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A Word About the Last Airbender Casting - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
A Word About the Last Airbender Casting
I have heard about the Avatar casting. I find it hard to speak about it with any degree of civility so most of the times, I don't even try.

So I decided to do something about it and I'm urging everyone who is as bothered about this as I am to do the same:

1, Letters to Paramount. (Here's a guide on how to do it properly.) Let them know that the institutionalized racism brought about the re-casting of "21" and "EarthSea" is no longer an acceptable way to do business.

2, Letters to the Media. ) Here's a list of email addresses. i09.com has picked up the story so yes, this does work.

3, Most importantly: Keep your money in your pocket. Yes and that means: "no watching it for the lulz." Actions always speak louder than words. Yes, by then it will be too late to change the casting - but hopefully, it will just be in time to stop the sequels. But most importantly, Hollywood might - just might - begin to understand that the commercial "advantage" of casting White people to play Asian roles in an Asian fantasy might just be over-weighed by the fact that no one will come to watch that movie.

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Current Mood: determined determined

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Comments
r0ck3tsci3ntist From: r0ck3tsci3ntist Date: December 20th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't even bring myself to look at screencaps of EarthSea (one of my all time favorite fantasy series). Ged was BROWN people!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 28th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read EarthSea but even without that, I knew something was off with the movie. I read an interview by le Guin where she explained how disappointed she was with the movie adaptation. The lengths to which racist agendas are furthered in the entertainment industry, of all things, would be amusing if it wasn't so ... disheartening. :(

P.S. I hope you had a Merry Christmas. *hugs*
lesbiassparrow From: lesbiassparrow Date: December 20th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder why it was this that was the straw that broke the camel's back? After the casting for Prince of Persia, I just gave up on Hollywood ever even bothering to try and cast someone who looked even remotely appropriate, let alone bothering to actually cast someone non-White. And it's not even that they're white; they're the whitest people I've seen. And I'm Irish!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 28th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really don't know. Perhaps it's the universal popularity of the Avatar movies. I didn't even know about the casting of the Prince of Persia movie until you posted this here.

I've done a lot of reading on this and you're right in saying that this is a long overdue reaction - le Guin's Earthsea, 21, to mention a few... It's kind of depressing because what is the guarantee that things will change this time around? But talking about it and doing something about it will make people feel better - I know it makes me feel better.

Happy Holidays!!!
fialleril From: fialleril Date: December 22nd, 2008 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this. I'm so outraged about this I haven't even been able to make a post.

Damn Hollywood racists.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 28th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so outraged about this I haven't even been able to make a post.
I know exactly what you mean. I haven't been able to respond/react properly to any of the posts on the avatar_fans community or f-list LJs. There's a small part of me that is still hoping that this is all a big joke.

Damn Hollywood racists.
Word.

P.S. Happy Holidays!

Edited at 2008-12-28 01:49 pm (UTC)
fialleril From: fialleril Date: December 29th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I keep thinking I need to make a post about it, though. I'm working my way up to it.

P.S. Thanks! Happy Holidays to you too! *hugs*

P.P.S. I'm so sorry I have read your new Kaleidoscope chapters yet! I'm a huge failure as a beta. I'm really hoping to have some time tomorrow for thorough reviews, though.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 29th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I know exactly how you feel. It's too ugly and too important to know where to even begin to talk about; and then there's the fact that the reactions of some people to it is so irrational and crass that it's hard to talk about this rationally and objectively.

Don't you worry about Kaleidoscope. Although I won't be able to keep my resolution and finish it before the 31st, I will still complete it before the end of January. It might be better to just read it all at a stretch.

I wish you a blessed 2009!
fialleril From: fialleril Date: December 31st, 2008 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I've been reading a lot of the other posts that have been made, and I think people have been doing a pretty good job teasing out all of the issues. But then, of course, there are all the ridiculous replies from people who just don't get it, and I'm not sure I can deal with that sort of failure to understand right now. Ugh.

Best of luck completing Kaleidoscope! And blessings for 2009!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 31st, 2008 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
But then, of course, there are all the ridiculous replies from people who just don't get it, and I'm not sure I can deal with that sort of failure to understand right now. Ugh.

Ugh exactly! It's like - how can you not understand why this.is.a.big.deal? Like the guy at TFN that "thinks and observes" a lot about racism but doesn't see what the big deal is, at least until Paramount makes an official statement saying that yes, they did have a racist agenda when they made the casting (sarcasm), and in the meanwhile, the people who are complaining are "insecure fans" when we're not being "parnoid minorities". Or like an LJ I clicked on by mistake - big mistake - and read something of the lines of "the fantards would have wanked regardless of who was cast" and I am still too upset to respond to that.


*le sigh* It's the stupid and the ugly like these that make me so despondent about the whole thing. I mean, if the fans still need someone to explain to them why.this.is.wrong then what hope do we have for the Average Joe on the street?
fialleril From: fialleril Date: January 1st, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it must be some kind of defensive reaction. It's hard for white folks to admit just how rampant and deeply entrenched in our culture racism really is. And sometimes it seems like, here in America, it's even more difficult, because we've never really dealt with the history of slavery and racial oppression as a nation. So I think people put up blinders, because if they started seeing racism in Hollywood, then they might start seeing it at work, or at home, or in everyday mundane things that they've never even thought about before. And then they might have to confront their own complicity in it.

It's oh so much easier to just not see what the big deal is.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: January 1st, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think people put up blinders, because if they started seeing racism in Hollywood, then they might start seeing it at work, or at home, or in everyday mundane things that they've never even thought about before. And then they might have to confront their own complicity in it.

*sigh* That, sadly, makes a lot of sense.
sunlit_music From: sunlit_music Date: December 22nd, 2008 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
It's disgusting how Hollywood keeps on casting white people to play Asian characters. Your suggesting that people should not pay to see the movie to send a loud message against racist casting is a great idea. I'll post emails to the media about this too.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 28th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll post emails to the media about this too.

That's the idea. Thanks for spreading the word. Maybe I'm being too optimistic about this but I think we can make enough of a stink to do something. Think of what happened to Golden Compass last year.

P.S. Happy Holidays!!!

Edited at 2008-12-28 01:51 pm (UTC)
knight_ander From: knight_ander Date: December 23rd, 2008 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I hesitate to get involved in this without hearing any official response to the casting controversy from the creators of the show, but one of the small things that gets me is that I've mainly seen arguments about the color of the characters' skin, but I haven't heard anyone bring up the fact that Kattara and Sokka both have blue-eyes, which I don't think is an Inuit trait, is it? Strangely enough, the actors chosen for those roles both have green-eyes, from what I can tell.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: December 28th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hesitate to get involved in this without hearing any official response to the casting controversy from the creators of the show

Are you really expecting to hear something other than the usual Public Relations BS from Paramount & Nickledeon? As for Mike and Bryce, it would be nice if they followed le Guin and spoke against the casting, but I won't be surprised if they don't. It won't be in their interest financially and they may be contractually obligated not to. I think the fact that they created an Asian world populated with a very Asian-looking cast speaks for itself.


but one of the small things that gets me is that I've mainly seen arguments about the color of the characters' skin, but I haven't heard anyone bring up the fact that Kattara and Sokka both have blue-eyes, which I don't think is an Inuit trait, is it?

Actually, the eye colours for the characters are symbolic of their Elements: blue for Water; gold (fiery) for Fire; grey for Air; brown for Earth. But to answer your question, there are light-eyed Asians: to use a famous example: Aishwarya Rai, best known for being Lalita "Elizabeth Bennet" in Bride and Prejudice has light-coloured eyes. I really don't know how the theory came about that only Caucasians have light eyes.

On the other hand, even if we existed in a world where only White people were allowed to have blue eyes, it still doesn't explain away the casting. Eye-colour was not a determining factor in selecting actors to play iconic roles like Harry Potter or Clark Kent. The film makers and film audience didn't care enough for Dan Radcliffe or Tom Welling to need to wear contact lenses. It's already disappointing that Hollywood is still holding onto its racial double standards but what is even sadder is that those standards are also being subscribed to by members of the audience.
knight_ander From: knight_ander Date: December 28th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, didn't realize that about the eyes and the relationship to the elements.
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