Jeffrey MacCormack

Jeffrey MacCormack

I love thinking and writing about new modalities of media. My first console was an Atari 2600, does that give me street cred? I'd love to hear from you!

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    Latest Articles

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    A Particular Kind of Dinosaur Death

    If I said to you that I’m thinking of a particularly amusing death scene from the first Jurassic Park movie, what would you immediately think of? I suspect that you will think of the hilariously undignified death of the lawyer, who left the children and hid in a portapotty, just to have the T-Rex knock off the portapotty and eat him in one bite. The makers of the movie reserved that spectacular death for a reason. First off, the character was a lawyer (at a different point in the film, Hammond specifically said he hated) and he also left the children in the SUV when the T-Rex came close. Abandoning children is a societal no-no.
    So now we have the new movie. Jurassic World. Who had the particularly gruesome dinosaur death? I propose that the particular death was reserved for (SPOILER) the secretary who was watching the children. Dragged off by the flying dinosaurs, just to get dropped off in the water, where she nearly drowned and was brutalized by the flying dinosaurs (now underwater!) before being eaten by the huge water dinosaur. Yikes!

    If you accept my position (gruesome deaths are a way of punishing characters), then I ask you this: Why her? Why was her death so brutal? Perhaps it was how much she focused on her cellphone. Perhaps it’s because she lost the kids (same as the lawyer). Or just maybe it is because she is a working woman and (like Aunt Claire) she is punished for wanting a career over her own children.

    What are your thoughts? I’d love to see this written up!

    • I think it was more the case of bad film making. I imagine the script meant to give the impression she was callous and possibly incompetent, but on screen she seemed harried and a bit over her head. Being Claire's personal assistant meant she does a lot of bitch work for her boss. The fact Claire asks her to take care of the kids so she doesn't have to and can wash her hands of the issue makes Zara (the assistant), more pitiful and sympathetic while Claire comes off less likable. Don't forget Zara's also getting married soon, that information is revealed in the call she was on when the kids ditch her. (The script probably meant to make her seem self-centered, but the film just makes her seem like a struggling young professional) Throw in the fact the kids aren't that likable, the older brother's a tool and the younger one is a weirdo, and you end up asking what has Zara done to deserve her lot in film? Well nothing worse then anybody else and for that she gets the worst death on screen. Worse than the actual bad guys. I imagine the filmmakers thought her death would be funny in a Loony Toons sort of way, but it just comes off as cruel. (The lawyer getting eaten in JP was funny) Really, Claire is more justified in getting that death. (Since it's more or less her fault the I. Rex escapes) So long story short, Zara died because the film makers got lazy/incompetent with transporting her character from page onto screen. – rj2n 5 years ago
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    • Or as one my professors is fond of saying, never attribute to malice what could be explained just as well by ignorance or indifference. – rj2n 5 years ago
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    • Rj2n,Ha ha, do you just follow me around to disagree with me publicly? Ha ha. Just kidding. – Jeffrey MacCormack 5 years ago
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    • I agree many characters in one genre don't carry over because of this nature idea of how many people an audience can differentiate from and/or budget. Sunday blockbusters tend to have less of an ensemble I've noticed recently. – fchery 5 years ago
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    How Geralt's perpetual poverty in Witcher 3 fits into the context of the big budget game industry

    CD Projekt Red purposely designed the economy in Witcher 3 so that Geralt can never get stinking rich. For a game built for a paltry 15 million, what does a poor protagonist mean in a multi-billion dollar industry?

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      Adnan Syed and the SERIALization of nonfiction narrative

      The popular podcast SERIAL by Sarah Koenig made the lives of Baltimore youths fodder for water cooler discussions across the country. What does it mean about us that we obsess over the details while (possibly) forgetting that real lives are affected? Is this a new media? Or is our perverse interest in the agony of others as ancient as society?

      • The allure is in the tiniest belief that we, as the audience, can be the ones to solve the mystery. By going over the details of a real case, all who listen become detectives themselves. Rather than our perverse interest in the agony of others, perhaps it is the hope of finding innocence in a convicted murderer. Perhaps it is society reaching to find the good in someone, whether or not it exists.On the other hand, it may have only been an excellent and clever play to have society question the results of this trial and therefore, influence doubt. With Adnan Syed presently making new development, I'd say the podcast has already benefited him abundantly, no matter what exactly is said of society and our obsessive interest.With Serial being my first podcast listen, I found it enjoyable and would not be surprised if future podcasts receive relative success as well. – Jenna Mae 5 years ago
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      Misogyny in GTA

      Treatment of women in movies has received a lot of attention in the past 40 years. The treatment of women video games however has not received the same critical attention. What is the effect on the player who victimizes women for entertainment? How has a game like GTA moved with the mainstream with its potential for zealous and unmitigated aggression towards women?

      • This is an article which is begging to be written. I think video games have a more potent impact because the player is invested in the actions of the character, that seems slightly different that watching the 'other' in a movie. – Jeff MacLeod 5 years ago
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      • I think to an extent GTA acts somewhat as a parody to this subject. The depictions of women are highly exaggerated in terms of appearance, personalities and actions. That's not to say that misogyny and objectification of women isn't true in the game series, but it should at least be mentioned that the games act as parodies and social commentaries as much as anything. – Jamie 5 years ago
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      • It would be interesting to look at the culture that has developed around the game itself - like Jamie said, a lot of the misogyny in the games is intended to be satire of American culture. A lot of players of the game LOVE to talk about killing sex workers (and the media then criticizes this) but the presence of that ability is far from being a focal point of the games. It's essentially a case of the GTA community inviting these criticisms through their actions, and perhaps proving the satire's point. – Grace Maich 5 years ago
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      • I had a friend talk to me about lucid dreaming lately. He was going on about consequence-free aggression. "You can do anything you want," he tried to tell me. I started thinking that rather than start to keep a dream journal and develop my lucid dream-scape, I could just play GTA if I wanted to do something without consequences. Ultimately, isn't that what we want from GTA? Freedom? But then, isn't there something terrifying about how easily we shrug off the mantel of morality? Ever show GTA to someone who has never played it before? What is the first thing they do? In my experience, the newbie will invariably punch the nearest person in the face. Then they want a gun. What does that say about us? Or is it more about the power of infrastructure and societal expectation to keep us from tearing each other apart? #randomthoughts – 12jm9 5 years ago
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      • When I play GTA, I just drive around! I haven't played GTA properly, but the b-freind played GTA 5 in the background. With that one, there seemed to be more emphasis on the POV character saving women from crazy exes etc. In fact, I don't think you had to kill any women as part of the story - lots of men though. The main thing now seems to be that, unless you make your own avatar online, there are no female POV characters in GTA. I mean, true equality is accepting that women can be as equally violent and messed up as men, am i right? – Francesca Turauskis 5 years ago
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