Humanitarian Vanity: How Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Encouraged Rational Selfishness

 

Author Ayn Rand sits at a desk smiling, in black and white
Used from: https://campus.aynrand.org/campus-courses/ayn-rand-a-writers-life

By Remington Jensen

From her confrontational views on how to live life to her captivating story, the female philosopher Ayn Rand lived a life rich with entertainment and ethical objectivism.

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Alexandria Arritt: An Introduction

IMG_6075.JPGBy Alexandria Arritt

Hi all! My name is Alexandria Arritt. I am an incoming Sophomore at University of Idaho studying English with an emphasis in Professional Writing, and I am minoring in Public Relations. I absolutely love writing! I am currently reading two different books, and I have a long list that I am working on as well. One of my favorites is Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing. The craft of writing is certainly something special, and I believe literature affects us in a variety of ways. I write on my own blog, lovelyliterature.net, reviewing novels and attempting to begin a conversation about literature. I am interested in eventually attending law school and studying criminal law. I love staying busy. I am what many people would call a ‘true extrovert’. I love socializing and discussing ideas with a variety of people. I think it’s very important to reach across the aisle and speak with those who may not share the same views. I was stuck in my bubble for a long time because it made me angry to have people talk to me in a way that I felt was unfair, but I have now dedicated my conversations to those around me to more thoughtful and insightful. I am always learning, and I am willing to alter my opinions to become more correct.

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Double Indemnity: How the Femme Fatale of Noir Stacks Up to the Gothic Heroine of Yore

By Canese Jarboe

double-indemnity
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurry in Double Indemnity

Pulp fiction contains the lurid, the underbelly, and it’s supposed to be cheap. Despite what Raymond Chandler may have thought, James M. Cain’s writing in Double Indemnity often self-consciously broke through this lacquer and pulled from the long literary tradition of Gothic fiction. However, Cain’s careful depiction of Phyllis as a romanticized consort of Death was largely removed by Chandler and distantly depicted in one of the latter scenes of the film.

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Sexuality, Gender, and Representation in Science Fiction

Amber Atalaya Evans Pinel

        For many people science fiction is a genre full of new ideas, futuristic thoughts, innovative design, and political insight. In many ways, science fiction reveals current political climates and cultural ideologies of our time. Some might even call the genre socially progressive due to it’s ability to introduce characters and ideas that don’t fit the “norm.” I can sing praises of all the great things about science fiction all day, but I think it’s time to explore what science fiction television shows are lacking – proper representation for people of the alphabet soup (LGBTQA & etc.), and specifically transgendered and non-binary people/characters.

I don’t want to say there aren’t any LGBTQA characters in science fiction television, because that’s not true at all. In the prequel to Battlestar Galactica (the 2003 reboot), a relatively short series called Caprica (2010), one of the main characters – Sam Adama – is portrayed in a loving and healthy relationship with his husband.

Sam Adama from the series Caprica

Sam Adama is a gang member who came to Caprica with his family some years before the show’s beginning. Sam is a hit man and is portrayed as a very strong, determined, and dangerous character. I think the writers did an excellent job on him and his family’s story, in that they did not make him a trope, nor did they particularly emphasize his relationship with his husband. The fact that he is in a same sex relationship isn’t even mentioned: he’s simply married. Furthermore, Caprica features a group/cooperative/polyamorous family in which one of the main characters, Sister Clarice Willow (the headmaster of a religious private school), has several husbands and wives, and they all communally raise their children and live under the same roof.

However, Battlestar Galactica doesn’t feature any relationships that aren’t heteronormative. And, both shows only have cisgendered characters. Unfortunately, this isn’t exclusive to Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. I have never seen a science fiction or fantasy television show that featured transgendered characters. Science fiction literature tends to be much more liberal with their characters; I’ve read a variety of books that contain lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters. However, even in the literature of one of the most progressive genres that features new ideas and “radical” political views, LGBTQA characters are still a rarity. And, books that feature transgendered characters are even more difficult to find. I wanted to include some titles and authors of books that do feature these characters, but after a lengthy internet search I’m still at a loss. Here’s a list of science fiction books that feature gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters.

It’s true that in recent years lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters have been making it into science fiction television. However, the numbers of those characters are still relatively small and there’s only one I know of who is the main character: Bo in the series Lost Girl. Lost Girl does an excellent job of portraying LGB characters without making them tropes. But even that excellent show lacks transgendered characters (as far as I know, I haven’t seen the whole series yet.)

Why, in the genre of the future, are transgendered characters invisible? Because writers, producers, directors, and screenwriters are not pushing for these characters to exist in their worlds. I cannot stress enough how important it is to put these characters into science fiction literature and television, and media in general. People who do not fit the gender binary do exist in our world; a large part of letting them know that they’re normal, and their experience is natural, is to make sure they see people like them in the media. We gather almost all of our cultural information through the media – especially through television. It is imperative that transgendered characters are written. And, in the futuristic and boundary-pushing genre of science fiction, I’m disgusted there isn’t already ample representation of transgendered characters.