The film Robocop is held up by many as a classic that combines science fiction with political commentary. On its surface it's a story about a cop who finds himself in the center of a clandestine program to create the ultimate law enforcement agent. He struggles to solve his own murder after become a cybernetic agent of the law, uncovers corruption, and does what he can to clean up the city. Beneath the surface, though, it's a movie about how corporations treat people as little more than objects, how power corrupts, and how even those with good intentions are often bound by societal norms that stop them from doing the right thing.
The Internet had a collective gasp recently when we heard there was going to be a remake of The Princess Bride. While it turned out to be a parody remake made during quarantine for Quibi by a star-studded cast of performers working from home, according to Tor, the conversations surrounding the film got my brain churning.
Thanks to the Harry Potter series, and other works of more modern fantasy like the Dresden Files, wizards have become cool again. Though they were once relegated to the pages of dime novel fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons role playing books, or found only as supporting cast members in old fairy tales and myths, today's wizards have shaved off their beards, hit the gym, and become powerful protectors of humanity in modern fiction. The re-imagining has led a lot of fans to question why wizards were always learned old gray beards with a penchant for philosophy, though. Is it just a stereotype that was built upon cultural touchstones, or was there something more to it?
Language evolves over time to fit the needs of the culture that speaks it. Every time a new idea or concept enters that culture, the language changes to embrace it. As time progresses old ideas might fall by the wayside, and the words once used to describe them find new or different meanings. Tracing the definitions and meanings over the years as they spread from one culture to another is a bit like examining the fossil record, showing the full development of a word from what it is today to what it was hundreds of years ago.
The avatar of the modern anti-hero, Frank Castle's death's head symbol is recognized all around the world. A Marine Corps veteran whose family was killed by the mob for witnessing a crime they shouldn't have seen, Frank was failed by the justice system as the men responsible walked free. Taking up the bloody trade of the soldier once again, he declared war on the underworld, and he's been stacking bodies like cordwood ever since.
If you ask people what a warlock is, you're going to get a variety of answers depending on who you direct the question towards. Some people will tell you it's a man in league with the devil, who exchanged his immortal soul for fell powers. Some might say it's an old term for a liar, or a promise-breaker. Gamers will say it's a sweet spell-casting class in systems like Dungeons and Dragons, and Wiccans may explain that it's a term applied to people who practice a destructive form of new age, neo-pagan faith.