Karen

Karen

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Being Above the Law in "How to Get Away With Murder"

    Analyze the issue of the show’s main characters being involved in law yet acting above it (i.e. through murders, blackmailing, theft). What are the implications of this hypocrisy and how can this form a commentary on modern society or human nature? How is the show so appealing despite the characters going against simple black-and-white laws most people have been raised to instinctively follow? How can we condemn real-life criminals, yet root for these fictional ones as they do the exact same thing? Do the characters’ backstories inform and alter our perspective of them, humanizing them so it becomes more difficult to see them as villains?

    • This is a brilliant idea, particularly in the case of Annalise. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 3 months ago
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    • I recently watched the first two seasons again after that nail-biting cliffhanger in the middle of season three. This time around I was quite impressed how the characters really struggle with what they have done. Everything is internalized and they are not as heartless as they pretend to be. They each have unique reactions and coping mechanisms, and as you pointed out, they are indeed humanized because we can clearly see that they all have a strong moral compass. I really like this idea! – AlexanderLee 3 months ago
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    • I think this is a great topic but it definately can be broadened into the appeal of anti-heroes in general and also the nature of empathy. Whether its Annalise, Dexter, or Batman- we're actively rooting for the people who are taking the law into their own hands because we've been convinced these are criminals/conspiracies the justice system simply cannot handle or wouldn't understand. We forgave the Keating five for Sam's death because he was shown to be a terrible guy responsible for the murder of a missing college student. In the same vein, Dexter was a sociopathic serial killer but because he lived by a code the audience could still be convinced to root for him. We lived in his head and understood his motivations. But if it was an episode of Criminal Minds we'd 100% be rooting for them to catch him. The characters who are humanized and relatable are easy to make excuses for. – LC Morisset 3 weeks ago
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    Latest Comments

    Karen

    What a lovely article! I have not yet watched the movie, yet it’s been on my to-watch list. (Luckily, spoilers rarely prevent me from enjoying movies or books.) This movie kind of flew under the radar for me and I didn’t give it much thought, amongst all the blockbuster and buzzing Oscar winners. But the premise, as you have described it here, is incredibly fascinating and your analysis uncovers some marvelous themes and touches upon issues that really made me think, even without watching it. Definitely watching this movie at the earliest opportunity!

    What Can We Learn from a Lobster?
    Karen

    I think I’m a bit biased when it comes to Poe since I love all of his Gothic works, but this is a fantastic analysis. I especially love how you added the part of the reader being complicit in the narrator’s acts (something I think Poe used to a better degree in “The Tell-Tale Heart”) and having to be a detective to “solve” the story. There’s a sense of discomfort at reading the narrator’s deeds, but we also can’t stop reading because we’re so pulled into it.

    Terror and Horror in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"
    Karen

    I feel like whenever FMA is discussed, the topic largely hinges on differences between the animes or the existence of alchemy or the main characters. I’ve encountered little that actually focuses on the homunculi – the fantastically developed and symbolic villains. They play a huge role in the story and were perfect reflections or oppositions of the heroes (i.e. Mustang and Lust, as you point out) – so I’m incredibly pleased to have read this article. When I finally read the manga two years, I was honestly in awe over how much of a genius Arakawa is in the use of alchemy and the parallels to our own world history – but the homunculi were definitely something else that just added so much more to the story, their deaths included.

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: The Symbolic and Ironic Deaths of the Homunculi
    Karen

    Thank you for going deliberately against the common perception of Disney princess films. It’s certainly rare to hear compliments for old Disney films when it comes to the depiction of feminism. Everyone raves about Anna and Elsa, of course, but I’m glad you explored older characters and stories people often now put down as anti-feminist. Of course I can’t ignore the deep flaws that do exist in these films, reflecting a lot of the problems (or at least the norms) in societal thinking at the time of their creation – but I’m pleased something like this exists.

    Feminism and Disney: They're Not As Different As You Might Think
    Karen

    Fantastic article! I especially loved the examples you gave. I think you cleared up some muddling ideas or conceptions between the two terms. They are definitely used interchangeably sometimes and it’s occasionally difficult to pinpoint exactly which one should be used where.

    Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference
    Karen

    I thought this show was highly under-appreciated so imagine how pleased I was to discover this. You highlighted just what is so damn captivating and clever about this anime. I love just any book or movie or show that explores humanity and human nature, and Death Parade really did it for me. Not only was the art fantastic, but each episode was an absolute treasure and I have no regrets in binge-watching it. I haven’t watched it in months but I vividly remember that game of darts played between the couple in the first episode – and just how ugly the characters became to one another as their secrets came pouring out. And from there, I was hooked. I particularly loved the episode you noted above, where the characters’ fates were left to our own interpretation. What better way is there to judge your own understanding of justice and human nature?
    (Also, that opening song is so deliberately incongruent with the anime’s content, it’s quite honestly one of my favourite anime openers.)

    Death Parade: Humanity in Yuzuru Tachikawa's Anime
    Karen

    A fantastic read! I’m so glad you explored both sides of the argument because honestly both are extremely valid and important to consider. I hadn’t even quite realized how many superhero films had been released in total this year – or how many are slated for 2017. Seeing the numbers there, it’s insane!
    But there is a definite superhero fatigue happening – or at least writers are becoming lazier and hoping to cash in on the superhero fad before it goes the way of YA dystopian book-movie adaptations. I suppose we shall see what happens when Marvel hits the Infinity Wars – or what will come after Logan (and Deadpool 2) for the X-Men Universe. The DCEU is certainly young in comparison so its possibilities should be endless.
    In any case, I’m just hoping we don’t get yet another SpiderMan/Batman/Wolverine/etc. reboot within the next 10 years.

    Should Superhero Franchises have a Definite Ending
    Karen

    The first time I watched this, it didn’t even occur to me that it was claymation. I had seen “Wallace and Gromit” and of course those old Christmas movies that were created with stop motion or claymation, but somehow this movie had a fluidity in the characters’ movements that simply stuck out at me as fantastical and unique.
    And you’re totally right – the specialness of Burton’s choices and this movie as an ambitious feature film using clay animation with musical elements still has resonating effects on movie-making today. The box office might be dominated by the likes of superheroes, Disney princesses, and action-packed thrillers, but I think this remains an important hallmark in the industry.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas: Why Being Unique in Hollywood Still Matters