The Morality of Superheroes

Dr. CarrieLynn D. Reinhard contemplates the morality of superheroes in this thoughtful piece she presented at Dominican University on Nov. 6, 2014. She looks at how the technological and scientific origins of superheroes impact the characters’ moral compasses, and how they come to represent our own relationship with science and technology. If you have any interest in superheroes, this post is well worth checking out. Click here to visit Dr. Reinhard’s blog and read the post.

 

Fantasy, Fairy Tales and Female Sexuality in Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Coraline

This is an edited transcript of a presentation I gave at the Midwest Popular Culture Association conference that took place Oct 11-13 in St. Louis, MO.  I am currently in the early stages of revising it for publication, and hope to start sending it out to journals early next year.  As always, I welcome any and all feedback and comments on the ideas presented within. Also, because this paper is incomplete and not currently published in any journals, I would ask that if you want to quote it or cite it in any way, please contact me for permission first. Thank you.

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, INTO THE FALLOPIAN TREE, AND THROUGH THE VAGINAL TUNNEL: FANTASY, FAIRY TALES, AND FEMALE SEXUALITY IN SPIRITED AWAY, PAN’S LABYRINTH AND CORALINE

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865), the films Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001), Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006), and Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009) all feature stories in which young girls enter a new world of adult responsibilities and concerns, and are guided on their journeys through these worlds by an older male character. All three films use fairy tales and fantasy tropes to explore the various challenges and opportunities faced by the female protagonists as they navigate both their emergent sexuality, and the tensions that exist between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Continue reading “Fantasy, Fairy Tales and Female Sexuality in Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Coraline”

That time I was on the Director’s Club Podcast…

So a couple weeks back, I was asked to appear on the excellent Director’s Club Podcast (hosted by Patrick Ripoll and Jim Laczkowski) to talk about one of my very favorite filmmakers, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives).  We focused primarily on Pusher and Bronson, but also managed to cover pretty much all of Refn’s films in the process.  Along the way, we discuss everything from Quantum Leap to Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner to Bowfinger to House Party 2: The Pajama Jammy Jam.  I’m pretty proud of my appearance on the show, and very grateful to both Patrick and Jim for letting me come on to gush about one of the most exciting and polarizing directors working today.  So if you haven’t already done so (or even if you have, and just want to do it again), you can check it out right here.

Let me in and I’ll get physical: Virtual bands, Vocaloids, and the Networked Self

So for my first official post, I thought I would share this short paper that I wrote for a class on New Media and Culture, taught by Dr. Paul Booth at DePaul University in Chicago, IL.  The paper looks at how virtual bands and vocaloid performers represent what Zizi Papacharissi refers to as the networked self, primarily because they highlight the fluidity of gender, the performative aspects of identity, and the flexible nature of reality itself, all of which are important factors in the conception of a networked self.  I would like to expand the paper, and in the process devote more time to the discussion of Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloid performers.  Additionally, I would like to bring in more scholarship on fan studies to back up some of the assumptions made in the paper (particularly the one about fans negotiating and renegotiating their identities through fannish activities).  Therefore, I feel like I could draw upon Henry Jenkins, Nicholle Lamerichs, Scott Duchesne, and/or Booth, and that this would lend more support to the argument overall.  Anyway, I’m looking for feedback on this one, so I would appreciate any and all comments people might have to offer. Also, because this paper is incomplete and not currently published in any journals, I would ask that if you want to quote it or cite it in any way, please contact me for permission first. Thank you.

LET ME IN AND I’LL GET PHYSICAL: VIRTUAL BANDS, VOCALOIDS, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NETWORKED SELF

Abstract:  The rise of the Internet has led what Zizi Papacharissi (2013) refers to as a networked self.  According to Papacharissi people construct their identities in relation to information received from other individuals, particularly through the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  This concept could also be applied to virtual and digital characters, particularly those that become the focus of fandoms and fannish activities which impose a constructed identity upon these artificially created beings.  Virtual bands and Vocaloid performers embody the notion of the networked self, as they represent a confluence of concepts that are inherent to its conception.  These include the fluidity of identity, the performative aspects of gender, and the flexible nature of reality itself.  This paper will focus on the characters of Cherry, the lead singer of the virtual band Studio Killers, and Hatsune Miku, a Vocaloid performer developed by Crypton Future Media.  It will examine how both of these characters embody the idea of a networked self that results when fans engage in various fan activities that lead to the generation of a wholly constructed identity that is constantly being reevaluted through the act of negotiation and networking.

Continue reading “Let me in and I’ll get physical: Virtual bands, Vocaloids, and the Networked Self”

Let’s give this whole blogging thing another shot…

Okay, so I’ve been told that it’s probably a good idea for me to set up a blog so that I can get all of my academic type musings out into the world.  Well, this is it.  I tried blogging once before, and sort of got bored with it after about a week, so we’ll see if I can stick with it this time around.