Adventure Time, BMO and the Networked Self

This is a revised version of a paper that I originally wrote for a class on New Media and Culture, taught by Dr. Paul Booth at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Since this was written, Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard of Dominican University has come on board as a co-author, and we are currently in the process of revising this paper with an eye towards publication. Additionally, we will be presenting a version of this paper at the upcoming CSCA annual conference scheduled to take place April 2 – 6, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. We are interested in getting feedback on this paper, so we would appreciate any and all comments people might have to offer. However, because this paper is incomplete and not currently published in any journals, we would ask that if you want to quote it or cite it in any way, please contact us for permission first. Thank you.

A COMPUTER BOY OR A COMPUTER GIRL?: ADVENTURE TIME, BMO AND THE NETWORKED SELF

INTRODUCTION

With episodes like “Fionna and Cake” (Season 3, episode 9) or its follow-up “Bad Little Boy” (Season 5, episode 11), the cultish animated series Adventure Time (2010-current) tackles issues of gender head on; by swapping female characters for male characters and vice versa, the show highlights the fact that gender is not fixed, and serves to “underline the arbitrariness of gender and reveal its symbolic as opposed to its biological function” (Morse, 2001, p. 27). This, along with an emphasis on strong female characters like “Marceline and Princess Bubblegum helped make Adventure Time a hit with female viewers, giving girls two distinctive characters to connect with” (Sava, 2013, online). Indeed, “the series becomes something more when it begins to focus on Finn’s relationships with the women around him,” and it conveys lessons through “morality tales that avoid being overly preachy by teaching values in wildly ludicrous circumstances” (Sava, 2013, online). Thus, Adventure Time is able to transcend the notions of gender that are often coded into children’s programming, despite the fact that both of the central characters are male (Jake the dog and Finn the human). Furthermore, the series conforms to Matt Hills’ (2004) definition of cult television in a number of ways, and thus it is also able to cross generational lines as easily as it crosses gender lines.

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Feminist tensions in exorcism cinema, Part 1: The Exorcist (1973)

I am currently collaborating on a project with Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard of Dominican University, in which we propose to examine the feminist tensions that exist within what we are calling exorcism cinema. In her latest blog post, Dr. Reinhard discusses The Exorcist (1973, dir. William Friedkin), which is arguably the most famous exorcism film, and the one that is almost solely responsible for establishing the genre in the first place.

“As previously mentioned, we could not do this project without considering the series of movies that began with William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist, released by Warner Brothers and based on William Peter Blatty’s bestselling 1971 novel. I had only seen the movie once before, and it is one of Chris favorites. We watched the Extended Director’s Cut that was released in 2000. Before seeing the movie, I had read a more recent edition of the novel, which included more scenes that had originally been edited out.”

You can read more at Dr. Reinhard’s blog right here.

A Brief History of Postwar Japanese Cinema

This post is based on a presentation I put together for Dr. Michael DeAngelis‘ Cinema of Peace class that was taught at DePaul University during the winter 2013 quater. It is simply meant to serve as a brief introduction into the history of postwar Japanese cinema, and is in no way comprehensive. Any factual errors are mine and mine alone, and I welcome any and all corrections, along with any other feedback you wish to provide. Thank you.

POSTWAR JAPANESE CINEMA: REMEMBRANCE, UNDERSTANDING, AND THE PAINFUL ART OF HEALING

INTRODUCTION

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II were atrocities that would have lasting effects upon the nation of Japan and its people for decades afterward. According to Clif Ganyard, “Japan is still the only nation to have experienced a nuclear attack and so it is really the first and only post-nuclear, post-apocalyptic society.” Similarly, Mick Broderick (1996) asserts that “Hiroshima and Nagasaki evoke powerful and sombre associations of holocaust and apocalypse, a microcosm of the twentieth century’s staging ground for a global nuclear war” (p. 2). This becomes evident when looking at Japan’s national cinema; movies produced in Japan often explore the trauma that resulted from the atomic bomb attacks, even when they aren’t explicitly about the event. This post will serve as a a brief examination of Postwar Japanese cinema, with a particular focus on the themes of remembrance, understanding and healing that have been evident in Japanese films since around the end of World War II in 1945.

Continue reading “A Brief History of Postwar Japanese Cinema”