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2009-01-18 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm Asian too. Nice to meet you.
It's true that the show does reflect Orientalist tendencies, but no moreso than Shaolin Showdown or Kung-Fu Panda or any of the other recent cartoons that have lifted so much willy-nilly from Asian cultures.
But I give the creators of Avatar credit for being self-aware and trying to tone down the stereotypes and bring a certain level of authenticity to that universe. They certainly didn't succeed completely, but neither were they insensitive to the cultural sources they drew from nor ignorant about what they were getting themsleves into. Sure, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but the show won a lot of fans over - Asians and other minorities included - due to these efforts to get as much right as they could.
I don't really see what's so silly about creating a fantasy world based on Asian mythology. Narnia and Middle Earth were amalgamations of a bunch of European and Celtic myths. Or if you want an Asian counterexample, Amestris from the anime Fullmental Alchemist is a parallel universe with European, Middle Eastern, and Chinese counterparts.
Besides, I don't know how much you can hijack a culture where there were no white people in the Avatar universe to do the hijacking. Now what M. Night's doing with the movie - all white kids in an Asian and Inuit universe - *that* would be pretty obvious cultural hijacking.
And my profile says "orientalist casting"? Really? Whoa.
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