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 605 - Myth of Freedom

Oct 17, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

“Freedom” is the catch cry in so much historical fiction but it's usually an anachronistic piece of nationalist fantasy. You fought for your lord, for pay, your honour, your small region, etc, not for “Scotland” (i.e. Bravehert). Even today it's generally propaganda: e.g. The Invasion of Iraq being called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and Russia's invasion of Ukraine being all about “freeing” the Russian speaking areas from “oppression”. We alter historical stories to fit with contemporary ideas about ourselves and to give us some form of foundation for our prejudices, motivations and identity. Good examples are the Arthurian legends, Gladiator, Braveheart, The Patriot, Robin Hood, The stories about Christopher Columbus, The 300, and The Woman King.

Episode 599 - Badaptations

Sep 5, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Source material is something that we can love and respect, but it's just as often disregarded, degenerated, and denigrated, especially these days where it seems like everything you see is an adaptation or even an adaptation OF an adaptation or worse. I think it's important to go back to the sources so you can see what was truly great about the original to begin with. It can help you see what was lost in the adaptations and to discover new and important meanings and ideas that you never would have guessed at.

Episode 588 - Revisiting Old Ideas

Jun 20, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Sometimes it's worth revisiting old ideas because you can do them better or explore them deeper. This could be in the form of a full reboot, or it could be as simple as reusing a pose in a panel or using the same theme again like Pixar does with 90% of their output i.e. “coming of age”. Like them you don't need to feel obligated to always do something totally original, revisiting old ideas is a great way to refine them, create better work, or explore different aspects of them you hadn't considered before and put new and interesting spins on things. Consider that Pixar's Turning Red, Encanto, Moana, Coco, The Incredibles 2, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Brave, Onward, and Luca all share the same “coming of age/childhood independence” theme and yet all do it in unique and original ways, exploring different aspects of the idea from all sorts of angles.

Episode 585 - Adaptation

May 30, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Adaptations of one thing into another is an interesting process. What's lost, what's gained, what modifications do you have to do to make it happen? As webcomicers we do it all the time in many ways, we have to adapt our influences into ideas, adapt those to stories, and adapt those to images and comics, which isn't trivial! It's often quite difficult to transform the written word into narrative sequential art- what portion of the writing gets directly turned into images, what's cut, and what becomes dialogue? For me about 20% is cut, 78% becomes art and 2% becomes dialogue or captions.

Episode 567 - Fairies, the Darkmatter of the supernatural

Jan 24, 2022

3 likes, 1 comment

Pit and Tantz join me to talk about about fairies, fae, Faery, Fair folk, Yokai, and all that good stuff. They're like the dark-matter of the supernatural world: they're not really gods, demons, monsters, or ghosts (though sometimes they are al of those sort off…), they generally fill the spaces between. They exist in a lot of cultures all over the place. They can be naughty spirits, elemental creatures, or animalistic, but generally they're quite alien and unknowable. This discussion comes from Tantz's newspost on Saturday.

Episode 566 - feeling the vibe!

Jan 16, 2022

3 likes, 0 comments

Let's talk about total immersion… When consuming media rather than creating it, if you're lucky you become immersed: the struggles and fears of the character become your own. You feel for them, you care, their pain, their hunger, even their shivers and sweats, you care about the world in which they live… That can be an amazing feeling and it's pretty much WHY we really enjoy and keep consuming media. Themes, great visuals, intellectual explorations of ideas and concepts are all very well but nothing compels and excites you as much as when you really CARE what's happening. So that's what we're chatting about! Join us on Discord - https://discordapp.com/invite/7NpJ8GS

Episode 565 - Lady Barbarian

Jan 10, 2022

3 likes, 2 comments

“The Girl Boss in the sausagefest” Pitface and Tantz chat are here to chat with me about the subject or lady Barbarians: What they look like, where they originated, why they originated, what they mean, and the logic behind them. They're often overshadowed by their male counterparts (e.g. Conan), and often dismissed as simply an erotic male fantasy, but they've been around just as long and they've also had just as much of a role to play in the traditional “barbarian” mythos as the male versions. Sure, the sexy versions are abundant, iconic, and visually striking, but they're not the be all and end all!


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