Suspiria 2018: the Nitty Gritty Rawness of Female

Suspiria 2018: the Nitty Gritty Rawness of Female

Spoilers ahead: Suspiria (2018) may not be a film driven by a feminist agenda, but it still works to push the medium forward in embracing a raw and real feminine identity.

(Article published on Sidequesting)

We’re in 1977 divided Berlin and a young girl named Patricia manically enters her psychiatrist, Dr. Klemperer’s, office. She curls into the fetal position of his chair muttering of how she was groomed to be “perfect” by the heads of the famous Markos Tans Dance Company. She twitches squirrelishly and sees eyes on everything, tossing albums and books about to avoid their all-seeing gaze. She hears voices in her head. In an Arthur Miller manic episode she shouts “Witches!” and Dr. Klemperer writes down that her psychological state is diminishing. The camera then shifts to a dying woman in rural America as Thom Yorke’s melancholic score creeps into the background. This is Suspiria (2018)– not a remake of the 1977 Argento film, but something meant to hold its own. And while it’s a horror film first, it also supplies a healthy step in the right direction for women in film as well.

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STOP: Stack Up’s New Veteran Support Service Can Help Save Lives

STOP: Stack Up’s New Veteran Support Service Can Help Save Lives

How non-profits and video games are picking up where government support of veterans falls short: saving lives.

Article published on SideQuesting

According to a press release from last September by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the suicide rate of veterans in the United States is 22% greater than non-veteran citizens. “We know that of the 20 [veteran] suicides a day that we reported last year, 14 are not under VA care,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin in the report. “This is a national public health issue that requires a concerted, national approach.” Even without this data, it’s easy to see that war affects all lives intertwined with its pervasive web. Being deployed overseas is not a nine-to-five job; war doesn’t stop for coffee breaks or lunch dates. And, over the last few years, there is an increasing lack of belief in the support the VA can offer veterans returning home; a question in credibility that stemmed from whistle-blowers who, in 2015, made the claim that hundreds of thousands of veterans have died while on the VA’s waitlist for healthcare.

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Aziz Ansari and the Other Side of Feminism

Aziz Ansari and the Other Side of Feminism

Feminism has a side that may destroy its credibility through unfortunate “cry wolf” rhetoric.

Published on Medium

The rhetoric behind the click-bait title “I Went on a Date with Aziz Ansari. It Turned into the Worst Night of my Life” beacons a bias that is hard to ignore. Unfortunately, it attempts to evade its one-sidedness by milking current trends: predominately the progressive #MeToo movement that began in October 2017 with the Harvey Weinstein scandals. #MeToo is an international narrative of women speaking openly about sexual assault and mistreatment in the workplace–something women are often reticent to discuss amidst threats of unemployment, the ambiguity of sexual violence, and the unfortunate stigma that follows these things.

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The Weight of Your Words

The Weight of Your Words

How language is manipulating our thoughts and why it is drastically important to teach.

The trouble with words is that, regardless of their size, whether they are salient or subtle, they matter. In their weightless form, they can move mountains and manipulate realities. They can inspire genocide and create peace. America’s national parks are built on their formless back. The Nazi Party was founded on their circulation (e.g., all race other than what Hitler deemed Arian were described as parasitic “bastard races” in schools). The anger, or hatred, or disdain you may feel toward our current political situation in the United States could be based on the graceful words from our president’s mouth, or his Twitter.

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Elevated Sci-Fi and Why Stories Matter: Blade Runner 2049

Elevated Sci-Fi and Why Stories Matter: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2019 provides a gorgeous narrative that digs into age-old philosophical questions.

Article published on Sidequesting: http://www.sidequesting.com/2018/01/elevated-sci-fi-and-why-stories-matter-blade-runner-2049/

Some may argue that its financial downfall at the box office dooms the film as a failure — yet many critics deem Blade Runner 2049 the best film of the year. There is a strange dichotomy in thought here, as to what deems a film’s success: on one hand we have financial failure, perhaps not enough popcorn to draw in the casual fan; on the other, we have a resounding success as one of the best science fiction films of all time, thanks to the very thing that made it unfriendly toward the casual viewer: existential investigation.

In that case, Blade Runner 2049 succeeds. It is long. It is hard to digest. But, to that end, it takes the viewer on a philosophical exploration of the human soul. That exploration, hard though it may be, is all the more important in an age when we are inundated with mindless entertainment, instant gratification, and unreliable information (I write, as I sit in a café staring at a couple in conversation — the girl, uninterested, browsing through Instagram; the guy, attentive, stares in erudite longing at her “uh huh” responses).

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The Benefits of Fandom: Rise of the Con

The Benefits of Fandom: Rise of the Con
Article published: http://www.sidequesting.com/2017/09/the-benefits-of-fandom-rise-of-the-con/

Why events like Dragon Con are holding contemporary geek culture together where E3 falls short, and how that is changing the industry.

It’s around 11 p.m. on a Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia. I am standing in a sea of people all of who are staring, in a sort of trance, at a strange amalgamation of pirate and goth singing sea-shantyish songs. Tongue-and-cheek lyrics that border on macabre and irreverence fill our ears, and we rise and fall with the sway of words despite the gruesome undertones—a stark contrast to the last hour, where we listened to the Atlanta Phil Harmonic Orchestra play music from film and television favorites. And the hour before that, when we perused an entire floor of artwork that ranged from Greek and Norse Mythology to dragons, faeries, and cats. Or before that, when we joined 600 other people and listened to the musings of Jim Butcher.

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The Rhetoric of Video Games: How Game Design Makes Meaning

The Rhetoric of Video Games:  How Game Design Makes Meaning

(This article was written as part of my graduate thesis and is part of my on-going research in education, rhetoric, and games.)

A few weeks ago I took part in a panel at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco that explored the relevance of video games—of what scholar James Paul Gee calls a “problem of content,” in which we only value an artifact as educational if it provides tangible content (22). At the conference major developers and game designers gathered together to talk about what the medium of games was to become with the incessant invectives of games being “a waste of time” or “a phase to grow out of.” If that’s all games are, then what’s the point of working in them? As a field, we need to find a way to elucidate these claims. We need to shine light on video games as a medium that has the potential to serve alongside traditional artifacts accepted in an artistic and academic setting, while also realizing that some games are simply meant to be used as entertainment or escapism. Regardless, the level of interactivity games allow have proven to provide profound effects on cognitive enhancement, but we can only use them progressively if they are taken serious both by their audience and their creators.  Ian Bogost argues that games should be discussed alongside “traditional media subjects,” and that “teaching games alongside reading, writing, and debating them as argumentative and expressive practices” can help evolve the way we look at rhetoric in new media (136). Thus the aim of this project, inspired largely by this conversation, is to explore how video games create meaning through their design—ultimately looking at how games apply and use multi-modal rhetorical devices to influence players in a manner that other mediums may not be able to.

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