We’ve hit mid-December and thus the ‘X of the Year’ lists are starting to trickle out. It’s likely you’ve asked and/ or will be asked “What’s your favourite X of the year?”, and after some thought you’ll give a top three or so. Games in particular seem to be the medium of choice for these sorts of questions, or at least the most visible to me. At which point point things start to get a little weird, and in more ways than one. I understand why these lists are made: as December is when we remember January-August happened, and like to look back at that far away time fondly. However these lists are made hastily, premature, and marketed in an absurd fashion. It’s not so much that I have a problem with these lists, but more that they’re a curiosity to me.
A large part of social psychology is the study of power, authority and obedience, within all aspects of our society. However, there is often an overlooked aspect/ lifestyle within society which is nevertheless important to many and a strong reflection of social psychologist’s concepts. BDSM can be a lifestyle, it can be the nature of a relationship or it can be a purely sexual experience. Within mainstream society it is largely portrayed as a type of extreme, dangerous sexuality involving whips, chains, leather and uniforms, and for many that is what it is. It is also a reflection of society and of our interactions.
Jane Eyre is about power, specifically the dynamics between an object and its beholder. Throughout Jane’s development both she and the men she meets will objectify her, and only at the end does she become a person. It is less a novel about romance, and more how Jane navigates the power dynamics in her life. Charlotte Brontë’s novel addresses this explicitly when addressing the Victorian taboo of idolatry, alongside subtle allusions. Power is the ability to define the situation/ reality for yourself and others, and throughout most of Jane Eyre Jane lacks the ability to define herself. When Jane does, she defines herself as a doll whose power is an illusion. The powerlessness Jane feels and her struggle to assert herself is a powerful theme, which readers over centuries have been able to relate to.
I recently had a good chat with a friend about how #GamerGate has forced those targeted to put aside their differences and present a united front against abuse. I have the utmost respect for this person and wish her well, even if our politics have drifted apart in some respects. I say this because today I published an article discussing BDSM in Kill la Kill, and mentioned I wanted to critique radical feminism, of which some friends are proponents of. However, after we talked last night and when I woke up to the news this morning I decided I will not write that article. Whatever my criticisms of radical feminism, now more than ever it’s important to underline the importance of discourse.
I haven’t been shy of admitting to my kinky side online, but it’s been something that I’ve grappled with in my life for years. To the point where I renounced it entirely earlier this year. Until I saw this anime called Kill la Kill, a show I really got into and I think I know why: it is pure joyous kink. It also got me thinking about why its fetish elements work, about depictions of rape in media, and of my own difficult history involving both. It’s a brilliant show well worth discussing that’s rekindled something within me.
Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games and its sequels are brilliant novels, that became tamed and defanged film adaptations. The Capitol was a truly threatening entity, dulled in order to attain a PG-13 Rating. This isn’t about the muted physical violence, either. It’s because the films do not understand what the Capitol is, what made it such a threat, and why made the novels matter.
On July 8th, 2014, Brazil lost by six points to Germany in a World Cup semi-final. At the same time, The International (a prestigious DOTA 2 tournament) began. One day prior, I read a very interesting article (that I will discuss later) and the day after, I read another one (ditto) which covered another aspect of competition. The GER v BRA game was the catalyst for this article, because it made me realize what the World Cup (and indeed all sports) really are: improvised drama. They’re TV dramas, they’re stage plays, and the difference between sport, e-sport, serial drama, even film and suddenly seemed non-existent. The World Cup is the Breaking Bad or Mad Men of sport. It is the top-tier entertainment that, if you’re not watching it, you at least know a dozen people who are.
While I ponder what I want to wax poetically on and analyze next, Campster’s ‘Errant Signal’ series on YouTube put up a video on Saints Row IV and ‘kitsch’. Specifically exploring how the game looks back on populist, mass produced media and explores what about them people love and why. It’s a good natured discussion on a good natured game, and a reminder of why I wanted to make a website like this in the first place. So much so that I wanted to link it here. If you want to support Errant Signal, here’s its Patreon link. I’ve been following the series for some time now and there’s some great stuff there. I particularly like his videos on Politics in Games, and Doom.
In this article I’ll be discussing the ‘Ensemble’ trope in media, where different characters have to unite due to external circumstances/ threats. Usually five to eight of them, who bring internal and interpersonal conflicts which drives the storyline. Why is this trope so common, and what makes it so effective? Who does it resonate with? Will the author have another existential crisis? We’re about to find out!
Consider this a sequel to the article I wrote on how there’s no way Fang and Vanille are straight, and then speculated on Lightning’s sexuality. Now that Lightning Returns is out, it’s worth revisitng those as we have the whole picture. Then I’ll touch briefly on Fang/ Lightning. The rest of the article is dedicated to the things I wanted to write, but that didn’t fit into the first two parts. This is the last article I’ll be doing on the XIII… For at least a month. It was never my intent for this project to look like a fansite for XIII, the timings just worked out that way.