Please Leave the ‘Me’ Out of Your ‘Apology’

Mary A. Pura | November 22, 2017
In a speech given in 2004 at The University of Massachusetts Boston, the late Dr. Andrew Lazare, a leading authority on the psychology of shame, humiliation and apology, had this to say about the nature of apology:

“Apology is more than an acknowledgment of an offense together with an expression of remorse. It is an ongoing commitment by the offending party to change his or her behavior. It is a particular way of resolving conflicts other than by arguing over who is bigger and better.”

Unfortunately there has been a failure in our society to adopt this important formula, especially in the context of sexual harassment.

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Trading One War Zone for Another: Daredevil’s Punisher and Violence in the City

Patricia Ng | November 22, 2017
The Punisher couldn’t have returned to Netflix at a better time. With a series of incidents involving gun violence in the past few months and the debate over gun control roaming the air, the famous Marvel anti-hero becomes an even more controversial figure. Yet, it is precisely because of the situation in America now that Frank Castle’s reappearance needs special attention.

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Netflix’s Alias Grace and Female Testimony

Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | November 20, 2017
Netflix’s Alias Grace (2017) is the second series to be released this year based on one of Margaret Atwood’s novels. The six-part series is, like Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2017) before it, an unflinching depiction of women’s precarious position in society, through a defamiliarised, yet uncomfortably familiar, setting.

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Gaga: Five Foot Two – Documenting Fame and Fibromyalgia

Anna Kemball | November 20, 2017
Microphone in hand, her bejewelled boots dangling, Lady Gaga rises into the heights of the NGR Stadium to rehearse an aerial performance in her Super Bowl halftime show. Rising higher, out of the camera’s focus, the singer disappears from view as a choir is heard singing Kaval Sviri (better known as the fight theme of Xena: Warrior Princess). So begins Gaga: Five Foot Two, a feature-length Netflix documentary. Although the documentary covers the release of Joanne, Gaga’s latest album, and her Super Bowl performance, reviews have focused on the coverage of her fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a long term condition characterised by widespread pain, fatigue and other symptoms. The name alone – referring to the singer’s height – suggests our focus should be on Gaga’s physicality as we watch Gaga: Five Foot Two. On the face of it, documentary coverage of FMS is a much-needed representation of an “invisible disability” that affects around 1 in 20. Making the condition “visible” must surely be a good thing, right?

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Development Work as Another Form of Imperial Intervention?

Jule Lenzen | November 20, 2017
The Western World seems to be notorious in the way it constantly tries to ‘help’ so-called ‘under-developed countries’. Often, I can’t help thinking that this way of behaving is simply an echo of colonial motifs and imperialist ideas, still at work in our world today.
Therefore I ask: Is it right to send so-called development work to these countries in question? Is it not a way of internalizing the idea of a superior West? But on the other hand, is the West, exactly through its colonial intervention in those very countries it now sends development aid to, not responsible for the state these countries are in? Should it therefore not be held accountable for its actions in the past?

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Naming the actors of violence

Sonia García de Alba | November 6, 2017
The Las Vegas shooting earlier this October was among the latest of the increasingly violent outbreaks that have taken place in the United States. As we seek to comprehend the underlying motivations behind the escalation of violence, we face the issue of describing and characterising those who commit these acts.

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Married but not a Mrs: Planning a Catholic Wedding as a Feminist

Harriet MacMillan | November 6, 2017
I first identified as a feminist in the playground at the age of 10. “I bet you’re a ‘feminist’,” sneered a male pursuer, his insult not quite hitting the mark as I replied “Yeah, so what?”. It made utter sense to me – from an early fascination with the Suffragettes to saving up tokens to buy my Usborne Book of Famous Women at the Scholastic Book Fair. Of course I was a feminist. My confidence in that identification only grew as my understanding of what feminism meant developed.

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Storytelling: Finding Humanity in Difference, and Difference as Humanity

Madison Pollack | November 6, 2017
The cartoonist Liana Finck recently published an article online called “Love Song,” where she worked through the issue of whether or not to post sketches about her relationship publically. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Finck has garnered a following on Instagram by posting autobiographical cartoons of her interpretations of moments on the subway, in coffee shops, and, often, in love. In “Love Song,” Finck writes that her cartoons are her “way of taking my story back from strangers on the street—and men I’d met on dating apps—who saw me as a minor character, if they saw me at all.” Finck’s Instagram is not merely a view into the artist’s inner life: it is her desperate and universal plea to be recognized as having one at all. By giving her inner workings a public platform, Finck enables herself to reclaim subjecthood in a world that is constantly taking it away from her.

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Communicating the Upside Down: Meaning Making and Semiotics in Netflix’s Stranger Things

Anahit Behrooz | November 6, 2017
At its heart, Stranger Things is about tension: the tension between the normal and the weird, the familiar and the unfamiliar, the known and the strange. The normal and the familiar are established through the show’s primary setting – the small, quintessentially American town of Hawkins, where everyone knows everyone, children can play outdoors and, according to the town’s chief of police, Jim Hopper, the worst thing to ever happen was an owl flying at a citizen’s head. This familiarity is reinforced on an extradiegetic level through the numerous intertextual references to numerous works of 80’s sci-fi genre fiction, which provide a network of signifiers that make Stranger Things immediately readable and accessible. At the other extreme, events happen throughout the show to destabilise this familiarity.

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The Hostile Environment: Policing International Students

Vivek Santayana | October 23, 2017
International students have a lot of hoops to jump through. In keeping with its sponsorship requirements, the university has been monitoring my attendance to all my classes very strictly ever since I was an undergraduate. I am required to attend a census of students on a Tier 4 visa every couple of months. I have had to pay £700 upfront as a mandatory NHS surcharge as part of my visa application. Moreover, landlords in England are required to check the immigration status of their tenants prior to letting to them. This hasn’t yet been rolled out to Scotland officially yet, but that doesn’t stop letting agencies from asking me to give proof of my immigration status, arbitrarily charging me twice the stipulated deposit on a flat, or simply choosing to let to a British citizen instead to avoid any hassle. Starting January 2018, banks will start monitoring accounts and freezing those held by people whom the Home Office identifies as overstayers. All of this is in line with the Home Office’s policy to create a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants in order to curb irregular migration.

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