Stranger Things on Childhood, Fear and the Nature of Horror

The child protagonists of Stranger Things experience horrors they are only beginning to understand.

When I was a child I had a pet guinea pig who died. It lived in a cage in my room, and one evening as I lay in bed I thought it sounded quieter than usual. But I didn’t get up and check on it; instead I fell asleep, and by the next morning it was dead. Poor Sparky’s death was a guilt that hung over 7-year old me.

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The Personal and Political in Beyoncé’s Formation

Beyonce stands with four black men in the video for Formation.

Last week Beyoncé did what she does best and dropped a new single, complete with music video, just a day before Super Bowl 50. Without any previous warning. And she then proceeded to perform it during the Half Time show.

Formation has been making waves all over since for its timeliness and bravery.

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The Philosophy of Consciousness in Ex Machina

A close-up of Ava, an AI, as she stares with emotion into the distance.

A few months ago I watched a film about morality, humanity, genius… oh, and robots. Its name is Ex Machina. I knew as soon as it finished that it would stay with me for some time, and that it would be something I would contemplate in the back of my brain for a while to come.

I was right. This blog post is the result of that contemplation.

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What the Presidential Playlists Mean for Obama and All of Us

Obama smiling, looking pensive.

Imagine your name is Barack Obama. Imagine sitting in the Oval Office, at the Resolute desk, and tapping your fingers.

Just imagine being one of the most influential, powerful and (I daresay) coolest people in the world, and thinking to yourself: Shall I create a universal healthcare system? Shall I solve relations with Cuba? No, today I’mma write a playlist.

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If Sia’s Elastic Heart Offends You, You Don’t Understand Art

Elastic Heart

This week the official video to Sia’s Electric Heart was released, featuring a beautiful, brutal interpretive dance from Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler.  The only problem is, LaBeouf is a 28-year-old male whereas Ziegler is a 12-year-old female, which proved too much for some people: the political correctness brigade was soon in full force, shouting ‘paedophilia’ from the rooftops.

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The Revolution of Realistic Relationships in Games

Characters from FXIII-2.

You know when you write a blog post then forget to put it up until it’s well past its use-by date? Well, I never have that issue because I always discuss absolutely timeless topics.

This post was written months ago now when I was halfway playing through Final Fantasy XIII-2. I’ve since finished the game, but luckily my opinions have not changed between then and now. While the game is very different to its predecessor, and I did enjoy it more than I expected to, it still had a lot of flaws. And disappointingly for a Final Fantasy, more than a few of these flaws come from its story and characters.

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Female Sexuality and Pop Music

Beyonce poses provocatively in the video for Partition.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post about female sexuality in music videos and whether it was being celebrated or exploited.  I thought it was high time I wrote a follow-up to that post, as several songs have emerged in the past 12 months which have added something new and rather interesting to the discussion.  Specifically, the ones I want to talk about here are Partition and Drunk in Love by Beyoncé and Do What You Want and G.U.Y. by Lady Gaga.

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Twitter is Killing Discussion, and GamerGate Proves it

The Twitter bird cheeps.

I’m going to make a rather stirring claim here: Twitter is on the slow march towards eradicating the art of thoughtful and measured discussion.

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Anaconda vs All About that Bass: the Skinny-Fat Bitch Scale

Nicki Minaj holds weights, winking seductively, in Anaconda.

Two big songs have come out recently which contain the phrase “skinny bitches”, and I thought it was enough to warrant a blog post.  As if you haven’t guessed, those songs, and their accompanying music videos, are Anaconda (NSFW) by Nicki Minaj and All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor.

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Naked Women and Pop Music

Rihanna posing on her throne in Pour It Up.

Where do we draw the line between exploitation and empowerment?

This blog post was originally published on 20th November 2013.

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