Author Archives: elizabeth staudacher

Graphic Novel & Adult Swim…A Validation of Both

The graphic novel offers a combination of prose and images that are able to further communicate ideas of depth. This medium allows authors to both show and tell, and advantage over the classic novels. Where novels demand pages of description, graphic novels are able to provide an immediate landscape. These authors are also able to employ the manipulation of font, sizing and positioning of panels and the illustrations that go inside each panel. All of these aspects help to tell the story. When used in a memoir format, the author is able to use these aspects of comics to further communicate and enhance the feelings and/or situations that are being depicted.

Is this an argument for the validation of adult cartoons/animated shows? Our media landscape today enables us to be even more creative and inclusive of the facets of our society. Consumers have become the creators, enabling us to truly create what we want to see. Animated cartoons have been around since the early 20th century, a traditional cornerstone of most childhoods. Shows such as the Simpsons, Family Guy and programs under the Adult Swim umbrella. These shows tap into the satirical, dark humour that was missing, able to discuss and parody more adult and controversial content, such as political agendas, the stereotypical American landscape and race.

These shows provide a platform to spread awareness on (albeit at a low level) some fairly important current events and issues. Because these shows are taken less seriously, they are able to be subversive, surprising their audience with their content. This can be applied to the use of graphic novels as the medium us undermined, allowing for authors to engage with darker topics. The visual aspect of the graphic novel makes heavier subject matter more accessible and at times maybe even more poignant. This argument can also be made for adult cartoons as everything is customizable, allowing the creator to fully have autonomy over every aspect of the story he is trying to portray. The importance of this media should not be written off as the potential has yet to be fully tapped into. In the meantime, let’s all ruminate over the fact that the Simpsons predicted Donald Trump’s presidential win. #conspiracyornah

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Galileo and the Tension Between Science & Religion

Even as s a devout Catholic, Galileo was seen as someone at odds with the Catholic Church. His goal as a man of science was not to challenge the Church but simply attempt to change how Catholicism interpreted phenomena in the world. Galileo’s struggle of being a deeply religious man, while also being devoted to empirical reasoning and science, positions him as an individual who sought to find a happy balance between the two. Currently, the division between science and religion is quite clear. During Galileo’s time, the two were very much married to each other. Today we see science and religion as two different things, the argument of evolution being a topic of debate between the sides. Ultimately their goal is the same, the attempt to explain the unexplainable, where they both seek a higher knowledge.

Galileo’s commitment to his ideas is admirable as his time was filled with fear of heresy and opposing the Catholic Church. His support of heliocentrism (the idea that the planets revolve around the Sun), caused his persecution and questioning during the Inquisition. His life is an example of how belief and evidence are rarely in a clear balance.

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Kallipolis: Individual vs. Collective

Kallipolis, as described in Plato’s Republic appears to not allow for any societal growth. To understand this we must separate the longevity of The Republic as a whole from the longevity of Plato’s Kallipolis.  Though not intended to be an exact blueprint of an ideal city, Kallipolis is used as an example of a just society.

This society seeks to fulfill the individual’s basic needs but does not take into account the individual’s thoughts, desires, or humanly vices. Later, Aristotle would say that to develop character, you need to have certain traits. For example, to be human, there are certain traits, virtues, and vices. Plato leaves no room for uniqueness, where there is a combination of your roles as an authentic individual. In Kallipolis, there isn’t really any room for movement, everyone has a vocation. This is seen in the Myth of Metals, where everyone is divided up into gold, silver and bronze or guardians, warriors and producers.

In this division of Plato reduces us to a single role, and does not accept any potentiality. He argues that a person would do better work if he only practiced one craft (370b5, pg. 48). Arguably, humans do have strengths and weaknesses, but the citizens of the theoretical Kallipolis would not be given the chance to explore these things. The greater good mentality totally loses the individual. Plato’s utilitarian ideals focus too much on the aggregate good.

Because of this, he has not truly come up with an ideal society because it could not withstand the test of time. An ideal society would be dynamic and able to adapt to new technology, scientific discoveries, social movements. It would support both the individual and the community on equal levels.

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A Fatalistic Fatality

Throughout Oedipus Rex, the importance of fate and the role it plays, provide the structure for a debate of whether or not Oedipus is culpable for his actions. The overarching theme of fate versus freedom is one that magnifies the longevity and resonance of the tragedy.

The prophecy of Oedipus demonstrates a fatalistic attitude and society, which is in turn, a denial of free will. Although at first glance Oedipus operates under free will, his choices ultimately end in the fulfillment of his fate. This element of causal determinism serves to depict how Oedipus truly had to choice in the matter of fate.  Oedipus’ curiosity attempts to fight the universal causality of Greek society at the time, but the fatalistic societal beliefs deny the agency of humanity. So what can be interpreted as Oedipus’ somewhat conscious denial of the situation at hand is faultless because, in the end, he cannot fight the prophecy.

Oedipus is seen as a master of all things, except himself. The role of fate separates him from the gods, even though the polis of Thebes see him as such. Even the master is not above fate. The people of Thebes were so quick to proclaim Oedipus the hero and raise him to a god-like status, depicting the importance that the Greeks placed upon their gods. The gods’ served as an explanation to the unexplainable, a scapegoat, a belief system in which humans could be rid of difficult choices. In a sense, they are willingly giving up their free will.

But Oedipus fights this. Despite warnings against finding Laios’ killer, he perseveres in a quest for knowledge, in a quest to save the city he rules. This action reflects a very human quality and demonstrates a weakness of man, and the desire to know the unknowable. He is choosing free will over freedom, and yet he is still a victim of the fatalistic society he lives in. It is an act of human rebellion to reject the easy explanation.

We still struggle with fate versus free will, or more modernly, hard determinism versus hard libertarianism. This philosophical debate helps to eternalize Oedipus Rex, as our search for compatibilism is ongoing.

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