Fabricating Genres

Recently, when I was searching books on Amazon, the site recommended Fabricating Identities — the 3rd volume in the Working with Culture on the Edge book series, edited by Vaia Touna — as a “book of interest” for me. When the Amazon page for the volume loaded (of course I had to go down this rabbit hole), the category menu — located just above the cover image of the book — caught my eye. The genre breakdown (within the “Books” category) reads:

Health, Fitness & Dieting  >  Psychology & Counseling

Continue reading “Fabricating Genres”

Articulating Dinosaurs & Religions (The Story of Us)

An image of a dinosaurPhoto of Animated Triceratops at Universal’s Island of Adventures, Orlando, FL

What do the dinosaurs of the past have to do with us today?

The first time I remember thinking about what really makes a dinosaur, was watching Steven Spielberg’s academy award-winning picture Jurassic Park (1993), where dinosaurs are brought back to life through the magic of DNA cloning. In the film, the small island of Isla Nublar is the home to a theme park built from the imagination of John Hammond, a billionaire philanthropist who spares no expense.

Adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park is a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs that escape their enclosures and start hunting the humans. In one of the film’s most iconic scenes we find siblings Lex and Tim trapped in a kitchen by two raptors. As can be seen in the picture below the raptors tower over the children seeking out the siblings in a terrifying game of hide and seek.

An image of a young boy hiding from dinosaursPhoto Copyright Universal Studios, Film Stills: Jurassic Park (1993)

But according to Jurassic World’s palaeontology consultant, Jack Horner, the horse-sized beasts with fangs and claws that dawn the screen as raptors, have not been portrayed accurately as discussed Continue reading “Articulating Dinosaurs & Religions (The Story of Us)”

The Curious Case of Flappy Bird

flappy bird screenshotThe recent fad of Flappy Bird, and its removal by the independent game creator, has raised some significant angst. Why has such a simple, low budget video game enraptured people so much that they consume hours of their day trying to beat their high score, like a movie buff with a limitless supply of popcorn? If you have not experienced its addictive power, this homage to Flappy Bird can give you a sense of its power. (It certainly made writing this post take longer than it should have.) Continue reading “The Curious Case of Flappy Bird”

We’re All Beautiful

real beautyAlmost ten years ago, the folks at Dove personal care products created quite a stir with their “Real Beauty” campaign.  The photo above became one of the iconic emblems of Dove’s self-described attempt to change the definition of beauty to include “real bodies,” perhaps better defined as the bodies of average women.  While Dove’s initial goal with this campaign was to “widen the narrow definition of beauty,” it has lately described a shift in focus onto building female self-confidence and self-esteem, calling the latest incarnation of its work “an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety.” Continue reading “We’re All Beautiful”