Archive for the 'Editorials' Category

Jul 31 2014

Going Down with the Ship: Should Fandoms Dictate Canon Stories?

Published by under Editorials

fans

Some recent online happenings have got me thinking about the nature of fandoms and what happens when the desires of the people who watch a show or read a series of books threaten to overwhelm the vision of the creators. At what point, if any, should writers kowtow to the demands of the fans?

A couple weeks ago, the CW decided to try and engage fans of their shows on Twitter, which turned out to be a bit of fiasco; specifically regarding their long-running cult horror/fantasy/drama series Supernatural. The show enjoys a large base of female fans, which is odd for a show that has continually resisted keeping female characters around long-term, but by now we should have learned never to underestimate the charms of the Winchester brothers.

This particular ruffling of online feathers is worthy of note because it revolved around a popular slash fiction pairing of male characters. Shipping (the act of romantically pairing platonic characters) has become a bit of an extreme sport since the internet came into being. It’s been around for as long as nerd fandoms have, but in a poorly-lit little corner that most of us pretended to ignore. The internet age has done nothing so much as show us that as screwed up and perverted as we are, everyone else is just as bad if not worse.

This social realization and the resulting support group mentality has emboldened fandoms and led to an impressive renaissance of fan-made stories and art as formerly isolated individuals now have digital spaces to meet, organize, share, and perhaps plot to overthrow the creators. Be afraid, cult writers and showrunners. Be very afraid. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far


Jul 31 2014

Giving It The Old College Try: How I Met Your Mother

Published by under Editorials,Television

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America’s favorite pastime used to be baseball, but these days it’s making fun of stuff we don’t know anything about.  I’ve never watched an episode of The Jersey Shore, but in the right company, it’s great fun to take shots at, or, more accurately, to take shots at the idea that a show with that premise could be popular at all.

But shouldn’t we at least kind of know what we’re talking about?  If we’re going to have an opinion about something, shouldn’t we have some firsthand knowledge of it?  It seems like an obvious statement, but if you listen to recordings of your everyday conversations, you’ll realize that human beings don’t necessarily need to have written multiple scholarly papers on a subject before they feel perfectly comfortable weighing in with authoritative opinions.

So, in the spirit of making this crazy world make a little more sense, I’ve taken it upon myself to inform myself of something I have an opinion on, but have never actually experienced: How I Met Your Mother

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2 responses so far


Jul 30 2014

Where Does Nintendo Go from Here?

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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The Nintendo 3DS has slowly trudged its way back uphill thanks to a desperate price cut and building a slow momentum of quality titles. While the Wii U could eventually end up in a similar situation, all investors see now is a scary record of weak sales and next to no market presence.

Nintendo now finds itself under the scrutiny of millions of anticipatory eyes, who point to several quarters of losses and want to know what’s to be done about it. Responding at this year’s E3 in typical fashion, Nintendo tantalized long-term fans with announcements for supplements to venerable franchises like Mario, Zelda, and even a new, fun-looking IP, Splatoon.

But will this be enough? Can Mario Kart 8 and a Super Smash Bros. game they haven’t bothered to give a title to encourage people to pay attention to the wayward system and boost sales numbers?

Nintendo has always banked on the strength of their first-party titles to convince people that a console is worth the price of admission, but those purchase decisions were typically bolstered by confidence that more games than a once-every-three years Zelda title will show up. They have also been accused in the past of merely upcycling older games to work on the new consoles, rather than boldly staking out new, creative IPs.

So what is Nintendo to do? Here are some realistic possibilities for their future, and why those may or may not happen… Continue Reading »

8 responses so far


Jul 28 2014

Video Games are Better Without the Hype

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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San Diego Comic Con was on everyone’s radar recently and I was expecting to go crazy for it too. I normally eye livestreams, social media pages, and what not during events like these. However, it’s strange how I let the weekend by without paying attention to any of the news that came out. I only found out about stuff through my Facebook feed or my friends. Promise of information about my favorite games didn’t do much either. I was satisfied knowing in my own way and in my own time. I even stopped looking for The Sims 4 news almost every day even if I love the franchise to pieces.

Sometimes you can appreciate games more the less you know about it…

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4 responses so far


Jul 24 2014

Kill La Kill and Anime’s Fanservice Industry

Published by under Editorials,Television

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Japanese animation is an entertainment medium that’s often associated with geek man-children in spite of the fact that it often features complex stories with themes and metaphors that dwarfs most of what we consider adult entertainment here in America. Part of it is the lingering fallacy that anything animated must be for kids, but there’s more; specifically anime’s preoccupation with female anatomy. Bouncing bosoms of bodacious bulk and predictably polarizing portrayals of puerile pantyshots often turn viewers off of the excellent stories and characters. But is it really inherently wrong or immature to portray the human body in such a way?

Enter Kill La Kill, one of the anime hits of the moment and another instance of an overseas animated property being snatched up for streaming on the forever-ahead-of-the-curve Netflix prior to being dubbed in English (Attack on Titan was previously alone in that honor). Watching the early episodes of the show, it appeared to have been literally designed to both mock and celebrate some of the most damaging anime stereotypes: the ridiculously over-the-top action, the overly serious characters, the overly wacky characters, and yeah, the fashion choices of female characters.

Dressing women up in the most revealing of clothing and/or putting them in the most compromising position with the viewer given the most advantageous view is typical here. Naturally, there are plenty who don’t take kindly to this practice. Kill La Kill sets itself up as a self-aware parade of these kinds of tropes, but as the story finishes, it accomplishes more than it’s willing to give itself credit  for in terms of providing context for this argument. Continue Reading »

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Jul 23 2014

What an Open World Could Mean for the Zelda Series

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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Nintendo games are a bit like Mom’s cooking. You can criticize it behind their back all you want, but as soon as you smell something familiar cooking up, your mouth inevitably starts to water.

Case in point – the announcement of a completely new Zelda game for the Wii U. Everyone, myself included, freaked out when they saw this breath-taking trailer. People have been taking potshots at the core Zelda mechanics for years, but now that a shiny new one has been teased, hope yet again springs eternal.

This reaction occurs because no matter how much people want to bitch about Zelda, it’s still Zelda …dammit. The series produced some of the most refined, fun, and art-driven games ever created on God’s green earth, and it’s only by examining the amazing qualities of some Zelda titles that the others may appear inferior.

That legacy has led to early extreme hype surrounding the new Zelda for Wii U. Series director Eiji Aonuma promises a return to the exploration of the older titles, as well as a commitment to toning back the incessant nagging and interminable tutorials.

These factors, however, aren’t exciting in and of themselves. Most of us have played Skyrim, loved it, then found ourselves wanting more variety from the content. While this feeling wasn’t enough to keep me from playing Skyrim for countless hours (I just started a new character), it does bring to light that Nintendo’s announcement isn’t exciting because there’s going to be another quest-driven, open-exploration fantasy game, but because a Zelda game is going to have these things.

So why does the gaming community and press have such high hopes for introducing an open world to the Legend of Zelda series? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out how this anticipation translates to what changes people are really asking for… Continue Reading »

2 responses so far


Jul 17 2014

Where True Blood Went Wrong

Published by under Editorials,Television

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You know, it doesn’t seem so long ago that HBO’s supernatural sex and violence fest was the toast of geektown. A best-selling series of books to draw from, the HBO pedigree, an original vampire mythology that didn’t completely defang our favorite creatures of the night, and a great cast; what more could you ask for? Some bizarre spoilers from throughout the series will be present. I’m not sure anyone still cares, or if non-viewers will even believe them when they read them, but just in case, here’s your warning.

Season one was pretty much an entertainment masterpiece. Reworking and expanding on Charlaine Harris’ novel Dead Until Dark, True Blood managed to perform one of the rarest of feats; an adaptation that surpassed the original work. While the novels focus exclusively on psychic heroine Sookie Stackhouse’s point of view, the writers crafted an outstanding ensemble cast, expanding existing characters who were barely in the novels into fan favorites along with some originals and adding in political subtexts without harming the story’s original narrative. And people loved it.

But the love affair didn’t last long. By the time Game of Thrones came along, people had stopped speaking of True Blood with excitement. In fact, scorn is probably a better word for the typical reaction. But the best word for how people felt about the show was the unkindest one of all: indifference. People may pretend it’s because vampires are out or play the maturity card as if the new hotness wasn’t just as full of unnecessary nudity and violence. But let’s look at the real reasons why True Blood is in its last season and nobody cares.      Continue Reading »

9 responses so far


Jul 14 2014

A Non-Sports Fan’s Love for Sports Video Games

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

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We all know that October is THE month for games this year. When people ask me what games I’m looking forward to the most for that month, they always find my answer to be unusual. I’m actually really excited for NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K15. The only other game that matches my level of anticipation would be Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s funny how people assume that I’m a huge sports fan especially since I play basketball, wrestling, volleyball and boxing video games. I do enjoy watching these sports on TV and sometimes live as well. However, I’m not as addicted to the real life thing as I am towards its video games. I don’t watch every single game on TV or spew out predictions based on stats. I’m not that kind of fan. I’m more mainstream and I’m not shy to admit that I only watch “key” games or if it’s the finals/tournament.

I get that people are wondering how one could enjoy sports games if they aren’t big fans in real life. To be fair, I did say that I’m a fan to a certain degree though. Anyway, there are a lot of elements that even non-sports fans will love in games like NBA 2K15, Fight Night and many others. A lot of people have written articles about one of these elements as well. There’s something in these games that appeal to everyone whether or not you are a sports enthusiast. This is something developers kept in mind whenever they made their games. Who wouldn’t want more people to play their games?

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4 responses so far


Jul 14 2014

Alright, Alright, Alright: An Examination on The Evolution of Matthew McConaughey’s Career

Published by under Editorials,Movies

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If there is an actor in the last decade who has has undergone a more impressive evolution than Matthew McConaughey, I do not know who that is. Where once, he was known as the “shirtless wonder” (I feel compelled to tell you he was never known as that. I just made it up because it felt right) and his roles primarily consisted of him looking handsome and wooing Kate Hudson or some cinematic variation thereof. It was movie making at its most trite. But McConaughey was smart, even back then. He knew he could ride the coat tails of handsomocity for a while, and did that. But he was biding his time during that period. He knew what he was capable of, and on a few occasions, we saw hints of that as well. But he needed to earn his stripes, and the way he did that was very interesting, and rather brilliant when you look at it from a distance. That is just what we will do here. Take a look at the evolution of Matthew McConaughey’s career. From stoner cliche’ to master craftsman (who is probably still stoned.)

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5 responses so far


Jul 09 2014

Why Haven’t You Seen It: Cheap Thrills

Published by under Columns,Editorials,Movies

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I know Cheap Thrills came out last year, and normally, I like to actually give people the time to see a movie before I dare ask them why haven’t they seen it. But Cheap Thrills was a bold enough ride that I want to bring as much attention to it as I can while it can still reap some of the benefits of that. Before I tell you about the film, let me ask you something. How far would you be willing to go once you hit rock bottom to ensure you didn’t stay there? Would you be willing to embarrass yourself? Hurt yourself? Maybe hurt someone else? This is the question that Cheap Thrills so boldly asks of its viewers. It is uncomfortable, hilarious, disturbing, and unforgettable. Kinda like life. Actually, a little TOO MUCH like my life right now, truth be told.

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Jul 08 2014

The Baddest Bad – Picking Pop Culture’s Best of the Worst

Published by under Debate,Editorials,Movies

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Everyone loves a bad guy.

Villains from all walks of popular culture have always held a special, strange little pocket of ours hearts hostage as we willingly and warmly watch them commit evil. In real life, we condemn our Bin Ladens and Pol Pot, but how many Jokers do you see every Halloween? The fictional fiends get away with being bastards, and we love them for it.

So the question becomes who’s the greatest? Since that’s one of the many unanswerable pop culture questions, instead let’s break it down into groups. Tropes and trends are common place across all entertainment, so I believe we’re justified in isolating particular groups to see who really is the biggest, baddest baddies of all. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far


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