owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Is anyone surprised that the movie of The Last Airbender is getting awful, awful reviews? Well -- I am and I'm not. Because the pro reviews, by and large, did not get that there were any racial issues with that other Avatar movie. The media loved Avatar because it was big and shiny and maybe the story was a little old but it was a story that worked. And it's progressive because its message is pro-enviroment! (/sarcasm).

But with TLA, it's been made abundantly obvious that if you don't respect the care that the creators took in representing various Asian cultures, if you don't respect how the original show represented things like philosophy and writing and architecture, then you don't respect the story. And it shows. The casting decisions they've made aren't just something superficial, coincidental, something that should be overlooked because we're all post-racial now.

I like what Julius Lester says in his book "Let's Talk About Race."
Just as I am a stry and you are a story and countries tell stories about themselves, race is a story too.


It's not the only story. It's not the most important story. But you can't erase it without erasing a part of someone's story. Which is what happens when Richard Gere makes a movie about Hachiko (!) or when you pretend The Last Airbender is just another movie about Generic White Fantasyland. And no one should be surprised that when you erase part of the story for no good reason, you get a bad movie.
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owlectomy

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