Motley - Volume XV - Issue #3

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Welcome to the Internet_ > Worrying Trend of Spiking Continues > The Internet and Mental Illness > Potential Death of Original Film

VOLUME 15, ISSUE 3 NOVEMBER 2021


Editorial Staff Stephen Moynihan

Hannah Emerson

Stephen is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in current affairs. He is currently in his nal year of a BA in philosophy and politics.

Hannah is a third year medical and health science student who feels that this section of motley is tting for her due to an over abundance of opinions she feels af icted with since birth.

Maxwell Callanan

James Kemmy

Max is a second year digital humanities student. He spends most of his spare time writing, drawing and making funky little board games.

James is in his third year student of government and political science in UCC. He is interested in a wide variety of musical genres and the power of contemporary lm and ction to highlight pressing social issues

Conor Daly

Sarah Collins

Conor is nal year Arts student and was a member of the current affairs team last year as a staff writer. He is an almost award winning poet and journalist with hopes of removing the almost in the near future.

Sarah is a third year Government and Political Science student. Along with having her own graphic design business, Sarah also runs a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog and she is a huge lover of all things fashion related.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Features & Opinion Editor

Graphic Designer

Entertainment Editor

Fashion & BeautyEditor

Current Affairs Editor

Online Team Online Editor Social Media

Kevin Quane Erica Shelly

Deputy Editors Current Affairs Features & Opinions Entertainment

Staff Writers

Natalia Gawlas John Hunter Shruti Rajagopal

Jessica O’ Brien

Photographers

Contributors

Alana Daly Mulligan

Amano Muira, Beline Chan, Cian McDonnell, Kate O’Riordan, Matthew Quill, Sam Golden, Tadhg Connery, Adam Tang, Conor Daly, Emer Walsh, Hannah Emerson, James Kemmy, Alana Daly Mulligan

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This publication is made from 100% recycled paper. Motley welcomes letters from from readers, emailed to editor@motley.ie. Motley is published by Motley magazine, The Hub UCC, Western Road, Cork. Printed by City Print Limited, Victoria Cross, Cork. Copyright 2021 Motley Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All efforts have been made to ensure that details and pricing are correct at time of print. Motley magazine does not take responsibility for any errors incurred. This magazine can be recycled either in your green bin kerbside collection or at a local recycling point. Images provided by Unsplash.com, Pexels.com, Pixabay.com. Vectors provided by Vecteezy.com and Freepic.com.

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Meet the Motley


From the Editor Emer Walsh Editor-in-Chief

Another four weeks have passed which calls for yet another expert critique of the complexities of the month’s affairs by yours truly. Perhaps time is passing me by quicker than usual, or maybe I have not been present enough to embrace my surroundings, but I will endeavour to ful l these duties despite the added obstacle of not remembering one single thing from the past month. After all, God loves a trier. While at the surface this month felt rather monotonous, a further look would suggest quite the opposite.

In addition to some notable personal events which included attending my rst concert since Covid (a fantastic one at that, thank you Villagers) and celebrating another full rotation around the sun, some vastly more signi cant and less narcissistic events also unfolded. This month began with the “Take Back the Spike” demonstration protesting the increase in violence against women particularly within the context of intravenous spiking (sincere well done to the human species for creating a legitimate threat from a nightmare on wheels). Soon after this successful demonstration, UCC saw the welcomed return to on-campus graduation ceremonies, something I, myself also get to enjoy as I bid a nal, bittersweet farewell to my undergraduate degree. Further festivities were celebrated with the return of the renowned UCC Christmas Day, which, despite what clickbait news headlines would have you believe, went down extraordinarily well. The use of antigen testing and the exercise of necessary caution among students was, above all, heartwarming. Although far less communally wholesome, who could forget the completely warranted and informed take on tuition fees featured in the Examiner by our beloved UCC president, Swan-Strangler O’Halloran? For such an academically decorated man, his ability to read the room warrants a Third Class Honours at best.

I’m sure I could go on, but I’ll save both you and me the extended re ection. With that said, I very proudly present to you Issue #3 (The Internet). Perhaps my favourite issue so far, this month’s theme pays homage to our simultaneous collective best friend and worst-feared enemy; the tool that kept some of us sane for the last 20 months, yet drove others to the brink of insanity. In this magni cently designed issue, you will nd an eyeopening read on the declining emotional intelligence of the human species by Current Affairs Editor, Conor Daly, an absorbing interview conducted by contributor Amano Miura with TikTok celebrity Steph Warsh, a critical take on traditional lm and its future in the run-up to the Cork International Film Festival by Entertainment Editor, James Kemmy, and an absolutely stunning Motley staff photoshoot curated by the effortlessly extraordinary Alana Daly Mulligan. As the Motley staff mentally prepare for what feels like the everlasting assignment season in addition to the unwelcome return to in-person exams, we cannot wait to be back in the new year with Issue #4! As always, this is a student magazine for student voices, so never be afraid to have your say. The Motley inboxes are always open and you are always welcome to stop by. See you in ’22!

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Siri, play “Christmas Time” by the Darkness.


Inside Motley November 2021

Current Affairs

Features

Entertainment

Fashion & Beauty

Current Affairs editor Conor Daly discusses the student response to the worrying rise in spiking cases.

Features and Opinions Editor, Hannah Emerson explores the effect that our screen-time may be having on our brains.

James Kemmy discusses the effects of digitalisation on the creation and consumption of music

Alana Daly Mulligan presents a stunning photoshoot, featuring the Motley Team

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Motley.ie


In light of the recent worrying trend of people being spiked using needles, Current A airs Editor Conor Daly looks at the online reaction and how the UCC community has pulled together. 2021 will be remembered as a really di cult year, with the pandemic changing lives all over the globe in so many ways. Unfortunately, it may also be a year where the spotlight was shone on an apparent increase in violence towards women in society. There was the domestic violence increase in the UK following the European Championships, the murder of Sarah Everard, the killings in Plymouth by an incel and, sadly, so many more incidents. Now, needle spiking is being added to that list. Spiking drinks is something that has been around for some time, to the extent that there is an unwritten safety guide on how to protect yourself from this. The phrase everyone hears before their rst night out is

„if you put your drink down, donÊt pick it back up‰. There are even businesses who have invented products to counteract this sleazy behaviour, with a hair tie that doubles as a cover for your drink, stopping it from being spiked. Unfortunately, recent trends in relation to needle spiking have sparked concern and outrage in equal amounts. Women in the UK have reported feeling stabbing pain on varying body parts including their thighs, hands, and backs while on nights out. They also disclosed the terrifying events that followed, including seizures and loss of consciousness among other things. In some cases, trips to accident and emergency departments uncovered a variety of drugs and alcohol in their systems and also meant these women required vaccinations against hepatitis in case the needles were contaminated. This recent surge in awareness around spiking has left people wondering if enough is being done to combat this disgusting behaviour. The fallout online was one primarily of anger and exasperation with women wondering what more they have to do in order to ensure that they can go out, have a good time and then return home safely. It doesn’t seem like a huge ask and yet it has become increasingly complex. There is also the sheer disbelief that comes with trying to comprehend the manipulation and sleaziness of such an action. The UCC Students Union and The UCC Bystander Intervention Programme have come together in order to raise awareness of this issue, which has already arrived in Ireland. The #takebackthespike campaign, which included a protest on the Quad on the 4th November, is an attempt to inform people on how to protect themselves and to give people a sense of what they can do to look out for others. In an open letter from the UCC Students Union, there were also calls for Cork pubs and nightclubs to do more to protect people frequenting their establishments. There was an outpouring of support online, with many people sharing posts from The Bystander Intervention Programme who share useful information on how to recognise the symptoms of being spiked and what to do if you or someone you know has been spiked. There was also information for bystanders, o ering tips on how to be an active bystander by calling out harmful behaviour and looking out for friends and strangers when going out. The key part for the bystander is to always remain safe themself while attempting to help others. In a press release ahead of the protest Dr Louise Crowley, director of the Bystander Intervention programme, made the following statement, “Be the Voice for Change.

If you are aware of those engaging in this behaviour – speak up – we need a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of harassment and violence with no excuses. If you are out with friends, be mindful and be aware. Support your friends and peers, as an active bystander you can make the defence”. These powerful words coupled with the strong turnout on the quad a few weeks ago should act as a guide for dealing with this current social issue, and all forms of sexual harassment for that matter. Such words and campaigns should, in an ideal world, be totally unnecessary. But, until everyone can go on a night out without fear of being spiked or sexually assaulted, such words and campaigns will continue to garner force and continue to call out heinous behaviour.

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UCC community comes together to Take Back the Spike

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The Metaverse: Dystopia or Utopia? Following a turbulent few years for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, Matthew Quill explores the Metaverse and what this latest move by Facebook could mean going forward.

Following a turbulent few years for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, Matthew Quill explores the Metaverse and what this latest move by Facebook could mean going forward. The Metaverse. The Matrix. The Net. Once a concept restricted to cyberpunk science ction such as Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, or William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the metaverse is quickly becoming what many people in the industry see as the next evolution of the Internet, and Facebook, sorry, Meta is hopping on the bandwagon early. So, in an attempt to answer the question that so many people have been wondering about, what is this metaverse anyway? Quite simply, it is hypothesized to be a freely accessible and modi able virtual reality simulation where users can interact with one another and go about their online lives, much like they would on the Internet. The technological aspect of metaverses is surprisingly the easy part to develop, as virtual reality headsets have steadily been becoming more portable, affordable and powerful over the years, supporting their evolution from a niche fad to a mainstream computing accessory. It could also be argued that a service wouldn’t even need to utilize VR to be considered a metaverse, as for over two decades now we’ve been sharing virtual spaces in the form of massive multiplayer online games, and more recently, Epic Games’ Fortnite has been rapidly expanding into multiple cross-media collaborations, creating a gaming multiverse of its own.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the open-source ownership aspect of the concept is providing the biggest roadblock for the development of a “true metaverse”. Ever since the inception of the internet, tech companies have not been content in simply sharing a digital space with each other and the general public, preferring instead to carve out their own virtual efdoms where they are unbeholden to international laws regarding data protection and consumer rights. This applies to both digital spaces and physical access to the Internet, as seen in recent times with laws protecting “net neutrality” which aims to prevent the discrimination of internet service providers towards how users access internet content.

It is precisely for this reason that companies like Epic Games and Meta are investing solely in closed-off digital ecosystems in which the user has no real freedom of choice in the content they engage with.

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a venture in which people pay exorbitant amounts of money for the

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We are already starting to see the rami cations of such an ecosystem with the recent corporate adoption of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTS),


privilege of “owning” digital art which is one of a kind and backed by cryptocurrency. Forgive one for believing this to be an attempt to enforce arti cial scarcity over digital content, a theoretically in nite resource.

That is not to say the concept is all doom and gloom. The internet and subsequently social media have the potential to be abused by companies and individuals alike, while still being a tool most of us could not fathom a life without. The metaverse could similarly prove to be a boon for humanity. From effortlessly moving from one task to another without the need for clunky computer interfaces or entering fully immersive worlds both ctional and real from the comfort of your home, the possibilities are limitless. But all of that comes with glaring caveats if the space is partially or fully owned by a corporate entity whose sole purpose in this venture is to extract as much money and data from you as possible. For the metaverse to be a platform bene cial to the end-users, it would need to be structured under a model of collective ownership from the ground up, otherwise, consumers are at risk of being taken advantage of by the corporations who run the space.

There is an argument to be made that, considering the state of the world right now, there are more pertinent ventures to focus on. It’s hard to ignore the irony in developing new virtual worlds to escape into, while the real one is guratively and literally on re. Indeed, it is a core aspect of the world of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, another novel that features the metaverse, that the outside world is unbearable to live in both because of the worsening climate, and the economic situation preventing people from achieving their dreams. Mark Zuckerberg would surely like nothing more than for us all to substitute our real lives with pretend ones in his fake reality. Indeed, the aforementioned NFTs have received immense backlash from the environmental cost of the processing power used for the randomisation process. So it is likely that metaverses, whether they be user or corporate-owned, could receive similar backlash for the perceived energy waste they could perpetuate.

Time will tell whether the metaverse ends up being a virtual heaven or hell, but the fact that it is a concept borne out of dystopian ction does not bode well. As Mike Pondsmith, creator of the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop roleplaying game put it, “Cyberpunk was a warning, not an aspiration”. It is up to us to heed this warning by voicing our concerns about how we engage with tech companies, as they continue to hoard our personal information and change how we interact with one another.

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Declining Emotional Intelligence and the Path Towards Transhumanism Taking into account recent psychological studies and mainstream discourse around arti cial intelligence, Current Affairs Editor Conor Daly looks at the impact of declining emotional intelligence.

The societal questions around technology and arti cial intelligence (AI) seem more pertinent than ever after the past couple of years. There is no period in human history where as a collective we spent more time online and engaging with technology, this was of course exacerbated by the pandemic. People worked from home and studied from home using computers or tablets and then relaxed by using different apps on the very same devices. The complex consequences of not having regular human interaction will likely remain unknown for many years to come. It is pretty unequivocal that technology is more intertwined in our lives now than it was before the pandemic. Online shopping became the norm, weekly zoom meetings seemed to take place way more often than once a week and countless group chats were muted for mental health reasons. There were so many aspects to this rise in technology use and the causes and results of this vary depending on what sources you consult. Alternative media sources and conspiracy theorists seemed to have a sharp rise in their ability to reach people online, with every government slip up providing further reasons as to why the mainstream media was lying to us all about everything. There are currently questions being asked of Facebook as to why this kind of information did not go through a more rigorous screening process and was even allowed to “thrive”.

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However, recent studies have shown that our unhealthy relationship with technology started before the pandemic. The key aspect these academic articles hone in on is that of emotional intelligence, the knowledge that many of us grasp later in life and one that is undervalued by so many, especially in the context of western neoliberalism. Extensive research over the course of two decades including 70 studies and almost 17,000 participants has shown that emotional intelligence is declining. One of the key ndings stated that access to technology was linked to

“decreased well-being and self-control”. The authors of the study do not pinpoint a direct cause for this decline in emotional intelligence is declining. One of the key ndings stated that access to technology was linked to “decreased well-being and self-control”. The authors of the study do not pinpoint a direct cause for this decline in emotional intelligence, but remark that social media “replaces inperson communication resulting in increasing loneliness… [and] facilitates social comparisons and peer envy”. Social media is so often the scapegoat when discussing many social issues. One could argue that it is just an easy way out when no clear cause is distinguishable. That may be the case, however the vast amounts of research carried out on the topic would tend to prove otherwise. Upon reading these reports, one might simply assume that society has developed to a point where we are less reliant on our neighbours,

more content with solitude a n d i n c re a s i n g l y d e p e n d e n t o n technology. But, looking a little more deeply, the results have the potential to be slightly more startling. This research could provide some of the rst insights into how technology is radically changing our inherent emotional dispositions as humans. Empathy is arguably one of the foundational human characteristics. It in uences how we carry ourselves a n d h o w w e t re a t o t h e r s . T h e importance of empathy, like many things, is sometimes only recognised in its absence. Psychopaths are generally believed to lack empathy, this being one of the key aspects of what differentiates them from others. All this coupled with a reported increase in rage incidents over the course of the pandemic, particularly on airplanes, shines a precarious light on the emotional evolution of our species in recent times. Perhaps all of our time spent online has, to some extent, caused us to lose our grasp on reality. We’ve gotten so used to seeing people being berated on social media for minor indiscretions that now the same aggressive energy is being seen on the other side of our screens. Could these reports potentially give us a glimpse into the not so distant future, towards a time where technology and humanity have irrevocably coalesced. One could argue that this has already happened in the sense that social media, among other forms of technology, has augmented our physical reality and given people another aspect to their existence in a virtual space that doesn’t actually exist in a spatial sense.


The concept of transhumanism is a controversial one, with many individuals in the eld of AI, including Elon Musk, warning that even experts in the industry fail to grasp the severity of the situation and the threat it poses to humanity. Musk has predicted that within the next ve years we will arrive at the point where arti cial intelligence will surpass human intelligence and essentially be in control. This warning is concerning, but also highly hypocritical, in the sense that Musk is also the same person

testing out his Neuralink technology on a monkey, with the potential use on humans already causing huge amounts of anxiety. The prospect of a human-AI hybrid species is something that many would still deem to be a concept from a science ction movie, and yet here we stand on the cusp of such technology becoming part of mainstream society. Will arti cial intelligence eventually be used to make up for the declining elements of our inherent h u m a n i t y, s u c h a s e m o t i o n a l intelligence? Our reliance on technology has already proven to alter our brains, with many of these effects being negative. The ironic full circle would be a scenario where our reliance on said technology deteriorates our cognitive function to the extent where we need more technology to essentially make up for the de cit that it had caused. This is not a paper written by an expert of psychology or AI, therefore the parting advice is basic

Checking your phone rst thing in the morning is scienti cally proven to

prepare your brain to be distracted for the day. Your brain takes some time to wake up in the morning, and refusing to give it that chance forces it to skip certain steps in the process, thus m a k i n g y o u m o re l i k e l y t o b e distracted. This relates back to transhumanism in the sense that it is a deliberate attempt to create a safe distance between yourself and your technology. Tech is extremely useful; it helps in so many ways in various aspects of our lives. However, endless scrolling on social media or binge watching TV series can create a brain fog that makes us more susceptible to procrastination among other things. So when we see these startling statements that our collective emotional intelligence is dwindling, it’s important to understand why this is the case and to question what can be done to counteract this. Seeing the word transhumanism often strikes fear into people about the future, and yet the small steps we are taking that could be leading us down this path are rarely given a second thought.

and perhaps even naive. consumption. The research on this is extensive, both from reputable sources on psychology and neuroscience as well as countless preachy in uencers. Taking the rst hour of the day away from social media is a simple way to set boundaries between yourself and your technology. These are the times of the waking day where our subconscious mind is most active so by limiting our access to our virtual existence, we can focus on our physical reality.

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Tinted Rights Expression and Media under the European Union’s Democratic Umbrella Deputy Current Affairs Editor Natalia Karolina Gawlas dives into the freedom of the media environment and explores the depth of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Freedom of expression is by now, a right known to all. It really is a part of the little things; sharing your opinion on Twitter about a new purchase, confessing political expressions during upcoming elections, to organising public actions in an attempt to remedy the current state of affairs. Some may say that it is a right taken for granted while some may deem it a right not utilised enough. However, the right is not absolute, as it is subject to unfortunate, yet necessary, restrictions. While this lack of absoluteness will not interfere with your ability to share your morning bagel on Instagram, that is not to say that the rami cations are not substantial. This right of expression and freedom of media has been described as “pillars of democratic security in Europe” by the Council of Europe. This means that under the democratic role of the European Union, the media have an inherent freedom in informing its people in an independent manner, protected and safeguarded by legal guarantees. Naturally, there is partial truth in this freedom, although it is tainted by censorship, political opinion, misinformation and bias. Ultimately, this freedom comes down to a balancing act. Important questions need to be asked, such as where does legitimate reporting end and defamation begin? We all want the truth until we are the ones being discussed, prompting us to defend our right to privacy. If Article 10 and Article 8 (which guarantees our right to privacy) could get into a ring and box, who’s to speculate the outcome of that ght?

is this interference with privacy justifiable to achieve a democratic society? While acknowledging the seriousness of the defamation, the victory of Article 10 is noteworthy. The right to freedom of expression is, quite frankly, one of utter importance. As citizens, we should be granted the ability to critique and question our government and public institutions without fear of prosecution. That is, in fact, a primary characteristic of a democratic society, one that the European Union seeks to enforce. It is a dif cult balancing act when democracy is the rule of people, yet protections and safeguards have to be afforded to certain bodies, all the while providing a platform for the freedom of expression of media and the press.

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However, past cases may aid in our attempt to get this balance right. Independent Newspapers Limited v. Ireland sparks a debate, with Article 10 standing tall and proud after this particular ght. The case was covered widely in the media, as articles published discussed Ms. L’s personal and private life, including rumours of relationships. She stood successful in a defamation case with high damages awarded, which was subsequently lowered on appeal by the Irish Supreme Court. The applicant decided to ght for their rights under Article 10, claiming that with such high damages it would simply be disproportionate. The case was concerned with the claim of damages interfering with freedom of expression, against the right to privacy under Article 8 as consistent with the Irish legislative provisions. This raised a vital and incredibly valid question for the court,


This is a hard task. The Council of Europe has established a safeguard for journalists to promote their safety, and their freedom of e x p re s s i o n , i n d i c a t i n g t h a t t h e profession has the potential to be one of high risk. The Safety of Journalists website demonstrates this as it currently records six representing journalists, who knew that freedom of expression came with a risk of death, along with an additional 113 journalists who were detained. The recent publication of the European Democracy Action Plan allows for an insight into the current democratic state of the European Union, through the perspective of the European Commission. It discusses the digital

transformation of democratic politics as campaigns continue to spread into the online world, widening participation prospects and access to information. Most importantly, this allows for full participation in the democratic debate of today. Outlined in the European Democracy Action Plan, “Digitalisation enabled new ways to nance political actors from uncontrolled sources, cyber-attacks can target critical electoral infrastructure, journalists face online harassment and hate speech, and false information and polarising messages spread rapidly through on social media, also by coordinated disinformation campaigns.” The plan addresses the function of democracy, ensuring its application through a policy framework that will take appropriate measures to both support the media and counteract disinformation.

Independent and diverse media outlets are essential in order to hold authorities to account and to aid citizens in their decision-making process. A democratic society requires the media to do their job, and to do it independently, ensuring that people are informed without manipulation. It may be said that through laws of defamation and various forms of pressure, this may result in a manipulated environment. A feeling of self-censorship by the media regarding what they can say in fear of prosecution is created, which can ultimately lead to outlets swaying from the truth. A 2020 report published by the European Parliament emphasising the urgency of improving the safety of journalists to protect public interest, may perhaps demonstrate the limits of Article 10. Disinformation has become a major challenge within the media and so-called

“fake news” has taken media platforms by storm. Now the question of Article 10 comes into play. We want freedom of expression, but how do we ensure truthful expression in the media? To go one step further, how do we ensure it stops before a defamation claim begins or the right to privacy becomes vulnerable? Perhaps public importance takes precedence over individual claims, but once again, it all comes down to a balancing act. Is the European Union capable of balancing the democratic interests and the freedom of expression's entanglement with the right to privacy of each and every citizen?

Do the needs of the many really outweigh the needs of the few? These are the kinds of questions the EU must take into account to ensure a fair and just balance.

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Champion Green and a New Era for Retail in Ireland UCC Alumnus and CEO of Kilkenny Group Evelyn Moynihan talks to Motley’s Current Affairs Editor Conor Daly about her role in the “Champion Green” initiative and how it is changing the shape of Irish retail.

There are few areas of society left untouched by the last 20 months and the effects of the pandemic, and retail is certainly no exception. As the vast majority of non-essential stores were shut for months during intensive lockdowns, Irish businesses had to adapt, and in some cases drastically change in order to both survive and thrive under new challenging circumstances. The market for goods was without a doubt still there. People were stuck at home and, for people lucky enough to still have an income stream, online retail became the new pastime. Some people even had more cash than in normal circumstances by forgoing holidays, nights out and so on. For Irish businesses, tapping into this demand would be key to coming out the other side of the pandemic. One such indigenous business which in many ways pioneered this adaptation was the Kilkenny Group, along with VISA and with the cooperation of Retail Excellence, Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland. The current CEO and then Marketing Director Evelyn Moynihan was at the forefront of the “Champion Green” campaign which sought to increase the amount of money people were spending with Irish businesses. As set out by Champion Green itself, it is “a national movement with a grand coalition of government, industry, business, and the public to support each other and drive the recovery of our communities and economy after the COVID-19 crisis”. It is seeking to tap into the huge online market which would traditionally have seen money leaving Ireland for large global businesses.

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The initiative is still ongoing, with a focus on helping indigenous businesses recover and thrive following an incredibly dif cult 20 months. The Kilkenny CEO highlights the central ideas of the initiative to Motley Magazine and comments on the changes it has made in Irish retail thus far, stating that, “The core idea behind Champion Green is to

make supporting local a year-round habit. Champion Green is an education programme, clearly calling out the importance of supporting local in order to protect local jobs, and protect local communities.” “Champion Green and its supporters have created a €1m investment to drive awareness of this very important ‘Support Local’ message, and will also provide webinars and tools to support Small and medium-sized businesses.” “From a recent Champion Green survey, 3 in 4 adults (77%) agreed that it is a good idea to help support their local businesses and community. 68% said they would actively do more to support local businesses this Christmas”. The topic of conversation then moves on to what “Irish business” or “shop local” actually mean. These phrases are present all around us but why are indigenous businesses so important to the economy? With the help of a few statistics, Evelyn makes the answer very clear; “SMEs represent 65% of all jobs in Ireland, and are the backbone of communities across Ireland. Think about where most people picked up their rst job, got sponsorship for the local team; in the majority of cases this came from SME’s.


After the last 18 months, now is such a

critical time for Irish people to support local businesses in the coming weeks. Champion Green are behind “ Turning black Friday green” for the month of November, and are backing a critical message to support Irish Bricks & Clicks over the coming weeks For the black Friday period last year, 39% of online shopping remained in this country (revolut). It was at the very low level of 28% in 2019. We want to get the online spend that remains in Ireland this year to at least the 50% level and build from there”. The slogan “Let’s Turn Black Friday Green” highlights the importance of buying from Irish businesses on what is often the biggest spending day of the year. Directing even a portion of that spending towards local businesses would have such a huge impact, and the target of 50% would have an even bigger ripple effect. Supporting Irish retailers is so important in terms of starting the economic recovery for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses as well as larger companies who, despite their scale, still felt the effects of the pandemic. When you give someone a gift from an indigenous b u s i n e s s t h i s y e a r, y o u a r e simultaneously giving a gift to everyone involved in that supply chain, from manufacturer to retailer. When you buy from an Irish business, your purchases bene t so many more people than just the person who receives that gift. Evelyn would agree with this sentiment and strongly encourages people to support as many local businesses as possible this Christmas.

“It is so critical for people to come out strong and support small business in the coming weeks and months. If we don’t, small businesses will not survive, it is as simple as that. There is also a strong feel-good factor in gifting from local businesses this year, and beyond”. Whether you spend all your money domestically or simply give an Irish business a €20 transaction that you ordinarily would have spent elsewhere, it all helps. The past year or so has been so dif cult, and nancial circumstances have re ected that. But this Christmas, wherever possible, try to shop local. A s a s m a l l c o u n t r y, supporting our local businesses is another way of supporting our local communities. It fosters a sense of togetherness and inspires others to potentially take a risk and start their own business. Finally, when asked to glance back at her rst six months as CEO and look ahead at what is yet to come, you get the sense there is a genuine optimism, a muchneeded sentiment in our current climate. “My rst 6 months as CEO of Kilkenny have been challenging yet extremely rewarding. I feel so lucky to be working with such a talented and passionate team of people in Kilkenny and to be working with such talented Suppliers and Makers from all corners of the country.

Despite all of the challenges, the Kilkenny team are emerging from 2021 with a really strong strategy and plan across all our channels, and are really excited about the future”. Evelyn is an example for so many in the professional world, occupying a traditionally rare position of being a female CEO. This is an attitude that is undeniably changing, and rightfully so. Her ambition for the business as well as her passion for supporting Irish designers, manufacturers and retailers is inspiring. It is this attitude that really sells the message of what it means to support Irish business, and for Evelyn, these are not empty words. She promotes and supports Irish business both within her role and beyond it. It is this belief in both Kilkenny Group and indigenous business as a whole that really gives you a sense of what the ambition is for the future. It’s hard for this enthusiasm to not rub off on you, especially when the message is such an important one. So this Black Friday and Christmas season, whether you're out on the high street or browsing from the comfort of your own home, remember to Champion Green. After the last 18 months, now is such a critical time for Irish people to support local businesses in the coming weeks. Champion Green are behind “ Turning black Friday green” for the month of November, and are backing a critical message to support Irish Bricks & Clicks over the coming weeks

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Data Privacy: Fact or Fiction? Deputy Current Affairs Editor Natalia Karolina Gawlas asks how national data is really treated regarding privacy, highlighting the lengthy “Facebook” case and how it is protected through legal means.

Data privacy exists to ensure that data collection and processing ensures no breaches of privacy. After all, for the internet to function we must have some trust in data protection and its mechanisms, or else it would be a long forgotten invention. A digitalised way of life has quite quickly become the norm; people trust the internet and social media companies to hold onto their most precious information, from birthdays and pictures all the way up to personal public service numbers and login information. Everything is now done online; revenue queries, banking, making appointments and much more. While all of that is happening in data centres and servers, phones and tablets, how can we know what is safe and what is not? And if it is not, what can we do to protect ourselves from potential breaches? Through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) people are entitled to the “toughest privacy and security law in the world”. Implemented by the European Union, this regulation extends far beyond the geographical landscape of just the EU and is enforceable against any organisation which targets or collects data on EU residents. In an Irish context, this relates to multinational corporations operating within the Irish, and therefore European, jurisdiction. The right to privacy has an extensive history and is enshrined within the European Convention on Human Rights which speci es the right to privacy under Article 8. As the internet transformed into a hoarder of data, the EU took immediate measures to enforce the privacy protection entitlements of individuals. This was not, nor is it today, a light matter in light of legal enforcement and obligations, be that in a personal or commercial context. Perhaps our friends at

Facebook may have more to add to this matter. In mid-2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) nally gave the world the decision it was waiting for, ending a six year-long battle between Facebook and the Belgian privacy authority.

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As Facebook has its European headquarters in Ireland, its main watchdog has become the Irish supervisory authority. This did not stop the CJEU in ruling that other supervisory bodies on data protection hold relevance to the Irish data protection system. Although GDPR was not in force at the beginning of proceedings, the court highlighted the importance of a consistent and ef cient application of the regulation across the EU, with GDPR assuming this role shortly after. A pertinent question is whether the one-stopshop mechanism is really that effective? Domestic legislative frameworks, although compliant, may over-complicate the process that the GDPR hoped to achieve. An overall application does not, unfortunately, limit the domestic application and compliance with data privacy regulations. The alleged

lack of transparency regarding data collection by Facebook attracted a large ne from the EU, allowing Ireland's Data Protection Commission to issue a ne to punish non-consensual data collection. The real question is whether the ne is really that large for such a wealthy multinational company. Based on Facebook's annual turnover and nancial situation, the ne may not even cause a dent in their earnings, begging the question, how ef cient is this penalty? The question remains, is this deterrence technique enough to remedy the seriousness of such a colossal data protection breach? This decision, at its core, suggests that many data protection issues remain contentious, despite the obvious regulatory obligations and duties for corporations. One thing is certain, the level of transparency is akin to that of the sky on a dark, stormy day.


How The Internet Portrays Mental Illness - And What It Leaves Out Motley Staff Writer Jessica O’ Brien explores the portrayal of mental illness on the internet and why it’s good to remember what our screens fail to show. This piece contains candid discussions of mental illness, reader discretion is advised. If you’ve been on Tiktok, you may have noticed the surge in videos relating to mental health, and particularly those with mental illnesses. At rst, I enjoyed this content as it seemed to be destigmatising mental illness. On a lighter note, it was genuinely nice to see other people who thought like I did. We could even laugh as a collective, at some of the similar bizarre scenarios we had ended up in. But there came a point where

a line was crossed and the overload of content became too much. For example, there was a time when my For You Page was over owing with videos of people in psychiatric wards, a place I had considered private and safe, a place of recovery. Suddenly, there was an overwhelming ood of content where seemingly well meaning adults were posting ‘put a nger down challenges’ suggesting you too suffered with an undiagnosed disorder. As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression from a young age, I understand the adrenaline rush that comes with releasing whatever you are feeling online. However, in reality, it can be very triggering for others, you don’t get a solution from it and you are not reaching out to anyone to speak with, you are merely releasing your pain into the empty vacuum that is Twitter. I am not writing this to preach, as I have done these very same things. I just wish I could provide a preface to the mental illness content every person will undoubtedly come across, that something will always be left unsaid. Spreading awareness about mental illness is bene cial, I will not argue against that. However, I nd it to be incredibly disheartening when people only speak of awareness, and not action. The TikToks we see fail to mention how devastating living with a mental illness actually is. I understand that humour sometimes helps, that relatability can be incredibly helpful, it has been to me.

But the reality is that although we spread awareness and we press ‘like’ when someone shares a candid video of them crying online, the majority of people would not respond well when faced with the same situation in real life. And it is not their fault, it is the lack of education on how to help someone who suffers from a mental illness. Of course, every person who suffers from a mental illness will nd certain things comforting and some will not. During panic attacks, people are at their most vulnerable. They may prefer to be brought somewhere private, or if they are unable to move, for there to be no crowding. Ask the person if they would prefer silence, or for you to speak with them. A good tip to keep in mind is that anxiety, for the most part, is irrational, and a bit of a liar. In moments of panic, I personally lose all logic, and what I nd helpful is to list things that are worrying me. If you counter the anxious thoughts gently, with logic, the anxiety loses places it can latch onto. Sufferers of mental illness all have their own personal way of coping and don't necessarily expect others to understand or alleviate it for them. However, while perhaps clichéd or obvious, the best thing you can do for someone who is struggling is to listen. If you feel you are in the right headspace to listen, of course. Though nding people you relate to and realising you are not alone in the world is brilliant, professional help is really something you should seek in real life, from a reputable source. Lastly, it’s always good to remember that

mental illnesses do not de ne your character. They don’t make you weaker, or less deserving. They just make you experience the world a little differently, and perhaps respond to it differently, but there is no wrong way to perceive the world. You are just as needed, loved, and cherished as someone without a mental illness. I promise everyone would rather you reached out to them than realise you had suffered in silence. While turning to the internet for reassurance or assistance may be cathartic to a point, we must remember that mental illnesses do not just last the length of a Tiktok. They are not trends, and while some can swipe past them, some live with them every day.

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Our Brain and the Internet

Features and Opinions Editor, Hannah Emerson explores the effect that our screen-time may be having on the biological integrity and performance ability of our brains. What prompted me to write this article was a deep-seated and somewhat

visceral anxiety I have been harbouring for the past few days. It all started when I sat down one evening last week to ironically “relax” and watch TV. When I say TV, of course, I’m actually referring to the boundless recreational library that is Net ix. As I scrolled through the seemingly neverending list of shows, I found myself looking at the noted length of each episode. Oh, 35 minutes? That’s far too long! These stringent time parameters I had chosen to apply to my episode selection may have been justi able if they were for good reason. Perhaps an evening engagement I was to get to or an appointment to attend. But no, unfortunately, justi able they were not, and so when I contemplated on why I was being so fussy with the time limit, I realised it came down to my personal expectation of my attention span. You the reader may be wondering, is that it? Is that the event that set off this so-called existential terror? And yes, yes it was. Although of course poetic license or slight exaggeration may have come into play in my recollection of the story, this event last week did really affect me. It sent me down a self-re ective rabbit hole, questioning the limiting factors of my brain and in particular my attention span. The way the internet makes us think has always been a minor fascination of mine, the idea that we are an extension of our phones. And for that reason, I often tried to moor against it. To

put down the phone and pick up the book.

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Although determined in this quest to put the phone away I too have spent a godforsaken amount of hours on TikTok. And any app that works off the template of 10 second long videos, can’t be of much bene t to our ability to concentrate for long periods. For me, once I realised that an episode length spanning just 30 minutes appeared to be a major commitment of time and attention, I knew things were bad.

Of course, we all know where this is going. That modern technology and particularly the World Wide Web is quickly and unremittingly shortening our attention spans. This is not a new hypothesis. Hypothesis perhaps being generous, we all know our phones are fucking up our brains. No amount of longitudinal studies or animal models need to tell us what we already know. However, what we may not know, or perhaps what we are steadfastly choosing to ignore, is the extent of this damage. The book ‘The Shallows’ by Nicholas Carr explores the relationship between the internet and our brain. Throughout the book, Carr refers to himself as a “fatalist” when it comes to the internet, meaning that the place of the internet and its effects on society are predetermined and therefore inevitable – basically, we are all doomed. Doomed perhaps being hyperbolic, the message is the same,

the trajectory of the internet seems unwavering, and whether you like it or not, it’s going in one direction. Instead of wallowing in the despair of this dystopian prediction, what we can do is try to better understand it, in particular its effects on our most vital organ. In his article for the Atlantic ‘Is google making us stupid’, Carr discusses how our use of the internet is generally diminishing our ability to concentrate. As we click between the thirty-seven opened tabs, reading snippets there and snippets here, this speedy sur ng, skimming and scanning is akin to existing in a chronic state of distraction, a state which “follows us” long after we close our laptop screen. As Carr writes in The Shallows, “never has there been a medium that, like the Net, has been programmed to so widely scatter our attention and to do it so insistently”. Keeping in mind this book was published in 2010, meaning it was preTikTok, the most brain-scattering app to exist. Perhaps Carr was right to be so fatalistic. As is often discussed in musings about the brain and its function, it is an organ that is extremely malleable.


Neuroplasticity refers to how

our brain rewires itself and creates new connections depending on a myriad of factors – our environment, what we see, read and so on. This neuroplasticity is talked about at great length in terms of newborns and infants. The idea of the ‘crucial period’ is to form as many neuronal connections as possible while the brain exists in this highly plastic state. This is where millennials come in, buying their newborns paediatric approved ‘sensory toys’ to make sure they’re raising the next Einstein. However, while neuronal plasticity is often spoken about in the context of newborns, it is actually highly relevant to grown-ups too. Even as adults, our brains are highly malleable and alter at a cellular level depending on what we choose to input. And so, as we scroll and click and surf, our brains alter their cellular makeup in response to best support this behaviour. Unfortunately, our brains do not have an insurmountable ability to perform all tasks at an optimum level. So while we become adept at this quick- re thinking, our ability to exist in a more contemplative and focused mode diminishes. This is another way of saying the brain’s function is a ‘zero-sum’ game, as Carr says. This basically means that the advantage won by one of two sides is lost by another. To effectively watch a TikTok while getting back to emails while catching up on the news, means you may need to sacri ce the neuronal ability to sit down and read all twelve hundred pages of War and Peace. Whether you look at this cerebral alteration as success or regress is up to you, but one could argue that the contemplative side of human existence is key to not only collective advancement but personal contentment and well-being. The relationship between the internet and our brain is a multi-faceted and highly complex area of discussion in medical research, with by no means a one size t’s all remedy. But between neuronal alteration, decreasing grey matter and TikTok tics (a medical phenomenon pertaining to the development of tic-like behaviours in TikTok users), the apparent evidence is as inescapable as it is alarming. Not to end this on a wholly bleak note, the jury is still out on the exact effect of the internet on our brains and perhaps we can strive to turn the tide on our

rapidly diminishing attention levels. Might I add, that against the odds, and despite the neural rewiring you have suffered in this digitally saturated age, you have made it to the end of this article. Now you can go celebrate by watching a few TikToks.

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In this timely piece, Sam Golden analyses the phenomenon of ‘cancel culture’ and its effect on entertainment and culture as a whole.

The great thing about Twitter is that everyone has an opportunity to express their opinion. The worst thing about Twitter is that everyone has an opinion to express. But this occurrence isn’t just restricted to one platform; Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube all play a role in the demolition of culture contrast. To de ne “cancel-culture” would be to evict someone out of the social status that they once held. I truly believe the increase in extreme ostracism online has constrained people into doublechecking anything they release to the digital world for fear of offending someone over something that was never supposed to be offensive in the rst place. What I do not believe in, is online abuse involving racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination which unfortunately like my rst point, is also ever-increasing. There are people in this world who do deserve to be cancelled. Their radical opinions, beliefs or views are a huge wedge that drives society apart rather than bringing it together. To put what I am trying to highlight into context, just look at what happened to pop star, Sia. In November 2020, Sia released a music video titled “Music” which depicted an autistic young girl played by Dance Moms star Maddie Zieglar, who is neurotypical. Tw i t t e r b a c k l a s h e n s u e d labelling the video as insensitive and stereotypical towards people with autism. Sia responded angrily on Twitter and further tension ensued. Now, whether Sia’s video was offensive or not, is something I will leave up to your interpretation. My point is that Sia didn't intend to cause offence. Her intention in producing the video had no malicious mindset behind it. She solely wanted to express her artistic form in a manner she felt appropriate.

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Is Cancel Culture Killing Culture?

The inevitable result of an artist getting cancelled is censorship of art regardless of whether its music, lm, painting or writing. Who are we to censor art? The whole point of the arts is that everyone has different perceptions and expressions. Whether you take offence or not is entirely subjective. Is the Statue of David by Michaelangelo offensive? The Catholic Church thought so and as a result, it is even censored to an extent today. If every second piece of art was censored today, the world would be a colourless place.

The cancelling phenomenon isn't exclusive to artists either. It has occurred on every level of society, both in-person and online. One such example is the case of NFL player Colin Kaepernick, a match that helped ignite the whole cancel culture movement. So what happened? In 2016, Kaepernick was the rst NFL player to take a knee during the American national anthem, protesting racial equality and police brutality in the US which has since expanded internationally into the likes of the English Premier League. As a result, the San Francisco 49er’s quarterback was outcast by the powerhouse that is the

NFL franchise as this knee movement proved dif cult for the league’s TV ratings. He was dropped by the 49er’s and has not been signed with an NFL team since. While the facts and setting di er from the case I discussed above the principles remain the same. Nike also lost $3.75 billion in market cap for sponsoring him. However the overall result of this cancellation case can not be measured in pro t or social status but in a deep division between groups, teams and fans involved in the NFL, adding to the dismantlement in relationships and social behaviour across the broader society. I am neither for nor against the idea of cancel culture. I believe that in the right context, it can be a valuable tool in rectifying wrongs within society. But used for the sake of voicing the opinion of one unnecessarily in opposition, it can be extremely harmful. There will always be people who disagree, who think their opinion is the only one that is right.

This is how culture is destroyed. The whole point of a multicultural society is to interact with different perspectives on life. I think the majority would agree that the world would be a quite uninteresting place if everyone agreed on everything.


But leaving aside the clearly idiotic logic

Deputy Features and Opinion editor John Hunter looks at the upcoming exams and the issues they pose for students. ace if everyone agreed on everything.

Sit down. No talking. Pens at the ready. You have an hour and a half. Don’t fuck up. Don’t draw a blank. Don’t f o rg e t h o w t o s p e l l h i s n a m e . Remember that speci c date. Keep all the elements of that intricate and nuanced historical argument in your head, while also trying not to forget the counterargument which may show the examiner that you fully grasp the complex nature of the subject at hand. But that’s not the question you were expecting, they’ve pulled a fast one on you. And now you can’t remember which month the Gulf War ended, let alone the date. Oh shit ten minutes have already passed, better scramble something together… and that’s part your degree ruined, better luck next time. Formal examinations are the tools of cruel administrators and lecturers to in ict suffering and misery on the student body for, what one can only be assumed to be, some kind of perverted sexual kick. They are also quite simply the worst way to assess a student’s understanding of material and engagement with a subject.

I remember in rst year being told by a lecturer, who shall remain nameless, that we were no longer in secondary school. No longer being tested on their ability to simply memorise and regurgitate facts and gures onto a page. And then this lecturer moved on, without a hint of irony, to tell us about the formal exam we would have to sit at the end of the semester. And you know what, he was right. We were not to be tested on our ability to simply memorise and regurgitate facts and gures onto a page, because we also had to remember interpretive arguments about the period in question. To focus on the subject I’m taking, the study of history is, at its most basic, the evidence-based examination of the past, so best to throw all that evidence and those pesky primary and secondary sources into the nearest skip, because apparently, the best way to assess understanding and engagement with a complex and nuanced subject is to make you memorise all of it.

that supports them (not only in history but arguably most subjects), formal examinations in 2021, particularly for students who were not exposed to them in the previous year due to the ongoing pandemic, is simply cruel. Focusing on my experience (because let it never be said that I’m cynical) and the experiences of others in my year, the last formal exam we sat was a year and a half ago. Our exams in the back half of rst year and all of second year were online, take-home exams. In regard to formal exams we are, to put it mildly, out of practice. And we are now expected to sit formal exams that will have a huge bearing on our nal grade for our degree. The anxiety and trepidation that is felt among many students in this position is well justi ed. Compounding this fear is the still raging Covid-19 pandemic. Is it really prudent, with the recent rise in cases, to force a great number of students into a room to sit an exam, when they could do, as we did last year, from the safety of their own home? Surely the safety and wellbeing of students comes rst but moving forward like this, with the pandemic the way it is, does not give that impression at all. Oh well, who am I to complain. I’m just a student, a number on a sheet of thousands. I doubt my or other people’s concerns on this matter will be addressed. Perhaps they would if we mattered more, or if we paid m o re , b e c a u s e a s w e a l l k n o w university is so cheap (he said, with bitter sarcasm and contempt). I hope our collective disappointment and indignation are worth it, for whatever you gain (whomever you are that decided these things). See you in the exam hall.

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Our Collective Disappointment and Indignation – a Plea

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Becoming a cultural commentator in the midst of Irish lockdown: An Interview with TikTok creator Steph Warsh (@half_thirty) Amano Miura interviews TikTok creator Steph Warsh, discussing her rise to internet fame, her following, and her life outside the app.

Are you the girl from TikTok? is a question that 25-year-old Steph Warsh has become very used to hearing on the streets of Cork. At the time of sitting down to interview her, Steph (@half_thirty) had amassed over 36 thousand followers and more than 2 million likes on the video-sharing social networking app, TikTok. Steph moved from New York to Cork City on October 5th, 2020 – the same day Ireland went into a Level 3 lockdown (again). Traversing the pandemic across the Atlantic, Steph’s internet story is an extraordinary one. Steph’s content centres around her observations of linguistic differences between the use of the English language in the United States, versus the ‘Hiberno-English’ she is now immersed in. Arriving in Cork and going straight into self-isolation, Steph began to check out the lay of the land in the only way she could - via dating apps. She quickly found herself asking people to break down the meaning of words she thought she already knew.

“Oh, that’s class” for example, left her bamboozled. Steph never intended to become one of Cork’s most proli c ‘TikTokers’. “I started writing down all the linguistic differences I was noticing. I wanted to share updates with my friends and family back home and keeping up with messaging became overwhelming when my whole life got moved online.”

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Steph used her Instagram stories as a convenient way of keeping her friends in the loop but started to feel selfconscious when her new Irish friends tuned in.“Are they going to think I’m stupid talking about an electric shower?” On the contrary, her Irish friends loved her updates, and Steph began to edit her videos with the much better software that Tiktok had to offer. She would download what she was making on TikTok to reupload to Instagram, but her account on Tiktok was public and so it wasn’t long before strangers started to tune in - and well, the rest is history. When she’s not making TikTok content, Steph is a computer programmer – a career in which learning languages is essential. Steph also studied Spanish and Japanese and took several modules in linguistics at the University of Rochester. She is passionate about celebrating the nuances and peculiarities in our uses of language around the world and insists that there is no right or wrong as languages are alive and constantly evolving. When I asked if her rise to TikTok fame makes her feel more at home in Cork she said, “de nitely”. In her life online, Steph truly values the thoughtful feedback she receives from “literally every county in Ireland”. User interaction has helped to deepen her understanding of Irish culture, for example, “in Ireland, ‘trainers’ are ‘runners’, and in Limerick, ‘runners’ are ‘tackies’”. Steph is now starting to experience real-life interaction with her followers too. “Sometimes it’s really disconcerting because a lot of people here know me, and I don’t know them. One time I was doing my shopping in Tesco and the cashier said “I follow you on Tiktok.

You’re the rst Cork TikToker I’ve seen. Fair fucks! Keep it up”. Steph says that a lot of her followers aren’t aware of her Irish American heritage. Her Mom and grandparents came from Cork, and Steph’s move here is in part an exploration of her dual identity. “In a sense I know I’m representing Cork on the internet now. Most of the big in uential TikTok creators in Ireland are Dublin-based and I’ve been told by some people that they speci cally follow me because I’m in Cork”. Her most viral videos have addressed topics like Easter Eggs, hurling, and the links between ‘Hiberno-English’ and the grammatical structures of the Irish language. In less than a year, Steph’s journey is after becoming a truly unique story and you’d be mad not to start following it!


Mystic Mc's Magical Predictions Back again for some astrological insight by the one and only, Mystic Mc is predicting what lies ahead for us all in this special horoscope. Your future awaits…

Aries

Libra

The dull days of November lead into dark and stormy nights. The cold and overall sombre atmosphere might get you down. Of course, you’ve always been a somewhat dull person yourself, so maybe you just won’t notice, and continue to live in blissful ignorance.

In the lead up to Christmas, you’ll have to buy a lot of presents you don’t care about, for people that you… may or may not care about. Will you get the same bottle of perfume for your mother that you’ve gotten for the last ve years? Or the same shampoo? It’s all up to you.

Scorpio

Taurus With the retrograde motion of Uranus at some point this year, you might feel some strange bowel movements… that go backwards. Or something. I think that’s how planets in retrograde work, and affect humans on planet Earth. If they affect us at all.

Gemini You are a person who may sometimes nd themself feeling emotions. So this month, due to the chaotic power of the Sun you might feel happy/sad/distressed/angry/turned-on/horny/excited/scared/ hungry/thirsty… there. I’ve probably thrown in enough for at least one of them to be right. You can thank me later for helping you to predict your future.

Cancer

With the return of nightclubs, you’ll go out with your friends one night, and have a great time. Or at least, you’ll think you’ll have a great time. Until you nd yourself in the middle of a noisy, crowded room with people too drunk to be worth talking to, wondering why you ever missed this.

Sagittarius The return to in-person exams will hit you hard. Given that you (like many others in UCC) got through the last two years of exams with a lot of help from Google, you’ll really need to study up to get used to exams without the entirety of human knowledge at your disposal. Or just drop out. Good luck!

You will hurt the person you’ve been seeing for a while. After an awkward last date where you try to gure out how to tell them you’re not into them, you will reveal the secret at the worst possible time, leading to lots of tears and sadness. Maybe you should be more selective with your Tinder matches in future.

Leo

Capricorn

The Sun moves south towards your constellation, turning the days dark. Thus you will nd yourself going through a goth phase, of “eternal tears and darkness”. If the black eyeshadow and purple hair weren’t enough, your strange new music taste will be suf cient to make everyone stay away from you.

Aquarius

As Saturn, god of agriculture, disappears into the sunset, so too does your sense of self-control over what you eat. Up to now, you’ve managed to keep it to ve oven pizzas a week, but even that seems like not enough anymore. On the other hand, life is probably too short to care about being healthy. So dig in!

Virgo Red Mars takes up residence next to the Sun in your constellation this month, sending you down the warpath… with literally everyone. You might nd that your friends avoid you. More than usual, anyway. After all, you’re a fairly aggressive person in general.

Make time for new experiences rather than dwelling on old ones. You can’t change the past, so you may as well focus on the future… (and next in the series of horoscopes that do nothing but state the blatantly obvious…)

Pisces Despite being born under the sign of the sh, you will likely become allergic to it this month. Watch out for that seafood chowder! Given all the sh killed by humans every day, this is probably their way of taking revenge.

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James Kemmy discusses the effects of digitalisation on the creation and consumption of music

The passing of eras inevitably creates changes in all commercial and artistic industries. Whether the result of new styles, advancing technology, or emerging intellectual movements, unforeseen developments are bound to take place and shift the nature of how a given eld operates. Over centuries, music has come to be a multi-faceted social force, seen as a distinctive feature of international cultures, a complementary discipline to the art of lmmaking, and a powerful forum for motivating political action. The last century in particular has marked monumental changes for the music world with the birth of commercial radio and the emergence of technological instruments such as the CMI Fairlight synthesiser. Despite such developments, the creation and mainstream usage of the internet in the last twenty years has arguably been the greatest ever change to the world of music, transforming our musical practices and methods like never before. While this topic has been discussed at length, the conversation around the digitalisation of music has generally been associated with either disdainful pessimism and an in ated nostalgia for pre-internet simplicity,

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How the Internet Changed Music Forever

or a cold dismissal of music’s traditional virtues and an embrace of solely futuristic ideas like arti cial intelligence. The tr uth seems to lie somewhere in the middle, with the internet serving as a unique phenomenon which has the potential to be either transformative or reductive (or both) with regards to musical integrity. B y i l l u s t r a t i n g a f e w ke y features of this issue, it is revealed just how in uential technology has been in shifting our perspectives towards musical creation and consumption. Firstly, internet technology and social media have revolutionised access to the production and distribution of music. One notable example of this is the mid-2000s Myspace frenzy, a breakthrough period during which countless aspiring musicians were able to independently record and upload demos online without the need for major labels. Examples of artists who emerged from this online movement include Arctic Monkeys, Adele, and Lily Allen. While the likes of Myspace seem cringey and even primitive in retrospect, they did serve a signi cant purpose in breaking down barriers to entry and enhancing independent control for musicians who are often impeded by the exclusionary elitism of the music industry’s establishment. More recently, basic online software such as GarageBand has facilitated a new era of lo- DIY music producers who can pursue their artistic ambitions through cheap and accessible means.

Perhaps the archetype of this movement is Grimes, the Canadian electronic prodigy who, with no musical background, began making music at the age of 21 and subsequently produced numerous independent albums such as 2012’s critically acclaimed masterpiece Visions which was recorded over just four weeks in the bedroom of her college apartment, with the help of such software. Similarly, it can be argued that artistic innovation across disciplines has been unleashed by use of the internet, demonstrated through the increasing phenomenon of multimedia projects. By utilising

new artistic opportunities afforded by technology, musicians can further realise the scope and imagination of their work. For example, the release of Björk’s 2011 album Biophilia, an environmental concept piece, was accompanied by an interactive smartphone app and cross-continent e d u c a t i o n a l a n d v i r t u a l re a l i t y workshops which linked themes of music, nature, science, and technology. Likewise, PJ Harvey’s 2016 record The Hope Six Demolition Project, for which the artist travelled to Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington DC to document issues of poverty and war, was released alongside a short lm (A Dog Called Money) and a poetry collection (The Hollow of the Hand).


How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was also brought to life through a lmic visual set called The Odyssey directed by Vincent Haycock, while Taylor Swift’s newly revisited version of All Too Well has been accompanied by a self-directed short lm using major big-screen actors. Undoubtedly, the creation and wide reception of such ambitious projects would be near impossible without the use of the internet and media platforms such as YouTube which make them universally accessible. In terms of music consumption, practices have also radically changed due to internet growth. So far, the 21st century has seen a massive shift in purchasing and listening habits from physical formats to digital platforms. Spotify, iTunes and Soundcloud dominate this eld, with the former app recorded to have 365 million monthly listeners in 2021. This almost wholesale transition in listening style entails both positive and adverse rami cations. Undoubtedly the accessibility and exploration facilitated by such digitalisation can only be a good thing, with smart technology and algorithmic mechanisms now having the ability to tailor to each individual listener’s taste, recommend new, similar music, and curate personalised playlists, leading to an overall more comprehensive musical experience. S i m i l a r l y, m u s i c a l discovery has been internationalised, with music scenes and fanbases previously rooted in certain geographic areas (trip-hop in Bristol, grunge in Seattle, and more r e c e n t l y, K o r e a n p o p ) n o w transcending borders like never before due to enhanced communication and the accelerated spread of musical ideas. The internet also affords us, as listeners, greater opportunities to deepen our knowledge around artists and expand our musical expertise.

Shazam, for instance, can help us identify the title and artist of any song in seconds, while websites such as Genius provide interpretations and backstories to a wide range of musical output. Despite these contemporary bene ts, the boundless and instantaneous nature of the internet can also lead to overstimulation and a certain dumbing down of music’s artistry. As digital consumption has rapidly grown, the traditional album format has declined in signi cance due to the notoriously convenient shuf e option which undermines the authentic structure and ow of a record intentionally designed by the artist. Within the world of pop music at least, the album as a central musical framework is also being deprioritised by the importance granted to instantly gratifying, radio-friendly singles. Our attention spans are also weaker thanks to the internet, illustrated by the increasingly shorter average run time of songs. For instance, NME have reported that the average hit song in the 1980s was almost ve minutes long, while the 2010s equivalent is closer to just three minutes. Technology has also

commercialised music on an unprecedented scale, with an excessive modern emphasis on sexualised and eye-catching visuals as a mere marketing tool aimed at boosting pro tability. Such developments have resulted in an industry where style is increasingly favoured over substance. The proliferation of streaming platforms has also proved problematic for artists in certain respects. Through the growth of an oligopoly system under which the likes of Spotify dominate, a topheavy industry has emerged which focuses on the accumulation of listeners centred around major, established names while paying dismal royalties to smaller musicians.

Several gures have

taken a stance against this industry by calling out its corporate practices: notably American indie-folk artist Joanna Newsom who intentionally doesn’t stream her music on Spotify and has called the company “evil”, a “cynical and musician-hating system” and a “villainous cabal” of major labels designed to circumvent the idea of paying their artists. While musicians’ outreach and access to promotion may be enhanced by these platforms, the oversaturated internet has made it more dif cult to pursue a nancially viable career in this sector and has heightened job insecurity. Overall, it is undeniable that the internet has changed the foundations of both music production and listenership. While ever-advancing technology has offered incredible and unforeseen potential to the world of music in terms of innovation and accessibility, we also must be conscious of the threats it poses to artistic fellowship and the value of prestige. There is no use in being dogmatic about this issue in either way, the internet will continue to evolve, and we will feel its effects in all aspects of life. Ultimately, it seems that a balanced outlook that exercises a degree of healthy cynicism while also welcoming new musical practices and developments seems to be the best option.

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by Shruti Rajgopal

It was a few years ago that I was struck by an image sketched in the sixteenth century, replicating the board game of a goose, however, the geese were replaced by cupids. That interesting piece of image pushed me towards reading about the history of gaming and gambling. Most of what I read was directed towards the discovery of the New World and thus the games were based out of Mexico, with the Spanish colonies established there. Though I did not end up using that information, the growth and progress in this eld seemed to be setting in nite borders. I was not much into gaming, true I owned a brick-game handset that had just one game - Tetris- a pretty awesome game, must I admit!! It used to be installed on every computer or laptop until a few years ago. A few other games like Super Mario, Pokémon, and Need for Speed - especially the Carbon installment - were extremely popular. Racing games were fun, and I remember playing them quite frequently back then, selecting the Volkswagen Beetle in Midtown Madness was the highlight of many such summers. When I started college, the kinds of games people played were quite different from the ones played in the earlier days. During the rst few years, it was Assassin's Creed that was discussed a lot, with a movie releasing when we were in our nal year. A few street-smart kids would play the game a day before our humanities paper, reasoning that it had a lot to do with history and thus they could write their responses based on their experience at gaming. To be fair, it worked out well for them. All these games saw an evolutionary process that they went through and survived through thick and thin. The ones that did not make it probably did not satisfy Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection, and thus are completely lost forever. Windows XP always came with a set of installed gamesMinesweeper, Pinball, Hangman, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, and the unforgettable Dave.

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Revival or Rebirth? The Impact of the Internet on Gaming

Dave was apparently older than I thought. I started playing the game when I was about ten years old but discovered the game in its entirety much later. The game was rather simple. It offered ten levels with three life chances for Dave to complete the ten levels. Every level had abruptly built brick walls, creating niches within which were gold coins and nally a trophy which led him to a door. The interesting bit was that he had to climb and jump up to reach the door. One could just randomly collect gold coins, pick the trophy and lead towards the door, whereas the catch was that the more gold coins you collect, chances increase that you will earn an extra life. The rst few levels were easier with just jumps and brick walls, it got tougher from the fourth level onwards. Dave was

obstructed by beasts and vicious plants that spat out re each time he crossed or jumped, so Dave had to be careful with each move, rather than the player. The doors were still up. Sometimes the door was the only wall that was provided, Dave had to leap, jump and skip in order to access the jetpack that would lift him towards the door. Another interesting fact was how the game was a single-player one and the only character was Dave. It was ve years after my rst encounter with this game that I started playing it, almost to the point that I felt a little addicted. I went about playing it methodically, collecting points, trying different methods to avoid the beastly forms, earning more lives to complete the tougher levels. I spent my whole winter break, breaking through levels four to eight. The eighth level brought Dave in a spatial context, with no walls whatsoever, metamorphosed creatures taking satanic forms and constantly spitting re the moment he entered the level. I never could get past the eighth level, no matter how carefully I trod through the abrupt brick walls as the re-spitting demons caught me right in the middle of my journey.


It was an incomplete journey, only to my delight (because I could never attain the closure of completing the game) when I found out that the game was never installed on any of the upgraded versions of Windows. Furthermore, a quick google search (yes, Dave is rescued yet again by the internet), suggested there were sequels to the game where Dave tries to save his brother from the antagonist. In fact, a few years ago I remember spotting the game as an app on my android phone, which I never downloaded, partly because playing such a game on a phone didn’t seem to capture the same essence as it did on your bulky screened computers. Once again,

it was the power of the internet that had reiterated the signi cance of gaming. It had reinvented classic games, in this case, Dave, and many such that follow a similar league. However, neither did the game become as popular, nor does anyone seem to be playing it. One would have thought about the possibility of how this game can be incorporated in various portable mediums (such as Nintendos, PSPs and the likes), however, it was the internet that revived the game. It was a revival, not a rebirth, unlike the renaissance, where the world envisioned a 2.0 version of what the classical ages had created. Alas, for Dave, a 2.0 version was lost in the sea of competition, and though wireless connectivity kept the game animate,

this was only in theory.

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Research, Pandemic, and the Internet by Shruti Rajgopal

A few months ago,

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a friend and I were talking about research and the methodologies followed to conduct the same. I narrated with excitement about the possibility of travelling to a few places for archival research and libraries, rummaging through different aisles, perusing through catalogues to nd out what exists in the eld of my interest and the chances of interacting with real people and walk through the physical space of a library (not one built by Louis Kahn or Frank Llyod Wright, but ones that are much older and are the brain-child of artists such as Michelangelo and the like). His simple response was a question: “aren’t they available online?” It took me an hour and a half to explain the proportion of sources that are available “online”, and yet we did not reach a consensus on how the two of us felt about digitising sources versus travelling to archives. In the due course of time, I tried explaining that some sources are digitised and are available on online portals and websites,

whereas some aren’t available unless you pay a hefty price for a scanned copy or wait until you can travel to said destination. It occurred to me much later that when it comes to sources from an older time period, not all of them can be digitised. While the advent of paper and further the establishment of the printing press, aided by the internet, allowed free dissemination of sources and materials (also making it cost-effective and economical for young researchers), text written on a material that cannot be categorised as paper, offer a completely different experience to research. Not only can it not be scanned but the palaeographical studies involved makes it harder to approach if digitised. Indeed, it can be transcribed and typed on a digital interface, however, it’s just not the same. Once it is transcribed, the script changes, the commentaries that were inscribed by scribes working on these documents would not make it to the print (unless added as a citation, or a note mentioned by the editor). These then would be categorised as amendments made by the editor.


Furthermore, there are textual notations made on leaves, unlike vellum, which was the choice of surface to write in Europe. In this context, there is secondary literature that provides suf cient knowledge about the data imprinted on such surfaces, but to understand the context and resonate with the topic, it becomes essential to go back to the original source - in this case it could be the leaf, or inscriptions found on historical monuments, or those stamped on coins. Don’t get me wrong, there are a plethora of databases available on multiple websites that provide researchers with early modern and medieval texts, written in different kinds of script, aided with commentaries made by scribes from the period. Supporting this argument makes one wonder about monks working in the Benedictine monastery, narrated by Adso in The name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, set in fourteenth-century Italy. For William of Baskerville, the whole scenario is based on examining the tables, desk and writing material used by monks transcribing works in the library of the abbey, which is designed as a labyrinth and forms the core of the book. However, if it were not for the scribal details and the books that were meant to be transcribed by the lay brothers in the monastery, the book loses its essence, especially because the spread of knowledge was solely conducted on the basis of such transcriptions. The book de nitely hedges on

the notion of Renaissance humanism, a period that gained momentum in the fourteenth century.

Brie y, it was in this period that people began to revive ancient and classical knowledge (from Greek and Latin sources), thus, building on imitation, transcription and writing contemporary documents in the style of the ancients. This transcended even in art and architecture (if it weren't for the Palladianstyle palazzos scattered all over Italy, followed by the Neo-Palladianism in the modern world). Come to think of it, humanism forms the basis for research to a large extent. Researchers are expected to conduct a comprehensive study, but they cannot rely on online resources alone. In fact, fellowships are offered by various organisations, established on the fact that research projects are funded to carry out studies using both online resources and of ine materials. The purpose is to train one to be able to sharpen their own search engines, even in the absence of the much-loved internet. Indeed,

the pandemic has resulted in a growing dependency on the internet which has improved and increased the number of sources available online. Nevertheless, there is much to be achieved before the world of research can completely rely on the internet. Even if we reach the era of the Jetsons, where everything can be achieved through an online search, walking through the cramped and dusty bookshelves of an age-old library will only end in a revelation that might end with us yelling out

“Eureka!”, much like Archimedes.

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True Crime Entertainment in a Digital Age By Kate O’Riordan

As a society we have an af nity with true crime as it provokes our basic human instinct of fear. What draws us to this darker subject matter is another existential question about the human condition entirely, however this fascination has evolved into a source of entertainment. For centuries there has been a societal fascination with serial killers, murders, and violent crimes for a variety of reasons, however the digital age has cultivated platforms of true crime communities, armchair detectives, and obsession. In the 19th century, mass circulation of newspapers and the embellishment of grisly murders and crimes sold more papers. High pro le, sensationalized cases such as the infamous Jack the Ripper contrasted greatly with the strict uptight status quo of Victorian life.

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As a society, our appetite for true crime has always been colossal, as ‘the shock of murder creates a schism between order and chaos’, according to crime author Sarah Weiman. It also can be escapism into a controlled environment where people get to experience the thrill of this intense fear whilst being removed from it, in the comfort of their own home. It ’s h u m a n n a t u r e t o b e inquisitive and curious as to why people commit heinous crimes against others, and watching a documentary allows us to get a snapshot inside the mind of the perpetrator. True crime has been trending on many platforms and corners of the internet in recent years, with the surge of streaming platforms producing YouTube videos, podcasts, TikToks, and generally, the overwhelming heap of online content. On the more disturbing side, the notorious true crime community on Tumblr and Reddit is characterized by the rampant glori cation and glamorization of serial killers and murderers. The descent into the true crime community is not for the faint of heart, as it goes beyond interest and intrigue.

Much of the posts and content on various forums under #truecrimecommunity or #tcc are reminiscent of fandoms or serial killer ‘groupies’. It’s also apparent that many accounts

romanticize the crimes and idolize killers, mostly serial killers that brutalize women. Another common facet of the posts within this community is the posting of mugshots and other images of serial killers with captions marked by hybristophilia. Richard Ramirez, Ted Bundy, and school shooters are among the most idolized killers in this community. Not all of the true crime community behaves like this and harbours this level of obsession, and many condemn it, yet there is a signi cant number of popular blogs that post this content under such hashtags. On the milder side of obsession, we see the ever-expanding genre of true crime on online streaming platforms such as Net ix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more.


Channel 4 is planning to launch a true crime-dedicated streaming platform by the end of 2021. The market is saturated with bingeable gore and tragedy. It is dif cult to evaluate whether true crime as a genre is morally defensible, as many documentaries and docu-series are pumped out to pro t off tragedy and exploit these violent events. Whilst bringing attention to cold cases can have positive outcomes in generating more witnesses and serving informative lessons on injustice and vigilance, there is frequently more harm done than good. Also, there is often an egregious

lack of respect for the victim and the victim’s family, showing images of dead bodies, bloodied crime scenes, and harassment of families. Furthermore, attention grabbing titles to garner shock and interest are commonplace- similar to tabloids. There is usually an absolute xation on the killer or perpetrator of the crime, with disregard shown to victims and their memory. In many documentaries, there is a reconstructive element, in which actors recreate a speci c event, murder or crime. This adds a further level of dramatization within a true crime case and can taint the accuracy of events, especially in unsolved crimes, ultimately shaping the narrative with preconceived assumptions and inevitably swaying public opinion on a case. Producers often have their own theories before production of a docu-series or documentary, which adds a level of bias, manifested in the omitting of evidence, focus on small aspects, or the misrepresentation of critical facts to a case.

The internet also gave rise to the phenomenon of the “armchair detective”, who is external to investigations, not actively participating or privy to con dential details of crimes, and newspapers and the internet are their

dominant source of information. The term originates from a Sherlock Holmes novel, The Greek Interpreter (1893), in which Holmes refers to his brother Mycroft by stating; "if the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived". Armchair detective work can be a harmless pastime driven by curiosity, however, it is increasingly hard to make a distinction between fascination and obsession. The internet enables amateur armchair detectives, allowing consumers of true crime podcasts and documentaries to actively participate in the highly glamorized crime solving process. Amateur detective work can realistically hinder many investigations, with people inserting themselves into things based upon assumptions, misinformation, and unfounded theories. This is true in the unsolved case of Elisa Lam, from which Net ix produced the documentary; ‘Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’. The story and theories of this case went viral, resulting in many people inserting themselves in the situation. The Los Angeles Police Department was overwhelmed by psychic tips, false information, and other disruptive activity, unlike anything experienced before the release of the documentary. The nature of virality and the internet allowed people globally to clog up the investigation.

The crime obsession phenomenon is not exclusive to America,

The murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has been a highly published true crime case with a dedicated podcast, West Cork, and two docuseries on Net ix and Now TV respectively. This led to a sleuth of crime tourism, or investigation in the West Cork area. Visitors to the area have been demanding the location of the crime scene and have been seen taking sel es at the site and other key locations. Tr a d i t i o n a l l y, i t i s investigative journalism and the media that play the role of harassment and lack respect and sensitivity, however now we see more and more of those traits attributed to armchair detectives and dark tourism that is stimulated and cultivated on the internet. In conclusion, the internet has substantially contributed to the surge of popularity of the true crime genre and the extensive volume of content. We must ask whether true crime as a genre desensitizes us to gore and violent crimes. The ethical dilemma surrounding true crime as a genre of entertainment is multifaceted and not all true crime content is equal, yet there is an overwhelming sentiment that much of this genre requires greater scrutiny in terms of e t h i c a l i t y, s e n s i t i v i t y, a n d professionalism. The internet enables the reckless posting of misinformation, which impacts public opinion, and can devastate victims’ families all over again. True crime is a natural fascination, and it is possible to produce morally responsible and informative documentaries, such as Sophie: A Murder in West Cork (2021), in which her cousin Frédéric Gazeau was an associate producer. This docuseries talks about the victim’s personhood and doesn’t contain distasteful reconstructions or graphic images, which unfortunately is rare in this genre of lmmaking. This is the type of direction that Net ix should pursue in the business of true crime production.

the perceived epicentre of serial killers, and has travelled across the Atlantic to Ireland.

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- A Closer Look at Cinema’s Post-Pandemic Future James Kemmy examines the evolving nature of screen entertainment with commentary from the programme director of Cork’s 66th International Film Festival

According to Martin Scorsese, t h e w o r l d - f a m o u s d i re c t o r a n d screenwriter, cinema is dying. Discussing this issue on n u m e ro u s o c c a s i o n s , t h e i c o n i c lmmaker has lamented hypercommodi cation and the dissolution of the traditional lm narrative in recent decades, largely blaming megafranchises and online streaming services for this perceived artistic diminution. Such a statement is a strong and perhaps unnecessarily controversial way of illustrating the rapid change taking place in the world of cinema. While this prestigious artform and its associated industry are evolving by the generation, the question of its impending death remains ambiguous. While lm was historically created to explore advancing forms of kinetic technology and convey messages of political propaganda, a subsequent artistic revolution transformed it to become the most universally cherished form of entertainment known to society. Experiencing its golden era in the 1930s, cinema has since played a consistently dominant role in the world of art and culture - until now (potentially). The contemporary international lm scene has experienced massive changes in recent years, from the rise of streaming services with their emphasis on episodic series, to the Covid-19 pandemic which induced the greatest economic downturn for the industry in decades and destabilised the foundations of the arts sector generally. Traditional lm proponents argue that superhero action blockbusters and franchise remakes

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produced by billion-dollar corporations are invading what should be an artistically distinct space and are appropriating the authentic identity of cinema. While such an argument may seem highfalutin, it is backed up by stark evidence: for instance, an overwhelming forty seven out of the fty highest-grossing lms of the last decade were franchise movies or projects already attached to major established entities like Marvel, DC, Star Wars etc. This is no coincidence. It has been recognised by giant entertainment enterprises that such undertakings are hugely successful in nancial terms and are a safe bet in maintaining and boosting pro tability. However, this

lowest common denominator approach is undermining cinematic innovation and is making it harder for independent directors and original feature lms to rise to prominence. Furthermore, the sweeping transition to streaming services like Net ix and Amazon Prime has blurred the lines between cinema and television for better or for worse. While accessibility is enhanced by this development, the unique characteristics of cinema-going have been stymied. The theatrical, communal, and sensorial nature of cinemas cannot be replaced by the small screen or smart phones. And yet, this new age of media simultaneously offers unforeseen potential for exploration, enabling anyone with suf cient interest to become a lm a cionado by granting the ability to delve into a rich profusion of cinematic material. Analysing these complex developments undoubtedly make it dif cult to pinpoint the direction in which cinema is heading.

Artistic festivals like Cork’s prestigious annual one which took place from the 5th - 21st of November offer signi cant promise for the industry. Speaking to Anna Kopecka, programme director of the 66th Cork International Film Festival (CIFF), an inside perspective is given. She acknowledges the increasing dif culties that the industry is facing, noting declining levels of cinema-going even before the pandemic, yet is also hopeful for the f u t u re . K o p e c k a i l l u s t r a t e s t h e profound value of dedicated festivals like the one she is coordinating, promoting the great opportunities it provides for local artists to gain international recognition and connect audiences along a trail of lmic discovery. This year the CIFF took a novel blended approach, with both inperson screenings and events, followed by a nine-day digital programme. Over the course of the festival, 80 Irish and international features and documentaries were shown, along with 130 shorts. Unique concept projects each marked by a distinct focus were also displayed. These include Female Visions a retrospective feature celebrating radical female lmmaking, and Illuminate - a standalone section exploring the intersection of lm and mental health. It is my ultimate opinion that the industry is not going extinct, but merely undergoing consequential changes. To invigorate this system however, lm must be granted a distinct and untainted identity which rewards authenticity and celebrates its unique offerings. The future of lm depends not solely on the direction in which established producers and conglomerates want to go, but on us, as active participants of cinema and not mere consumers. We can both preserve and strengthen the invaluable role of lm while it coexists alongside diversifying forms of entertainment.


Fiction Focus Béline Chan discusses six new literary releases and highlights why you should read them

The Witcher Series

High Fantasy

The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski has gained popularity since the creation of its spin-off video games and Net ix series. With the show’s second season coming out soon, this is the perfect motivation to start reading the books. The plot revolves around the eponymous character, Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter with enhanced superhuman abilities. The rst instalment, The Last Wish, is a collection of short stories. For those who are fans of the show, the rst season was based on the short stories in this book. I highly recommend this for fantasy lovers that enjoy some action and magic. These books are imaginative, descriptive, full of adventure, and are almost impossible to put down once you pick them up.

Caraval

High Fantasy

Caraval is the rst book from Stephanie Garber’s trilogy, another release which has garnered signi cant notoriety in recent times. The story follows two sisters, Tella and Scarlett, who attempt to escape from their abusive father. When they nally receive their long-awaited invitations to the magical week-long show known as Caraval, Tella gets kidnapped by Legend, the show’s mastermind. This book is magical, captivating and mysterious, a great read if you’re a fan of fantasy and mystery!

The Midnight Library

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a charming fantasy novel which has recently become a worldwide favourite among readers. The story is centered on protagonist Nora who’s transported to a library at midnight on her last day on earth. Here, she can try out living other lives she could have lived and undo her mistakes and regrets. The question is: which way is the best way to live, if there is one? This book is thought-provoking and a cosy read, a de nite recommendation! Heartstopper Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman: LGBTQ+/Drama

Heartstopper Vol. 1

LGBTQ+/Drama

There are currently four graphic novels in the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman. This series has warmed and connected to the hearts of many. The rst volume is about two adolescents who study at the same all-boys grammar school. They end up sitting together in class one day, where a connection starts to bloom. Their characters are complete opposites, but love works in mysterious ways, so could there be more to their friendship? The novel evokes affecting topics of mental illness, friendship and love. It’s a graphic novel I recommend if you want to read a heart-warming LGBTQ+ story!

It Ends With Us

Romance/Drama

It Ends With Us is a romantic novel written by Colleen Hoover. This book has recently gained viral status and has been described as the most heartbreaking novel you’ll ever read. The story revolves around Lily, who’s life seems to turn for the best when she starts to fall for Ryle, who’s closed off from dating. Ryle’s attitude towards relationships changes when Lily enters the situation, but things get complicated when her rst love, Atlas, comes back into her life. This book is everything you’re looking for in a romance. It’s deeply emotional with interesting characters. If you’re a fan of romance, you must try this book!

The Thursday Murder Club

Crime/Thriller/Mystery

The Thursday Murder Club is a crime-thriller novel written by Richard Osman. The story is about four unlikely friends who meet up weekly to investigate unsolved murders in their retirement village. When someone is found murdered, The Thursday Murder Club nd themselves in the middle of a live case, but can they solve it? This book is perfect for crimeloving readers who appreciate some comedy placed within darker themes.

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Turn off the Phone. Turn on the Party. A Fashion-Forward about styling it up for a night to remember, no photos needed. Graduate Writer and (maybe) Motley in-house photographer Alana Daly Mulligan discusses the concept for their shoot in collaboration with Motley Fashion on the act of dressing up to go out.

I’ll be the rst person to admit

I know jack-shit about clothes. My ongoing fear is I will be that person perpetually wearing band t-shirts and skinny jeans into my forties, God forbid. What I do know and understand very well are people, or at least I like to think so. It is clichéd to say clothing is an extension of ourselves, a sort of battle armour for who we want the world to view us as, an outward expression of our inner passions. Clothing is where we can be both at our most vulnerable and most powerful. This shoot was inspired by the reopening (and now it appears, rapid re-shutting down) of our nightlife as COVID-19 becomes just another thing we’re getting used to living with. How has the ritual of preparing for a party or going out on the sesh changed and stayed the same? How has the way we express pure unadulterated joy though our expression moved and swayed? Our models dressed in clothes that they felt were worth celebrating in.

FASHION & BEAUTY

When we love what we wear, we start to take steps towards loving ourselves. That might begin with us having con dence in putting together an out t and coming to embrace being ercely individual. It does not start with an Instagram post where moments are curated so heavily and so many pictures and videos are captured that you have no recollection of what it feels like to freely exist as an entity in an experience. Someone gave me Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman when I was eighteen. I am ashamed to say I’ve never managed to get through the entire work but the famous opening line from “Song of Myself” calls to me when I’m feeling low:

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” We control how the world sees us, and when we love ourselves unconditionally, it will love us back. All we can really do is be good, kind, full of hope and be really fucking stylish about it.

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The philosophy of fashion for me (again, I reiterate I am by no means a fashionista) is that life is too short to not wear the things that make you feel sexy and empowered and alive.


The Impact Of The Internet On Fashion By Sarah Collins

The old phrase "adapt or die," as Mara Contreras puts it in Vogue Espña catapulted the fashion industry into the Internet for the rst time. After more than a decade of web history, it is apparent that the Internet is utilized for collecting data, communication, and entertainment. Instead of becoming a realm, the Internet has evolved into a vital tool for everyday life. Fashion is particularly suited to modern media as we know it today. "Speed of change" is the inherent aspect of fashion and new media, according to photographer Nick Knight. Both encourage image in a time when reputation is just as essential as the fashion item, if not more so. The Internet itself does not necessarily pose a danger to print media, and many argue that publications are vital. Websites, on the other hand, have become an important component of public relations and brand-building strategies. A clothing brand site's main goal is to convey their image. Unlike television or commercials, a website allows for bidirectional communications and encourages brandconsumer discussion which is what is needed if you want to make it in the fashion world today. Almost every website has a "Contact Us" or e-mail feature embedded into its design. Some websites include a feedback option as part of their content or identity. We used to see this on John Galliano's website for example where customers could give feedback to the team in their “Love Letters” section.

A web site allows the company to build a multimodal journey that fosters a link between the brand and the customer, encouraging them to return again in the future, as well as consumer loyalty and, potentially, revenue. These days, it's really easy to sell clothes online, and more and more individuals are opting for online purchasing over in-store shopping. In 2020, nearly two billion people purchased products or services online, with global ecommerce sales exceeding 4.2 trillion dollars. Even if you are looking for vintage clothes, the Internet has got you covered!! Unlike a lot of high fashion brands, which are based on pretty much exclusivity alone, the internet provides unlimited access 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pretty much whatever fashion brand you love. As the Internet and technology continues to grow and develop,

I very much look forward to seeing where it takes fashion and how it will continue to grow and develop going into the future.

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The Internet’s Inclusive In uence on Fashion By Jessica O’ Brien There was a time that Instagram consisted of the same similar looking models from Tumblr gazing wistfully in black and white (remember Tumblr anyone?) but today, it is possible to curate a feed of colour, diversity and of all sizes! It is easier than ever to voice an opinion, especially online, so people have come together and fought to create an accurate view of what fashion is today

The modelling industry and the media both have a while to go when it comes to positive representation in fashion - but in recent times, with the help of social media apps like Instagram and Tiktok, there has been a signi cant uprise in inclusive fashion campaigns.

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I follow many body positivity accounts on social media, ones that focus on reality versus what is shown online. On Instagram, @MillyKeepsGoing shows a candid insight into her life as a Mum, wife, and as an overall amazing woman who has battled an eating disorder and mental illness since her teen years. She posts refreshing unedited photos of herself, embracing natural aspects of being a woman that previously haven’t been put in the spotlight: such as body hair, stretch marks, scars and cellulite. These are things we all have, but until now have been viewed with shame, but with the help of the internet, we are now claiming them back. Nothing about our bodies should ever be perceived as shameful, and I am a true believer that destigmatising and normalising small things like this can reinforce the fact that bodies look like this: and that is absolutely ne! The internet’s work is with representation when it comes to the transgender and non-binary community is nowhere near nished, but slowly,

they are forging their own way into the fashion industry and along the way, have inspired beautiful androgynous fashion. On Tiktok so many fashion trends provide everyone with inspiration and maybe even the surge of con dence they need to wear something a little different. Don’t be afraid to borrow some fashion from the typical binary you don’t identify with! Take @pixieboybeau for example. They regularly experiment with dreamy skirts and dresses, and then ip to a more preppy vintage vibe - I am convinced they could wear a sack and make it look good. Trans Tiktok creators that want to look more masculine for example, provide their own fashion tips on beating gender dysphoria, from creating ve o’clock shadows and the illusion of a atter chest (Safely!! Of course!).

I have not seen androgyny so openly celebrated before,

and it genuinely makes me feel so happy to see people walking around town dressed the way that makes them comfortable - another reason that I love our trailblazing generation! Finally, the aspect of the fashion industry that has really needed a refresh throughout history is diversity in models. We all know by now that the typecast thin white model is not enough. It makes sense for models to represent all bodies, all shapes and colours, because we are the consumers who are buying fashion. We deserve to see ourselves represented in it! Brands such as ‘Aerie’ use absolutely no retouching in any of their images and use a massive spectrum of gorgeous models for both their clothing and lingerie lines. One of my favourite models on Instagram is @jamie_zella. Her posts are beautifully ethereal snapshots of her appreciating her beauty, her body, and her Thai heritage. She also represents our fellow tall girls at 5’11”, and reminds us to never see our height as something to be embarrassed of, to hide, or as a reason not to wear heels! My favourite thing about her is that she shares her good and bad days, as we all have them when learning to love our bodies, and it reminds me that many of us experience the same doubts and self sabotaging thoughts. Without the internet,

perhaps I wouldn’t have found such a safe place of inspiration. Maybe people would still be hesitant to wear what they feel good in while in public. Would a lot of us feel unseen? The internet is far from perfect, but if you know where to look,

it can be a lovely place of camaraderie and it is ever growing. I have hope that in the future it continues to positively in uence fashion, but knowing the determination of our generation, I think we’ll be just ne!

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Growing Up Surrounded 
 by Toxic Masculinity Tagdh Connery discusses their experience with lad culture, 
 and the harmful e ects it can have on an individual

One of my biggest regrets growing up was giving up Speech and Drama lessons. Looking back, it was a stupid decision. I loved it. The curtains, the performance, the audience reaction.

The ability to completely become someone else for an hour and to get lost in that character’s world. I loved it. But at the age of twelve, a realisation hit me - Speech and Drama was for “queers and sissies.” And as a scared, straight twelve-year-old, transitioning from primary to secondary school, this notion terri ed me. So, I left.

I went to an all-boys primary and secondary school. Please don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed it. I count the six years spent in secondary school (the nal three, in particular) the best of my life, so far.

The craic was always phenomenal and there was a sense of camaraderie among the lads that I have yet to experience elsewhere. I didn’t notice at the time but looking back it was damn pressurising at times.

Lads were expected to be tough. Talking about your feelings and expressing your emotions were looked on as things for “fags and pussies”. After all, real men don’t cry. This, as one could guess, has serious repercussions. On average, one man dies from suicide every minute, according to Movember’s website.

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Traditionally, higher global rates of depression and suicide are observed in men than in women. Imagine if, instead of being hard, tough lads, men could open up about their mental health, without someone replying, “Aira shut up, you’ll be grand!”

Imagine if we developed emotional literacy instead of mocked it. Imagine the di erence that could have on these gures. Because of lad culture, lads dismiss talking about emotions, and men su er as a result.

Lad culture is dangerous, too, in engendering troublesome attitudes towards sex. Many a lunchtime was spent comparing women and imagining what it would we be like to “get with” so and so. And to be fair, teenaged hormones do funny things to adolescent boys and girls there’s no harm in looking, we all do it. However, a very de nite line exists and crossing it can be problematic.

Unfortunately, lad culture often neglects this line. I remember a few days after the Junior Cert Results Night, sitting around a classroom at lunch listening to guys compare the number of shifts they got (not to mind the god who got the blowjob in the bathroom) and others sitting there in genuine admiration. I remember sitting there in sheer discomfort. I thought of my little sister.

I thought of these guys, or guys like them, viewing her and treating her like that. It didn’t feel nice.

Programmes like UCC’s Bystander Intervention are key to combating these issues. Through education, people can be taught about the harmful e ects of lad culture and the seriousness of sexual assault and harassment.

Bystander Intervention also fosters an awareness of these issues, so that we can all identify risks and problem behaviours, and speak out against them, creating a safer community for everyone.

When I moved to university, my school friends often slagged me for complaining about being whisked from a building of over 700 men to a room full of fty women.

How could a guy complain about being in a room every day with fty women!?! To be honest, I didn’t quite understand it myself. And then it hit me. I had been removed from an environment where checking in with yourself was limited to selftesticular examinations.

Removed from an environment where, when someone asked you how you were doing, you spat out the conventional “Grand” without expecting anyone to really care.

And moved into one where emotions are often discussed and valued. Into one where I can truly be myself without judgement of façade.

Yes, I do miss the lads and I make sure to regularly catch up. But I don’t, for one minute, miss the culture.



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