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Latest Topics

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Transfeminine Representation in Anime

An analysis of various representations of transgender women found in Anime. What worked, what didn’t, and what made people go "eh, good enough."

The article might specifically bring up the prevalence of characters who are addressed with he/him pronouns by other characters but still refer to themselves as women (IE: Hibari Ōzora from "Stop!!! Hibari-Kun!" or Grell Sutcliff from "Black Butler"), or characters who are referred to as ‘crossdressers’ (Ryoji Fujioka from "Ouran Host Club" or Chihiro Fujisaki from "Danganronpa"). It can discuss where these characters are harmful or helpful.

It could also discuss characters who are canonically, unambiguously trans women (such as Lily Hoshikawa from "Zombieland Saga") and how well or poorly that representation is handled.

Other discussion points might be the context of which these characters are included, how impactful they are on the plot, whether their portrayal is sympathetic or predatory, and why these portrayals occur.

  • How do you define "what worked, what didn't, and what made people go "eh, good enough.""? Do you think this would be the same as stereotyping transgender women in Anime? – Ka Man Chung 2 weeks ago
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  • Grell is a very strange character in a very strange series. By any chance, are you going to bring up Nitori from Wandering Son? – OkaNaimo0819 2 weeks ago
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Job Precariousness in Sitcoms

In many sitcoms, characters often suffer the consequences of job precariousness. This includes being underpaid, taking jobs they hate, or losing their jobs altogether.
Almost the entire cast of Friends, Jess from New Girl, Britta or Jeff from Community, or the Roses from Schitt’s Creek are just some examples.

An article looking at how these scenarios play out in T.V. could be an insightful read. Are they accurate depictions of real life, or do they diminish the real-world anxiety of this aspect of life? Is it enough to simply allude to homelessness or not being able to make rent, or should a show force its characters to endure this? You could offer a comparison of shows that do this well and shows that, perhaps, do not do this so well.

You could offer an assessment regarding the impact this has on viewers, and contextualise the shows within both their setting and time of release.

  • It would be worth expanding this topic to examine and analyse similar scenarios in sitcoms from around the world. In this way, a comparison could be made between varying cultural values and institutional attitudes towards low paid workers. – Amyus 5 months ago
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  • I think contextualizing the shows based on time of release is a good idea. Specifically, comparing the perception of unemployment in shows through every decade or during periods of financial downturn could be particularly interesting. – huiwong 5 months ago
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  • It is interesting how you pay attention to this specific feature in sitcoms. Writers might also look into how job precariousness help to develop the plot, to make the plot fitting to sitcoms. – Heather Ka Man Chung 3 weeks ago
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  • I have noticed that it seems far more of an element where the characters are if a grittier sort of Everyman: someone more working class. This would not be so much in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (for example). – J.D. Jankowski 3 weeks ago
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  • Good one! I just submitted a topic about how sitcoms evolve in general, and this could be part of that or an article on its own. – Stephanie M. 2 weeks ago
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The Legacy and Influence of Juan Rulfo

This article explores the life and writings of a reclusive giant in twentieth century literature, Juan Rulfo. While authoring only one novel, _Pedro Páramo_, and one short story collection , _El llano en llamas_, Rulfo achieved extreme fame and admiration from other writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and established himself as a pivotal influence on Gabriel García Márquez. This text will address and analyze the basic plot and themes of Rulfo’s work, and educate readers on a lesser known great Mexican author.

Aspects of Rulflo’s Pedro Paramo to consider,
The:

1.)environment where the story takes place. A brief overview of Mexican geography, culture, literary history, Catholicism/purgatory, and the Day of the Dead.

2.)disjointed and fragmentary nature of time which adds to the dreamlike quality of the novel.

3.) lack of chapters and signifiers of who is speaking, forcing the reader to fill in the missing information on their own.

While reading the novel, you will probably see how all of these themes intersect and amplify each other.

Regarding the influence of Rulfo on García Márquez, it would be good to look into what García Márquez himself said about Rulfo and his writings. There are also parallels that can be drawn between Rulfo’s town of Comala and Marquez’ town Mercado.
These are just recommendations and are by no means definitive guidelines. It would be best for you to use your own discretion and aesthetic discrimination while exploring and contemplating these great texts.

  • Hi, J.D. thank you for the feedback. I think MLA style guide says to use _ in digital environments where italics are unavailable. I attached a link as an example of this advice: https://style.mla.org/underscore-instead-of-italics/ – kurtz 1 month ago
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Moral choices in Resident Alien

TV show ‘Resident Alien’ is new this year from Sci-fi. The premise concerns an alien who crashes to Earth in a remote Colorado mountain town and assumes the identity of the town doctor.

The TV show on the surface is a wacky comedy-drama about an alien trying to pass as human and engaging in a variety of ridiculous endeavours, including a war with a 9 year old who sees through his from.
However, beneath the surface are a number of discussions about adoption, Native American experiences, toxic relationships and abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and the damage of lost dreams. All of this seems to fit within the scope of a small town and a dramedy, but the depth of consequence is sustained and examined in a very thought provoking manner.

BIG SPOILERS:
The other massive story plot point is "Harry’s" (the alien) original intention, which is to destroy Earth. The first half of the series centers around his need to find the item that will allow him to do this. An expectation is set forward that perhaps he will change his mind due to his relationships with the people of the town. However, it is revealed that Harry’s people have visited Earth for thousands of years, and the decision to wipe out humanity is in response to the degradation they have caused the Earth and the potential consequences of our refusal to make the changes the Earth needs. This framing poses the question about the right of life, the impact of choices and the issue that humankind will eventually need to face the consequences of inaction (although maybe not from alien threats!).

QUESTION (Safe to read again):
The moral questions being raised in the show are not simple, and the show is not offering easy, quick solutions, but rather examining the deeper impact of being trapped in toxic cycles and the roll on effect of consequences from choices.
Once the show has finished I think it would be an interesting case study to explore the use of dramedy genres to raise important questions, and to evaluate the complexity of the moral decisions being raised that face humankind today (and with this the consequences of continued inaction).

  • Just to address the suggested Revision - I think it is important to not only look at texts from a structural (functional) perspective - this indeed has value, but I don't believe Resident Alien is actually innovating in the approaches to TV elements. Rather it is the choice of a very traditional approach to tropes and concepts but is actually addressing the issues rather than the usual "just a joke" approach of sit-coms. However, if someone wanted to delve into the stylistic choices they could but that would be a different topic. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 1 month ago
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  • Oooh, I love a good moral dilemma! Nice topic! – Stephanie M. 2 weeks ago
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8

Is disabling comments on internet articles and videos brave or idiotic?

When online publications release a video or an article that covers a controversial topic or expresses a provocative opinion, more and more frequently the moderators of the website decide to preemptively disable the comments section. Is this a smart idea, given that some topics on more popular websites will inevitably draw internet trolls or similar undesirables to flood comment sections with useless vitriol that overpowers legitimate discussion? Or is this an idiotic action that stifles any chance of legitimate discussion for fear of having to deal with hateful or useless material? Are moderators afraid of being accused of fostering a hateful environment if they allow this material to be presented in their forums? This is especially relevant given that many websites feature a voting system for their comment sections which allow audiences to give relevant comments more visibility based on the opinions of the people actually reading the article or watching the video, thereby allowing audiences to self-regulate what material they choose to engage with.

  • I would suggest being wary of using qualitative terms like "brave" or "idiotic" without strong supporting data (statistics, news headlines, polls, website usage data, etc.). What defines "brave" or "idiotic" is subjective. This feels like it could include a bigger discussion about freedom of speech, censorship, cyber bullying, and hate speech. I would be very interested if this focused on one platform like a case study (YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, 4chan, etc.) because it might be a lot of work to do a broader examination of online commenting. – Eden 2 years ago
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  • If the comments are very/all negative, then you absolutely must disable them. Of course, if the content is disturbing or shouldn't be seen and it causes public outrage, then disabling them seems redundant. However, for something innocent or religious, disabling comments would definitely be necessary. – OkaNaimo0819 1 year ago
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  • Interesting topic! You could possibly explore reasons why disabling comments would be appropriate or argue that it is never appropriate depending on your stance. – Dena Elerian 1 year ago
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  • This is such a relevant, yet interesting topic! Especially with today's internet culture and the prevalence of "cancel culture", it would be interesting to discuss how social accountability versus an intolerant space with no room for growth extends into the realm of hate comments and the action of disabling them. – miagracen 3 months ago
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  • Great topic. I have to wonder, though, how often "legitimate discussion" actually occurs in those online comment sections. – JamesBKelley 4 weeks ago
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  • If approaching it from the angle of qualitative terms like brave vs. something else, I encourage veering away from "idiotic," as that is an ableist term. – the.liquid.kid 1 week ago
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2

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 weeks ago
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Is Queen Latifah Equalizing racism in her new show?

The Equalizer is a new to TV series from CBS starring Queen Latifah.
The show is a reboot from an original TV show in the 1980s, which was rebooted in film in 2014. It is not a hugely new concept – ex-CIA agent who felt politics constrained the ability to provide justice, but it is a concept audiences respond well to. What the new version brings is an older female lead who is also a Black American and the accompanying cast reflects a move to greater diversity. The plots of the first four episodes tend to focus on racial injustices as well as wider political discussions, such as wealth/white privilege, kidnapping, sex trafficking, financing terrorism and corrupt judges.

The choice made in the lead and the messages within the stories tend to focus on racial experiences in USA are really important conversations to be had. However, there needs to be an exploration of the balance present: how well is the show representing equality and experience in America? How is gender and race explored? How does the show add to the conversations around Black Lives Matter and racial tensions in the USA?

A discussion could also be made to examine how this genre of spy/crime tropes have been developed since the original and if this is contributing to wider concepts of new storytelling.

    7

    Scientific accuracies in Sci-fi movies

    Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (2020) is said to employ many physics theories. Compared with historical drama films, sci-fi movies tend to receive less attention on accuracy – critics and viewers alike often note historical inaccuracies in Braveheart (1995) or Gladiator (2000), but much less so do we discuss scientific inaccuracies. We all know movies to a certain extent are worlds of make-believe, but why such difference? Is it because history and most films are narratives but scientific concepts and theories are not?

    • I think scientific inaccuracies have been discussed in YouTube videos. I think that a simple examination of scientific inaccuracies in science fiction movies would suffice. If anyone had one particular one in mind, that’s fine too. – J.D. Jankowski 2 months ago
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    • I agree that scientific in/accuracies are discussed over YouTube videos, but my question is why is there a bigger general disregard than accuracies in historical dramas. – KM 1 month ago
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    • Interesting topic. I would wager that it has a lot to do with history being significantly more accessible to laymen than the hard sciences typically are. Anyone who's done as little "research" as skimming William Wallace's Wikipedia page can boast a relatively firm grasp on the inaccuracies plaguing Braveheart, but the same can rarely be said about doing minimal research on quantum mechanics to know if/where Tenet errs. In light of the average spectator's inability to recognize scientific inaccuracies, they'd likely have an easier time taking the film's claims at face value. Neil deGrasse Tyson owes much of his early reputation as a public intellectual to some series of tweets he made about the inaccuracies in various science fiction films; it's noteworthy that the one-two punch of his scientific credentials paired with the easily consumable quips (in 280 characters or less) made the flaws comprehensible enough for a largely scientifically illiterate general audience to suddenly feel intellectually superior to Hollywood screenwriters. – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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    • Great topic, but I have to quibble with the idea that science doesn't rely on narrative. I'm pretty sure it does, in fact. Natural selection and global warming seem to me like good examples of scientifically-grounded narrative. Scientists can complete small, controlled experiments or analyze big data for years, but in the end their findings -- if those findings are to have any larger significance -- have to be related through narrative and ultimately woven into the much larger narrative of what we call "science." – JamesBKelley 4 weeks ago
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    Film

    Absences in Theo Angelopoulos’ Landscape in the Mist
    Absences in Theo Angelopoulos’ Landscape in the Mist
    Fate in Harry Potter and Sabrina
    Inception: Anticlimactic or Satisfyingly Open-Ended?
    How Time Loop Movies Have Avoided Their Own Groundhog Day

    TV

    The Good Fight: The Real, The Plausible, and Donald Trump’s Legacy
    The Good Fight: The Real, The Plausible, and Donald Trump’s Legacy
    The Heartbreaking Symbolism of The Clone Helmet In Star Wars: The Clone Wars’s Final Episodes
    The Donald Show: Trump, Television, and Manufactured Reality
    The Portrayal of Feminism in Fleabag (2016)

    Animation

    Frozen: Letting Go of Gender Stereotypes?
    Frozen: Letting Go of Gender Stereotypes?
    Daria and the Clichéd Representation of Teenagers
    The Complex Lessons of Environmentally-Motivated Animation
    Story of Will Vinton and Laika Studios

    Anime

    Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Breaking the mold of classic feminism
    Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Breaking the mold of classic feminism
    Fafner in the Azure: Identity, Community, and Alienation
    Genkaku Azuma: Anatomy of a Tragic Villain
    Shiro’s Sexuality in Voltron: Legendary Defender

    Manga

    Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
    Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
    The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
    One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
    Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions

    Comics

    Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
    Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
    Why Has Batman’s Origin Remained So Iconic?
    Feminist Criticism of Society and Comic Books’ Past
    The Batman/Catwoman Wedding Is Supposed to Upset You

    Literature

    The Great Gatsby: Exploring 1920s Class Politics with Colour Symbolism
    The Great Gatsby: Exploring 1920s Class Politics with Colour Symbolism
    Antietam: Literature Adds to America’s Bloodiest Day
    Gothic Fiction and the ‘Regressive Evolution’ Anxiety
    The Persistent Allure of Victorian Literature

    Arts

    How YouTube Commodifies Experience
    How YouTube Commodifies Experience
    Welcome to Night Vale: More Conservative Than It Seems
    Dragons: East versus West
    Social Realism, New Masses & Diego Rivera

    Writing

    Using Musical Theater as a Literary Muse
    Using Musical Theater as a Literary Muse
    The Pillars of Outstanding Stories
    The Impact of Writing on Well-Being and Self-Development
    Riddles in Rhetoric: Learning from Bilbo and Gollum about Linguistic Segregation