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14

The Pretender (1996–2000): Retrospective

A look back at this series, the TV movies and ideas of how the story could have been concluded (include both official words and speculations).

  • What a classic series. I think it would be good to focus on how this show influenced others such as Dollhouse among others. – Joseph Manduke IV 8 years ago
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Storytelling in Gaming

Gaming in many ways is another medium that requires writers, and yet the approach to story telling in writing is unique and quite different as opposed to traditional storytelling via books. I propose an article that might entertain looking into the deeper facets of story and writing in the gaming industry and the unique approach that is taken in completing a script as opposed to traditional writing. Focus could be placed particularly on discussing the need for adaptability in characters, characterizing empathy and emotion within a character as we follow them while also playing as them, the duality of the protagonist and the gamer etc. which while coming naturally in traditional writing, have to be balanced against what is possible within the given game dynamics

  • Love the topic! May I suggest profiling Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery as part of the article? I'm an avid player and enjoy a lot of aspects of the game, including story. But I also find that the writing is somewhat lazy, and a lot of my fellow players complain that the story has dragged out way too long (because chapters aren't released every week, so there can be 2-3 weeks that you go without information and get a side quest instead). I think HM lends itself well to analysis. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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  • I mostly only play video games that have a story too it. I don't game much nowadays due to school, but I always like the first and second Bioshock games. Red dead redemption is good for this too. Just wanted to throw some games to consider. – AbeRamirez 2 years ago
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  • If I may, I think that The Last Of Us (part I and part II) could be interesting to analyze in such an article. (Interesting topic, by the way!) Indeed, Part I won numerous prizes and was, among others, acclaimed for the quality and emotional depth of its storytelling, while Part II deeply dived the fans, mostly because of its writing and narrative choices. (Such an analysis may be the theme of an entire article, but perhaps the subject could still be evoked in the article related to the current topic!) – Gavroche 2 years ago
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The ethics of documentaries and films and tv series based on true stories

For many people, true stories are far more compelling than fiction and so there is an ever growing market for documentaires and tv series based on true stories. However, there are some ethical considerations that need to be taken into account.

Firstly, when filming documentaires, do producers have an obligation to represent information as wholly and accurately as possible? We can see the simple of nature documentaries wherein the lion eats the zebra, but the event can be seen as either a victory or a defeat depending on whether the documentary focuses ont the lion or the zebra. Do those who make documentaries have a responsibility to represent both perspectives?

Secondly, what kind of obligations should be held in regards to the subject of a documentary or a film based on a true story? Especially in the case of a tragedy, it is possibly for filmmakers to take advantage of a person’s grief for the sake of the story.
Finally, does the dramatisation of true stories in some way glorify the event? This is an especially pressing issue when it comes to films about serial killers, for example ted bundy when he was portrayed by Zac Efron, or Jeffrey Dahmer who was protrayed by Evan Peters. Following the release of Dahmer in particular, there have been complaints from the families of victims and a response from viewers that was shockingly unempathetic. Extremely wicked shockingly vile and evil even garnered fan girls for the serial killer Ted Bundy. Do dramatisations of tragedies create a warped discourse surrounding these tragedies?

  • This is a brilliant and relevant point. In the onslaught of "based on a true story" kind of entertainment, I think there should be requirements for creators to go through to green-light certain projects. An example is Dahmer's father never giving consent to release tapes or create any of the documentaries surrounding his son. Blonde is a great example of the fetishization of Marilyn Monroe's trauma to the point of fabricating traumatic events while using her name to push a narrative that is only tangentially related to her. They knew that if they created a fictional starlet as the vehicle for violating and violent sexual assault, people would be horrified and it would never be cleared. There is an ethical issue at the heart of this topic. It would be crucial to provide equal examples of when it's done right in honoring the topic and when its simply glorifies one side. – LadyAcademia 2 months ago
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  • This is still so relevant today. Every time I see a serial killer documentary or a series like Dahmer, it kind of annoys me. I wish people would stop glorifying these killers because every time they're released it only creates new crazed fans of these killers as seen in the aftermath of Dahmer. It also most definitely is disrespectful to the victims and their families who have actually have to live through these events and now have to relive them because of these fans. – farhana1102 2 months ago
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  • This is a great topic and can innovates many thinkings around ethical storytelling. I think it is important to give distinctions on documentary, film and TV series. For documentary, the producer is looking to approach the true story as close to reality as possible. Hence, it requires less drama and more objective view. For film and TV series, I think producers must respect every person who involved in the true story. That means they should not misinterpret and over glorify the evil. The script or screen writer is also important when discussing this topic. They also have the obligation to know the story thoroughly and not making the script sounds silly. – Eddie 2 months ago
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The curse of originality

A common critique of any new movie, book, tv show or anything, a common criqitue of any new story in the written medium, (whether script writing or otherwise) is the lack of originality. Originality is defined as 1) existing from the beginning, 2) created personally by someone or 3) not dependent on other ideas. But is anything at all independent of ideas, or ‘original?’ One can now start to argue that everything’s been done before, from new world with strange creatures, to magical schools, to a climactic battle between good and evil. I pose three question: Does originality exist any longer? Does originality need to be redefined? Or do we need to change the way we criticize storytelling?

  • The book 'Reality Hunger' by David Shields is exactly about this, him claiming that everything comes from somewhere and is a type of collage. For this, you need to define originality. Everything we have everseen, heard or lived does influence us. There are tales of people thinking that they've written something original and then being told that their original story is almost identical to another from a long time ago; usually they have just forgotten being subjected to that original story. – heath 9 months ago
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  • I think storytelling should be defined by the depth of the narrative, not strictly the originality of the idea. – BVIS97 7 months ago
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  • in the jacobean era (and probably other periods) people would bring 'commonplace books' to the theatre with them and just write down what they liked so they could use it themselves. obviously there are some plagiarism problems there but it might be interesting to examine how our views on originality has changed – lizawood 7 months ago
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  • I think it’s also possible for works to poorly received precisely for their originality. An Australian writer Michael Winkler was unable to find a publisher for his novel Grimmish, so self-published. But the book got great critical reviews, has since been picked up by a traditional publisher, and has now been long listed for the Miles Franklin award. It is dfefinitely original, but that’s what put it off in the beginning from being published. Writers and artists will often follow their passion to strange places, and publishers may take ‘risks’ and get their work out there. But often work that’s original is also misunderstood, or doesn’t quite find its readership. – MelHall 7 months ago
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  • As far as I can tell, successful art and originality need not be mutually exclusive. You rightly suggest that many that many themes, many topics have already been expressed by brilliant minds. Nearly all great literature could be distilled into variations on a few themes, if one wanted to be so minute. But, just to stimulate some thought, I'll pose you a question: is anything at all NOT original? If art is, as Marcel Proust contended, a reconfiguration of our experiences, and no two people experience life identically (or, at least, no two people have the same frame of reference), then how could a work of art fail to be original, since it is gestated from a particular consciousness which has contents that will never again take shape in a similar way? How could the expression of one's vitality, one's essence, be anything but original when seen in this light? Just a thought. – ethanwatts 7 months ago
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  • This is definitely a topic that is so relevant today because creators lack "originality". Especially since a lot has been written over time, we can never be too sure if a so called, "original," idea that we have had is actually original or if it is something we've been inspired by through the subconscious after having read/watched/heard it already. Originality is so hard to come by these days and is something that is so craved in the media. It really is a sink or swim situation, and, as most have said here, originality should be defined by depth and how the story is actually told. One concept could have so many different ideas and meanings behind it, so therefore each concept can have different means of originality. – saskiawodarczak 7 months ago
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  • One could wonder if a piece's originality must be [pure originality]. Does anything like that even exist? However, every piece has the potential to be original in at least one or more aspects. If it follows the collage format - think about the collage technique used in painting: Are all of these paintings unoriginal? Such a claim is contested by anyone. But what makes them unique in that case? It is not the elements; it is the structure! How the various, unoriginal, little components are put together to create a fresh picture, new system, or unique narrative. A different structure might also imply that the new collection has a different endpoint and objective. That's one scenario! So, to discuss originality, we should slightly alter our understanding. There might not be such a thing as 100% originality. It's conceivable that there isn't such a thing as ultimate originality, yet there is originality in response to one or more aspects alone. Originality is not absolute; rather, it is relative. – Samer Darwich 7 months ago
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  • What's additionally interesting about this topic is an evaluation of whether originality in entertainment is really so different today than it's ever been. I see a note above that repeats a currently popular idea, that right now entertainment is particularly unoriginal. But when I think of movies from 90 years ago, there were countless remakes. Just look at how many Robin Hood and Little Women movies were made! Plus, when we think of really original storytelling from back in the day right now, how much of it struck audiences at the time as original as well? Star Wars or The Matrix might come to many fans minds as original, but there's strong arguments that neither is. All three questions are good, and in particular with the last one, just how useful is criteria of originality? – ronannar 7 months ago
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  • I believe that all new ideas sprout from an inspiration taken from the real world in some way or another. In that sense, I understand how you believe that nothing is "original" by the definition you provided. Therefore, when critiquing another story that definition should not be applied. – Aathi 6 months ago
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  • While arguably every piece of media is a derivative of some earlier piece of media, there is still plenty of originality out there to be had. Look at recent films such as Nope, which very explicitly shows its influences from films like Jaws and Close Encounters, or Everything Everywhere All At Once, a fresh take on the multiverse craze. Nope is highly original in its message and structure. Everything Everywhere is highly original in its world-building and story. I think that there is a big difference between these films and the constant sequels and prequels being spat out by Marvel or the remakes of old films. Sequels and remakes may offer some fresh perspectives--and the ones that do are often the best of these categories, but they do come from the same nucleus of an idea. Nope borrows heavily from Spielberg and others but creates a brand new way of displaying those influences and in some ways critiques them. But perhaps the criteria for originality is also based on how audiences feel. Personally, I am sick and tired of the constant trailers for new Marvel films and I do feel that the movie arena has been saturated. Does that just make the original films more novel or does it mean that originality is shrinking? Keep in mind much of this phenomenon is based on money and the fears of producers and studios that people no longer care for going to the movie theater or watching films in general. The sequels and cinematic universes pump out the most films because they work--they are a known quantity. Especially after the pandemic, it takes a brave studio or producer to splash out on originality. – zrynhold 6 months ago
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The Religious Subtext of The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil is a middle grade fantasy series that received a film adaptation earlier in the year. Beyond the occasional reference to various faiths, the series does not incorporate explicit religious subject matter, but I would like to analyse the unintentional religious subtext I have interpreted from the narrative. I believe there is scope for a discussion of how the series inadvertently engages with concepts such as predestination and the existence of a supreme being.

“Predestination” is the idea that God chooses which people will receive salvation and which will receive damnation prior to their creation. As the title “The School for Good and Evil” suggests, the books are set in a world where some people are similarly designated as “Good” and others as “Evil”. Within the story, membership to “Good” or “Evil” is not determined by a character’s actions, but instead, is determined by one’s soul at birth. By presenting a person as intrinsically “Evil” or “Good”, the book echoes the religious idea that a soul is predestined to Heaven or Hell.

The School for Good and Evil also inadvertently presents the idea of a supreme being through the “character” of the Storian. This may sound strange to those unfamiliar with the books, but the Storian is a sentient, omnipotent, and powerful magic pen that preserves the balance between “Good” and “Evil” and chooses people in the world to write about in real time. Characters do not explicitly worship the Storian, but it is treated as an ultimate authority. Two of series’ antagonists – one with an “Evil” soul, and one with a “Good” soul – are defined not only by villainous actions (eg. hurting others) but by their efforts to to replace the Storian as the supreme authority within the world. Through this, it can be suggested that the series engages with the existence of a supreme being and humans’ relationship to that god.

  • Yes! Yes, yes, yes...someone write this! (I would but haven't read the books yet and wouldn't have time to do it the justice I would like). – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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The Prediction of the Future Through Art

In the 19th century, Oscar Wilde wrote in ‘The Decay of Lying’ that, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life… results not merely from life’s imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of life is to find expression, and that art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy." According to Wilde, what people find in life and nature is actually not there, but what people find is what artists have taught them to find through art. So, does life imitate art or does art imitate life? In light of these questions, is it possible for art to predict the future? Which artwork by which artist do you think predicted the future?

  • The writer can choose any artwork from any artist, from any era to analyze. For example, Amalia Ulman masterpiece, “Excellences & Perfections”, which was dubbed by art critics as the “first Instagram masterpiece” could be an artwork worth the analysis. – Laurika Nxumalo 2 months ago
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  • People tend to idealise life, paint a picture based on their consumption of art, even in mediums like film (especially romantic films). So many people build mannerisms, plan events, do activities, based on what they see in films, what they read in books... I don't think that art predicts the future, but rather it manifests conditions for people to build experiences very similar to what they see in art, because that's what they idealise and strive towards. Does NASA continue to fund space research because of science fiction films like '2001: A Space Odyssey'? Maybe, maybe not (and if they did we'd never know). Will the events in those films actually occur? Who knows—but if they do, you might bet the people reacting to them will have seen those circumstances in art they have consumed, and respond accordingly. – Patrick 2 months ago
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  • Recursive. Wilde also talked about dreaming of things that never were. If your starting point is that the inner and outer life is a continuum then time/timing is of less relevance than occurrence. Everything will happen. At least once. – sodapop 1 month ago
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'Beauty and the Beast' - A Tale That Foretold The Life Of Today

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a tale that is different from the popular fairy tales; it has a peculiar take on psychological, socio-historical, religious and feminist approaches. Unlike other well-known fairy tales that were written or told by an unknown storyteller, the tale of Beauty and the Beast is an original literary story written in a specific historical and political moment by a female writer, Madame Leprince De Beaumont who was also a governess.

The story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been interpreted in different ways. Some claim that it is a love story that teaches us modesty and introduces the healing power of love. Others claim that it is a tale about female empowerment growing – the awakening of a woman and her psychological and sexual maturation. Some see abuse in a romanticized hostage situation – the Beast is seen as an egocentric sociopath who keeps Beauty as his hostage while she loses touch with reality and falls in love with him; an example of Stockholm syndrome. Oftentimes, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is interpreted as a story about a conflict of genders and a fight for domination.

Like in all narratives involving love – any objectivity is lost; bad becomes good, ugly turns into beautiful, violence becomes tenderness and kindness, etc. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and its motives appeals to modern society; it narrates our hidden wild side to us. Societal norms have civilized our wildness, but this suppressed wildness constantly finds a way of coming out in our social and intimate relationships. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ also speaks about ‘otherness’. How hard is it be different?

What does it mean to be a beast – is it something that one becomes while living or is one born with it? What is beauty? What is pure and what is dirty? What is pleasure and does it have more value in the society or should it be punishable?

Can beauty and wildness co-exist?

  • You are right Madame Leprince De Beaumont was the first (or, at very least, earliest) author of the story of Beauty and the Beast and it has spawned so many iterations since then. Each version contemplates a different aspect of the story, but I was always most interested in Angela Carter's "The Tiger's Bride". I think the general plot of Beauty and the Beast explores areas beyond the social binaries we have become accustomed to: purity versus perversion, beauty versus ugliness, pleasure versus continence, femininity versus masculinity, etc. To answer your question, I believe beauty and wildness are not entirely opposites and can co-exist. We could make the argument wildness is beautiful or beauty is to be unrestrained, but we can explore a bit further. Beauty and the Beast is timeless because these issues pervade society since civilized society was established, or perhaps even before then. I suspect we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, but Beauty and the Beast allows us to explore these taboo experiences in such a way that we are safe to contemplate but left to continue participating in civilized society (hopefully with a new outlook). – iresendiz 2 months ago
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  • I really like this topic, but your thesis seems a little muddled. Bring it in--focus on one central theme. I think you're going for the juxtaposition of beauty vs. wildness, and/or the fact that the former can and does exist in the latter. Use that as a jump-off point when you (or whoever else writes this) explores the other interpretations of Beauty and the Beast--for example, whether it is in fact a romanticized hostage situation. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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Explicit content in Euphoria: glorification or necessary depiction?

HBO’s hit show Euphoria depicts the journeys of teenage characters as they navigate a complicated social landscape of sex, drugs, and overall delinquency. It follows the main character, Rue, as she becomes more and more entrenched in a drug addiction. Side plots depict such storylines as Rue’s friends becoming entangled in sexual affairs with adults, threatening each other with guns, and above all, sneaking around behind their parents’ backs.

Sexual and graphic content in regards to teenagers is nothing new in media. We’ve seen it in the past with shows such as Skins, DeGrassi, and Beverly Hills, 90201. However, Euphoria has stirred up a unique controversy in that it revolves almost entirely around drug usage as a plot point, as well as depicts teenage characters (portrayed by adult actors) in explicit sexual positions with full-frontal nudity. In certain scenes, drug addiction almost looks enjoyable: attractive, thin, and happy-looking teens are all too happy to be high at any moment they can.

This has been the topic of many an argument among viewers: is it dangerous to depict teenagers engaging in such behavior, as it may be read as inspiring or encouraging to a young audience? Conversely, is it important to depict the realities of these issues and not to shy away from tough topics, thus cementing their taboo within society? There certainly are teenagers today that deal with and engage in such activities. Should we be thinking of them and providing media with a representation of the struggles they face, or will such a show encourage straight-edged teens to move in a different direction?

  • Glorification or necessary depiction? I think this is a really interesting topic for discussion in relation to Euphoria, but also other shows (those already mentioned but also many others such as 13 Reasons Why) as well as in literature. Is art imitating life or is it the other way around? And, how much responsibility does a director/writer/artist have to take for how their work is perceived or responded to? – Userpays 2 months ago
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  • A show so explicit yet mainstream is definitely worst discussing. It has become a cultural phenomenon and impacted various different industries. Maybe the discussion should not focus so much around whether it is a show that needs to be made, as this could just lead to speculations around the writer/producer's intentions. It might be more productive to consider what elements of the show are drawing young people in. The sound track, fashion and makeup looks have been particularly influential on Gen Z. What impact have the specific elements in the show had on Western culture? – Writingitseems 2 months ago
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  • worth discussing* – Writingitseems 2 months ago
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Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Music?

Ever since Schubert abandoned his 8th Symphony in 1822, six years before his death, after writing the first two movements, composers, musicologists, and general lovers of classical music, have wondered why the symphony was left unfinished – was Schubert ill? Was he distracted with other compositions? But mostly we have wondered about what the final two movements would have sounded like.

In 2019, Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, answered this conundrum by completing the famous "Unfinished" Symphony by feeding thousands of Schubert’s works into the software that would hopefully produce material in the style of Schubert – as he would have thought it himself. This process was guided by the film composer Lucas Cantor, but still the result was heavily criticised.

AI has since been used in music to generate pop songs, many of which are indistinguishable from human-made hits we hear on the radio. Is the use of AI in musical composition just like any other technological innovation in that it aids the composer in their process, automating tedious tasks, and so on? Or are we facing a real fear of being stuck in a ‘loop’ of the same musical tastes, without the extra push of human creativity and invention, since AI runs on analysing pre-existing examples?

The author could further discuss the differences and similarities between AI software recognising patterns, and how humans often compose from well-studied patterns also.

  • It is critical to consider: Even if you ultimately develop fresh, surprising things, everytime you strive to create something new, you always generate it from what you already know. Everything you perceive, comprehend, hold dear, or do always springs from information your brain has already gathered or processed. Your brain is continuously collecting the past for use in a variety of ways, such as putting the sounds you've stored in new settings. Therefore, it shouldn't be any different from the human situation when we state that "since AI runs on analyzing pre-existing examples". – Samer Darwich 3 months ago
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  • I don't know enough about this topic to really comment in depth, but I just want to say I would find this extremely interesting to read about! – Caylee 3 months ago
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The Death of the Western

With the rising discontent with the MCU as seen on many social networking apps and film and television critics, a revisiting of the last truly dominant Genre of Westerns which held control of the box office landscape never before seen and only really eclipsed by the current superhero/comic adaptation market.

What in particular made the western so popular and what in specific lead to the box office death of the genre? What were the politics behind the genre, the economics, and actors both in a gamesmanship context and a performative context.

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    "Gods" in the MCU: Are Any of Them Worthy?

    In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher wanted to destroy all the deities in the MCU. His motivation was he had found the god of his civilization quite disappointing, and he assumed all deities were just as selfish and uncaring. The movie hoped the audience would think Gorr was wrong because Thor, the god of Thunder, is not selfish. Unfortunately, we have not met many other "god" characters in the MCU with redeeming qualities.
    Analyze the MCU characters referred to as gods or god-like beings – not only the Asgardians but also Dormammu from Dr. Strange, Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Arishem from Eternals, the Egyptian gods from Moon Knight, and Zeus. How valid was Gorr’s anti-god position? Is there a deeper meaning in this repeated theme?
    Consider the fact that Odin said, "We are not gods," but other characters nonetheless refer to Asgardians as gods. Does a character need to be chosen by a mortal civilization to "count" as a god?

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      Animated films and their live action remakes

      Disney has released a few live action remakes. Some well received, and others highly criticized. Aladdin (2019) and Cinderella (2015) were well received while The Lion King (2019) and Tarzan (2016) were not. The Lion King used highly realistic CGI but this resulted in less expressive characters which was then less impactful than the animated version. What was lost in media translation?
      Discuss the pros and cons of animation versus live action and discuss why animated movies struggle to be remade well as live action films.

      • To be accurate, animated movies do not "struggle" to be remade in live action. The Lion King is, for the most part, a technological marvel of getting human voices out of realistic-looking animals. As you pointed out, this realism sacrificed expressiveness in the animals' faces, which is one reason audiences didn't like the results. Perhaps the "struggle" is in making the new things interesting enough for audiences to consider them as good or better than the old, familiar 2D animated movies. – noahspud 3 months ago
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      • I would argue that the remakes would be more well received if they did not have well-loved predecessors. Maybe nostalgia factor sets a higher bar for Disney to try and recreate the magic audiences felt from watching the films as children, which results in bad reception if they can't live up to that standard. – isobelarcher 3 months ago
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      • Most of these live action remakes are extremely high-budget and well made, which begs the question of why they aren't as well received. I believe this is because audiences are not as interested in the idea of watching basically the same movie over again. They already found something to love-something that brings them nostolgia within the animated films. While the movies do tend to be well made, there's no doubt that there's a semblance of boredom within its primary audience. – brookecandelario 3 months ago
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      • From my interpretation of Disney’s live action remakes, one of the key problems is that many of them are not fully utilising the live action medium to create films that are different from their animated counterparts. Of the live action remakes that I have watched, I think Cruella was one of the better movies because the costuming was a significant part of the story, and thus, justified why the film had to be made in live action rather than with animation. Many of the other live action films do not seem to utilise the elements of live action filmmaking that differ from animation, and in my view, are consequently not adding anything new to the stories. – UtopiaRocket 2 months ago
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      Analyzing the Nostalgic '90s Sports Film

      The ’90s is fairly famous for several family-oriented, nostalgic sports films. From Angels in the Outfield to the Mighty Ducks trilogy, from the Air Bud franchise to Like Mike, Miracle, and Space Jam, during the decade, these films seemed to be everywhere. At the time, they were lauded as feel-good films the whole family could enjoy, particularly dads and uncles who might be moved to tears by memories of their former glories on the field or court. In the ensuing decades, these films are still respected, but also maligned as corny or overly inspirational depending on who you ask.

      Analyze the impact of the nostalgic sports film. Why did ’90s audiences seem to need so many of them, and why did they all seem to have such an inspirational format? Did they cater to a specific audience with a specific set of beliefs or aspirations? Were they meant to? Are they seen as overly nostalgic now simply because audiences have changed, or do we get our "heart" and "inspiration" in different ways? If the latter, where do we get it? Can the family-oriented, nostalgic sports film make a comeback? If so, what should it look like?

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        Ideology and a problem with Superheroes.

        Superheroes, are presented as by their nature disruptions to the "natural order" of the world. That is to say many are presented in worlds more or less analogous to that of the reader, either in the urban setting or something that perceivably realistic. But, this presents a disruption to the world they exist within.

        Many heroes are, in some interpretations, read as virtual gods amongst men, invulnerable, nigh unstoppable, with only "benevolence" as the check against them dominating the world. How does a world function similarly to our own while also inhabited by a living god or gods?

        Many exist only in reactive states, that is to say, many heroes and their stories are written to respond to "crime" or "disasters" but rarely are we presented with them proactively pushing for some sort of shift. How does this materially affect their world? How does a world of heroes and supervillains, one of constant impending doom have any sense of normality? How can that world even function?

        Part of this can be blamed on the medium, crime being punished is an easier comic to sell than crime never happens, but that reinforces the idea of crime without interrogating the why of crime. The material conditions, not to mention the motivations of criminals within worlds of sentient nuclear weapons is rarely examined.

        Returning to the core question, superheroes exist in worlds similar to our own, but how in fact is that possible? How is it that a world where Superman and Batman exist is virtually the same as a world where they don’t. How is the world of Marvel, with aliens and spirits, and devils, and sentient robots not dissimilar entirely to the world that exists today?

        How do writers square the circle that is the "status quo" ? Status quo being read as a world that has enough parallels to the real world to be read as similar to our own. A sense of normalcy that can allow for the reader to feel connection with the world of the heroes. How can you reckon with the fact that the existence of these walking myths has little impact on their worlds?

        The writer could interrogate the idea of the superhero as it compares to the prior age of myth, but the more challenging question would require some understanding of the main universes of some of the major comic book publishes and their distinctions and similarities from the real world along with speculation/analysis of why or even how those similarities exist.

        • One idea from the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD: organizations like SHIELD exist to keep the majority of the weird stuff away from the public, so the world will not change dramatically. Another idea: if the existence of super-people did change the world, the most likely result would be something like Injustice: Gods Among Us - the super-people ruling the world, whether the regular people wanted that or not. Many of the superheroes know this and willingly avoid impacting the world in such a way because free will matters to them. Also consider Watchmen, a fairly popular story about super-people very much changing the world. – noahspud 5 months ago
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        Gilgamesh and shooting the shaggy dog

        Shooting the shaggy dog refers to a bleak ending at the end of a drawn out story. Doing so can create a sense of realism as seen in movies like Chinatown but can also create a sense of apathy in the audience if every turn makes the world worse and the the stories conclusion is just more of that.

        For the writer, the Manga Gilgamesh is a pure example of shooting the shaggy dog. The plot is a world of darkness and depravity and the story’s conclusion leaves off with the question what was all of the suffering for? What was the purpose of the story if the ending doesn’t just drive home the point that the world is bad, but makes it clear that it can never be good?

        • Okay, nice, but you left me hanging. I understand your frustration with the story and the trope, but what's the thesis of your article? Are you trying to say the trope should die because it's not redeemable? Or, is there something of value in the trope and the types of stories in which we find it? Or are you going for something else entirely? Consider these questions, and consider exploring other stories as examples. A Series of Unfortunate Events immediately popped into my head. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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        Gore and it’s morbid curiosity.

        I think back to times I have watched movies such as The Green Inferno or Terrifier and have thought to myself “what makes these so appealing to people?” I understand how gore is important to horror, examples such as Hereditary using it very tastefully (if tasteful can be used for gore) but I never quite get gore-fest movies? The iceberg is large, quite literally there being “iceberg” charts of gory and horrific movies but where does that line get drawn? Where is the distinction between horror, and a movie for that sake of depravity.

        • What exactly do you mean in your question? It's quite vague. – Sunni Ago 4 months ago
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        • Add a little clarification to exactly what you want the writer to argue. I'm not sure about the use of icebergs in your question. – Montayj79 4 months ago
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        • I get what you're saying. I am someone who is filled with morbid curiosity even though i regret it sometimes. First of all, gory and disturbing films are great for marketing. Like recently, 'Terrifier 2' has been all over social medias as "a film that is making audiences puke and pass out in theatres." Now doesn't that make you curious? Draws you into researching or even watching the film, garnering more attention... It makes people think "there's no way a movie can make me puke or pass out, I'm gonna watch it to see if it's true or not". Everyone has some sort of curiosity within them that draws them to understand what a certain media is going to show. Another way to look at it is the fact that people dont get to see gross, gnarly and gory things in their boring, daily lives. I know i dont at least... This i feel is the reason why films like these are made, to provide audiences with an experience they will never attain in real life. The line can be drawn at snuff films, which are real videos of people you know... Then there's shock value... That's a whole different subject... TyperTheCurator – Ethan Clark 3 months ago
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        • I want to hear more about this "iceberg." May I suggest building an article around it, maybe discussing things like MPAA ratings and criteria, the level and types of gore people can handle, and how it impacts the psyche? – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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        Do Disabled Characters Need to be Played by Disabled Actors?

        Movies and TV shows often feature able-bodied actors/actresses playing disabled characters. Some audience members with disabilities are not content to see characters who are like them; some of them believe these characters must be played by people who actually have the disability they are portraying. Discuss the validity of this argument and the validity of the counterargument: representation doesn’t matter any less if it’s just acting.
        Examples for the discussion include Ben Affleck in The Accountant and Daredevil, Charlie Cox in Daredevil, Patrick Stewart in X-Men, Bryan Cranston in The Upside, Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor, Danny Pudi in Community, and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

        • Scholars who have been developing important advancements in the field of Disability Studies over the last 30 years have established through their work that it is not necessary to use euphemisms to refer to disabled people because it creates confusion about the important distinction between “disability” and “impairment.” – T. Palomino 3 months ago
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        • Hey, thanks for this! I'm disabled myself (cerebral palsy/Asperger's), and I can see both sides of this argument. For instance, if you want to show a severe case of CP, where the person experiences quadriplegia and the inability to speak, for instance, it might be difficult to find an actor who fits that profile. But at the same time, that leads back to the question of why the acting arena has been so "closed" to people with disabilities over the centuries, so that actors with disabilities can't make spaces for themselves. I personally have experience in theater, where I believe I was denied roles not necessarily because of ableism, but just because the concepts of inclusion and modification were not part of consciousness yet. So when I see actors and actresses like Ali Stoker (Stroker? Her last name escapes me), getting roles on Broadway, I feel like we're progressing. But then I see, for instance, able-bodied actors still being cast for roles like Crutchie in Newsies, and I'm like, just, why? When there are a ton of ambulatory actors out there who still use or have experiences with mobility aids? And, as noted with Rain Man, why are we giving Oscars to able-bodied actors for portraying disabled people, especially in a way that continues to feed inspiration porn? So all that to say...yeah, please write this. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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        • This is something I've pondered often. Some actors are able to play a good role and pull it off but those with the actual disabilities and have the knack for acting should be considered first for those roles. Granted, sometimes--and often--Hollywood doesn't try to be politically correct in its casting. This stems from various reasons, including household name. – Montayj79 3 months ago
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        • This is a difficult one. If acting can be difficult and tiring for people without any disability imagine how strenuous it'll be for a person with a disability - the shooting and re-shooting, the long scripts, the long nights, the travel and moving from one location to another, etc. It would really be difficult – Laurika Nxumalo 3 months ago
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        • I don't think so. Coming from a guy who has Autsim, I don't think an actor has to be disabled to play a disabled role. All that matters is can the person act? – JohnMcKinney 3 weeks ago
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        The Outer Worlds, a centrist's critique of capitalism.

        Outer Worlds, made by Obsidian of Fallout New Vegas acclaim, is a open world RPG where you exist in an alternative universe where capitalism is even more unregulated than it is today.

        Within the world of OW however there is little to be said in response to capitalism. In a future where "science" is good on it’s face, marauders commit crimes because crime, and the world itself is limited by the imagination of the writers, what is displayed is a critique of the world not for ideological reasons but for practical and efficiency reasons. That is to say, Outer Worlds can lead the player to see some damning indictments of capitalism, but it will never allow for anything in game aside from a moderate reformism.

        And that is a curious line to draw. What indeed can be said about advancement for advancement’s sake when the human cost both in universe and out is seen as only worthwhile if it’s apolitical. Where revolution is on its face dismissed for it’s idealism, but "progress" is revered for making the future better.

        • The Outer Worlds is made by Obsidian Studios who are well-known for their previous RPG Fallout: New Vegas (2010). This game's fame, I would say, is well received due to the true moral choices the game presents you with - no faction that the player character can choose to side with is ever inherently "good". Because of how the game shows you the consequences of your choices and actions, the theme of centrism may be seen as portrayed in a positive light here - if no faction or ideology is desirable, the game seems to say, why pick one at all? – Tristan 3 months ago
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        • The premise is flawed. Ideology is how you understand the world you exist in. Likewise, the game world is created by people who either don't understand some of the ideologies or are actively hostile to any critique of capital that isn't framed exclusively around its grossest excesses. – Sunni Ago 3 months ago
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        Why the Film & TV Entertainment Industry Has Influenced Lifestyles and Human Behaviour in the 20th Century

        The movie and TV entertainment industry throughout the 20th Century has given happiness and relief from monotony in everyday life. Entertainment affects culture and improves the economy by creating employment for talented creative people. Most of all, people enjoy movies, media, and the escape this provides from the everyday grind of working and living their lives. Entertainment is also a powerful remedy for anxiety and depression, which improves mental health and well-being.

        The author of this article could draw upon various forms of the movie and TV entertainment industry that have influenced our culture and attitudes over the past 80 years. Secondly, it might be notable to discuss issues surrounding mental health and well-being, which are essential because watching movies can improve cognition and memory. Finally, films and TV have also had cultural impacts, such as creating or reinforcing societal stereotypes. Although media creates stereotypes about specific cultures, this topic could take the audience’s perspective on how certain stereotypes in our culture might have been avoided through informative documentaries, television, and movies.

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          The "Actual" meaning of Encanto

          Encanto as a film was one of the better received Disney animation in recent memory, from the music, to the character designs, to the narrative resolution and heartwarming interplay of all of the characters in the family Madrigal.

          Though, for all of the popularity of the film there was a bit of controversy in the "proper" reading of the plot. While there is a clear examination of intergenerational trauma from Abuela to Mirabel and all of the family in-between, some have read the film with as allegorical to the experience some in LGBTQ community have experienced.

          This disagreement led to a decent amount of intercommunal conflict on many social networks about the proper way of reading the text, but is their an actual proper meaning to a film? Does authorial intent matter? Is it "wrong" to read the text in a way more relative to oneself?

          There is quite a lot of room to discuss the racial and cultural perspectives of the various angles of the argument of the actual meaning of the movie.

          • Death of the Author is essentially whats going on here. I like this topic as this is a reoccurring issue in the Anime community, as femboy/Trap characters are often read as trans by western audiences, while in Japan they are read as effeminate men. Even when authors directly comment on issues like this they are often ignored by fans and localizers. This often leads to heated debates online. I'm not a fan of the idea that text can be interpreted in any way possible, but that often becomes the case when authors note or thoughts are not available. It is why I believe whenever possible journals and notes should be preserved. But, in the event that evidence is not available, I was taught in my college classes interpretations of text need to be backed by evidence either from the author or evidence in the text, which is something that is often lacking in LGBTQ readings of text. An example that comes to mind is when Dreamworks Voltron was announced a lot of people assumed Pidge (Katie Holt) was trans. When the character was just pretending to be boy to find her brother. Same deal with Keith and Lance, as many people assumed the characters were gay, despite the show showing multiple times that Lance had feelings for princess Alura. – Blackcat130 6 months ago
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          • I don't disagree about it being death of the author I was moreso interested in the backlash the DOA side of the discourse received for subverting the "intent" of the movie. I also don't see an inherent flaw with queer readings of media, I myself am guilty of it with characters in some of my favorite shows. That said, I can't say I'm sympathetic to the idea of a culture being ignored for the sake of others reading themselves into a text. I do think it is a topic worth discussion. – SunnyAgo 6 months ago
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          • I just want to clarify that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with doing a queer reading of a text. My issue is as you put it "people reading themselves into the text" Another example of this is in My Hero Academia. Many fans believe Bakugo and Deku are gay for one another, despite the author clearly stating certain characters having romantic feelings for one another. Even without author input the text at certain points states how the characters feel about one another. This also becomes obnoxious to me, as often times these text actually have LGBTQ characters (Tiger and Magne are trans) in it that get ignored for fan canon. One theory that I've heard for why this happens comes from YouTuber Dimitri Monroe. They believe its not about whether or not a character is gay or Trans, but metaphorical point scoring. They believe the reason modern queer reading often alter characters is because some LGBTQ activist simply want a more prominent character as opposed to the side character (which Tiger and Magne both are.). Dimitri uses Astolfo from the fate series as an example, as not only in the lore Astolfo is canonically and stated multiple times to be an androgynous male who doesn't care about gender norms. Despite that many will say he's trans. Which once again fate does have actual trans/gay characters, Astolfo is just considered one of the more popular characters and that why he's often subject to this debate. You can see the same thing with P4's Naoto who states both their gender and sexual preferences, but fans created a mod to turn the character Trans. I think this more about politics as apposed to trying to understand the message of a story. (Also I might take this topic.) – Blackcat130 6 months ago
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          • I think what you're talking about here is "reader response criticism," where a reader (or viewer in this case) interacts with a "text" relative to his/her/their own experiences. For instance, as an autistic woman, I very much "read" Encanto as a commentary on disability, giftedness, and twice-exceptionality. So no, there is nothing wrong with looking for or finding deeper or truer meaning in the plot. The challenge here is going to be choosing which deeper readings to focus on, because as you mention, there are so many. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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          • The whole concept of interpreting creative works has been academically discussed for centuries by this point, so there's not exactly much new ground to tread, other than to perform case studies on specific modern works like you're trying to do with Encanto. I personally believe, especially in a medium like film, that the idea of any one interpretation being correct is absurd, even if it's one that has been publicly stated by a key creative such as the director or writer. Therefore I think that were you to continue this article in any direction where are you providing your own personal interpretation, the key point is providing evidence from the source itself, Encanto, to defend and support your case. If you are instead headed in the direction of using Encanto as a talking point to further the general discussion of artistic interpretation, then it would definitely be interesting to see you critically analyse some of the different 'theories' and 'arguments' circulating the Internet in regards to what the films 'true meaning' is. Irrespective of whatever path you take with this topic, I wish you the best and look forward to reading your work :) – LucasR 3 months ago
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