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You know, I feel as though I am underrepresented in today’s media.
Tch, sure, but then that one doo-doo toward the bottom’s got squinty eyes, and bucked teeth.
*Sigh* the world is such a horrible place…
That is a very thoughtful way of expressing your apology. All men should act in this manner.
As long as I’ve been visiting your site I’ve been really struck with how available you are. It’s something that I really respect about you. In no way do you put yourself above your fan base, but instead you strive to include us all in the process of making and producing your comic. It’s been a pleasure to read and even, I feel, to get to know you to some extent.
There’s no reason why you should particularly care what I have to say on the issue, but I thought I would share some of my feelings about stereotypes with you anyway. I think it’s almost useless at this point to speak broadly about the matter at hand, so I’ll just share some of my personal experiences.
I am an atheist.
It’s a simple enough sentence, but it’s something that I’m always afraid to say. All it really means is that I don’t believe in any gods. The word “atheist,” though, seems to fill people’s minds with ideas of either truly evil people with no regard for morality or pretentious and stuck-up philosophers who have no respect for others.
Is there a grain of truth in either of those two stereotypes? Yes, definitely(but only the second one…)! It’s true that some atheists are so bitter that they treat people with sarcasm in place or respect. The insensitive comments of a subset of very vocal atheists formed a stereotype that I now have to live with.
I value the will to understand one another above all other things. Broad generalizations are convenient, but they often overshadow specifics. If you can’t look past stereotypes, when you look at me you will see someone who is less than human.
Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. If you have comments, I’d love to hear them. All that being said, I think we’ll all understand if you’d rather just move past this issue and go back to talking about comics.
Today’s is great, by the way.
I know this is old hat, but I’d like to add that the comic itself is a spoof/celebration of manga. So the emoticon/Knives/schoolgirl thing was more of an homage created by the writer (who is Korean, although I understand he doesn’t speak for the entire continent of Asia). But in fact Knives is a MUCH stronger character in the movie. And I thought she was wonderful. Good thing her ninja dad didn’t pop up, I guess.
The dragons, the Bollywood, and all those things are far from racist. I don’t even understand the problem about Evil Ex #4 being having a weak spot being a bad thing. So I do agree with Ethan’s points about hypersensitivity here.
Although, her point about feeling underrepresented and marginalized was on point. I see that a lot in movies. Men are stupid, women are needy, homosexuals are sex-crazed, and racial stereotypes reign supreme.
Thanks for the kind words. One problem I have had is the moment I say someone shouldn’t get so worked up about stereotypes and generalizations, they immediately assume I mean there is no bad stereotype and there is no bad generalization. Also, the word generalization includes the word “general” which means “not all but most”, yet people constantly interpret generalizations as saying “all”.
My main point is that there are good and bad stereotypes. Getting worked up about ALL stereotypes is going to set someone up for a pretty crummy life. This is why I reacted to Keisha the way I did, because of all the real racism and lies that are spread, she was taking a stand against Scott Pilrgrim of all things. It’s just the equating of all forms of stereotypes that makes them all meaningless, and if you can not generalize you can not discuss anything, ever.
Anyway, I have no beef with your atheism in the least. I assume most of my readers are atheist/agnostic and probably politically opposite me. I’m the odd man out here, so I appreciate your kind words.
If I may throw in my two cents, there are ways to make clever comedy that is observant about certain groups, and ways to make it just offensive. Stereotypes, if not used carefully, too often become the later. Also, it just seems cheep-not much thought has to go into making a stereotypical Asian comic relief character.
As for today’s comic, I’m torn. On one hand, it would make an epic color poster or desktop wallpaper. But on the other hand, that means hanging up a poster where half of it is filled with doody soldiers…
Ah, it seems the big man himself beat me to it
I haven’t seen the film yet… but I’d like to see it soon.
Even if the movie does not seem offensive, years of stereotypes in the media have left a lot of people understandably sensitive. Even something totally innocent can release years of built-up tension.
It’s fair to say that people should try to be less sensitive about some things, but at the same time you should try to understand where they are coming from. In the end I think it’s all about understanding. Wow. Three forms of that word in one post. I need to go find a thesaurus, stat.
Thanks for your reply, Ethan!
I’m glad that this turned into a really respectful discussion.
You have a lot of good points. I agree that it is wise to take care picking your battles. I wish I had seen Scott Pilgrim already so I could comment on the movie. I guess one thing that I feel I should add is that a lot of people have a lot of old wounds when it comes to these stereotypes. I think we all know that when someone is really stressed, even something really minor can set them off.
I do think that it’s strange that you assume that your readership is atheist/agnostic for the most part. Now I’m really curious about the religious breakdown of our “congregation.”
Take care everyone, I’m going to sleep. (it’s late in Korea)
Holy walls of text, Batman!
Well, when it comes to discussions on faith and stereotypes, I’m a big, tattooed, razor skulled, Mennonite pastor. Figure that one out!
Axe Cop is big in my circles. I think you’ve got a really diverse fan-base, Ethan.
That is a wonderful peace offering. I hope all involved are feeling better.
Chad, you big tatooed razor-skulled Mennonite pastors are all the same.
I’m very represented in modern media. Just not the kind I like.
Even with everything that seems to be happening with whatever stereotypes there may be, I just wanted to concur and encourage your original statement that set this whole thing afoot. Having him direct Axe Cop I think would be an exciting and extremely colorful display.
P.S. I’m proud to say that I am rocking out the mustache (which includes dealing with whatever Paul Blart comments there are out there because I do mall security) but rocking it out none the less specifically for a Halloween Axe Cop costume to be teamed up with a friend of mine with his slight Dr McNinja obsession… It will be epic.
As another South Asian…yay!
Well observed, Diacanu, but you still disgust me.
Holy doody soldier.
First of all, caring is not a zero sum game. I can care and do activism work on, say, Prop. 8 measures as I can voice my disappointment over the racial attitudes over a movie I wanted to like very much (Scott Pilgrim). It surprised the hell out of me, because I wasn’t expecting to see the casuallly presented things I saw (I loved Knives growing so much as a person that she could stand on her own at the end, BTW).
Sometimes activism and entertainment even intersect!
My 6 year old cousin, for example, who loved pretending to be Aang from Avatar The Last Airbender, a Nick cartoon with asian heroes and culture! Well, when the movie version was announced- the live action one direct by Shymalan? When my little cousin saw that the hero Aang and his companions where recast in the movie version as white kids.. he was confused. He was wondering why Aang “got changed” from heroes that looked like him and his friends. He actually asked me it it meant -he- wasn’t supposed to be Aang anymore. It broke my heart.
So I suppose it does mean that under or mis-representation hits harder than it might for someone who, culturally or whatever, isn’t personally affected by it.
This was a very, very big gesture. First, you acknowldged exactly what you did. You explained why without looking to excuse the behavior. You showed a willingness to step towards empathy when you said “I do need to be more sensitive to people when they are sensitive about things that I am not sensitive about.” because that is the first and BIGGEST step to greater empathy.
And then you went above and beyond, and included me which is something I could not have forsaw in a JILLION years. I admit, I teared up a little because this was a very, very gracious gesture.
I feel honored in helping fight the bad guys. I feel grateful that you were able to use this moment to learn about yourself and the impact your actions can have on others, and hopefully you can encourage your readers to do the same.
Despite our dustup last week, I have been printing out the comic and reading and giggling along with my cousin. And now I can poit out the cameo and REMIND him, yes we have our secret attacks, too!
Well, as another asian(Filipino), yey!
Huh. I thought that character was a white girl with her eyes closed.
Ethan—I love that yoy combined this truly classy gesture with a page full of poop soldiers.
I’m glad everyone has reconciled their differences, but as a doody soldier, I’m offended by how my people are portrayed in this comic!
Wow, somebody is whining because Scott Pilgrim didn’t have a bisexual southern asian? Get the hell over yourself.
Long time reader, first time writer.
First a few things:
I’m a half-native american half portuguese republican christian engaged to a lovely half-texan half-phillipino catholic libertarian woman and I hated the Scott Pilgrim movie not because of the stereotypes, but because I feel it could’ve been better (aka: if it was a cartoon, and not that terrible flash animation Adult Swim put together overnight.) Me and my wife to be find racial and sexist stereotypes funny because when they’re funny, they’re awesome. We also agree and stand behind you Ethan on your opinion, but I feel you kinda worded it wrong, but, whatever.
That said… YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN A LIVE ACTION MOVIE OF AXE COP BY THAT ONE GUY THAT DID TWO PRETTY FUNNY BRITISH MOVIES? An animated feature film by, oh, I don’t know…
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