Episode 556 - That's What She Said!

Nov 8, 2021

The other day Tantz Aerine wrote a newspost about an article critical of Squid Game. The crux of things was that the Squid Game creator had said their message was anti-capitalist, while this critic was saying that the author's message with the Squid Game was an anti communist critique and not a very good one at that. The issue here is that isn't how you do criticism. At all. You can give an interesting reading of something and tell us why YOU think it's anti-Communist, or tell us how it looks through the lens of post-colonialism or new wave feminism etc, but you can't say that is what the author is saying or what the work means, especially if the author explicitly says WHAT they are saying. This may seem like a small distinction but it's actually very, very important. Bad criticism often tells us what the creator is saying. Don't do that. Don't be that person.

Topics and Show Notes

When you have a creative work to look at, you can't tell us what it means or what the author means, only the creator can do that. You CAN tell us what it means to you though. You can tell us about the commonly agreed meanings of various tropes and symbols too as well as their meanings within different cultural frameworks and contexts, but not why the creator used them, that's up to the creator.

The Squid Game is based on the deathmatch trope from anime and manga using all the clichés from that form including poor ordinary people caught up in something dangerous that they don't fully understand, a callous attitude to life, normally innocuous games turned deadly, twists and turns with who's really behind the whole thing, betrayal and so on. We can say that for a certainty because it's provably true. Why did the author co-opt the deathmatch trope? We can't say, but we can theorise they used it because it's popular in Korea and Japan. We can also talk about the history of the deathmatch trope, different examples of it like Running Man, Deathrace 2000, Gantz, Btooom, Danganronpa, Deadman Wonderland, Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, and many more which all follow the same pattern. We can use those examples to talk about why the elements of those tropes exist but we can NOT talk about their use in Squid Game in isolation. That would be like talking about the use of the word “and” in the English language without talking about the use of similar words in other languages and the origins of the word in German.

It's important to remember that things do not exist in a vacuum but also that intent is up to the creator to define, not the critic.

This week Gunwallace ha given us the theme to Secrets Of Uncrom - Secrets, hidden knowledge, secret cult meetings in guttering candlelight, murder most foul, and plots thickening! This atmospheric electronic tune has layer upon layer of interesting and disparate sounds, suggesting mystery, darkness and hidden things.

Topics and shownotes

Links

Tantz's newspost on conflicting with the author intentions - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/oct/22/flipping-off-the-author/

Featured comic:
Sapling - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/nov/02/featured-comic-sapling/

Featured music:
Secrets Of Uncrom - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Secrets_of_Uncrom_The_Balance_of_Life_and_Death_/ - by Secretsofuncrom, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

We have a chat about historicity in this Quackcast. What IS historicity? It's historical authenticity basically but a nicer way of saying it! It's pretty important for a lot of reasons to make the best effort you can with historical authenticity- it increases immersion of the audience, gives you a better understanding of the story and the world you're looking at (because things will make sense), and leads you to better understanding of your own history and where we came from. BUT, that doesn't mean you always have to be strict. As long as you as a creator properly understand historical context then you've got a lot more leeway to play without creating something stupid. Playing fast and loose with history is ok as long as you know what you're doing, not just being a moron and faking it (hey, many of us are guilty of that). Historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc are all different classes of story where it's more or less forgiveable to mess around.

Episode 427 - Betrayal

May 20, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Betrayal is an interesting thing to use in fiction. You can have betrayal of your nation, your organisation, friends, lovers, religion, beliefs, self. In stories it can be used to add a nasty twist or completely change the flow of events and alter the balance of power in a dramatic way! It can be devastating in relationships. The story of Judas betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver is one of the most famous betrayal stories and became so iconic that the phrase “30 pieces of silver” or just the word “Judas” became synonymous with the act. Of course the inspiration for the best treachery and betrayal comes from real life and the names of the betrayers often echo down through history. IFrom Rome we have Brutus, in the USA the name “Benedict Arnold” has a similar meaning to “Judas”, the 20th century gave us the term “quisling” after the Norwegian political leader Vidkun Quisling who sold his country out to the Nazis.


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