Ka Man Chung

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    13 Reasons Why: helpful TV show?

    TV series 13 Reasons Why depicted real-life challenges of American high school students. Bullying, rape, suicide, mental health, drug addictions and many others are included. Season 1 and 2 dealt with Hannah Baker’s 13 reasons to kill herself, and whether or not the school was responsible for failing to prevent this from happening. Season 3 focused on Hannah Baker’s rapist Bryce Walker’s accidental death and how Hannah Baker’s circle of friends covered it up. Lastly, Season 4 centered on how the friends of the "framed victim" investigated into finding out the real killer. It is often argued that TV shows/media of this sort are bad influences on young audiences, with examples include horror movies and heavy metal music. Why do you think, after all the accusations and criticisms, Hollywood/American television is still producing and promoting such contents? Is it because any publicity is publicity, and sensational contents are always good TV show materials? Should television be producing fewer of these shows or only to be broadcast on adult channels? Does demand for such contents create supply? Or, perhaps a little more positively, the show does alleviate real-life problems of high school students and young adults, and more of these are needed?

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      Scientific accuracies in Sci-fi movies

      Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (2020) is said to employ many physics theories. Compared with historical drama films, sci-fi movies tend to receive less attention on accuracy – critics and viewers alike often note historical inaccuracies in Braveheart (1995) or Gladiator (2000), but much less so do we discuss scientific inaccuracies. We all know movies to a certain extent are worlds of make-believe, but why such difference? Is it because history and most films are narratives but scientific concepts and theories are not?

      • I think scientific inaccuracies have been discussed in YouTube videos. I think that a simple examination of scientific inaccuracies in science fiction movies would suffice. If anyone had one particular one in mind, that’s fine too. – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
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      • I agree that scientific in/accuracies are discussed over YouTube videos, but my question is why is there a bigger general disregard than accuracies in historical dramas. – KM 2 months ago
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      • Interesting topic. I would wager that it has a lot to do with history being significantly more accessible to laymen than the hard sciences typically are. Anyone who's done as little "research" as skimming William Wallace's Wikipedia page can boast a relatively firm grasp on the inaccuracies plaguing Braveheart, but the same can rarely be said about doing minimal research on quantum mechanics to know if/where Tenet errs. In light of the average spectator's inability to recognize scientific inaccuracies, they'd likely have an easier time taking the film's claims at face value. Neil deGrasse Tyson owes much of his early reputation as a public intellectual to some series of tweets he made about the inaccuracies in various science fiction films; it's noteworthy that the one-two punch of his scientific credentials paired with the easily consumable quips (in 280 characters or less) made the flaws comprehensible enough for a largely scientifically illiterate general audience to suddenly feel intellectually superior to Hollywood screenwriters. – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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      • Great topic, but I have to quibble with the idea that science doesn't rely on narrative. I'm pretty sure it does, in fact. Natural selection and global warming seem to me like good examples of scientifically-grounded narrative. Scientists can complete small, controlled experiments or analyze big data for years, but in the end their findings -- if those findings are to have any larger significance -- have to be related through narrative and ultimately woven into the much larger narrative of what we call "science." – JamesBKelley 4 weeks ago
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      Latest Comments

      Tarantino is known as a sexist director – not saying this is good, but I’m not surprised to hear that Sharon Tate’s role in the film is merely reinforcing gender stereotype. After all, this is a Hollywood film!

      Gender in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

      Postmodernist film like Inception hinges on ambiguities. Whether or not Cobb manages to return to reality does not matter – in the filmic world, reality and dreams often mingles with each other. The existing ending is the best ending the movie can ever have.

      Inception: Anticlimactic or Satisfyingly Open-Ended?

      A great analysis of Ligeia with the use of the concept of liminality. Had never thought of liminality even when I read the story for so many times. In short, I enjoy your article very much.

      Edgar Allan Poe's Ligeia: Dead or Alive?

      It is just sad that sometimes people are known for something they pick up as a means for survival rather than what they set out to do. Lynch’s nostalgia for old Hollywood also meant disillusionment for Hollywood cinema: he was a painter at the beginning, and he missed his old Hollywood. By the way, I wouldn’t call Lynch a “new” auteur – he has been around for decades! 😉

      Navigate Into David Lynch's Desirable And Nostalgic Centre

      A good analysis of Bill and Charlotte’s “silent” relationship! It’s true that the best moments in any relationship, romantic or not, is the mutual understanding without any utterances. Apart from certain racial elements in the film (I am Asian), I love the work.

      Lost in Translation: The Sounds of Silence

      To begin with, every piece of artwork is bound to carry some sort of traditions. In regard to the adaptation/original question, if we are to view a piece of work separately (instead of constantly comparing it to its “original,” I would suggest that going forward we should simply treat it as a standalone piece of work rather than continue comparing it against its original. For example, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019), to me, was strangely reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage (1973). Even at some point in the movie Baumbach paid a little homage to Bergman. This is, of course, to the eye of a huge Bergman fan. And interestingly, most media articles never brought up Bergman and his TV series. Even though I had the urge to compare this film with Bergman’s TV series, I never did. I simply treat it as Baumbach’s masterpiece. In short, my (current) view is focusing on the “new” work might be a more constructive way of seeing films as well as all artwork.

      Adapting Worlds, not Stories