Episode 610 - Beauty!

Nov 21, 2022

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so the saying goes but it's absolutely true. There is a layered subjectivity to it based on personal preference, the cultural standards of your community, the ethnic traits of you and your peers, prevailing global fashions in appearance, the dominant archetypes in the media and so on. All these things combine to form our personal subjective ideas of beauty. You can see this yourself if you look at paintings, statues, masks, frescoes and other artifacts that have been produced by all the diverse cultures on earth over thousands of years: there IS no standard, eternal, objective of beauty.

Topics and Show Notes

Years ago a plastic surgeon thought he'd cracked the secret. He wrote a book about the idea of a mathematical, objective beauty model based on symmetry. Of course any artist could have told him it was absolute nonsense for any number of reasons, but popular books based of pseudo-science gain a lot of traction among the majority of people that don't tend to be able to think too hard about these questions and crave easy solutions.

There are two competing, rudimentary forces at the base of the idea of beauty:
One part is based on conformity: becoming the most generic, simplistic, ordinary, average version of something. Symmetry is a big part of that. This is what that sort of cosmetic surgeon specialises in. We can surmise this comes from the drive to find things that look like us (i.e. our tribe), and is the best representation of “us”.
The second part is based on novelty: What makes this person stand out, what makes them different and unusual.
And then cultural standards, popculture, fashion and many other factors add layers of complexity to these.

*A note on symmetry:
Part of the mistaken notion that inflated its role in “beauty” was the idea that it's an indicator of health or “good genes”, which is false. The reason for symmetry in bodies is just to make the coding simpler. Recent studies have confirmed this: just like when an artist wants to save time by using a mirror or copy, pasting and flipping to make a face or body, nature does it for the same reason.

We talk about it in much greater detail in the Quackcast! Who do you find beautiful?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Phineus Teen Wizard - Thrumming 80s groove. Synthesised neon soft pink glow in the midnight blue fuzz. We’re going back in time… roll up the sleeves on your red leather jacket, slip on your fingerless gloves, lace up your hightops, get on your BMX bike and peddle back through the decades to 1983!


Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
The Faceless Comics Set 1 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/nov/15/featured-comic-the-faceless-comics-set-1/

Featured music:
Phineus Teen Wizard - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Phineus_Teen_Wizard/ - by Phinmagic, rated E.

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

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Episode 609 - The Cringe

Nov 14, 2022

5 likes, 0 comments

So how do you like comedy that makes you cringe? You know that really awkward humour where you feel embarrassed for those involved and almost in physical pain for them? You feel really bad for them… It could be cruel pranks, or jokes based on lies or misunderstandings that are just carried way too far. Personally I find them hard to take. It CAN be great like in the original version of The Office, but even that was REALLY hard to watch at times. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Stick Figure Apocalypse - Relaxing, cool funk groove that cruises along dreamily, hitting turbulent waters hallway through, with a wildly discordant patch of sonic confusion, startling us out of our revere, before slipping back into the same quiet groove again and fading to silence.

Episode 608 - Lovers and other things

Nov 7, 2022

4 likes, 4 comments

There are all kinds of relationships and they're great fodder for stories. The most typical is when two characters are getting INTO a relationship- all that will they/wont they stuff. But characters could also be ending a relationship, or maybe ending one in order to get into another, they could even be in a stable, long term relationship, although those aren't quite as common in media. My favourites are the ones where sex and attraction isn't a factor: relationships between family members, co-workers, friends etc. For some reason when it's platonic I find that a lot more compelling than sexual tension, especially when there would normally be the potential for sex- i.e. two unrelated compatible people with the same sexual and gender preference.

Episode 607 - Horror Sci-Fi

Oct 31, 2022

3 likes, 0 comments

Happy Halloween! Our topic is horror Sci-Fi. Sc-Fi brings with it a whole lot more interesting things you can do with horror and scary stories and there are so many great examples, from the worlds of HP Lovecraft, Alien franchise, Dead Space, Doom, Warhammer 40K, Event Horizon, the Cell, the SCP universe and more. We were inspired by Bane's newspost about horror and technology and all the cool responses he had. What's your fave horror SciFi?

Episode 604 - Stylised reality

Oct 10, 2022

4 likes, 3 comments

When creating fiction we always have to stylise experience in many and various ways in order to communicate with the viewer in a way that's meaningful to them because it's usually impossible to simply show them the exact reality of something and expect that same meaning to carry through.

Episode 602 - It's my turn now bitches!

Sep 26, 2022

4 likes, 8 comments

What happens when the victim becomes the victor? Most of the time it's like the classic line from The Who “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss”, typically revolutions (and elections), that promise change don't really deliver, the new people use it as a chance to get revenge on their enemies, take advantage of things the same as the last guys, and do everything they can to cling to power. The true exceptions are rare and special, i.e. Vaclav Havel and the Velvet revolution.

Episode 598 - 2D or not 2D!

Aug 29, 2022

5 likes, 3 comments

What makes a character two dimensional? What makes them three dimensional? Does it matter that they only have two dimensions to them? This was an idea that GeekyGami posed and so we thought we'd explore it in the cast. My own theory is that a character that is purely archetypal, tropeish, or cliche, with everything about them flowing from that archetype, and they never go beyond their archetypal traits- that makes them 2D.

Episode 597 - Revelations!

Aug 21, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Today we're talking about a technique in storytelling that we're calling the “revelation”. Inspired by Banes doing an article on the weird trope in movies of having a character discover newspaper stories about the villain that suddenly reveal the true stakes of the story and kick things into high gear. There are other types of revelation in stories though and they're used in different ways.


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