AYRES Says:May 22nd, 2009 at 11:01 amWhat alot of people are forgetting is the shows influences are based on Asian culture and Anime, nowhere in the series were the Fire nation called Japanese or Chinese it’s obvious that’s where the show is based but it was never called that at all , the Water tribe was never called Alaskans or Inuit , where are the protesters for Sherlocke Holmes with Robert Downey jr being American playing a British icon????? Or did anyone have an issue when certain Latino actors portray Caucasian charactors (sic)?? I get that there is an issue here but I think people need to find a real problem with in the world and focus on something else.
Steve Says:May 22nd, 2009 at 1:34 pm…just because white people are cast in Asian roles doesn’t mean its whitewashed. Its possible that the director simply found these actors to be the best choice available. After all, M. Night isn’t a white guy himself.
Ryan Says:May 22nd, 2009 at 3:29 pmOh god. You “controversy” people are just ridiculous. I liked the cartoon. So far the pictures seem true to the cartoon. get a life.
Liem Says:May 22nd, 2009 at 5:04 pmShow me a white kid raised by monks who live monastically in temples and maybe then I’ll consider a non-Asian perspective that defends the casting choices.Ryan Says:Show me an asian kid who can bend air, water, fire and earth and flies around on a six legged bison then I’ll consider the need for the kid to have the “correct” racial background.
Over the past few days there’s been some heated discussion on Valerie D’Orazio’s blog about the recent “joker killer” in Belgium. For those who still haven’t heard about this click here to find out more about the shockingly sick story. Basically this guy named Kim De Gelder dyed his hair, painted his face, walked into a daycare, pulled out a huge knife and started slicing people. Two babies and a 52 year old caretaker were found dead.
Now as is par for the course when she posts something controversial there is…. well, controversy. I have to sort through the eighty comments of irrational screaming and cursing just to get the point. But in one post she says:
I’m not going to debate the social responsibility of elevating a fictional psychopathic killer to folk-hero status, and then giving the marketing & licensing departments free reign to milk it for all its worth.
Now I don’t at all mean to use Valerie (whom, although this is the second time I’m posting about disagreeing with her, I am a big fan of) as an example. But this seems like a discussion that refuses to go away. “Who’s responsible” when something like this happens?
This year will mark the ten year anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings. When this was first reported everything from Marilyn Manson to Wolfenstein 3D to the film Natural Born Killers was blamed for these kids going crazy. I remember being around sixteen during this period, and my parents were always uneasy with my choice of music and movies. This was of course most likely because of people’s reactions, specifically the media’s, to events like Columbine. And while, yes, some responsibility should be taken by Marilyn Manson to say, “this is just an act” or for Oliver Stone to say, “hey, this is satire, it’s not intended to glorify serial killers”, you can’t count on that to happen in an artistic community. You certainly can’t count on it from the business world, the standpoint of Interscope or Warner Bros.
Going along with that last bit, about big business, a perfect example is cigarette companies. Yes, they push a product on you, and yes, there should be some responsibility on their part, though there is historically none. But I smoke. I know I shouldn’t. I know there is a good chance I can get seriously sick. I know all the facts. I know it’s purposefully addictive, and pushed to children, and made to look “cool”, but I also know there’s support lines and nicotine patches and Nicorette gum and all kinds of things that can get me to stop. I know all of this and yet I continue to smoke.
And you know what? I’m ultimately responsible.
And Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Kim de Gelder and all of their friends and their family who couldn’t get them help and all the people who saw the warning signs and ignored them and all the people who pushed them over the edge– they’re all responsible. We’re all responsible. There’s your “social responsibility”. Each of us, individually, who can tell the difference between right and wrong, not a business entity who doesn’t have that capability. Be a better parent, or friend, or schoolmate, or neighbor, or whatever the fuck, and stop blaming your shortcomings on something bigger than you.
State prosecutors have ruled out as a “false lead” suggestions that Mr De Gelder’s attack was linked to the first anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger, the Australian actor who played the Joker in Batman, The Dark Knight.
I am a little late posting about this, but I think I get a pass since this blog is brand new. For the past few weeks there’s been a big to-do amongst the artist and comics community regarding this story about a man in Australia who was arrested, tried, and convicted for having naked pictures of children on his computer. Sounds fair. Par for the course, actually. Except these children were yellow, had four fingers, and said things like “don’t have a cow, man”.
Alan John McEwan from South Wales, Australia, I feel for you my friend. Apparently this man had amassed quite a collection of Simpsons porn on his hard drive, many of which contained sexual acts being performed by Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, which according to the high court in the land was a big no-no. The South Wales Supreme Court is treating cartoon characters like real people.
“Sexual acts are depicted as being performed, in particular, by the “children” of the family. The male figures have genitalia that is evidently human, as do the mother (Marg[sic]) and the girl,” Justice Michael Adams wrote.
Now I am in no way defending pedophiles (it seems stupid to even have to say that, but one never knows); however, isn’t this a little over the line? Neil Gaiman had a brilliant response to this which I think ultimately says what I want to say better than I ever could. Long story short, to me, it all seems very simple; it’s a drawing. Really, that’s it, that’s where it ends, this was a drawing. The point of pedophilia law is to protect a child from harm, whether it be physical or emotional. Who does this protect? How does this uphold the spirit of any kind of law? If you are an Australian all this ruling serves to do is take away more of your rights.
I commented on Valerie D’Orazio’s blog yesterday about this. Her stance from the beginning was that she believed it was child pornography. She believes there is a sickness to it that appeals to pedophiles, and it’s hard to argue with the logic. I mean what kind of person looks at pictures of real children in sexual situations? Pedophiles. It stands to reason that a man of the same ilk would be into Lisa giving giving Bart an HJ (that does not stand for Homer Jay). She goes as far as to imply this type of “art” should be banned, or made illegal. This is where I can no longer agree with her line of thinking. I mean, I think Hentai is gross and offensive. I see no artistic merit in it. But hey, that’s me, and I choose not to look at it. I find Nazis, the KKK, and the Eagles offensive, but they have the right to hate jews, blacks, and my eardrums. What is crazy, inane and offensive to some can be art or entertainment to another, and I don’t think there’s any rational argument against that. As in any creative environment there was significant outcry against her point of view, citing her as an advocate of censorship. While I don’t believe that to be the truth, I do whole-heartedly disagree with her opinion. Fine.
So here we have this ruling which is setting a very dangerous precedent, one that says if you draw a picture of Archie and his pals having sex on their prom night you’re culpable of the same sort of crime as a photographer who’s taking pictures of a little girl without knickers. Then what? Where does this slippery slope end? Am I to be brought up on bestiality charges because I have an issue of mighty Avengers where Hank Pym has sex with Tigra? Maybe this sort of argument is silly and obvious, but to me the answer is that obvious. Either you have free speech, freedom of expression– or you don’t.