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Guilty Pleasures

What are we saying when we claim the book we are reading is a "guilty pleasure"? Why do we assume we should feel ashamed for our choice of literature? Are we presuming that all literature can be qualitatively measured? Why should we, even with a tongue-in-cheek intent, associate reading with guilt of any kind? It can be argued that when applied to food there can be at least metrics for what define "good" and "bad" (even if it amounts to the same thing: unnecessary and self-inflicted shame). Who are we assuming judges us for books that we think we should not be reading?

  • Actually a really interesting topic that spans literature and psychology. It would be interesting to also look at the division of categories - women vs men, different age groups, cultural divisions (for instance reading 'The Satanic Verses' in India is a very different 'guilty pleasure' to reading a Mills & Boons in America), even looking at the period changes as different popular culture texts have been adopted into mainstream society. – SaraiMW 9 months ago
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  • From my experience, a lot of 'guilty pleasures' are books that are marketed towards women, and because of this they're seen as inherently inferior to works that are aimed at a mixed audience. While, generally, these books are no less worthwhile than their counterparts, because of the stigma surrounding them people attempt to justify their enjoyment of them as a 'guilty pleasure' to avoid having to get into a lengthy discussion of why they should be allowed to enjoy them without ridicule. – jessicalea 8 months ago
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  • Very interesting idea! You could use works on the production fo taste such as Bourdieu's "Distinction" and consider the role of age, gender, race, sexuality, and other axes in defining what's a "legitimate" pleasure and what's a "guilty" pleasure. Maybe also consider the role of shame in the idea of guilty pleasure – rmostafa 6 months ago
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Channel Zero: Candle Cove

Channel Zero, a new anthology series based off of popular stories on Creepy Pasta (a horror "microfiction" platform), has two seasons available on Shudder, a media platform similar to Netflix that caters to horror fans. Analyze various themes within the first season of Channel Zero, "Candle Cove," or compare and contrast Candle Cove with the following season, "No-End House." For example, while Candle Cove draws the viewer in with a murder-mystery approach that is later muddled by supernatural forces, No-End House seems to dive right in with the other-worldly approach.

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    Why are gangsters romanticised on screen?

    In films and TV shows, ranging from ‘The Godfather’ to ‘Peakey Blinders’, gangsters are almost always depicted sympathetically. They’re the heroes, the people we root for. It doesn’t matter how many people they kill, we see them as being justified. But why do we look at them so favourably? It’s not as simple as them being the focal point. What almost every gangster film or TV show does is show the excitement and glamour of their lives, often against a bleak backdrop. ‘Broadwalk Empire’, for instance, is set in the era of prohibition. It’s not just that their lives are exciting though. There’s this sense that they can do anything, that they have so much power. As much as we might disagree with the violence, the sense that they can do something if someone comes against them is an intoxicating thought. ‘The Godfather’ perfectly captured the idea of Michael getting payback when someone tried to kill his father. In fact, the whole idea of gangsters as family, whether or not they’re related by blood, makes their actions more sympathetic. There’s a sense of loyalty between all of them that is heightened because they are always in life or death situations. This in turn makes betrayal, even worse.

    Discuss how and why films and TV shows glamorise gangsters.

    • Great topic! I wonder, too, how this may relate to our love of the anti-hero, like Deadpool or Venom recently? – Heather Lambert 4 days ago
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    • Just to correct, "As much as we might degree with the violence." Disagree for degree. A good idea, maybe this needs to be addressed in terms of some movies creating images of gangsters with family ties and presented sympathetically and others not. Also, where is the dividing line of how to present gangsters. I'm not sure sympathetic would be the way I would characterize gangsters in the Godfather movies. – Joseph Cernik 4 days ago
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    • Maybe because of the hope that even the scariest and the most violent gangsters could change their lives to a better one, isn't it romantic? that someone on an evil mind turned into a good person because someone give them a chance that all of us deserves? – pinoyonlinetv 3 days ago
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    How digital Art has changed the Art Marketplace

    Has digital art and its open sourcing made it harder for artists to sell their work? if everyone can make a print of your work after downloading it how can you truly make a profit off of the work.

    • This is quite relevant as more artists are coming out to discuss not only those who are copying and taking their work, but others who buy their work and remove their signatures. It seems that this topic could discuss the wider attitudes to digital art and how it appears to be undervalued in today's marketplace. – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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    Ghost in the Shell & Akira: Manga vs. Anime

    Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Akira (1988) are each widely acknowledged for their impact on the cinematic world as well as for propelling anime into the global world of popular culture. However, each of these films emerge from or are, perhaps loosely, based on accompanying manga series. While each manga series was published and had its "original run" prior to the creation and release of each film, the plots of the anime versions of both Akira and Ghost in the Shell in some ways present vastly different storylines and themes. Analyze the ways in which each anime film overlaps with or diverges from its respective manga predecessor and the significance of these similarities and differences.

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      The role of Trauma healing and Spirituality in the book the Shack

      In the book the Shack by William P Young, Mack has major trauma after his youngest daughter is murdered during a camping trip. The author uses Spirituality as the main force to help Mack overcome his guilt and to help him work through his grief and trauma. Explore how spirituality is used in the book/film.

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        Video Games Reflecting the Horrors of War

        In the early 1990s, Yasumi Matsuno directed a game titled Tactics Ogre; a dark, high-fantasy strategy RPG whose deep and complex plot was inspired by the events of the Yugoslavian Wars at the time. The game forces the player to make significant choices during the course of his campaign, some leading to horrific war crimes and political manipulation. However, can video games truly reflect the scarring and atrocities of war like literature and cinema can?

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          Voices from the beyond

          A classic supernatural/mystery trope is the voice from the beyond – meaning the voice (in some form) from beyond this world, either they are dead, or from the past/future, or from another world. The point of this is either central to the narrative or a secondary feature to provide information. The entire concept is a fascinating example of humanity’s yearning for more than what is present in our own world. To reach beyond the veil and access another plane of existence is a wonderfully tempting concept. Depending on the genre this can either be a positive or negative experience. Meaning that sometimes these voices are there to help, while other times they are the harbingers of great dangers. Either way it is an exciting narrative convention.

          There are two questions I would pose to those who would undertake this topic: 1) Where has our love of this concept come from? Can it be tracked to the original god myths of the Greeks? Is it merely an aspect of explaining the unknown? Is it part of our yearning to reach out to the dead?; and 2) what are the best (and maybe worst) examples of where this has been done in film? Or perhaps someone might look at this through comics or literature – it is a concept across genres.

            Film

            Kratos vs Luke Skywalker: How to Innovate a Protagonist
            Kratos vs Luke Skywalker: How to Innovate a Protagonist
            Annihilation: The Alienation of Desire
            Communist Infiltration and Donald Trump:  The Movies meet Reality
            The Developed Role of the Prince in Disney’s Live Action Cinderella (2015)

            TV

            The Walking Dead: What Led To Its Jeopardy
            The Walking Dead: What Led To Its Jeopardy
            Why do the Women of Game of Thrones Suffer So Much?
            Brooklyn Nine Nine: The Importance of a Diverse Show & Characters
            The Sexual on TV News: Lipstick Matters

            Animation

            Animated Films Exploring Oppression
            Animated Films Exploring Oppression
            Sensitive Topics in Recent Disney Films
            Disney’s Failed Science-Fiction Era
            Moana: A Disney Princess For The 21st Century

            Anime

            Akira: An Analysis of the A-Bomb and Japanese Animation
            Akira: An Analysis of the A-Bomb and Japanese Animation
            Re:Zero – Love, fate and sins
            Queer Representation in Anime
            Is Sailor Moon a feminist icon?

            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

            Dystopia: Hope in the Face of a Seemingly Impenetrable System
            Dystopia: Hope in the Face of a Seemingly Impenetrable System
            Antagonist: An Analysis of Lucy in “The Light We Lost”
            Life Lessons from Literature About Food
            Medieval Fantasy: A Success and an Impasse

            Arts

            This is America: Exploring Lyrical and Visual Symbolism
            This is America: Exploring Lyrical and Visual Symbolism
            The Power of Social Media; Does It Enhance or Swallow Up Relationships?
            Perfecting the Martial Art
            The Truth About Cats and 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?