Digital Changeling

October 24, 2010

Eyes that See

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eva @ 12:09 pm

I had a reminder this week of just how lucky I am. If a doctor said to me, you have to pay for $8,000 experimental eye surgery, that your insurance won’t cover, or you may lose your sight, I could pay it. Even if I couldn’t, I have friends and family who I could borrow that kind of money from.

I guess it’s not that I think I’m lucky. It’s that the world is unfair. In this case it’s unfair in my favor.

Emily doesn’t have that kind of advantage. She’s been told to come up with $3000 by the end of the month (literally less than two weeks after surgery) to pay the balance on the surgery for her first eye. She also has to come up with an additional $4000 if she wants to be seeing out of two eyes in the future.

I don’t know Emily. She’s a friend of a friend who I’ve never met.

I sent her money anyway. I can’t make the world fair. I can make it a little bit less awful. You can help with that too.

July 2, 2010

Thoughts on Race and Avatar: the Last Airbender

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eva @ 4:06 pm

There’s been a lot of controversy over the casting of Avatar: the Last Airbender. You can read a good summary of the controversy here. I’m a fan of the original series (haven’t quite finished the final season yet), and have not seen the movie.

A friend of mine recently reviewed the movie. I want to respond to one of the things that he said.

The regionalization is there to make it palatable for everyone: Whites, Asians, Indians, Blacks, everyone, not just a single culture, which I think is reasonable.

I’m not sure where he got the idea that everyone in the TV show was a “single culture.”

The original series reflects a bunch of different cultural and ethnic groups. The people from the four nations are very distinct in how they live (and how they look). Even areas within the nations are vastly different in their customs and attitudes. Good examples would be the two parts of the water tribe or the many different earth kingdom villages they visit.

If you want to correlate the people in the TV series to cultures on modern Earth (which is a little silly from my point of view and certainly not 1:1), there are influences ranging from the native peoples of Canada and Alaska, to the inhabitants of Korea, China, Tibet, Japan, and some parts of Southeast Asia. That’s a range of many thousands of miles and many distinct cultural groups.

Not every cultural or ethnic division has to do with what color your skin is or “the races” as defined by American mainstream culture.

On a more personal note, I love Katara. I relate to her in the series because she’s smart, loyal, and plays a pivotal role in actively shaping the story. How she looks has nothing to do with it.

The only sad thing for me is that I will probably never be able to cosplay as Katara. Choosing to “be” a character is, in costuming circles, close to the highest complement you can pay them. But I’m a white woman, with sandy blond hair. Especially with the controversy of the movies, there is no way that I could portray her that wouldn’t offend people. It would telegraph the exact opposite of my feelings about her.

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