A J. Black

A J. Black

Pop-culture writer/geek @cultural_convo.Author - Myth-Building in Modern Media: The Role of the Mytharc in Imagined Worlds - coming late 2019.Podcast: @wemadethispod

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics

5

Is the Disney-fication of popular culture *really* a bad thing?

Particularly following their purchase of 20th Century Fox and their gallery of successful IP, Disney now stand to own the primary market share of global box office. Many critics are decrying the ‘Disney-fication’ of culture as the death of diversity, a crushing blow to independent production, and the continuation of a soulless future of endless sequels and franchises.

Is this, however, a fair approximation? Are Disney simply representing what audiences have sought since the birth of the blockbuster in the mid-1970’s and the arrival of the high concept in the 1980’s? Is the jewel in their crown, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not simply the ultimate expression of audiences’ desire for cinema to be the ultimate escapist entertainment? Are Disney destroying originality or simply reconfiguring the way we engage with culture and media?

  • This is a great topic. I run into many people who think that Disney is trying to monopolize the market, but I don't think it's an evil agenda. I think Disney, like all corporations and businesses, are trying to do their job and make money. If purchasing 20th Century Fox will help them do that then that's what they're going to do. Disney has been creating entertainment for years and they are in some ways the standard for entertainment. Finally, if you really think Disney is destroying film and is a terrible corporation, stop seeing their movies. If you really believe that's a problem, you are contributing to that problem by watching their movies and buying their merchandise. – OliviaS 11 months ago
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  • This would be very interesting to explore. There's definitely something to be said about one company producing the majority of the content released in cinema, which has the side effect of controlling what we're exposed to, would could be harmful under the wrong studio heads. Yet, it could lead to the production of amazing films, as seen in some of their latest releases. What will the future of cinema look like? – BelletheBrave 6 months ago
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  • You could look at given historic eras of Disney history to see if there is a difference of quality. – J.D. Jankowski 6 months ago
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Apathy and Television

Explore the idea of apathy when it comes to engaging with certain TV series. This was something I particularly felt with the recent third season of Jessica Jones, a show I was only still watching out of a sense of loyalty and completion, having worked through the previous two seasons.

Do we now remain tethered too long to TV shows we otherwise would have apathetically abandoned due to a feeling of commitment? If we travel so far with a show, should we stick with it, come what may? Or if a show just isn’t working or has lost its way, should we be prepared to abandon ship even close to the end, forsaking the cathartic feeling of completing a journey with a TV series?

  • This is a fascinating psychological question. It brings to mind series that have gone on for over ten seasons, like The X-Files and Supernatural. What keeps people watching--is it loyalty, or a more concrete sense of identity, like fandom and community? – Eden 1 year ago
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  • Nice topic. The advent of binge-watching certainly helps or hinders, depending on how you flip that pancake. I wonder what role that plays in apathy and TV. – Stephanie M. 12 months ago
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Latest Comments

A J. Black

Great piece. I suspect that creative writing will always endure, even through times of particular social and political disharmony. It remains our way to understand and make sense of ourselves and our world.

Creative Writing is the Sincerest Form of Reality
A J. Black

Time travel is notoriously tricky to get right. Back to the Future remains one of the sturdiest examples of temporal plotting that clicks. When done well, though, it is one of the most thrilling science-fiction sub-genres.

Is Time Traveling an Effective Means of Storytelling?
A J. Black

Excellent piece. I really like the idea of his physical violence as a binary reaction, based on instinct and survival. It really makes Wick stand out amongst the litany of action heroes.

John Wick and the Empty Identity of the Action Hero