Author Archives: Mercy

Social and Cognitive Intro/extraversion

This week I’ll be providing some theories behind the popular scales of introversion and extravertion that have been prevalent on the internet and in real life for years. 

In my early teens, I hinged much of my personality on being an introvert (which was further reinforced by thinking I was an INFP due to typing by letter instead of functions). Although it is harmless to not wish to engage more deeply with personality theory than this, in online forums you might come across discussions which mention “social” or “cognitive” intro/extraversion. 

Let’s start with definitions, since I’d like the rest of this post to be coherent for everyone. The popular understanding of the introversion-extraversion scale is as follows: introverts are quiet and aloof and extraverts are loud and outgoing. On a slightly more realistic scale we would have the approach of energy levels, where introverts are “recharged” by alone time, while extraverts gain their energy through socializing.

In reality, the vast majority of people lie somewhere between introversion and extraversion, typically known as being ambiverted.  

In my opinion, the second definition is more accurate to real life, so I’ll be referencing energy levels when referring to the social axis. This “social” axis will be what the majority of people are talking about in casual language, but there is an additional definition which pertains to cognitive functions.

The cognitive axis deals with your cognitive functions and is therefore more black and white. Unless you aren’t sure of your MBTI type, you will have a dominant function that is either introverted or extraverted, representing your primary method of “communication” with either the internal or external.

Some people might insinuate that an individual’s social axis will dictate your dominant cognitive function, or vice versa, but I feel like that is too strict of a definition. This is especially true given that the social axis doesn’t have a strict definition, and many popular interpretations peg most people as ambiverted anyway.

For example, an ESTJ (Te-Si-Ne-Fi) will always lead with extraverted thinking (Te), making them cognitively extraverted. This hypothetical person could be introverted, extraverted, or ambiverted by the social frameworks definitions, but cognition only has a marginal impact on the social axis. 

I hope that this inspires you to think more deeply about your preconceived notions around intro/extraversion when trying to type people and characters. Someone being withdrawn and traditionally introverted doesn’t bar them from being an EXXX, and the same goes for introverted types. 


Mini Assignment #5 – Infographic

An infographic with 4 social media sites separated into two categories named "browsing" and "creating".

For our final mini assignment, we have to make an infographic describing our online identity. I chose to focus on the main 4 social media sites I currently use, divided into how I browse and create content on each.

I find the contrast between Tumblr and Twitter to be especially interesting, since they have only gotten more different over the years I’ve been active. Tumblr is by far my favourite social media site for posting art and other photos, since the quality isn’t ruined by compression like Twitter.

You can also add as many tags as you want to a post, which doubles as a more relaxed form for both the creator and other users to make comments. There are also more options for arranging images, and the overall culture allows art pieces posted years ago to suddenly gain traction again in a way that Twitter directly discourages.

I’ll definitely miss making these mini assignments now that this course is ending, but I appreciate the prompts for giving me an excuse to get creative!


Peer Review #3 – Spilling the Royaltea

a screenshot of the homepage for the website "".
A screenshot of Olivia’s homepage.

This week I’ve been tasked with reviewing the website of a classmate, Olivia. Olivia’s blog is named Spilling the Royaltea and focuses on hot topics involving the British royal family, whether positive or negative, mundane or sensational.

Her blog posts are separated into three main categories: hot takes, ranked, and news. Hot takes refers to drama involving various members of the family, ranked pits endearing moments and fashion choices against one another, and news involves reporting the latest updates relating to the royal family.

From a marketability standpoint, Olivia’s blog seems to cater towards a unique audience. Since Olivia stays impartial in her overall opinion on the royal family, she can create content pertaining to both fans and critics alike. This offers her more flexibility when creating blog posts, which she takes advantage of.

This can also give rise to pushback from either community, as Bryce Renninger (2015) points out in his writing on counterpublics. Renninger states that “…counterpublic communication online is often tenuous, at risk of being disrupted, ridiculed, dismissed, or ignored…”; fortunately, Olivia doesn’t seem to have this problem.

Despite my negative stance towards the royal family, I still found myself fascinated by Olivia’s analysis of fashion, controversy, and press releases that I would not have otherwise seeked out. I’m glad to have been paired up with this website, as I don’t often think about the royal family and was surprised at what kind of news was prevalent in the community.

Each of Olivia’s mini assignments fit perfectly within her blog subject, and range from the playful teasing of Prince Harry’s memoir to a thoughtful critique of wealth disparity in the UK. I enjoy the headings found in each post, as they help break up longer pieces of writing with proper context and make it easier to skim posts if needed. Overall, Olivia’s content is deliberate and appropriately matched to the website’s design, which I will cover next.

Olivia immediately showcases the subject of her blog through a well-organized collage of photos placed front and centre on the website’s homepage. Together with the site’s name, Spilling the Royaltea’s subject matter is easily discernable to most people on a first visit.

If I was creating this blog from scratch, I would probably take inspiration from magazines articles, which Travis Gertz (2015) points to as a prime example of more visually interesting design. Gertz posits this in his article Design Machines, with the question “how do magazines achieve rich reactions and connections, and how do we translate those approaches to the screen?”

News about the royal family has usually been relegated to these methods of communication, and I admit that I have a certain nostalgia for these publications as well. However, despite Gertz’s caution towards pre-built and uniform blog themes, I believe that Theme Fourteen Blog is very fitting for Olivia’s content.

The minimalistic and clean layout pairs well with the aesthetics of the royal family, and the typography lends itself well to both serious and more playful topics. Olivia uses Josefin Sans for titles, Lora for accents, and the popular Open Sans for paragraphs. 

Oliva’s blog is a delightful read, with blog posts that a wide variety of people can enjoy. I especially like her posts ranking different fashion styles, as that is another interest of mine. Spilling the Royaltea has certainly grown on me as I’ve explored the website, and I’ll definitely be returning to see what Olivia posts next!


Gertz, T. (2015, July 10). Design Machines: How to sur­vive the dig­i­tal apocalypse. Louder Than Ten.

Renninger, B. J. (2015). “Where I can be myself…where I can speak my mind”: Networked counterpublics in a polymedia environment. New Media & Society, 17(9), 1513–1529.

Typing Autistic Characters in Media

Finding a fictional character who is explicitly stated (or at least heavily implied) to be autistic has always been a surprise for me, no matter how old I get. I grew up relating to a lot of characters who were not intended to be on the spectrum, but were nonetheless influenced by the creator’s life in some way.

In recent years, there have been more frequent attempts to create thoughtful and accurate depictions of autistic people in the media, which I appreciate. Despite the many creators who are careful about these portrayals, many people consuming said media reduces the characters to stereotypes. 

A phenomena I’ve personally encountered lies on the website Personality Database, which is a forum-turned social media site dedicated to voting on the personality of celebrities, historical figures, fictional characters, etc. Although the comments section is not usually filled with the best arguments, I find an especially annoying disparity around canonically (or heavily implied) autistic characters. 

Many autistic characters do happen to be either ISTJs or INTPS, but it is absurd to believe that autistic characters (and therefore people) will all have functions such as high Si and Tx, and low Fx. This shows a blatant misunderstanding of cognitive functions, behaviour versus personality, and the overall meaning behind what it means to be autistic.

In order to prove my point, I will be comparing and contrasting Abed Nadir of the TV show Community (2009) and Gin Ibushi of the video game Your Turn to Die (2017). These two characters showcase how sharing autistic traits does not equate to being the same personality type (seeing as they are an INTP 5 and ESFP 7, respectively).

Abed Nadir is implied to be autistic throughout Community, with jokes and references to being on the spectrum since the very first episode. However, underneath the comedic aspect of Abed’s “awkwardness” and “obsession with movies” lies an accurate representation of the autistic experience.

In many episodes (including his first appearance) Abed is clearly shown to be collecting and infodumping facts without prompting. This is usually either dramatized to a ridiculous effect for a joke, or serving a distinct narrative purpose, such as giving Jeff (who doubles as an audience stand-in) exposition for the 5 other main characters.

Aerodynamics of Gender is based on the common autistic trait of being blunt in terms of speech. The women of the study group pick up on this aspect of Abed, and manipulate him into being a jerk to other people for their own entertainment.

There is a cold open in Curriculum Unavailable where Abed is seen being comforted by Troy and Annie while the study room’s clock is being changed for daylight savings time. This is clearly meant to show the common hesitate to accept change in our environments and need for consistency.

In Advanced Criminal Law, Troy explains how friends sometimes mess with each other by lying. Abed doesn’t understand that the other person is supposed to know that it’s a joke, and goes completely overboard for the entire episode in order to keep up the lie that he is an alien. 

These are all examples of ways in which autistic traits are exhibited in areas related to communication, interests, and sensitivity to changes. 

Next we have Gin, who was widely considered autistic-coded throughout the first few chapters of Your Turn to Die, but was explicitly stated as being diagnosed in chapter 3 through a flashback to his past.

Gin wears an outfit consisting of a hat attached to a cape, paw gloves, and a tail, with patterning similar to a cat and a plushie that he is often seen holding onto. He feels most comfortable talking to other people with these clothes on, but was discouraged from wearing the outfit at school. 

Gin also has vocal stims, often saying “meow” or “woof” at the end of sentences (which I actually share, as one of my biggest special interests is cat behaviour). Each of these elements is tied into his interest in animals; his favourites are cats and dogs, but he enjoys alligators currently. 

Only one other character has been shown to have a gameplay gimmick; the detective Keiji uses his experience as a detective to interpret other characters’ true thoughts.

In comparison, Gin is able to see clues the other characters miss, as his perceptive abilities are quite pronounced. Many autistic people have similarly strong perception, with the caveat of being more sensitive to sensory input. 

Finally, Gin is shown to have Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), which is an aspect of autism that has been proposed to be added to the official list of traits. 

PDA describes someone who avoids expectations being placed on them, due to a feeling of excessive anxiety and lack of autonomy. These feelings are triggered even when the individual usually enjoys the activity, and describe Gin’s experiences in school very well. 

In Gin’s case, his most prominent traits seem to be stimming and sensory perception, but he also presents intense interests and bluntness similarly to Abed. 

From these character examples, we can surmise that autistic traits and personality traits are separate aspects of a person’s identity, and are not a 1:1 match in most cases. The constant bickering over whether an autistic character is a Si dom for liking routine has no reason to exist, given that these are completely different discussions (and Si ≠ liking stability in the first place!).

I hope this post might encourage others to expand their definitions of autistic people (and correct their interpretations of the cognitive functions, for that matter). 

Relegating autistic people to just a few possible personality types is not only unrealistic, but also serves to deny us of the autonomy which is automatically given to others.


Trina from Falsettos (2016) is a Clear 6w7

Falsettos is a 1992 musical about an unorthodox family living through the AIDs epidemic while exploring themes of gender roles, sexuality, and Jewish identity in New York City around the 1970’s/80s. The original musical was remastered for a Broadway run starting in 2016, which is the version I intend to talk about today (with spoilers, of course).

There is a primary cast of 5 characters (plus 2 which are introduced in the second act), but I wish to deal with the often underappreciated character of Trina. Trina is Marvin’s ex-wife, Jason’s mother, Mendel’s partner, but she is also a complex person in her own right.

When discussing Trina’s enneagram type, many people instinctively declare her as a 2. I’d like to make a case for Trina being a type 6w7, specifically the self preservation subtype. I’ll go over some core aspects of the two types to explain my reasoning, and then analyze each of her solo songs in more detail. 

Twos and self-preservation sixes are commonly mistyped because of their outwardly warm disposition and devotion to others, but the key difference lies in motivation. From what we can tell in Trina’s lyrics, she cares for and attends to the needs of the people in her life in order to gain a sense of security for herself.

There is something to be said about the particular role that Trina is cast into as a housewife in the late 1970s, though I believe that to be ultimately unrelated to this analysis. The character of Whizzer is similarly burdened with unfair gender roles forced onto him, but he is clearly shown to be handling that like a typical 7.

The first of three solo songs performed by Trina is “I’m Breaking Down”, a satirized version of a cooking program with plenty of innuendos and thinly-veiled metaphors. It is a tragic first glimpse into Trina’s inner world, filled with nods to her unfulfilling life before the musical takes place. Trina’s desperate motives line up with a typical 6, showing a deep sense of responsibility while also lacking confidence in her own judgement. This leads Trina to seek out someone, anyone, with whom she can satisfy her need for companionship and safety.

“I only want to love a man who can love me….
Or like me…
Or help me…”

Genius Lyrics from I’m Breaking Down

Trina’s emotional reactivity is on full display and her sense of self clearly hinges on the attachment to important people in her life (both traits of the harmonics and object relations group that 6 belongs to).

Trina’s song” (which is grouped together in the official recording) a few minutes later shifts the tone quite considerably, serving as a pained letter to the men in her life. At this point, Trina’s primary strategy for staying in control of her life is to lie low and take on her assumed role. Appeasing other people to assure a support system that won’t leave you is a defence mechanism commonly seen in self-preservation 6s. 

“That said, I’ll be his wife
I’ll wed and change my life”

Genius Lyrics from Trina’s Song

In the subsequent reprisal of this song, Trina demonstrates strong growth by denouncing her previous promise to keep things as they’ve always been. 

“I’ll commit, that’s agreed
And with wit and precision
I’ve made a decision
To get the things I need”

Genius Lyrics from Trina’s Song (Reprise)

The last song that Trina plays a primary part in is “Holding to the Ground”, which is perhaps the most obvious example of her true feelings. Trina grapples with her assumptions around how families are defined and the pressure placed on her since birth to live within the mainstream narrative. She also deals with themes of trying to find comfort in a world unlike anything she prepared for.

“Life is never what you planned
Life is moments you can’t understand
And that is life”

Genius Lyrics from Holding to the Ground

Trina discovers a certain clarity at the end of each of her songs, in which she attempts to solve every problem in her life with carefully planned actions (which never work). After this realization, Trina gains the insight necessary to cope with the reality that her world will be changed at every turn.

Trina’s character development is firmly rooted in breaking out of the expectations placed on her and learning to trust her own guidance and strength. She experiences immense progress from act 1 to 2, and ultimately is able to find solace in the found family she has cultivated, despite being so completely different from what Trina or her parents would have expected.

And she’s definitely a 6.

Trina is one of my favourite characters from Falsettos and I appreciate that she isn’t shoved aside by the writers for the sake of the main 4 men in the show. I had no idea what to expect from her on a first watch, but I found her character to be deeply relatable and immeasurably important to the story. 


Process Post #9 – Analytics

Analytics are an aspect of website design that I see mentioned quite often, with videos and articles discussing how to best utilize the information you can get from built-in metrics and website additions such as Google Analytics.

In the artist world, you would only need to focus on analytics if you’re trying to find freelance work or an industry job in the field. Since I make art as a hobby, I have little use in analyzing the pieces I post (especially since they’re made for fun 90% of the time). 

In the past, I have lost motivation and passion for art because I was constantly checking my engagement rates, optimal timing, and post formatting. Although I don’t resent the art I’ve made purely to appeal to trends and popular media, I find that it doesn’t genuinely represent me and my style. My personal art journey has also been stunted from such attempts for engagement, since I try not to add anything experimental or “weird” in order to appear more palatable.

Because of these reasons, I choose to ignore analytics on social media and focus on engaging with my friends, creating art that is true to myself, and relying on the miraculous and constantly shifting nature of the algorithms and individuals to decide how each post fares.

When discussing this website, I have a much more impersonal view of the content I create. I am less confident in my writing, and analyzing works will always be more stressful to make public than something like art which can be interpreted in infinitely many ways. 

On the rare occasion that I do check my analytics, I’m mostly looking for information about the people who use my website and whether I’m meeting their needs well enough. For example, I found that 89.4% of my user base views my website on desktop which helps me prioritize which elements to update or fix. I also enjoy seeing which posts people visit my site for; there are a surprising number of users who choose to view my classwork instead of the blog content itself. 

I enjoy browsing different user reports and seeing if there’s any visitors who come back to the blog often (35.7% currently). Interestingly, a majority of my audience finds my website through organic searching, which suggests a user base outside of just my fellow classmates. My overall bounce rate is 52.63% which I hope will stay in that range for the rest of this term. 

I keep a filter on known bots and spiders, but there’s always a gnawing feeling in the back of my head that much of these analytics are taken up by non-human users. Despite this, I still find it fun to peruse the different tabs and wonder why each person has chosen to stop by my site.

I am usually on my computer into the late hours of the night, which has always been reflected in when I post my art. Surprisingly, that trait has carried over into the content of this website, with many posts being completed after 9pm. While posting late would typically be considered a bad practice (afternoons are usually more preferable), many people happen to visit my blog in the evening. This could also be due to different time zones (where it would be earlier in the day for the rest of North America), but there are very few users reading outside of the lower mainland.

As a whole, analytics are a valuable source of user feedback, especially if you don’t receive more obvious sources like comments or emails like me. 


Untangling Morality in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Character archetypes have a fairly predictable lifespan of solidifying themselves in pop culture, going through subversions, and subsequently creating new archetypes based on those subversions over the course of many years.

A musical by the name of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog presents one such subversion of the conventional villain. Once again I will be showing spoilers, as this is 15 years old, has been available on YouTube for free since 2012, and only lasts around 40 minutes.

Dr. Horrible (real name Billy) is the titular protagonist and atypical supervillain of this musical. At his core, Billy is an idealistic man who believes that society is deeply flawed and seeks to reform it. His self-focused yet strong morals clearly show the decision making abilities of an Fi user, an INFP to be more specific. It’s rare to see a villain character who uses Fi as they are usually cast into the role of quirky side characters or sensitive heroes. I’ll be analyzing how Billy’s idea of morality intersects with his position in the story and showcases a great example of a realistic INFP character.

Despite Billy being generally correct that society has plenty of problems, he doesn’t actually seem all that interested in the important work that people like Penny (his crush) undertake. His primary goal is much more ambitious than that, seeking to rule the world in order to dismantle the issues he sees in it. In reality, his methods to reconcile these values turn out to be ill-defined and naive (in line with the poor planning and indecisiveness of low Te)

Billy becomes the supervillain Dr. Horrible in order to infiltrate the Evil League of Evil and use their resources to govern (and therefore “fix”) the world. In order to get accepted by the leader, Bad Horse, Billy needs to commit increasingly cruel objectives which only starts to become a problem when he is forced to assassinate someone.

Captain Hammer (Dr. Horrible’s nemesis) also preoccupies much of his time, leading to an unfortunate mess of priorities which ultimately ends with Billy alone and unsatisfied after accidentally killing Penny. Despite having achieved the one thing he needed, Billy is left without any reason to still be working towards that goal.

Billy starts off with fairly good intentions and is endearing and personable, if a tad awkward at the beginning. I firmly believe that Penny would have been open to a relationship with him if his rivalry with Captain Hammer didn’t get in the way of everything else. That’s precisely what makes it hurt so much when Billy becomes obsessed with making it into the Evil League of Evil, as his ordinary life falls apart and it all culminates into a tragic but captivating character progression. 

Aside from Billy’s obvious lack of preparation, the Evil League of Evil is an organization which we can deduce would not allow someone so outwardly open about his plans to actually overthrow their governance. We can see how the league breaks people down with their absurd and cruel standards, and can presume that even if Billy could change anything, the person he’d committed his life to is already gone.

At this point, Billy is so hopeless that we can presume he has lost his original goal and any motivation to dismantle anything at all. We see hints of his sense of self being degraded in service of the Dr. Horrible persona throughout the musical, but I certainly rooted for him despite the clues suggesting it wouldn’t end on a positive note. What starts as a comedic musical with air-headed characters and obvious tropes shapes into a deeply tragic story with a surprisingly dark ending. 

One of the most emotionally jarring moments happens right before the credits roll. Dr. Horrible is seen chatting up the other villains in a triumphant montage at the league, seemingly having moved on from the previous events. He has a stylish new outfit and is finally being taken seriously in front of his peers, and the music swells before the doors slowly close.

We cut to Billy, sitting in front of his video camera with the desolate expression of a man who has lost everything, including himself.


Essay – False News in the 2016 US Presidential Election

In a survey conducted by the PEW Institute, Facebook was shown to be the leading social media site for adults in the US to obtain news, with 31% of participants regularly getting their information from the site. This figure is not much of a surprise, since Facebook has a certain reputation for being propagators of reactionary information and false news. The aforementioned study also stated that the percentage has been steadily going down in the past few years, which I postulate is likely because of an aging main demographic and the rise of newer social media apps.

My primary issue with Facebook as a possible source for news (and every other social media site, for that matter) is the ability for people to rapidly spread misinformation and a general lack of critical thinking when it comes to such news. A prime example of this phenomena was on full display around the 2016 US presidential election, where disinformation and conspiracy theories ran rampant on Facebook. Of course, this kind of false news has existed forever, but the rise in prominence was especially apparent in the aftermath of such an influential event.

In “Misinformation with Fake News”, Mircea Botei (2017) described this as a turning point, where the public suddenly became more concerned about social media’s possible influence on democracy. Botei further expresses false news as “[an attempt] to appear truthful and thus to be accepted and transmitted further. It is news that tells what the audience wants to hear.”(p. 138) I have to agree with this sentiment, as reactionary headlines are a common sign of an untrustworthy source.

Political campaigns have taken advantage of current media trends to further their reach for decades, using whichever method was most popular at the time. Kathleen Jamieson (1996) mentions the widespread use of radios and television in the 1900s, with her book Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising sourcing the ridiculous advertisements political candidates were able to make about their opponents as an example. Still, the massive coverage of the 2016 US election in particular highlighted this mass move from television to the internet.

Fortunately, some good has come of this tragic spike in false news; many social media sites (including Facebook) were pressured to provide transparency reports over political ad campaigns hosted on their sites, according to Efe Sevin (2021) in “New Data Sources and Presidential Campaigns”. Following the 2016 election, Facebook joined companies like Google and Snapchat in revealing their advertising archives to the greater public (Sevin, 2017). However, we should not underestimate the intentional role that social media companies play in these spaces. Many social media sites are anything but guiltless for the rise of false news and influence of political proceedings; some are just better at hiding their involvement than others. 

In the article “Social media ethics in the data economy: Issues of social responsibility for using Facebook for public relations “ Candace White explains how Facebook uses aggregated data from users to target those who are most vulnerable. This fact directly relates to the presidential election, as Cambridge Analytica—a company hired for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign—was revealed to have stolen user data from over 50 million people through a data breach of Facebook. I have been suspicious of the content and news circulated on Facebook since I first made an account, with this mistrust only growing as I learned more about their unethical business practices. 

All this is to say that there is a distinct need to modify the existing structures that facilitate the spread of false news. Diogo Andrade introduces such an idea in “Paving the way for regulation: how the case against Facebook stacked up”, which lays out a few different strategies that the US was discussing at the time. The most viable and comprehensive solution in my opinion is ending the monopoly Facebook holds as the top company in its field. Andrade mentions dividing up the website (and its acquired companies) into competing forces, creating laws to restrict website’s abilities to harvest private data from users, and “limiting and eroding Silicon Valley’s power” (2019, p. 125).

Although Facebook has only gotten more powerful since the previous articles’ publication in 2019, I still hold onto the hope that future US elections won’t be at the mercy of malicious advertisers and complacent social media giants.


Reference List

BOTEI, M. (2017). Misinformation with Fake News. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. Series VII: Social Sciences. Law, 10 (59)(2), 133–140.

Jamieson, K. H. (1996). Packaging the Presidency: A history and criticism of presidential campaign advertising. Oxford University Press, Incorporated.

Queiroz Andrade, D. (2019). Paving the way for regulation: how the case against Facebook stacked up. Observatorio (OBS*), 13(3), 113–128.

Sevin, E. (2021). New Data Sources and Presidential Campaigns. American Behavioral Scientist, 1.

“Social Media and News Fact Sheet” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (September. 20, 2022)

White, C. L., & Boatwright, B. (2020). Social Media Ethics in the Data Economy: Issues of social responsibility for using Facebook for public relations. Public Relations Review, 46(5), 101980.

Process Post #8 – Copyright

I’d like to spend this post talking about the world of intellectual property, and the growing dialogue over how to include Indigenous works in copyright law. This is a current topic which includes many people who know much more than I do, but I wanted to use this platform, however small, to raise public perception of such an important concern.

So much of Indigenous knowledge is relayed orally, yet we are offered little to no legal protection over this vital medium. Of course, we still ask for permission to perform drum songs or retell an individual’s story, for example, but we are often not given that same level of respect back.

In Traditional Knowledge Exists; Intellectual Property is Invented or Created, Gregory Younging discusses traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge is a term for traditions such as agricultural techniques or astronavigation, which are based on experiences passed down through communities and generations.

Many First Nations communities have their own customary laws, which state how a piece of traditional knowledge may be used, whether it be kept to a certain group of people, used in a specific setting, with the guidance of a trusted individual, etcetera.

Despite the longevity of these systems, they are not officially recognized in western law for a variety of reasons:

  1. First Nations people most commonly communicate teachings through spoken word, which means that our knowledge is typically not recorded in written form.
  1. A vast majority of traditional knowledge is reliant on the land it was conceived on, so it may not even be relevant to those outside the community.
  1. Traditional knowledge specifically denotes techniques that have been used for so long that they would automatically be placed in the public domain anyways.
  1. Furthermore, there isn’t always a specific person to which legal rights could be granted to.
  1. These systems can also interplay with eachother in many different ways, which makes it even more difficult to pin them down legally.

One of the biggest concerns with how traditional knowledge isn’t properly covered under western law includes the appropriation of closed practices by people who are okay with encroaching on our intellectual property, provided it is technically legal to do so.

There has subsequently been a push for Indigenous communities to adapt their customary laws into the systems of intellectual property. Unfortunately, many factors including those above make it hard to reconcile these two forms of copyright.

It would be a shame for the preservation of traditional knowledge to be undermined by intellectual property laws that were created and forced upon us, while also not recognizing our complex systems that had worked perfectly fine for thousands of years. 

I hope that eventually traditional knowledge will be held to the same standard as western copyright law, and that we may be protected against appropriation and plagiarism of our work without needing to fundamentally alter our entire systems in order to do so.


Mini Assignment #4 – Remix

For this mini assignment, I chose to make a video edit of all my Splatoon 3 clips I’ve taken since the game’s release last September (minus my embarrassing failures; if you really want to see them check my media tab on Twitter LOL).

I used music made by the synth-pop artist GUM, who you might know as Jay Watson of Tame Impala; his work overlays vocals and creates remixes with itself in really interesting ways! Another reason I chose this song in particular was for the lyrics near the end, which is a sample of Herbie Hancock where he talks about how “[a machine] doesn’t program itself…Yet”. I feel like this entire line of thinking was ahead of its time, especially as the limits of technology are now being pushed past what anyone was ever imagining back then.