Instructor of Philosophy & English. MA in Continental Philosophy. PhD dissertation in the Platonic & Biblical roots in utopian, dystopian, & post-apocalyptic narratives.
Junior Contributor II
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Web video celebrities
What is it about YouTube videos that makes them more accessible and appealing to today’s inquisitive audiences? Why do people seem to prefer YouTube web video celebrities with little to no credentials or credentials in unrelated fields? Is it a matter of charisma? Confirmation bias? Laziness to read? A mix?
Sexual Objects in Feminist Clothing?
The number of female protagonists in video games has sharply increased in recent years. From Lara Croft to D. Va and Widowmaker in Overwatch or Ellie in Last of Us, there’s no denying the move to cast women characters in the lead in many of today’s gaming franchises. The question I have is whether this is in fact a shift in the direction towards gender equality and a real desire to branch out the target client base to include female consumers. The evidence to the contrary lies in the character design of these string, intelligent, independent women and girls who nevertheless remain depicted in what constitute for CIS male players as erotically charged and sexually arousing body types and outfits. Further proof of this underlying trend can be seen in the fact that all of these “empowering” characters are extremely popular in rape based hentai games and videos. Is the gaming industry (designers and consumers) still in the end just a cesspit of misogynistic desires despite the work of women challenging gamer culture through a history of conflicts as #gamergate?
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Superheroes: Altruists or Status Quo Apologists
The Marvel and DC cinematic universes have created superheroes that benefitted from the US military industrial complex then turned their backs on it. Captain America became a hero from the Army’s super soldier serum in The First Avenger then rejected surveillance overreach by government agencies in The Winter Soldier. Iron Man inherited a vast fortune from Stark Industry’s weapons development then restructured the company to clean energy development at the end of the first movie. Batman’s endless array of tech toys originated as US military prototypes of Wayne tech repurposed for war on Gotham’s crime. Nonetheless, super heroic courage, genius intellect, and god like powers are always depicted preserving the status quo (late stage capitalism with grossly corrupt governments protecting global income inequality as the earth burns) and actively combatting those who strive to fix such problems. For example, Thanos aims to eradicate overpopulation and Killmonger plots to undermine white global dominance by destroying US and NATO military superiority. What can we make of this ambiguity in superhero comics and movies?
Game of Thrones: Daenerys' Backlash
The massive outcry against GoT’s last season centered not only on a rushed job of tying up loose ends, but in particular of Daenerys Targaryen’s turn towards genocidal tyrant in the last season. Was this turn simply more male dominated writing casting female leadership as stereotypical depictions of a hysterical woman who could not handle the pressures of ruling when her BFF was executed, her dragon baby shot out of the sky, and her silver fox butchered (all before her eyes)? Or was this turn perfectly aligned with the nature of power that GoT had been warning from the beginning? Is there anything redeemable in Daenerys’ legacy after such a fall?
Absolutely, yes I agree. The Jedi represent the U.S.’s more idealistic eutopian paternalism and their gradually increasing reliance on the clone troopers sets up their downfall and the Empire just as US foreign policy devolved from the benevolent defenders of democracy in WWI to the perpetual occupying force and drone based state terror of its War on Terror in the 21st century.
Thank you! I love me some Star Trek too, don’t get me wrong. I find it interesting that Roddenberry’s utopianism has devolved into the more mainstream dystopian and cataclysmic narratives under Paramount+.
I’d say I agree with much of the internet: it retcons some of TLJ, a lot of fan service, it would have benefited from being broken up into two parts since it ended up rushing to tie up too many threads in underdeveloped ways, no real surprises, too many deus ex machinas and plot holes, and so on
However, let’s see how it ages.
Yes! Exactly Spinelli! However, the prequels seem to suggest democracy is not only messy, it is inevitably conducive of tyranny. A conclusion Plato wholeheartedly agrees with as Books VII and VIIII of the Republic map out the same exact descent from democracy to tyranny- a topic I plan to expand on in the next installment.
Thank you Anthony, I’m happy you liked the read. To be honest, I’m having a hard time seeing much beyond toxic masculinity in the sequel trilogy. It could be because they’ve been winging it in the new series much as they did in the original trilogy, whereas the prequels were under Lucas’ singular creative direction throughout. It could also be that I don’t have enough distance yet to fully appreciate what the sequels are offering. Only time will tell.
I’m glad you enjoyed the read. As for the consequences of withdrawal, destabilization is already the consequence of US involvement to begin with. In the end, any concern for foreign countries justifies US imperial violence for private interests, that’s how we got into this situation in the first place- the war hawks rely on liberal compassion for foreign suffering and corporate media helps to foster it.
The fragility of democracy goes well beyond Trump however. Bush and Obama and Clinton have eroded our democratic ideals and human rights through the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, $750 bn a year in military weapons spending, drone assassinations, executive orders to bypass the Constitution, Wall Street bail outs and tax cuts, etc.
No lies detected here Candice. Would make for a good article- you could explain the scale of population and technological advancement along the Kardashev scale then assess SW and other space operas.