Fyre Fraud (2019)

This review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on February 1, 2019. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars. Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP image

Right out of the gate, Fyre Fraud has a few marks against it. Technically premiering a few days before Fyre on Netflix, there are some issues that aren’t fair to hold against it (for instance, that it’s trapped on the currently inferior platform, although one doesn’t have to read tea leaves to know that Netflix’s shrinking catalog and decreasing quality control could render this statement out of date any day now) and some that definitely are (Fyre never stoops so low that it uses stock footage to fill time in voiceover, or worse, playing out an entire scene from an episode of Family Guy as a kind of shorthand to demonstrate that, hey, sometimes lawyers are real jerks). But there are marks in its favor as well, most notably that it features an interview with Fyre founder and con man Billy McFarland, alongside its indictment not only of McFarland but larger “influencer” culture (again, gag) and makes larger statements against the kind of unethical behavior (I’d say “antics” but don’t want to minimize the impact) in which McFarland et al engaged, and how that can track to larger political movements.

Continue reading “Fyre Fraud (2019)”

A Swampflix Court Dissenting Opinion: Prometheus (2012) & Alien: Covenant (2017)

This essay was originally posted on Swampflix.com on August 21, 2017, as a response to the positive reviews and responses to Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.  Image courtesy of Swampflix Editor Brandon Ledet.

EPSON MFP image

The unknown is terrifying, and Ridley Scott used to know this. As much as I love A Nightmare on Elm StreetThe VVitchGet OutRawRosemary’s BabyThe Omen, and the Argento canon, 1977’s Alien is actually my favorite horror movie of all time. It’s claustrophobic and atmospheric, and the terror of it works on multiple levels. Atypical heroine Ellen Ripley and her compatriots are forced to contend with two different faceless evils that press inward upon them from different directions: the known and the unknown, the “company” and the alien itself. Both of these entities pose a different kind of existential threat to the crew of the Nostromo, and that’s a huge part of why the film works.

Continue reading “A Swampflix Court Dissenting Opinion: Prometheus (2012) & Alien: Covenant (2017)”

Literature as a Societal Cornerstone

Note: The following is an essay originally written for Professor Niyi Osundare’s Poetry as a Genre class during the Fall 2010 semester at the University of New Orleans. Date of creation: November 22, 2010. If referring to this essay academically, please remember to make the appropriate citations so as to avoid running afoul of your institution’s plagiarism policy.

To understand the extent of the act of iconoclasm in the work of William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge, and the far reaching affects upon the Romantic Movement, affecting literary traditions from that period forward, one must first take into consideration other factors. Firstly, the intricate link between the earliest English literature and the English cultural mindset cannot be ignored, as anything that comments on the tradition is simultaneously making a commentary on the society from which it originates, and, in this case, provided a strong influence on this infant society. Further, oral literature, inherent in its nature as a device of transmission, creates a genealogy of literature, so much so that the lineage of critical thought can almost be traced backwards along a trail of mentors and disciples, exemplified by the parallels in the relationships between Jonathan Swift and John Dryden, Coleridge and Wordsworth, and many others.

Continue reading “Literature as a Societal Cornerstone”

The American Gothic as the One True American Literary Form

Note: The following is an essay originally written for Professor Nancy Easterlin after she took over the Short Story as a Genre class during the Fall 2010 semester at the University of New Orleans following the untimely death of the late Professor J.W. Cooke. Date of creation: December 26, 2010. If referring to this essay academically, please remember to make the appropriate citations so as to avoid running afoul of your institution’s plagiarism policy.

The American Gothic functions as a window into the greater American consciousness, offering a keen insight into the workings of the American psyche, and as such, it can be claimed that it is the true, defining genre of American literature. In the Introduction to American Gothic Fiction, Allan Lloyd Smith, writing of The Great Gatsby, says the American Gothic is about “the return of the past, of the repressed and denied, the buried secret that subverts and corrodes the present, whatever the culture does not want to know or admit” (Smith 1). The tropes of the genre divulge a great deal about the American character, fears given form revealing basic traits and archetypes that allow the critic to infer a great deal about the author and society.

Continue reading “The American Gothic as the One True American Literary Form”

Oral Performance and the Transfiguration of the Commonplace

Note: The following is an essay originally written for Professor Niyi Osundare’s Poetry as a Genre class during the Fall 2010 semester at the University of New Orleans. Date of creation: September 27, 2010. If referring to this essay academically, please remember to make the appropriate citations so as to avoid running afoul of your institution’s plagiarism policy.

In the short 2010 documentary “music in high places” [sic] Taylor Pate, then Poetry Editor of the New Delta Review, at Louisiana State University was interviewed. The impetus for the documentary was investigation into the lives of young Baton Rouge poets and musicians who had grown up in alternative educational forms, namely Christian schooling and homeschooling, and how this affected their art. Pate, the son of a Christian pastor, was asked to what extent he felt prosleytization was informed by performance. His reply? After services, Reverend Pate would ask the family questions, not about the details of the content of the sermon, but technical issues pertaining to the broadcast of the sermon, such as whether the microphones were adequate or the congregation was involved: “So, how do you think people liked it… was it loud enough?” The content of the message was not unimportant, but the performance aspect of the sermon is of greater importance that one might previously realize, and that there was a fundamental difference between a sermon given orally and one that existed solely on the page.
Continue reading “Oral Performance and the Transfiguration of the Commonplace”

Metamorphosis and Eternal Recurrence in ‘Shine, Perishing Republic’

Lower Manhattan (1934), Thomas James Delbridge. Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum at the Renwick Gallery.
Lower Manhattan (1934), Thomas James Delbridge. Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum at the Renwick Gallery.

Note: The following is an essay originally written for Professor Niyi Osundare’s Poetry as a Genre class during the Fall 2010 semester at the University of New Orleans. Date of creation: November 22, 2010. If referring to this essay academically, please remember to make the appropriate citations so as to avoid running afoul of your institution’s plagiarism policy.

“Does it not hurt the caterpillar to become the butterfly?”
“Change always hurts, that is how you know it is working.”

Continue reading “Metamorphosis and Eternal Recurrence in ‘Shine, Perishing Republic’”