 minutes long) was actually shorter than the first (2 hours and 32 minutes long). The movie arguably benefited from cutting much of the meat of the book, at least from an entertainment perspective, if not from a story and world perspective.

    How important is it for the plot to be accurately represented in films, given that they are, indeed, adaptations of the source material and not direct translations? Is it enough for the characters and world to be represented with care and detail? Are fans right in complaining about inaccuracy and missing scenes in book-to-movie adaptations? What are some examples of book-to-movie adaptations done well, and done poorly?

    • The different approaches to book adaptations and the merits or detriments of shifting the medium of a story would definitely be an interesting topic. Another possible aspect of the topic would be the question of whether a movie or an episodic show is the most effective format, whether this is case specific, and what sort of plots and subplots lend themselves to short or long form cinema. – Quodlibet 10 months ago
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    • Movies and books are two extremely different mediums with unique characteristics, potential benefits, and potential barriers. Consider this example: In the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, there are several significant internal monologues. In my opinion, one of the most substantial ones is Alice's internal monologue while questioning her own identity (inside the rabbit hole); however, I was unable to locate a single movie that featured this internal monologue. In a novel, a character could typically have an internal monologue for a whole chapter, or even more, but in a movie, it would be disastrous. In light of this, I believe the questions to be asked are: Which elements should be removed in order to make room for the new medium? What elements need to be modified to take advantage of the new medium's potential? etc. The issue is not whether there should or shouldn't be disparities between the two - because there will always be disparities between the two; rather, it is how to implement these contrasts without compromising the book's basic concepts and takeaways. – Samer Darwich 10 months ago
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    • The benefits of a series format compared with that of a film would definitely be an interesting topic. In my opinion one of the interesting examples to explore would be the adaptation of philip pulman's series 'his dark materials' and how the movie compares to the HBO series. Whils both effectively translate the novels into another format, both fail where the other succeeds. For example the HBO series is more detailed and has better pacing whereas the movie has a tone that is similar to that of the books. Another example is all quiet on the western front which has been adapted into a television sereis and two different movies, the most recent havign been released this year. I'm sure some interesting comparisons can be drawn between the different adaptations that would help furthere develop this topic. – Matilda 10 months ago
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    • The debate of making a successful book to movie adaptation is great to engage in. There first needs to be an acknowledgement that there ate two different mediums and depending how abstract or explicit, its down to directors' and writers interpretation the book. – ml22370 10 months ago
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    • I think that books do more intense and detailed descriptions of the story. But the adaptation of a book to the movie is really good as not all can read books but most people watch movies tho! – dancingnumbers 10 months ago
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    • I think the recreation of famous stories in film can be a really beautiful thing and gives more options of accessibility for a wide range of audiences. Although I can agree that film adaptations can be missing the "spark" of the novel, there will always be different versions that exist. A recording of an audiobook with a different voice actor than the original recording will have nuances and tone that transform the story, just as a movie will create a slight variation of the original tale. Within these changed adaptations we can add new, modern factors to elevate relatability and relevance to modern society, such as increasing diversity (which is always a good thing). – tayloremily29 7 months ago
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    5

    The Trans Advocacy in Across the Spiderverse

    In "Across the Spiderve," while there may not be a trans character, the presence of a trans advocate is an important aspect to explore. As a writer, it’s crucial to consider the following points when delving into this theme:

    Elevating Trans Advocacy: Highlight the role of the trans advocate in the film and their efforts to promote trans visibility and inclusivity. Explore their motivations, struggles, and achievements, emphasizing their dedication to creating a more accepting society.

    Amplifying Trans Voices: Showcase the trans advocate’s journey of advocacy, including their activism, community engagement, and initiatives aimed at raising awareness and challenging societal norms. Emphasize the impact of their work in creating positive change and fostering dialogue.

    Overcoming Obstacles: Address the challenges faced by the trans advocate, such as resistance, discrimination, and backlash. Illustrate how they navigate these obstacles with resilience, determination, and strategic approaches, inspiring others to join their cause.

    Collaborative Approach: Highlight the importance of collaboration between the trans advocate and other communities, organizations, or allies. Explore how they build alliances, bridge gaps, and promote unity in working towards a more inclusive society.

    Empowering Others: Showcase the trans advocate’s efforts to empower individuals within the trans community and beyond. Illustrate how they provide resources, support networks, and platforms for marginalized voices, fostering a sense of belonging and encouraging others to embrace their authentic selves.

    By exploring these aspects, you can effectively convey the significance of the trans advocate’s role in "Across the Spiderve" and emphasize the power of advocacy in promoting trans visibility and acceptance in society.

    • i like – anonymous7608 4 weeks ago
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    • Can I write about this one? In the article I can explain the trans advocacy and everything else. – Beatrix Kondo 3 weeks ago
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    6

    How will the Manosphere influence Self-Help Books?

    The manosphere movement, which propagates misogynistic and discriminatory views under the guise of men’s empowerment, has the potential to negatively impact the reputation and content of the self-help book industry. One danger is the appropriation of common self-help concepts like building confidence or setting goals by manosphere advocates, who then apply these principles in toxic ways to reinforce regressive attitudes toward women and gender roles. As a result, some constructive self-help ideas risk becoming tainted by association. Additionally, if manosphere ideology creeps into the mainstream, it spreads an insidious narrative that relationships are transactional, women use their sexuality as leverage, and traditional notions of masculinity are ideal. This worldview could filter into otherwise positive self-help books, contaminating them with embedded toxic assumptions.

    The manosphere also relies heavily on junk science and evolutionary psychology theories to justify their beliefs about female manipulation or male dominance hierarchies. The use of such pseudo-science as evidence in certain self-help books lends an air of credibility to these harmful ideologies. Self-help books appeal to vulnerable audiences seeking life improvement. Manosphere influencers may capitalize on this demand to attract followers and indoctrinate them with extremist, discriminatory attitudes toward women disguised as empowerment.

    Film

    When Art House Was King: The Golden Age of International Cinema
    When Art House Was King: The Golden Age of International Cinema
    What does the end of Annihilation (2018) mean?
    Loyal Citizens of Pyongyang in Seoul: Understanding Enemies of the Empire
    Exploring the Sensual Power of Dance in Cinema

    TV

    How Andor Uses Audio to Explore Oppression and Rebellion
    How Andor Uses Audio to Explore Oppression and Rebellion
    From Mythology to the MCU: Egyptian and Norse
    Bridgerton’s Reimagining of Regency Society
    How Stranger Things’ Most Important Licensed Songs Compliment Its Story

    Animation

    Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper
    Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper
    Laika and the Power of Eyes: A Soul’s Quest for Self-Possession
    Disney Protagonists and the Seven Deadly Sins
    Disney Heroines and Gaslighting

    Anime

    Hallyu & Anime: A More Than Welcome Ongoing Love Story
    Hallyu & Anime: A More Than Welcome Ongoing Love Story
    Perfect Blue: The Horror of Being Idolised
    Yu-Gi-Oh! and Gender: Sexist or Subversive?
    Anime And Food — A Culinary Adventure Like No Other

    Manga

    Vagabond: Beautiful Lessons in Takehiko Inoue’s Manga
    Vagabond: Beautiful Lessons in Takehiko Inoue’s Manga
    Exploring the impact of social medias through Helter Skelter and Black Mirror’s Nosedive
    Berserk, Sisyphus, and The Indomitable Human Spirit
    Marketing vs. Genre in Manga – How They Can Get Confused

    Comics

    Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
    Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
    Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
    Comics in Education: Benefits and attitudes
    How Gwenpool Knows the Unknowable (And Can We Do the Same?)

    Literature

    Should Modern Newspapers Publish Poetry?
    Should Modern Newspapers Publish Poetry?
    Lovecraft & Racism
    How Does a YA Series Remain Whole as it Grows?
    Percy Shelley and Charles Bukowski’s Whirlpool of Decadence

    Arts

    Japan: Art, Eroticism, and Religion
    Japan: Art, Eroticism, and Religion
    Why Should We Separate Real Art From NFTs of the Bored Ape Yacht Club Type?
    Tehching Hsieh: The Experience of Time and Duration in Performance Art
    Historical New York Musicals and the Human Spirit

    Writing

    Movement and Location: A Brief Comment on Meaning in the Literary Experience
    Movement and Location: A Brief Comment on Meaning in the Literary Experience
    Writing About Place
    NaNoWriMo and the Art of Eating the Elephant
    Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic