Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Violence in Games and Other Media: Artistic Irresponsibility and the Forbidden Fruit Effect

People tend to show interest in things that are considered "bad".

Do violent games and TV shows spoil our youth? Every time this question pops up it triggers heated discussions. So it was only a matter of time until I felt I had to say something on this topic as well. And so ... Here are my two cents:

I'd like to start the discussion with a few things I believe we all can agree on:
· There are many people regularly enjoying violent media, but only a small percentage among them shows violent behaviour. 
· Countless studies prove that there actually is a link between media violence and violence in society. Whether gamers and fans of other violent media like it or not. However, it can't be said for sure whether violent media causes violence or whether it merely affects a pre-existing potential for violence. 
· Apart from violent media there are countless other factors that can lead to violent behaviour, such as domestic violence or child neglect, poverty, violent neighbourhood and so on. People can be taught to be aggressive and to accept such behaviour as normal. 
· There are people who are more aggressive and people who are more pacifistic just by nature. 
· Researching the effects of media violence is a difficult task, because these effects can't be seen immediately.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Fascinating World of Fan Art - Why Creative Fans Do What They Do

The internet is a free space, and there are people with very diverse ideas and interests.

If you ever came across Harry Potter having SM sex with Draco Malfoy in tight leather underwear and your only reaction was to roll your eyes and say you've seen worse then you truly know what creative fans are capable of. I love fan art, I've been a fanfiction writer for over 10 years, and as an operator on, a German fanfiction community, it's actually part of my job to struggle through really disturbing texts. And considering some rather traumatizing experiences I really understand why Anne Rice, the author of The Vampire Chronicles, used to forbid her fans to write fanfiction:
"I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes."
There are also copyright holders who generally don't mind fan art as long as it respects moral values. For instance, the example above isn't something Joanne K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, and Warner Bros. like to see, since the series is targeted at a younger audience that should be protected from adult content.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Dark Path - Are Artists Egoists?

Artists walk a dark path. However, I would really like to believe that there is also a bright one.

In January I wondered whether artists are unhappy people and came to the conclusion that unhappiness is a crucial driving power behind art. Unhappiness makes an artist create art, so he can experience happiness through it. If a person is generally happy, he or she doesn't feel the need to experience happiness through anything else than life itself. And I have to admit that as a creative person I envy such people.

The problem with us creative people is that we often like to draw a line between ourselves and the rest of the world. Many of us are weird, isolated creatures who prefer some distant, non-existing dimensions to the real world where life happens. We don't accept life, and we don't accept things as they are. It hurts us when we don't get as much appreciation as we think we deserve while when we actually get appreciation it's never enough. Something is always wrong with the world: Our family is too poor, too rich, the situation in the art world is unpleasant, we are restricted by stupid laws, we aren't loved for what we want to be loved and people love things about us we don't love ourselves, the masses have a bad taste and everything is just unfair. Let's be honest, self-pity is the favourite hobby of the most of us.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Art and Responsibility - How Immoral Is Art Allowed to Be?

Moral education is one of the reasons - if not the main reason - why art even exists.

Morality and responsibility ... Let's be honest, art is known for both entertaining its audience with violence as well as for moral education. While there's a long tradition of showing war and battles in heroic light there is also another tradition with artists like the painter Vasily Vereshchagin who aimed to show the horrors of war in order to promote peace.

At the same time there's also law. For example, here in Germany those who describe violence as beautiful, romantic or otherwise positive and/or harmless can be sentenced to financial penalty or even go to prison for a year. Most countries in the world have similar laws. Being a moderator of (, a German mass archive for fanfiction, prose and poetry, it's my task to lock stories that violate the German law and the rules of the website, for example by plagiarizing, downplaying rape or uploading pornographic texts. What's interesting about this is that many immature "writers" who obviously don't care about the rules or even the laws of the country they live in consider it an insolent restriction of their freedom. They say we're just power-mad and enjoy suppressing them, and our admin was even labelled as a dictator. And no, it isn't a joke.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Is Technological Progress Good or Bad for Art?

Without an adapter to read the hard disk of my crashed notebook I don't have access to my art and tools.

On Christmas 2015 Akira a.k.a. my notebook a.k.a. my general servant died. Considering how important computers are these days and that I maybe wouldn't have graduated from university without Akira I think it isn't even embarrassing or ridiculous to say that the computer slowly but surely has become man's best friend. (You see, my notebook even has a name - and his very own loyal and sometimes trolling personality with it.)

The same applies more and more to artists as well. Without Akira or an adapter to read its hard disk I don't have access to my writing, my notes, my digital painting projects, part of my drawing software, my photos, my music archive ... I'm stranded, quietly envying all those traditional artists and writers who still use pen and paper.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Case Study: How the First "Hunger Games" Movie Turned Us Into Sadists

Metalepsis - How the First Hunger Games Movie Turned Us Into Sadists

Tomorrow is the big day when Mockingjay Part 2, the last part of the Hunger Games movie series, is going to be released. It seems like a good occasion to talk about the very first part. The one that unlike all the others had a very special effect.

Maybe it's just me; maybe you noticed it too. Maybe it was done consciously; maybe it was done unconsciously. But if you ask me, the effect of a narrative metalepsis is there, and this effect is the reason why the first movie impressed me so much. It's the effect of blurring the line between the viewer and what's happening on the screen.

In narratology we speak of a metalepsis when one narrative level enters another one. This happens, for example, when a narrator starts meddling in the affairs of the characters instead of just telling the story. Or when a novel is about the reader reading it. Or when the characters decide to kill their author for all the horrible things he did to them. Or when the reader somehow turns out to be a character in the story. ... You get the idea, right?