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Opinion

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How Fandoms Fail Black Protagonists

I’ve been in and out of fan spaces for movies, books, and TV shows since I was in high school. I love fandoms because of the a shared sense of community and creativity that enhances the enjoyment of any story, and I’ve also met many wonderful people in these spaces. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve noticed that all fandoms I’ve been in also have one negative thing in common—an unacknowledged undercurrent of racism.

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How Dragon Ball Super Solves the “Sissy Villain” Problem

Editor’s Note: This article references the Toei dub of Dragon Ball Super.

Growing up, I identified with the villains in stories. Characters like Scar from The Lion King, Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist and Loki within the Marvel Universe were some of my favorites in the media I consumed, and the list only grew longer as I got older.

It was a few years before I realized why I gravitated towards the “pretty”, flamboyant villains who frequently wore purple eyeshadow: I was gay and nonbinary, and these were often the only mirrors I had when consuming media. They were characters I could connect to with ease.

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Goku is the John Cena of Dragon Ball and That’s Fine Actually

When I was a kid, there were few responsibilities I took as seriously as my daily obligation to join Toonami Tom and watch the newest decade-late rerun of Dragon Ball Z. It didn’t matter if I’d seen the episode a million times—the battles fought by Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and all their friends against countless colorful foes lit up the dopamine centers of my adolescent brain like a Christmas tree.

I love Dragon Ball Z. I always have, and I always will. But I have a confession to make:

I don’t give a crap about the super powerful, never-give-up, unwaveringly-cheerful main character of the series. I don’t care about Goku.

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How YouTube Makes Childrens’ Entertainers Behave Like Machines

In 2018, YouTube is a nightmare. Neon thumbnails and meaningless titles litter the trending videos page, a state far removed from the platform’s humble beginnings in 2005. Ruling over this state like a distant sovereign is the algorithm, a power that prioritizes quantity and view count over quality. At the algorithm’s whims, YouTube’s top creators endlessly churn out videos and sacrifice their sanity.

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How the Australian Government Funded a Wave of Bizarre Horror Films, Embarrassed the Critics, and Kickstarted the Careers of Hollywood Writers

In 1975, Peter Weir’s haunting Picnic at Hanging Rock cast a spell on viewers worldwide; the ambiguous tale lulled its audience into a dreamy haze with the mystery of three schoolgirls vanishing at the titular Hanging Rock. The picture heralded a New Wave of Australian cinema, and local critics were ecstatic to have such a work represent the continent to filmgoers across the globe.