Why I would be a Sith…

*This is a bit of a far fetched article but it’s all in good fun!*

Now stay with me guys…

A few weeks ago I went to see the new Star Wars identities Exhibit at the O2. if you are interested in psychology and don’t mind Star Wars then it is worth a visit. I didn’t expect to take such a journey through my own psyche.

Image result for star wars identities o2 Star Wars Identities Exhibit

The exhibit (no spoilers) basically shows people how Lucas Film made and created the Star Wars universe: Most notably how each character was given their own personal story to tell. The exhibit leads you through the creative process of many different characters, including Luke, Darth Vader and Yoda (of course) and allows you to interact at each stage to create your own personalised Star Wars character.  Once it has helped you explore who your character is, what they stand for and what they are willing to fight for, you are asked one question: Emperor Palpatine has asked you to join the dark side instead of Anakin Skywalker…do you?

Naturally, most people automatically say no. The Sith are very obviously the Bad Guys, and who really wants to be that?!

But I seemed to approach it in a different way (and clearly far too seriously): Yes the Sith are bad, but they are undeniable going to be in control of everything by the start of Episode 4. Since you are essentially taking the place of Anakin (who would later become Darth Vader…oopsie, spoiler!) you will become Palpatine’s right hand man. Which is a power of position in its own right.

It was clear to see that all of the things I value (equality and freedom for all, to put it simply) are not things that the Sith really aspire towards. So, if I do not join the Dark Side, I would most likely be the first to die under the Sith reign as everything I stand for is everything they want to get rid of. I can never enact real change if I am dead…so I really have no choice but to join him.
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But aside from that, there is also the fact that being in a power of position does not mean that you are automatically a bad person: To become Palpatine’s right hand man means that you are his first in command, his confidant, his personal assistant…nothing happens in the Sith empire without you knowing about it, and most importantly, without him telling you the plan first. In this position, you could potentially be able to change Palpatine’s mind about things. Also, as you are in such a high position of power, everyone beneath you has to listen to you. You could coonvince Palpatine not to condemn all Jedi rights campaigners or those who oppose the Empire, but rather approach it from a different angle. In this sense, you can become the Snape to Palpatine’s Voldemort (Did I just combine fandoms??!!).

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It is also the simple thing of ‘better the devil you know’. It may also be worth noting that Darth Vader’s plan all along was to overthrow Palpatine. Or at least this is what many people are hypothesizing. While it may be super sneaky and may be proof that you have become the Dark Side, the only way anyone could ever hope to truly overthrow Palpatine is to be on the inside with him: I mean, I wouldn’t have a Jedi son for Palpatine to torture in front of me with lightning bolts, so I have to find another reason to throw him over a balcony…right? I mean someone is going to have to.

So what do you guys think? Would you have come to same conclusion?

T xxx

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The real OG

‘You are unique…just like everybody else.’

This simple statement is a pretty common oxymoron. While it is still true that there are no two people who are 100% identically the same, the fact that we are all different is one of the main things humanity has in common. So is there such a thing anymore as originality? No matter what we wear, how we act or what we create, there is a high chance that there is someone else out there in the world who is doing the exact same thing. But that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom…

Is originality even a thing?

Everyone is shaped by their experiences: Everything that we come into contact with over our lives shapes us into the person and the personality that we become. Due to this, inspiration is everywhere and we may even be influenced by things that we aren’t even aware we have noticed. A newspaper article from 10 years ago could be the reason you want to draw pictures, in the same way that a loud car stereo blasting 80s pop driving past you may make you want to start writing. It could be near impossible to pinpoint the exact reasons why we are all the way we are, but it doesn’t stop the fact that we have all been influenced by something else, which was no doubt influenced by something before it and so on and so forth.

Image result for originality gifsFightclub breaking all the walls

So it possible to still be original? If everything we ever create is nothing more than a step up from something we have seen, can we even say that it is our own work? From a legal standpoint, intellectual property has guides in place to ensure that no work has been intentionally copied: As long as you can prove that you created a piece of work through your own thought processes and own design plans, chances are you’re going to be fine (obviously it’s a bit more succinct than this, but I don’t think I have the time to explain it all!). But on a more philosophical level, is it possible for any of us to claim that our brand new identity or our way of dress is an original one?

Subculture symmetry

Everyone knows the old troupe: In high school you have those who follow the norms of society, and then you have the odd little groups of people who do not.

Image result for mean girls group gifs Mean Girls showcased this perfectly…

From the sociological aspect, all of these little groups within society are known as ‘subcultures’ where everyone within that subculture shares the same norms and values. However, in today’s society these  subcultures can have very blurred cut off points within them. I, for example, would not necessarily fit into one subculture alone: I may be blonde, wear a lot of pink and love pop music, but I also love video games, superheros and reading science fiction novels…I also don’t think I’m a mean enough person to have been one of the Plastics, but I digress. Subcultures by nature always include some form of similarity: members tend to dress the same, talk the same and even believe the same things. Key examples of this are the 1980s Punk, the 2000s Goth and even now the emergence of the Seapunk. They all look the same as each other, but at least they’re not mainstream. In some ways, subcultures go against originality as the entire practice seems to try and place members of society into boxes. Is this why originality is so hard to come across? The use of labels?

So what does this mean?

Today’s society is a massively innovative one with common social norms being challenged everyday from every aspect of itself. Young people are leading the gender revolution, wanting to do away with normal sexuality labels and gender stereotypes and instead move to an inclusive and free state of simply just existing: love who you love, be whatever gender you decide, believe whatever it is you wish to believe…but know that you will be accepted purely on who you are rather than how you have been socialised and labelled. For some people, especially those in a creative setting, this can be a whole new challenge, as trying to be memorable in a world where everything merges together is not an easy task. but perhaps this is where we fail.

Moving forward…

Just because something has done before does not mean that it is not original or innovative. it is common knowledge that anyone can copy something: If i can’t draw, I’ll just trace a picture, if I can’t write songs, I’ll just mash a load together. Originality comes from the little bits of you that you add to it to make it better: Five Night’s at Freddy’s fans are another key example of this as while the games they make are not, by nature, original content, the stories they create, the character interactions they add and the overall game play of said games are enough to make the new games original enough to improve and add to the existing base. Everything may not be original, but if something is added to the original to progress the entire idea forward, then that alone should be enough to be original.

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

– C.S Lewis

T xx

Jump Scares as a selling feature

A jump scare is a technique often used in horror films and video games, intended to scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change in image or event, usually co-occurring with a loud, frightening sound.

When it comes to horror, there is nothing scarier than a surprise. Films have been using these for decades and in recent years horror games have become centred around this. But does that necessarily make them scary?

The hugely anticipated Resident Evil 7 game was finally released in mid-January and the overall consensus states that it is amazing. The game is true to the original style of Resident Evil games while still creating a story that not only fits into the overall Resident Evil universe but also capable of being a stand alone adventure. Rife with gruesome and horrific images, this first person action horror game is littered with well timed jump scares. In this game, the jump-scares help to add to the overall mood of the game by being logical in their usage: The main villains of the game appear suddenly, for either a brief flicker or to provide useful information to aid in story progression, and help to create the mood in which the player is almost always on edge while playing. But Resident Evil has always used this tactic to make their games feel scary…with one well timed jump-scare the player is kept on edge throughout the rest of the game, which in turn continues the feeling of anticipated horror and unease within the player. 

Another game franchise that has utilised the jump-scare is the Five Nights At Freddy’s series. In this, you play as a defenceless night watchmen who has to watch CCTV monitors to keep an eye on the murderous animations that are trying to reach your office and kill you. These jump-scares are more a signal of death, as they usually only appear when the animatronic in question has gotten close enough to you to attack. This game is fun…it is a fun game to play purely to see people’s reactions while they play the game. However I wouldn’t say that this game is ‘scary’ but rather ‘jumpy’…which is exactly what the game is supposed to make you do.

Due to this, jump scares need to be used sparingly in order to be considered  ‘horror’ technique, as too many of them makes the game predictable and, eventually, funny. When used in a sparing nature, the jump scare can be used to cement an ambience of the game: In the promo game released for a new (but now cancelled) Silent Hill game, PT, the main threat was a randomly generated half dead woman who could jump out and kill your character at any time. Throughout the game you see small sights of her but nothing that can actually harm you. By allowing her to only attack you once during game play, the player is put into a sense of unease throughout game play and, as a result, are constantly on edge. This was part of the thrill of PT and why it was such a sought after game to play.

In short, jump scares are never fun. No matter what happens, you’re going to get a shock. However when used effectively they can be a valuable tool in creating a gaming experience.

What’s so great about the Jedi anyway?

Star Wars is fantastic…there is no way anyone can deny that the influence Star Wars has had on society is vast and all consuming, and in some ways a star wars fan is the main definition of a ‘nerd’. Aside from Star Trek, there is no other science fiction story that has created such a passionate and loyal following: In the 2001 General Census, 390,127 people stated that their religion was Jedi. But are the Jedi really that great?

Misogyny

Throughout the entire series, you see very few women and almost all of the main Jedi are male. This may not be anything to thoroughly concern ourselves with (It was the 1970s when the original trilogy came out) and for the most part the few women that are focused on, Padme and Leia, are pretty badass women and not just arm candy for the male characters. However, why the focus on men? In the films, the entire cast is mostly male: Anakin, Obi-Wan, Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, etc etc. The few female Jedi that you see have no speaking lines and none of them appear to be in positions of power, such as sitting as part of the jedi council. There could be many reasons for this, as it is telling the tale of Anakin Skywalker and his family strife and so would make sense that it focuses on men. But still…why are there no female Jedi and why were they not as prominent as the men?

Jedi were the original Bros

According to Jedi teachings, Jedi are forbidden to form attachments with other people. They can not fall in love and can not marry, a fact that is one of the main drivers of Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader (spoiler alert!). But there is nothing to say that they can’t have sex: As long as they do not form an attachment with the people they are having sex with, Jedi are allowed to..shall we say…hit it and quit it…as often as they like for however long they like with whomever they like.

Now that may be all well and good, but it is somewhat simplistic: If Jedi are not allowed to form attachments then why are they all so close? Obi-Wan tells Anakin that he loved him, that he was his brother, bu is that not a form of attachment that should go against the Jedi teachings? One of the main ways Obi-Wan manages to track down Anakin in Episode 3 is because he searches his feelings for Anakin to find out where he is. If attachments are not allowed, how is this still possible? Furthermore, while they may be taught to be ‘mindful of [their] thoughts’ it appears throughout the films that the phrase only applies to feelings of uncertainty, but for anything related to fear or hate then they are to be suppressed…just like a true patriarch.

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The light and the dark

Throughout the Star Wars series, it is stated that there is the light side, the Jedi, and the dark side, the sith. In Episode 1 we are introduced to the concept as to how a Jedi can turn to the dark side, as Master Yoda explains the (somewhat overly simple) steps: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and thus the steps to the dark side have begun. But why are the Jedi not even taught about how the Dark Side works? One of the reasons Anakin begins his descent into Darth Vader is because of his fear of losing those he loves (first with his mother and then with Padme) and since these feelings are some he is forbidden to have by the Jedi council, he has to turn to the Sith Lord Palpatine (again, spoilers!) in order to cope with them. But you wonder if things would have been different had the Jedi taught their padawans about the way the Dark Side worked: Surely it is not as simple as having a bad day, feeling a bit mad about it and whoops, now you’re a sith?

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End thoughts?

Loops holes, loopholes, loopholes. Now I fully appreciate that there is far more backstory to the Star Wars universe than these films actually let on, but for the most part, the films make Jedi look useless: Order 66 happened in a matter of seconds and no matter how strong and powerful the Jedi Masters appear to be, they still went down pretty easy against a few clones. The Jedi are meant to be seen as the light side of the force, who use their power and their knowledge for the good of society and for the good of democracy, and yet everything they teach (at least according to the films anyway) makes them appear like frat boys, arguing over who has the highest midichlorian count and who loves democracy more.

I would definitely be a Sith. At least the Sith get powers of electricity literally at their fingertips…and usually have better one liners.

Image result for darth vader rogue one gif

 

T xx

Things I wish I knew before I studied law

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Accurate representation of me throughout my 4 years of studying law

When I went to law school, there were a lot of surprises: the workload, the content and above all else, the career prospects.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED studying law and even to this day I am still keen to read my course books over and over again in order to keep my memory fresh. But there are a few things I wish someone had told me before I started my studies and I would like to share those with you now.

1. Dry, Dry and Dry

Something to be aware of about law school is the unbelievably dry content of the topics. The undergraduate degree is a lot more focused on the theory behind laws rather than the actual law itself: Nothing is straight-forward. While you may have a few subjects that have really interesting cases (criminal, here’s looking at you!) the majority of other subjects such as contract, tort, land and equity are all very much focused on the interpretation of the law and the consequences of such interpretations. In a nutshell, while the law may say one thing, a judge may say the complete opposite based on interpretation and thus that is a new spanner to throw into the already heaving works.

2. Be prepared for some weirdness

This relates to the above note quite a lot and I would like to warn you before hand to be ready to hear some really weird stuff while you study. Especially when it comes to criminal law. If you are someone who is more conservative or uncomfortable discussing the nasty habits of society then this may not be a nice few years of study for you: In my second year of undergraduate degree, my Monday mornings consisted of learning about cases that dealt with sadomasochistic sex and acts that not even 50 Shades would condone (I will not go into details but most cases involved candles, nails and man-bits). Then again, some of the situations that people managed to get themselves into regarding contract law and land disputes will also make you stare in both shock and disbelief that so many people can have so little common sense. But do not fret because this brings me onto the next point…

3. You will become desensitised to all of the weirdness

Eventually, you really will have heard everything. It is very rare, especially when studying, to read about a situation that has absolutely no precedent and after a while all of these situations will begin to be funny rather than shocking. Furthermore, it always stands to remember that an entire field of law was founded because one man found a snail in his bottle of ginger beer. The more cases you read, the more you stop being shocked by what you have read and simply add it to the long list of cases that already exist. So bear with it all…after the fourth or fifth case of the same scenario, it no longer seems that weird.

4. Law is not a single destination

When you begin law school, it is drilled into you from that point onwards that you have two options: Solicitor or barrister. It can sometimes be difficult to see any other career path as all work experience and lectures are focused on getting you into one of those two fields. If you are lucky, you already know which path you want to take and this is not news to you. However if you are like me and want to study law simply because you think it will be interesting, then there are a few more things to be aware of. Law is a wonderful subject and it will redoubtably be useful no matter what profession you later decide to go into: become an estate agent based on land law, a journalist based on media law, a news presenter based on public law and so on and so forth…the list really is endless! I have many classmates who have gone on to work as television producers, research assistants, bankruptcy officers and even company secretaries. Other careers such as patent attorneys or IP consultants have their own training programmes available so that you can do more or less the same role as a solicitor but be more specialised in an area of law that you find most appealing.

Also, the life of a solicitor and a barrister is not for everyone: the responsibility and the stress of such a job can be too much for some people to cope with. Therefore jobs as a paralegal, legal secretary, legal assistant or even as a personal assistant to a solicitor allow people to work closely with the law without having to shoulder so much pressure while doing so.

5. Breathe.

This is probably the most important. Throughout my time at university, my classmates and I spent the majority of our time racing to keep up with the work load (even when we were on top of our workload) and no surprise we would burn out every few months. So my advice, my main piece of advice, is to breathe. Research has shown that the optimum amount of time you can spend studying is roughly 2 hours…any more than that and your brain is no longer paying attention and you shall remember nothing new. Set yourself a target (I used an alarm clock) to work for 2 hours on any given topic and then take a break for 15-30 minutes: Enough time to make a cup of tea and actually drink it all, or to watch one YouTube video, or even to walk around the block quickly. When you come back to studying you will be more refreshed and more ready to start again and thus avoid any chances for burning out. Also, set yourself at least one nice social event or pamper evening a week: See a friend for coffee, have a movie night with your partner, go out for dinner with your parents. Whatever it is, do something that is completely unrelated to your studies so that you can completely decompress after a week of solid studying. It will be worth it and you will be able to keep up momentum for much longer.

NOTE: This last comment isn’t exclusive to law, as it should be remembered that no matter what course you are studying or what career you are aiming to go into, your own mental health is worth so much more than a qualification!

NOW GO GET ‘EM!

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T xx

Video game censorship

When it comes to video games society seems to be obsessed with the content, but not necessarily whether the story is well-structured or the characters realistic. There is always a concern that any video game that hints at violence will do one thing, and one thing only: Make the people who play them violent. In today’s society, even the legal system is concerned with the question of how much government should protect its people from offensive material. According to reports, more than 85% of video games on the market contain some form of violence. The controversy surrounding topics such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Manhunt have made the games almost infamous for the violence and aggression that they show throughout game play.

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The ‘No Russian’ starting level of Cal of Duty: Modern Warfare where the player is asked to gun down an entire airport.

However there could be debate over what exactly is deemed ‘offensive’ material: Are guns necessarily offensive, when places such as America deem it a fundamental right to be allowed to own them in your home? Is violence offensive, when sport shows such as MMA and cage fighting get higher ratings when they show more bloodshed? Is sex offensive, when series such as Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight and Game of Thrones draw in huge numbers of viewers with drawn out sex scenes and naked women? It can be drawn from simple common sense that the majority of these answers are based on individual preferences, as what offends one person can be relatively innocent to another and it is this balance along the spectrum that government needs to be wary of.

Naturally, there are games that are a no-go for anyone: Games that promote rape (such as the Japanese released  Rapelay) or make a mockery out of current social tragedies (such as V-Tech Rampage) very clearly should not be allowed in the public domain as they are quite obviously only there to incite offense and upset, and not to provide a gaming experience. But with many games around today, violence is very much integral to the overall story that the game is trying to tell, with many containing an option to commit no violence throughout all of it. In the newly released Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, it is possible to simply run away from the majority of monsters and trap them in rooms so as to avoid having to shoot them point-blank with a shot gun.

The majority of games that have violent characteristics contain these features because they are based on (although admittedly they are exaggerated) real life situations: Call of Duty is a game built around war and so violence is unavoidable, while Outlast and Resident Evil are games inspired by horror and survival. In many action and adventure games such as the ones mentioned above, part of their whole appeal is the use of large guns and multiple explosive devices, if nothing else but to progress the story on with a rush of adrenaline and excitement to keep the player wanting to play more. The undeniable success of games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto show that the demand for these types of games has risen over the years, but it seems somewhat pessimistic to assume that this is because video game players are becoming more aggressive, more violent and more masochistic.

Anyone who has played a video game understands the thrill of a video game: For that time of game play, you are transported into a different world, living a different life with different goals. People who enjoy reading say that they enjoy the imagination of books and the ability of a good book to transport you to a new realm, so why can the same not apply for video games? Video games have become an integral part of our society and in 2016, the majority of people under the age of 30 were too busy running around outside trying to catch Pokemon through the Pokemon Go mobile app game to even think about violence or crimes.

Furthermore, it could be seen as condescending that the government simply assumes that video game players are mindless beings who are easily influenced: An average person won’t go out and steal a car just because they played Grand Theft Auto. If someone wants to commit violence, the fact that they play video games is irrelevant. Research has shown that while video games can increase levels of aggression, it also stated that this can only be problematic in situations of already heightened aggression due to personality type, family life, social factors and other such factors. Due to this, if a person does feel the need to express their frustrations or their fetishes in a violent manner, surely allowing them to do so in a virtual manner is a better solution than having them attack someone in real life. Perhaps that is why video games are as popular as they are, because they allow people to experience different walks of life without any consequences of their actions: Most people wonder what it would feel like to commit crime but are stopped by the fear of getting caught and, most effectively, going to prison. Therefore they play these games to see what it could be like, without having to actually step into the real world to do so.

Final thoughts?

It is clear that while video games may possess aspects that people find offensive, it is also clear that there is a huge demand for games that allow people to experience things that they never would in everyday life. Government needs to keep this all in mind when deciding just how much ‘protection’ they need to give to its people, as to some members of society these video games may be the only release they get that doesn’t involve actual harm or violence to other people.

T xx

Hello!

Welcome to my blog!

Now bear with me as I am very new to all of this. So…the basics:

My name is Taylor. I was born in England and have lived just outside of London for pretty much my entire life. I have recently graduated from university, where I completed my Masters in Law last September and at some point I will hopefully get a training contract that will allow me to become a qualified solicitor.

But I’ve always been a writer. For as long as I can remember I have been writing stories. My main goals in life are to save animals and to have a library such as the one Beast gives to Belle. So I read…a lot. When I was 11, I was already reading the likes of Jane Austen and Stephen King and am now making my way through all of the classics: Jekyll and Hyde was amazing, as was Lord of the Flies.

Which lead me to here…a way to combine everything that I love into one platform! So my plan for this platform is, as it stands, a place for dumping my thoughts and interpretations about today’s legal stories. As the law is so wide reaching I can not guarantee what area of law I will focus on: For now, let’s say this will be intellectual property based musings, most likely relating the legal implications of video games, films and fashion. Now none of these are by any means ‘small’ aspects to cover and so this will probably be something that is developed over time.

As far as I am concerned, no one will ever read this. I will be buried somewhere in the deep web under far more talented writers and far more exciting personalities and topics. But if you are here, hello and welcome, and I hope I can share with you a little bit of trivia for the day, as I try to get my head around learning something new.

Much love,

Taylor xxx