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 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 596 - Leadership!

Aug 15, 2022

5 likes, 2 comments

Leaders are not born, they're created… literally in the case of fiction, created by creators of comics, books, movies, and other media! For this Quackcast I was inspired by two things: a video on Leader Characters by the satirical YouTube channel Terrible Writing Advice, and the Disney movie Lightyear, in which the lone wolf classical hero figure learns how to lead.

Episode 591 - Superhero types?

Jul 11, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

The Superhero movie cast last week was popular, I wanted to chat to Tantz about different types of superheroes. We all know that the same kinds of superheroes seem to popup and reoccur in multiple forms all the time, even within the same worlds, i.e god-like superheros like Superman, Captain Marvel, Omni-man, Homelander, or Magical types like Doctor Strange, Zatana etc. It was a fun chat about all the categories and subcategories we could think about!

Episode 590 - Fave Superhero Movies?

Jul 4, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I wanted to do an easy and fun one this week and just chat about our fave superhero movies, starting with our firsts! For me and Banes it was Superman with Christopher Reeve. It's a real classic, full of positivity, hope, and optimism, all with bright colours and classic iconic imagery… In that way it's a bit like many of the Marvel films and the more popular DC offerings like Aquaman and WonderWoman, but without the overbuilt and over-defined muscles!

Episode 583 - Why is it bad?

May 16, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?


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