Review

TV Shows with a Deeper Meaning

TV shows are a great way to pass time, while they’re a great source of entertainment, there are always hidden meanings behind these stories. I am a huge fan of shows that allow me to reflect on the way society is, so I wanted to list a few of my favourites and explain the messages in them.

Black Mirror

While this one is obvious for its comments on the way technology influences society as well as the innate behaviour of it, I must discuss it. Black mirror is one of my favourite shows, it’s incredibly easy to see how technology can influence society in the future, yet it is still able to draw parallels with the present day. One example of this is the episode The White Bear which can show how society follow individuals accused of crimes and how in the end we can put our humanity aside, stooping to their level for their punishment.

Another example of how well this show comments on society is Nosedive. It demonstrates how people can get so caught up in social media that it becomes a hierarchy. Those with more followers or more likes are richer, more influential and powerful. It also demonstrates how attemping to reach that level will not make people happy, which is what a lot of people search for in social media.

Attack on Titan

This show is a japanese anime, despite this it still does a fantastic job at commenting on society. To quickly summarise, this show is about giants called titans that eat people and inorder to survive humanity builds a huge wall to prevent them from getting eaten. The wall itself it very symbolic in the functioning of society.

There are layers to the wall and these layers can correspond to the social class of the person living within this area, with the richer people having the most walls between them and the titans. So far, we can visualise how this wall demonstrates the social system in society. When disaster strikes and the titans penetrate the wall, its the pooer class who is the first to be effected. This is also seen in our everyday lives, one example is global warming, people living in poverty are the ones getting most effected right now, with higher classes being unaware of the effects. The wall is important to understanding class, yet there is much more to social class within the show.

Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is another japanese anime that about a boy name Kaneki who becomes a ghoul and needs human flesh to survive. He tries to restrain from giving into this survival instinct but eventually succumbs to it. One theme that in particularly interesting is the idea that the ghouls are only doing what they need to survive and that happens to be eating human flesh. Some ghouls like to obtain their food by a more ethical means, yet no matter what, the humans hate and hunt them. In relation to society, it demonstrates how humanity can be unwilling to find alternatives and would rather discriminate and alienate, pushing people to do what they need to in order to survive. While there are many others themes, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

The X Files

While the X Files is a sci fi show and quite bizarre at times, it often comments on themes relating to social groups. Mass hysteria is one example in which people will go crazy due to fear and panic. Another interesting point is how people tend to group together to fit their needs and interests, even if it leads to extreme behaviour. This show does an incredible job on showing human psychology and how it works at a societal level. It also has an overall scary or isolated feel at times which adds to these themes. Despite having quite serious episodes, they always throw in a comedic one and its great.

These four shows are some of my personal favourites, they do an amazing job at showing the human condition. Of course there are many more out there and these are just a few of them. I’d love to hear any shows that you’d recommend. Thanks for reading!

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story

The Hunt

Hi everyone, this is part one of a short story I have been working on. I hope through writing more narratives, I’ll be able to develop my writing skills. Thanks for reading!

I sat there, staring into space, thinking of my next steps, thinking of how to fix this shitty situation I found myself in. I had pissed off my boss, and she then felt the need to tell others about my incompetency rather than come to me with it. The scenario repeated on a continuous cycle in my head, like someone was constantly pressing the replay button. I had no control over my mind. I blamed myself and couldn’t think of a way to fix this mess. The fear and embarrassment took over. People would surely think I’m stupid and not fit to work here.

‘It’s clear as day that I’m the issue, otherwise she wouldn’t have said anything’ I thought to myself.

Unable to deal with the emotions, I froze. There I was, sitting at my desk, in a trance caused by the endless replaying of events in my mind. I couldn’t think or work. Then, it all happened so suddenly. The world around me faded to pitch black. It was only for a millisecond, then I found myself in a completely different setting.

‘Eh?’ I said, confused.

I blinked a few times to check if my eyes were deceiving me. Then did that obligatory arm pinch to see if I had somehow fallen asleep without noticing.

I didn’t wake up.

I was definitely awake…

As ridiculous as my recount of events sound, I found myself sitting on a single bed in a small wooden cabin. It was lightly furnished with the necessities; a bed, fireplace, as well as a kitchenette and was dimly lit by windows.

Taking in my surroundings, the scenery outside the window caught my attention.

For a moment, I was almost stricken with awe. In front of me was an emerald green forest, with trees so high I had to awkwardly crane my neck up to see the top. The forest floor was covered in shrubs, with patched of red mushrooms and flowers breaking up the green. As quickly as I saw it’s beauty, fear had gripped me. This isn’t something you’d see where I’m from.

We don’t have luscious green forests.

‘Why the fuck am I here?’ I said, half expecting someone to provide answers.

I turned to scan the cabin. There was zilch. It was as basic as possible. Then the view from the window above the bed caught my eye.

My mouth dropped.

Through the window, I had a first person view of my work desk. Obviously, I wasn’t at my desk, so naturally I freaked the fuck out.

‘What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck?’ I panicked.

I tried grasping the window to see if it was a picture or something pasted to the window.

‘You’re an idiot, it’s…my hands are moving’.

My mind began to race, as it should in a situation like that.

In a frantic effort to discover what was going on I turned cabin upside down, searching for some sort of answer as to why I was there. I checked the kitchen cabinets and search under the mattress. I found nothing.

Anxiety set in and I could sense a panic attack coming on.

I’d like to think I would keep a clear head in stressful situation, however; this was too fucking bizarre to keep a cool head.

I began to hyperventilate. I kept gasping for air. Not matter how much I took into my lungs, it was never enough.

Less than a minute into my panic attack, and without any warning, the cabin began to shake violently. This worked in my favour however, because my mind was distracted enough to stop panicking.

‘Is this an earthquake?’

My eyes darted to the window.

Everything was definitely moving, inside and out.

‘What about the other window with my desk?’

It wasn’t moving.

As quickly as the earthquake started, it subsided.

Now, looking back I’m amazed at how quickly I came to this conclusion whilst in that state of mind, but I put two and two together. I could see myself working though the other window and at the exact moment I have a panic attack, there was an earthquake. I had caused the shaking by panicking and wherever the fuck I was seemed to be connected to my state of mind.

I stared at my working hands, thinking.

‘Was I in my mind?’ I wondered.

‘Surely not…’

Yet, that wasn’t the thought that scared me, what was controlling my body?

I walked over to the other window and continued to watch my body was doing. It was now texting my friend.

‘Well it’s good to know I am functioning normally at least’ I thought to myself.

Then, I took a closer look at what it was typing and it was complete gibberish.

‘Oh, that’s just great’. I said anxiously.

My fear of humiliation was once again taking over. I could feel the inability to breathe returning.

‘Don’t panic, you need to find a way back.’


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diary · Inspiring People

On Revenge

It can be incredibly easy to desire revenge and even act it out in a fit of anger. It can also be fulfilling to see someone get what they deserve. However, is it worth it in the end?

To understand revenge we need to step back and look at evolution. Evolutionary psychologists theorise that revenge developed through natural selection in order to retaliate against an exploiter when injustice has occurred. In my personal opinion, this makes a lot of sense as humanity often relies on social bonds for survival. Basically, if an individual survives it benefits the species as that individual is able to produce viable offspring. A social behaviour that comes to mind when exploring the idea of revenge and survival is reciprocal altruism. This terms refers to an individual temporarily reduces its fitness (ability to survive in an environment) to increase another organisms, with the expectation that the other organism will do the same. Forming these social groups can aid a persons survival until they can reproduce. So, where does revenge come into this? Revenge paves way for justice in people who go against reciprocal altruism.

As humans we would band together in social groups for survival. Taking advantage of others opposes altruism because it’s for ones own gain and doesn’t benefit the group. Revenge in a sense can be viewed as an example of altruism. It’s taking a person who would rather further their own fitness and reducing them down to someone who can no longer be socially accepted (sometimes). Someone who cannot be part of the group becomes someone whose fitness is reduced in the long run. Now, we have an understanding of why revenge behaviours take place and why it was sometimes necessary in the past, what about the present?

Humans no longer need to survive as a species in a sense, of course there are people who are still trying to drastically survive even today, however; what about a situation where you’ve come up with an idea and it gets stolen? Yes, that would completely suck, though what do you do then? Is it ethical in today’s society? Is beneficial and healthy to do?

Ethics would say no. Desire for revenge is often motivated by spite, anger and ego which can be quite toxic for a person. In the end it can create even more suffering at times. Personally, I want to enact revenge at times but I know I’ll feel worse about it than the situation that caused my desire. I guess it’s really up to where a persons morals stand, if they are at the capacity to then it’s their decision. Sometimes though, the best revenge can be showing how much you grew and were able to achieve your goal regardless. Either way, it’s 2020 and as my sister said ‘we’re over taking people’s shit’.

Thanks for reading everyone! I really wanted to explore a normal human emotion that everyone experiences because it’s really hard to overcome that desire at times.

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diary · Review

Why I Love Frozen 2 – Pt. 2 (spoilers)

Watching the first Frozen movie, I was amazed by Elsa’s transformation. She went from a character who isolated herself because she was afraid to hurt people, to someone who was able to express her feelings and let others in. Frozen 2 allowed for further character development, progressing from a highly anxious individual to one who becomes free of anxiety and lets herself be free.

During the first song ‘Some Things Never Change’, the characters sing about how time is moving forward, yet they all remain the same. For Elsa she keeps hearing a call and has great anxiety that ‘somethings coming’ and how she’s ‘not sure she wants things to change at all’. These lines show the fear Elsa has in regards to the future and the uncertainty that awaits. Suffering from anxiety myself, the ambiguity that the future has can be terrifying and make you want to hold onto the present tightly. Elsa describes how the ‘days are precious’ and she cannot ‘let them slip away’, however; she ‘can still go out and seize this day’. Despite Elsa’s anxiety, she isn’t allowing dread to hold her back and is continuing to go about her day seizing every moment. This ability to not let anxiety stand in your way displays Elsa’s progression from the first movie, allowing us to see her journey. Yet at this point, she still has far to go due to her constant overthinking.

Throughout the Frozen franchise, we get to see Elsa’s progression in overcoming her anxiety. The song ‘Into the Unknown’, is very much about ignoring the voice in your head. Elsa is refusing to listen to the ‘siren’ as she fears ‘what [she] is risking if [she] follows’ it. The use of ‘siren’ demonstrates how the voice is enticing for her and it compels her. It isn’t until the movie progresses, that we see the voice was her own. For Elsa, the idea of pursuing the call gives her great anxiety because she’s afraid to risk what she has. The voice even goes so far as to ‘keep her awake’, which shows the constant thinking about whether to listen to the siren. This song analyses the overthinking of an individual when something new or scary makes an appearance. Which is further evident when she states ‘there’s a thousand reasons to go about my day’. It shows the compulsion to think about reasons why something should or shouldn’t happen. This is a classic symptom of anxiety, the constant overthinking and reflection. The song demonstrates Elsa’s thought process as it progresses from blocking the siren out, to thinking why is it here? To then accepting it and making a decision. This inability to make decisions is something many of us can resonate with because fear holds us back. Elsa was able to move forward and finally let the siren in, it’s only after she does this that she can become who she was meant to be.

In the song ‘Show Yourself’, it displays how the voice inside Elsa’s head was her own the entire time. She sings ‘I can sense you there, like a friend I’ve always known, I’m arriving, and it feels like I am home’. Elsa set out looking for someone like her and in these lines, she suggests she feels like this is where she is meant to be. She then explains how she’s ‘always been a fortress, cold secrets deep inside’. It demonstrates how Elsa never felt at home and how her anxiety and dismissing the voice in her head held her back. Throughout the song, Elsa thought she was looking for someone like her, when the entire time she was looking for herself. It isn’t until her mother sings ‘there’s a river…full of memory…come, my darling, homeward bound’ that Elsa realises ‘[she] is found’. When Elsa finally finds the truth about her past through the memories of her ancestors, she is ‘homeward bound’, meaning she is finally finding where she belongs. She confirms this through singing ‘I am found’. The entire time she wasn’t in search of anyone else, she was looking for herself. There’s no longer any fear or sadness towards being alone, she has found herself and can finally be who she is. This is further confirmed when her mother sings to her ‘you’re the one you’ve been waiting for’. I think this is an idea a lot of people can understand, we tend to ignore our own voice and as a result we look for other voices to guide us. We overthink, trying to read signals and signs to figure out who we should be. This leads to that fear and anxiety of being alone, then at some point we need to realise the only one we’ve been looking for is ourselves. Our own voice is the only one that can guide us, and that idea is something that is very hard to come to. This song is a fantastic example of how we have to understand ourself to find ourself.

Thanks everyone for reading my analysis of Elsa’s character, her message is one that really hits close to home and I just wanted to share it with everyone.

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Review

Why I Love Frozen 2 Pt. 1 (spoilers)

Warning: spoilers. For those of you who just want to read my interpretation of the second movie, skip to paragraph four as the first few paragraphs is what the first Frozen movie meant to me.

When the first Frozen movie came out, I remember seeing all the hype about it. So naturally, I gave in and watched the movie. I remember feeling emotional every step of the way when it came to Elsa’s and Anna’s relationship. Having a sister myself, I resonated with the idea that I would do anything for her, including shut her out when life got tough, I could relate to Elsa.

Elsa’s signature song ‘Let it Go’ was an amazing piece in which you could feel that after all the pain and suffering she went through, telling everyone finally let her be free to a certain extent. That pivotal scene in which she transformed into her new self after being free of her constraints and letting her power flow gave me chills. It showed how freedom from your constraints can allow you to transform. Yet, despite releasing all the pain of her life, she was still unable to let those who love her in (a feat I too have only recently came to discover is difficult) because she was still isolating herself. She was able to let go of the past and embrace her power, however; fear of letting others in was still ingrained in her. By refusing to let anyone in she hurt those she loved even more and almost lost Anna through freezing her heart. By the end of the movie, when Anna was frozen and Elsa was finally able to show her love, it was only through that release of emotion that she was able to unfreeze her.

My love for the first movie stems because of my own childhood and how my sister and I can relate to both characters. Elsa and Anna were the only ones who knew the isolation they both experienced. I could draw parallels with our own childhoods. I resonated with Elsa as I had to be strong and put up a wall and my sister was Anna trying to figure the world out alone. Despite drawing similarities with my own life, I could only relate to Elsa and couldn’t relate to any other character. Frozen 2 changes that, most characters are relatable in one way or another and it’s commentary is outstanding.

Anna’s Character Development

The start of the movie opens up to an upbeat song titled ‘Some Things Never Change’, which sings about well… things never changing. In the song she describes how the world around her is changing, yet the loved ones who surround her remain the same. She sings how the way she is ‘…holding on tight…’ to everyone around. Anna is a very family oriented person and would do anything for the people she loved because she grew up in perpetual loneliness. She is afraid to lose the ones who she now holds so dear which is why she holds onto them so tightly. These actions are something a lot of people can resonate with as we often go through life losing the people we hold dear in one way or another. Anna’s character is very much relatable because she has so much fear in losing the ones she loves and compares her will to hold onto them as strong as a ‘old stone wall that will never fall’. This idea is one that many people can draw parallels with, I for one have often fought for those I love/value even to the point I will hold them as close as possible, however; this doesn’t always work.

Holding on tightly to others doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to. Anna tried to keep Elsa close to her throughout the entire movie so she wouldn’t lose her again and have to experience the loneliness she felt throughout her entire childhood. At the end of the day, she couldn’t stop Elsa from adventuring alone to find herself. After that pivotal scene where Elsa strays too far and drowns, Olaf fades away and Anna realises that her sister is gone. The song ‘The Next Right Thing’, is a song that Anna sings coming from pure despair. The first line of the song explains how she’s ‘seen dark before’, suggesting that Anna has gone through depression in the past, yet nothing can compare for the darkness she is in now. She explains hows what is feeling is ‘cold…empty…numb’ and the ‘lights are out’. Anna is finally ready to ‘succumb to the darkness’ because ‘the life [she] knew is over’. The first lines of this song display how reliant Anna is on Elsa because without her there, only darkness remains. This is further evident with the next lines of the song in which she says ‘I have followed you around, I always have, but you’ve gone to a place I cannot find’. Elsa is Anna’s older sister and she is a role model to Anna. She later sings ‘the only star that guided [her] was [Elsa]’, further supporting that idea that Elsa has always taken care of Anna and has always been held on a pedestal by her. Without Elsa there she has no guidance or ‘reason’ to rise up, she only allowed herself to be guided by others to rise up for them in order for her to keep them held so tightly. This is something a lot of us can resonate with as sometimes we don’t act for ourselves, but for others, so they can see us in a good light. ‘The Next Right Thing’ produces a fantastic message which is to not rely on others or their guidance to rise up.

The idea of not relying on others to feel validated and develop yourself as a person is one that many of us can relate to, and its not until we listen to the voice inside our own head that we can do that. In the second verse, Anna sings ‘a tiny voice whispers in my mind, “you are lost, hope is gone, but you must go on and do the next right thing”‘. This is the crucial moment in which Anna starts to listen to her own voice. The use of the word ‘tiny’ shows how small her own voice is inside her own head because its been pushed back so many times. The voice doesn’t use the word ‘I’, instead it uses ‘you’, demonstrating the disconnect from that voice inside her head. Anna doesn’t picture the voice as her own because she’s never listened to it and its only now that she is starting to. And in darkness, the voice is telling her ‘to do the next right thing’, to ‘not look too far ahead’ and ‘break it down to this next breath, this next step’. This process that the voice inside Anna’s head is telling her really resonates with me because in those moments I suffered with depresssion, just getting through the day, one day after another, life slowly was able to get better. Frozen 2 brought a whole new side to Anna that wasn’t present in the first movie. In the first movie she was always bubbly and determined, and in this move, her mental health issues are demonstrated incredibly well.

I didn’t plan for the section on Anna to be this long, it wasn’t until I started reading and writing that I felt the need to express how I saw Anna’s character. So I will divide my analysis up into parts and continue to write about the other characters I could draw parallels with.