He Sees Right to Me: The Male Gaze and Consumer Behaviour in Alcohol Advertising.


Advertisers seek to establish links between expressions of sexual charge and spending habits through a number of methods (Wyllie, Carlson & Rosenberger 2015). This phenomenon is spectral, and ranges from subtle placement of attractive actors and suggestive shapes, to blatant representations of sexual acts often unrelated to the marketed product. These images are not only increasingly common in commercials for alcohol (Wyllie, Carlson & Rosenberger 2015), but also add momentum to the creation and maintenance of a gendered divide in alcohol consumption culture. This analysis will consider how a particular expression of sexuality, the “male consumer gaze”, has been incorporated into the advertiser’s toolkit, and will further explore how this usage can provide a broader insight into the relationship between alcohol vendor (in this instance female) and consumer (in this instance male). Continue reading



Things had changed a lot for Peter since he had wings grafted onto his shoulders. There were obvious changes, such as his ability to soar above the trees and skyscrapers, laughing at the traffic and pedestrians shuffling like caterpillars on the busy streets. And there were also less obvious changes, which we will come to in a moment.

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The Digital Development of the Zany Aesthetic Category


This article considers how the “zany”, as an aesthetic category, has evolved in under the influence of the increasingly digital paradigm. Using two post-modern texts, Donald Barthelme’s “A Shower of Gold” and Tao Lin’s Shoplifting from American Apparel, I explore how competing manifestations of the zany have shifted from analogue absurdity to non-stop self-reference.

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Representation in House of Cards


[Note: this essay is a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it is always valuable to explore and form ideas about potentially challenging topics.]

This response seeks to explore the representation of working class African Americans in the Netflix adapted television series House of Cards, and examine how this program both draws from, and responds to existing discourses around race, power and socio-economics. Continue reading

Historical and personal trauma in Murakami and Sebald.


Narrative can explore the links between traumatic events of the past and their ramifications in the present and future, demonstrating the transformative potential of painful events. I will argue that narrative can respond to trauma in a number of ways: casting back into history in an attempt to better organise, or obscure, the factors leading to traumatic events as in Sebald’s 1995 novel The Rings of Saturn, or by remaining in the present and exploring reactions to events as they unfold, ignoring aspects of history as needed, as in Haruki Murakami’s 1987 Norwegian Wood. These novels each focus on instances of trauma, both personal and historical, emphasising the different impacts and mechanisms for healing relevant to each instance. The selective focus of both narrators, and the various refusals to engage with otherwise relevant aspects of difficult and painful past events suggests both the author and the broader society are still coming to terms with the events they have gone through.

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The Slaughterhouse of Literature


The Slaughterhouse of Literature – a synopsis.

Franco Moretti’s “The Slaughterhouse of Literature” explores the forces that forge a literary canon, concluding canons evolve from a competitive interaction between audience and text. Tracking the evolution of detective fiction in the late 19th century, particularly the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, Moretti notes that market appeal is consistent factor in the eventual canonisation of works, and who cannot sustain the popularity fall into obscurity. Continue reading

The Cake


The Cake.

I met the cake at Dino’s; a smoky, sleazy joint downtown. It sat at the bar alone, staring into a whiskey on the rocks. I slid onto the stool beside it, and murmured my own order to the barman; double vodka, no junk. A few moments later he handed me the spirit.

“Rough day?” I asked the cake.

“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.” The cake replied. It drank the last splash of whiskey and nodded to the bartender for another. A dollop of icing dripped onto the floor as it put the glass down. A three piece band was unpacking its gear in the corner.

“Ever been in love?” The cake asked me. I should have guessed he had a woman on his mind.

“Twice,” I nodded, and took a sip of my drink. The band started up with a slow number, heavy on sax. The lead singer, a gorgeous red head, began to whisper something about love into the microphone.

“That’s the trouble, I guess.” The cake replied. “For every red-headed angel out there, there’s a devil in the wings. I can’t seem to pick it until too late.”

I nodded in silence. It had been a year since my own angel ran off, and it still hurt. We both ordered new drinks.

The cake sighed. I raised my hand and slapped its back gently, splattering some cream.

“They’ll be others.” Not great advice, but I’ve never been much good with words.

“I know,” replied the cake quietly.

We sat through the next few songs without speaking, then the band took a break. The cake got up to leave.

“Thanks for the drink.” He pushed some cash into a fold in my pastry, and walked out into the rain.