BBC’s time traveling hero turns proactive to root out his own childhood fear. A frightening “Doctor Who” episode about fright literally and figuratively explores how fear feeds itself, and turns that around to stress the value of fear and its function in the fight-or-flight response. If fear itself is not truly a thing to fear, fear instead may be your fuel.
A lot of shows focus on romance, but what about the bromance? Everyone has friends (except for Hitler. That guy was a poop) so it’s just as important for shows…
“The world needs villains so there can be heroes,” claims Netflix promotion for the BBC series “Happy Valley.” Can that be true? Does the world really need villains? Can heroism exist without villainy? From a storytelling standpoint, a villain has value, but not all emergencies in everyday life arise from evil intent. Are we so ready to take evil among people for granted?
Oh, snap! You just got Van Dammed! That’s what Bloodsport should be called because Jean-Claude Van Damme kicks an astonishing amount of butt. Bloodsport is a great classic action film…
Who sees humor in sexual assault? Rape jokes take a variety of forms, generated by a greater variety of intentions. Should those individuals who jest about sexual violence learn greater sensitivity or should others who object to such jokes lighten up? What has empirical research shown us about how, why, and when people will make light of sex crimes? Who makes these jokes?
Should 101 celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence have “known better”? When a hacker steals their private, encrypted photos and distributes them online, fault should be easy to assign. The victims did nothing wrong here, so why do people even discuss this issue of blame? Is hindsight bias at work in this manifestation of the just-world phenomenon, or is schadenfreude afoot?
At last, Geeks and Gamers Anonymous (GAGA) has a new and final episode. That’s right, folks, this will be the last of GAGA. We had a great season one thanks…
Should 101 celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence have “known better”? When a hacker steals their private, encrypted photos and distributes them online, fault should be easy to assign. The victims did nothing wrong here, so why do people even discuss this issue of blame? Is hindsight bias at work in this manifestation of the just-world phenomenon, or is something darker afoot?
Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) has particularly struck a fancy with audiences with his views on masculinity, freedom, and woodworking, so here’s a look back over the seasons of the best…
Has the Doctor misplaced one of his hearts? The latest version of the lead character on “Doctor Who” seems short on empathy and he worries whether regeneration skewed his morality when it completely altered his body. Both neural manipulation and traumatic brain injury can alter real people’s empathic and moral capabilities in terms of cognition, emotion, and compassion.
Like scary Slender Man, viral views over a vaccine-autism link spread from a single human’s fiction. After Eric Knudsen created the Slender Man in a photo editing challenge, its myth spread as meme, a malleable open-source horror that inspired a murder attempt. After Andrew Wakefield falsified a vaccine-autism link, it panicked many into campaigning against vaccination.
In “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), amnesia-ridden James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes has been brainwashed into carrying out assassinations as the Winter Soldier. Does that make him a villain or a misguided hero? Exactly how might we diagnose an individual suffering his particular set of symptoms, and is there really any hope for one who has wrought so much wrong?
It may not be action, but it is awesome- Parks and Recreation is one of the few shows in with a cast full of remarkably hilarious actors fully committed to their…
MythBusters’ build team leaves the Discovery Channel series after more years than most TV shows last. Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tori Belleci depart, having tested only half of the Yerkes-Dodson arousal/performance curve. Having slapped some sense into understimulated, underaroused team members, they have not also slapped them silly when overstimulated and overaroused.
When a children’s webcomic artist sends others sexually explicit photos of his own anatomy, is that simply some sexting as part of 21st century life, or is he engaging in sexual harassment or other aggression? How can outsiders judge whether he is a charitable hero or a predatory villain? Who should speak out about this? Is there ever such a thing as a safe sext?
The BBC TV series “Doctor Who” has lasted 50 years. Its new season stars Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor – same Time Lord, different face. When the program’s hero regenerates into a new form (played by a new actor) how does that change affect his personality and self-concept? How do any real world human experiences relate to this science fiction character revision?
Here’s a life lesson the audience can learn from The Last Stand: always be nice to your neighbors, because you never know when they might just save your life. This…
The plot for Luc Besson’s science fiction action thriller “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson with Morgan Freeman hangs on the myth we only use 10% of our brains. As the heroine’s brain usage reaches 90%, she gains skills and psychic superpowers. Not only does that 10% figure come from no confirmable, scientific source, a long line of evidence contradicts it in every way.
Psychologists and actors compare depictions of bullying in Star Wars and Star Trek science fiction franchises. Children are not the only ones who might find themselves mocked, insulted over nerdy interests or anything else they enjoy as others try to suck the fun out of their lives. Can fantastic fiction empower us and teach lessons on responding to bullies in real life?
Why have psychologists said much more about one celebrity suicide than about a teenager’s tragic death and the ensuing protests and riots? We knew Robin Williams in ways we never knew Michael Brown. Is our relatively greater response because of familiarity, race, complacency, information overload, or specificity of issues like suicide, depression, and Parkinson’s disease?
Numerous professionals have shown restraint in covering Missouri’s rioting crisis over an incident in which a police officer killed an unarmed young man. Some tweeting about Ferguson in social media have compared it to Milgram’s obedience study, but wouldn’t Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment teach us more about how authority roles can create and escalate conflict?
Robin Williams played healers, teachers, heroes, and villains. Did he play so many doctors and educators because he wanted to heal and teach, because he yearned for healing and learning, or because we wanted him to help himself and others grow better? Because of his very humanity, because of how he conveyed his humor and his pain, he appealed to the misfit in us all.
We have a lot to say about the death of Robin Williams, and for a lot of different reasons. In our need to express ourselves and to reach out to others who may need help, have we been careful in what we’re doing? The World Health Organization has published a set of recommendations for anyone writing about suicide in general or specific (especially celebrity) cases.
On August 13th, TNT will unleash a new drama called Legends. If you’ve seen the brilliant hashtag going around, #DontKillSeanBean, this is the show they’re talking about. Sean Bean (Game…