Elliot Brunk

I graduated university with an English major and East Asian Studies minor.

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    Latest Articles

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    How do we Understand Liz Lemon?

    Tina Fey’s character in the sitcom 30 Rock is an at times uncomfortable portrayal of an archetype that many people identify with: white, female, and straight, as well as smart, witty, and awkward. How do we understand Liz Lemon’s self-presentation in the show, as well as how the characters around her interact with her? Does her character have implications for the people who see part of themselves in her? What is Liz Lemon’s legacy? Specifically, I’m interested in how Liz Lemon deals with issues of privilege, especially in terms of the racial humor the show occasionally incorporates, as well as her interactions with her boss Jack and the power dynamic and competition between them.

    • From my admittedly limited experience with 30 Rock, Liz Lemon always kind of struck me as a female version of Michael Scott, from The Office. Like Michael, Liz is rude, childish, self-centered, and often feels attacked and unfairly imposed upon by her boss and colleagues. Liz gets much less sympathy than Michael does, however, which I can't help but feel is due to sexism. Many people (both in and out of 30 Rock's world) seem to believe that men can get away with acting inappropriately but women "should know better" somehow. – Debs 3 weeks ago
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    • I think a lot of what Debs is saying is right, but Liz is also much, much smarter than Michael Scott. 30 Rock's interest to me is the balancing act it performs: the show is definitely aware of the sexist dynamic that Debs is describing, but doesn't let Liz off the hook for her faults. That can be a controversial balancing act, because like Debs says, it does suggest Liz ought to know better in a way that Michael Scott isn't expected to, but I think the show is also plainly aware of that controversy, making it a more challenging show to grapple with. – Elliot Brunk 3 weeks ago
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    Latest Comments

    I agree that it’s not an anti-capitalist story, but I think there are important differences between “anti-capitalism” and “anti-consumerism.” I think it’s hard to argue that the film isn’t anti-consumerist, given the way it depicts the parents turning into pigs and how disgusting No-Face becomes. Anti-consumerism is a criticism of the way members of a society behave, not of its actual political or economic system.

    Spirited Away as Social Criticism

    I guess there are a number of people who think that dealing with emotional or personal matters like mental illness, death, or loneliness is “cheating” in a way. That seems like such a counter-productive mindset. There are definitely poorly made games that deal with such topics, but you can still tell if the game is poorly made. I haven’t played any of the games in this article, but I’ve heard good things about them. If you’re enjoying playing the game, isn’t that the point?

    Is Mental Illness an Over-Explored topic in Indie Games?

    It does seem like as long as a percentage of users are willing to pay money, micro-transactions aren’t about to go away. I do wonder how many people actually run into financial problems through spending money on games, relative to those who lose money gambling.

    Alternatives to Microtransactions in Games and Apps

    I know there are plenty of people who disagree with me, but I’ve always loved Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet

    Fantasy Writing in the Age of Reason to Today

    I think this is great. I wonder if you’ve looked at Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s poetry, her “Epistle to William Wilberforce” (1791) is a really powerful abolitionist piece

    Poetry and Feminism in the Eighteenth Century