Sunni Ago

Sunni Ago

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

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    Latest Articles

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    Burn After Reading - The Idiot Plot

    "The Idiot Plot, of course, is any plot that would be resolved in five minutes if everyone in the story were not an idiot."
    — Roger Ebert in his review of Narrow Margin (1990)

    The 2008 black comedy "Burn After Reading" by the Coen Brothers is a film of fools doing foolish things to disastrous consequences. Each character for the most part overestimates their own standing and refuses to see the world as it is, but is that ideologically driven, do these people within the story have ideologies? For a film that is based in D.C. and told from the perspective of a C.I.A operative it’s politics are remarkably scant, so then what drives each character to behave the way they do?


      Who's the best Robin?

      A comparison of characterization, compatibility, and narrative function of the Robins within the Batman and greater DC universe.

      The writer has five potential options to choose from, Dick Grayson a.k.a Nightwing, Jason Todd a.k.a Red Hood, Tim Drake a.k.a Red Robin, Stephanie Brown a.k.a Spoiler, and Damien Wayne.

      Each served as Robin for an extended period and all contrast Batman in their own ways. The writer can present a case for and against each of them both from the text and metatexually such as referring to sales or fan receptions.

      • Good start. Rather than just "who's the best," however, consider going deeper and doing a full compare/contrast between the five incarnations. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of everyone, and when you choose an overall "winner," explain why their strengths rise above the others', while their weaknesses are less egregious or more humanizing/endearing. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago

      Villainy in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

      Jack Horner and Death

      Of the antagonists in The Last wish, these two stand head and shoulders above the rest. But between them who can be argued to be the "better" villain.

      Horner is a throwback, an old school villain, evil at his core. Unrepentant and callous his simplicity lends itself to easily understanding why he’s a villain but, that same simplicity could be critique as lazy or unoriginal due to him always taking the worst most inhumane option.

      Contrasting him is Death.
      Death plays with Puss in Boots but is solely focused on him. It could be argued he is cruel and unfair but he’s literally death and that is his nature. Is his simplicity better than Horner’s due to him being more of a force of nature than an character.

      What elements make each villain unique?

      • Great topic! Maybe comparing these villains to other villains in the shrek universe and puss in boots films would help strengthen this – Anna Samson 12 months ago
      • Cool topic! Maybe comparing these two villains to other villains in all of the fictional universes you can think of that have a similar dynamic to both Jack Horner and Death would give some perspective to both these villainess characters in - Puss In Boots: The Last Wish – PinkLisa 6 months 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.

      • This is an awesome topic, and definitely very relevant in the current progression of entertainment demands today. One small suggestion I might recommend is providing some examples of current Westerns facing this trend to help jumpstart potential writers. Another angle that might be interesting to take could lie in the Western's influence outside of the box office too. The Mandalorian is just one example of a current and well loved show that has repurposed the Western for its own benefit beyond the big screen-also standing as a stark contrast to the ebb and flow of a traditional theater style Western. Has the role of the Western begun to change in society-now valued more heavily as an allusion rather than an outright genre of itself? – mmclaughlin102 8 months ago
      • If you were interested in considering literature as well as film, "Green Grass, Running Water" by Thomas King might offer some useful insight into a critique of Westerns in the context of colonialism and narratives of indigenous peoples in settler media. It may also suggest that though the Western is not as popular in mainstream media today as in the past, it remains a dominant, internalized cultural form. The tropes and ideas put forth by the genre haven't gone away, they've merely transformed over time. – clairegranum 8 months ago

      Can there really be "art for art"

      The slogan "art for art’s sake" arose in the 19th century with the core ethos being that art, true art is divorced, separated, alien from function, any and all functions.

      But with this philosophy, there is room for critique, after all nothing is created in a bubble and artists are influenced by their society and as such so are their works.

      Does art always have a message? Should it?

      Many Marxist thinkers would argue art must have a meaning and purpose but even non-Marxists have levied criticism at this school of thought.

      Is Art for Art’s sake a philosophy that is unfairly maligned? Is it a cynical defense from critique?

      • I think it’s also interesting to explore when we define that someone is to be considered an artist. As we age it’s much more difficult to explore things separated from fiction but as children there is a much more free exploration of art that is disconnected from our adult analysis. Is this something we are only able to harness in childhood? If so, is “art for arts sake” something we are trying to reconnect with in adulthood? – Denise Zubizarreta 1 year ago
      • If one were to write about this topic, I believe they would absolutely need to mention Oscar Wilde. In the preface to Picture of Dorian Gray, he writes that "all art is quite useless". By trying to give a spin to the word "useless" -- and make it a word that doesn't necessarily have a negative connotation -- he responds to the idea that art should have a purpose, and instead suggests that it can simply be purposeful for its aesthetic qualities. I therefore don't believe that "art fort art's sake" is merely a cynical defense from critique. It simply asks you to critique it under different criteria! – chloew 1 year ago
      • When I hear the phrase 'Art for art's sake' I think of two people: James Hampton and Henry Darger--the former not to be confused with James Hampton the actor (who plays Dad Wolf in Teen Wolf), and the latter not to be confused with Jeffrey Dahmer. These two persued making art that they seemingly never intended to show to anyone; the art they constructed had no audience, no person in mind. James built religious inspired structures out of trash, the finished products of which he kept in a rented garage. No one else laid eyes on his creations until he passed away and his landlord found them. His works are now kept in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Henry Darger wrote a 15,145-page novel accompanied by extremely detailed images and tracings he made himself. His works were not discovered until shortly before his death, oddly enough, ALSO by his landlords (there's no significance to the landlord thing, just coincidence... I hope). This all goes to say that this could be a pretty interesting avenue for an interpretation of 'Art for art's sake' to take a stroll down. I'm cringing DEEP into myself for what I'm about to type but, in a world where the ability to share everything we create is democratised so that audiences are readily available to consume it, stories about outliers such as these call into question the very purpose of art itself. So, that doesn't really answer the question 'can you really have art for art?'. But I think the question James and Henry tease out is 'without an audience can art even exist?' – JM 10 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. 1 year 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 1 year ago

      Bloodborne and the grotesque feminine.

      Bloodborne, the 2014 game from FromSoftware is a game ripe for exploration. One element worth delving into is the nature of femininity within the world.

      The ways in which the player is force to confront the cruelty in which women and female coded NPCs are treated with regards to the game’s world. Elements such as the "blessings" of the old ones force the player to view the horror of a world where women are specifically targeted for cruelty.

      The nature of the blood within the universe is also worth exploring with regards to origins of the blood and the people born of it.

      • I love Bloodborne and would love to claim this article to write, but I haven't played it in a while and the only three female characters I remember are Iosefka, Eileen, and Lady Maria and I wouldn't know where to start in terms of talking about their "grotesqueness." However, the obvious connection with women and blood (you know what I mean) could be an interesting avenue to take for the prospective author. – LeoPanasyuk 12 months ago
      • Bloodborne is my favourite game and I think this topic is really worth exploring. One key character who would be great to write about is Arianna and how she *spoiler* literally gives birth to an old one if you follow up her quest line — players are then faced with the choice of whether to kill her. Lady Maria would be an excellent choice for discussion, as well as Vicar Amelia. – Patrick 11 months ago
      • LOVE this topic!! I am so keen to read this article when it has been done. It would be really cool as well to consider ideas of feminine suffering and pain and the fetishisation of this in media. – Zoe Odessa 11 months ago

      Sex scenes in Media

      The discourse surrounding sex scenes in media has risen again and this time to much more of a pushback.

      Starting with the origins, who are the people criticising the existence of sex in media and what are their reasons?

      From there, what are the arguments against limited sex in media?

      What can come from this repetitive discourse and why does it seem to be such an enduring topic for discourse?

      • My biggest critique of sex in media is that so many of them have minors involved (though played by adults). The confusing thing is that shows like this (Euphoria, Riverdale, you name it) would probably make more since if the characters were in their 20s and in college. Why do they have to be minors? Additionally, having grown adults playing children makes the concept seem fine, thus normalizing sexual content involving minors. – kaitminghui 12 months ago
      • It is also interesting how television and film reviews are impacted based on the type of sex scene featured. The Last Of Us episode 3 was review bombed on IMDB after featuring a gay sex scene despite it being one of the more acclaimed episodes of the series. – mattweightman 12 months ago
      • There is also the issue of exploitative use. For example, the film I Spit on Your Grave has long scenes of sexual violence and is a commercial product. It is important to ask whether a scene is there to communicate something or is just a fetish. – EllenPastorino 11 months ago
      • One of the things that can come from the discourse is the existence of intimacy coordinators and further discutions around best practices for sex scenes. Additionally, the topic is always discussed because, like it or not, people like sex scenes in television and film, they find them entertaining, etc. – Madelinelca 11 months ago

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      Latest Comments

      Sunni Ago

      You have a point. It really is the capitalist simulator.

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Many fall in the face of chaos; but not this one, not today.

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Failure tests the mettle of heart, brain and body.

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Life feeds on life. In your petty pursuit of family redemption, you consume those who rally to your cause, and in so doing, you strengthen the Thing – accelerating the end! This is as it should be…it is why you are here.

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Ruin has come to our family…

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Thank you so much for reading. I agree that DD’s story often gets under analyzed in favor of gameplay.

      "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy
      Sunni Ago

      Loved the parallels you drew between the villains. Jack and Prince as spoiled brats is one that my brain never really connected. Loved your breakdown of Death.

      Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper
      Sunni Ago

      Accurate? What? We’ve no way of knowing what alien life will be like this is as accurate as old Star Trek episodes for now.

      What does the end of Annihilation (2018) mean?