Tag Archives: Asians

Tropes, Archetypes, and Why Original Creative Writing Is Like A Game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Culture War Reporters, since its inception, has never been a place for fiction of any kind. As a result, when both Gordon and I hang out we often find our discussions centre around stretching our creative muscles, asking questions like: “If you had to come up with a team of mercenaries, with a minimum of five members, what would it look like?”

The issue with all questions like this is that we run into a little something King Solomon said, way back in the day [emphasis added]:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
  there is nothing new under the sun.

How do you come up with something original, something that truly hasn’t been done before? Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk: The N-Word

EVAN: Readers of every gender, young and old, today Gordon and I shall be discussing a somewhat more sensitive topic of our own choosing due to there being no comments on our last post.

Our subject of conversation for the day is, and I cleared my throat before typing this, the word “nigger.”

GORDON: I’d like to talk about just that right off the bat-

Do we have to abbreviate it? I mean, I can’t think of any other word in the English language that we won’t even say. Surely we can all agree, regardless of where we stand on the word itself, that calling it the “n-word” is on par with superstition.

Evan, am I crazy here? Continue reading

Re: Where I Try To Explain Red Dawn

I don’t normally get that angry about things. Disappointed, sure. Upset, often enough. But really, truly angry? That emotion is normally reserved for pure, undistilled racism.

Yesterday I wrote about the production history of Red Dawn, and mostly talked about how the plot was immensely improbable and how the film industry is all about money, et cetera. What I did not at all dwell on was the potential of the film to bring out racism in people, similar [but not at all comparable] to the abuse of Middle Eastern Americans after what happened on 9/11.

On Facebook Racebending.com directed me to Tumblr user manilaryce, who compiled a number or racist tweets by people who had just watched Red Dawn. I have embedded the image below and on the right.

The following are a few of the tweets that particularly stood out to me:

Kinda wanna kill some Asians right now and defend the homeland, thank you Red Dawn for sparking some patriotism in me

The only reason Im going to see red dawn is cause there’s sexy ass guys running around with guns killing Asians my type of movie;)!

I now hate all Chinese, Japanese, Asian, Korean people. Thanks. #reddawn #amazingmoviedoe

Red dawn was sickkk..just another reason why to hate asians.

This is like when racist Hunger Games fans tweeted about how the casting of a character as Black ruined the movie for them. The difference between that situation and this one is that I feel directly targeted.

One of the tweets, by @elysse223, reads “I usually love Asians, but in Red Dawn I found them terrifying.” After reading that I almost immediately felt worse, like both me and everyone else like me had been transformed into inhuman movie monsters.

The only consolation I can take in all this is that the film is being almost universally panned. Liam Lacey, reviewing the film for The Globe and Mail, says “Red Dawn panders to the worst kind of racist and jingoist impulses, though the movie is so preposterously insincere, it feels like those adjectives should be in air quotes.” Over at Indiewire Gabe Toro describes the film as “stitched together with scotch tape and falling apart at the seams, letting casual racism and misanthropy to spill out the sides.”

I honestly don’t have a lot to say except that I’m angry, hurt, and somewhat unsurprised that this is what audience members all over America are choosing to take away from this movie. I am Asian and I am not evil. I do not want to take over America. I do not want to ever feel like this:

This S.H.I.E.L.D. Needs a Little Colour

In the wake of The Avengers‘ 1.5 billion dollar success it was inevitable that Disney/Marvel would be creating a sequel. They also decided to broaden both the universe and the franchise by green-lighting a TV series based on the organization in the comics, titularly named S.H.I.E.L.D.

It marks Joss Whedon’s return to television, as he will be both directing and producing the pilot. Acting as directors and producers, however, are his brother Jed Whedon and his sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen. The three formerly worked together on the online cult classic Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which actually leads me to the point of this post.

The DVD and Blu-Ray versions of Dr. Horrible a commentary track titled Commentary! The Musical, which consists of entirely new songs performed by the cast and crew. Track 10 was written and performed by Tancharoen, and I’ve embedded it here:

While obviously very tongue-in-cheek, as an Asian-American in the entertainment industry she’s more than a little aware of the imbalance in roles for racial minorities. Having her and Jed Whedon take off as showrunners if the pilot is a hit, this is a huge opportunity for a show other than Hawaii Five-0 to feature a good number of Asians in their main cast.

The perfect opportunity for this takes the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent James “Jimmy” Woo. Originally starting out with the FBI, he created and led the first ever super-hero team to exist with a government mandate. Although he later left to join the Agents of Atlas, Woo was a high-ranking member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and definitely a possible addition to the upcoming series.

In general, it’s exciting to have the comics come to the small screen as a live-action show. Cartoons like The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the classic Batman: The Animated Series have proven very popular, but were directed at a younger audience. In recent years  The Walking Dead is the only program based on comics that has received any amount of positive attention.

Disney/Marvel have a chance, as they often do, to bring diversity through a form of media, this time television. With Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen at the helm, here’s hoping that we might even see our first ABC series headlining an Asian actor that is also a spinoff of a major motion picture based on a comic book.

The Representation of East Asian Characters in Two Popular Western Comic Strips

Familiar to almost anyone who grew up in America, Archie Comics has told the stories of a fairly interesting group of teenagers living in the town of Riverdale for decades. First established in 1939 these comics are still published today, 72 years of panels featuring that insipid redhead Archie Andrews and his friends [who I actually don’t mind]. The comic strip Zits, on the other hand, was first published in 1997, and has for 14 years chronicled the misadventures of much-more-modern teenager Jeremy Duncan and his own group of eclectic young people.

It’s not difficult to see how the two [a single strip and all those created by an entire company] are similar to one another. Both are about American teenagers and their day-to-day lives, albeit living in very different eras. Having originated in the late 30s Archie and his friends have moved forward generation after generation, yet stick to a much lighter tone in regards to issues that teenagers have to face. Zits, starting at the turn of the 20th century, has a more realistic view of the high school years, addressing such topics as the disconnect between teenagers and their parents, the short attention span of today’s youth, and so on.

What I would like to explore and elaborate upon is the representation of Asian characters, specifically those of East Asian descent. Both of these comics are [or, at the very least, have been] immensely popular, and as a result their content is in part representative of what the West [in this case Canada and America] is familiar and comfortable with. Continue reading