Lost in a Sea of Potentiality: Pikachu Edition

When faced with this project and the task of developing something to write about, I immediately felt like I was drowning. There are so many potential project ideas for me, but when I think about them, I’m only thinking surface level. I need some help fleshing out what I could do. I have many topics to think about, but I don’t know what angles to take with them. And for some basic background on me, I’m a history and political science major. In addition to classes I’m also an RA, a writer for the yearbook, a representative for CSG, and a comic book fan. So without further ado, I present my random thoughts:

-One idea I had was to write about the decline of bipartisanship in government in the last century. I think I could explore the carnal desire for power as well.

-Another idea was to look at the creation of memory throughout the world in the wake of World War II. I explored it in a few classes, but I don’t think I paid it the attention it deserves.

-I would love to write about comic books. If anyone has suggestions on how I could accomplish that, I’m all ears.

-I’ve taken a few classes on the role of social identities and how they have been seen throughout history/how they should be treated in modern society. Might be interesting to explore.

I’m legitimately open to suggestions and feedback of all kind. Be brutal.


8 thoughts to “Lost in a Sea of Potentiality: Pikachu Edition”

  1. Hey Andrew!

    So, right off the bat, it sounds like you’ve got a lot going on! If the extracurricular involvement you’ve mentioned has shaped much of your undergrad experience, I would like to see something that perhaps pulls all of them together under a unifying theme. For example, have you thought of creating your own comic book to convey one of the other ideas mentioned? In other words, your comic book idea could be utilized as a medium as opposed to an actual content focus point. I think a natural connection would be comic books and social identity. Comic books create heroes and villains. They’re all about crafting a character’s identity so that the reader becomes attached. At least I think this is the case? I’m only familiar with the basic superhero comics…but I think that that ascribing social identity to comic book characters could be a productive starting point! Hope this helps and I’ll hit you up with any more ideas if they come to me!

  2. If it’s alright, I’m just going to address each of your ideas because they all sound really interesting!
    1. Declining biparisanship is a really interesting topics that I’ve only got to study a few times. There are many different theories as to why it’s been more of an issue lately (eg polarized voters, the south, redistricting, primaries). All good things to think about, along with policy implications of polarization.

    2. I’ve heard some great studies about Japan’s understanding of World War II as taught in schools. They call the bomb “pikadon”; pika meaning flash of light and don describing an explosive sound. To me, just kind of resonates with how awful it must have been and how the national psyche has since been effected.

    3. Comic books are tough but I know a lot more about online comics since I have a friend who publishes one. An angle that I’ve heard would be the life of an aspiring comic artist and how hard it is to enter the industry and actually be successful. Esp on the internet where adblock is so common, most comic artists can’t sustain themselves.

    4. Social identities are always great to explore. Though somewhat broad, I think you could create something great with this if your were to examine how people’s self-defined social identities affect their relationships with those around them. I’m sure it’s been done, but I know there is a way you could make this interesting.

    Good luck!!

  3. Andrew,

    I think your idea on the creation of memory in WWII sounds really interesting. It sounds the most interesting to me because I haven’t heard about it as much as I have the other ideas. If you’re going for a formal paper, I think you could tie your interest in graphic arts into the piece by exploring how visual propaganda, news, and entertainment created a collective memory for our society’s interpretation of WWII. Not only would it be an interesting take on the moment you are exploring, but it would be relevant to the now due to all of the visual material we constantly encounter online and the way in which our realities become constructed by such random intake of visual data.

  4. Hey Andrew,

    You may be able to tie almost everything together if you use, like Hillary said, creating a comic, but instead of super heroes you could make political figures the characters (fake or real) all with different social identities and show us – through their eyes why bipartisanship is in decline. In my very unpolitical mind I see this as feasible, but we can talk more as to if it actually makes sense. I don’t think it’d be wise to smoosh in the memory idea after WWII because it deserves to be it’s own thing if it’s gonna be a thing.

    I also want to hear more about what you’re thinking as far as the bipartisan decline and what you’re thinking for a project. We’ll definitely talk more <3

  5. Andrew,

    You are not alone in your feelings of uncertainty! I’m right there with you :). I think you have four really great ideas that offer you a lot of possible areas to explore. Personally, I am really intrigued by your idea about the creation of memory throughout the world in the wake of World War II. I think the fact that you noted that you do not believe that you “paid it the attention it deserves” will motivate and guide the direction that you take this topic. I think the idea of memory creation is also interesting, do you mean that in a personal or historic sense? I think it could be cool to incorporate both of these angles and also include how your own understanding of World War II. I also am curious if you plan to examine WWII in its entirety or focus on a particular area of interest?

    Good luck Andrew!


  6. Hey Andrew,
    As a fellow Poli Sci major I’m obviously intrigued by idea #1. The default argument from establishment media types, pollsters, and others in professional politics seems to be that the country has actually become more polarized than it once was, and that is now reflected in our Congress. What more statistically-oriented people believe is not that the country is more polarized, but rather that like-minded voters are more geographically clustered than they once were. Thus, members of Congress are representing districts comprised heavily of one party, which gives them very little political incentive to compromise.

    The creation of memory idea could also be really interesting, and isn’t something that I’d given much thought to. I do think there would be a lot of multimedia or audio/visual potential in a project like that though.

    As far as comic books-don’t know too much about them, but one angle that might be interesting? Have they become less popular (based on what I know about all other forms of print media, I’d assume yes). If so, why, and what type of impact has that had?

    Social identity is obviously a very broad topic, and you’d really have to chisel that down into something more specific before you do anything else, so as it stands now I’d be more partial to one of the first three.

  7. Hey Andrew,

    These all sounds like projects that I would be compelled to read! Some thoughts:

    1. I am intrigued by the combination of the two thoughts you mention here. Do you think that politicians who are staunchly partisan are often just in it for personal gain and power? Is there an existing attitude that negotiation is seen as weak? What do voters believe? What is the historical reality?

    2. This seems like a very broad undertaking, so it might be helpful to examine creation of memory in WWII from one perspective (national, ethnic group, media, etc.a) or in relation to one particular facet of the war. But I think this could be fascinating. Maybe looking at political agendas expressed through the media? Just one idea.

    3. I thought the aforementioned idea of actually combining some of your interests into a comic book, could be awesome, if actually creating comics is your thing. If not, what are some of your favorite comics? Why? Maybe like we are doing for our Writer’s Evolution essay explore the argument behind why you like these, possibly even why they are worthy of being studied as literature.

    4. Given your Polisci background, it might be interesting to look at social identities in a political context. How do people view themselves in relation to their party affiliations and how do political parties in turn reflect the ideals of their members?

    Just some initial thoughts. Good luck!

  8. Hey Andrew,

    Do you think you could combine your interest in history/political science with your love of comic books? Maybe you could look at the way a certain country’s political situation influences the type of heroes/villains in their comic books, e.g. Captain America and The Red Skull during WWII, or even look at how comic books have evolved over the course of history? I remember hearing in one RadioLab episode about how people who wrote the Superman radio show used it to discredit the KKK with pretty successfully (here’s the url: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/28/140017364/stetson-kennedy-the-man-who-unmasked-the-klan-dies) – maybe you could look for similar stories and discuss the role superheroes play in politics, and vice versa?

    I hope this is helpful!

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