Asian Philosophies

anonymous asked:

I don't know if you've discussed this before, but what are your views on Scarlet Johanson being cast as the lead in GitS? I know lots of people believe this to be white washing, but there are divided opinions.

I’m of the firm opinion that Hollywood making a Ghost in the Shell adaptation is iffy in the first place when the original manga is so intrinsically tied to Japanese history. The manga itself was a reflection and reaction to post-war Japan’s economic dependence on technology, and a lot of its power comes from the emotional nuance that the author threaded into its story as someone who grew up in that time period. One of the primary themes of the manga is how technology blends with Eastern philosophy. The fact that Hollywood decided to grab at the monumental task of adapting this franchise without understanding the weight of it offends me as a storyteller. Even then, I might have watched it if the cyberpunk aesthetic was pretty enough.

However, in my view, proceeding to cast Scarlett Johansson as the main character is nothing short of a disgrace. In the end, that is the reason why I am choosing to not watch the film. Now, hang onto your hat, anon, this is going to be a long ride under the cut:

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For the first time in a billion years I L O V E the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest without any kind of doubt but I’m scared shitless that tumblr will just label it as racist and appropriative (lyrics are all in Italian and people on this god forsaken website tend to Never Do Their Reaserch Before They Open Their Piehole) when it’s THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT

The title literally means “The Westerner’s Karma” and it parodizes westerners thinking themselves knowledgeable, masters even, of Asian cultures/philosophies/traditions because they once took a yoga class or the googled “buddhism” and became overnight experts. While when you actually look at them up close they just look like “naked dancing monkeys” making fool out of themselves.

youtube

This video provides a basic explanation for how to become a Buddhist. All Buddhists, regardless of their sect, take refuge in the Triple Gem. 

The Triple Gem is a vow to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, similar to how taking the Shahada makes one a Muslim. 

Buddhists also vow to follow the Five Precepts, which are to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and the consumption of intoxicants. 

Only monastics are expected to follow the Five Precepts perfectly. For example, lay Buddhists may consume alcohol, but they are expected to use moderation. 

Also, monks and nuns are strictly vegetarian, as to avoid killing, while lay people might only abstain from meat on certain days of the religious calendar. 

Embodying Kafka’s principle of monopolized narration, the narrator is a Chinese historian who seeks to reconstruct two interrelated aspects of his country’s history: the building of the wall and the institutional problems of imperial rule…

But the narrator is also painfully aware of the sheer endlessness of this field of inquiry -the enormity of the wall’s construction and its obscure justifications- as well as of his own intellectual limits. Hence his scholarly efforts are bound to yield only subjective conjectures and incomplete insights that remain as fragmentary as the many fragments of the wall itself.  

…Through the historian’s endlessly self-interrogating stance, Kafka questions the conventional ethnographic assumption that only cultural self-representation, that is, the native point of view, can yield authentic and legitimate knowledge of a culture, whereas the outsider’s interpretation could at best amount to a partial approximation attained by empathy and dialogue with the natives. Kafka shows that even an extremely learned scholar of Chinese history can offer only contradictory speculations and unverifiable hypotheses about his own tradition, never attaining an objective reconstruction of the way ‘things really happened’.

The past thus remains essentially irretrievable and incomprehensible, and the narrator’s inability to reconstruct his own cultural past casts a skeptical light on one of the basic assumptions of traditional hermeneutics: namely, the possibility of attaining an authentic understanding of the past on the basis of empathy with one’s subject matter.

—  A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia, by Richard T. Gray

I don’t really post my thoughts on tumblr but I’ve been doing a good amount of research into modern South Asia and I just gotta talk about it, particularly Swami Vivekananda who I have rediscovered in a secular context during my studies.

Swami Vivekananda is a severely underutilized resource by leftists, outside the Vedantan and Hindutva traditions he is basically unheard of, which really is a shame. His perception of spiritual capacity as innate to all people and not determined by caste, faith or ethnicity was huge in its effect on the 19th century Hindu reform movements as well as the struggle against colonialism and caste discrimination, particularly the Dalit rights movement.

His rejection of colonialism using a syncretism of native Hindu thought and anti-capitalist thought influenced the majority of Indian nationalist and revolutionary thinkers and helped recover the intellectual confidence of an entire group of colonized peoples, while also remaining critical of the deep inequalities of pre-colonial Indian society and promoting a programme of the liquidation of privileges of the propertied classes and giving the toilers their due share in the national wealth.

He, in the 1890s, predicted and supported Sudra(workers/peasants) revolutions but said that Marx was wrong in where they would happen. Saying that instead of in industrialized Western European states, that sudras/workers would seize power in either Russia or China first.

In 1893 he was a delegate for Hinduism at the world parliament of religions, which in many respects was a convention influenced in equal parts by western Christian chauvinism and orientalism; the intent being to put a series of foreign religions on display and then debated into submission by westerners. But he spoke so convincingly and well that he essentially leveled the playing field and allowed for a degree of authentic interfaith dialogue at a conference designed to assert Christianity as dominant.

The intellectual and revolutionary history of India is so remarkably rich and so often ignored. Leftists tend to see India as only Gandhi, Nehru and the Naxals but thinkers like Vivekananda offer valuable historical, theological and ideological insights and contributions not only to our understanding of modern India but the effects of colonization on people’s identities, religious and social practices as well as society as a whole. Everyone from Hindutva nationalists to the Gandhians to the various Communist Parties of India hail him as a revolutionary thinker and the base of their respective ideologies.

Modern leftists should really utilize his socio-political works, as his philosophical contributions were central in the foundations of one of the largest and most impactful anti-colonial struggles in history. The CPI stated, “That there is enough food and ammunition in Vivekananda’s works to last all who are searching for India’s social, cultural and spiritual development.” Vivekananda was a revolutionary, a socialist and a proponent of state secularism, while also being a key figure in reforming Hinduism and Vedanta towards social action and inclusivity. His influences can be found in nearly every contemporary Indian political movement. I would go as far as saying that Vivekananda’s impact on South Asian intellectualism and philosophy is similar to that of Kant’s impact on the development of western philosophy, in that almost every thinker and intellectual movement after him is either based on or addresses Vivekananda’s works on spirituality, humanism, nation, and ethics.

All right, once again:

YIN IS NOT EVIL AND YANG IS NOT GOOD.

The equation of darkness with evil and light with goodness is a very specifically Christian and Zoroasterian construct that does not exist in East Asian philosophy. I mean, how racist do you have to be to believe that Asians hold the balance of good and evil as a central tenet of our faith and culture? You think we’re amoral fucks like you?

Stop projecting your **edgy** and **kewl** morality on us and using a distortion of our philosophy to validate yourselves. It’s all you, not us, who got it into your head that evil is somehow equal with good or the two have to be in balance. Get the fuck out of here with that nonsense.

Wabi sabi is an aesthetic philosophy so intangible and so shrouded in centuries of mystery that even the most ambitious Japanese scholars would give it a wide berth and uphold the Japanese tradition of talking about it only in the most poetic terms. The Japanese have an admirable tendency to leave the unexplainable unexplained, as is the case with Zen, whose most profound teachings cannot be communicated by verbal explanations. Zen believes words are the fundamental obstacle to clear understanding. The monks seek to reach their goal of enlightenment not through learning but by the unlearning of all preconceived notions of life and reality.
—  “Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence”, Andrew Juniper
Iron Fist

Short Summary: It was pretty subpar and not as good as it could have been.

Long Summary: So this is interesting. First I am going to address the meta…because I have to.

The Meta

I like Danny Rand. I like Danny Rand as a character. I like Danny Rand as a hero.It goes without saying, Iron Fist came around in the wrong time period and that hurt the perception of Iron Fist.  One of the prevailing themes of Iron Fist aka Danny Rand is that he struggles with two different worlds: corporate New York and Shaolin Monastery. And for the character to work and that these themes to come across effectively, he has to be white. Now watching a white guy be hailed as the greatest kung fu master is like reading the top five rapper list with Eminem, Iggy Azalea and Macklemore ahead Biggie, Tupac, and Nas. It is fucking infuriating to see this character’s uniqueness relies on Eastern Mysticism and Martial Arts. What also hurt Danny Rand is that he is a rich white billionaire, a flavor that is long played out with the likes of Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, and the guy who is the ATOM. It also hurts that rich white billionaire men are like…not really in style as being touted as a good guy.

But as a fan of Iron Fist and many Street level heroes, Danny Rand is like my own personal guilty pleasure because it reads like an Urban Fantasy Kung Fu story. Iron Fist was essentially born out the era where kung fu movies and blaxploitation films were huge, an era I like to call the diamond age because “gold” does not quite describe it. Kung fu was so huge that there were movies about Kung Fu sex. Could you picture that? IT’S INSPIRING!

However, I know it frustrating to witness this blonde haired blue eyed white guy spout Eastern philosophical sayings while being patronizing about his kung fu, as I imagine an Asian person would be.It also hurts that the narrative of Iron Fist makes him more right because…after all, he was raised in a monastery since he was a child. Although the series does it best to ensure that he is not Mighty Whitey(Danny Rand is constantly criticized as being the worst Iron Fist, his peer Davos says that “(Danny) stole the Iron Fist”, and generally his Eastern Asian philosophy puts people off), I am still in not in the “make Iron Fist Asian camp” because it does away other Asian characters who are still around and not being used…like Shang Chi. You know…the guy who also does Kung Fu, better than Danny, and is pretty much Marvel’s Bruce Lee. What I find odd about the Asian Representation Camp of Marvel is that I rarely see them bring up Shang-Chi when they reference Danny Rand in spite of Shang Chi being older than Danny Rand and, prior to the recent refocusing of Luke Cage, just as popular.

Danny Rand is white. It is part of his character. Making him Asian kind of ruins the point, and that kind of sucks. Sure, Iron Fist is a title, but for the time being, Danny Rand is the Iron Fist until he passes it to Pei. Does Iron Fist being white effect the quality of this series? Abso-fucking-lutely. It is fucking cringeworthy to see Finn Jones talk like an english dubbed kung fu action flick, but…it is not bad acting on his part because that is what Danny Rand talks like.

Also, they seem to be aware of this which is why Colleen Wing was the saving grace of this show. More on her later.

Okay I addressed the meta.

The plot structure and pacing

This show takes forever to get to the plot. The first four episodes of this series is very slow development as if it tries to expand what should have taken 2 episodes, tops, to do in four. I swear it is like they had Brian Michael Bendis write this. The first arc for this series is: is Danny Rand the real Danny Rand? which would be okay if we did not already know that he was indeed Danny Rand and the characters involved did not just drag it out. It took five episodes to finally reveal who exactly is the nemesis and what is going on. This was a choir to watch outside of Colleen Wing, who is by far a more interesting character than Danny Rand. After this slow start, the series picked up.

What hurt this series the most was this very slow introduction. It is any wonder where critics panned the series because things that weren’t explained in the first 6 episodes such as how the Iron Fist works and who exactly is the villain and what is what were not appropriately explained until much later.

You watch this show for Colleen Wing

Colleen Wing is the saving grace. Her action scenes have story and struggle to them, and while she is not the most athletic and fanciful, I like how the implemented Japanese culture and differentiated it from Danny’s Kung Fu. When Danny started using her Katana like a Wushu blade, Colleen called it out and said not to disgrace her Katana with that style and then proceeded to show her Japanese Kendo style. I came into this show hoping they did Colleen Wing justice and they did. She doesn’t have crazy spin attacks and seems to be the most grounded in style. She is Tatsu Yamsura done right.

Now Marvel, I want a Colleen Wing comic book yesterday.

SPOILER

And her being part of the Hand came out of left field. I know in the comics, it is mentioned that her mother was part of a Hand affiliated group called the Nail, a bunch of female assassins who raided the Japanese country and cityside. It is also worth pointing out that the arc that she worked with the Hand, functioned a lot like how Iron Fist presented the Hand(it was ran by Daredevil so… long story). I was legitimately surprised by that.

SPOILER Over

Inconsistencies in the plot

A lot of people have pointed this out, but Claire Temple being in the show hurts the logical story telling. For example, the majority of this show takes place in Manhattan, right? So while it makes sense that Claire would not call Luke Cage because he is in prison in Atlanta, and Jessica Jones, she has no experience in the Hand and quite frankly would not bother getting off her drunk ass to help out and travel from Queens, Matt Murdock is literally just South of her and Danny. I would not be surprised if this did not take place within his hearing range. He has the most motivation to fight the Hand and Claire knows him the most out of anyone. Just call him to help. 

There is also weird things about Danny such as him being able to drive in spite of living in a monastery where the best way to travel was a donkey and a cart.

The choreography and the cinematic choreography was pretty poor

I am not a cinematographer. Nor am I an expert on choreography. But there are some questionable camera work being done in this series pertaining to the fight scenes. Let me give a great example of choreography and camera work.

This is the Raid 2. You see how close the camera is to the action? It is not up in there to the point that it is shakey cam, nor is to far away. You see everything even when the camera pans out considerable distance. Also like to point out how the 2 actors are always visible and you can make out the emotion and intensity on their faces. This scene told a story without you knowing exactly the context was.

Iron Fist is utterly devoid of any of this outside of Colleen Wing. For one, there are these camera angles that are so confounding to me. Like when Danny is fighting the Drunken Kung Fu guy, the camera some times pans out way too far to the point that they aren’t even the center or focus of the shot. And they kept doing this during Danny’s fights in general, only getting close to the action during the finisher and exchanges. There is also the issue of the choreography not measuring up to the content that the series should have catered to. Iron Fist should have been on par with Ip-Man or Kung-fu Assassins for choreographical inspiration. Instead, it’s this poor man’s Raid style that you see in Arrow. It works for Daredevil, but it falls apart for a series like Iron Fist.

Iron Fist is supposed to be this Kung Fu Urban Fantasy. And it’s a shame that Into The Badlands instantly recognized this and has no shame of producing this type of action while Iron Fist shies away from this.

It also hurts that Finn Jones does not seem to want to learn how to perform these maneuvers or at least become athletic enough to do them.

Final Score: Come on, Marvel. 

I also like to point out that there are Asian characters who are not getting any shine like Silk. Like Jennifer Takeda. Like Shang-Chi. Instead of making a character who is the living embodiment of “Weeb” Asian, use characters whose entire existence centers around the Asian experience.

Stop Saying Star Wars is Buddhist or Taoist

I watched @attackfish‘s conversation on good/evil dualism in the Star Wars franchise and was amused that her interlocutor was denying such dualism existed in the series. As Fish and I discussed afterward, it is sometimes hard for people who live in a dominant thought system like the Christian duality to recognize that a) they actually subscribe to a very specific and non-universal worldview, and b) this view colors how they view everything else, because that’s what a worldview does.

Fish has a good breakdown in the linked thread on why the Jewish concept of yetzer hara does not map to the Dark Side of the Force as portrayed in the franchise. She also referenced poorly understood Buddhist and Taoist concepts, and as she pointed out, ideas from Buddhism and Taoism used in Star Wars are heavily distorted by a strict moral dualism that is alien to these traditions.

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suffering-hetalian  asked:

Ares, Eros, Athena

Ares: What small thing makes you angry?

Being rude to service employees for just doing their jobs.  Just because we’re paid to serve doesn’t make us the customer’s slaves to be obeyed.  And if we approach you to make a pitch about a sale, don’t rage at us because you want to be left alone: if you wanted to be alone, you should have stayed home.  And we get in trouble if we don’t engage the customer.  You don’t have to buy, just hear us out and be polite.  Don’t bitch out your tech support guy either (both the guy at work or the guy you’re calling to fix your home internet).  

Eros: How do you define your sexuality?

I’m a straight male, but I’m very picky about my potential partners.  I wouldn’t date a girl who I wasn’t comfortable raising a kid with, which carries a lot of ideas about morality, politics, economics, philosophy, education, and parenting.  Looks aren’t that important by comparison.

Athena: What is/was your best school subject?

I rarely lived up to my potential in school (hence why I dropped out) so my grades won’t really tell you what my best subjects were.  That being said, the classes I felt most comfortable in were philosophy classes (logic, ethics, metaphysics and epistemology, political philosophy, Asian philosophy and religion) and pure math classes (algebra, calculus).

anonymous asked:

given how so much of star wars was inspired by asian culture and philosophy, i've waited a long time to see respectful asian representation in star wars franchise instead of a few seconds of screentime, especially asian ladies. besides the asian actors in rogue one, i'm also very happy about kelly having a main role in the upcoming movie.

this message makes me so happy! you’re absolutely right, it was a late call but still i’m thrilled it happened and kelly is hopefully going to be the start of something amazing! i had no hope for kk’s future choices tbh but seeing how well kelly was welcomed among the fans during swco and after, i bet even she will realize what an important thing is to get represented!

Rules: Answer these questions and tag 9 people or more that you’d like to know better!

I got tagged by @bipermclean so i have to do this :0

Relationship status: Single.

Fave colour(s): Black, blue, green, cyan, gray.

Lipstick or chapstick: Chapstick, i have a candy-cane flavored one left over from christmas and it feels real good.

Last song I heard: Currently hearing Creeping Death by Metallica.

Last movie I watched: idk if it counts as a movie but i saw about 3 straight hours of Full House and im proud.

Books I am currently reading: Blood of Olympus, The Oracle Of Delphi, The Throne Of Fire.

Muh peeps: @audio-medic-cant-stop @bananaamari @sameirah @german-shield-grandpa @thatoverdramatictopfan @heroes-never-aaaugh @robotic-asian-death-monk @falafel-philosophy @fiveshots-nokills y’all don’t have to do it if you dont feel like it

More Excessively Detailed Howard & Vince Headcanons

Because why not? This was originally inspired by the questions in this post here, and then as I wrote, it grew and grew and grew, and now there are several mini-fics embedded within this big fat slice of headcanon-ing. 

This is for culumacilinte, to whom I promised this an an incentive to write chapter 5 of Pea (which she did, and it’s GLORIOUS), and for concupiscence66, who has kicked some serious ass this week in more ways than one and deserves all the presents.

Now, without further ado…

Can they use chopsticks?

Howard will go on at length about his extensive knowledge and deep understanding of various Asian cuisines, and the philosophies behind them, and of the development of and proper use of the chopstick–but no, he can’t actually use them. He’s tried, many times, but somehow it just never works. They never sit properly in his grip, his fingers get all confused, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t pick up anything. It just makes a big mess. He always ends up frustrated and embarrassed, so now he insists that his hands are simply too masculine and powerful for the chopsticks to handle without being overwhelmed, so he’ll stick with the noble fork, thank you very much.

Vince, of course, is a whiz with chopsticks, even when it comes to the fiddly stuff, and he wields them like he was born clutching a pair. He uses them every opportunity he gets, which Howard suspects is entirely for the purpose of simultaneously mocking him and showing off. (This is supported by the fact that Vince always smirks at Howard when he does so, his eyes glinting with–mischief? Mockery? Something else? Howard isn’t sure, but it makes him feel… strange.) Secretly, Howard is grudgingly impressed by Vince’s proficiency, but he’ll never admit it.

He’ll also never admit how distracting it is to watch Vince’s rather stubby little fingers navigate such a complicated task with such nimbleness and delicacy. Or how distracting it is to watch Vince’s mouth as he pops something into it and moans appreciatively…

No, he’ll never admit that.

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Art Writer’s Wednesday 18

Daehyun Kim aka Moonassi (b.1980, South Korea)

Korean artist Daehyun Kim, better known as Moonassi, is the author of a series of beautiful and intriguing black and white drawings. By mixing surreal and figurative imagery, Daehyun creates a voyage exploring human conditions and situation with a simple yet very unique way. Two year after his fist feature on Artchipel, we catch up with Artist to chat with us about his story, creative process and future projects.

Artchipel: Hi Daehyun, tell us about your education background and your practice.
Daehyun Kim: I was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1980. I majored in Oriental Painting. The word “Oriental” could make you confused. It’s actually a study of the old East Asian painting where I learned about related skills such as Ink wash painting, but also ancient East Asian philosophies and aesthetics.

A: You have been working on Moonassi drawing series since 2008. What does Moonassi mean?
DK: Moonassi is my artist name that I’ve been using since long ago. It was “무나 moonaa” at the beginning and has become “무나씨 moona-ssi” as people get used to the name. (“-씨 -ssi” is the most commonly used honorific forms of address in Korean, used amongst people of approximately equal speech level. It is attached at the end of the full name or simply after the first name if the speaker is more familiar with someone.)

“무나 moonaa” can be roughly translated as “There is no such thing as me”, or “Emptiness / Void in me”. When people call me “Moonassi”, it’s like if they are calling someone who has no identity. Isn’t it interesting?

A: You have a very distinctive identity. Could you share with us your creative process and how did you come to develop your aesthetic?
DK: At the beginning, I’ve never thought that my drawing is unique. But the more I draw, the more it became something special naturally. I just focused on what I really can draw, what I really want to draw, and what I prefer to use. The process is always changing. Usually I start with just a simple image that flashes across my mind, but sometimes I just concentrate on the subject or a word that I want to express. It’s almost like translating words into images.

A: You often put on stage one or several human figures with a very similar look, we can hardly identify their gender or age! Yet each of them seems to have a strong spirit and imparts a universal message to human hearts. Tell us a bit about these intriguing characters.
DK: The face with no expression actually is borrowed from old buddies painting which has always fascinated me since University. I thought that the face is perfect to conceal their feelings, because I don’t want to show directly if this guy is good or bad through their faces. The black simple suit that looks like underwear has been chosen to make you only focus on their gesture. I purposely don’t show the time, region or gender.

A: Do you have special rituals to get into creating mood?  
DK: Yeah I used to believe that there must be some special rituals to be able to create. For example, pushing myself into extremely bad or sad mood, sitting on the desk all night doing nothing like a zombie until something comes up in my mind, and so on. But now I’m trying to ignore these bad rituals. Somehow, now I can draw when I want to do. And I’m so happy that I can draw even during the daytime.

A: Which artists have inspired you the most?
DK: Interestingly, I’ve never got inspired by any contemporary artist. I’m more inspired by writings, songs and videos. I collect lots of images, songs and videos from Internet, but unfortunately, I forget easily artist’s names or artwork titles.

A: What has been your strongest memory to date as an artist?
DK: Sometimes, people send me a photo of his/her having my drawing tattooed on their skin. It’s really strange and beautiful to see my drawing on someone else’s body.

A: What is your project for the upcoming year?
DK: Making a new picture book, selling prints, hiking mountains and partying with friends more often, working less in the office and drawing more in my studio!

Thanks Daehyun for taking the time to answer the questions. Daehyun Kim can be found with updated posts on his Website and Facebook. His book Anonymous Drawing is available for purchase on Studiofnt.

[more Daehyun Kim aka Moonassi | Art Writer’s Wednesday with Artchipel]

The thing about Iron Fist though is that he’s not a white guy who appropriates the culture and then is expected to be better than them and save them. He’s the one who’s saved… he’s an orphaned white boy who is saved by Asian philosophy and taught by Master Lei Kung, and is someone who holds a deep love and respect for the culture. I’m normally the first one to say that Marvel needs to mix it up when it comes to having so many white characters. But making Danny Asian just because he’s a martial arts expert is kinda racist in its own pigeon-holing type of way. And Iron Fist’s love and respect for Asian culture is actually an important counterpoint to the Yellow Peril they portray in Daredevil that is problematic. Danny Rand is a bridge between two cultures. His story should paint a very positive picture and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

(Note that I actually would have loved to see an Asian actor play Iron Fist… it would have been awesome. I was also skeptical when they cast Finn Jones to play Danny because he’s not exactly the buffest dude but he looks like he’ll do a pretty good job.)