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essays on narratives and culture

There is something troubling going on in the politics of the Pokemon universe. In the first four RPGs of the main series, the antagonist is a shadowy organization with curiously loyal grunts setting out to harness the power of some legendary Pokemon in order to establish a New World Order. Team Rocket, Team Galactic, Team Magma, et al., all of them want to bring “peace” through domination.

If the Pokemon world were decimated by internecine conflict or even going through some kind of economic recession, I could understand why so many young people might be vulnerable to the promises of a cult like this. But in all my conversations with NPCs, I have never heard someone complaining about not being able to find a job, or having insufficient disposable income to satisfy their basal requirements, or really anything at all other than the death cults. We play these games through the eyes of adolescent protagonists, so maybe the adults are all sparing us the complexity of the social issues, because it makes no sense that a pattern of death cults is a society's only problem. They are an effect begging for a cause.

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Last April I started writing fiction. I have burned out on other modes of art before, so I knew getting my process right—right as in yielding improvement but also enjoyable and sustainable over many years—was essential to achieving any long-term goals. I had questions. Do I write every day? When I start a second draft, do I start with another blank page? How do I know when it's time to move on from the story?

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#bookreview #nsfw

The virtuous die young, or cling to life and putrefy. This is the philosophy that undergirds The Sea of Fertility, the master work of accomplished Japanese playwright and novelist Yukio Mishima. It's a quotidian aphorism you’ve heard before, but the tetralogy’s feat is not proposing the idea for the first time, rather tearing it open and showing you its insides, the vast and fractal-like machine of philosophical understanding it contains.

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I am an American with an insatiable appetite for romantic drama. My quest for ever-more-complex geometries of love—you’ve heard of love triangles, but have you heard of love pentagrams?—has lead me from medium to medium, country to country, and after a fifteen-year journey I think I have at last found the frontier of romantic drama in the modern world.

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