John Faugno

John Faugno is an English professor, author, and self-proclaimed nerd. He is currently teaching at the University of New Haven.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Let's Play: Original Content or Copyright Infringement

    There has been a lot of static on YouTube about "Let’s Play" videos, especially when it comes to Nintendo and their haste in issuing content strikes. Analyze the form of "Let’s Play" videos, and offer an opinion of whether they are worthwhile original content, or just a more elaborate form of capitalizing on someone else’s work.

    • Possibly talk about the origins of the Let's Play. This is not a new format, there was Mystery Science Theater 3000 and MTV shows riffing on music videos in the 90's. – Adam 8 years ago
    • And if they are an elaborate form of capitalizing on someone else's work, what then? Elaborate on why that is wrong, or not as meaningful as something more original. – luminousgloom 8 years ago
    • Everyone's masterpiece are in fact not authentic. Even if you admit or not. There's a source for it and that source doesn't come from you. – droy 7 years ago
    • I believe it depends on how the format is presented. And honestly, most children, teens, or even adults could get excited over a game based on seeing their favorite online gamer play the game. But in the context, I'd say it is Copyright Infringement-ish, yet the Let's Plays often lead to more sales for the games and/or consoles for a specific industry. – Analyzion 7 years ago
    • It would server the author to look into both fair use and transformative works with regards to copyright law. Andy Warhol makes an interesting case study for this sort of thing. – John Wells 7 years ago

    Portraying the President

    From movies like "Air Force One" and "Independence Day" to the Tom Clancy movies to more modern productions like "The Kingsmen," show how the President of the United States has been shown in movies. How has the role of the President changed over time, and does it reflect the changes in the political climate at the time?

    • "White House Down" features Jamie Foxx as our first Black President who has plenty of smarts and guts to help overthrow an invasion of home grown terrorists. In November 2015 a TV documentary, "Lincoln: American Mastermind" exposed the myth of "Honest Abe" and the skulduggery of Lincoln's campaign manager and staff. Lincoln was a "master politician, clever tactician, and skilled manipulator, bending men to his will." He was all about getting elected. This was broadcast less than a week before most of our presidential primaries. – Lorraine 8 years ago
    • You could also use tv shows such as Scandal. – asd5261 8 years ago
    • Love this topic. We have always been obsessed with adulating our president in film with predominantly in positive portrayals. However it would be very interesting to note minute differences between these positive portrayals- how personal to the stories get? Is our president sensitive or stoic? Would be interesting to see how the presidential portrayal changes after this race... – AndyJanz 8 years ago

    Remakes and Reboots

    In the last few years Hollywood has both recreated and rebooted a number of classic films, ranging from superhero stories (like Spider-man), beloved franchises (like Star Trek), to cult classics (like Red Dawn), and modern masterpieces (like The Magnificent Seven). Choose what you feel are a few of the best and worst examples of this trend, and make an argument for or against Hollywood’s "rehash" habit.

    • I remember my film teacher pointing to Ocean's Eleven as one of the very few (I cannot think of another) example where the remake was better than the original. – TKing 8 years ago
    • I immediately think of Sabrina (1954), the original with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and the remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond (1995). It was atrocious. I guess I would say the best reboot would be the Dark Knight Series, if that is considered as such. I mean, one moment we have Michael Keaton, then the incomparable Christian Bale. – danielle577 8 years ago
    • A very good remake that comes to mind is "Total Recall." The Colin Farrell movie from 2012 was much more true to Phillip K. Dick's original story. I am well aware that this may be a controversial opinion. – Tarben 8 years ago
    • Sabrina was terrible because Harrison Ford does not play a good romantic lead. I think miscasting was the problem. – Munjeera 8 years ago
    • Munjeera, I don't HF can act. – Tigey 8 years ago
    • Munjeera, I mean I don't think he can act well. Or, he acts like I type. – Tigey 8 years ago

    Speculative Fiction - Rivets and Trees

    Author Orson Scott Card said "Science Fiction has rivets, fantasy has trees," implying that the two genres are effectively the same, only the set dressing is different. There are many tropes the two genres share, many stories in both genres that follow Joseph Campbell’s archetypical "hero’s journey," and a lot of elements that are near identical in nature but dressed differently to fit the setting.

    But is Card’s statement true? Are there elements of one that define it, other than the setting? Are there fantasy stories that would not work as sci-fi without fundamental changes to the story and outcome, and vice-versa? If there is a defining line between the two, where is it?

    • A term that is frequently used (especially in recent years, and especially to do with Star Wars) is "space fantasy," in lieu of the traditional label of "science fiction." The two are distinguished by how integral "science" is to explaining the fantastical elements of the story and its world. Because Star War is a narrative very much centred around the existence of magic (i.e. the Force), it is considered generically different from something like Firefly, whose fantasticism is explained wholly by science (i.e. terraforming and advance vehicular technology). This distinction is especially important to consider with regards to "rivets and trees," as it blurs the lines of this dichotomy. Furthermore, another important consideration is Arthur C.Clarke's Third Law of Scientific Prediction: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." This is often paraphrased as, "Magic is just science that we don't understand yet." The film Thor (2011) dealt with this matter extensively, attempting to justify the historicity of Norse mythology by intersecting it with the Ancient Alien Theory. This theory suggests that all mytho-historical accounts of divine beings were really extraterrestrials, misunderstood by ancient humans as being deities due to their lacking the proper critical vocabulary to describe what they had witnessed. Though this line of thinking is typically dismissed as pseudoscience - which has not been helped by a History Channel series jumping to its defense, not surprisingly - it is interesting to think about nonetheless, and makes for some fascinating speculative fiction. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
    • Here is a link which may help define the terms which is something I think you should do before the article is approved. – Munjeera 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a video game as a spectator. I feel the exact same way about survival horror games (like Outlast or The Forest) – great to watch, but I have zero fun playing them.

    How Dark Souls Teaches Us to Accept Failure

    This is not actually the case, as there are no difficulty levels in the game. There are optional areas, some of which are more challenging than the mandatory path (especially in Dark Souls 2), but there is no “easy” or “hard” setting.

    How Dark Souls Teaches Us to Accept Failure

    Tolkien is the father of modern fantasy, and anyone that has a graceful elf, a raging orc, or a greedy dwarf is paying homage to him. So few people realize that he created all of the things we say are stereotypes now.

    The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on Modern Video Gaming

    As a fellow Trekkie, I have to say “Bravo.” Thanks for revealing the “struggle” to those that may not be aware.

    Star Trek and Society's Ridicule of its Early Fans

    Fantastic article! Social awareness is in a lot of games, but people often fail to see it. Games like “Fate” are often discounted because they come off as preachy, while “Deus Ex” is more overt with its themes, but is more readily accepted because it’s perceived as “fantastical.”

    What Would Jesus Play? (or, Gaming With the Pope)

    A great walk down memory lane for a comic fan like me. Thank you for this.

    75 Mighty Marvel Moments

    Very well said, and a very interesting read. My friends and I say “Privacy is an illusion” to one another all the time – I think your article puts substance to that notion effectively.

    The Unicorn: An Argument for the Non-Existence of Privacy

    This is an excellent article and analysis. I think the companies like Disney are ready for this sort of portrayal, I am afraid the American audience may not be. I try to have hope for the future.

    Is the World Ready for an LGBTQ Disney Princess (or Prince)?