Culture

Interview with The Scribe

As I made my way over to The Scribe one autumnal morning, I was struck by the serenity of the scene before me. Even in November, I could still wear my favorite wool coat and sneakers—a rarity for all Torontonians. A few struggling leaves still clung to their branches, while the Danforth was littered with specks of orange and red. A morning without class worked its usual cure on my psyche, leaving me feeling uncharacteristically smug, smiling to myself on the street—like someone who has never heard the word “midterm” or “exam” in their life.

Disney’s Encanto: A tale of accurate representation and political criticism

I’m happy to say that Disney’s Encanto positively surprised me. As a Colombian, I am used to bad representation. From Narcos to the foreign obsession with Pablo Escobar, I don’t expect media accuracy when it comes to my country. As a result, when Disney first announced their production of Encanto, I was skeptical at best. After the Mexican critiques surrounding Coco, and the lack of Colombian writers in the movie, this skepticism morphed into dread over what I thought would be an attempt at taking the fantastic things my country had to offer and fall short in the delivery; I feared that Encanto would become a representation of something I couldn’t recognize. Needless to say, I didn’t have high expectations when I walked in, but on leaving the theater my critiques about representation were almost minimal.

Feeling for the Final Girl: Empathy and the Spectacle of Suffering in Horror Films

How do we distinguish between horror and tragedy? Both feature often graphic depictions of intense human suffering, from gore to rock-bottom misery. Yet, for some reason or another, tragedy elicits our pity while horror elicits our excitement. Our natural, human response to suffering is empathy, but somehow this switch is temporarily turned off as we encounter the horror genre. Perhaps this phenomenon is unexplainable, a mere mystery of human nature; perhaps it is not.

Squid Game: Sensationalized Violence or Social Commentary?

Squid Game: Sensationalized Violence or Social Commentary?

Squid Game follows Seong Gi-Hun, a South Korean gambling addict who, strapped for cash, falls prey to a mysterious man in a subway station who offers him an opportunity to make thousands of dollars—all Seong has to do is call the number on his card. When he calls, a mysterious voice tells him to wait outside his apartment at midnight, and when he does, he is picked up in a van and knocked unconscious by a sedative gas. Gi-Hun and a few hundred others meet the same fate and are gathered on a remote island to play a series of children’s games with high stakes—if you lose, you get shot and killed. If you win, you stay alive until the next game and keep playing in hopes of winning a multi-million-dollar prize.

Behind the Screens: Virtual Influencers and Authentic Inauthenticity

Behind the Screens: Virtual Influencers and Authentic Inauthenticity

For all the flack that influencers get, there’s something telling—maybe even honest—about this definitively internet-era career. A lot of us don’t like to admit it when we’re followers rather than trendsetters, but to even call someone an influencer is a tacit admission of the plasticity of human desire. Shiny social media profiles exert their little influences over us, sponsored ministrations leaving fading fingerprints on our brains to break our banks. No one is immune to advertising. Our susceptibility is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, humans are social creatures. Regardless of the mediation of the digital world, isn’t it natural to be touched and changed by human voices, human faces?

I Scream, We All Scream: Reflecting On Why We Like to be Scared

I Scream, We All Scream: Reflecting On Why We Like to be Scared

Let me begin by admitting that I’m not exactly a horror film fanatic. As someone whose youthful indiscretions include choosing Cinema Studies as an academic discipline, I’ve survived a substantial stake of horror films, but when it comes to being scared, real life is sufficient. For me, the question is not, “which horror film is scariest?” or even, “which horror film is best to see at the Royal at midnight?” but a far homelier question: simply, why? This year’s Halloween might be in our rearview now, but scaring the lights out of each other is an annual ritual with deep cultural roots. What gives fear its perennial popularity, and what gives horror cinema its immense popularity, not just this time of year, but throughout the seasons?

Review: Lorde’s Solar Power

Review: Lorde’s Solar Power

After a couple of years of absence from the music industry and public eye, Lorde has returned with her third full-length album, Solar Power. It’s starkly different from her previous work, and yet still deeply personal to Lorde herself – an important aspect of both her debut album, Pure Heroine, and its critically acclaimed successor, Melodrama. In Solar Power, Lorde reflects on environmental and natural themes, her distaste for celebrity culture, and her continued growing up since becoming a star.

Review: Petals for Armor and FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

Review: Petals for Armor and FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

“I’m not lonely, baby, I am free,” sings Hayley Williams on her debut solo album, Petals for Armor, and her relief is palpable as she hums, “Finally.” She is singing of her home and of finding peace in her daily routines, which has taken on a new meaning since the pandemic has turned our homes into workplaces, classrooms, and the site of most of our everyday activity. Williams is known best as the lead singer of the American band Paramore, which has released five studio albums since 2005, but it took Williams until 2020 for her to strike out on her own (even as she reassured fans that her solo album did not spell the end for Paramore). It’s not that Paramore has ever held her back artistically; it is simply that now, Williams embraces the opportunity to dive into a narrative that is identifiably her own.

Are Shows like Bridgerton Really That Progressive?

Are Shows like Bridgerton Really That Progressive?

Are Shows like Bridgerton Really That Progressive?  Queen Charlotte was only 17 when she left her home country of Germany and moved to England to marry the British King George III. Charlotte’s ancestry has been debated by historians, with some evidence suggesting...

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