Joss Whedon and the blurry line between homage and appropriation

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dusty Ayres, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Nobody

    Nobody Commodore Commodore

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    I might be more inclined to criticize Firefly for not including more Asian speaking roles if it had lasted more than 13 episodes. It's hard to judge the intent of the producer's with such a limited time frame. It's possible, given time, that more Asian characters would've been introduced. The lack of Asian actors for main characters is more telling, but with such a small time on the air, I'm willing to give it a pass. I'll be more interested in how it plays out on Dollhouse with it's very obvious Asian culture inspired designs. So far, the show is one-up on Firefly with the Sierra character.


    -nobody
     
  2. Rii

    Rii Rear Admiral

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    Oh, absolutely. For my part I think it was simply an idea developed in response to issues that could've been raised in its absence, however not itself being an essential ingredient in the story Whedon and co. wanted to tell it wasn't actively supported beyond those initial precepts. Given that Firefly was set not in an alternate universe but in our future, if the culture portrayed was derived exclusively from western influences many would be curious as to exactly what happened to everyone else.

    Star Trek dodges the issue in part because we're seeing things almost exclusively through the eyes of Starfleet which, like most contemporary military and quasi-military institutions, tends towards its own particular monoculture.

    Gavin's death on Angel was rather gratuitous. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  3. darkwing_duck1

    darkwing_duck1 Vice Admiral

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    Wow...a Whedon-bashing thread on TrekBBS...there's something you don't see every day... :rolleyes:
     
  4. Cartoonist

    Cartoonist Captain Captain

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    Two possibilities:

    (1) They'd already incorporated Asian influences long before the genocide. There may have been peace for centuries before hatred flared, just as the Jews lived in Russia and Europe for centuries before the Pogroms and the Holocaust. At that point, there'd be no way to separate the Western influences from the Asian ones in their mixed culture. Current western cultures are a hodgepodge of influences from disparate peoples who used to be mortal enemies. You probably can't go a whole day without saying, eating or wearing things that were created by the British and other things that were created by the French, for instance.

    (2) Westerners didn't dislike Asians, Western GOVERMENTS (that may or may not have been totalitarian by then) decided to eliminate Asians. So there'd be no reason for the average Westerner to want to reject Asian cultural influences.
     
  5. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I rationalized that China got the better end of the Alliance and that the others we see most of the time in the series were those who got the short end. We don't see many Chinese fleeing the Alliance because they have the need.

    A more sinister way of looking at it is how oppressive the government in China seems now and perhaps the series is actually symbolic of American idealistic values vs. that (not that we always live up to those ideals).

    Mind you, I am not saying that is what Whedon necessarily had in mind but like I said my way to rationalize/interpret it. There are a number of possibilities of why there are so few Asians in the show and some are certainly more disparaging than others. It'd be interesting if any interviews ever broach this subject with the man who would know the answers.
     
  6. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Summer Glau is one of the worst actresses I've seen come along in recent memory, but I do enjoy Nathan Fillion's acting. He's got a natural quality, unlike Glau who seems to have taken acting lessons in a graveyard.
     
  7. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    Or maybe there was a plague that the Westerners were able to escape but the Chinese were not.
     
  8. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Most confusing thread EVAR.
     
  9. "Talent imitates, genius steals"

    "This has all happened before and will happen again"

    There isn't a writer alive who hasn't borrowed from other writers.

    "We all stand on the shoulders of giants."
     
  10. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    I dunno. It doesn't bother me too much. America has a certain cultural dominance and English is one of the most spoken second languages in the world but it wouldn't be odd if a person outside North America never visited the United States or knew any Americans.

    I definitely would have loved to have seen the Chinese side of the Alliance but it's nothing worth freaking out over.
     
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Yes,
     
  12. Dusty Ayres

    Dusty Ayres Commodore

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    Try telling it to the writer of the piece, and she'll cut your tounge out verbally-these young people NEVER listen or understand, or do a general look-around.

    What fetish has he used? None that I can see; he hasen't even engaged in a foot fetish like Quentin Tarantino does in his movies, save for issue #7 of the Buffy comic book and an epsiode of Firefly. And soft core porno insinuations are a little off-base.

    Casting call, anyone? Those are not hard to do; all you have to do is put an ad in the paper, and repeat as many times as nesscary.
     
  13. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    You've never seen a cute, petite, leather clad female beating up a big man on a Whedon show? Two really hot young femme girls in bed together? I must have messed up my PVR and been watching some other show. Sorry.
     
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    :cardie:
     
  15. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My point is that obviously they could go out of their way to find asian actors for specific roles, but if they're looking for the best actors without limiting themselves to a specific nationality, then the likelihood of them picking an asian out of the herd is pretty unlikely just because they make up such a small percentage of the acting population.
     
  16. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if Simon and River Tam were intended to be Chinese characters at some point. The names sound right and the characters seem to work well with being Asian (unlike say Jayne or Book IMO).
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I have, and I don't think he ever did that for sexual or pornographic intent.
     
  18. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which part were you having a hard time understanding?
     
  19. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Your taste, I'm guessing.
     
  20. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What's wrong with Nathan Fillion?
     

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