The FrankenPod Relaunch

Hi there!

It’s been a while, I know. We just kind of disappeared for a bit didn’t we? Sorry about that. It has been a weird few months. Everything is good though.

Kind of.

Sco Mo is PM which is strange, the world getting crazier and the Insane Clown Posse and Limp Bizkit were relevant there for a hot second.

And I am in the middle of kicking a seriously out of control rainbow popcorn habit.

But starting this October the 31st we are back! Yep back for Halloween because we are a walking, talking, recording cliche.

Things are going to be a little different this time around.

We aren’t going to be weekly anymore. It’s all a bit much. We both work, we have kids, Morgan is studying and Brent has just discovered cosplay.

So we are now a fortnightly podcast. Which we should have been in the first place but past Morgan really does love making problems for future Morgan.

There will still be Everything is Gothic, Unless it’s not… Then it’s something else and we’ll be adding a new bit in which we will be reading creepypasta that YOU send in!

That’s right, we will not be profiting from your creativity because we don’t profit but we will be using your gorgeous brains to fill 5 mins or less of podcast time at the very end of the podcast. You can read it yourself or we’ll read it for you!

Well, Morgan will.

Brent will listen. Kind of.

Anyway, you guys are so amazing! Thank you so much for continuing to listen and share our podcast when we ghosted on you.

You are wonderful and we don’t deserve you

Also a huge thank you to Melissa from the Brook Reading Podcast and Jen and Shelby from the Wives Tales podcast who have waited so patiently for me to edit their episodes.

We love you

See you on the 31st



So I watched Twin Peaks again because I decided to write a short story adaptation of Fire Walk with Me for my writing and film unit and then I went to a con as the Log Lady and I feel this very intense desire to cover Twin Peaks. So if you are a Twin Peaks nerd hit me up.


Only one person recognised my costume


He was dressed like Rick from Rick and Morty. Rick, whoever you are, you made my day.


Is anyone listening to the new season of Serial? Goddamn, Sarah Koenig can tell a tale.


Oh my god, you are still reading? Aren’t you the sweetest. *sigh* Let’s talk about you… How are YOU doing? Read any good books? Seen any good movies? Played any good games?

Me? Well, I finished Rusty Lake Paradox about 2 weeks ago. It was pretty fucking good I have to say. The new Ian Rankin novel is out so I’m going to start that tomorrow and I just watched Thor Ragnarok with the kids. Hot damn Valkyrie can get it.

I should probably do some work…

The Lady Pod Squad and Online Creative Communities

Header Image: Radio love by r2hox tm :CC BY-SA 2.0

Apple says that there are over 525,000 podcasts registered with Apple Podcasts (Locker 2018), formerly part of Itunes, and let me tell you the Apple Podcast registration can be a pain in the neck. There may be many who are just publishing to RSS feeds that haven’t jump through the necessary hoops for Apple Podcast listing.

So if you are one in those 525,000 how do you get people to listen?

And if you are new to podcasting how do you navigate the technical stuff without being sold something you really don’t need?

Creator communities are a great way to crowdsource the information needed to get started on a creative endeavour. There is a multitude of podcast communities designed to not only help by trading promos but also to share advice and collaborate.

Lady Pod Squad was started by Hannah from the Boozy Movies Podcast and it remains volunteer managed and no one directly profits from the squad, although some of the Lady Pod Squad members receive payment of some kind through their own podcast in the form of advertisement, merchandise and donations.

Lady Pod Squad functions as a Facebook Group, Twitter account, cross platform hashtag #ladypodsquad, Google drive and Slack channel.

Below is a tweet that includes #ladypodsquad in a promotion for an episode that features me and another member of the Lady Pod Squad. This hashtag can be tracked so that other Lady Pod Squad members can retweet. However, the easiest way to find other podcasts new episodes to share is on the Slack. The Slack is a workspace that makes it easier to track what new episodes other members have released so that it is easy to share the right ones on Twitter.

Here is another tweet of mine in which we credit the Lady Pod Squad drive for the promo we were able to run for 6 Degrees of Wiki. The promo drive is a great resource for sharing promos that you can download very simply and insert into your show and upload your own for similar inclusion in other people’s shows.

So why do these communities work?

How can they be sustainable when theoretically every podcast is competing for listenership on an increasingly competitive media platform?

The use of the creator communities on social media can be used to “accumulate group experience and knowledge through social interaction and information exchange behaviours.” (Wu, Li & Chang 2016). The exchange of experience, information and ideas result in a net positive for the group. Not only is there an informal skill exchange, but also the exchange of content and marketing between podcasters. The benefits of the creative networking for the individual are manyfold and include not only an improvement in the quality of their own work but also emotional support in the case of the Lady Pod Squad. Users of the Lady Pod Squad attest to the benefits of the creator community:

Female singer by Orion 8 and tatewaki • Public domain • modified by Morgan Pinder

Check out the podcast for more personal experiences with the Lady Pod Squad.

In addition to this Wu, Li & Chang assert that the use of social media to engage in creative producer communities build “individual habits of social learning within various groups; this helps to enhance the users’ creative performance.” (Wu, Li & Chang 2016).

The use of the Lady Pod Squad across media platforms to create collaborative content such as interviews, crossover episodes and content sharing is usually carried out in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial fashion. This is in line with Kaplan & Haelein’s ideas surrounding collaborative projects as a form of social media:

“The main idea underlying collaborative projects is that the joint effort of many actors leads to a better outcome than any actor could achieve individually” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010)

The Lady Pod Squad is just one example of a creative community that exists as a symbiotic network fostering creativity and assisting with social media marketing. No matter what you are creating there is sure to be a network of people out there sharing information and ideas…

Or make one yourself like Hannah did…

‘I guess my unique perspective is that I started this community when I noticed there was a lack of safe space & support for women in podcasting. I found amazing women who felt the same way and together we grew this group into a community. it’s really been an incredible journey and we’ve only been around a little over a year.’

~ Hannah from Boozy Movies Podcast and creator of Lady Pod Squad.


  • Kaplan, AM & Haenlein, M 2010, ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.’ Business Horizons, vol. 53 no. 1, pp.59-68.
  • Locker, M 2018, ‘Apple’s podcasts just topped 50 billion all-time downloads and streams’, Fast Company, 21st April 2018, retrieved 18th August 2018,
  • Wu, Y., Li, E.Y. & Chang, W. 2016, “Nurturing user creative performance in social media networks”, Internet Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 869-900



With thanks to the following podcasts:

6 Degrees of Wiki
Amanda’s Picture Show a Go Go
Boozy Movies
Pups n Pop culture
Vibrant visionaries



Music: Kelli’s Number by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 License

Image: Megaphone, Elegant Themes, GPL, modified by Morgan Pinder

Dead Writers Society – Social Media and Posthumous Author Identity

Header Image By  Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Not to brag but I’m being followed by John Polidori, you know the guy that made vampires into an aristocratic phenomenon in the English gothic canon with his novella The Vampyre. It’s a pretty amazing feat as he’s been dead for nearly 200 years. Yes, there is someone out there using the account @johnwpolidori on Twitter to Tweet and Retweet online content pertaining to John Polidori and his associates. Doctor Polidori is one of the most tragic figures of the Romantic movement; perpetually living in the shadow of Lord Byron, eternally striving to create something that would capture the public imagination and eventually cut his own life short after a steep downward spiral.

It makes me incredibly happy that there is at least someone out there ensuring that his name is unforgotten in this age of social media. But if an author like Polidori is still represented what about the original celebrity, Lord George Gordon Byron?

The representation of Lord Byron on Twitter is more complex. Some of those who got in early and grabbed Byronic usernames are using them to promote their own poetry, as unrelated personal accounts, abandoned literary accounts and one successful racehorse. It seems that Byron and his identity have outgrown it literary legacy in a way that Polidori has not. The active Lord George Gordon Byron centric accounts are run by Byron Societies and Newstead Abbey, his former home. There is also one account actively sharing Byron related content that does not seem to have any commercial, personal or academic affiliation, @lordbyron_1824, this would be the closest to the previously mentioned Polidori account.

All images are in the public domain

But that’s Byron, what about the less celebrated in their time authors, those that are more appreciated now than in their day. Jane Austen for example. Female authors who were not identified by their portraits in their time like their male counterparts are now recognizable (Braun and Spiers, 2016). The female authors are now seen in this new age of social media that allows for the effortless reproduction of images.  Jane Austen has numerous accounts that claim affiliation, or just post quotes daily. These accounts might I add, are more popular than those of Byron.

So why do people still care about these authors, and why are there social media accounts dedicated to continuing their memorialization into an age of social media? Braun and Spiers (2016) talk about posthumous literary celebrity as being about so much more than the body of the artists work, but also of the image that they represent. Byron was a rebel, the first real celebrity, people paid for telescopes to watch him on holiday on Lake Geneva, women sent him their pubic hair and scandal followed him everywhere he went. But as far as an enduring literary legacy goes… well not many people have read his work compared with other less scandalous authors of his time. This is what makes him a character to emulate on social media, not because people are still reading Childe Harold.

Boeuf and Darveau (2017) talk about the power of association with a deceased celebrity; not only are audiences more receptive to messages ‘from’ dead celebrities, but that receptiveness can be leveraged for commercial gain. This might mean that any message purporting to be affiliated with a deceased literary figure with a substantial and continuing social legacy is given greater weight and will inevitably garner more interest than posts from a poet named Geoff from somewhere in Washington. These literary identities give the account a weight that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Users continue to engage with bots that simply spew out quotes from the pages of the greatest literature in the world into the ether, hoping for a knowing interaction.



  • Boeuf, B. and Darveau, J., 2017. Posting from beyond the grave: An autopsy of consumer attitudes toward promotional communication in a posthumous context. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(4), pp.892-900.
  • Braun, R. and Spiers, E., 2016. Introduction: re-viewing literary celebrity. Celebrity studies, 7(4), pp.449-456.

#romanticism – Romanticism and Social Media

John Keats was a brilliant poet and a darling of the Romantic age and whilst his legacy has been somewhat eclipsed by the formidable shadow of Lord Byron, many snippets from his works have slipped into common usage. For example “A thing of beauty is a joy forever’, that was his, it’s from a poem called Endymion. I’m not sure how many people are aware of its origin, I certainly wasn’t until I stumbled across the poem in a collection in my high school library.


Today I follow The Keats Letters Project, The Keats Shelley Society and The Keats Foundation on Twitter and daily, depending on the congestion of my feed, I often get a random daily dose of Keats.

Image: Kate Ter Haar CC BY 2.0

In this post, I’m going to focus on the works of the Romantics and the place they have posthumously found within social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The titular ‘#romanticism’ will immediately bring up results for an ocean of tweets of the work of the great romantic painters, including the works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (pictured) generally tweeted by accounts that identify as the artist’s name such as John Everitt Millais @artistmillais.


Rebellious and subversive poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge & Percy Bysshe Shelley never lived to see their writing form become old hat. There was no possibility that they could comprehend moving from romanticism to modernism, modernism to postmodernism and so on. The likes of Shelley, Byron and Keats have drifted in and out of favour and in this age of social media we might expect that these tired authors might be firmly relegated to history. But then came social media and literature nerds like myself and countless others are consistently brushing off the metaphorical dusty pages, canvasses and plates to not only digitise but memorialise and adapt pieces of the Romantic movement. Below is one of my tweets using the #romaniticism hashtag to share an edited image from a literary annual featuring works of Romanticism for young ladies to promote my podcast that talks about a work of Romanticism by Mary Shelley, one of the great authors of the Romantic movement. And that my friend is convergence.

Vast quantities of books from the Romantic period have been digitised by libraries and archives, they have been transcribed by volunteers at Project Gutenberg and read by volunteers at Librivox. That information or the books they are derived from is then used by others to write blogs, record Youtube videos, make podcasts and create those very pretty and ambiguous inspirational quotes.

Now it’s your turn… by Michael Coghlan by CC by 2.0

All or most of these creations are shared on social media. But none of this happens without the human desire to make mediums collide and take their experience of a text into a different realm. These sharable, likeable and Tweetable formats that we squeeze these often weighty, sometimes iconic texts and images may have the effect of diminishing the work, but it can also have the effect of adding to rather than subtracting from the narrative of the artefact; that is it can make a static piece of art into something that living, morphing and consistently reimagined. Ross & Sayers (2014) highlight the way that modernist texts can become alive through social media and other internet-mediated discourse and a similar argument could be applied to the preceding Romantic movement.


As Wright suggests in ‘Battle of the Books’ (2009) this new digitisation of literature means that ‘the book is becoming a fluid entity that can flow into a number of vessels’ and the same is true of poetry and art. The appeal of these particular works of the Romantic period is surely due in no small measure to their status in the public domain, leaving these iconic works that helped pave the way for western cultural heritage as we know it freely available for anyone to read, dissect and reimagine.

Ebook by Daniel Sancho by CC by 2.0

As Wright suggests in ‘Battle of the Books’ (2009) this new digitisation of literature means that ‘the book is becoming a fluid entity that can flow into a number of vessels’ and the same is true of poetry and art. The appeal of these particular works of the Romantic period is surely due in no small measure to their status in the public domain, leaving these iconic works that helped pave the way for western cultural heritage as we know it freely available for anyone to read, dissect and reimagine.

Listen to a quick podcast on Romantic Gothic literature, impermanence and Percy Bysshe Shelley



  • “Portrait of John Keats” by Joseph Severn, 1821, Retrieved from the National Portrait Gallery.
  • “Laptop” by Bonzo, Open Clip Art under CC BY 1.0.
  • “Joan of Arc” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1882, Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.
  • “Now it’s your turn…” by Michael Coghlan under CC BY 2.0, Flickr.
  • “Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth and all ye need know. – John Keats” by Kate Ter Haar is licensed under CC BY 2.0,
  • “ebook” by Daniel Sancho is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • The “Ozymandias Collossus”, Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt by Charlie Phillips is licensed under CC BY 2.0


  • Evermore by Kai Engel is licensed under an Attribution License 3.0 License.
  • Kelli’s Number by U.S. Army Blues is licensed under a Public Domain 1.0 License.

The Dracula Connection Part 2 – Florence Balcombe

Born: 6th of August, 1876

Died: 25th of May, 1937, aged 78

Possibly named after Florence Nightingale as her father Lieutenant-Colonel James Balcombe was involved in the Crimean War. Florence is talked about frequently as being just gorgeous but it is pretty clear that there is much more to Florence than the flowery and elaborate praise of her appearance. she was said to be tall at 5 foot 8, which is a perfectly reasonable height these days but apparently tall for the Victorian Era

There was widespread admiration of Florence’s intellect and wit and it came to pass that she would cross paths with another person who was renowned for his intellect and wit; Oscar Wilde. In fact, they two dated for two years, Oscar even gave her a gold cross which could be interpreted as a sort of promissory gesture. Once Wilde left for England, they began a long distance relationship that didn’t really work out.

Florence ended up crossing paths with another witty and intelligent young man with theatrical aspirations, Bram Stoker. Oscar Wilde was devastated when he learned of their engagement. Florence and Oscar eventually got to the point where they were able to maintain a friendship.

But life isn’t that simple and Bram still felt the danger of Oscar’s perceived threat to his marriage or reputation or morality or some combination of the three and that threat was exacerbated when Wilde was arrested for gross indecency. That this was the time at which Bram sat down to pen a story about a pervasive threat to the morality of good Christian people has been a subject of much discussion. Many see the depiction of Jonathan at the Castle Dracula as a subconscious expression of his own homosexuality. There is an excellent article  “A Wilde Desire Took Me: The Homoerotic History of Dracula” by Talia Schaffer that I alluded to in my blog post about Oscar and Bram, which paints the picture of a man who was at once, very happy in his life with Florence and had very intense, almost entirely repressed, feelings for the actor Henry Irving who he worked closely with during his time as the Director of the Lyceum Theatre. There is also a much more complex and distant impassioned relationship with Wilde which abruptly ended when Bram proposed to Florence.

One of the articles I read for this included a segment from Bram Stoker’s relatively recently unearthed “Journal”. They assert that it seems to be an idea for an unwritten work:

Seaport. Two sailors love girl — one marries her, other swears revenge. Husbands goes out to sea soon after marriage & on return after some days sees in grey light of morning his young wife crucified on the great cross which stands at end of pier.

Bram certainly never quite got over his distrust of Wilde. The same article that I grabbed that quote from which was from the New Inquiry by Kaya Genc draws distinct parallels between Bram’s version of his courtship with Florence and his friendship with Oscar and the narrative of Dracula. The forces of corruption represented by Dracula attempt to seize Jonathan and then Mina, but they are defeated by Mina’s common sense and good judgement and Jonathan’s eventual courage and the help of some dudes. It’s not a perfect analogy but considering the timing of his writing, it seems to be a little more than coincidental.

Bram and Florence seemed to have had a pretty equal marriage by Victorian standards and they enjoyed a happy and successful partnership. Bram struggled with illness but felt bad for Florence who ran the household and looked after him in his infirmity. Which is quite sweet because you really didn’t see a lot of that level of awareness in the men of the time. Florence was quite a gifted businesswoman, a trait that would serve her well through Bram’s illness, (which I’ve read was syphilis, which opens a whole new avenue for questioning, how did that happen?) and would continue to assist her after his passing.

After Bram died Florence’s main income stream was through Dracula and she was determined to wrestle control of the Dracula narrative back from the film studios in Germany and America, where Dracula was very popular but the Stoker family received no remuneration for use of Bram’s intellectual property.  She fought against the production of Nosferatu which borrowed ideas whole cloth from Dracula. Florence with the help of the Society of Authors sued the makers of the unauthorized film and won £5,000 and an order went out that every copy of Nosferatu would have to be destroyed. Obviously, that did not quite happen…

Sha also fought the Universal Studios production of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi (previously mentioned on this podcast). They didn’t ask for permission, so they had to deal with the full force of Florence Stoker.



  • “A Wilde Desire Took Me”: The Homoerotic History of Dracula by Talia Schaffer

  • Coming Out of the Coffin by Kaya Genc

  • Profile of Florence Balcombe by Eleanor Fitzsimons writer ofWilde’s Women”

Our Lady of Gothic Science Fiction ( mini-episode )

Welcome to The FrankenPod. Today I want to give you a bit of a biography of the woman who created the science fiction genre. Apparently, there is a romantic movie that was screened last year to film festival audiences. I hope its good and does the woman justice because she is amazing.

Mary Wollstonecraft George G. Rockwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Writing Royalty
William Godwin By James Northcote (1746-1831) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mary Godwin was the daughter of two highly regarded and critically acclaimed authors, who… SHOCK HORROR …. Were not married. Scandal!

Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was a pivotal proto-feminist writer that I would love to cover one day if I can somehow shoehorn in it into the podcast. Her father was also a highly respected and controversial called William Godwin. Their relationship was devoted but was cut devastatingly short when Mary died from complications after giving birth to Our Lady of Science Fiction, Mary Godwin.

Thus the notion of birth and death would be forever fused in her psyche. She felt the weight of her mother’s life and unfulfilled potential, and would always strive to live up to her mother’s legacy and public expectations. She reflected that there was never any doubt in her mind that she would write.

As she grew up with her father, step-mother and half-sisters she was exposed to some of the most brilliant and creative thinkers of her time who were friends and associates of her father. As the daughter of academic royalty, she was a subject of some interest to one young writer that orbited the Godwin household, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Not Meaning to Yuck Anyone’s Yum but…

She was 16 and he was 22 when they started their affair. For the time this wasn’t a massive age gap, but he was married and had one soon to be two children. But Percy Shelley believed in free love, which does not seem to have extended to allowing his wife or girlfriend having other relationships. I could be wrong about that but I have found little evidence to support equality of free love in Shelley’s relationships.


Percy Bysshe Shelley


They also met secretly at her mother’s grave, because romance.

Percy and Mary ran away together just months after hooking up and Mary’s half-sister Clare Claremont came along, possibly as a third wheel, possibly as a casual lover, (i hate that word) to Percy. Because free love? Clare, however, is far from a shy retiring flower, she was pursuing the famous poet Lord Byron, somewhat relentlessly.

There were a lot of people who were very unhappy with Mary and Percy’s relationship not least Percy’s wife and Mary’s father. Both parties demanded that they cut it out. And when they didn’t, they asked for money. I completely understand why Harriet, Percy’s wife needed financial support, but the payments to William Godwin are a little strange to me.

But then again a lot of the etiquette and social morality in Regency England baffles me.

Percy went entered into a lot of debt to meet these obligations and the trio travelled continuously to avoid his debts.

Lord Byron By Unknown, coloured by uploader –, Public Domain,

It was during this time of constant travel Clare convinces her companions to be unwitting accomplices in a romantic ambush of Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati where he is holidaying in Switzerland. I’m going to save the Villa Diodati for another episode, but from this holiday Mary Godwin found the inspiration for her sci-fi gothic novel.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

At the age of 18, she has given birth to 2 children one of which had not survived and the other, William, who would not survive a great deal longer. She gives birth to another daughter and names her Clara. Both Clara and William will be dead by the end of June 1819.

Frankenstein has published anonymously in 1818.

Her other half-sister, Fanny, and one of her strongest familial ties to her deceased mother commits suicide. Percy’s wife Harriet also killed herself, she was pregnant with their third child.

Percy and Mary get married and her dad, who didn’t care all that much about marriage in his own personal life decides that his daughter is a respectable woman and they reunite.  

Mary Shelley nee Godwin gave birth to her only surviving child Percy Florence.

Three years later, while on a sailing holiday with a friend Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in Italy. Due to quarantine laws, it was impossible for his body to be transported back to England.

Absolutely devastated, and left with on her own with their young son, Mary would not be able to attend Percy’s funeral. One of his friends, Leigh Hunt, who was present at Percy’s beachside cremation saved what he believed to be Percy’s heart and smuggled it home to Mary. It is now thought that it would probably not have actually been his heart but some other organ or mound of sinew. But whatever it was, it helped to console Mary in a very dark time, and she wrapped it in silk and kept it in her writing case.

Mary Shelley By Reginald Easton[3] (born 1807, died 1893) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Life After Percy

But Mary’s writing career was by no means winding down. She threw herself into her work. She published Valperga in 1823 and began to the gradual publication of her late husband’s work, but her father-in-law threatened to stop financially supporting her if she released any more of Percy’s work during his father’s lifetime.

In 1826 she published the post-apocalyptic novel The Last Man and eleven years later she published her final novel, Falkner.

Her father, her half-brother and her friend Lord Byron had died. She finally managed to published those poems of Percy’s that she loved so much.

It feels like I’m just listing events at this point which is really sad because it seems as though many scholars lose interest in Mary Shelley when her life with Percy finishes. But she was a very interesting and eclectic writer in her own right.

However, Percy’s long shadow continued to stretch across Mary’s life. 23 years after Percy’s  untimely death some dude showed up claiming to be Lord Byron’s love child, potentially one of many given the Lord’s raunchy reputation. This guy claimed to have some of Mary and Percy’s letters and tried to use them to blackmail Mary. But she shut that shit down and got a court injunction.

In 1851 at the age of 54, Mary Godwin Shelley succumbed to what could have been a brain tumour and was buried at St Peter’s in Bournemouth. between her two parents who were moved just for this purpose.

The Legacy of Mary Shelley

An unconventional woman who lead an incredible life filled with adventure, curiosity and sorrow, her legacy would be heavily censored according to her son Percy Florence’s more reserved Victorian sensibilities.

In the past 200 years, many have tried to give credit for Frankenstein to Byron or Percy. Or attribute her entire development as a writer to the men who surrounded her. But recently people have finally come to accept her authorship and view her texts as remarkable novels from a remarkable woman, many written at an alarmingly young age.

If you are looking for a more complete biography of Mary Shelley I would highly recommend Romantic Outlaws. It interweaves Mary Shelley’s story with the incredible life of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.

Following us on Twitter @thefrankenpod where I awkwardly try to human.

And please get in touch if you have additions suggestions and corrections.


Charlotte Sussman, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies Vol. 4, No. 1, Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century (Spring/Summer 2004), pp. 158-186


And I really will get better at resources I’m sorry, in my defence it is uni break.



Language as a Political Instrument

Module Study, Language as a Political Instrument, Morgan Pinder
Alcohol, Football and Certainty; Assault Coverage in a Regional Area
Analysis of the top 96 search hits of articles pertaining to assault of a sexual and non-sexual nature, filed within the past 2 years, appearing on the online version of Fairfax regional newspaper; The Border Mail. Search feature is orientated toward keyword density and the key words used were “assault” and “sexual assault”.
This research is endeavouring to build a picture of how the paper treats the victim and accused within coverage of an incident through an adapted version of the “agent, process, goal” approach to breaking down coverage of violent crimes (Clark 1992). This analysis is also designed to produce an accurate gauge of whether the presumption of innocence is followed prior to conviction and whether the court’s decision is accepted post-conviction, particularly in relation to differing trends when comparing sexual and non-sexual assault victims.

Overly Negative Naming of Victim or Accused
The aim in using naming analysis was to determine any bias in displayed in naming choices made by the paper.
In the case of sexual assault accused there were a few cases of negative naming and in these cases accused were often depicted as monstrous and animalistic, with such terms as “vile” and “horrifying” used to describe their actions, particularly in relation to crimes involving children or seemingly random attacks.
Non-sexual assault accused were negatively named in 18 out of 49 cases, with some of the negative elements relating to geographic location, that is to say that certain suburbs of the local area having a bad reputation were mentioned as a key identifier to give the accused the weight of negative generalisations that come with association with the suburb, in this case the suburb of Lavington. Lavington has a lower socio-economic standing than much of the Albury Wodonga area (Baum, 2009) and generalisations are often made based on someone’s association with the suburb. Non-sexual assault victims were not named negatively in any of the stories examined, with the exception of the unnecessary inclusion of a victim’s family stated as living in Lavington (article: ‘You’re dead’ – Footballer accused of threatening, assaulting girlfriend).

Overly Positive Naming of Victim or Accused
This was analysed to determine any positive bias when naming the victim or accused in coverage of an assault. This was analysed in the same way as with the negative naming analysis.
Non-sexual and sexual assault victims, if they were identified in a positive manner, tended to be identified sympathetically, particularly in relation to women with children. On a few occasions the victim was identified as being intrinsically of value in the community. Non-sexual assault accused were only named positively if the crime took place in what could be considered to be part of their role as a respectable member of society, for instance a police officer is given mitigating circumstances for an assault as the victim was allegedly publically urinating (article: Bond for cop over pub biffo) and the paper adopts a position of outrage when a footballer is convicted of assault on the football field (article: Collie Eagles player Matthew Blackford found guilty of on-field assault).
44548613, Module Study, Language as a Political Instrument, Morgan Pinder
In the case of sexual assault the accused was only named positively if they were seen to be of some standing in the community.

Accused is not Given Agency
Using the “agent process goal” model of identifying the agency of a reported incident, each article was examined to determine whether at any stage direct agency was attributed to the accused.
In sexual assault reporting where the accused was able to be identified they were given agency in most cases, but there were 5 exceptions in which the accused was portrayed as being in a sense the victim of an accusation. In most cases non-sexual assault accused were attributed direct agency with 3 exceptions, two of which are related to on field football assaults. When analysed individually headlines, as opposed to full articles, show that agency was more likely to be attributed to the accused in non-sexual assault. The full article and headline analysis indicates that there may be a higher incidence of victim blaming in sexual assault cases, however with such a small margin of difference in incidences a larger sample study would be needed to determine this with more certainty.

Victim is cast as agent
Using the “agent process goal” model of identifying the agency of a reported incident, each article was examined to determine whether at any stage direct agency was attributed to the victim.
Non-sexual assault victims were not cast as the agent in any of the stories examined and in the case of sexual assault victims only one was implied as being the agent, this was not a local case (article: Mormon Tourist Accuses Man of Assault) and the victim was named in such a way as to discredit her claims, and she is the accuser rather than victim in this story.

Mitigating circumstances or attempts to justify crime
When analysing the articles collected any attempts to justify the crime that were given a credible position by the newspaper were documented to determine whether the assault was considered to be a legitimate crime or its impact was downplayed due to the circumstances surrounding it.
In the case of sexual assault accused, most mitigating circumstances were offered by the accused or defence attorneys, mainly surrounding issues of consent, depicting the victim as culpable or the mental health of the accused, painting the accused as tortured. The only mitigating circumstances that were included for non-sexual assaults were in connection with prior relationships, mental health or in three separate cases the location of the incident. In the 3 attempts to justify the crime by location 2 of these took place on a football field and 1 in a school yard, this incident is downplayed as a “school yard scrap” (article: School yard assault in police hands).

Criminalising accused prior to trial
In this section of the analysis the absence of words of uncertainty (alleged, accused) prior to trial were noted, and the inclusion of previous incidents in reports that were used to increase the impact of the incident that is the focus of the article, making the audience see the incident as part of an ongoing pattern. In this regard there was very little difference between the criminalisation of accused non-sexual and sexual assault perpetrators, with the newspaper neglecting to express doubt to at least 50% of pre-trial cases. This “trial by media” approach (Waterhouse-Watson, 2013) to documenting assault cases fits in with the surprising incidence of specific information being divulged about accused addresses and the paper’s reputation for “championing” causes.

Reoccurring preoccupations
This involved re-reading the articles to record what common reoccurring themes where documented throughout assault coverage as a whole. These a preoccupations that indicate a potential agenda on the part of the newspaper, or the perceived views of the intended reader. The key preoccupations pertaining to non-sexual assault are alcohol and football. The alcohol theme is typically accompanied by a call to arms for tougher licensing laws and/or a list of other recent or geographically close incidents. The football theme is primarily touched on presumably because of the relative familiarity of the football players, with many pictures included as part of the coverage and the popularity of such stories in a regional area in which football is very popular. When race was touched upon it was in relation to Aboriginal football players.
In the case of sexual assault accused the emphasis was on the relationship to the accused rather than the surrounding context. The terms stranger and random appear several times despite sexual assault victims usually being assaulted by someone they know, suggesting a preoccupation with these types of crime, often emphasising the “monstrous” nature of the crime, portraying the accused as beasts as in Clarke 1992.

Coverage Volume
Sexual assault coverage tends to be lengthier with a higher instance of repeat stories, with the exception of non-sexual assault coverage relating to football. The most lengthy sexual assault coverage was reserved for incidents where the victim was a teenager and deceased.

Overly Specific identifiers
Identifiers such as specific street addresses were documented to determine how ready the newspaper is to condemn and single out an accused perpetrator of assault. Using the address of an accused is a choice that is made by The Bordermail in relation to each story where the address is available to them, so the stories where they are included were noted. In 5 cases non-sexual assault accused had the street name and suburb at which they lived disclosed, in most of these cases the victims were high profile members of the community. The paper was far less likely to disclose the street address of a person accused with sexual assault with only one clear incidence of this happening within the sample. Perhaps this lower rate is because of the emotive nature of sexual assault, or perhaps the effects of being directly implicated in a sexual assault are considered to be more severe than non-sexual assault.

In relation to sexual assault coverage the preoccupation was with the perceived monstrosity and randomness of some attacks, with greater attention paid to those assaults that were perpetrated by a stranger. The discomfort of the attacker being a person known to the victim in the case of sexual assault is such that The Border Mail does not dwell on the incident, unless there is a way to dehumanise the accused. With the heightened awareness of domestic violence due to crimes subsequent to the news period analysed I expect that the results would be somewhat different in this regard. The paper, however, seems to be quite willing to condemn those accused of non-sexual assault, especially those crimes that are linked to antisocial behaviour (drinking alcohol) and high profile perpetrators, such as footballers. The preoccupation with football seems to imply that if a player assaults someone on field then the victim is as much to blame as the accused, but if the player takes that aggression off-field then it is unwarranted and reported in detail as a dramatic fall from grace. The tone of the coverage of non-sexual assault seems to be a matter of timing and location, whereas the tone of sexual assault reporting seems to be determined by the relationship between the accused and victim, and the perceived worth of both parties to the greater community.

Baum, S., & Mitchell, W. (2009). Red alert suburbs: An employment vulnerability index for Australia’s major urban regions. Centre of Full employment and Equity, University of NSW, Newcastle., (2015). Albury-Wodonga News, sport and weather | The Border Mail. Retrieved 10 May 2015 to 22 May 2015, from
Clark, K. (1992). The linguistics of blame: representations of women in The Sun’s reporting of crimes of sexual violence. Language, text and context: Essays in stylistics, 208-24.
Ehrlich, S. (1999). Communities of practice, gender, and the representation of sexual assault. Language in Society, 28(02), 239-256.
Hogan, T., Hess, R., Wedgwood, N., Warren, I., & Nicholson, M. (2005). Women and Australian Rules Football: An Annotated Bibliography. Football Studies, 8(2), 77-88.
Lukin, A., Butt, D., & Matthiessen, C. (2004). Reporting war: Grammar as’ covert operation’. Pacific Journalism Review, 10(1), 58.
O’Hara, S. (2012). Monsters, playboys, virgins and whores: Rape myths in the news media’s coverage of sexual violence. Language and literature, 21(3), 247-259.,. (2015). Albury (C) : Region Data Summary. Retrieved 16 May 2015, from
Waterhouse-Watson, D. (2013). Athletes, Sexual Assault, and” trials by Media”: Narrative Immunity. Routledge.

News and politics: Tongue Tied on Breastfeeding

By Morgan Pinder

With Australian breastfeeding rates falling well below the recommendations of the World Health Organization, is there more our health system could be doing to support new mums?
96% of new mothers in Australia have been shown to start breastfeeding their babies, but by the time the babies are just 3 months old that rate drops dramatically with only 39% of women continuing to exclusively breastfeed their child.
Whatever your opinion on the “breast is best” debate it is clear from the results of the 2010 National Infant Feeding survey that something is deterring mothers from continuing to breastfeed to the recommended 6 months as outlined by the World Health Organization.
A maternal health nurse at Wodonga Hospital, outlined the support offered to post-natal mothers, “We have a lactation consultant and the Breastfeeding association is strong”.
She is confident that mothers in the Albury Wodonga area are supported from discharge from the hospital right through to 2 years of age, adding “The process is designed so that you are handed over directly from one service to another.”
Temeaka, mum and community advocate for two groups focusing on infant lip and tongue ties which can have an impact on a baby’s ability to feed, found that the support network fell short when it came to information and advice about some of the medical factors that can make breastfeeding challenging.
Temeaka said, “On a day to day basis we have upwards of two mothers coming to us with feeding issues and no support,” adding; “I think health professionals across the board need updated and further training about ties in particular. The ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) website is a good start but needs further development.”
Carmen, a new mum linked in with the local maternal health service, was nearly able to breastfeed for the recommended 6 months after discharge from the Wodonga Maternity ward. She indicated that she found the support offered helpful at times but often inconsistent and confusing.
“I was happy to breastfeed,” Carmen said “but because of the staff rotation it was confusing when the nurses told you the opposite things to each other.”

News and politics: Discovering the Circus under my Bed

On Friday the 26th of June, the Fruit Fly Circus, Albury based Youth circus school, opened their new show to a local audience at the Albury Entertainment Centre.
The family friendly plot follows the adventures of a young girl exploring the space under her bed and her own imagination.
The show was opening in Albury before going on to Sydney, Canberra and then to Istanbul, Turkey.
The international part of the tour is a unique experience for the performers aged from 9 to 19.
The show has been developed by the students, staff and trainers of the circus school over the past year and the months of planning, staging and refining culminated in a sold out show to an audience of diverse ages.
Venue based theatre technician Brent Scott was greatly impressed with how the show, which will go on to much larger venues in metropolitan areas, translated to the regional venue;
“There are many challenges that need to be overcome when adapting a show with these kinds of performance heights and a wide variety of safety concerns need to be addressed”
“We spend a lot of time talking to Fruit Flies staff and have lots of meetings to sort out how we go about changing our set up to accommodate the acrobat’s routines.”
“But,” he continued “the smaller performance space and the proximity of the audience made for an intimate performance.”
Audience feedback was also positive across different age demographics, with parents and children both delighting in this locally fostered circus performance.
Chelsea was amongst those in the audience and expressed her enthusiasm for the circus, both as a source of entertainment and as a local institution;
“It’s amazing to have such a nationally renowned circus in our area, and we are so lucky to be able to see the opening night of this show, especially considering that their next show is at the Sydney Opera House.”
But 3 year old, Flynn was universally positive about the whole performance, making it very clear that he did not like the “sad clown”.

Approaches to English literature: The Invisible Weight of Hector, Using intertextuality and The Iliad to create powerful characters in Ransom and “The Triumph of Achilles”

When Homer wrote The Iliad he was recording stories for posterity, but he could hardly have known the influence his work would carry throughout centuries that would be alien to him. How could he predict that this epic tale would be broken down and analysed, reimagined and reworked, right down to the minutest detail. Both Malouf in his short novel Ransom and Glück in her poem “The Triumph of Achilles” focus on the events that follow the death of Hector, creating an intense and personal depiction of the anguish, anger, desperation and grief, of which Hector is respectively the object of lamentation and the possible means to vengeance and closure. In these texts we see Hector as the murderer, Hector as the object of grief, the war as the backdrop and the gods as enigmatic yet explainable, but we must ultimately look to Homer to find; Hector the man, the fury of the Trojan War, the importance of the gods and the ultimate fate of the characters.
The Trojan War, whilst intrinsic to Glück and Ransom’s works, is not depicted in any great detail, for Homer’s text, and it’s preoccupation with war, provides a wealth of powerful material to be drawn upon. The longevity and notoriety of The Iliad has seeped into modern culture, so many readers can make the intertextual connections, often without having read The Iliad. With experts sighting that “interest in Homer in the 21st century seems to be stronger than ever” (Myrsiade, 1) the scale and drama of this legendary war can be called upon by Glück to show the intensity of Achilles grief, which she shows as completely eclipsing the importance and carnage of the war going on around him; “What were the Greek ships on fire compared to this loss?” (Glück, 13-14). Glück presents the reader with a very narrow portal into the grief of one hero in a tale rich with acts of heroism, even beginning her poem by asserting in the very first line that it is the story of Patroclus that the reader is encountering, not of the great Achilles, Hector, or the fall of Troy. This almost claustrophobic view of a section of Homer’s epic uses the resonance of the Troy story to very poignantly look at a very selective section of the vast work. Malouf’s approach to the Trojan War though more detailed, is an account of the war from the personal perspective of Achilles, who does not seem to see, care or be affected by the greater war and that which does not immediately affect him. Malouf shows us very clearly that the reader is surely not seeing the full picture of the conflict in Achilles reflection on Patroclus’s disillusionment with his friend’s command; “He sees my indifference to the fate of these Greeks as a stain to my honour, Achilles told himself, and to his own” (Malouf, 16).
The cause of the war is not examined within the modern texts, as even many who have not read The Iliad have at least a cursory background knowledge of the battle of Troy, the beautiful Helen, and the personal pride that lead to this epic conflict. This war that is the result of personal insult and injury is examined closely in Homer, allowing Glück and Malouf the luxury of not having to rehash and reimagine the ideas that are not crucial to their vision of the personal grief of select characters; “Why, pray, must the Argives needs fight the Trojans? What made the son of Atreus gather the host and bring them? Was it not for the sake of Helen? Are the sons of Atreus the only men in the world who love their wives? Any man of common right feeling will love and cherish her who is his own, as I this woman, with my whole heart” (Homer, 95).
Through focusing on different sections of the epic Iliad, Glück and Malouf are able to draw upon the wealth of information, and cultural familiarity of the story, to utilise the power, formidable legacy and notoriety of the Achilles character to great effect. For whilst it is possible for the reader to form a picture of the great hero from the two modern texts in question, it is through the knowledge of the eventual fate of Achilles in the final passages of The Iliad that the character of this doomed and desperate hero really comes to life. To approach Ransom without knowledge of the Iliad is to forgo the knowledge that informs passages such as this:
“But the sea is not where it will end. It will end here on the beach in the treacherous shingle, or out there on the plain. That is fixed, inevitable. With the pious resignation of the old man he will never become, he has accepted this.” (Malouf, 9).
Without the knowledge of his eventual downfall, and the weight of the mythology that surrounds him, this statement does not have the same level of foreboding. Similarly Glück’s allusion to the emotional death of Achilles (Glück, 18) is an ominous sign of the fate that is to befall him. Achilles, as the son of a Goddess and legendary warrior, carries with him the qualities and form of an entire ancient culture. His journey as a Homeric hero and the godly rage that he possesses is intrinsically Greek, allowing the modern reader to draw on the legacy of the Trojan War to better understand the circumstances surrounding these deeply personal stories of loss. Glück’s focus on the personal anguish of Achilles allows the reader familiar with The Iliad to hold a magnifying glass up to the torment of grief that occurs for one character despite the unmarked deaths of many. The disregard for the value of the life of the average individual in the Greek epic is highlighted by the intensity of Achilles reaction to the death of Patroclus, and his blatant indifference to the soldiers who are dying every day as the result of his inaction, an inaction that is documented in Homer, and the knowledge of which is relied upon by Glück to complete the picture of Achilles irrational grief and intense personal torment.
In a tale of heroes it is important not to lose sight of the man whose body is merely an object, a spectre of its former glory by the time Malouf picks up the story of The Iliad; Hector. Ransom does little to differentiate the heroism of Hector from the heroism of Achilles, merely positioning him as a man of honour and Achilles Trojan equivalent in many ways, highlighting Hector’s use of Achilles armour in the battle that would lead to his demise and uttering the words that tie their fates together “You will not long outlive me Achilles” (Malouf, 23). Hector is not mentioned by name in the poem of Glück, but he is present as the slayer of Patroclus (Glück, 1-2). In both texts Hector haunts the fringes, unable to assert his own merits and character due to omission or death. The reader relies on Homer entirely to inform their deeper knowledge of Hector, which is crucial to understanding the drama unfolding. Bernadete warns us of the perils of dismissing Hector as the Trojan mirror of Achilles:  “Achilles and Hector are heroes, one an Achaean, the other a Trojan; but to know them better, so that even away from their camps, we should not mistake them, forces us to find other traits peculiar to themselves.” (Bernadete, 12).
To understand the gravity of the king and grieving father Priam’s actions and their consequences in a world of restraint and decorum The Iliad provides the context that allows Malouf to depict the old man’s journey of discovery (Brennan 3). In Ransom, Priam struggles with the notion of autonomy and destiny, breaking free of the godly constraints that are so evident in Homer’s Iliad, and choosing his own path. As an epic in the tradition of Greek tragedy The Iliad is spurred on by the will of the gods, whereas it is Priam’s creative thought in the face of desperation that drives the action of Ransom. While Priam is still reliant on the good will and inspiration of the gods, he is forced to consider chance as a factor in determining the fate of his son Hector’s body. The context for Priam the parent is also laid down in The Iliad with scholars such as Pratt asserting the importance of parenthood and the child in Homer’s work (Pratt, 25). In light of this parental motif it is perhaps not as surprising as it initially appears that Malouf has chosen to focus on the struggles and enlightenment of a grieving father, and to introduce another grieving father, Somax, who by his class does not represent the repression and preoccupation with formality the stately Priam does. By comparing the sombre and stately Priam of Homer with the jovial and affectionate cart driver, the universal truth and emotion that lies beneath Homer’s epic is exposed.
The legacy and weight of the Iliad as an intertextual reference cannot be denied and the powerful images and cultural protocols of the Greeks that the epic conjures up serve the authors who rely on them in order to create a fleshed out story, with characters, who by their familiarity and iconicity cannot fail to resonate with readers. This is particularly evident in the poem of Glück which, by its brevity, draws much of its detail and power from its intertextual elements, but the value of these intertextual references in Malouf should also not be underestimated. Whilst both works stand up to scrutiny on their own, they draw great power and substance from their relationship to The Iliad, and the weight of one of the greatest stories ever told.

• Benardete, Seth. “Achilles and the Iliad.” Hermes (1963): 1-16. . Reprinted in The Argument of the Action: Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy by Seth Benardete, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
• Brennan, Bernadette. “Singing it anew: David Malouf’s Ransom.” Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 11, no. 1 (2011). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from
• Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics: the basics. Routledge, 2007.
• Glück, Louise. The triumph of Achilles. Vol. 32. Ecco Press, 1985.
• Homer, The Iliad and the Odyssey. Special Edition Books, e-book, 2006.
• Malouf, David. Ransom. Random House, Sydney, Kindle Edition, 2010.
• Morris, Daniel. The Poetry of Louise Glück: A Thematic Introduction. University of Missouri Press, 2006.
• Myrsiades, Kostas. “Introduction: Homer; Analysis and Influence.” College Literature 35, no. 4 (2008): xi-xix.: Accessed 8/5/2015 from
• Pratt, Louise. “The Parental Ethos of the Iliad.” Hesperia. Supplement (2007): 25-40. Accessed 2/5/2015 from

Picture: “The “Triumph of Achilles” fresco, in Corfu Achilleion” by Franz von Matsch – Own work by רנדום, 2011-08-27. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –,_in_Corfu_Achilleion.jpg#/media/File:The_%22Triumph_of_Achilles%22_fresco,_in_Corfu_Achilleion.jpg


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