Inspired | November & December 2020

Every month (or so…), I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in November and December: film theory, fandom, and representation in fiction.

Gideon, Harrow, and the Value of Problematic Relationships in Fiction by Gwen Katz

The book community has come to accept that dynamics such as teenagers in relationships with much older people, captives in love with captors who have the ability to kill them, and controlling, manipulative romantic partners wouldn’t be considered healthy relationships in real life and shouldn’t be presented as romantic ideals in fiction. But a subset of readers seem to not understand what, exactly, is being objected to or why it is a problem, leading to the criticism spilling over from category romance into other genres that portray unhealthy relationship dynamics in extremely different contexts. When this happens, as with Gideon the Ninth, we risk hurting the very people we’re trying to help.

Wonder Women by Soraya Roberts: “The only way to keep female characters from being burdened, from being basic, is to have more of them. That way each one doesn’t shoulder all the pressure of representing an entire gender.”

The Breaking of “Narrative Promises” Through the Lens of Supernatural, Marvel, & More by Rotem Rusak

One can argue that there is no promise in television, that writers can do whatever they’d like, but there are implications of where the story is going buried in the text; there are moments that happen, that fans watch, that should have an impact on the next step in a story. How they have impact may be an unclear prospect with no guarantees, but that they should have impact is a prescription that comes right from the writers’ pens.

Understanding Film Theory: An Essential Guide by Jason Hellerman: “To dissect a film and understand the context can take years of training. But you’ve been training without knowing it. Every time you watch a new show or movie you’re building an internal database. You have something to base your reactions on and, over time, your tastes grow.”

Canadian filmmakers know how to weather a storm — and that means hope for our uncertain future by Norm Wilner: “This is what I see: the artists who need to make movies — who have stories burning inside them that only they can tell — will move heaven and earth to get their movies made.”

The Perfect Pandemic Stress Relief Is Enjoying Your Fandom the Old Fashioned Way by Julia Delbel

One of the other great things about discovering something that’s already been out for a while is that you have plenty of time to digest it before coming up with a hot take on the subject and jumping on social media to share your thoughts. I didn’t realize it until recently, but keeping up with pop culture can sometimes feel like staying on top of a high school reading list. It’s nice to return to the days of exploring things at your own pace.

Sleepy Skunk’s 2020 Movie Trailer Mashup:

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online recently?