AN ANGRY WOMAN READS AUSTEN

Elise Walter | October 12, 2018
I left Washington DC with relief and regret.
Relief to escape the relentless, oppressive landscape of a new political reality, and regret that I was running away from a fight. The rights and dignity of so many people were–are–being stripped away, day by day. I was and remain furious. How could I justify abandoning my work to study literature, when everything else was burning? What good does reading Jane Austen do?

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Show, don’t Tell: the Representation of Homoeroticism in the Movie Dorian Gray

Maja Petek | October 8, 2018
What comes to mind when hearing about Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)? It is probably not the flowery language or witty social commentary, but the homoeroticism present throughout the novel, especially in the portrayal of the friendship between male characters. The implicit homoeroticism of the novel was greatly augmented in the latest reincarnation of the story, the movie Dorian Gray (2009). Directed by Oliver Parker and starring Colin Firth as Lord Henry and Ben Barnes as Dorian, the movie failed to attract a lasting audience, despite adapting Wilde’s subtlety to the modern audience’s demands for sensation. Despite the unfiltered portrayal of sexual exploits, the emotional connection between the characters, especially between the painter Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) and Dorian Gray, which builds the backbone of the story, is never addressed.  

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Recomposing Caesuras: The Silent Creativity of Sounds in A Quiet Place

Alexandra Huang | August 8, 2018
Ghastly verisimilar, aurally suffocating, and acoustically pioneering, John Krasinski’s sci-fi thriller A Quiet Place (2018) enacts the post-apocalyptic survival story revolving around the families of Lee and Evelyn (played by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt). Entangled in a fatal hide-and-seek human hunt in an unidentified wasteland set in America, the eerily predatory monsters attempt to trace the protagonists by utilizing auditory clues to target their prey across the ravaged planet. Witnessing the tragic deprivation of their youngest child by the reptilic monstrosities, the family is reduced to a miserable, quasi-mimical way of life against the backdrop of elegiac, death-like silence.

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When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do

Julian Menjivar | July 23, 2018
I was inspired to write this piece from a conversation I had with my parents. I’ve always trusted their wisdom, and most of their experiences and stories have served me well in my life. We share similarities, yet we also have our own differences, some more evident than others. The particular conversation that came to mind was about the way I present myself. We argued about how what one wears, how one acts, and how the ways in which one is perceived matter a great deal in any culture and almost all of society. I found some points unjustifiable and illogical, yet I could also understand the perspective of my parents.

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Handle with Care: Representing Chinese Factory Workers

Penny Wang | June 11, 2018
Stories about the miseries of Chinese factory workers have been regarded in the West as welcome gestures against the dehumanising globalised market economy to which China has submitted itself. These expository accounts have been applauded as signs of critical reflections against the silence imposed by the Chinese government—a government the Western media label as authoritarian and indifferent to the lower-income populations victimised by its profit-oriented policies. Much as I appreciate the necessity of such exposés, either through reports or slightly fictionalised accounts, I usually find these narratives deeply problematic. Taking an event I recently attended as an example—a screening of the short film Before Christmas directed by Chuyao He on 11 May at Edinburgh Printmakers (part of the Edinburgh Short Film Festival), I would like to examine exactly what is wrong with these representations.

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Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America and the Recurring History

Sini Eikonsalo | May 31, 2018
Philip Roth, a canonical American writer, died recently at the age of 85, leaving behind a vast array of novels, the most popular probably being his Pulitzer-winning American Pastoral (1997). However, it is The Plot Against America (2004) that has been in the public interest for the past couple of years and now with the news of Roth’s death.

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Models of Capitalist Subversion: Hip Hop or Rock?

Tomas Vergara | May 30, 2018

On the 5th of May of 2018 Gibson, one of the most emblematic guitar manufacturers, announced bankruptcy. An interesting aspect of this event, beyond its economic repercussions on the music industry, is its cultural significance. It marks the decline of rock and guitar-based music, once the dominant musical genre. Gibson’s bankruptcy opens several symptomatic questions concerning the role of music in contemporary capitalist culture: What does this shift in musical taste reflect about the dynamics of capitalist culture? Does it signal the emergence of new ideological apparatuses no longer compatible with rock music? 

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