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Discovering Harry Potter: Does Age Matter?

This is a fairly personal topic I’d like to write myself, but will leave to more experienced Potterheads.

I was ten when the first Harry Potter book came out. I grew up in a moderate, but still observant Christian family who considered it too much of a risk to expose me and my then-six-year-old brother to a series that contained any form of witchcraft. I didn’t read the books then and later, got too busy with other books. Besides, I didn’t want to be labeled childish for carrying around HP paperbacks in, say, high school.

As an adult, I’ve finally gotten around to opening my Hogwarts letter and starting the series, and it’s been a lot of fun. However, I can’t escape this fact: I’m a thirty-something woman. I have a different HP experience than the average 11-year-old.

And so I’m curious to see an analysis of this phenomenon. Does age matter when you’re discovering HP for the first or two hundredth time? How do children and adults view the series differently? Are there less or more "mature" ways to interact with it? Or, as I suspect, has Harry Potter bridged age gaps in a way other book series can only dream about doing? If yes, how did J.K. and Harry do it?

  • Oh, this is a really good point. I grew up with HP and participated in fan culture while it was still going on, but recently met someone who never got involved until last year. We both love the series, but we have vastly different interpretations and relationships with the HP universe. Partly because of age, sure, but I think also because of our relationship to the fandom/culture surrounding it. – Emily Esten 5 months ago
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  • A nice idea for a topic, Stephanie. I have to confess to having a little bias in favour of the HP books as I was an extra on the last HP film, but having said that, I too discovered the books shortly afterwards. So, at the tender middle-age of 49 I started reading them. As an adult, what I discovered was a remarkably consistent form of storytelling that also matured and darkened in its subject matter as its young readers grew up. One thing I will credit Rowling with is encouraging a generation of children to do what successive UK governments had failed to do - namely to read for pleasure! I enjoyed discussing the stories with my nephew as he grew up and trying to solve the great puzzle, so in that respect alone it helped to connect the young and the not so young in a shared literary experience. It also opened up a few interesting discussions with other adults who saw me reading the books on the Tube; those who, perhaps under different circumstances, I might never have spoken to. – Amyus 5 months ago
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  • I grew up with the Harry Potter series so it's an important part of my childhood. I was actually too young when they first came out, so my mom would read them to me as bedtime stories instead. It turned into a bonding experience as my mom became almost equally immersed in the wizarding world as I was. I'm sure it was a different experience for her than it was for me. Since I was a child and the Harry Potter series involves a "coming of age" narrative, the human issues I was reading about were mostly on par with my own experiences growing up. The books and my life could co-exist side by side. For my mom, it perhaps provides a bit of nostalgia. It takes her back to when she was younger and makes her feel like a kid again. Feeling "like a kid" again while reading the books and actually being a kid while reading them is obviously a completely different perspective. Perhaps, for adults, it provides a mini-vacation from a world that seems to have lost a bit of its magic. It reminds you of an innate sense of curiosity and wonder we often lose as we get older. For kids reading them, there is perhaps less of a barrier between the wizarding world and our own. After all, Harry Potter incorporates our own (Muggle) world and the wizarding world within the same universe. The wizarding world seems like an undiscovered realm that we're too oblivious to realize is hidden right under our noses. The capacity for human ignorance can be astounding, so why can't there be a bit of magic we've failed to notice? Our entire existence is both a miracle and a mystery. Maybe J.K. Rowling is a witch herself! She certainly cast a spell on several generations worth of readers. As to how she did that so successfully, that's a more difficult question to answer. Audiences tend to like the ole' good versus evil storylines. Its voices aren't solely adolescent ones either, which separate it from YA that almost exclusively focus on kids' perspectives. I also greatly admire anything that's relegated to being mere "children's entertainment" which is instead handled with maturity and depth and acknowledges kids' capacities for awareness and intelligence that exist outside of adult comprehension. – aprosaicpintofpisces 5 months ago
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Star Trek Discovery: Ash Tyler

In Star Trek’s newest installation Star Trek: Discovery, we are introduced to a character named Ash Tyler, potrayed by Shazad Latif. Ash was a prisoner of war in a Klingon ship, was tortured and ultimately raped by one of his Klingon captors. You see Ash dealing with symptoms of PTSD that progress through the show. Ash’s mental state causes flashbacks, which ultimately lead to violence and even death of those In his way. How does the sympathy of Ash’s place as a male rape victim clash with the violent nature he takes on when having episodes? Is he less sympathetic or moreso because of these violence inducing flashbacks caused by the torture he recieved?

  • Considering the current state of sexual assault/harassment that has been plaguing our society for much too long, it is easy to see it as a strictly woman-based struggle...Men who are sexually abused, and the way they cope is almost a nil discussion...kudos for the insight and the well thought out topic. – MikeySheff 3 days ago
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Cool guys and glasses in anime

In anime there are many stereotypes which deviate from Western views. For instance, the boy in school with glasses and straight A’s may be worshipped in Japan but oppressed in Western nations. I would love it if someone could research the value of these stereotypes in different cultures!

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    Technical Competence Vs. Quality in Classic Cinema

    I recently re-watched Tod Brownings 1931 adaptation of Dracula, along with the Spanish language reshoot made the same year. Later, I watched an analysis of both films that was arguing the english language version was superior due to the technical proficiency of the camera operator. They compared the number of tracking shots, pushes, and dolly shots, then judged the quality of the film based off those numbers.

    Personally, I find this to be somewhat of a silly way of judging a film’s quality, but I couldn’t help that agree with the author of the video that the English version looks much better than the Spanish one. Should the technical execution of a film, especially classic film, play a role in our subjective judgement of it?

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      Of Monetary Value: The Artistry of the Undervalued

      In this day and age the arts are one of the most freeing career paths a person can choose, from drawing and painting to animation and sculpture the field is vast and full of potential. Discuss why people devlue the art of learning these subjects, often expect work to be done for free, and then celebrate the art as beloved. Do we value the work and undervalue the artist? Is this ideal changing? Discuss how this mindset and belief that art is not of valur affects the "little" guy while allowing large main stream corporations to become highly monetarily successful.

      • The devaluing of art is constantly present in creative communities and it's a vicious cycle. The mentality is that "the smaller you are (reputation-wise) the less you can charge" otherwise "you'd be bigger," and "you have to work for it." And this thought process stifles one's ability TO grow while in a constant lack of proper support. Rather than pay a small creator for the time and effort they put into their work, people flock to brand merchandise or cheap widely distributed prints. What it boils down to is a lack of understanding on the part of the consumer for the market: they try to equivocate the price of the products while completely unaware of the resources spent to make them. "Why pay $20 for this when I can get it for $5 somewhere else." The need to make money in any form, forces small creators to accept low wages or to be paid in "exposure" because it's that or nothing, which in turn justifies the devaluing of their and others' art in future. So the cycle continues. Since art is so accessible, and there are so many artists out there, it's hard to stop this from happening. I'd love if the article included ideas on how to combat this mentality and educate consumers on where their money is going when supporting small creators. – Slaidey 3 days ago
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      • I also should have added that I do think the attitude toward smaller creators is shifting in some regard. Mentioning Patreon and sites which help support creators is relevant to the topic and could be worth mentioning :) – Slaidey 3 days ago
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      Star Trek: Discovery - Decent or Dud?

      An analysis of the newest addition to the Star Trek franchise. Does the 2017 update to beloved 80/90s spin-offs like DS9 and Voyager really pack the same punch? Or is possible that older TV shows and their newer instalments are want to be affected by nostalgia and fans, as much as they are by new script and plot?

      • I think this is a relevant discussion to have, although it would be a little tricky as there is so much conjecture even between the original series. It will be interesting to look at how each series actually was received and how the new version relates to that also. As a show that has had a series of iterations and significant changes, I think in a way fans would be more accepting of the "newness" of the Discovery series, however, whether it is meeting the same needs in its contemporary target audience could be a different discussion. – SaraiMW 4 days ago
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      America, Can You Really Do Anything?

      In America, the commonly known ‘American Dream’ ideal exists where if you put in hard work and with a little "bit o’ luck" you can accomplish anything. Discuss the socio-economic and political barriers to this ideal. Examine social issues such as racism, sexism, and white-privilege, noting how their effects promote or dampen the possibility of this ideal becoming a reality. Use examples from media, books and film in order to argue your point.

      Book Suggestions: Of Mice and Men, McTeague, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Passing (Nella Larsen).

      Movie Suggestions: Citizen Kane, Pretty Woman, La La Land, Good Will Hunting

      • This is actually too big a topic, especially considering the breadth of time frames that you are suggesting in the texts. I think this is actually a very interesting discussion, but it needs to be reduced down into a more narrow aspect - perhaps even something more niche, such as the concept of the American Dream perceived through an African American lens, or through a feminist lens. Or even pick a particular time frame, such as the 1970s or now and look at how the AD has been depicted then. – SaraiMW 1 week ago
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      • So the suggestions we're just as they are suggestions, I would never expect anyone to use all of them or even any of them it was just ideas. With that in mind do you still believe the topic to be too much? – alexpaulsen 1 week ago
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      • I would also use recent modern examples of film or political issues to help tell this article. – BMartin43 1 week ago
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      • I agree with SaraiMW. If you'd like to do a feminist lens some excellent novels from the start of the 20th c. (when the frontier myth started shaping the American Dream) are: My Antonia, American Indian Stories, and Sister Carrie – Mela 3 days ago
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      Platformers: is it time for a revival?

      Does the success of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy speak more about the power of nostalgia or the appetite for platformers in a market dominated by sports games, shooters and RPGs?

      • Definitely a mix of both. While platformers are interesting and fun when done well, the ultimate rise in technology has left the market thirsty for far more wild, innovative games, with exceptions like Cuphead and Celeste appealing to the old ones who grew up with those type of games. – TokyoExpress 6 days ago
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      • Platformers have seen a recent revival with Super Mario Odyssey, A Hat in Time, and many others. And the success of those games shows that there is still room for platformers in the industry. – ankit8697 2 days ago
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      Tree of Life and Melancholia:Opposing Perspective on Life

      What Tree of Life by Terrence Malick and Melancholia by Lars Von Trier have in common is that they are two films that are poetic in their imagery and dialogue. With nuanced characters, each film seeks to explore the human experience and provide its own answer to question of life’s ultimate meaning. Analyze each film in depth. Discuss differences and similarities between the characters of each film, and how each affirms the films central themes. Also examine the differences and the possible similarities in the messages of both films.

      • This is a very interesting subject when it comes to two entirely different filmmakers. I would be very interested in approaching it from the angle you propose. – caryleiter 2 months ago
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      The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel, and why its good

      Write about "The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel", why its good, and why it should be watched. A relatively simple story, featuring a woman going against what was expected of her at that time, how she struggles against the norms and how she is trying to be independent at a time when women were expected to be accessories to their husbands.

      • I haven't seen the TV series to have a solid opinion on it, but I think the better way to approach this topic is avoiding writing "because it's good" "because it should be watched", this doesn't contribute to how it can be written and give any ideas for others to write on the article. My suggestion is to instead aim to look for what it did right and how it succeeded in what it touched on with its subjects, which as from what it describes, can offer a lot in its topic. – N.D. Storlid 2 weeks ago
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      Have you got a grinding addiction?

      You know you’ve done it, we all have, who hasn’t?
      What I’m talking about is the act of "grinding" in games, meaning the repetition of crafting, farming, playing level one fights for bonuses – the simple act of repeating a step over and over and over again for seemingly inconsequential gains. Now in real life none of us would often willingly engage in this (generalisation I know), but really people seem to go out of their way to engage in innovative, unique, interesting jobs – no one wants to do the same task ad nauseam. So why do we choose to do this in our down time when gaming? What really is the appeal of grinding?

      • Personally I have been guilty of this when it comes to RPGs, especially in the Final Fantasy series. There is always the main objective of completing the story itself, but knowing that there are other potential sidequests, bonuses and easter eggs often leads to an uncontrollable urge to spend time grinding to levelling up characters. Another element that has added to this addiction is the use of achievements and trophies, and the need to have that sense of completion. On a side note I have also experienced this with some mobile games, only to delete them after months with the question "what was actually achieved by this?" – midado 2 weeks ago
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      The double narrative of Critical Role

      Spoilers for the end of Critical Role – Vox Machina.

      Is the success of Critical Role purely due to the story of the PCs in the world created by the DM, or as I would suggest, is part of the attraction getting a glimpse into the relationships of a group of charismatic individuals?

      By no means am I suggesting that watching these individuals play D&D for 4 hours a week provides any real insight into the reality of their lives. However, I do think there are glimpses into the people behind the characters that at times is as entertaining as the show itself.

      The best example I can think of is the final fight of the first campaign between the PCs and Vecna. The game story was awesome, but as some commentators have pointed out, watching the visceral reaction of Sam Riegel when he chose to stop the BBEG instead of his friend was just as, if not more, engrossing.

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        Crossing the line: 'Game of Thrones' treatment of incest

        Incest is a fundamental taboo in society. We recognise this for many reasons.

        Yet for some odd reason it has begun to rear its ugly head within television, and it does not seem to be demonised as much as one would expect. The perfect example of this is the relationship between the siblings, Jamie and Cirsei Lannister, in ‘Game of Thrones.’ This is ridiculed within the narrative and by other characters, yet it is shown in somewhat graphic detail in the first episode. They are both very attractive actors and the act, without context is an attractive bit of television soft-porn. How are we meant to interpret this? There are a myriad of other inferences by other characters, often used to symbolise the unhealthiness or negative representation of a character, yet this seems largely undermined by the treatment then of the characters within the narrative as redeemable heroes (somewhat). A recent episode of ‘Rick and Morty’, already known for its dark humour, but on the pulse cultural reflection, a "Morty" made a wish that "incest porn was more mainstream" – it was a line used to punctuate the scene with humour before one of the "Morty’s" leapt to his death. However, this is still an open discussion of incest in a somewhat positive manner.

        Obviously, this is a highly contentious discussion and one that needs to be handled carefully. However, akin to the inclusion of "rape fantasies" in much of paranormal romance, it is a concerning trend that should be discussed.

        • https://www.hindustantimes.com/fashion-and-trends/super-gross-was-this-bella-and-gigi-hadid-picture-in-british-vogue-photoshopped/story-CHriBjKH9920aDWDxKFSJO.html Check out this link... – Munjeera 3 weeks ago
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        • Why incest is taboo (and perhaps the best argument against it): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_II_of_Spain – J.D. Jankowski 2 weeks ago
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        Phantom Thread: The Love of a Woman and Toxic Masculinity

        Discuss the roll toxic masculinity (the psychological term describing traditional male behavior norms that cause harm to society) plays in the 2017 film Phantom Thread. How do the relationships in the film display toxic masculinity, how do the relationships break down this problem? How do themes or tropes in the film distort or alter this. Discuss how this affects the film as a piece.

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          Could Reboots/Adaptations be Considered Fanfiction?

          A fanfiction is defined as a fiction written by a fan of, and featuring particular characters of, a particular TV series, film etc. When a novel series graduates to the big screen or a popular franchise gets rebooted, the series is arguably getting a re-work by someone who is presumably a fan of the original work. A contemporary example could include David Benioff and D. B. Weiss adapting "A Song of Ice and Fire" as a TV series, eventually pursuing beyond the source material. Another might be Christopher Nolan’s re-envisioning of the classic Batman character through the Dark Knight trilogy. Taking into account the degree of deviation from the original work, could these series’ be considered fanfiction? At what point can a professionally produced piece of film be considered a simple interpretation of fiction by a fan?

          • An interesting thought process. Now that I think about it, adaptations and reboots can definitely be considered as a form of fanfiction. After all, who amongst us hasn't pictured a book or a movie or any form of art in our own way in our heads? When book to movie adaptations play out differently from what we imagined, we react with shock and sometimes anger. Reboots and adaptations can be the personal perception of a piece of art, which may differ from the original content. This makes me wonder if fan made films should be taken more seriously. Yes, they may not have the resources to produce a film of the same quality as a professional film, but essentially the creators of fan-made films and professional films come from the same place-a love for a piece of work and a desire to see it played out the way they want it to. – SheWhoMustNotBeNamed 3 weeks ago
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          Does Blogging Really Help Promote Self-Publishers?

          Analyze whether or not blogging is truly effective in the endeavors of self-published authors to promote their books. Does blogging actually help, or are self-publishers just wasting their time? Is it possible to stand out in the blogging world when so many people blog?

          • I think this is an interesting topic. Might I suggest reaching out to mark@markmanson.net. He managed to turn his blogging career into a book and might have some interesting perspectives on the topic. – derBruderspielt 3 weeks ago
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          • Quite helpful – AdamCinder 3 weeks ago
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          • I'd also be interested to know how true to life the film 'Julia and Julie' is and whether the implications within, of a first time blogger that reaches literary success, has influenced more people to follow this path. The list of New York Times top blogs is probably an aim form many people. – SaraiMW 3 weeks ago
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          How have all female cast films been a change for good or not?

          With the rise of remake films with all female casts being on an upward trajectory, what are some of the pros and cons for doing this? Does this have an effect on how the viewer rates and discusses the movie? If so, how, why? If not, why not?

          • I love this question! I don't know the answer. But, here is an an example of how ( I believe) it has been a change for the worst: the recent re-make of the Ghostbusters film. Compared to the 1980's all male ( main character) cast, the women actors seemed overly directed and controlled. They are funny women. They are intelligent and they have have gobs of talent, yet, it seemed they were not allowed to fully flesh out their characters, interact and riff off of each other, nor flex their comedic muscles as freely and fully as their male counterparts ( Murry, Akroid, etc.) did in the original. – Joslyn Robinson 2 weeks ago
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          • This is a good question, especially with the controversy around recent franchises like Star Wars and Ghostbusters. It seems like a double edged sword. On the one hand, having more female representation is better than nothing. On the other hand it could be viewed as being superficial, just a name change at best, or blatantly sexist at worst. Most of the "stick to the text" fundamentalism seems pretty stupid to me, given that there have been far more egregious changes to text (like Spiderman's powers in the Raimi movies, or the revisionist ending to Jurassic Park) without the controversy. In general, it seems better to have more female characters, but it would be better if there were just more roles for women in general from the start. – tedytak 5 days ago
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          Time Runs Strangely: An Exploration of Idenity

          A discussion of how a character’s perspective on time influences their identity.

          Some films to consider: Mr. Nobody (time and memory woven and re-runable), The Time Traveler’s Wife (time as uncontrollable), Kate and Leopold (does ones place in time impact their identity?), Age of Adeline (the effect of aging differently), About Time (how does taking control of time impact the Characters?), and In time (Time as a limited commodity). For fun a whimsical look at the new Alice Through the Looking Glass could also be interesting.

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            Noir Hilariousa: 'The Tick'

            The recent release of the television series ‘The Tick’ has presented one of the most interesting genre mash ups. With clear nods to the Film Noir style: in the cinematography, the editing, and the structure of the narrative. It is also obviously a superhero show with some strongly comedic and traditional tropes in place: the hero’s journey (actually pointed out in dialogue), the abilities of the characters, the motivation of the characters and the various costuming, choreography of fight scenes, etc. that we are used to associating with such texts. The superhero side leans so heavily into the bright, ridiculous world of comic books that it seems outlandish that the elements of the darker, serious Noir style would even work, yet oddly the mash up is remarkably appealing and visually interesting. If this is the new future for television superhero shows then my faith has been restored!

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              Is "Binge Culture" Ruining The Television Industry?

              Within the past few years, the way we watch television has completely transformed. Between releasing 15 episodes at once to specialized mini-series with only 8 episodes we are traveling in a new direction. Is this a positive force or negative? How so and who is affected? More creatives are finally being able to produce the shows they may have had difficulty with in the past. But is this all just recycled visual information coming out in a larger quantity? By simply hitting "next episode" are we focusing on the content or having a competition to binge the series in under a weekend?

              Thoughts?

              • I don't believe that the actual quantity of television has necessarily been changed by the rise of binge-watching (things like that are typically dictated by contracts and production costs). However, I do believe that it has created a dramatic increase in the production and popularity of serialized narratives (as opposed to self-contained narratives) which may make for an interesting topic from a creative point of view. – Ian Miculan 3 weeks ago
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              • I'm not sure if it's ruining the television industry or the viewer's experience. It can be argued that the anticipation felt at the end of a crazy episode isn't as intense because the viewer knows that they can find the resolution in the next episode immediately. There's one show that I watch week to week, and I find myself needing to talk to friends about it and feeling more intrigued by the show's drama. Integrating the effect on the viewer might be an interesting twist to the article. I think this would make the article more intriguing to a reader because they can relate to it through their own experience. – lolsen 2 weeks ago
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