Katara: It’s not magic. It’s waterbending, and it’s- Sokka: Yeah, yeah, an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah. Look, I’m just saying that if I had weird powers, I’d keep my weirdness to myself.
So I wanted to talk a little about Katara, because I think we often focus on her grief for her mother, and forget her relationship to her culture, and her experience of the Southern Water Tribe genocide (unlike the Air Nomads genocide, which was for the greater partover after four big terrifyingly effective simultaneous strikes, this one took place over a long length of time - more than 40 years? 50? - and it wasn’t total, but it definitely was one. genocide = the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group, fwiw)
(Kanna’s village - before and after)
All of the Southern water benders were exterminated or taken away to rot in prison (where they all died eventually except for Hama). Katara was born the only bender left in the whole South Pole. Then when she was eight years old, she survived a raid that was meant to kill her, but took her mother instead (she probably was too young to realize that, to her it must have been a question mark up until she met Yon Rha - gratuitous cruelty? Why her mother in particular? They took nothing else!).
So Katara from a young age had a double burden to bear: that of her mother, and the legacy of her bending (and she was shown as painfully aware of her situation and what it meant on both front). But here’s the thing: Katara could be a mother, she was naturally good at it, and her grandmother could teach her what she didn’t already knew. Her family and tribe demanded that of her, they needed her to be that for them (especially after her father and the rest of the men basically abandoned them). However, there was no one left to teach her how to waterbend - she had almost no hope of ever becoming a master without formal training, her brother thought it was silly and weird and let her know, her grandmother thought it was a waste of time. But she kept practicing, because she knew how important it was, to her and to her tribe, that she kept trying (as the only one left who could).
(…an ancient art unique to our culture, blah blah blah…)
(Of course she would obsess over that waterbending scroll)
When she gets to the North Pole, she meets Pakku, and with him the opportunity of finally becoming a true master. But because she is a girl, he judges her unworthy. He judges her, the only remaining southern waterbender, unworthy of carrying on their culture. The Fire Nation didn’t care about the gender of their prisoners, men and women - they all fought side by side for their freedom in the South, and they were all taken away to the last one, and killed to the last one. In the South, the women had the choice to learn how to fight, or be defenseless. And privileged master Pakku couldn’t possible realize the extend of what he was denying her in that moment.
Katara had to prove herself, she had to earn her right to these teachings. And if she had been less good or less stubborn or not Kanna’s granddaughter - well the North would have refused their sister-tribe the power to use their common cultural heritage to fight back against the nation that destroyed them.
(It’s sexist and terrible.)
Meh, thankfully, she was that good, stubborn, and Kanna’s granddaughter, and she did get to become a master.
But, of course, her story doesn’t end here, and wrt her culture, the next chapter is a much more traumatizing experience. In the Fire Nation, she meets another master. This time it’s an old woman from the South like her (“You’re a waterbender! I’ve never met another waterbender from our tribe!”), and she is, ah, more than willing to help her.
Look how happy Katara looks at the idea to learn from her in particular:
Katara: I can’t tell you what it means to meet you. It’s an honor! You’re a hero. Hama: I never thought I’d meet another southern waterbender. I‘d like to teach you what I know so that you can carry on the southern tradition when I’m gone. Katara: Yes! Yes, of course! To learn about my heritage… it would mean everything to me.
But when Hama starts her lesson, the techniques she teaches have been obviously developed with one goal in mind: survival in enemy territory. They can’t possibly have been invented in the South Pole, where water is abundant everywhere. They are deadly and cruel, and the damage they do to the environment leaves Katara sad and uncomfortable, but Hama waves that off as unimportant. It doesn’t matter, she doesn’t have the time to worry about flowers or beauty or nature. To her that peace and beauty is probably just an illusion anyway, a lie: years after her escape she is still living the war, and war is ugly and rotten and messy (her world is ugly and rotten and messy - this is her comfort zone).
The last technique she teaches Katara is bloodbending. She forces Katara to learn something she finds disgusting, repulsive (just like Hama was forced to learn?) by torturing her (Hama was tortured), by overpowering her, invading her, making her lose control over her own body, bending her blood (Hama herself is clinging to the last remain of control she managed to get back after rotting in prison for years), and finally by threatening to have the two people she cares most about in the world kill each other right under her eyes (Hama lost everyone too, she had to say goodbye).
(Katara: But, to reach inside someone and control them? I don’t know if I want that kind of power. Hama: The choice is not yours. The power exists…and it’s your duty to use the gifts you’ve been given to win this war. Katara, they tried to wipe us out, our entire culture… your mother! Katara: I know. Hama: Then you should understand what I’m talking about. We’re the last Waterbenders of the Southern Tribe. We have to fight these people whenever we can. Wherever they are, with any means necessary! Katara: It’s you. You’re the one who’s making people disappear during the full moons. Hama: They threw me in prison to rot, along with my brothers and sisters. They deserve the same. You must carry on my work.)
And this, this, is the only truly southern waterbending Katara is ever going to learn. This is her tribe’s bending heritage, what’s left of it: blood, grief, suffering, hatred, loss of control over both your body and mind (because it’s terrible, but I think that’s what’s implied by the show: bloodbending makes you lose your mind. Hama’s only mean of regaining physical freedom ended up trapping her in another nightmare). Hama gifts her with a power she despises (but will use anyway in her darkest hour when she loses control) and a philosophy of violence and revenge.
Katara chose peace and forgiveness. As an adult, she will have bloodbending outlawed, she will become the greatest healer in the world, and she’ll teach her daughter, the next avatar, probably many others. These choices matter, and we should talk about them with that background in mind. Katara redefined her heritage - or rather she created a new one for herself: she refused the condition that was forced upon her (bloodbender) and ensured nobody could legally do to someone else what Hama did to her (and it’s implied this law is valid anywhere in the world). She transmitted Pakku’s warrior teachings, the ones she fought for, to the next generations (and did a great job of it!), but she also taught them how to heal, refusing to separate the arts as in Northern Water Tribe tradition - and healing was something she discovered by herself, that she felt was always a part of her. At that, she became the universally acknowledged best. Her legacy, despite everything that happened to her, will never be one of violence.
tl;dr: Katara is one of the strongest fictional characters ever created bye
Truth behind Asian Media & Entertainment companies
First of all, I decided to be anonymous because of course, I don’t want to lose my job. Any people I know in real life might find me in no time, so I don’t want to take the risk. I will be stating some examples, I’ll try to be less specific as possible so I wouldn’t give in the identity of the artists I’ll be talking about. Anyway, if ever I don’t make any sense explaining things, I apologize because English is not my first language.
Second, why am I writing this? I’ve been seeing indirect arguments between some Kaisoo shippers and some Kaistal shippers regarding SM Entertainment, etc.
I will have to be honest here: it kind of annoys me when some people drop statements about Asian media as if they know everything about it. Also, I feel really bad for the people who are manipulated. So, I decided to reveal what I know. But I wouldn’t be shocked if there are still people who will chose not to believe in what I have to say, so, I’m not here to force you to believe. I just wanted to share some truth behind BIG entertainment and media companies like SMent. (I emphasized BIG because not every companies does this because of the risks & because they’re not powerful enough like the BIG ones). I want you to be open minded about this, I don’t want everyone to be totally fooled.
Third, yes, I’m a fan of EXO, SNSD, f(x) and Shinee. They’re the only groups I thoroughly followed since the beginning. But I will not state who my biases are and who do I ship because it doesn’t matter, I will not be biased on my statements. I will be stating facts from real life experiences I have from studying and working in Asian media & entertainment industry. I won’t be on Kaisoo shippers’ side, nor Kaistal shippers’ side.
Lastly, I don’t work for SM Entertainment or any entertainment companies in South Korea. I work for a big media and entertainment company somewhere in Far East Asia (East and Southeast Asia, I’m sorry I don’t want to be very specific about this for obvious reasons). I’m not going to claim that everything I’m going to say about media companies are 100% evident and true in SM, but everything I’m going to say is a common practice among media and entertainment companies in East and Southeast Asia.
I will answer questions/arguments/assumptions that frequently come up because of the Baekyeon & Kaistal issue and this insider info in 2012. This is just an eye-opener for those who are not familiar w/ how the media & entertainment industry in Asia works. My purpose is to let you guys be aware of some of our practices, I don’t intend on going against any companies and any people.
Is everything scripted? What they say on interviews are scripted?
Not all the time. Expected and general questions are usually half scripted, half scripted because we only say the gist of what they have to say, we don’t require them to memorize everything, of course. This is for PR purposes, it’s for their image and the image of the company. The artists know it anyway, that they have to keep their reputation good no matter what. Also, it’s the company’s decision if the artist will have to keep quiet about a certain topic.
Are artists really packaged? Aren’t they showing their true personalities?
Not all the time. We only do this to artists who are considered important for the company, or the company’s favorites. One example is this actor-singer under our company, we debuted him with a manly image, a lady’s man type (because he really is handsome & looks manly). But in real life, he’s actually gay. There were scandals about him being gay because he was caught two times (he’s so stubborn about going out at night, I’ll talk about this later), 1st: w/ another actor from the same company, 2nd: w/ a male singer from the same company, but our company remained silent about it (it’s actually a strategy as well, keeping silent about a scandal, because if we refrain from talking about it, then people will forget eventually). So the company continued on giving him projects as if no scandal has ever happened. The journalist who reported both incidents later apologized in public, she/he received a lot of hate actually because the public really loves this guy whom they truly believe is straight. There is also this one singer whom we debuted as a “sexy-type” lady. But she’s actually the girly and shy type in real life.
Are artists really paired beforehand?
Again, not all the time because we only do this to important and favorite artists of the company. We choose those who look physically good together. Actually, there’s a certain pair that has no chemistry at all in real life, like they don’t even care about each other (but they became friends eventually since they’re always together). They each have their own private romantic relationships w/ non-celebs, but since they look physically good together, they were paired. So our company reported & confirmed that they are dating in real life (I’ll talk about fake dating later). But fans saw the guy with another girl recently (even took a picture), but the company remained silent about it, as always. Probably soon, they will release a statement that “they’re only friends” if the issue is still alive for a long time. BUT! There are paired artists who eventually started real romantic relationships because they actually fell in love. Like this dancer couple (who got married) and these two singers (who, sadly, broke up). ALSO, there are a few real relationships whom we took advantage of IF and only IF they are famous & are loved by fans as a couple (this is kind of rare though).
Is fake dating really a thing/marketing strategy?
Yes. If we learned that a lot of people loves seeing them together, then we will show what the public wants to see. But we mostly do this to create hype for both artists & their future activities, and of course, the profit that the company can get from it. But what if the public suddenly doesn’t want to see them together? How about the fans who would be brokenhearted? This will be bad for both artists! Honestly and unfortunately, the company doesn’t care. It’s true that we consider all publicity as good publicity. We actually have this phrase: success from scandal. After the scandal (any kind of scandal actually) arose, we will not bring that up ever again. We’ll continue giving the artist their activities to still promote them, & proceed as if nothing happened. This is very effective actually. Anyway, I saw someone said that why would they do this to get attention, they’re already famous! Because we only use the “reporting/confirming a fake relationship strategy” for artists who are already famous. We will never get the attention we want if we suddenly report that there are two not-so-famous artists dating.
Do entertainment companies have control over what other media reports?
Yes. But only those big, influential & powerful companies can do that, especially those who have partnership w/ other media companies. Those who have the money. Even the government and powerful politicians can control what the media reports. Media practitioners actually have this code of ethics like others have, but there are still people who chose not to follow (journalists who accept bribes!!!). But that’s a different story. You know, money is such a powerful thing. You can’t underestimate money when it comes to businesses.
Does the company have control over everything involving the artist?
Basically yes, since the artist have to ask permission before doing anything that the company didn’t ask them to do. Like, even if the artist has free time, they still have to ask for permission if they can have a vacation on a certain place, or if they can hang out with this person. There are artists who are stubborn about asking for permissions actually, they sneak in and do what they want. Because of their stubbornness, scandals may arise (it happened for a few artists actually, like what I mentioned earlier). If that artist is very important for the company, we will still keep him/her even if he/she is very stubborn. But of course, we will warn him/her, but we will offer some benefits for them to obey and stay w/ the company. If the artist is not so important, we will have to ask him/her the question: “this or the company/contract/career”. So yeah, company favorites are pretty much treated very differently than the others.
In conclusion: here’s a famous saying, “truth is stranger than fiction”, w/c is true in so many different cases. Remember thatNOT EVERYTHING shown is TRUE especially about celebrities who are under a contract w/ very big companies and agencies. We will never fully know every truth about these artists, especially their true feelings, personalities, relationships, sexuality, and their private lives. As for Baekyeon & Kaistal and others, since the insider info was posted in 2012 and what stated there are actually practiced in the entertainment industry, there’s a high probability that the couples are fake. There’s also a possibility that they’re real and SM just took advantage of it, but it’s less likely. BUT, we will never know if they actually felt something for each other or not. Maybe they did fell in love w/ each other, or they actually have other romantic relationships that the public doesn’t know. Or they’re actually single. Who knows. There are many possibilities but they only know the truth themselves, of course.
I have nothing against SM, any people, any ships. The sole purpose of this is to be an eye opener for those who are not familiar w/ the media & ent industry in Asia. I am not claiming that everything I said are 100% evident and true in SM Ent, but everything I said is a common practice in Asia, and is true in my country and our company. What I said is true & are based on my experiences.
I didn’t include links, pictures, other proofs because I don’t want to give in my identity, my nationality, and the company I work in.
I’m a lazy but busy person, I wouldn’t waste my free time writing this if they were all lies. But I know that there are still people who will chose not to believe, but who am I to force you? Just remember this: themedia and entertainment industry is very manipulative, DON’T let media control and fool you. There are many studies, research, and theories regarding the media and its effects on the public (when I was in college, we memorized a lot of theories regarding media and its effects, just search about it if you’re interested, you’ll understand media even more!). And even though media has negative effects on the public, they will still continue with their doings. Because it’s business. It’s the industry. It involves money.
So yeah, in general, don’t be fooled. Also, there’s nothing wrong w/ questioning the media because you have the right anyway (because remember? media claims to “serve” the public, entertainment companies claim to “do this for the people”).
Have a good day! Let’s have peace w/ one another :)
everyone is going on and on about how horrific or how great the beauty and the beast “explicitly gay moment” is but it’s literally just le fou dancing with another dude?? like?? how is that explicitly gay?? apparently straight dudes dont dance (not that le fou isn’t gay, this just isn’t undeniable proof that he is)
(and honestly some disney villains (jafar, scar, dr. facilier, even ursula, etc.) are more obviously gay-coded than le fou is??)
and if my mother, the adamant Everything Must Be Straight and Wholesome helicopter parent, didn’t notice it, then it’s really not a huge deal
Honestly, I hate watching superheroes drowning beneath responsibilities, and making themselves anxious and miserable and exhausted, and fucking up b/c they’re spread too thin. They’re superheroes, but there are only so many hours in a day. It’s too much to have to maintain a secret identity (with a busy career and social life), and be a city’s protector, and be on a superhero team.
I want more ‘kim possible AUs.’ More superheroes who have open identities and don’t have to worry about money, or missing out on things b/c they were saving lives. Happy, idealistic AUs where heroes have open identities and it’s not a big deal? They can fly, can’t we pretend no one’s fussing over the fact they don’t conceal who they are.
Superheroes who live in tucked away super-fortresses and marathon feel good shows after traumatic incidents rather than buckling down and going to work. Superheroes who spend their days working with charities. Who have the time to spend with their friends and family.
Or: superheroes working in office settings. Running jokes between colleagues about their fellow, dorky superhero friend. ([something explodes in the distance] everyone, in unison: [looks at superhero] superhero: “I JUST SAT DOWN”) Superheroes who come late to work and instead of being chewed out, their boss rolls their eyes and asks if they’re ok, and everyone asks whether the super-villain of the day is as douche-y IRL as they looks on TV.
JUST. Superheroes - who work and sweat and bleed for other people - getting the time and freedom and support to live their lives comfortably. Getting to do comfort, self-care things. Getting time to interact with the people they’ve saved w/o risking their identity. Superheroes kicking ass and taking name while being happy and supported.
It’s finally here. The officially start day of the podcast. I was joined first by my best friend as you’ll hear kept me laughing constantly about his stories about kind of meeting JJ Watt without knowing him, crazy experiences of meeting drag queens, and why he loves gaming and pop music so much.
It was so much fun to do this with him. Feel free to laugh at my awkward start because I was in the OH I’M ACTUALLY DOING A PODCAST right now vibes when we first started recording while @ PAX South a few months back.
I hope you enjoy it and please share and let me know what you thought: here or on the fb page.
**I was supposed to have a soundcloud link and I technically do but working on a better avenue of posting the ‘you can totally download and listen to this later’ option. Will hopefully have it worked out by the time episode 2 comes out in two weeks.
i haven’t played mass effect andromeda yet (waiting until it actually comes out) but i’m pretty sure i prefer ‘maybe sometime wonky animations’ in comparison to ‘blank face and as much minimal animation as possible’ like in the previous games, but that’s just me.
Here’s a couple of commissions I did over the weekend. I’m always glad and open to draw you and your pupper, so if a pet portrait interests you just send me an email to email@example.com for more info!