CulturallyOpinionated

CulturallyOpinionated

George is a Vanderbilt Divinity School gradate with an MA in Religious Studies focusing on mythological studies. His interests include mythology, video games, and Star Wars

Contributor I

  • Lurker
  • Pssst
  • Sharp-Eyed Citizen
  • Article of the Month
  • ?
  • Articles
    2
  • Featured
    2
  • Comments
    26
  • Ext. Comments
    14
  • Processed
    10
  • Revisions
    5
  • Topics
    3
  • Topics Taken
    0
  • Notes
    7
  • Topics Proc.
    2
  • Topics Rev.
    2
  • Points
    803
  • Rank
    167
  • Score
    383

Latest Articles

Latest Topics

1
Pending

Are radio edits a necessary evil or detrimental to artistic integrity?

Occasionally, a music artist will release a song that is deemed unsuitable for radio play in its current form. It might contain profanity or profane subject material, have undesired instrumentation, or simply be too long for the radio to play. A new version of the song will be created as a "radio edit" that alters the original to meet governmental standards. These changes can range from inconsequential, like replacing one profane word with a sound effect, to substantial, such as replacement lyrics that completely change the original meaning of the song. Famous radio edits include Cee Lo Green’s "Forget You," d-12’s "Purple Hills," and Everlast’s "What’s It Like."

Usually these edits are not made by the artists themselves but by their record labels, broadcasters at the corporate level, or even individual radio stations. Whether minor or major, these changes produce a product that is not what the artist envisioned without the artists’ input. Without these changes, these songs would not play on the radio or in spaces that must abide by government guidelines relating to content standards. Is the radio edit process a necessary evil to becoming a successful artist? Or is the act of altering art in order to conform to public sensibilities harmful to the role of art in our contemporary culture that constantly encourages us to "express yourself?" Especially in the era of the internet and the seemingly endless ways to create and distribute art outside traditional distribution institutions, should corporations compromising an artist’s intended vision to please the masses be considered a malicious act? Or should this new-found freedom provided by the internet encourage society to support art as the artist creates it, even if it offends?

    8

    Is disabling comments on internet articles and videos brave or idiotic?

    When online publications release a video or an article that covers a controversial topic or expresses a provocative opinion, more and more frequently the moderators of the website decide to preemptively disable the comments section. Is this a smart idea, given that some topics on more popular websites will inevitably draw internet trolls or similar undesirables to flood comment sections with useless vitriol that overpowers legitimate discussion? Or is this an idiotic action that stifles any chance of legitimate discussion for fear of having to deal with hateful or useless material? Are moderators afraid of being accused of fostering a hateful environment if they allow this material to be presented in their forums? This is especially relevant given that many websites feature a voting system for their comment sections which allow audiences to give relevant comments more visibility based on the opinions of the people actually reading the article or watching the video, thereby allowing audiences to self-regulate what material they choose to engage with.

    • I would suggest being wary of using qualitative terms like "brave" or "idiotic" without strong supporting data (statistics, news headlines, polls, website usage data, etc.). What defines "brave" or "idiotic" is subjective. This feels like it could include a bigger discussion about freedom of speech, censorship, cyber bullying, and hate speech. I would be very interested if this focused on one platform like a case study (YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, 4chan, etc.) because it might be a lot of work to do a broader examination of online commenting. – Eden 2 years ago
      6
    • If the comments are very/all negative, then you absolutely must disable them. Of course, if the content is disturbing or shouldn't be seen and it causes public outrage, then disabling them seems redundant. However, for something innocent or religious, disabling comments would definitely be necessary. – OkaNaimo0819 2 years ago
      1
    • Interesting topic! You could possibly explore reasons why disabling comments would be appropriate or argue that it is never appropriate depending on your stance. – Dena Elerian 2 years ago
      2
    • This is such a relevant, yet interesting topic! Especially with today's internet culture and the prevalence of "cancel culture", it would be interesting to discuss how social accountability versus an intolerant space with no room for growth extends into the realm of hate comments and the action of disabling them. – miagracen 10 months ago
      2
    • Great topic. I have to wonder, though, how often "legitimate discussion" actually occurs in those online comment sections. – JamesBKelley 8 months ago
      1
    • If approaching it from the angle of qualitative terms like brave vs. something else, I encourage veering away from "idiotic," as that is an ableist term. – the.liquid.kid 7 months ago
      0
    10

    Are Expanded Universes Hindrances or Necessities?

    As film and literature franchises grow in scope and popularity, audiences often crave additional material from creators that supplements the world of the main story, frequently known as an expanded universe (EU). Both Harry Potter and Star Wars are hugely successful franchises that feature expanded universes; however, audience reception to this extra material can vary greatly.

    Before its acquisition by Disney, the Star Wars EU featured literally hundreds of books, video games, and comics by various authors that explored character backstories, recounted new adventures, and even created entirely new characters and eras of Star Wars lore. Importantly, the old EU was never considered canon by Lucasfilm (although Lucas did take elements from EU material and incorporate them, sometimes directly, into his canonical movies). It was generally well-received by fans and critics, so much so that elements from the old EU are continually being reworked into Disney-era Star Wars material today, such as the character Grand Admiral Thrawn. "Harry Potter" author J.K Rowling has also continued to produce supplementary material for her books, including continuous posts to Harry Potter fan website Pottermore as well as the Fantastic Beasts films. However, Rowling is often derided for her additions to her canon, being criticized that she is simply trying to retroactively "fill in" what she forgot to include in her books instead of add to the lore (the most famous example being her revelation that Dumbledore was gay the whole time). Some even feel this is harmful to the integrity of the original books themselves.

    Why is there such a difference in opinion concerning expanded universes? Is it due to the authorship of supplementary material (Star Wars’ EU was penned by multiple authors and NOT by Lucas, while Rowling’s only comes from her)? Does canonicity of the material matter? Is it the length of time audiences have had to process it? Is it genre? Most importantly, does having an EU truly add to or detract from the main franchise material, i.e. the most important aspect of the franchise? Other famous expanded universes include the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, etc.

    • Very interesting topic. It's important to note that expanded universes aren't a strictly modern phenomenon: in the early days of cosmic horror, for example (so, late 1800's-early 1900's) writers borrowed from each other's work all the time, to create a much more elaborate pantheon of creepy deities than any of them could have come up with alone. I sort of think that they're inevitable with any long-running series that attracts a large-enough fandom, and one reason for their staying power is that the fans themselves enjoy "filling in the blanks" and seeing how everything fits together. So, expanded universes are really the inevitable result of an interaction between a set of creators and their fans (categories which are certainly not mutually exclusive either). – Debs 2 years ago
      7
    • Shout to the mention of Thrawn, one of the most significant Extended Universe/Legacy character in Star Wars. He is an interesting choice because he arguably is an improvement over many imperial antagonists and a great addition to the Star Wars mythos. Such a shame that Thrawn's first trilogy is no longer cannon. His second trilogy just finished up, but was not nearly as acclaimed (though the 2017's Thrawn is one of the best Star Wars books since the Disney purchase). – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
      2
    5

    Mortality, Momento Mori, and Memes: Joking About Death Is Nothing New

    A significant portion of contemporary internet memes seem to trivialize and wish for death, often to the concerned bewilderment of older generations. Is using memes to discus death a new exercise, or are memes simply a the most recent in a long tradition of staving off the Grim Reaper with humor? Look at representations of Death in various cultures’ art and performance theater as a humorous or benign force or figure (memento mori paintings, the Grim Reaper, Beetlejuice, etc.) and compare them to modern memes which focus on death and dying.

    • This has the makings of a great topic but I worry it might be a bit too broad at the moment. Maybe you can condense it down and look at how death has been rationalised in pop culture through the use of humour and draw distinctions between conventional representation and memes. – Simon Malik 2 years ago
      1

    Sorry, no tides are available. Please update the filter.

    Latest Comments

    CulturallyOpinionated

    In one of the articles I quoted, the author makes a distinction I hadn’t really realized – that “Resident Evil” is a series about physical horror and “Silent Hill” is about psychological horror. One’s about the horror of losing one’s body while the other is about losing one’s mind. Thinking that way, both series complement each other nicely.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    The very beginning of Dead Space before you get a weapon and you’re just running from the necromorphs is probably some of the tensest I’ve ever been in a video game. Parts of RE8 have been pretty tense at well.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    I couldn’t agree more about how fun grappling across any given game can be. Some of the first games I ever played employed a grappling hook mechanic but called it something else (Ocarina of Time’s hookshot, Metroid Prime’s grapple beam, etc.). I’ve never thought about how much work must go into making getting around from plot point to plot point a fun thing to do.

    Grappling Hooks: The Integral and Defining Feature of Gaming
    CulturallyOpinionated

    I agree. I definitely like the scariness of the “traditional horror” titles, but RE4 is one of my favorite games ever. Punching boulders took it a little far, thought, so as much as I like the story of the series overall, I’m glad they took a small step back for the soft reboot.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    I agree. I definitely like the scariness of the “traditional horror” titles, but RE4 is one of my favorite games ever. Punching boulders took it a little far, thought, so as much as I like the story of the series overall, I’m glad they took a small step back for the soft reboot.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve got some of my own, if you don’t mind.
    1. It sure is.

    2. I’m about halfway through 8, and I’m guessing more of the story will be revealed as the game goes on. The beginning is ambiguous to instill that “fish-out-of-water helplessness” that’s so scary.
    If you’re picking up RE8 as sort of a re-entry into the series, there are for sure going to be some story elements that you’ll be missing. Luckily for you, after RE6, Capcom did sort of a soft reboot for the series and the story up till then shouldn’t have that much to do with RE8’s story. If you like 8, I definitely would pick up 7, since 8 is a direct sequel to it and it’s also very good and scary. Though as a long-time fan of the series, there are definitely things in 8 that have already gotten me really excited for older elements potentially coming back.

    3. RE8’s crafting system is definitely similar to RE7’s (almost identical, really), but you’ve always been able to combine certain things. Guns could always be combined with custom parts, and up until RE7 you could combine different colored herbs to make them stronger healing items (no chem fluid needed). But that also means you couldn’t craft ammo and had to find it, so that IS a new direction for the series since 7.

    4. One of the most memorable elements of RE4 (arguably the most beloved RE title) was the Merchant character. He was creepy yet friendly, he was everywhere, and he was a vital part of surviving the game by selling you weapons and ammo. The Duke is definitely a callback to the Merchant, and I think a welcome one; I appreciate trying to work a necessary game mechanic like a store into the game’s universe rather than a “you’ve reached a checkpoint, here’s a story-breaking video game thing” approach. As to why no one kills him, the answer’s probably “Because they don’t.” Its just one of those things you need to suspend your disbelief about in a video game.

    5. RE8 is actually the most open-world RE game I’ve played, or at least it has the most locations that you can revisit at any time. Usually, you go through an area for story reasons, beat the area’s boss, and then can never go back. Luckily, I feel like it works here to be a little more open with the world without being a true “open-world” game ala The Witcher or GTA.

    6. There have been several moments where this game made me jump and even give a little startled yell. I love these new villains and their minions.

    Always fun to talk with a fellow fan.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    Personally, I would play them if you have the time and interest. If you’re only going to play a few, I’d suggest at least the original (the 2002 REmake is a great remaster) and RE4, a fan favorite. The recent remake of RE2 is also good, and both RE7 and RE8 have revitalized the series in a good and scary way.
    Catching up in a long-running series can be time consuming and expensive. Luckily, games in this series frequently go on sale in online stores and aren’t too hard to find. I’d start with the REmake and see how you feel after that.

    Resident Evil: Transformation in the Pursuit of Power
    CulturallyOpinionated

    I was fortunate enough to grow up watching both “FernGully” and “Once Upon a Forest” as a child, and watch them over and over I did. My favorite aspect of both these movies is their music. “FernGully” has a short song featuring the dulcet voice of children’s singer Raffi, along with Hexxus’ villain song by Tim Curry and even an ending credits piece by Elton John. This is, of course, excluding Robin Williams’ song, it really is not good. And “Once Upon a Forest” is graced with a song by Michael Crawford, none other than the Phantom of the Opera himself, called “Please Wake Up.” It’s a tender song made all the more tender by Crawford’s sonorous voice. And these are not to mention the orchestral soundtracks by Alan Silvestri and James Horner, respectively. As is often the case for animated movies, a good soundtrack can help viewers forgive story elements or shoddy animation that otherwise would work against the movie’s quality. I’d say it’s worth watching both these movies for the music alone.

    The Complex Lessons of Environmentally-Motivated Animation