Category Archives: Media Commentary

Black Ariel: Casting a New Mermaid


halle-split

As I was browsing through social media this morning, I stumbled into a series of “Disney-Inspired” mock posters, no doubt designed to make fun of, or criticize, Disney’s casting choice for The Little Mermaid. While in the first Disney film Ariel was drawn as a white, blue-eyed redhead, the casting for the live-action adaptation that we have all been expected since Disney began dabbling in the creation of a “Disney Cinematic Universe” was Halle Bailey, a young R&B singer and one half of the Chloe X Halle duo. She also happens to have black skin.

Predictably, this set the Internet ablaze, with many saying that they would boycott the film and others calling Disney racist while others still praised the company for its forward-thinking casting and sense of inclusiveness. These mock posters I stumbled into were part of this reactionary movement, and while they might *seem* at first as a “funny” jab from the anti-Halle camp towards Disney, these posters actually say a lot more about the mindset of those who created them and how they see media and media representation than they say about Disney. These posters fail to take into consideration everything that makes the characters who and what they are, and everything that makes Ariel who and what she is. In his/her haste to hunt for lulz, the creators of the posters show a deep misunderstanding of identity, character design, storytelling, and narrative development.

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On Games Growing Up, Players, Art, Sunset, Tales of Tales, and the IBTimes


growupA few days ago, Edward Smith wrote a piece for the International Business Times where he makes the suggestion that the attitude of players towards games like Her Story and Sunset are killing the video game industry. His argument stems, unsurprisingly, from the recent bankruptcy of Tales of Tales, the studio responsible for Sunset, and his perception of the general reception of Her Story, an FMV-driven narrative with minimalistic player input in the tradition of Night Trap. Edward explains how he longs for video games to grow up and become an artistic medium, and that player’s receptions to art games are preventing the medium to grow up. This is by no means the first article of its kind. Indeed several commentators have decried how the medium has yet to grow up and how players are preventing the medium from reaching maturity. I disagree with their premise.

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We Need More Sustained Criticism of Individual Games


It seems like ludic academics are not entirely amicable to scholarly inquiry into a single text. Browsing through the most recent volumes of Eludamos, Game Studies, Loading (SFU), and Games and Culture, only a handful of articles will focus on sustained analysis about an individual title, and those that do use individual titles often do so as a case study to prove the merit of a theoretical framework posited in the same article rather than as catalyst for sustained analysis of the text itself.

While I understand the reasoning behind this – discussing concepts is, after all, a far more edifying and – honestly – fun endeavor than sustained inquiry into an individual text, I find the relative lack of single text analysis to be disheartening. At times, sustained scholarly inquiry into a single text can shed light not only on the meaning of the text, but about the role of the text and of media as a whole in society and might help reshape the way in which we talk about genres as a whole.

Why do I make this assertion?

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We Need More Sustained Criticism of Individual Games


It seems to mecriticism like ludic academics are not entirely amicable to scholarly inquiry into a single text. Browsing through the most recent volumes of Eludamos, Game Studies, Loading (SFU), and Games and Culture, only a handful of articles will focus on sustained analysis about an individual title, and those that do use individual titles often do so as a case study to prove the merit of a theoretical framework posited in the same article rather than as catalyst for sustained analysis of the text itself.

While I understand the reasoning behind this – discussing concepts is, after all, a far more edifying and – honestly – fun endeavor than sustained inquiry into an individual text, I find the relative lack of single text analysis to be disheartening. At times, sustained scholarly inquiry into a single text can shed light not only on the meaning of the text, but about the role of the text and of media as a whole in society and might help reshape the way in which we talk about genres as a whole.

Why do I make this assertion? Read on.

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