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The Appeal of Torture as Mass Entertainment

Should Others’ Suffering or Self-Inflicted Pain Be Watchable? Down the ages, man’s inhumanity to man has been made into spectacle for the amusement of others. It seems some can’t help it. Today, many self-torture themselves on TV. Savage, barbaric, public sports as entertainment are not new. The standard method of execution recorded in the Bible Old Testament was public stoning. The Romans were masters at such mass events in gladiatorial arenas, men against men, soldiers against slaves, men against wild animals, all till the death. They also invented the crucifixion, one of the most cruel ways to die. As medicine and the treatment of diseases improved through the centuries, it was commonplace for the public to go and watch operations. Indeed, the term still … Read entire article »

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Unusual Performance Spaces

Site-Specific Events Turn Up in the Most Unlikely Places English theatre director Peter Brook said in 1968 he could take any empty space and call it a bare stage. Nowadays, many performances turn any old spaces into stages. Whether seeing a play in a traditional theatre, a band in a huge auditorium or a sporting event in a magnificent arena, the setting is a major part of the total experience in terms of ambience and atmosphere. Increasingly in the arts, smaller, more intimate, non-specialist designed venues are the settings for performances of all sorts. Using a proscenium-arched stage, a thrust stage, a circus arena or, like at the Globe Theatre in London, a replica of Shakespearean style thrust-almost circular staging, makes a huge difference to the perception of the plays by the audiences. … Read entire article »

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The Bible in Popular Music

Biblical Quotes and References Inspire Songs While inspiration comes in many guises, both Christian and secular songwriters have always drawn deep from the well of Biblical imagery. They are still doing it. In paintings, novels, short stories and theatre, the Holy Bible has been a standard and long-lasting source of ideas, human stories and world-truths . The pop music industry is at it, and always has been. “The Rivers of Babylon”, the Boney M hit of 1978 is written out of Psalm 137, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion”. It is about the sadness of the Israelites asked to sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land; a plaintive song of the exile. There Is a Season The Byrds had … Read entire article »

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The Bible in the Arts

Biggest, Richest Source Material for Creative Ideas Stories, images, morals, parables and history from the Holy Bible have long inspired artists of every description to portray the great sweep of our fallible human life. Because so much of the Bible is made up of narrative, solid story-telling, it is natural that its influences will find their ways into a range of literature down the years. On one level they are moral tales, history recorded, parables for living; on another they are the spoken word of the creator God and his plans for redemption. This is the stuff of fiction writing, too. The Bible in Literature CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia are a version of the message at the heart of the Christian story. In The Lion, the … Read entire article »

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Infamous Things Said By Famous Politicians

What Politicians Said and Didn’t Say, But People Think They Did Politicians love to coin a winning catchphrase, but often the media do it for them, even if it wasn’t what they actually said. That can be a great political help or not. Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lampooned mercilessly for saying: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”. In the context of government and war, it is possibly factually correct. Things That They Actually Said For him, it was but one of many gems, (‘the way … Read entire article »

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Circus Is All-Round Entertainment

On Film or on Sawdust, Thrill-Seekers Love Circus Spectacle Today’s sophisticated all-age audiences are still thrilled by animal-free Big Tops. Film of circus, film about circus or live circus – there is no show on earth like it. Troupes like Cirque du Soleil bring to the circus genre, a standard of live performance skills that is second to none. Whether in a tent, a theatre, an arena or on film, circus spectacle is unique, enjoying a rich history and a bright future as people demand and enjoy more spectacle, more thrills, more integrated performing arts. Definition of Spectacle One definition of spectacle is an event or situation, memorable for the appearance it creates. “Stop making a spectacle of yourself”, is still a well-used and understood exhortation. It inspired most comic moments on stage, in … Read entire article »

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Will Technology Kill Off the Actor?

Simulation Wizardry Could Replace Human Beings in Movies As movie-3D on the back of other recent and ongoing technological advances sweeps all before it, are human performers’ days numbered, or is a human actor irreplaceable? Film-goers expect to enjoy realistic and convincing settings in movies, from wild places to dingy tenements, from outer space to city skylines. all usually real, un-enhanced backdrops. Audiences have grown up with seeing how people interact with and respond to their situations/environments. The image of the terrified victim in a horror setting, paralysed by fear, the rabbit in the headlights, is not only an abiding memory of virtually everything ever made in the genre, but is what drives horror itself. Whether the unspeakable is a creature (Jaws, King Kong), a natural threat (Tornado, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) … Read entire article »

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50 Crazy Ways to Call Someone Mad

A Writer’s List of Words and Phrases to Describe Insanity You need a good way to describe someone as barking. Many English cliches & expressions describe somebody others call mad. Some terms are funny; others cruel. In writing, any author is bound eventually to need to describe a character who is regarded as off the wall. People often account for the behaviour of themselves or others, as a moment of madness. But what is it? It’s a relatively permanent mind disorder. In North America ‘mad’ is a way of describing anger or irritation, but that is not common usage in most parts of the English speaking world.. Lunacy and Insanity Describe Madness Lunacy is an obsolete legal definition for insanity. It stemmed originally from the moon (lunar): howling … Read entire article »

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Psychedelia: The Hippie Art Legacy

All the Rage in the 1960s, It Was Both Mind-Expanding and Delusional Psychedelia, loved by hippies as an explanation and by detractors as a term of abuse, came to be a catch-all descriptor for hippie ’60s culture. Psychedelic came from Greek words meaning psyche, or soul and to manifest. This became mind-expanding, or a way of saying ‘find yourself’, without ever having to fully explain. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out US Professor, writer, futurist and advocate of the therapeutic, spiritual and emotional benefits of LSD, Timothy O’Leary, coined the phrase, ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out’, which epitomised the drugs culture in the mid to late ’60s. It was often an excuse for non-conformist behaviour, which became known as the counter-culture. A psychedelic (hallucinatory) experience is … Read entire article »

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Black Shuck: Devil Dog Inspires the Arts

  A Local Folk Tale Gives Rise to All Sorts of Fiction Black Shuck shows how a myth appears in different art forms today. It all began in the wilder parts of the UK’s Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, probably in Viking times. Sightings of a ghostly, huge black dog were frequently reported over the centuries as it roamed freely, terrorising the minds of people eking out lives that were often brutal, short and vulnerable to powers beyond their control. Black Shuck was also known as Devil or Black Dog. Dog Bogeyman Story Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was prone to moods of depression that he called his ‘black dog’. But the phantom dog that featured in many creative pieces was a bogeyman story to keep children in order. It spread evil with its flaming … Read entire article »

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