noahspud

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

Contributor II

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    3

    What Makes a Scientist

    Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Doc Emmet Brown, Dr. Walter Bishop from Fringe, and characters like them throughout literature and film are categorized as "mad scientists." Sometimes it’s because their science is taboo or outside what society believes is even possible; sometimes they’re suspected of madness or some other kind of mental illness; sometimes it’s both. Why are these characters appealing to audiences, even if they’re not well-liked by the fictional societies they live in.

    An analysis could include comparing them to real-life scientists like Galileo and Copernicus who were considered "kooks" but turned out to be right. Also, consider how driven these characters are to prove their theories, even pushing moral and societal boundaries – if they weren’t actually mad before, they can more easily be perceived that way by the end of their story.

    • Hmmm, intriguing. You might begin exploring this topic with what it meant or means to be "mad," both in past eras and now. For instance, Jekyll, Frankenstein, and even Brown were considered "mad" for their eras but would that be true now? If so, is that because of their methods? Should scientists be expected to work within certain boundaries so they and their work will be acceptable to society, or is that too much like "playing God?" I think you have a lot to explore here and look forward to reading a full article. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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    WandaVision: a Sitcom about Superheroes

    WandaVision seems to be one of the most unique TV shows ever, yet it pays homage to sitcoms throughout the decades. An analysis could include the aspect ratios, the laugh tracks, the archetypical characters, the wardrobe and set design, the special effects, and much more. Do these comparisons add extra depth or meaning to the show, or are they just fun references for older viewers who remember these classic shows?

    • Fun topic! WandaVision has a lot to analyze! While I was never a big sitcom fan, a lot can be said about the fact that it builds on a lot of tropes and plots from older shows like Bewitched. Another interesting analysis could be how it falls into the "Abnormal person trying to live a normal life" type of sitcoms and why those types of shows relate so well to audiences. – alittle 3 months ago
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    Pending

    WandaVision: a Sitcom about Superheroes

    WandaVision one of the most unique TV shows ever, yet it pays near-perfect homage to sitcoms throughout the decades. An analysis could include the aspect ratios, the laugh tracks, the commercials, the wardrobe and set design, the archetypical characters, the special effects, and so much more. Do these comparisons add extra depth or meaning to the show, or are they just fun references for older viewers?
    Perhaps compare to Lab Rats, Henry Danger, the Thundermans, the British show from the early 2000’s called My Hero, and any other sitcoms about superheroes you can think of.

    • Whoops, I didn't mean to submit this topic twice. Can someone delete this one for me? – noahspud 4 months ago
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    5

    The Appeal of Reaction Videos

    In a reaction video, someone watches something – a music video, a movie, a TV episode, a meme compilation, etc. – and records their reaction. This genre was popularized for the mainstream by YouTube channels like The Fine Bros., but there are many, many other channels that do it. Videos like "Real Doctor Reacts to Medical Dramas," "Real Lawyer Reacts to Crime in Movies," and "Vocal Coach Reacts to Music Video" have the advantage of being educational.
    What is it about this genre that we find so appealing? Is it just the relatability of people feeling the same feelings we have? Do we feel a connection to these people, across time and space?

    • Good topic, one I often wonder about myself. It would be especially interesting to note the difference in modern reaction videos towards reaction videos from the early days of YouTube, back when it still had a reply function; plenty of content creators made their name on just reacting to others. Yet in the modern day, people seem to be more interested in watching professionals or experts' take on certain videos, as made popular by channels like Legal Eagle or the Conde Nast family. Ever since those videos started becoming more popular, you don't really see the regular reaction videos anymore. If anything, you see people trying to emulate the new style with connections that are often flimsy (ex. "Person Who Lives In NYC Reacts To Seinfeld"). Did the audience realize they can do better? What could be the next 'phase' of the reaction videos' evolution? – semroolvink 4 months ago
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    • I think part of the allure is that we as humans want to see others amused and entertained. – J.D. Jankowski 3 months ago
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    • Reaction videos represent one's opinion or how many ever people are reviewing it and their individual opinions. We may agree or disagree but there is always space to know how others think about certain things especially if any of your favorite videos are being reviewed. – Sujayweaves 3 months ago
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    5

    Movies based around soundtracks

    We’re seeing an increasing number of movies where the majority of the music is unoriginal, but the music is one of the best parts of these movies for many people. Examples include both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the Shrek series, and Gnomeo and Juliet. For the movie Baby Driver, action scenes were carefully choreographed to match the soundtrack, rather than music being composed or selected to match the action. Movies about musicians, like Bohemian Rhapsody and the upcoming Rocketman and Yesterday, are in similar situations. Can we call these films Art Films? Is their unoriginality a flaw? Can they be compared to movies with iconic, original scores by John Williams or Michael Giacchino? Are they only becoming more popular because we are in an era with so much good “classic” music to fall back on?

    • Something interesting to look into would be artists chosen to compose these "various artist" soundtracks for movies: such as how Lorde was in charged with the Hunger Games series. Another interesting thing to note is that many of these movies now have two OSTs -- one with orchestral music and the other with a compilation of more "pop" tracks. – Pamela Maria 2 years ago
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    • Definitely something to look into is why these are so popular psychologically for the public and its most likely to do recognition and glossy easy watching. They make the most money but are films that are structurally disorganized, though are constantly stimulating bc of everything visually pleasurable and most importantly: a song we recognize. Think about why films like pitch perfect or Sing were successful... it could be because the time we just wanna sing along because its one big nostalgic throwback. Guardians of galaxy example taking tracks that were canonized by past films, knowing people will love them but give the image of being ‘retro’ hits even tho we didnt grow up hearing those songs on the radio.... we just watched pulp fiction or virgin suicides – ariannacancian 2 years ago
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    • I agree with the notes about nostalgia and how OSTs are being carefully crafted to fit films that rely so heavily on songs that are not originally created for the film. More specifically, to the question of art, I'm not sure if comparing them to original scores would be beneficial, but viewing them as a different form of art could be extremely interesting since it does take a lot of thought, time, and artistic skill to select and place songs that will effectively improve certain scenes within films. Baby Driver is a great example that you note because it is a little jarring at times when some songs don't seem to fully fit or hit nostalgia as much as others, showing how the artistic slip-ups can have an impact on the structure of the visuals. Something that affects your engagement with a film so much deserves recognition as art, especially when it is done well. I would love to see this topic fully researched and expanded! – Aaron 2 years ago
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    • I have to say that original music is vital to a good movie and I cannot think of one great movie that was written for a soundtrack. I know of a great work in which a director and songwriter collaborated but the screenplay was brilliant and nominated for an Oscar. It is in my top ten American films: P.T. Andersen's:Magnolia. – youngmollflanders 2 years ago
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    7

    Analysis of Spider-Man’s origin story

    In the comments section of my recently published article on Batman’s origin story, the topic of Spider-Man’s origin came up. I’d be fascinated to see an analysis of it. This includes the spider that bit Peter Parker and the death of his Uncle Ben, inspiring him to be a hero.
    What changes in the origin story when Spider-Man is rebooted or we get an alternate universe version? What stays the same, and what meaning can be found in that?
    What tropes does Spider-Man’s origin story include? Does it subvert any tropes? What impact do these tropes have?
    How original, deep, or personally impactful is Spider-Man’s origin compared to others?

    • Oh, one more thing. A commenter pointed out Spider-Man’s origin seems similar to Dr. Octopus’ backstory. That would be an interesting point of comparison and contrast. – noahspud 2 years ago
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    • I think there is a significant overlap in content that would be discussed, considering that both involve a murdered love one at some point. Regardless, it would still be interesting to contrast and compare. – Gliese436B 2 years ago
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    9

    Love for fictional characters in fan fiction

    I wrote an Artifice article called "Can You Really Fall in Love with a Fictional Character?" (That’s not shameless self-promotion, that’s context for this topic). I got a comment about what the topic looks like in the context of fan fiction.

    Based on comments I’ve seen, many people express their love for a fictional character by writing “self-insert” fan fiction in which they have a relationship with that character.
    Fan fiction could also be used to express agape, non-personal interest in the well-being of the character. A fan can rewrite the ending of a story so it is happier for a particular character. This is often called “fix-it” fiction.

    I’m not sure if there is enough subject matter here for a full article, but then again, I am not enough of a subject matter expert on fan fiction to write it myself. If you know more about fan fiction, perhaps you could flesh it out more?

    • Oh, this I love. I don't write self-insert fan fiction, but I am a big fan of "fix it" fiction. The best personal example I can give you is, I just finished reading Harry Potter for the first time, and I have a *lot* of feelings about Severus Snape. Not a character crush, but I identify with him on some significant levels, and I hate the way his life and arc ended. So recently, I've been hunting fan fiction that redeems this character (without making him nicey-nice), and have even written a bit. It's inspired me to think about other characters and plots I might want to fix, and changed my attitude about canon. (I used to think, if it's canon, you have to accept it, period. You don't mess with it. But now, I'm not so sure). Anyway, as I said, I love the topic and think there is definitely an article in there somewhere. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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    • I think this would be a very interesting article and I would love to read it once it's written! You definitely have the general topic of it down, but as far as fleshing it out there are a couple of things you could do. The main one would be to read fan fiction. By reading it you can try to understand how and why people choose to write self-insert or reader x *insert fictional character here*. How does it feel to read it? Why did you pick that character to read about? Does reading it satisfy or heighten your feelings towards the character? Another would be to try to reach out to the authors of these fan fictions. No one knows the work better than the ones who create it. Websites like wattpad, fanfiction.net, and even tumblr are your best bets for getting replies from authors. I hope these help you start to expand your topic. G'luck! – isabelladannunzio 3 years ago
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    • I do read fan fiction, and I probably would reach out to some authors if I was going to write the article myself. But I posted the topic here so someone else - maybe someone with firsthand experience writing self insert fanfic - can write it. That's how this works. Those are definitely good suggestions for whoever wants to take the topic. Thanks for the input. – noahspud 3 years ago
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    • I would love to read something about this, since it is rarely discussed, even on sites where it happens almost exclusively, such as Archive of Our Own. I used to write fanfic, mostly "fix it", about The X-Files. But when Mulder and Scully finally did spend the night together in the ep. "Amor Fati", it felt a bit of a letdown. Still, there were many more arcs and great characters, such as the mind-reading Gibson Praise and of course The Smoking Man, a.k.a. Carl Spender. When Duchovny left the series and Mulder went into self-exile, I definitely would have fixed that, since I felt the show began a slow death then. Shippers will often tell you that it all started with Mulder and Scully, though they compared them to the couple on Moonlighting. The lasting favorite seems to be Sherlock, with more fanfiction than you can tally up, usually "fix-it", regarding Sherlock's and John's teased-at romance. Self-insert in this show seems counterproductive, since you would then interfere with the two flatmates and any budding love. Then again, you could always fall in love with Lestrade! Another great companion to fanfic is the Meta, or analysis of a character, arc or trope. Mary Watson, the psychopath, spawned LOTS of these, which went along quite well with both fix-it and self-insert fanfic, usually disposing of her in various, violent and some more humane ways! I just don't know enough about the fanfic of other shows or movies, like Harry Potter, which seems too popular to just leave out of such an article. – SharonGenet 3 years ago
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    Fascination with Groundhog Day-esque stories

    Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, Community, the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Farscape, Person of Interest, and many other science fiction/fantasy shows have had episodes inspired by the movie Groundhog Day. A character relives a series of events multiple times, occasionally making changes to see what the effects are. There have also been movies revolving around the same idea, including Happy Death Day and When I First Met Her. Explore the reasons why the idea presented in this movie (or possibly originating earlier, if you can find past examples) is such a crowd favorite. Are there deeper meanings to be found here, or is it just a comedy bit that other writers reuse because it’s well-liked?

    • I think it has something to do with our fascination of wondering what we could do differently if we could go through the same day again. After a hard decision, who hasn't thought: "what if I did this instead?" I suppose it's a fun and easy thing to explore for an episode or two in a TV show. A fascinating look at these time loop stories is 2016's "Re:Zero" a fascinating anime about a boy in a fantasy world who after dying discovers that he comes back to life several hours before his death. The disturbing nature of facing unavoidable fates and dying repeatedly to save the people he loves is the emotional core of the show, and showcases the true horror of endless time loops. It's a dark and interesting look on the genre/cliche. – Dimitri 3 years ago
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    • An intriguing topic suggestion and one that deserves a broader and deeper investigation. I'd suggest breaking away from the limitations of 'Groundhog Day' to consider how other cultures have addressed the same, or similar theme. Off the top of my head I'd recommend the very clever and fiendishly evasive Korean time-loop tale 'A Day' (2016. Directed by Jo Seon-ho) in which not one, but three disparate characters experience the same day, each from his own perspective. No spoilers as to the outcome, but it is unexpected. – Amyus 3 years ago
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    • Excellent feedback. I wouldn't have thought of those examples because I know very little about anime, Korean drama, etc. Considering how other cultures see the concept of quantum do-overs would be a great addition to this article. – noahspud 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    What I find so fascinating about detective stories is the detective character exists purely for the benefit of other people’s stories. The true main characters in the story are either dead or criminals trying to hide their involvement, so the plot can only develop if another character shows up to point out the clues.
    TV adaptations of Sherlock Holmes have amped up the drama of his struggle to maintain relationships with his brother and friends. But in the original books, Holmes barely had a life outside of work, and that was okay, because the majority of each story was taken up by other people telling their stories, with Holmes just listening quietly. Then he would spend a couple paragraphs pointing out the relevant details and what they meant. Altogether, it doesn’t seem like a strong formula for a great character or a great story, but it works for all the reasons you described. Well done.

    Why Do Readers Enjoy The Detective Genre so much?

    Indeed. One of the reasons a transition from selfish to selfless is so common in these movies is the time traveler comes to realize just how impactful their decisions are on the lives of those around them.
    Like, there’s an episode of The Flash where a time traveler from the future comes to the present for almost entirely selfish reasons: she just wants to hang out with her dad before he died. Then she gets stuck reliving the same hour or so, and every decision she tries to make gets another one of her friends killed. She learns the importance of sacrifice real quick.

    How Time Loop Movies Have Avoided Their Own Groundhog Day

    I watched Russian Doll specifically because of this article, as research. It doesn’t add anything to the discussion. The time loop never gets a proper explanation, so there are no “rules” to learn; we’re just told that the time traveler is smart enough to understand what’s happening, so she somehow figures it out by trial and error. I found it rather dull towards the end. Not worth mentioning. Would not recommend, but that’s just my opinion.

    How Time Loop Movies Have Avoided Their Own Groundhog Day

    I have seen Travelers, and “17 Minutes” is very good. I didn’t include it because it doesn’t quite fit the Infinite Time Loop sub-genre. Rather, it’s a Time Travel Do-over: the time traveler(s) know what’s really happening going into it, and they can stop the loop any time they want. It’s not about escaping the loop, acceptance, or character development. It’s just about making multiple attempts to solve a problem.

    How Time Loop Movies Have Avoided Their Own Groundhog Day

    I’m inclined to agree. I watched Russian Doll specifically for research for this article, but it doesn’t have anything worth mentioning here. The only thing I found interesting was the fact that one of the characters trapped in the loop has some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, so he finds peace in doing the same thing over and over. Other than that, the show doesn’t breaky any new ground.

    How Time Loop Movies Have Avoided Their Own Groundhog Day

    The striking thing is this world seems like a utopia to kids, the target audience of the book. We don’t realize just how shafted the working class adults are until we grow up and experience the workforce ourselves. Many books and movies are like that. If you watched the Matrix through the eyes of a regular person, not a friend of the Chosen One, it would look like Keanu Reeves going on a murder spree. Gaston absolutely thinks he’s the dashing hero saving a Beauty from a Beast. Heck, go watch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead or The Lion King 1 1/2.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Capitalist Dystopia

    That’s a good point. As the superhero gets more popular, his origin story becomes more impactful. Kind of like how the Flash’s origin went from “just taking my smoke break near this shelf full of chemicals, what could go wrong?” to “particle accelerator explosion breaks multiple holes in the fabric of reality and creates a new race of people who can break physics.”
    I didn’t even mention the Court of Owls conspiracy storylines.

    Why Has Batman's Origin Remained So Iconic?

    Excellent point. Love for people we want to protect is Agape, the healthiest form of love, although rarely the basis for the “in love with” type love the rest of the article was about.

    Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?