I Meme You No Harm

Josh Simpson | 6 February 2017

Memes. We’ve all liked them, shared them, maybe even created them: those images, videos, and texts that are humorous (or at least attempt to be). They’ve replaced, in the online world, the editorial cartoons of print newspapers and journals. They are made to become viral in a time when “140 characters” seems more a description of our attention span than of Twitter’s prescribed limits and increasing amounts of information are crowding the real estate of our screens.

Let’s talk about the more serious aspect of memes (don’t groan). Do they desensitise us to the real issues behind all the jokes? Are they responsible for the recent proliferation of #fakenews and “alternative facts,” formerly known as lies?

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Sick Women and Living a Good Life in 2017

Sarah Stewart | 6 February 2017

At the closing of what my Facebook feed has collectively termed the ‘garbage fire of 2016’ and the consequent mass proffering of narratives to get through and beyond it, Achille Mbembe offered grave discomfort. Perhaps this is hardly surprising coming from the first person to think through the term necropolitics, the idea that, in modernity, ultimate sovereignty rests ‘in the power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die’ (Necropolitics). The concept does seem in keeping with the now-crashing visibility of the damage systemic racism, ableism, homophobia and sexism enable (brought to you by the 2016 Brexit Leave campaign and the POTUS-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, to list but a few).

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The Crown and the Cost: The Royal Family, Pop Culture, and ‘Value for Money’

Ruby Katz | 23 January 2017

The British Monarchy. With its tumultuous history of fame, fortune, and infamy, it’s safe to say this royal entity has withstood a lot. Obviously, things have changed over the years and power has shifted from the family to the government, a process beginning with the reading of the Magna Carta and continuing with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Bill of Rights Act of 1689, and the Act of Settlement in 1701. A constitutional monarchy, the royals act as head of state, with their role considered “politically neutral”, and by convention “largely ceremonial” [1]. The role of the royal is to serve as an embodiment of the nation, more a symbol for nationalism than a force of rule. The United Kingdom has therefore emerged a hybrid of democracy and family, giving a thorough nod to its royals as an outmoded yet still sustained institution.

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From ‘A New Hope’ to ‘Rogue One’: A Successful Star Wars Adaptation to Current Political Climates

Erden Göktepe | 9th January 2017.

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)

The original Star Wars is a romantic and epic space opera with stunning visual effects, but at the end of the day, it is still an essentially political saga. It is a heroic mainstream statement of the fight against corruption, totalitarianism and injustice. When I first watched A New Hope in the 1980s, though, it was not the political aspect which swept me away from the Aegean small-city life I used to live. Star Wars invited me to travel to different worlds full of creatures in all shapes and sizes. To me, it was a truly romantic story with marvellous music that spoke to my emotions, while politics operated in the background.

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Trumpocalypse Now: Musings on what lies ahead

Vicki Madden | 9th January 2017.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I considered the US home. I’ve always felt as American as apple pie, but there’s just something about “going home” that scares me these days. An uncanny feeling of estrangement hits me every time I’m driving around unfamiliar roads in my hometown, getting lost amongst cookie cutter suburban houses. But it’s not just the topography that’s alien to me now. It’s the entire “feel” of the country. The mere fact that my foreign service dad feels it’s necessary to point out all the exits in the cinema lest a gunman should walk in makes me feel like I could never live in the States again.

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Under the Shadow: Never-Ending Nightmares of Bogeymen

14 November 2016 | Erden Göktepe.

Watching a powerful horror film like Under the Shadow is weirdly timely considering the alarming result of the 2016 US Elections. I do not know about you, but I am confronted every single day with nauseating media images of an unrelenting system filled with inconsistent and fallacious political promises. Maybe it’s due to my Middle Eastern background, but the potentially devastating repercussions of the US elections are haunting me like my childhood nightmares. I dream of faceless ghosts coming down from the cracks in the walls just like the ones used by Babak Anvari, the British director of Iranian descent responsible for Under the Shadow. This film is the first to depict the Iran-Iraq War in a horror genre, and it’s Anvari’s first feature-length movie.

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Keep Calm and Stay Tolerant: Engaging with Trump Supporters

16 October 2016 | Scheherazade Khan. ‘Tolerance’ is one of those words that gets thrown around frequently. But what does it really mean? At the risk of sounding overly academic, I refer to the Oxford English Dictionary definition of tolerance: “the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others.” While tolerance to the “practices of others” is highly emphasised in day-to-day discourse, I feel as though the significance of being “indulgent to the opinions” of others has diminished in our current understanding of tolerance. Instead, there is a tendency to force an ascription to what appears to be the morally correct viewpoint, particularly in a university environment where the majority leaning is decidedly liberal. Yet isn’t this a form of intolerance against the morals and opinions of others?

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