Unsightly and Unspeakable: Naido the Subaltern in Twin Peaks Season 3

Penny Wang | February 22, 2018
I was shocked while watching the penultimate episode of the third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: the face of the only Asian-looking character—the eyeless and speechless Naido—cracked, and she was revealed to be Diane—Agent Cooper’s white secretary who only just made her first appearance in the final season in 2017. Far from being a one-time disappointment, this is only just the climax of the continuous frustrations I have experienced watching Twin Peaks’ problematic portrayal of non-white people. Considering the rather metropolitan setting of a large part of the third season, the show can no longer resort to the 90s excuse that the story is set in a tiny white town in the Northwest of the US to “exempt” itself from charges of racial discrimination and Orientalism.

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Portrait of a Lawn

Dhanya Baird | February 21, 2018
Picture in your mind’s eye the world that lies below a humble city-bee, an explorer striving to acquire food for the hive. In many places, this view would be made up of houses, large lengths of concrete, and, in my Canadian homeland and many other nations, millions upon millions of shining green patches of death – the modern lawn. For lawns, manicured, overly-watered, frequently coated with pesticides and herbicides, frequently lacking in flowers, must be as deserts to the bee, and flower beds as tiny oases.

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Egregious: Donald Trump as a Protagonist in a Great American Novel

Kiefer Holland | February 12, 2018
This rather bizarre article is, I suppose, what you’d call a “thought experiment,” the origins of which would, I’m sure, be of limited interest to the reader, and would certainly take too long to explain. All I believe it is necessary to know, is that the article is driven by the question “if Donald Trump was a fictional character in a Great American Novel, how would he be analysed?” To answer this question, I thought it would be interesting to do a piece of fictional literary analysis from the perspective of a critic fifteen years in the future, considering a book published around now, in which Donald Trump is the protagonist. The book is titled Egregious, the author’s name is, of course, A. Author.

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When She Goes Away

Ana Isabel Martinez | February 12, 2018
When I first arrived in Edinburgh, I had to stay for ten days at an Airbnb that was about a half an hour walk from the university. Every day, I had to walk up a hill and make my way through the new city. By about the third day, I started to notice some strange habits as I walked. The first was that for the first five minutes of the walk I would fuss about my clothing. I would think to myself “shirt? Ok, Hair? Fine, Pants? Maybe too tight, etc…”. The next part of the journey consisted of two things. The first was walking, staring, moving my arms and head, in a performative way. In a way that I felt looked right, attractive, or interesting.

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Romance novels: more than just a guilty pleasure

Lucy Hargrave | January 22, 2018
Has there ever been a more maligned genre than romance? Often romance novels are considered nothing more than a trashy beach read, something that should only be read while on holiday for light entertainment. They aren’t proper literature after all. Even avid romance readers will often refer to these books as their ‘guilty pleasures,’ thereby implying they shouldn’t be talked about, much less taken seriously. But what if we did take the romance genre seriously? If we strip away its reputation, what could be discovered about one of the most commercially successful genres in publishing history?

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Swipe left to patriarchy: BoJack Horseman and neoliberal feminism

Valentina Aparicio | January 22, 2018
Nowadays, for the sake of good PR, supporting diversity is a must for any company. At least on paper. However, while identity politics has fully entered the mainstream political discourse, attention to material inequality continues to be overlooked. Last week, Anahit Behrooz’s article criticised the way in which Hollywood stars have come out to support victims of sexual harassment in problematic ways, such as Connie Britton’s $380 sweater that read ‘poverty is sexist’. The truth is that in fact most of the fights of identity politics have been now co-opted by the immensely wealthy. Media corporations and tech giants continue to portray the rich as messiahs of social change, turning the economic success of one (coloured, female, LGBT) individual into proof of equality for the many, through a discourse Naomi Klein has termed ‘trickle down identity politics’. And while criticism against ‘white feminism’ proliferates in the humanities, much work is yet to be done regarding neoliberal pro-diversity feminisms.

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The Key Ingredient to the Comedy Cocktail

Christa M. Burgin | January 15, 2018
Empowerment can be conveyed in several forms. For many individuals, it thrusts and swings in the dance of music. For others, it cuts across paper in the rhythm of words. And for some, it ripples, and builds, and shakes through laughter. That is the calling of our comedians, for they have the ability to influence a vast number of people through media outlets, including Netflix specials, late-night television, and YouTube.

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Empty Words: The Politics of Performing Change

Anahit Behrouz | January 10, 2018
In an article for The Pool published the week before the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony, film critic Helen O’Hara questioned what a Hollywood awards ceremony would look like in a post-Weinstein world. O’Hara argued that although women only get 27% of the lines in the average Oscar-winning film, this year’s Golden Globes nominee list showed a progression towards a more equal awards ceremony, with numerous women and female-focused films up for consideration. As heartening as this may be, O’Hara did not delve into the question of how the mechanics of an awards ceremony in a post-Weinstein world would work, and what the optics would look like in an industry spending millions of dollars in self-congratulation during the same year that its ugly underbelly has been exposed.

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Mushi-Shi and Mental Health

Tomas Vergara | December 5, 2017

Netflix’s Mushi-Shi (2005) is a japanese anime series with a vast repertoire of philosophical and spiritual themes. The general plot of the series focuses on the travels of Ginko, an expert in creatures known as “Mushi”, from one place to another in the rural country. In each episode, Ginko encounters people who have been unconsciously hosted or influenced by these enigmatic creatures. What the series reveals about Mushi is that they differ in kind from other life forms, and that their existence is unknown to most people. Only a few people are aware of them: Ginko is one of these, a “Mushi-shi” aiming to discover more about Mushi in order to elucidate some of the enigmas concerning their existence and effects on other life forms.

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