Contributing writer for The Artifice.
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Does Bioshock (2007) serve as an examination of Jewish identity?
In the first Bioshock game, a large number of characters have Jewish names (Dr. Steinman, Sander Cohen), are outright identified as Jewish (Andrew Ryan, Brigid Tenenbaum), or come from fields/careers with a strong Jewish population (Broadway, medicine). The creator of the Bioshock series, Ken Levine, is himself Jewish, and the game takes place only a few short years after World War 2. This causes me to wonder: for Levine, was this game, in part, an examination of post-WWII Jewish identity? Does it point out hardships or condemn/commend personal choices? The game’s overarching theme, if nothing else, is that choices matter and are our ultimate freedom ("A man chooses, a slave obeys"). How is this theme connected with the strong Jewish characters throughout the game?
Oh, absolutely! Sorry, I wasn’t trying to imply that that’s *your* job, lol, or that your article wasn’t doing enough (it was great :] ). The Babadook did a lot of heavy lifting with regards to motherhood that so many movies have fallen short of; I’m very glad it was made.
I suppose what I meant to say is I wonder what the next step is for this role of dysfunctional mother? How can it progress and evolve, both in a way that is critical of previous representations and makes mothers more… “real?”
I would argue that many horror films do not use the role of dysfunctional mother as enough of a subversion of the tropes we so often see in other films. While it invites empathy, expresses more facets of personality, and underlines our mistrust and paranoia of motherhood, does it really take the undying mother-protector-at-all-costs trope and turn it enough on its head?
Great and well-researched article, but I would argue the dysfunctional mother role could do more.
Interesting how the issues of representation of AIDS in media has become the issues we see with representation of the trans* community today. Namely, a white male actor playing a character that is the “socially acceptable” version of a marginalized group.
In a way, Philadelphia was important in that it opened up understanding for many people who wouldn’t have even considered empathizing with such marginalization, but details could’ve been changed that would have left its teeth somewhat less filed down: why couldn’t Andy be Black, or less wealthy, or gotten AIDS in a non-“scandalous” way? To normalize something as scary as AIDS, why do we see normativity in whiteness, in wealth, in monogamy, in straightness (despite being gay, Andy is quite asexual)? They could have subverted as least one of those tropes of normativity, but instead made Andy the quintessential stereotype. Sigh.
I would be curious to see the correlation between mental illness and gender in YAL. Outside of the “sick-lit encourages teen girls to worry over whether or not they’re dateable despite their mental illness” issue, how often is mental illness seen as a “female” problem vs a “male” problem? And is how we’re portraying it as a “female” problem more or less often helpful? I want data now!
(Good article, btw!)