Altered Carbon: On living forever

Have you ever wondered if you could have eternal life? Netflix’s dystopian science fiction TV series, Altered Carbon, tells us that immortality is possible in a way if our consciousness can be stored digitally and be implanted into a new body. But if we pay heed to the epigraph in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, we will find that immortality may not necessarily be a good thing.

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Antidepressants after Prozac Nation

Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | 10th July 2017.

Twenty-three years after the publication of American author Elizabeth Wurtzel’s memoir entitled Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America (1994), public opinion about antidepressants is still as rife with misconceptions, fear, and judgement, as it was when Wurtzel was first prescribed medication to manage her persistent and devastating depression. Writing in what is now a significant traditional of women’s narratives of mental illness— including Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (1963), Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Marya Hornbacher’s Madness (2008)—  Wurtzel details the brutal development of her depression from early adolescence into adulthood, and notes the rise in illnesses such as hers across the country.

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A Few Reasons Why Not

Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | 1 May 2017

[tw: discussions of suicide and rape]

Netflix’ recent series, 13 Reasons Why, has been subject to a wide chasm in reception. The story follows a teenage boy, Clay, as he listens to the tapes left by his friend and love interest Hannah, detailing the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. The show depicts Hannah’s fights with friends, her parents’ financial troubles, her experiences of bullying, misogyny, and rape by fellow students, and, very graphically, her suicide. Given this wide chasm, what are some of the main critiques of the show and what problems does it engender?

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United We Shall Eat/Read: A Bite of China in the Printed Form

Chienwei Pan | 9 January 2017

To begin, let me share a photo I took when I first visited the Confucius Institute for Scotland. As one can see in the picture, three books are arranged with deliberate care, with Shejian shang de Zhongguo (A Bite of China, 2012) displayed in front of the book-length Introduction to the Confucius Institute (2010) and accompanied by Kongzi mingyan lu (The Famous Remarks of Confucius, 2006).

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Morbid Curiosity – Sorrentino’s Ironic Pope

12th December 2016 | Eszter Simor.

Why are we so obsessed with scandalous news pieces? Paolo Sorrentino’s new television series, “The Young Pope” (2016), stars Jude Law playing a fictional Pope Pius XIII. It contemplates power and faith but at the same time, satisfies a morbid curiosity about death, sex and corruption. Just like Pope Francis, Sorrentino’s fictional pope also uses the media in a very conscious manner, but he chooses entirely different tactics…

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