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Gender Roles in the Wheel of Time Series.

Analyze the gender roles of major characters in the series. Does Robert Jordan take a modern perspective on gender roles and place them into a high fantasy epic, or does he create protagonists that fill the gender roles of their culture within the novels? If the latter, then is the author offering a critique on modern gender roles? If the former, then is the author contriving to elevate the importance of certain roles in order to create a richer narrative that is more palatable for modern audiences? A starting point could be the first three novels of the series following: Rand, Perrin, Mat, Lan, Egwene, Nynaeve,
Moiraine, and Elayne. How is the act of channeling used to affect gender roles? How do the prejudices against both men and women that can channel affect Andor for better or worse?

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    The Story Component of Video Games

    With the release of Spiderman, I keep hearing comments on how brilliant the narrative is. Do you think the back story of a narrative video game has to be compelling to play it? How much does it affect your enjoyment?

    • I think this is an interesting topic and one that has arisen a number of times here, but has never been fully discussed. The concept of narrative in gaming is very different due to its modular narrative, and we see that games with great reviews, awards and fan bases often have strong narratives. Yet we also have a myriad of popular, "blockbuster" games that don't even bother. So I agree how much narrative is needed? – SaraiMW 2 days ago
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    • Love the topic. I suggest looking at God of War 2018 as well. It's just begging to be compared to spider man PS4. Both are PS4 Exclusives, with iconic heroes, and deep/detailed backstories. Some would say both subvert our expectations of their established canon, ala a Kratos trying to raise a son/be a good father, and Spider Man not at the beginning of his career, Norman Osbourne Mayor, Mary Jane as a journalist. God of War has one of the most compelling stories from a game this year. – Sean Gadus 2 days ago
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    Modern villains in kids' movies are too nice

    Many modern movies that are marketed to kids like Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent try to portray the villain in a more positive light. I think an interesting article would talk about the genre of kids’ films and how villains have changed over the years. For example, Goonies and Disney’s Little Mermaid have clear, evil villains.

    • Thank you for the help! I ended up clarifying the genre (removing the 80's reference) and focusing it a bit more. – tclaytor 1 week ago
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    • Are they "modern villains," or are they villains in "modern kids' movies"? Also might be nice to explore the apparent sanitization of movies targeted towards children over the last several decades. Do any characters ever die (murder, etc.) anymore, or does everyone end up talking about feelings by the end? – LaPlant0 5 days ago
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    • it's also interesting to explore how villains may change with demographic. For example, it might be easier to present a villain in a child's movie as inherently evil, to better teach morals. Versus, villains for older audiences are presented as morally ambiguous and complicated, which makes them relatable to us. – vmainella 3 days ago
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    • Such a cool topic! It might be interesting to see if this shift was due to any real world events that may have influenced society's opinion on how to portray villains. – MaddyKellas 6 hours ago
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    Mental Illness, Modernity and Now

    The modernist period in literature saw a massive shift not only in the structural and generic elements of literature, but also in the thematic foci. One area that began to gain greater representation was the discussion of mental illness, especially through the lens of female authors. Great examples of this are Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, Janet Frame’s ‘Intensive Care’ and much more, Charlotte Gilman Perkins ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and more. We are almost 100 years on from these breaking edge works that helped shape a greater understanding of experiences of mental illness. The prompt I would suggest would be to look now at examples of contemporary fictional works that deal with mental illness and how those experiences and stories are creating new conversations.

    • I think this is a fantastic idea, and does a great job carrying through the tradition that found a strong expression in modernism. What also may be useful - at least in my opinion - would be to also venture beyond Freudian psychoanalysis that was en vogue during that time, and see rather the interconnection between contemporary psychology and literature. Maybe an obvious point, so forgive me if this doesn't help. But, given what we know about schizoaffective disorders and neurodivergences today, I would think many authors would touch on this. Is your focus mainly here on female authors? – KevinP 2 days ago
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    Why is the byronic hero trope so persistent?

    Analyse why the byronic hero trope continues to be popular and "sexy" male characters are still often depicted as arrogant, proud, brooding, unemotional on the surface and somewhat antagonistic to the female protagonist in the beginning to create sexual chemistry. Why haven’t we moved past the Mr.Darcy fantasy- now the Mr.Grey/Edward Cullen fantasy? Why do male characters, especially those in YA such as Jace Herondale in the City of Bones series for example, continue to be by far one dimensional leather-jacket-wearing, smouldering "bad boys". There are SO MANY examples that could be discussed and explored here!!

    • I think that, largely, it has to do with toxic masculinity. We’ve been programmed to view men who don’t express outward emotion (except in very intimate settings) as “strong”, when in reality that isn’t the case at all. In the case of Edward Cullen/Christian Grey specifically, I think these characters romanticize relationships where there is an unhealthy balance of power. In any other context but a book, controlling who you see or don’t see would be considered abusive. Twilight and 50 Shades, however, paint these behaviors as “he just cares about you”. It also really doesn’t help that Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele seem completely oblivious to how problematic these behaviors are. – RebaZatz 5 months ago
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    • Nice topic. Don't forget Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. Other examples might include the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, or even Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series is said to qualify too, although he's not considered completely Byronic. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • And don't forget Deadpool! Also worth considering is Dallas from "The Outsiders." Dally was the ultimate byronic hero. Throughout the novel, Dally is represented as the uncaring bad boy, but at the end it is revealed that he was the character that truly cared the most. – EmskitheNerd 4 months ago
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    • They appear in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. See the link: https://the-artifice.com/byronic-hero – L:Freire 2 months ago
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    • i feel like men are shamed for being vulnerable by showing compassion etc. – Glimmerkill 2 days ago
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    • Feminism created an entire genre called YA for young adult women to enjoy the strength, independence and power we aren't given in a patriarchal society. In these novels, young women are constantly undermining structures of power and are given a wide range of character types and depths. And yet YA has failed in many ways to provide the same feminist message to men by giving them characters who are emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. – sonyaya 2 days ago
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    What Exactly is Happily Ever After, and Why Does it Matter?

    So the other day, I’m surfing the Internet looking at Harry Potter writings (I’m a recent Potterhead and enjoying the addiction). I came across someone complaining about The Cursed Child and the Deathly Hallows epilogue, saying that they were too "heteronormative." In other words, this person wanted to know why it was always necessary for our favorite characters to get married (to a heterosexual, but I guess really to a person of any gender) and have kids to be happy.

    Now, I’m a sucker for what TV Tropes calls Babies Ever After, but that post made me wonder. Why is marriage/babies held up as the ultimate happy ending? Is it the only one? What works can you name where this didn’t happen, but the characters were still happy and fulfilled? How has the concept of "happily ever after" evolved? Discuss.

    • I would say read Madame Bovary as it works as an antithesis to the traditional happily ever after. The character of Emma Bovary originally wanted nothing more than to get married, but soon starts desiring other things in life and becomes frustrated with the mundanity of married life. I don't want to give away too much here as it may spoil the story, but the idea of marriage and being a parent as the ultimate form of happiness is challenged in that story. You may also consider different gender perspectives in the happily ever after or "Babie ever after" trope as a lot of feminist literature likes to point out how what makes a female happy in marriage may vary for males. And for the LGBTQ community, it may because marriage and adoption is something that is legally denied to them in many countries. This theory has a lot of layers to it that need qualifications. I personally like stories that end with this trope as well, but I'm also aware of how it was used to keep females in a secondary position and treated them as a prize to be won. Though it is not to say that males did not desire as well. A good example of a male protagonist that wants desires this trope is Sanosuke Harada from the Hakuori Shinsengumi visual novels. – Blackcat130 6 months ago
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    • A couple of things to consider: The happy ever after (babies ever after) is a pacifier that stems from an industry pushing an 'aspirational' social value. Keep the status quo rolling along by showing us what we should want. Secondly, the romance novel industry dictates a happy ever after ending as it is expected. Queer romance sells best when it is HEA, but there is also a place for happy for now. – sheena 6 months ago
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    • I definitely don't think marriage/babies is the only type of happy ending. I love movies like Waitress, where the protagonist is able to get out of the abuse she may be in and leave any other baggage in order to do something for herself or coming of age movies where you see the protagonist really become an adult in a positive way. I hope that makes sense! – CatBeeny 2 months ago
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    Creativity in Junji Ito's Manga

    The art and storytelling in Junji Ito’s manga are very original in a peculiar sense. As a researcher interested in the concept of creativity and a fan of Junji Ito, I would be delighted to read an article about what makes Ito’s works creative.

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      Broly Returns To Dragon Ball

      This article could explore the popularity of a particular character in a fandom, even when the appearances have been limited. A good comparison maybe someone like Boba Fett from Star Wars. This piece could take a look back at the history Broly, why he has remained so popular, and predictions on his role in Dragon Ball Super.

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        How professional sports have become more entertaining than reality television.

        Todays professional sports have now created their own storylines within the games, and are publicized enough in the media, that sports have become more intriguing and entertaining than reality television. With sports not being scripted, and available across the globe no matter the language, they are more accessible.

        • What exactly would be the prompt for this post? Would it be talk about why sports are more entertaining and how it came to be? OR would it be more along the lines of trying to actually determine if such a statement is true, which by the way I don't believe is true. I think it would also be important to maybe pick one sport and talk about how specifically that sport might or might not be more popular than reality television. – tmtonji 3 weeks ago
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        • I think there's something here but if the focus is on how sports on TV has changed in how it is being presented from the past (exactly when that was should be made clear)? Storylines in sports is a good idea. Do we see it more clearly in, say, the Olympics more so than in football or baseball? What type of storyline? Are there studies showing certain storylines appeal to TV audiences and in what ways? – Joseph Cernik 3 weeks ago
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        • This could be interesting, but I think you would need to specify the particular elements of "reality television" which you are referring to. I think the point here is the competition element of some reality television, and how audiences prefer the supportive communities around sports teams. However you have mentioned how sports are not scripted, leading me to think of the rise of scripted reality such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, etc. I think you need to specify what area of reality television you think this change refers to. It may also be worthwhile making a comparison or considering the massive current popularity of scripted wrestling franchises as this seems to be an exception to the trend. – Kayleigh Hall 5 days ago
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        CD Project Red: Transparency in Promotion

        Take the recent 48 minute gameplay video of Cyberpunk 2077 as a starting point or even an exemplar in explaining how the gameplay demo should be undertaken. Compare CD Project Red’s open and self aware approach to marketing their games versus perhaps some contrasting examples of other promotional campaigns that leave much to be desired. For example discuss the limitations of the ‘cinematic trailer’ that a lot of games use nowadays. Ultimately, discuss cosumer vs anti consumer marketing practices and that raw unfiltered gameplay is far more consumer orientated compared to heavily edited and scripted demos and videos whose sole purpose is to create shallow hype. Perhaps you could also trace the history of how triple A companies have marketed their games in order to provide some useful context.

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          What are some gadgets, or words, or concepts that have been made into reality?

          Are there any words or inventions that we use today that once only existed in movies and books? For example, the word "muggle" is now understood by people who might not have ever read the Harry Potter series. I also heard that Star Trek was the inspiration behind many of the new technology that we have today.

          • From a language point of view one that must be discussed is Shakespeare who introduced a number of words to the common English language, including gossip and swagger! – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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          Better Caul Saul: Better Than Breaking Bad?

          With Better Call Saul entering it’s fourth season, it may be a good time for discussion on how well the show works. Specifically, how does it compare to the main show it evolved from. The writer could look at narrative and character similarities, stylistic choices and maybe even potential flaw if any are noticed.

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            Fiction Novels and TV Shows: The Appeal of the "Gray" Protagonist

            Analyse and inform why there is such a success in the main characters who are usually supposed to be the "good" guys, but it tends to be better when they have their own flaws as well. Old fiction books and television shows tended to portray the "perfect" protagonist with all virtues. Now, there seems to be more success when it’s not always black or white ("bad" vs. "good")

            • Can you give some examples please? – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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            • Maybe its because the perfect protagonist doesn't provide any tension. In order to generate obstacles, and having a character who is perfect won't provide this. – vmainella 3 days ago
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            The Subliminal Marketing in Celebrity Products

            Analyse what causes people to view products with celebrity names on them more enticing to buy. What difference does it make whether a product is made/sponsored by Ariana Grande, Jenner, Vanessa Hudgens, etc.? Also, do these buyers know that there is a difference between the product having the celebrity’s name on it just to sell more, and that the actual celebrity makes the product? It’s important to know the distinction, and which age range is affected the most.

            • Also consider the thematic or iconic connections that are attached to celebrities - what do they represent etc. and how is their association connected through their popular culture personas. – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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            • Don’t forget Jordan’s! – Munjeera 2 weeks ago
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            The reputation of the hip hop/rap industry

            Hip hop/rap music is often associated with thugs and those "on the wrong side of the law". The whole genre is thought to be filled with angry artists who have a bad temper and it’s stereotyped that it encourages negative attitudes in those who listen to it (dis tracks, rants etc.) Meanwhile, the disco music that filled the 70’s with fun and dance, is seen to be much more innocent. If hip hop/rap is simply an evolution of disco – a spin off of the adored genre – why are the reputations of the two so different?

            • The answer seems pretty obvious, whoever picks this topic would have to talk about how black people are represented in the media and how they are constructed to be received. The media made it so that rap would be a taboo, did they do that because it was mostly black people in the genre or really because of the content. As for content it would be super important to show that not all hiphop/rap music was bad, doing a historical analyses as to how the genre came to be would also be crucial. – tmtonji 2 weeks ago
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            What impact will the prevailing popularity of miniseries' have on standard television formats

            Non-conventional episodic formats have been growing in popularity for a number of years now. With streaming services and premium cable lifting restrictions on how episodic content is made and consumed (doing away with standard 21/46 minute programs forced by advertising) how will this shape the way programs are made? BBC series have had this sort of format for years and now even shows like Game of Thrones have changed the way they shoot their episodes (originally opting for a more conventional structure but now ending the series with 6 approx. 2 hour episodes) Will this be more alluring for creatives?

            • I think this topic has a lot of potential. You could contrast the stylistic choices made by series that no longer have to facilitate advertisements versus ones that do. Traditionally series will be forced to incorperate an ad break at the 15, 30 and 40 minute mark depending on the length of the show and so will tailor certain tantalizing plot points to keep people watching after the break but the long form serial drama on certain SVOD services is free from such a creative restraint. Therefore you could compare say Game of Thrones or a Netflix series like Daredevil or Mindhunter in contrast to a conventional show in order to examine how these textual differences affects televisual flow- realting to the interplay between reception (viewing habits) and aesthetics. – OmegaReviews 3 weeks ago
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            Dracula Adaptations

            ‘The shift from a single track, uniquely verbal medium such as the novel (or the short story), which "has only words to play with", to a multitrack medium such as film, which can play not only with words, but also with theatrical performance, music, sound effects, and moving photographic images, explains the likelihood – and I would suggest even the undesirability — of literal fidelity’ (Robert Stam)

            How do you think the adaptation’s of Dracula by Bram Stoker, most notably Francis Ford Coppola’s film, explore the complexities of adaptation ?

            • I'll add to this quote-bank: "films about Dracula today are as often seen as adaptations of other earlier films as they are of Bram Stoker's novel" (Linda Hutcheon). – ProtoCanon 3 weeks ago
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            Thematic Analysis of The Death Cure

            There seems to be a lack of critical analysis with regards to the Maze Runner theories, especially with regards to the religious, sociological and political perspectives.

            • This seems too short. It needs to be expanded regarding what theories and what would be addressed. – Joseph Cernik 3 weeks ago
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            • This will include an analysis of the Biblical references present in the Maze Runner as well as forming a theory of the YA Cycle – RedFlame2000 3 weeks ago
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            Fifity Shades of Fan Fiction

            Fan fiction has a rather negative image within the literary genres. Works such as Fifty Shades of Grey do not not necessarily help the genre to renegotiate its stand in the literary world. Why is it that fan fiction is oftentimes seen as problematic? What are some positive examples? What might be the future of fan fiction?

            • For a shining example of the heights that fan fiction can achieve, I would suggest looking into Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It takes the source material and elevates it into something brilliant, profound and even life-altering. – Lokesh Krishna 1 year ago
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            • This is going to be a long comment but first, I really do think this question is relevant so good job. I just want to add a few things (mainly for the future writer): I gather that by fanfiction you mean those posted online for nonprofit purposes. It would be interesting to compare the impression people have of those works in comparison to "Wicked", modern Dracula/Frankenstein/etc. rewrites, those based on an existing work (ex. "Dorothy must Die" by Danielle Paige), etc. The distinction between professionally written "fanwork" and others might influence what you consider examples of fanfiction in your second question. For the first question, is there a conclusion to be drawn from people's impression of works when produced professionally? Do people assume that had a work been good it would have been published, and so works online are thus of lesser quality? Or is online fanfiction mocked because of the idea that the internet is a young person's playground, and thus online writers must be younger/less experienced? There is also the notion that fanwork is necessarily erotica which might make it seem cheaper to some. [Note: While it is also possible to discuss the pros/cons of fanworks in terms of queer representation/copyright/etc. the best thing about your question is that it's focused on people's perception of fanwork, so I wouldn't broaden the topic to include its actual workings]. For the third, one can look at the influence fans have on writers: it would be easier to see said influence on shows, but it would be interesting to see if book authors are influenced similarly. I guess my only issue then is that your topic is still very broad, and all three of your questions could make separate articles. I'm not sure I would ask you to focus on one question yet, but it would definitely be to your advantage. Still, an interesting topic. – Rina Arsen 1 year ago
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            • As a personal opinion (haven't read but watched one movie and have heard a lot of talk about it's origins), and one the future writer might use, I see it as completely irrelevant that it started out as a fan fiction because the end product doesn't rely on the source of inspiration. It's just a big messed up relationship. The fact that we constantly tie it back to it's fanfiction origins is proof that fanfic has a bad connotation, one that we should address and assess. If it doesn't affect the content, why are we still bringing it up? Why is it such a big deal? Readers of this article should ask themselves those questions. – Slaidey 1 year ago
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            • While the Artifice has received quite a few articles on this topic which are still in the publishing queue(I myself edited one today), one important derivative aspect which could be looked into is the availability of online portals for people to write out their fantasies for others to read and how this has radically altered the way people view these writings, what with everyone considering themselves a great writer.(No offense intended) – Vishnu Unnithan 1 year ago
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            The Legacy of William F. Buckley's Firing Line

            Conservative American pundit and public intellectual William F. Buckley Jr. was host of the television series Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, making it the longest running talk show in history to have a single host. The format was simple: Buckley had on one or several guests who were qualified to have something to say on a given topic. He and they would discuss and often debate that topic. As Buckley put it, "the show is based on the proposition that an interesting person can be interesting for sixty minutes consecutively." The show was noted for its formal, respectful tone as well as its generally high intellectual calibre.

            Despite the success of the show, Buckley is perhaps best remembered for his extended television confrontation with liberal intellectual Gore Vidal, not on Firing Line, in which both men dispensed with intellectual discourse and viciously insulted each other.

            Buckley is often credited as an important public intellectual of his time, and also for his more unwitting contribution to the kind of incendiary insult punditry we often see in contemporary talk TV, both right (Fox News etc) and left (Bill Maher etc).

            Examine the legacy of Buckley the debater, and how he changed the way politics is discussed on television.

            • Watch Buckley debate Mark Halpern, who authored a book on the Kennedy assassination, and you'll see two of the most condescending non-royals in history. Here's an excerpt from a very famous debate, which I think the latter speaker won. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jEVCX-d4Zk – Tigey 2 years ago
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            • I loved the debate between Buckley and Hitchens, where they discussed the 'woman's movement' and the Ayatollah. It showcased how a conservative can engage a liberal in a fruitful way. – Bilal 2 years ago
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            • This is a great topic. Especially in this year, I find myself longing for the civility of Firing Line. There has been such an increase of hostility in politics recently -- on both sides -- that I feel if conservatives and liberals could just hear each other out without getting their proverbial hackles up, then that would go a long way toward restoring the respectful ideological atmosphere Buckley tried to foster. – John Wilson 2 years ago
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            • I took this topic to write on and, what I notice, is some statement saying how long ago (usually measured in hours) since I clicked the little rectangle saying I would do this. I do not anticipate this being a quick essay, in fact, as is the case with the essay I have pending (4,200 words) and the one I'm just polishing up and reviewing several times (4,500 words) before submitting, I expect this one to be around the same length. I like the topic. I think it's a good way to address concern about political dialogue today, but it takes time to make it a thoughtful piece--something, I hope, readers can enjoy and add to their ways of thinking and talking about politics. I'm figuring that if I can write some 6-9 good essays a year for The Artifice (all more than 4,000 words in length) then that will be a good year. – Joseph Cernik 3 months ago
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