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2009-01-18 01:09 am (UTC)
I've said what I've said. As an Asian American, I do not identify these characters as Asian, despite the heavy Asian influences. Fusion food is heavily influenced by Asian cuisine, but that by no means defines it as "Asian", but, instead, as a means to appeal to what non-Asian Americans think is exotic and, thus, expensive. (that was a tangent, but slightly relevant.)
I do not read Avatar as an Asian American production. I do not read the world in Avatar as an Asian world. I do not read the characters as Asian characters. I read it as a white fantasy world drawing on a borderline fetishistic obsession with Asian culture--the fact that they brought in cultural experts only says to me that they're more honest in their obsession than most Asian fetishists. If anything, I think it's fitting that they're casting white actors to play supposedly Asian roles, because that only brings to the surface how ridiculous the premise of Avatar really is, that a bunch of white Americans got together and decided to make a cartoon reminiscent of anime that would hijack "Asian culture".
Maybe I'm being narrow-minded here. I looked in your profile info and it says "orientalist casting". On the contrary, I think the very fact that Avatar exists in the first place is orientalist: these people are creating a fantasy world which is supposed to reference, in essence, an imagined Asia, without actually being Asia.
For the record, Sokka should be Inuit anyway, not Asian, if we're being super anal about this.
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