Emily Jarvie

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Topics

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Villains and Nationality

Typically the nationality of bad guys in film and television storylines is Russian, and more recently North Korean (or an un-named Asian nation such as in Tomorrow When the War Began). Is this selection merely a historical choice due to past conflict?

How does this play in to real world perceptions of these nations today?

  • Very interesting topic that I think could turn into an excellent article. It could chronologically follow the trends of how the antagonist other is represented in media throughout history and examine how they reflect the contemporary zeitgeist; Russia during the Cold War, terrorism post-9/11, North Korea more recently, etc. Going for a broader and more nuanced perspective, you could also compare this to non-Western examples. One film that comes to mind is Ip-Man 2, which has a pretty blatantly antagonistic depiction of British imperialism, reflecting Hong Kong's complicated (post-)colonial history and present. I'm sure there are other great examples as well if you dig into it. – blautoothdmand 2 years ago
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  • I am accepting this in the spirit of it rather than the letter and assuming the discussion is in relation to Western representations of villains. I think there is a strong connection to the perception of the villains in film/TV and those in the culture that produced them, which is normal. What would be interesting to look at is when particular nations are represented as villains at different times and what incited change. – SaraiMW 2 years ago
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  • There's definitely a culture of finding and portraying the villains where you want them to be- similarly to how gender-diverse people are often the villains in TV and movies, in an effort to subtly portray them as deviants and demonise them (literally, in the case of characters like Him from PPG)- for decades people have portrayed Nazis, Russians, and more recently people in the Middle East as a sort of uniform evil without much need (or desire) to dig deeper into it. If you refer to the beginning of Black Panther you also see an example of a slightly vague fictional Boko Haram or similar African Muslim extremist group taken down by T'Challa in a style reminiscent of shooter game missions with the objective of 'take down these villains, save the hostages, shoot first ask questions later'. In the rise of neo-nazism there is sometimes objection to these uniform representations of their predecessors as evil- and certainly there are muslims I know who were bothered by the way black muslims were represented as faceless villains. I feel this topic is most interesting in regards to how and why people fight against stereotypes and perceptions, rather than simply cultural shifts. – GRandall 2 years ago
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Latest Comments

In terms of news editing mistakes, part of the problem lies in the nature of today’s media landscape. The downsizing of newsrooms in the face of economic pressure and working under the pressure of a 24 hour news cycle means that editing has often fallen short. Journalists today are not only journalists: they have taken on new tasks as part of this role to stay competitive. They are researchers, interviewers, photographers, camera operators, digital content creators, social media curators, writers AND their own editors.

Where Did All the Editors Go?

Take Walter White, the leading man of Breaking Bad. His character is not a polar good or bad guy, but as you suggest far more complicated and interesting. This character development is one driving force that allowed the show to continue through its unrealistic scenarios for so long.

Antagonist-Centered Stories: What Can We Learn?

Josh Thomas’s Australian comedy Please Like Me presents a highly realistic account of abortion (by television standards). Not only does it show how Claire – the pregnant young woman at hand – comes to the decision to terminate her pregnancy, but how the process of getting a medical abortion works. In the show, Claire sits over the toilet as she passes the fetus and flushes it away. This more graphic and slightly unsettling depiction is a more realistic example of abortion that is experienced by so many women.

How TV Depicts Abortion: From Maude to Miranda