Assessment II: Fan Fiction Essay

Commentary 

I have written this fanfiction story creating correlation with multiple aspects of Pop Genres course. Firstly, this piece of work connects with Cult TV by its mere heading. Plus, the scene where this text has come to an end, hints that a next episode would be made.  Secondly, I have used aspects of Chris Vogler’s hero’s journey. For example, from Act 1, Ordinary World, where Zara is shown that she is part of the living world which we are. Similarly, her daily routines resemble with an ordinary person’s concerns. Furthermore, Zara shows her heroic skills and by passing the threshold and amplifies herself to the greater world as to what else she is capable of. Ultimately, she has reached the innermost cave of her journey which is, to practice her profession in New Zealand. That is when she is invited by Chris, who offers her the dream job she has been desperate for. She also seizes the reward offered to her and now proceeded with the concept of The Road Back but to her surprise, something which she never expected comes out of the blues. This scene is considered to be the Climax of this story. Additionally, I have also illustrated the reality behind the treatment of women in India which, corresponds with our last two weeks of lectures around Reality TV. Nevertheless, the purpose of finishing the story at this very moment was to leave the emotion of “helplessness”, which was introduced by H.P. Lovecraft in his Cthulhu Mythos. This emotion is supposed to work as a symbol, that is to remind the reader that, even though this essay is the last piece of work I am presenting but it has its roots all the way from the beginning of this course.  

Shortland Street 

Zara Mandal came from India to New Zealand in the pursuit of a better quality of free life. By profession, she is a qualified doctor (Cardiologist) but currently drives a taxi in New Zealand. Her reason for driving a taxi was solely to acquire the adequate amount of funds which is required from her to accredit her cardiologist certification into New Zealand’s standards and to upgrade her academic qualification. Zara’s daily routine is, to get up early in the morning and shoot off from her one-bedroom apartment. Sit behind the steering wheels of her friends Toyota Prius and begin to search for customers until sunset. 

Her customers used to ask her questions such as, “how have you been?”,  

“how long have you been driving a taxi for?”, etc. while replying Back to her customers question, she also used to give them the purpose of driving a taxi and the hardships she was facing. Sometimes, there would be customers who would give Zara so much confidence and motivation in her pursuit of achievement and her ultimate goal which would kindle the fire of hope in her heart. Three months had already past from the time Zara’s arrived in New Zealand when the burning flame in Zara’s heart began to heighten.  

One day she picked a passenger from Shortland Street Hospital who told Zara to drop him off at Mission heights. Zara, oblivious of the fact that her customer was none other than the CEO of Shortland Street hospital, Chris. She turned her taxi meter on and began to drive towards Mission heights. A little conversation took place between them but nothing particular. While Zara was on her way to drop her passenger to his required destination, they happened to witness a car collide into another car which resulted in being rolled down from the over bridge into the road at the bottom. It was one of a kind accident which Zara witnessed. 

So, Zara being a doctor, always available to save others life, she stopped her vehicle and asked permission from her passenger and off she went towards the accident ground. when she reached the accident point, Zara noticed that in one of the cars there was a pregnant woman whose name read Kate on her badge. She had already died due to the severity of the accident and blood could be witnessed pouring out from the bottom part of her body. Zara shouted on top of her lungs, “Someone call 111, please” rushing towards the car which got smashed, Zara ran. There was a man who seemed to be severely injured and was breathing heavily. When Zara saw the man’s condition, she ran swiftly towards him and began to apply her medical skills on that man. Zara responded to him with such confidence in her actions and profoundly doing exactly the right steps which took Chris into amazement. He was truly fascinated and taken aback by the skills a taxi driver was conducting. A big scene was created in the time being, news media had arrived at the location and live broadcast began to take place and. After 10 minutes, they heard the siren of an ambulance, fire brigade and police heading towards the location. They hastily responded to the victims and transported them directly to the hospital. Hence, without many conversations being able to take, Zara dropped her passenger at his requested address, which was only 1 minute away and went back to work. Before Chris walked out of the car, he asked the driver, “what is your name?”, Zara replied, “Zara!”  

The following day, Zara came into Shortland Street Hospital, to find out about the condition of the patient she helped yesterday. While she was walking in the corridor, she happened to bump into the same person who was in her taxi yesterday, but only this time he was in a doctor’s outfit. “Hi, I’m Chris,” said Chris, while handing over his hand towards Zara. As Zara reached out towards his hand, she began to get a flashback of his husband back in India. She hastily retracted her hand back. This took Chris as a surprise, but he was calm. Chris asked Zara as to why was she here?  

Zara replied, “I came to see visit the man who was caught in an accident” Chris replied, “Let’s go, come with me”. They both began to walk towards the patient’s room. On the way to the room, Chris began to question Zara about who she is and how was she so bravely able to respond to yesterday’s incident. Zara was telling Chris regarding her profession and her experiences along the way. Once they reached the room, Chris asked Zara if she can meet him after she has visited that man in level 5 room number 17. Zara replied, “why do you want me there?” Chris replied, “I have great news for you” she then replied in affirmative, saying she will come.  

Back in India, Zara had a very tough life. She had a very bad experience with her previous husband. She was always tortured, abused and treated like a prostitute whenever they had intimacy. From that time, she had a very negative image resonating with males. Zara’s mother told Zara, that she would definitely find someone very caring and loving but Zara always took this prayer of her mother as a fantasy.   

Knock! Knock, Zara taps on the 17th room of the 5th floor in the hospital. Outcomes Chris opening the door from inside. Welcome! Welcome! Said Chris. “Take a seat, Zara” “How is your patient?” “my patient?”, asks Zara surprisingly. “Yes! Your patient” replied Chris. Zara’s eyes were filled with tears when she heard this statement. “You have been given the role of a Cardiologist at Shortland Street” proclaimed Chris. “No! no! this is unbelievable” replied Zara. How…? Chris told Zara, “from tomorrow you begin your work at this very hospital and if you require any assistance, which I doubt you would, I will be at your service. “But why are you doing all this for me?”, questioned Zara. Chris replied, “I don’t know, but there is something in you which speaks that you are capable of this job”. Dumbfounded, Zara says, “I have to undertake the certification accreditation done before I begin this job” Chris replied, “don’t worry, that is not a difficult task which needs to be accomplished”  

Happily, shooting off from the hospital, Zara rushes towards the main entrance of the hospital. To her surprise, she saw her husband standing at the door. What! “Aap yaha kiya kar rahe ho?” [1] Zara surprisingly asked Jav Mandal. “Main tumhe wapas lee gaa ne ke liye ayaa hun[2]” replied Zara’s husband. “Nahi[3]! This cannot happen” shouted Zara. Jav Mandal held the right hand of Zara and headed towards the exit of Shortland Street Hospital.   

Appendix 

[1] Aap yaha kiya kar rahe ho?: What are you doing here? 

[2] Main tumhe wapas lee gaa ne ke liye ayaa hun: I have come here to take you back home 

[3] Nahi!: No! 

Week Ten: Alternate histories and sci-fi doubles

Questions: What role did the I Ching play in the novel’s composition and philosophical underpinning?

Answer:

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is an alternate history novel where Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan won World War II and occupied their conquered areas of the USA. To elaborate what is meant by alternate history, “it refers to the science fictional genre which dramatize one or more historical events” (Dictionary, 2019). That is why, under the genre of Alternate history, a perception and alternative take is focused on the text rather than the reality which took place in the annals of history. Furthermore, in Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Mountfort (2018) argues that, “The Man in the High Castle is a formative example of parallel universes as a science-fiction device” (pg. 62). That is when the connection between Dick’s novel and the I Ching, an ancient Chinese fortune-telling text, is heavily influenced. Such relations discussed in this blog would be the important elements in Dick’s novel such as the novel’s composition and philosophical underpinnings.

The I Ching played a huge role in both the lives of the characters in the novel and with Philip K. Dick in the process of actually writing The Man in the High Castle. For that purposes, this could possibly be said that without the I Ching the story could not be proceeded. As a result, I Ching played a vital role in The Man in the High Castle’ s plot (Mountfort, 2016). To draw couple of examples regarding the the novel’s composition, both the author and his characters had consulted with the I Ching and asked the oracle several questions which ultimately has affected the story line and the narrative for Philip K. Dick’s novel. In the novel, Philip K. Dick consulted the oracle for inspiration and ideas for his novel; he asked about turning points in the novel and also asked questions about what should happen next to his characters and how those characters react to it and so forth. So, the I Ching was used by Dick to help develop his story in the novel also, The oracle is seen as an important aspect of the novel as it allows the readers to understand the characters more – because when those characters consult the oracle they can learn more about what is bothering or worrying them. Therefore, the I Ching is important in the sense that it “… introduces an element of chance…” in the novel and “…suggests that alternative possibilities always exist.” (Mountfort, 2016, pg 288). So, it is evident that the pure anatomy and makeup of The Man in the High Castle rely on the I Ching.

I Ching also played an extensive role in The Man in the High Castle’s philosophical underpinnings. The story itself gives readers an alternate reality as to who won the second World War (Nazi Germany and Japan) and everything else which occurred as a result of their victory (Mountfort, 2016). The philosophical elements which Philip K. Dick engages with are clearly underpinned with I Ching’s influences, for example, in reality it was the US and Russia who were locked in the Cold War corresponding to World War II in the twentieth century, but in Dick’s novel, it was Germany and Japan who were in a silent nuclear arms race. Interestingly, Germany was perceived for being more technologically advanced in the novel than the actual winning side of the World War II in reality. This notion of alternating the history was the answer Philip K. Dick was promoting. As a result, Saavedra (2015) questions the notion of psychological influences the novel was inspired as, “What is reality? Is there a real reality and a false reality? Can there truly be two realities? Philip K. Dick was enthusiastically answering these sorts of questions due to the extreme disturbance he was experiencing in his society. Not to mention the I Ching is woven into all of these circumstances, as a result of World War II. Finally, there are characters from different sides and affiliations in the novel who consult the I Ching’s philosophy.

In conclusion, through an alternate reality of the plot, The Man in the High Castle is also exploring different philosophical views which does alternate the focalization of the text.

References:

Mountfort, P. (2018). Science fiction doubles: Technologization of the doppelganger and sinister science in serial science fiction TV. Journal of Science & Popular Culture1(1), pp.59-75. doi:10.1386/jspc.1.1.59_1.

Mountfort, P. (2016). The I Ching and Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. Science Fiction Studies43(2), 287-309. Retrieved from: https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4926610-dt-content-rid 10490437_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Mountfort%202016_High%20Castle.pdf

Saavedra, J. (2015, November 19). Why The Man in the High Castle is Essential Science Fiction. Retrieved October 5, 2019, from
https://www.denofgeek.com/us/books-comics/the-man-in-the-high-castle/242951/why-the-man-in-the-high-castle-is-essential-science-fiction

Week Eleven and Twelve: Reality TV

Question:

  1. In what ways has the genre of  reality television been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes?

Answer:

To Defining Reality Television (RTV) as unscripted programmes that involve ordinary people, rather than actor is something contestable in today’s society. Today, Reality Television seem to have a blend of competition, makeovers of people, their homes and their gardens, dramatic scenes, and/or factual narratives all in one show. Ultimately, this genre tends to over fantasized the the notion of ” reality” in diverse forms of entertainment. There are two major ways that this genre has been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes. Firstly, by keeping the hungriest of viewers satisfied by presenting what is on demand being . Secondly, through production techniques of reality TV shows

The reason why reality TV has been lost could be because the audience dictates a reasonable amount of what RTV creators can successfully produce. Regardless of how good or bad a reality TV show is, ultimately, it is the audience which decides if the show is entertaining enough to keep airing on TV. Reality TV shows constantly reinvent themselves and are a mixture of different genres; one of the reasons they do this is to stay captivated to their viewers and audiences (Blitvich & Garcès, 2013). Hence, RTV shows tend to put ordinary people in unrealistic, dramatic, challenging situations – such as Survivor where the contestants are taken to an isolated island and are expected to survive without modern comforts as well as compete in sports activities. Interestingly, the RTV Survivor, itself is a combination of tabloid, competition, sports TV, tabloid, and challenges around the themes of confessional and dramatic drama. As a result, all these elements and genres are put into one reality show and thus there are various factors in the show which attract audiences and keeps them magnetized.

Secondly, the reason why Reality TV has been lost tends to be the method of production and camera techniques. RTV has roots in other more established genres such as soap opera-type media and documentary techniques. Hence from multiple genres the adaptation of today’s reality TV seem to be constructed. For that purposes, Hill (2005) states, “the development of reality TV is a great example of how television, to survive, draws upon existing genres to create a hybrid programme which eventually becomes distinct enough to be considered a genre of its own” (pg 23-24). For example, in relation to documentary-type media, modern-day reality TV uses a mixture of techniques from the USA media platforms, the French and the British television platforms. For instance, in the USA, Direct Cinema were more observational, with no analysis of what was occurring as well as more intimate. While the French Cinema Verite was more concerned with creating a relationship with the subject matter, so viewers would often see an interviewer or a camera person appearing in the shot and interacting with the subject. Similarly, in the British Cinema platform, there was an extensive focus onto mundane citizens day to day living. As a result, the influences of international early cinema and TV documentary techniques and elements are simultaneously adopted throughout the RTV spectrum. For example, the reality TV show, Cathy Come Home (which is considered as a docu-drama) correlates with early cinema and TV documentary elements and techniques. In fact, Cathy Come Home has paid actors in but it is still mimicked as a reality show due to the attention it seeks by focusing on mundane aspect of human life which is family and homelessness. Close-ups of the characters allowing the audience to feel a connection to the subjects. Finally, Lamb (2016) mentions that, “reality television has overtaken the docudrama as the most popular form of television programming combining documentary and drama” (pg 6).

To conclude, the mixture of other genres as well as the audience, play a role as to how the reality TV genre has been lost. Without a doubt, reality TV has been greatly influenced by those techniques highlighted in this blog, thus, Reality TV has become lost through this diversification and hybridization of other mixed genres.

References:

Blitvich, Garcès., P. (2013). Real Talk: Reality Television and Discourse Analysis in Action. Macmillan Limited. Retrieved from, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/aut/detail.action?docID=1588781.

Brenton, S., & Cohen, R. (2003). Shooting People: Adventures in Reality TV. New York: Verso.

Hill, A. (2005). Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television. London: Routledge.

Lamb, B. (2016). Cathy Come Off Benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. Journalism and Discourse Studies, (2), 2-21.

Week Nine: Cosplay

Question Three: What are some of the major fan convention, when did they begin and how do they differ from each other?

Answer:

Cosplay is defined by Mountfort, Peirson-Smith & Geczy, (2018) as, “a performance medium in which embodied textual citation and photographic practices come together and sometimes collide (pg.1) . Moreover, photography both documents and preconditions elements of the cosplay performance, via visual genres typically spanning those of the fashion runway, studio and ‘hallway’ shoots. Furthermore, another important terminology to be aware of is the word “cosphotography”. Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy (2018) mention, “the term for photography of cosplay is “cosphotography”” (pg.6). 

Furthermore, one of the major Fan Conventions in the Australasia is Armageddon Expo. It is a New Zealand-based pop culture convention that holds multiple events around New Zealand in cities including Auckland (began in 1995), Wellington (began in 1998) and follow ups in Tauranga and Christchurch in (began from 1997) (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Beyond Reality Media Premiere Event Management Ltd. (BRM) Is the company that runs all of the Armageddon Expo events. BRM was created back in 1995 The event is run and organised by Beyond Reality Media (BRM) since 1995 (Armageddon, 1995) . In recent years, it has evolved from its roots of comics and trading cards to showcase computer and video gaming, animation, film and television, cosplay, comics and retailers selling pop-culture merchandise . The convention hosts celebrity guests from the worlds of movies, TV shows, animation, cosplay, comics and gaming (Wikipedia, 2019). This is evident by the planned cosplay contests, tournaments and celebrity guest panels which allows fans to meet, get an autograph and attend photo sessions with their idols, just to name a few ways the event attracts people to attend it. Interestingly, Armageddon Expo is one of the largest public conventions held in New Zealand (Armageddon, 1995). This year Armageddon would be having their expo in the labour weekend, which is from the 25-28th of October 2019 at ASB Showgrounds.

Image result for armageddon convention auckland 2019

Another major fan convention is Sakura-Con. If you’re into anime, manga and comics, Sakura Con would be the number one in your bucket list. Sakura-Con is an annual three-day anime convention held during March or April in Seattle, Washington. It is hosted by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association (ANCEA) , an organisation which prides to accommodate an estimated of 25,00 in their recent 2017 Sakura Con convention. The roots of Sakura Con are the local science fiction scientists who decided in their circles that there wasn’t great exposure of anime in the society, so they decided to host the very fist Sakura convention in 1998 at the Double Tree Inn, Tukwila, Washington (Wikipedia, 2019). There are multiple similarities between Armageddon and Sakura-Con, as Sakura Con typically offers its guests plenty of fun from anime game shows, anime music video contests, collectible card gaming and cosplay contests (Chansanchai, 2007). Correspondingly, the differences between the two are, that, Armageddon has a very broad spectrum of characters cos playing in their convention and the theme is multi facet in comparison to Sakura Con, whereas Sakura Con is mainly Anime driven and influence is greatly focused on Japanese cultural arts and presentations. As a result, this is what makes Armageddon very distinct and special (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Another distinction between the two are, that Sakura Con has a charity auction called ” Make-A-Wish Foundation” which donates the sponsors and contributes money to calamities such as tsunami relief and blood drives (Chansanchai, 2007).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Seafair-Chinatown-International-District-parade.jpg

To conclude, with all of the crazy-awesome comic and anime Cosplay events around the world, there will be no shortage of fun for those who can’t get enough Cosplay. And with events all over the world, you’re sure to find one close enough to be able to get to it without too much trouble.

References:

Armageddon, (1995). General-Info:FAQs . Retrieved from https://www.armageddonexpo.com/General-Info/FAQs/

Chansanchai, A. (2007). Americans have become anime-ted. Seattle Post-Intelligence. Retrieved from, https://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/article/Americans-have-become-anime-ted-1233448.php

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom. Chicago University Press

Wikipedia, (2019). Armageddon Conventions/ Sakura-Con . Retrieved from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armageddon_(convention)

Week Eight: Anime

Question Six: In what ways is Nausicaä intended as a warning, and what attitudes does it express towards humanity, nature and the future?

Answer:

Before I begin to answer the selected question, allow me to introduce Anime. Japanese animation, or “anime”, usually referred with both the names in Japan and the West, is a phenomenon of popular culture. This means that much of its products are short-lived, rising and falling due to popular taste and the demands of the hungry market place (Napier, 2005). The mastermind behind the prosperous of Anime is none other than animation director Hayao Miyazaki (1941-Present). A masterful creator who’s works accumulate of various themes such of both enchanting fantasies and thought provoking scenarios, often more concentrated for adult spectators than for children (Cavallaro, 2006). Coupled with the international success of Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime, 1997) and Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001). Furthermore, according to Cavallaro (2006) Miyazaki, “…has brought to life intricate fantasy realm, building each from scratch… Within these domains, Eastern and Western traditions, ancient mythologies and contemporary cultures, the magical visions of children and the pragmatic outlooks of adults intriguingly coalesce” (pg 5). Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), in particular, contains important messages and warnings concerning multiple topics such as humanity, nature and the future.

The element which denotes that Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) is more than just a entertaining movie is the qualities of Kaitiakitanga (means guardianship and conservation) deep-seated in Nausicaä (the main character). Nausicaä, the heroine, believes in the value of life regardless of its form and through her actions stops a war. The central theme of the movie was to warn and educate the masses of the harms of a conflicting society and the greater damage which the environment suffers as a consequence for the present tension. Not only caring for the environment but, concerned greatly about the generation to come. Consequently, it is Fear which drives the conflicts, the fear of the poisoned forest results in the greed and resentment. Whereas, Nausicaä, being a trans-formative force, leads the people to understand and respect nature which is portrayed as welcoming, spiritual, and restorative for those, who enter it peacefully (Wikipedia, 2019). She understood the pain of losing someone when her beloved father was killed laying innocent at bed. Hence, she also didn’t want other people to go through the same torment of losing a loved one.

To Conclude, an old anime film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) teaches the audience the importance of compassion and the importance of looking after the environment speaks loudly that this, is an issue which has been on the agenda for quite a sometime. The present exploitation and heedlessness towards the whenua must stop! The land has been enduring from us humans for a very long time. It’s about time that we have to come up with constructive solutions on this matter.

References:

Cavallaro, D. (2006). Introduction. In The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp.5-13). London: McFarland & Company.

Napier, S. J. (2005). Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, Updated Edition: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. London, England: Macmillan.

Wikipedia, (2019). Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nausica%C3%A4_of_the_Valley_of_the_Wind_(film)#Themes

Week Seven: Tin Tin and Blue Lotus

Question Four: What issues do his albums raise in terms of representation of ‘race’, and particularly ethnic and cultural stereotyping?

Answer:

Hergé was one of the most prolific and popular of twentieth century comic author, his most popular work The Adventure of Tintin holds a prolific stature in the popular culture, particularly in the non-United States anglophone and francophone worlds (Mountfort, 2012). As a cultural product, the franchise enjoys enviable market penetration, it remains a fixture of many children’s reading development as well as viewing pleasure, is frequently employed in additional language acquisition, and its iconography is so unique that it is instantly recognizable around much of the world (Mountfort, 2016). But the series has been accused of bundling racist, right-wing and reactionary focalization across his trans-media platforms it has reached today. As Apostolidès (2010) comments on Hergé’s comic work Tintin from a critical point of view, “This hypocrite, this boy feigning innocence, this ugly little monkey cannot fool us any longer. It’s time we exposed him for what he really is. Tintin is a forty-year-old dwarf, a colonialist, and a zoophile, with homosexual tendencies to boot. This is the despicable character we set up as a hero for our dear little children” (pg. 8).

Tintin in the Congo (1930), Hergé mimics the colonial prejudices, as African being “variously; credulous, untrustworthy, bloodthirsty, servile, lazy and childlike” (Mountfort, 2016, pg. 4). He is re-iterating the socially constructed stereotypes present in the Western world regarding the characteristics of African descendants. The image of ‘juju-lipped Negro’ were hitting the mainstream platforms such as Disney (Mountfort, 2012). In fact, Hergé rarely traveled, he did much of his research at the Royal Museum for Central Africa at Tervuren in Belgium. Furthermore, Congo was colonized by Belgium in the 19 century, what followed was a period of brutal violence that would be better labeled as genocide. It is estimated that the Congolese population was halved under Belgian occupation from 1890−1920 – from twenty million to ten million – in a genocide reinforced not only by summary bloodshed but also by the routine torture and mutilation of men, women and children (Assouline, 2009). An example from Hergé’s works on dehumanizing, racist stereotypes used to justify Belgian colonialism, including the now notorious ‘white man’s burden’ motif: in one panel Tintin is attributed the ‘Wisdom of Solomon’ when he breaks up a tussle between a pair of Africans who are arguing over a hat by cutting it in two, handing half to each. They respond, as the English translators have it: ‘White master very fair! Him give half-hat top each one.’ In another, blatantly imperialistic, a scene where Tintin tells African school children while pointing to a map ‘Today I’m going to talk to you about your country: Belgium! (Mountfort, 2012). As a result, rights movements came into existence just to get these controversial works censored and removed from local libraries. Nevertheless, a point must be noted that due to extensive censorship in Belgium the genocide in Congo was extensively eliminated, but to acknowledge Hergé, he does indeed demonstrate that when it came to racism, he faithfully reproduced the xenophobic mood of his time, especially in Tintin au Congo (Mountfort, 2012).

In conclusion, as an adult, we should intelligently avoid repeating historical grievance under colonization, we must be capable to distinguish the tropes of colonial propaganda and take on the responsibility to educate the younger generations that cultural prejudices cannot be escaped and justified. There is NO ONE true story rather, there are multiple points of view.  

References:

Apostolidès, J.-M., & Hoy, J. (2010). The metamorphoses of Tintin, or, Tintin for adults. Stanford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b11704317&site=eds-live

Assouline, P. (2009). Hergé : the man who created Tintin. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat05020a&AN=aut.b11704251&site=eds-live

Mountfort P. (2012) ‘Yellow skin, black hair … Careful, Tintin’: Hergé and Orientalism. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 1(1), 33-49. doi: 10.1386/ajpc.1.1.33_1

Mountfort. (2016). Tintin as Spectacle: The Backstory of a Popular Franchise and Late Capital. Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, 1(1), 37. doi:10.5325/jasiapacipopcult.1.1.0037

Qays Buksh

Week Five-Six: Cult TV

Question: Wilcox and Lavery (2002) identify 9 defining
characteristics of ‘quality TV’ – can you apply (with justifications) any of
the 9 characteristics on this list to another TV series (including those on
Netflix, etc.) that you have viewed recently ? Are there any other
characteristics that you could add to their list?

Answers:

This weeks question were quite difficult for me to respond to due to one
reason,

1: This weeks questions were based on comparison & similarities between the core points made through the readings and recent TV series. I have not engaged with any TV series from 2001 till date, plus the last time I remember being evolved with a TV series was Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001), unfortunately, I hardly remember anything from that show. This was my personal take on this matter and I am totally happy with my decision. As a result, it took me a while to look for a possible solution which may assist me on this assignment.

As I am not familiar with TV series and unable to draw similarities between the text and the TV series, I decided to take question number one, which is,”can you apply (with justifications) any of the 9 characteristics on this list to another TV series (including those on Netflix, etc.) that you have viewed recently ?” and based it on a movie sequel which I did personally engage with, that is the movie, The Fast and The Furious (2001- present), as I find this sequel of movies beautifully befitting the definition of “Quality TV“.

Quality TV is defined profoundly by Dorothy Swanson as, “a quality
series enlightens, enriches, challenges, involves, and confronts. It dares to take risks, it is honest and illuminating, it appeals to the intellect and touches the emotions. It requires concentration and attention, and it provokes thought” (Wilcox, Lavery, 2002, pg. 5).

The movie sequel, the fast and the furious tends to have all the key words prescribed in the definition of quality TV. As a result, I would now link some characteristics mentioned in this movie sequel which is pointed out by Wilcox and Lavery (2002). The first characteristic which I would like to expound upon is, Quality TV has a memory (Wilcox, Lavery, 2002). The cast remembers each other and the happenings which took place between them. This also reminds the viewer and makes it feel real. Just as Wilcox & Lavery (2002) states, “the characters remember, and we remember with them” (pg. 6). An example from the movie sequel is, Han Lue ends up in a crash which leads to his death in the third Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift movie and then reappears in the 7th movie where this incident is reignited and  it is revealed that Deckard Shaw, Owen’s brother had driven the car that crashed into his (Wikipedia, 2019). Similarly, the vehicle Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) used in the second movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, blue R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, he used the same vehicle in the fourth movie also. That skyline became so famous that it began to represent Brian O’Connor. You could see that the streets were being filled with that model of Skyline and it was considered to be a honorable position if one was able to acquire that. Sadly, that was the last movie which Paul Walker played the role of Brian. RIP. When the news of the death of Paul Walker reached the global attention, there were many who could not believe that this report is true, many were shattered into bits as if their own family member has passed on. As a result these all link to the first characteristic of quality TV and that is, quality TV has a pedigree. Just as Joss Whedon, the creator, writer and director of the famous, Buffy the Vampire Slayer explains his purpose behind the series,

“I designed the show to create that strong reaction. I designed Buffy to be an icon, to be an emotional experience, to be loved in a way that other shows can’t be loved. Because it’s about adolescence,…. I wanted people to embrace it in a way that exists beyond,…. I wanted people to internalize it, and make up fantasies where they were in the story, to take it home with them, for it to exist beyond the TV show. And we’ve done exactly that” (Hocking, 2019, pg, 30).

This movie franchise also achieved this goal.

Finally, the characteristics which was underpinned by Wilcox & Lavery (2002) coherently matched with the movie sequel The Fast and The Furious. Definition of quality TV and the two characteristics, the memory which quality TV preserves and the enthusiasm which stays awaken after the movie has finished were discussed and multiple examples are listed. I hope this blog was an interesting read for you. 

Qays Buksh 

References:

Hocking, Darryl. (2019). Popular genre: Cult television [Lecture Material]. Retrieved from, https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz

Wilcox, R. & Lavery, D. (2002). Introduction, in R. Wilcox & D. Lavery (eds) Fighting the forces: What’s at stake in buffy the vampire slayer.Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.

Wikipedia, (2019). Han Lue. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Lue

Week Four: Post Horror & The New Weird

Question 1:

According to Carroll, what is the role of torture in the torture porn franchises Saw and Hostel? Using references, explain this in your own words. How do you think these purposes might relate to the socio-political environment of that time period and such events like 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal?

Answer:

The role of Torture Porn Films (AKA, Splatter Films) is to reputedly emphasize depictions of violence, torture, gore, mutilation, nudity and sadism (Reyes, 2014). This mode of depiction is to display a sense of helplessness and the vulnerability of the human body plus theatricality of its mutilation. The difference between typical horror film and Splatter films are, horror films deal extensively with the Lovecraftian concept of “Fear of the Unknown” whereas, the fear in Splatter films comes from physical destruction of the body and the pain accompanying it (Reyes, 2014). Couple of movies which exemplify the torture methods are as follows, Hostel (2005), Hostel II (2007), Hostel III (2011), Human Centipede (2009), The Human Centipede II (2011). Movies of this nature depict the fear which the society has perceived, that is, the Human Rights Violation through the scandal in Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq. To expound on this incident more further, during the war in Iraq that began in March 2003, personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency committed a series of human rights violations against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (Hilal, 2017) . These violations included physical and sexual abuse, torture, sodomy, rape and murder. The abuses came to widespread public attention with the publication of photographs of the abuse by CBS News in April 2004 (Hilal, 2017). As a result, this incident extremely triggered the brutal fear of torture porn in the society. The sense of un-trust was being developed amongst their own people, as a consequence, Fear was slowly seeping into the hearts of their own fellowmen. For example, the democratic countries were the core players in protecting the fundamentals of Human Rights but as seen in the expedition of the invasion of Iraq, the so called rule makers of human rights were caught as the abuses of human rights. Correspondingly, in the movie franchise, Hostel, the rich elites whom the society Once trusted, now, they were paying huge amount of cash to torture and kill their own national citizens and others . A sense of distrust was creeping in as a cultural anxiety. Nevertheless, laying at the core of all these cultural fears were the Planned attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York. This incident marked a great shift in political, societal, cultural and entertainment spectrum. As a result, it marks an important shift in the genre of horror and the kinds of cultural fears audiences begin to have (Jones, 2019) in the early 20th century. The fear of Invasion, bombing, war, insecurity and uncertainty. The social fear was continuously cultivated through the news broadcasts, media outlets and internet.

To conclude, the horror genre, torture porn contributes significant horrific impacts on human cognizance. This genre was very popular after the incidents of Abu Ghraib torture scandal and the attacks on the world trade center.

References:

Hilal, M. (2017). “Abu Ghraib: The legacy of torture in the war on terror”. Aljazeera. Retrieved August 18, 2019 from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/abu-ghraib-legacy-torture-war-terror-170928154012053.html

Jones, N. (2019). Post horror and the new weird [Lecture Material]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz

Reyes, A. X. (2014). Body gothic: Corporeal transgression in contemporary literature and horror film. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Post Horror / Question 2:

In this lecture, I have briefly outlined how Hereditary contains elements of folk horror, cosmic horror and family drama. Using examples from your own readings and the film, describe how you feel these elements make up the film Hereditary and how it might fit into the larger canon of “prestige horror” from Rosemary’s Baby to today. 

Answer:

The term “post-horror”, according to Rose (2017), refers to the latest generation of films, in which the concept of horror is refashioned with an auteuristic sensibility (Rose, 2017). The journalist’s explanation suggests that these are films that essentially reveal the beliefs and feelings of their directors. It is a new sub-genre of horror that breaks typical conventions and or clichés of horror movies (Rose, 2017). The director is free to redefine the extent to which horror appears in the movie, including making the movie have very few instances of horror. Instead of relying on conventional exorcism and supernatural witch stories, filmmakers create their own versions of horror using themes (Jones, 2019). Furthermore, There are multiple elements of post horror found in the movie Hereditary (2018), to mention some, 1: Tension and high conflict of emotions between characters. The scene when the family of three were sitting at the dining table for dinner and an extensive argument and quarreling erupts between the mother & the son. The atmosphere was too intense (Hereditary, 2018). Similarly, another element of Post horror in this movie was the engagement of “folk horror”, which is the idea of paganism and mythology. In the movie, the mother was introduced to a women who taught her and introduced her to rituals which their grandmother was a member of. Furthermore, interestingly, the movie ends in a very strange position where the viewer is left unanswered as to what just happened. This last scene leaves the audience in a position of inevitability and helplessness which is the core principle of cosmic horror (Riley, 2018) linking it back to Lovecraftian Horror.

Nevertheless, The new “Post Horror” films seemed to stress the conflict within oneself and be reflective on modern social issues. More than a complete re branding of the horror genre. In this sense, the term can stay but the meaning of what post horror constitutes continuously shifts and changes.

References:

Hereditary, (2018). The Movie: Hereditary [Class Material].

Jones, N. (2019). Post horror and the new weird [Lecture Material]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz

Rose, S. (2017). How post-horror movies are taking over cinema. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/06/post-horror-films-scary-movies-ghost-story-it-comes-at-night

Riley. J (2018). ‘Hereditary’ Filmmaker Ari Aster Answers Burning Questions (Spoilers). Retrieved from: https://variety.com/2018/film/awards/hereditary-ari-aster-answers-burning-questions-1202841448/

Week Three: History of Modern Horror

Question 1: King (2010) describes Horror as being defined through three basic elements. Explain, using references, what these three elements are. Think of a horror story you’ve read/watched/heard that makes use of all three of these elements and show how King’s definition is at play in that narrative

Answer:

King (2010) States, “Horror movies and horror novels have always been popular, but every ten or twenty years they seem to enjoy a cycle of increased popularity and visibility”

The First element of horror is that it deals with the current state of the society and societal fears. King (2010) states, Horror is a genre which deals with the “Economic and/or Political strains” of it’s time and books and films seem to reflect those free-floating anxieties in the society (pg.5). For example, in the late 1970’s and 1980’s mothers were leaving their children in daycare centers while they go and contribute in the changing society. A sense of anxiety and guilt was built as to leaving their own beloved children with strangers for a large portion of time away from their sight (Jones, 2019). As a result Movies like “The Exorcist” depict those societal fears. A more relevant example is from the movie “The Void”, the costume which the Cult group adopted was similar to the American white supremacist hate group known as the Ku Klux Klan or KKK.

A sense of fear is transmitted from these horror movies which increases the intensity of Fear between human beings in the real world. Another great example, which to some extent, related to the Alt-Right Ideology, that “the fear of Invasion”. So movies such as White House Down (2013) and plenty of similar themed movies depict that “others” are invading our country and what would be our situation if “Our Land” is taken over? Interestingly, Movies like these spark the idea of anti- Immigration and, As a result, Incidents like the Christchurch Terrorist Attack (15 March, 2019) and El Paso Shootings (03 August, 2019) occur. Innocent lives are lost and the “Fear” still remains!

Nevertheless, this leads me to the second element of Horror, which is the element of Allegory. King (2010) explains as, “Allegory is there only because it is built in, a given, impossible to escape. Horror appeals to us because it says, in symbolic way, things we would be afraid to say right out straight, with the bark still on; it offers us a chance to exercise emotions which society demands we keep closely in hand” (King, 2010 Pg. 12). Horror film is an invitation to be violent, transgressive and to have anti social behavior by proxy, it informs the people that its okay to be with the “wrong people”. It demands that human beings fight their fears and become fearless leading them to become emotionless as well. As King (2010) mentions, “The horror film is an invitation to indulge in deviant, antisocial behavior by proxy- to commit gratuitous acts of violence, indulge our puerile dreams of power, to give in to our most craven fears……… Perhaps more than anything else, the horror story or horror movie says it’s okay to join the mob.. (pg. 12). A horror themed allegory not only scares the person whilst he or she is being entertained but rather it gives a parallel story simultaneously also. For example, a “monster” in a horror movie is dressed up in a doctor’s uniform gives the viewer another story that, one has to be very skeptical as to which doctor one chooses for his own personal well being. They can be “monstrous” also!

Lastly, another element of Horror Movie is that stories have monsters in them. These monsters are depicted differently in accordance to their core theme. As Carrol (2003) states, there are monsters which are particular to each genre, for example, dragons are a common monster in the fantasy genre, so, “… a monster or monstrous entity is a necessary condition for horror…” (p. 16). Monsters can be allegorical, a symbol of horror therefore monsters are a necessary concept of horror (King, 2010). But, Not all monsters are horrific, the monster in the story, “The Beauty and the Beast” the Beast is not regarded as a horrific creature but as a majestic and marvelous entity.

References:

Carrol, N. (2003). The nature of horror: In The Philosophy of Horror or Paradoxes of the Heart. Retrieved from https://blacboard.aut.ac.nz

Jones, N. (2019) History of modern horror. Lecture Material. Retriveid from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz

King, S. (2010). Danse macabre. United States, NY: Gallery Publishing Group.

The Void. (2016). The Void. Study Material

Week 1-2: Lovecraftian Horror

Question Number 1:

Reyes (2014), describes Body Horror as being a “fictional representation of the body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognised by normative understandings of human corporeality.” How do The Void and Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth make use of this definition to explore themes of the unknown? 

Answer:  

Lovecraft (1927) states, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (pg. 1). 

Before I begin to analyze the question above, I would like to shed some light upon the concept of “Body Horror”. To begin with, “Body Horror” or even called “Biological Horror” is one of the core genre amongst the various genres of horror where human body is intentionally violated physically and psychologically (Cruz, 2012). These violations may manifest through abnormal sex, mutilation, zombification, mutations, diseases and unnatural movements of the body (Wikipedia, 2019). This genre can appeal intense feelings of physical and psychological disgust or even called “squick” upon the protagonists (Cruz, 2012). Furthermore, Body Horror falls under the umbrella horror genre knows as “Cosmic Horror” also called as “Lovecraftian Horror” (Jones, 2019). After encountering this genre, interestingly, a unique kind of fear impacts human senses known as “The Fear of the Unknown” !. This blog will detect the junctures where this emotion is encountered between the two prescribed texts.

The experiences of Body Horror from the movie, “The Void, 2016″ is when normal humans start transforming into inhumane creatures. Their bodies are altered from the original form of human body. Tentacles start growing within the body, gooey and slimy types of substances erupt from the persons bodies and begin to flow and splash onto other close objects or humans (The Void, 2016). To illustrate the similar theme of Lovecraft in his own novel, ” The Shadows over Innsmouth” the residents of Innsmouth were hybrid version of humans, half human and half sea creature. Where their top half of the human body has features of a sea creature and the bottom half of the body is like humans. The above mentioned example plays around with couple of “themes of the unknown”. Firstly, the view of humanity’s insignificant place in the world and human beings considering to be a loser. Secondly, the protean semi-gelatinous substances, such as slime, tentacles and gooey substances. Thirdly, the theme of helplessness and hopelessness is instilled in the protagonist whether it be a viewer or reader of this cosmic genre of horror, and lastly, unanswered questions (Jones, 2019). Regarding the last theme, The Void, finished by the main two character standing under a dark, cloudy and scary sky holding each others hands and starring towards the sky. This scene is after when the main character jumps into a unknown abode together with the evil doctor. The viewer is left jumbled and fearful as to what is the end result. Similarly, with the story written by H.P. Lovecraft, the main character saves himself from the haunting actions of the hybrid creatures and comes back home only to inform the reader that he himself is one of the hybrid creatures. This theme instills the fear of unknown into the person viewing and reading. Finally, the “Lovecraftian atmosphere” was the key components in the movie and the story which was penetrating the fear of the unknown to the protagonist.

To conclude, the fear of the unknown was effectively demonstrated in both the texts and the core themes of Lovecraftian Horror is explored between the two texts.

A Brief Intro on H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on the August 20th, 1890 in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America. He is considered to be one of the most important horror writers of the 20th Century, and considered the godfather of Cosmic and Science Fiction horror (Jones, 2019)

References: 

Cruz, R. A. L. (2012). “Mutations and Metamorphoses: Body Horror is Biological Horror”. Journal of Popular Film and Television40 (4): 160–168. doi:10.1080/01956051.2012.654521

Jones, N. (2019). Lovecraftian horror and weird fiction. Lecture Materials. Retrieved from, https://blackboard.com

Jones, N. (2019). Introduction. Lecture Materials. Retrieved from, https://blackboard.com

Lovecraft, H., P. (1927). Supernatural horror in literature. Retrieved from https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lovecraft/hp/supernatural/chapter1.html 

Lovecraft, H., P. (1931). The shadow over Innsmouth. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4905071-dt-content-rid-10024021_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/The%20Shadow%20Over%20Innsmouth%20-%20H.%20P.%20Lovecraft%20-%20PDF.pdf

The Void. (2016). Mystery/Sci-fi movie. Lecture Material.

Wikipedia, (2019). Body horror. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_horror Wikipedia, (2019). Body horror.