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Old April 22 2012, 08:45 PM   #121
Christopher
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
In Avatar's case, we're dealing with special powers, not talents. People either aren't interested in having certain talents or they can potentially develop them if they are, but actual powers like bending really sets people apart.
A matter of perspective. We see them as special powers because they're something that doesn't exist in our experience. To people who've lived their entire lives, their entire history, in a world where it's routine for people to have bending ability, it would just be seen as part of the normal range of human variation.

Besides, the traits I mentioned aren't all learnable talents. Some people are born with greater intelligence than others, or greater social skills, or greater physical coordination, or greater musical ability, or what-have-you. Like bending, they're potentials that need to be trained to be fully realized, but some people have the potential to begin with and others don't. What makes a society equal is that different people have the opportunity to find ways they can succeed in the things they are good at. Whereas an unequal society is one where people who have a particular skill set -- whether it's element-bending or fighting prowess or high intelligence or skill at acquiring wealth -- have the system set up so that they'll always win and everyone else will be deprived of similar opportunities to succeed.


Some people are seriously and inherently advantaged and others are handicapped. I can see how that would create the kind of resentment we're seeing with Amon and his movement. I don't like it, but I can see where they're coming from.
Well, yes, I don't dispute that. Clearly there are some social inequalities in the Republic that need to be addressed. I'm just saying that making everyone identical is the wrong way to solve that problem. Just because someone's defined the problem correctly, it doesn't follow that they have the correct solution to it.


There's always going to be someone who's jealous of the powers that be or who has power issues themselves, so having this come up isn't surprising. In fact, I'm more surprised that it wasn't been a big issue before. The kind of revolution that's brewing could very well open up the message that everyone has potential, not just a select few. And if you ask me, that's not a bad message.
But if you say everyone has to have the same potential in order to be equal, that diversity has to be eradicated, that is a bad message, a downright horrible one. Saying that the solution to bender/non-bender inequality is to make everyone a non-bender -- or to make everyone a bender -- is every bit as horrific as suggesting that the cure for racism is to turn all the nonwhites into whites (or vice-versa), or that the cure for homophobia is to turn all the gays hetero (or vice-versa). Diversity itself is not the problem. Intolerance of diversity is the problem.


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That was a nice hat.
Yes, especially the hat. It was a nice hat, wasn't it?
It was indeed a very nice hat.
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Old April 22 2012, 10:02 PM   #122
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Interesting, I thought he was just looking worried.
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Old April 22 2012, 10:06 PM   #123
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Christopher wrote: View Post
We see them as special powers because they're something that doesn't exist in our experience. To people who've lived their entire lives, their entire history, in a world where it's routine for people to have bending ability, it would just be seen as part of the normal range of human variation.
People would be used to it, sure, but I can't imagine everyone just being alright with the idea that some people can bend while others can't. People can accept power disparities in a lot of things, but this one strikes me as too much of one to not be an issue of some sort.

Christopher wrote: View Post
But if you say everyone has to have the same potential in order to be equal, that diversity has to be eradicated, that is a bad message, a downright horrible one. Saying that the solution to bender/non-bender inequality is to make everyone a non-bender -- or to make everyone a bender -- is every bit as horrific as suggesting that the cure for racism is to turn all the nonwhites into whites (or vice-versa), or that the cure for homophobia is to turn all the gays hetero (or vice-versa). Diversity itself is not the problem. Intolerance of diversity is the problem.
I'm not suggesting forced equality in practice or that everyone be made a bender, just that maybe discovering that everyone has access to the spiritual force that makes it possible isn't a bad thing. I've never seen bending as just another variation like skin color. And althought talent was also used as an example, I don't think that's an accurate parallel either. I see bending as a tangible, fundamental and significant advantage, and I don't see a problem with a revelation that such an advantage need not be limited to just some people. What I'm suggesting is akin to the Buddhist notion that anyone can achieve enlightenment, but that whether or not they choose to do so is up to them.

Here's an article I just read. It's from last year, so I don't know if others have seen it already. One thing that stuck out is that the creators are going for a tighter story and I was left with the impression that the arc with Amon may end with episode 12. If that's the case, I may have to rethink my position that significant change is in order. We'll see.
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Old April 22 2012, 10:23 PM   #124
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
People would be used to it, sure, but I can't imagine everyone just being alright with the idea that some people can bend while others can't. People can accept power disparities in a lot of things, but this one strikes me as too much of one to not be an issue of some sort.
Again, I'm not saying the problem doesn't exist. I'm saying I don't agree with your proposed solution for it.


I'm not suggesting forced equality in practice or that everyone be made a bender, just that maybe discovering that everyone has access to the spiritual force that makes it possible isn't a bad thing. I've never seen bending as just another variation like skin color. And althought talent was also used as an example, I don't think that's an accurate parallel either. I see bending as a tangible, fundamental and significant advantage, and I don't see a problem with a revelation that such an advantage need not be limited to just some people. What I'm suggesting is akin to the Buddhist notion that anyone can achieve enlightenment, but that whether or not they choose to do so is up to them.
Most likely they do have access to that spiritual force but it simply manifests in a less physical way. Look at Guru Pathik. He wasn't a bender, but he was highly attuned to the spirit world and able to read people's chi and sense the spiritual energy that bound all life together. So we already have proof that element-bending is not the only way to achieve unity with the spiritual.
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Old April 22 2012, 11:36 PM   #125
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
We see them as special powers because they're something that doesn't exist in our experience. To people who've lived their entire lives, their entire history, in a world where it's routine for people to have bending ability, it would just be seen as part of the normal range of human variation.
People would be used to it, sure, but I can't imagine everyone just being alright with the idea that some people can bend while others can't. People can accept power disparities in a lot of things, but this one strikes me as too much of one to not be an issue of some sort.
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Old April 22 2012, 11:44 PM   #126
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

It it pretty clear that the benders have ruled the world for as long as bending has existed. Sometimes that rule has been benign, sometimes not. Finding this to be problematic system has nothing to do with whether or not everyone should be "the same". That is a straw-man argument.

Some people would have a legitimate complaints about a class based system where no movement between classes was possible. Most of us should. We would not wish to live under the whims of kings anointed by deities. Which is why we all (I hope) appreciate that our current society being on the more meritocratic side of the spectrum compared to the entrenched aristocratic eras of our past.

So I'm glad to see that the series is tackling this issue. I agree with others speculation that the end-game of this show will lead to a more 'modern' approach to the use/availability of bending powers. Perhaps this is part of what Aang and Zuko hoped to create in this new city, even if the result has been mixed so far.

And thanks for the correction that Amon's top henchman was not a bender. I rewatched the scene, and sure enough he generates lightning with cattle prods (or something similar).

EDIT: One more thing - I really dig the 20's style movie news recap before the show starts.

Last edited by Hyperspace05; April 22 2012 at 11:56 PM.
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Old April 23 2012, 12:35 AM   #127
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
It it pretty clear that the benders have ruled the world for as long as bending has existed.
That's actually not true. In A:TLA, both the Earth King (Kuei) and the Chief of the Northern Water Tribe (Arnook) were non-benders (and Arnook's daughter Yue showed no sign of waterbending ability as far as we saw). The only nations we saw that were formally ruled by benders were the Fire Nation and the Air Nomads -- but since every Air Nomad was an airbender, they didn't represent a separate ruling elite. (And of course the earthbending Dai Li were the de facto rulers of Ba Sing Se, but that was a corruption of the system resulting from Kuei's ascension to the throne at the age of four.)

So it has not historically been the case that non-benders were a lower class excluded from power; on the contrary, in the A:TLA era, non-benders ruled two of the three nations in which non-benders existed.

However, according to the Avatar Wiki, at least three members of the five-person United Republic Council at the time of TLoK are benders. If it turns out that they're all benders, that could help explain why the non-benders in the United Republic of Nations feel so excluded. But that would be a new problem specific to this nation and era, not a constant throughout history.
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Old April 23 2012, 12:50 AM   #128
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

I wonder why the Foggy Swamp Tribe, the Desert Nomads, and the Mechanist's People aren't represented?
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Old April 23 2012, 02:30 AM   #129
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

I find myself very intrigued by this Amon character, and I'm wondering if we will find out that he is (or is related to) someone we already know. I found myself especially intrigued by his speech and how he "lost his face." I know he said a firebender did it, so he may just be scarred, but we also know that the spirit Koh literally steals faces. I almost wonder if Amon's power was given by Koh in exchange for his face.
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Old April 23 2012, 04:01 AM   #130
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

I really don't think the Koh theory holds water. In "The Siege of the North, Part 2," when Aang was in the spirit world and saw a monkey whose face Koh had stolen, it literally had no face at all -- no eyes, no mouth, just a blank sheet of flesh. Also, when Koh stole the face from the wife of Avatar Kuruk (the previous Water Tribe Avatar), he also trapped her in the spirit world -- which probably means that her physical body died (since she wouldn't have been able to breathe or eat without a nose or mouth). Amon clearly has eyes under his mask, and he can talk and breathe.
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Old April 23 2012, 04:05 AM   #131
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

I know it's a very thin hypothesis. I just thought the wording was interesting, and my crazy fan brain started coming up with crazy fan ideas.
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Old April 23 2012, 05:45 AM   #132
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

I was able to catch this this morning and I loved it just as much as the first two. It's definitely making me want to go back and watch the rest of The Last Airbender. It's also really getting me in the mood for some anime.
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Old April 23 2012, 08:22 AM   #133
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I find myself very intrigued by this Amon character, and I'm wondering if we will find out that he is (or is related to) someone we already know. I found myself especially intrigued by his speech and how he "lost his face." I know he said a firebender did it, so he may just be scarred, but we also know that the spirit Koh literally steals faces. I almost wonder if Amon's power was given by Koh in exchange for his face.
I want to see benders with extreme agendas too.
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Old April 23 2012, 01:29 PM   #134
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

What if Koh has taken possession of Amon's body, finding a mystical loophole to return to the physical world?
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Old April 23 2012, 02:28 PM   #135
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Re: The Legend of Korra - Book One: Air

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What if Koh has taken possession of Amon's body, finding a mystical loophole to return to the physical world?
That's quite a reach. Why would a face-stealer be motivated to do something like this? Amon's not taking faces, he's taking powers.

Given what these writers have done in the past, I don't buy the idea that Amon is some pure black-hat monster or demon. I think it's more likely he'll turn out to be pretty much what he claims to be, a human being who's gone down this path because he was deeply hurt and scarred physically and emotionally, who convinced himself that benders really were an evil that had to be defeated for the good of the world. Konietzko and DiMartino have given us very human, multifaceted villains in the past (with the exception of Ozai, who was pretty much pure malevolence), and I expect they'll do so again.

Ooh, I just had a really interesting thought.
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