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WELCOME to SlamDunk! Studios. This is a portfolio of creative and analytical writing I've produced over the years. The articles focus on literature, cinema, gaming, history, and sociology.

You can browse through all of the site content in the blog feed below, or search for specific pieces in the Navigation Bar above. Comments and feedback are very welcome. If you'd like to follow my more recent writing and creative projects, then please check out Valkyrist.wordpress.com. Thank you!

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Night of the Living Dead (film essay)

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

When Night of the Living Dead (Romero 1968) was first released, American society was in a state of cultural and racial conflict. It was fighting two wars – the war from within and the war from without. One was being fought amongst its own people, expressed through the racial clashes between black and white Americans. The other war was being fought in the far away jungles of Vietnam, against the faceless, nameless enemy dwelling in the shadows.

 

The...

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Indigenous Education (soc essay)

Posted on July 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Education is one of the most important elements of Indigenous self-determination and cultural integrity, and yet it is also the institution most in need of reform. Nationwide, Indigenous students achieve consistently poorer results than their non-Indigenous counterparts. The problems that Aboriginal students face at secondary and tertiary levels of study are systematic, as well as psychological. Indigenous education is plagued by systemic bias and structural violence, as well as a perva...

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District 9 (film essay)

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The aliens encountered in District 9 (Blomkamp 2009) are treated with the same level of distain and indifference usually reserved for refugees and ethnic minorities. While the majority of “alien invasion” films depict humanity’s initial contact with extra-terrestrial life, District 9 concerns itself with the aftermath of “first encounter”; the process and struggle of co-existence. The film is set in South Africa and bears significant similarit...

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The Proposition (film essay)

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Proposition (Hillcoat 2005) is bleak, brutal depiction of Australia’s colonial history, which challenges the romanticism of the bushranger legend. The film presents ideas of heroism, villainy and innocence with a degree of ambiguity (Stadler 68). This moral vagueness is manifested through the characters of the film.


The protagonists struggle to do right, but are tortured and oppressed by the forces of man and nature; meanwhile, the truly despicable cha...

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The History of Australian Cinema (film essay)

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Early Australian Film Industry

Australia was quite prolific during the silent era of movies, along with America and France. It even produced the first full-length feature film, in the form of 1906’s The Story of the Kelly Gang (Tait). During the 1920s, however, there was a critical decline in audience attendance rates. Following World War I, there was simply a lack of interest in Australian stories, which was further aggravated by the banning of bushra...

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Violence in Video Games (soc essay)

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Moral panic regarding the depiction of violence has dogged video game culture for almost thirty years. Scott’s (1995) study was unable to establish a correlation between playing violent video games, and increased aggressiveness. He found that the participants who were exposed to a number of violent games had their aggressiveness marginally increased, while those who played the moderately violent games actually decreased their aggressiveness. However, given that this study was cond...

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The Hobbit (lit essay)

Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (5)

Strength, bravery, boldness, and resilience – these are some of the characteristics that embody the hero of Homeric legend. This classical hero, almost always a man, is as much a symbol of masculinity as he is moral virtue. At first glance, Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit (Tolkien 1937), could not be further from this portrait of gallantry. He is polite, nervous, and concerned chiefly with personal comfort and social perception. Yet, beneath this timid persona ...

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The Duel in the Black Tide (short story)

Posted on April 20, 2012 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

  Sole closed his eyes, and listened to the crackle of flames… and felt their heat upon his skin… and smelt the burning of rotten oak… and the salt of the sea breeze.

  When he opened them again, the Merion fleet had disappeared over the horizon, and a wave of relief washed over him. Whatever else had been lost this day, they were safe; safe from the madness that had infected these lands. It was night-time now, and the full moon had risen, cold and ...

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Arya and the Night's King (Fan Fiction short story)

Posted on April 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

This story is actually taken from amuch longer A Song of Ice and Fire fan-fiction piece (called “Blood of the Direwolf” ), that I wrote last year. Thisis basically the climax of that novella, in which Arya takes up arms againstBowen Marsh and the other members of the Night’s Watch mutiny. However, I feltlike it worked as its own short story, so I’ve re-edited it, and added somestuff, to make it feel more self-contained. Don’t worry, all...

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The Riddle of Muurn (poem)

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The breeze that warms the meadow is the wind that frosts the peaks;

The light that yields the garden is the heat that chars the trees;

The stream that feeds the prairie is the wave that rears the seas;

The pup that guards the shepherd is the wolf that wears the fleece.

 

The maid that loves the roses is the Queen that wields the thorn;

The babe that...

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They're a Weird Mob (film essay)

Posted on April 1, 2012 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1)

They’re a Weird Mob (Michael Powell 1966) presents a unique portrait of Australian society, through the eyes of an Italian immigrant. It takes place during the period of the White Australia policy, before the nation adopted multiculturalism. Thus, racial, religious, and geographic divisions are still quite pronounced, and a feeling of “us against them” pervades many of the characters. The film depicts Australia as insulated and resistant to the...

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Two Wolves after the Doom (short story)

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

  Saria was wading through the snow, her grey fur crusted with ice. Her breaths were deep and raspy, painting the air white in front of her snout. The great she-wolf limped towards the roots of a spider tree, and collapsed beneath its twisted shadow. The days were growing cold and brief. There was no warmth left in this place; no creatures to feed on; no caves or hollows to escape the bitter winds. There were only the harsh white snows, that stretched eternal; and the cruel, broodi...

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The Tragedy of King Lear (lit essay)

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (1)

King Lear (William Shakespeare 1623) traces a father’s decent into madness, after dividing his kingdom up between two of his three daughters, based on flattery. The King’s foolishness brings about tragic consequences for his family and people. Lear’s own insanity grows in parallel with the chaos and bloodshed that has befallen his realm, and many of the characters begin to ask themselves why the gods torment them so; for their sins of for “sport”. Th...

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Terminator 2 & Beauty and the Beast (film essay)

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Masculinity is a difficult concept to define, especially with the way traditional gender roles have shifted and transformed through the latter half of the 20th century. Typically, it refers to the possession of male characteristics and qualities, such as physical strength or aggression. It might also be associated with ideas of leadership, virility and assertiveness. Since femininity is sometimes seen as submissive or dependant, masculine modes will often strive to be dominan...

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Thoughts After Ruskin (lit essay)

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Elma Mitchell’s poem, Thoughts After Ruskin, is a unique portrait of women. It is not about a particular woman, but rather the nature and manner of women within a domestic setting. It depicts domestic life with a gritty, violent urgency that goes against the idealised view of femininity and grace. The poem’s title is addressing John Ruskin, and other male poets, who romanticise the nature of women; and contrasts their flowery language with a harsh reality. This essay ...

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The Beast (poem)

Posted on September 11, 2011 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

It moves as one across the red sands,

Its heart—a drum—o’er broken lands,

Hammering life from rock and heather,

A metal beast of lance and leather.

 

It shimmers and groans in the dawn light,

Skulls of wolves baying for a fight,

Woven plumage snatched by morning breeze.

One final foe left, ...

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Fight Club (film essay)

Posted on September 2, 2011 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The term “masochism” refers to the condition of deriving pleasure from pain. A masochist is a person who feels pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from receiving physical or emotional abuse. In the film Fight Club (Fincher 1999), the ability to endure violence or torment is marked as a symbol of masculinity. Indeed, the group’s doctrine seems to revolve around the breaking down of one’s body and mind, so that it may be rebuilt into something stronge...

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Paradise Saved (lit essay)

Posted on August 2, 2011 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A.D. Hope’s Paradise Saved is a retelling of humanity’s original sin in the Garden of Eden. It describes Adam’s refusal to partake in the fruit of knowledge, thus damning Eve into the wilderness alone, while he remains safe in God’s paradise. However, Adam continues to pine after Eve, and feels empty within God’s grace and devotion, because his love has been denied. This essay will analyse the structure and form of the poem, and how it has ...

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Xenoblade and The Last Story to be localised in the West (VG article)

Posted on June 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Fantastic news for Wii owners came today. After I whined a couple of weeks back about there being very little on the horizon for Wii owners, Nintendo have today confirmed that long-awaited titles Xenoblade and The Last Story (previously only available in Japan) will be given a European release. Xenoblade will also be made available to American gamer...

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Duke Nukem Forever finally arrives (VG article)

Posted on June 20, 2011 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

After almost a decade and a half in development hell, the elusive Duke Nukem Forever has finally been released onto an unwitting public. The sequel to 1996's Duke Nukem 3D was dogged by delays, poor management, layoffs, and unrealistic expectations, and has been regarded as vapourware for the past few years, until it was suddenly released last week. And after 14 years being made, critics are wondering what was done during the other 13 and half.No-one expected the game would be a masterpiece, ...

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