Sunni Ago

Sunni Ago

She/They Black Queer writer currently living abroad. Working on games and making art.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    "I Don't Like ****, I Don't Go Outside" An Exploration of Depression

    "I Don’t Like ****, I Don’t Go Outside" is the sophomore album by Odd Future Alum, Earl Sweatshirt. Despite maintain a level of darkness in his tone and instrumentation, Earl is distinctly alien from his former self. Gone are the edgy shock-lyrics of cannibalism and murder, replaced instead by a vulnerable young man drowning in depression reliant on drugs and alcohol to keep himself going.

    What is it to be a celebrity? A chosen one at that, to be the idol of millions of people you’ve never met while isolated from your friends and family. The album speaks to the thin veneer of happiness success can really be.

    Earl was often a center piece of the fandom from the "FREE EARL" days and yet it doesn’t seem as though the freedom was very liberatory. The lack of hope and overwhelming sense of abject bleakness from Earl speaks to the hollow nature of what was gained by his fame and his regrets seem innumerable as each song on the album falls further in further into an inky blackness of despair.

    That then begs the question, what does this album serve? Is it just a self-exploration or can there be some universal message garnered from the album? What can be said of Earl and his developments as an artist? What of the raised awareness about depression and how it can shape and distort a person’s view not just of themself but of the world around them.

    • Agree with first person. You do a good job summarizing what the album is about, but what specific question are you trying to ask? – Montayj79 5 months ago

    Analyzing Analog Horror

    Analog Horror refers to the genre of horror created with the aesthetic of Analog technology, that is to say shot on video, "found footage".

    Within the subgenre there exists quite a number of breakthrough hits such as "Backrooms" "Local 58" and "The Mandela Catalogue"

    What draws people to this genre and what can be said about the genre tropes and themes? What is the appeal and is there a lesson that can be garnered from the creation of these works?

    • Good start, but you might want to delve a bit more into what analog horror is, or how your examples achieve it. If you don't know what found footage is (and I, for one, only have a vague idea), you might be a bit confused. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
    • I was just thinking of leading a topic for this subject too. I think the evolution of analog horror is fascinating, its origins (I think) layered from many concepts and ideas from YouTube. I think constantly about what makes this niche sub genre scary, and what draws people in. This would be a great topic, especially to see where it’s grown from. – eaonhurley 4 months ago
    Taken by alexpasquale (PM) 1 week ago.

    The Death of the Western

    With the rising discontent with the MCU as seen on many social networking apps and film and television critics, a revisiting of the last truly dominant Genre of Westerns which held control of the box office landscape never before seen and only really eclipsed by the current superhero/comic adaptation market.

    What in particular made the western so popular and what in specific lead to the box office death of the genre? What were the politics behind the genre, the economics, and actors both in a gamesmanship context and a performative context.


      Ideology and a problem with Superheroes.

      Superheroes, are presented as by their nature disruptions to the "natural order" of the world. That is to say many are presented in worlds more or less analogous to that of the reader, either in the urban setting or something that perceivably realistic. But, this presents a disruption to the world they exist within.

      Many heroes are, in some interpretations, read as virtual gods amongst men, invulnerable, nigh unstoppable, with only "benevolence" as the check against them dominating the world. How does a world function similarly to our own while also inhabited by a living god or gods?

      Many exist only in reactive states, that is to say, many heroes and their stories are written to respond to "crime" or "disasters" but rarely are we presented with them proactively pushing for some sort of shift. How does this materially affect their world? How does a world of heroes and supervillains, one of constant impending doom have any sense of normality? How can that world even function?

      Part of this can be blamed on the medium, crime being punished is an easier comic to sell than crime never happens, but that reinforces the idea of crime without interrogating the why of crime. The material conditions, not to mention the motivations of criminals within worlds of sentient nuclear weapons is rarely examined.

      Returning to the core question, superheroes exist in worlds similar to our own, but how in fact is that possible? How is it that a world where Superman and Batman exist is virtually the same as a world where they don’t. How is the world of Marvel, with aliens and spirits, and devils, and sentient robots not dissimilar entirely to the world that exists today?

      How do writers square the circle that is the "status quo" ? Status quo being read as a world that has enough parallels to the real world to be read as similar to our own. A sense of normalcy that can allow for the reader to feel connection with the world of the heroes. How can you reckon with the fact that the existence of these walking myths has little impact on their worlds?

      The writer could interrogate the idea of the superhero as it compares to the prior age of myth, but the more challenging question would require some understanding of the main universes of some of the major comic book publishes and their distinctions and similarities from the real world along with speculation/analysis of why or even how those similarities exist.

      • One idea from the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD: organizations like SHIELD exist to keep the majority of the weird stuff away from the public, so the world will not change dramatically. Another idea: if the existence of super-people did change the world, the most likely result would be something like Injustice: Gods Among Us - the super-people ruling the world, whether the regular people wanted that or not. Many of the superheroes know this and willingly avoid impacting the world in such a way because free will matters to them. Also consider Watchmen, a fairly popular story about super-people very much changing the world. – noahspud 5 months ago

      Gilgamesh and shooting the shaggy dog

      Shooting the shaggy dog refers to a bleak ending at the end of a drawn out story. Doing so can create a sense of realism as seen in movies like Chinatown but can also create a sense of apathy in the audience if every turn makes the world worse and the the stories conclusion is just more of that.

      For the writer, the Manga Gilgamesh is a pure example of shooting the shaggy dog. The plot is a world of darkness and depravity and the story’s conclusion leaves off with the question what was all of the suffering for? What was the purpose of the story if the ending doesn’t just drive home the point that the world is bad, but makes it clear that it can never be good?

      • Okay, nice, but you left me hanging. I understand your frustration with the story and the trope, but what's the thesis of your article? Are you trying to say the trope should die because it's not redeemable? Or, is there something of value in the trope and the types of stories in which we find it? Or are you going for something else entirely? Consider these questions, and consider exploring other stories as examples. A Series of Unfortunate Events immediately popped into my head. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago

      The Outer Worlds, a centrist's critique of capitalism.

      Outer Worlds, made by Obsidian of Fallout New Vegas acclaim, is a open world RPG where you exist in an alternative universe where capitalism is even more unregulated than it is today.

      Within the world of OW however there is little to be said in response to capitalism. In a future where "science" is good on it’s face, marauders commit crimes because crime, and the world itself is limited by the imagination of the writers, what is displayed is a critique of the world not for ideological reasons but for practical and efficiency reasons. That is to say, Outer Worlds can lead the player to see some damning indictments of capitalism, but it will never allow for anything in game aside from a moderate reformism.

      And that is a curious line to draw. What indeed can be said about advancement for advancement’s sake when the human cost both in universe and out is seen as only worthwhile if it’s apolitical. Where revolution is on its face dismissed for it’s idealism, but "progress" is revered for making the future better.

      • The Outer Worlds is made by Obsidian Studios who are well-known for their previous RPG Fallout: New Vegas (2010). This game's fame, I would say, is well received due to the true moral choices the game presents you with - no faction that the player character can choose to side with is ever inherently "good". Because of how the game shows you the consequences of your choices and actions, the theme of centrism may be seen as portrayed in a positive light here - if no faction or ideology is desirable, the game seems to say, why pick one at all? – Tristan 3 months ago
      • The premise is flawed. Ideology is how you understand the world you exist in. Likewise, the game world is created by people who either don't understand some of the ideologies or are actively hostile to any critique of capital that isn't framed exclusively around its grossest excesses. – Sunni Ago 3 months ago

      The "Actual" meaning of Encanto

      Encanto as a film was one of the better received Disney animation in recent memory, from the music, to the character designs, to the narrative resolution and heartwarming interplay of all of the characters in the family Madrigal.

      Though, for all of the popularity of the film there was a bit of controversy in the "proper" reading of the plot. While there is a clear examination of intergenerational trauma from Abuela to Mirabel and all of the family in-between, some have read the film with as allegorical to the experience some in LGBTQ community have experienced.

      This disagreement led to a decent amount of intercommunal conflict on many social networks about the proper way of reading the text, but is their an actual proper meaning to a film? Does authorial intent matter? Is it "wrong" to read the text in a way more relative to oneself?

      There is quite a lot of room to discuss the racial and cultural perspectives of the various angles of the argument of the actual meaning of the movie.

      • Death of the Author is essentially whats going on here. I like this topic as this is a reoccurring issue in the Anime community, as femboy/Trap characters are often read as trans by western audiences, while in Japan they are read as effeminate men. Even when authors directly comment on issues like this they are often ignored by fans and localizers. This often leads to heated debates online. I'm not a fan of the idea that text can be interpreted in any way possible, but that often becomes the case when authors note or thoughts are not available. It is why I believe whenever possible journals and notes should be preserved. But, in the event that evidence is not available, I was taught in my college classes interpretations of text need to be backed by evidence either from the author or evidence in the text, which is something that is often lacking in LGBTQ readings of text. An example that comes to mind is when Dreamworks Voltron was announced a lot of people assumed Pidge (Katie Holt) was trans. When the character was just pretending to be boy to find her brother. Same deal with Keith and Lance, as many people assumed the characters were gay, despite the show showing multiple times that Lance had feelings for princess Alura. – Blackcat130 5 months ago
      • I don't disagree about it being death of the author I was moreso interested in the backlash the DOA side of the discourse received for subverting the "intent" of the movie. I also don't see an inherent flaw with queer readings of media, I myself am guilty of it with characters in some of my favorite shows. That said, I can't say I'm sympathetic to the idea of a culture being ignored for the sake of others reading themselves into a text. I do think it is a topic worth discussion. – SunnyAgo 5 months ago
      • I just want to clarify that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with doing a queer reading of a text. My issue is as you put it "people reading themselves into the text" Another example of this is in My Hero Academia. Many fans believe Bakugo and Deku are gay for one another, despite the author clearly stating certain characters having romantic feelings for one another. Even without author input the text at certain points states how the characters feel about one another. This also becomes obnoxious to me, as often times these text actually have LGBTQ characters (Tiger and Magne are trans) in it that get ignored for fan canon. One theory that I've heard for why this happens comes from YouTuber Dimitri Monroe. They believe its not about whether or not a character is gay or Trans, but metaphorical point scoring. They believe the reason modern queer reading often alter characters is because some LGBTQ activist simply want a more prominent character as opposed to the side character (which Tiger and Magne both are.). Dimitri uses Astolfo from the fate series as an example, as not only in the lore Astolfo is canonically and stated multiple times to be an androgynous male who doesn't care about gender norms. Despite that many will say he's trans. Which once again fate does have actual trans/gay characters, Astolfo is just considered one of the more popular characters and that why he's often subject to this debate. You can see the same thing with P4's Naoto who states both their gender and sexual preferences, but fans created a mod to turn the character Trans. I think this more about politics as apposed to trying to understand the message of a story. (Also I might take this topic.) – Blackcat130 5 months ago
      • I think what you're talking about here is "reader response criticism," where a reader (or viewer in this case) interacts with a "text" relative to his/her/their own experiences. For instance, as an autistic woman, I very much "read" Encanto as a commentary on disability, giftedness, and twice-exceptionality. So no, there is nothing wrong with looking for or finding deeper or truer meaning in the plot. The challenge here is going to be choosing which deeper readings to focus on, because as you mention, there are so many. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
      • The whole concept of interpreting creative works has been academically discussed for centuries by this point, so there's not exactly much new ground to tread, other than to perform case studies on specific modern works like you're trying to do with Encanto. I personally believe, especially in a medium like film, that the idea of any one interpretation being correct is absurd, even if it's one that has been publicly stated by a key creative such as the director or writer. Therefore I think that were you to continue this article in any direction where are you providing your own personal interpretation, the key point is providing evidence from the source itself, Encanto, to defend and support your case. If you are instead headed in the direction of using Encanto as a talking point to further the general discussion of artistic interpretation, then it would definitely be interesting to see you critically analyse some of the different 'theories' and 'arguments' circulating the Internet in regards to what the films 'true meaning' is. Irrespective of whatever path you take with this topic, I wish you the best and look forward to reading your work :) – LucasR 3 months ago

      The Legacy of Ken Penders and Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog

      A retrospective on the comic run of Ken Penders, his various additions to the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic for better and for worse.

      Analysis of his writing style, character tropes, creative choices and limitations while contextualizing it in comparison with the greater Sonic media franchise.

      Exploring what made Ken Penders so valuable at the beginning of his run with Sonic, how he became so reviled by many in the fanbase and his current media presence after his departure.

      • This topic has potential but is also pretty broad. It sounds like you could be dealing with three separate topics, so I might just choose one and expand. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago

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      Latest Comments

      Sunni Ago

      Black Adam is DC. Warner Bros.

      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
      Sunni Ago

      Consumers should be aware of what they are consuming.

      Companies shouldn’t put out hateful content.

      The “woke” generation is just an audience. They may not be yours. But unless you’re doing something actually harmful it should be fine.

      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
      Sunni Ago

      Most people probably don’t care.

      Conformity is inevitable if you live in a society.

      Idk, some old people are stupid but that can be/be read as ableist.
      Some are uncool.
      Some are boring.

      Using language that doesn’t demean people for things outside of their control is admirable, if a bit challenging at times. People use to say the r-slur all the time that changed, people used to use “autism” as a substitute. That changed.

      Language changes.

      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
      Sunni Ago

      I picked up this manga after reading your article and I have to say, you definitely did a good job in highlighting what makes Denji unique in the scope of most shounen protags. I don’t know if I’d say the new, as that implies a genre shift but he’s definitely unique as compared with his contemporaries.

      Chainsaw Man and the New Shonen Protagonist
      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
      Sunni Ago

      How do you know if you won’t like something without watching it?

      Comedy: When the Jokes Go Too Far
      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
      Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World