Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Cave Sweet Cave – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 4/11/17

After two months on the road, Adam finally returns back home to San Francisco and the cave! We talk about the final shows of the tour, the recent Monsterpalooza event, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me, and dive into a Ghost in the Shell SPOILERCAST!

Comments (35)

35 thoughts on “Cave Sweet Cave – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 4/11/17

  1. In the remade Anime the discussions of the little AI >Sentient spider/tanks were the best parts of the DeepThoughts that made this a Classic. I’ve heard the statement,” Classic Art may not be pretty, but it makes you THINK, if Art is just pretty use it in an add and forget it “! A dance can tell a story or it can just be motion – you’re saying that this is just motion?

  2. Re: Kids and Beer Bottles

    As mentioned, I was at Brain Candy Live on Saturday night with my 6 yo son. Had a little fun by having him hold my really full beer while I went to the bathroom. He definitely got a few looks and I got a few comments over the course of the evening. Mostly from Tested fans who thought it was funny. Thank goodness he was cute, or I wouldn’t have pulled that off.

    Re: Dogs and dreams


  3. Speed Racer — grew up on the cartoon, I mean, anime. I didn’t see a problem with the “white washing” in the Speed Racer film because the original anime isn’t steeped in Japanese culture.

    Japan seems to have been obsessed with Western culture after WWII. Grand Prix racing, Walt Disney, the Eiffel Tower (Western film — I’m looking at you Kurosawa with your Hitchcockian, “High and Low”, etc.)…. Is it possible that the original Mach GoGoGo might have been white-washed by the author?

  4. I bought the original 1995 “Ghost in the Shell” on Blu-Ray recently, planning to buy the new one too when it comes out, as companion pieces. I haven’t seen the new one yet. I had seen the original years ago, but seeing it again was jarring for me, perhaps because of the big movies I’m watching these days. The original is 83 minutes long and it seems to finish really quickly – I’m used to movies well over two hours long now with long set piece battle scenes and slow-mo explosions etc. and characters whose arcs live through three or more movies. The original was all rather abrupt, but the holes in the masonry suddenly appearing that show the bullet impacts was really effective once I realised what was happening, and the Major is naked (in an anime way) a lot of the time but that’s never mentioned (something to do with how her camouflage works, I think). Anyway, perhaps I’ll just stick with this version. Having heard Adam and Norms’s thoughts on the new version, the original’s strangeness has a strong appeal for me, now.

  5. Maybe the mum speaks to Major in broken English because she opens the door and sees a white woman standing there?
    I enjoyed the spit out of the film, but, I don’t think it was as good as I expected. I think I really need to see the original.

  6. GITS is basically Blade Runner rewritten from the point of view of Roy and Rick inside the body of a Japanese Pris, turned into an anime in a Hong Kong like setting with a multicultural cast then remade multiple times into series and films that twisted away from the original animation and manga.

    Now you have this overly slick looking movie, which is more like the second movie visually, with a whole load of the first and some of the series cobbled together, it was always going to be bad. They could’ve just remade the first movie, but there would have been long soliloquies on humanity and existence which no western producer would allow in an action film.

    The race of the actors has no real bearing on anything except as something for people to get offended over, they’re not playing Asian characters, at least not in this film, although I wonder if there’s a cut of the film where they explain that Major and Batou were made by an American company.

    Am I the only one who thinks Hamilton sounds like a student musical sung by professionals, I kept expecting Zac Efron to show up.

  7. I know Hamilton is AMAZING (the best thing since the best thing since the best thing) but I think it’s about time to stop the Hamilton Masturbation.

  8. I was at Brain Candy in San Jose with my 10 year old boy. We saw you (Kishore) walking out of the parking garage with your family while we were actually listening to your voice on the podcast in the car! Sat behind you about 10 rows but didn’t get a chance to say hello. Enjoyed the show. All the action and production you’d expect from Adam and Michael.

  9. I haven’t seen it, but I was immediately worried about the Ghost In the Shell when I looked up the previous credits (or lack of credits) for the director and the three (!) writers. I believe good films need a strong voice from a directorial standpoint and a story standpoint, and I start getting worried when a film has more than one writer and the director has only one previous film under his belt. This is one of those times when I really miss hearing Gary’s viewpoint…

  10. Welcome back, Adam! Great to have Will back again as well.

    The “cathartic visual for cathartic moment” really just reframed by view of Man of Steel. That precisely describes how that movie felt like a slog with no release.

    Norms analysis of what a movie producer would take away from the failure of Ghost In The Shell was spot on. I fully want and long for the original stories to make a comeback. There are adaptations I want to see, but they are all new content.

    I’m curious to hear what you think of The Great Wall, which I watched and liked. Many people said it was whitewashing, but I would submit that the myth it is based on is a Chinese myth about Westerners coming to China for gunpowder and finding something much more. The Chinese production picked Chinese actors for all parts but the Westerners, who were played by Matt Damon and others. It explains why there are white people in the movie, but no one cared to find out, it seems.

  11. Mamoru Oshii told IGN that “The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name ‘Motoko Kusanagi’ and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply … I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics.

  12. Adam managed to sum up the entire 45 minute bodcast in one sentence WAY TO GO . one other problem with the movie was trying to shot for shot copy some of the scenes form the original

  13. Artistic expression must be free from politics? That would make some seriously boring art. 🙂

    I do agree that the controversy here falls apart given the subject matter, and probably just follows another asian IP being filmed without an asian lead, even though in this case the material itself doesn’t really demand it. However, the casting choice is hardly exclusively an artistic decision, by most accounts it is a business decision first and foremost.

    Personally, I think artistically it would have perhaps been more interesting if they had the balls to cast a somewhat unknown asian actress with the chops to pull it off. They could have gone with the “We’re filming this major pop-culture IP and didn’t want to dilute it with someone everyone identifies as another character” angle, and spun the PR campaign on the unfamiliar and intriguing world-building.

  14. I knew Ghost in the Shell was going to be disappointing the moment they announced the director. The stunning visuals got my hopes up, but I wasn’t surprised when it bombed.

    Oshii’s rendition of GitS is one of my favorite films, and I’m a huge fan of the rest of the franchise. To date I haven’t heard of anyone with a deep familiarity with the source material complain about the casting. That includes Mamoru Oshii himself, and to my knowledge Masamune Shirow has not made any statements about the casting.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t an issue with minority representation in cinema, but if we can have someone like Mos Def play an obviously white character like Ford Prefect, then the problem isn’t casting white actors for roles that could go to actors of other ethnicity’s. The actual problem is a lot more complicated and reflects even worse on the industry, playing the “that character shouldn’t be white” game isn’t helping anything.

    The good news is James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez are going to bring us a rendition of Battle Angel Alita that will more than make up for the shortcomings of Ghost in the Shell.

  15. here i was writing down notes whenever you started talking about something, only for you to say what i was writing down in the next sentence. 🙂

    except for one thing: it bugs the hell out of me when people refer to the ’95 oshii anime as ‘the original.’ the original is shirow’s manga. oshii’s anime is an adaptation already.

    as for gits 2017: it’s a crying shame the quality of weta’s craft was wasted on a director who can’t find something worthwhile to say in a fairy tale from his own culture. and apparently, it’s even asking too much to consult someone from a culture not one’s own when telling a story that runs on that culture. it’s really one more example of institutionalised racism: i’m pretty sure nobody there actually holds the belief that japanese people are not worth asking, or that their own view as white people is inherently superior. but that the need for consultation doesn’t even appear to them, without any ill will, but just from a place of completely unaware blindness, is a de facto societal problem. there’s nothing to reject about it.

    in some cases, wording really is telling. there has been concern over cultural appropriation in the game horizon zero dawn. some designs are heavily based on native american culture, as are some terms. post-apocalyptic life is in matriarchal tribes, people look like somewhat tweaked hollywood indians (plus some other influences), and warriors are called ‘braves.’ when asked about that term, some design lead said something along the lines of ‘well, we tried researching whether the terms have derogatory connotations, and we found no such problem with braves, so we used it. but in our current culture, you can’t really tell what’s going to cause outrage.’

    when you use a culture as inspiration (a super legit thing to do!), the problem to tackle isn’t to research the right words so you don’t use the wrong ones and get yelled at. the problem is that if you depict something based on that culture, you should strive to understand it. so you do more than just lift some visual or setpiece, while ignoring what comes with it, where it comes from, and what role it plays in its original context.

  16. this sorta sums up the whole discussion for me concerning GitS:

    The films main character is cast asian: “well of course.”

    The films main character is cast white: “No but you see this ambiguity and this obscure plot point and this consideration means it’s all ok!”

    If you need to dip way into the lore as to why Motoko Kusanagi could theoretically be a white woman rather than what is read which is that she’s Japanese then you don’t really have much of a leg to stand on. The manga gets to make that exploration because it is secondary, almost to the point where it’s not really talked about, compared to the much bigger and more interesting thought exercise which: is what does it mean to be human in a world where our very bodies are increasingly dominated by computers and technology?

  17. Sorry – this just doesn’t work. The idea that there is some sort of objective “level of understanding” of a culture which must be achieved in order to validate someone’s effort (be it music, movies, stories, drawing . . .etc) is completely imaginary and unachievable. Whether someone has or has not achieved that “level of understanding” will continue be argued over, especially by folks who really go out of their way to be offended by everything.

    It’s not as if there actually IS an American Indian culture, anyway. If you want to pretend that the Iroquois were the same as the Cherokee were the same as the Apache were the same as the Navajo were as same as the Pawnee . . . that would be the equivalent of pretending there’s an Asian Culture (i.e. Japanese are the same as Chinese are the same as Korean . . .etc.) It’s a bogus premise to start from.

    Rather than try to stifle all creative endeavors with absurd “thou shalt not offend anyone” criteria, just don’t support the ones you don’t like. Better yet, focus on what the actual story is or what is meant to be achieved rather than turn the focus onto something entirely secondary to the endeavor in the first place.

    If we tried to apply your principle retroactively, here’s what we’d lose:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark (did Spielberg really truly appreciate Arabic culture before making the movie? What about the native tribe at the beginning? No, this should be thrown out.)

    Madame Butterfly (one of the greatest melodic operas of all time – sorry – we don’t think Puccini did enough research)

    Turandot (another one of the greatest operas of all time, but Puccini wasn’t Chinese!)

    Carmen (a Frenchman writing an opera about Spain? For shame!)

    Kubo and the Two Strings (did the creators REALLY truly appreciate “Asian” culture? I don’t know – I could come up with some objections. Let’s throw it away to just be on the safe side)

    Temple of Doom (don’t even get me started. This is right out.)

    Pretty much all of Shakespeare (what’s an Englishman know about the Danes? Or Italians? Or Moors? Throw it out.)

    The Mikado (I know Gilbert & Sullivan meant well, and the music may be glorious, and the libretto incredibly witty and well put together, and it may be one of the most popular G & S works ever, but Englishmen playing Japanese guys – that’s just unacceptable. Toss it.)

    Star Trek: Voyager (let’s trash the whole series – I mean, Chakotay? Give me a break)

    The Matrix (Culturally appropriating Anime styles with white actors!?!? Throw it out.)

    Nabucco (Verdi be damned – what’s an Italian doing writing an opera about ancient Egypt. Toss it.)

    The X-Men comic books (especially after Giant Size X-Men #1. Chris Claremont couldn’t POSSIBLY have done enough research to accurately understand and portray Russians, Germans, Africans, Japanese, Native Americans, or even Canadians. And of course they let some white guy be in charge the whole time. And they kill off the Native American guy early. This is an abomination.)

    The Master & Commander books series (I bet I can find some folks who would definitely disagree with the portrayal of Muslims, Frenchmen, Italians, the Spanish, and probably even Americans by Patrick O’Brien).

    Cowboy Bebop (Bebop began as an African American music style. What’s some Asian anime dude doing trying to culturally appropriate it? Throw it away.)

    The Searchers (one of the greatest movies ever made? Ha! They didn’t get a real Native American to play Scar so this HAS to be bad. Delete it!)

    . . . .have I made my point yet? I can go on ad nauseum.

    This hyper-super-ultra sensitivity to “cultural respect” is not only creatively stifling, it’s insulting to cultures. As if it cultures were so delicate they couldn’t possibly be touched by an outsider without crumbling to dust. The end result of such a position can ONLY be to stifle creative genius to only work within the very limited sphere of its own personal experience – and THAT would be a tremendous travesty and we would ALL be much the poorer for it.

    I mean, getting upset with someone who was inspired by a culture and tried to highlight aspects of that culture which were laudable? – and getting upset with a Japanese guy for using white people in his Japanese story? – let’s all just put away the pretend moral outrage and enjoy stories for their merit and not play social justice warrior bingo. You’ll have a LOT more fun if you just let the stories be what they’re meant to be.

    And the GITS movie stinks because it’s awful, not because of “cultural appropriation” or “white washing” or any such thing.

  18. hmm, i get the feeling you’re coming at this from a point of actual substance somewhere underneath all of this, but then veer off in the weirdest direction.

    i never said there is an ‘objective’ level of understanding that justifies an artistic statement on a culture not one’s own. that you can never speak about someone else’s lived experience with the authority they have on that subject is of course obvious. but i never made the point that you can not, at all, under no circumstances, speak about another culture.

    maybe i hadn’t made myself clear enough, but what i take issue with is the MO of ‘let’s use these pieces from that culture, and try to find the words that won’t cause outrage,’ and when faced with questions on that decision, shift blame to a culture that somehow tries to get outraged at all cost. that’s like treating that culture as a grab bag of set pieces that are desirable because ‘exotic,’ while blaming the people for whom it is more than that, when they are not happy with your decisions based on… nothing actually. i take issue with this because it belies a blindness to the fact that these decisions are about more than window dressing.

    it says: ‘i have a right to treat your identity as nothing but decoration. and when you disagree or find fault with my decisions, you’re the problem because what person gets so bent out of shape over decoration?’

    does the best preparation imaginable safeguard against being questioned on this? of course not. and why should it? i don’t think avoiding that kind of discourse (both by trying to find the words that won’t cause outrage, and by ‘let’s drop the pretend outrage’) is something we should be doing. when we have a base material that is as japanese to the core as GitS, i think it’s a fair question to ask what a western director could even have to say on the matter. after all, he could have understood the essential japaneseness in GitS, and transposed this base motive to a different culture, letting it play out accordingly. it would be far removed from the base material, but it would’ve been an informed artistic decision. he could have come at this from a point of such deep understanding that he made a more literal adaptation, but pulled it off well. but he could also have made yet another grab-bag shitshow, blind to even the most blatantly obvious nuance of japanese culture, and obviously with not one japanese person being brought in to look this over and see whether it checks out.

    having done it well would still not have guarded against all questioning and discussion, because people’s points of view differ, especially when it comes to culture and lived experience thereof. but would these decisions have come from a place of being informed, there would be substance in the director’s answers and disagreement over judgement.

    but here, the answers show that they didn’t even think about this, and weren’t even aware that this is something one could think about. these decisions are based on nothing, and they can be criticised for it.

    therefore, this isn’t about ‘artistic freedom’ and its adjacent fantasies like how it must never be encroached upon, not even by being critical of specific decisions in any given work (which is not encroaching upon anyone’s artistic freedom anyway), or must stay free from politics, or any such nonsense.

    as for your big list of proposed cullings from culture: for some reason, this is where it always seems to end up with right-wingers on this subject. there exists critique on an issue somehow implies that the whole thing should have never been undertaken, and we would also gleefully apply this annihilation to everything that came before, and rob mankind of the pictures it liked so much.

    except i’ve never said that films shouldn’t exist. (i stand by my sentiment that there is no need for a western, live-action remake of GitS, and doubly so from a hapless director, and triply so in the current hollywood climate. but who am i to deny someone their right to make a dud? i’ll gloat and say ‘told you so,’ though.) and i don’t know of this being a concept in the political spectrum from far-left to centre-right, despite how often it gets trotted out by the far-right. what i instead know to be a rather common stance on this is:

    films (plays, books, etc) are children of their time. this is trivial. often, that is what gives them much of the value we derive from them today. in many cases, that also means points of view influenced them that have no place in society anymore. this does not mean one can not enjoy these works anymore, but is also no excuse for blindness in the matter.

    i’m a big fan of old 007 films, but i am well aware that especially connery-bond’s attitude towards women is horrible. this isn’t mutually exclusive, and doesn’t tarnish my ability to get enjoyment out of them. i’m not critical of pre-columbus writing not being aware of the existence of america. but everyone afterwards has to answer for pretending it doesn’t exist.

    GitS 2017 stinks because everything but the FX suffers from bad craftmanship. that includes not being aware of its cultural heritage and complexity, blindly grabbing set-pieces instead of doing what’s your job as an adaptor of a work, and being part of an ongoing anachronistic trend of suppressing representation of minorities.

  19. You hang out in “right-wing” circles where people talk about Nabucco, Turandot, and Gilbert & Sullivan? I’d love to find out more about these circles. Clearly I’ve missed them! But, hey, if labels help then by all means, call me a right-winger (even though I disagree with most “conservative” positions and despise the Republican Party).

    First, I’m only carrying your arguments to their logical conclusion. You can’t say “being inspired by a culture is ‘super-legit'” so long as you also “strive to understand” that culture without obviously positing that there is some level of “understanding” that is acceptable before one’s work can be deemed worthy, and this is stuff and nonsense. To assume that such a level of “understanding” can be established with the “outrage-mongers” is to be blind to reality, and to believe that such a level of “understanding” would even be necessary is to be blind to the purpose of great art (which, I concede, GITS sure is not great art by any stretch of the imagination).

    Also, the reason folks like me bring up lists like I did is not out of hypotheticals – many of the works I listed ARE under attack by the “outrage-mongers” – the Seattle Opera is having a go at “Madame Butterfly” just recently. I have already heard much social justice warrior grousing about “The Mikado” and “Turandot”, and the move to censor Shakespeare has been under way for some time now. Short sighted fools don’t care about the attacks on great works, but when the exact same principle is later on applied to things they hold dear (and go re-watch “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with your “social justice warrior” glasses on and see how it fairs – NOT WELL is the obvious conclusion) they’re going to be flummoxed and upset, but then it will be too late. And the proposition “they’re just children of their time” holds absolutely no water. Unless, that is, you defend anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda under the same light, which I doubt you do. If miserable, soulless, spiteful little social justice idiots can destroy anything they think even slightly resembles something they can construe as being offensive to some special, privileged class of folks they have designated, they will fight tooth and nail to get it banned (and they’ll “Squeeee” with self-righteous fervor while they’re doing it, too – trust me, I’ve actually heard the “Squeeees”). Even Mark Twain (no “right winger” or “conservative” he) has been under attack (How dare he write about “N-word Jim”!!). I’m personally thankful that most social justice brats are so ignorant and uncultured that they have no idea what operas exist, let alone actual literature. Otherwise I dread what would fall before their self-righteous culling.

    However, the MUCH more important point is that you completely misunderstand the purpose of art. In fact, it appears to be the opposite of what you claim. Great art is anything BUT a mere product of its time. The only reason Don Quixote is a magnificent work of ark is NOT because it accurately portrays the Spanish culture of the day, but because it hits at universal truths about mankind, about the human condition, that resonate just as much today as they did hundreds of years ago. Shakespeare, Homer, Mozart, Michelangelo – Heavens above! We don’t honor these artists because they did a swell job at portraying the age in which they lived, but rather because they hit at truths that far surpassed their own age. In fact, it’s one of the reasons of all the pop culture dross we have today I find James Bond the most repugnant. Bond is NOTHING but a representation of the idiotic, chauvinist ego of its time, and in no way, shape, or form is even remotely trying to appeal to anything more significant than Connery looking cool while he bangs a babe and beats a bad guy. Subsequent iterations have tried to make it more fun, more gritty, more “realistic”, more “angry”, or what-have-you, but they’ve never dared to try to add any actual substance to the work or characters because why ruin a franchise, right? As Kubo pointed out, good stories have to have an end, and no studio likes to hear about a franchise ending.

    However, your last line is what really got me. “anachronistic trend of suppressing representation of minorities.” Good grief. Are you saying that it’s now impossible to hire a non-minority actor without actively suppressing representation of minorities? That minorities can’t get their own roles in movies? In an age where minorities write, direct, and produce movies – win numerous awards in the movie industry – THEY’RE STILL BEING OPPRESSED BY NOT BEING CAST IN EVERY SINGLE ROLE POSSIBLE? Can you honestly envision a scenario where you would say, “hey, guess what, minorities are finally doing okay?” Do they have to star in 60% of all roles before we can consider them no longer oppressed? Even if, statistically speaking, that would make them over-represented based on actual population by more than 150%? Should we just force white studios execs to step down so minorities can take their positions? Blacklist white actors who are over-used? And then what comes after that? Does every movie featuring an Asian plot have to show it hired a certain percentage of Asians as stunt men, key grips, gaffers, and wardrobe consultants, too? Speaking as an “Asian” myself, I couldn’t care less if they made a movie about Yi Sun-Shin and cast a white guy so long as the movie didn’t suck. And even if it did suck, I certainly wouldn’t feel oppressed or weep over my poor culture for being disrespected.

    By all means, folks can tear into the GITS movie as hard as they like. If people attack it because it “wasn’t culturally sensitive enough” that’s like complaining about the Nazis because they didn’t have very diverse field rations for their troops. If Hollywood made another GITS movie that was just as stupid, pointless, and soulless as this one, but, HEY, they showed a LOT of cultural sensitivity and even hired lots of them thar Asians (because, hey, those Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese, Laotians, Chinese, and Philippinos can all just be grouped into one category, right?) that would NOT be an improvement. If you want to complain about something, complain about it for the right reasons.

  20. Hey, gents, first time commenter and recent convert to the Tested audience. I recently watched this edition of SU on YouTube, and had a question regarding your take on the GitS remake, for which I wholly agree with many if not all of you guys’ issues with the film. This may be a hair split too fine and I might be seeing more than what’s there, but I have to wonder if a theme that the filmmakers may have intended to illustrate (again, speculating here) that the in-story whitewashing was committed by a Caucasian-run conglomerate that ended up being the true antagonists of the film. Granted, the movie was pockmarked with problems cultural, narrative, and technical, but I couldn’t help taking away that the white people were the bad guys bent on “improving” humanity, and their first step was transforming two Japanese kids into Caucasians.

    In any case, I agree with Norm’s hope that the studio doesn’t get the wrong message about female-led action films or sci-fi films and truly takes to heart the true reasons the movie failed, because I’d like to see more movies like GitS in terms of genre and casting diversity, but without the flaws and creative gaffes that befell this one.

    Any case, keep making, keep ‘casting, I’ll keep watching. Thanks, guys.

  21. i’m on a somewhat tight deadline for a paper, so forgive me the brevity:

    when the matter at hand is whether or not there was an attempt at understanding what one is working with, there is neither a a mandatory minimum level of understanding, nor is a call for bans or ‘censoring,’ much less a retroactive one, its logical conclusion when all we’re talking about is whether or not someone gets critiqued for doing something or not. of course, cases of extreme incompetence become hard to discern from cases of disregard, as aptly illustrated by your current president. one would imagine, though, that a person who tried and utterly failed understanding something reacts differently to being questioned on his decisions than someone who deems every mental strain unnecessary.

    ‘being children of their time’ absolutely holds water, but you need to be able to discern between an excuse and an explanation.

    i do not understand the point of art. obviously. i’ve been raised by artists, have made art all my life, have had my work in exhibitions and in commercial print, and even collected the odd film byline. furthermore, i read and wrote rather extensively (for previously mentioned reasons) on aesthetics for my degree in philosophy. but sure, i don’t understand the purpose of art. setting aside that your proposed purpose comes heavily loaded with matters and assumptions that are far from trivial or even close to clear-cut (re, for example, the epistemological possibility of discerning between a timeless, universal truth on human nature or a notion sufficiently close to one’s current arbitrary notion of human nature, or the debate on cultural ascription of great art based on adherence to genre instead of fulfillment of criteria pertaining to content), it is completely beside the point here:

    what makes an artwork great or not has no bearing on the fact that it is influenced by the sensibilities of the culture it has been created in. thus we have art history, thus twain used the n-word without a second thought, thus shakespeare’s danes should not be taken as a historical representation, thus GitS’s plot is not divorceable from its root in japanese society. the kernel may be transposed into a different culture, but then it is not GitS anymore. for its plot to be retold, it needs to be with an understanding of its rooting in japan, or fail making the plot’s point.

    anyhow, inspiration in art requires the effort to understand, to delve deep, and to work through. or it is, at the very least, sloppy and lazy craft, not even trying to realise an idea’s full potential. (and, if your inspiration concerns living people, it is also a dick move. not on art terms, but just on general human ones.) don’t take this too personal, but unless you spent a few decades in making art, and around people who depend on making art for their living, kindly shut your trap about what goes into the making of it.

    bond: nb i used the word ‘enjoyment.’

    anger at my last line: you might want to check your logical conclusions. nor impossible, neither did i say so, neither is it its ‘logical conclusion.’ but: in the narrowest possible view of hollywood, it is marketing its product to america’s population, which is made up of white americans, asian-americans, afro-americans, and, and, and (and subdivisions of each of them, as you rightly noted). and the general impression i hear from people in minorities is that they barely if ever get to see themselves in the products marketed towards americans, and if, mostly as a stereotypical shorthand. you are, so far, the only asian-american i know of who seems to not care at all about this. the state, right now, is that white men get overrepresented, and every deviation from casting white men in roles (and writers, and directors…) needs to be defended and justified as a deviation from the norm FOR A REASON.

    so when a project comes around that if not outright demands, at least very strongly suggests a cast unusually heavy in people of colour – the easiest possible excuse and justification, for free, right in your hands – and they still cast the same army of white faces, people get upset because not doing something when it’s the easy and obvious thing to do looks a damn lot like avoiding at all cost to do it.

    of course the in-story reasons were a load of crap. but even if there was any sort of coherence to them, it would still have been a deliberate action to reduce the number of people of a certain ethnicity (in this case, indeed, mainly japanese) in their film, when having them would have been the no-brainer of the year.

  22. Good luck with the paper! I’ll keep my response brief(ish) as well, and likely we’ve gone as far as we can go in this discussion.

    Sure, you’re an artist, but I’m a guy who’s had to suffer through plenty of bad art as well as sought out and enjoyed magnificent works of art of all types. Obviously a detailed discussion of what art is lies far beyond the scope of a comment thread, and my original observation was restricted solely to the implications of your statement and not intended to encompass your own work. However, not meaning any offense, being an artist is no guarantee of being able to recognize good art. In fact, in today’s world, my personal experience is that the clueless and incompetent artists far outnumber the good ones. And, yes, while art history can be a credible topic to investigate its importance is far overemphasized in today’s environment.

    Perhaps you are more discerning when it comes to application of criticism concerning social issues in art – if so, you are the exception. The average “outrage-monger” I encounter is usually an ignorant and insufferable stooge trying to show the world how amazingly compassionate he is by taking extreme umbrage over every little thing. There are plenty who do attack and want to further attack great works both contemporary and historical along the same argumentative lines you’re standing on (and I know this because they’re actually actively attacking those works). I have nothing but ill will towards such cretins who contribute nothing to humanity but self-righteous destruction.

    If an Asian wants to see movies with Asians in them . . . . he should watch Asian movies. I watch lots of Korean drama, Japanese movies, Hong Kong cinema . . .etc. They’re chock full of Asians. In fact, one of the things I enjoy is when Asian movies cast white people in them because the stereotypes and caricatures they use are often hilarious (who didn’t think the English actors at the boxing scene at the end of Ip Man 2 weren’t hilarious?). Why should American cinema be forced to cotton to Asians? Asian cinema doesn’t cotton to Americans. Should we start demanding that German cinema feature more and more Syrians by default lest they be accused of having a racist, oppressive cinema? As far as casting different races in recreated stories – nobody gets upset when they make “The Wiz” with all black actors. People cheered when Marvel comic books made Thor a woman and Iron Man a black woman. If someone wants to westernize a story and set it in America to cast white folks – fine. If it’s a well done story, great. If not, it sucks. Do you have any idea how many Korean dramas are just American movies re-set to take place in Korea? And 9 times out of 10 the Korean versions are much more enjoyable. Nobody has a cow saying, “You can’t possibly re-make this story unless you truly understand White American culture of the 1980s.” If you want a great example of this, watch “Couple or Trouble” – a Korean remake of the Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russel movie “Overboard.”

    If someone WANTS to tell a story rooted in a culture, by all means, let them. And if that’s the POINT of their story, by all means, they should do the research. If that’s NOT the point of the story they wanted to tell, then why should we care? Let them tell the story they want to tell. The guys who made the GitS movie cared about 2 things – making a movie with cool special effects/visuals and, most importantly, trying to make lots of money. Casting ScarJo was an attempt to fulfill the second part (i.e. making money). They had NO interest in trying to tell a nuanced story of Japanese culture, and while it wouldn’t have really made the movie any better or worse if they cast an Asian in the lead role, it very likely would have resulted in them making less money because American audiences prefer to see movies with big names in them. Not saying that’s great, just saying that’s reality.

    Ultimately, if economic trends hold (which is always uncertain), Asian audiences may wind up exerting a much bigger influence on Hollywood than they already do (and it’s already pretty staggering). Then they’ll put more Asian actors in the movies – if, that is, the Asians want to see Asian actors which may actually not be the case. Certainly a lot of stupid Hollywood movies do incredibly well in Asia without any Asian actors (i.e. Batman v. Superman or any of the idiotic Transformers movies). And, to be even more frank, most Asian anime is drawn in a way to intentionally make the characters appear Westernized (it’s even popular for Asian women to get eye surgery to make their eyelids appear more Western). So, ultimately, maybe Asians audiences are more aesthetically interested in Western appearances in their movies? Who knows for sure, but I don’t really care either way. Let them either support movies with Asian actors or not – this will decide itself in the near future and is in no way, shape, or imaginable form any sort of oppression whatsoever.

    As far as the universal truths about human nature, we’re definitely not going to get into it. I’ll just say I’m right and you’re not completely wrong, but you’re definitely not right. If we get a chance to buy each other drinks we can argue this in style, but it’s not worth trying to hash this out via internet.

    Honestly, we live in an age where the vast majority of big-ticket movies are either based on comic books or have Star Wars in the title. It’s a very, very sad time for anyone serious about cinematic art (which, I freely admit, is one of the lesser arts). It’s not that I’m opposed to some stupid fun every now and then, but it’s like eating angel food cake for every meal. It used to be even the popular movies could figure out how to have interesting plots and fascinating characters without having to resort to gimmicks like “shared universes” or sequel after sequel after sequel. Thank God for Classiflix.com, is all I can say!

  23. I saw its Norm’s wife’s birthday. Not sure if that might be related, though it doesn’t explain why there wasn’t a Still Untitled either.

  24. hey,

    i’m all for skipping the big ‘what is art’ discussion for the time being. for one, it’s big (as in, really big), and it’s a damn tough nut (if it wasn’t, people would have figured out a solid solution long ago) with a lot of implications. also, it’s definitely better suited to forms more direct than comments/messages, even if only to bridge the language/terminology problems i’m absolutely going to run into. (i imagine i’m not doing too bad, but english still is my second/third language)

    anyway, i agree – making art is no prerequisite to having good taste, or even having much of an idea what art actually is. what it does lend an insight into, though, is what goes into making it. and that entails the need to put research into what you’re inspired by. not only with social/cultural stuff, but pretty much everything. if i want to draw something inspired by reef fish, i can shoot something off the cuff based on what i remember off the top of my head. it might be good enough. but it’ll inevitably be better if i look at images, try to read up a bit on what’s behind the variety of shapes, roles of colours, and so on. get a feel for what makes that variety characteristic. even if i end up using only a few small bits of it, i’ll be be able to ground my work on more insight, and it’ll reflect on the quality of work i’ll be able to deliver.

    even artists who work in a very abbreviated or highly abstracted style still study human anatomy in far more detail than their style would demand. that’s because even when you reduce a part of a body silhouette down to one line, an understanding of the volumes and masses involved will improve your ability to place that line just right, and repeatably so.

    not doing that, i’ll inevitably leave potential improvements on the table. (besides, it’s usually interesting, so it’s not like it’s a big sacrifice or something. ;))

    and that’s where i again agree: delivering something good most likely wasn’t their intention, but making profit, and reaching the point of ‘good enough’ for that goal with as little fuss as possible. it’s a crying shame where that lead us. folks can’t even shoot action scenes low on heavy narrative in an engaging way anymore. let alone keeping one engaged and invested beyond the next flashy-boomy thing. i’m with you on that – but i think it reinforces the need to criticise shortcomings even more. as many of them as we can find.

    just to have it written out loud, while we’re on the subject: that’s what i’m interested in: criticising and having a dialogue or discussion on these things. banning doesn’t help anyone. if something benefits from commentary to explain its context, and to distance the publisher from intents shown in the work, there’s always the option to publish it with a foreword. we add forewords for all kinds of reasons anyway, they could as well have something to say.

    re films with asian people in them: that’d be a bit lousy, though, when some americans have to go to foreign film to see people that look like them, wouldn’t it? i mean, the people we’re talking about are americans. born in the US, grown up and socialised there, gone to school there, work there – if they’re not visible in american film, because ‘if ya wanna see yourself, go see korean/japanese/chinese films, american film don’t need to pander to you,’ that’s a pretty shitty kind of message, right? despite being quite unfriendly, it’s got the assumption in it that only white americans are real americans and we know that’s got not a bit of truth in it.

    as for the asymmetry in attitudes towards racebending (am i alone in thinking that word sounds a little weird?), as i see it, it’s a question of direction. if the current state is that white men are ridiculously overrepresented, then recasting some white men as black or asian or latin americans lends them at least a little more screen time, while recasting a made-for-X-ethnicity role as white denies even the few spots that are made to get them on screen. same with a female thor etc.: if we were working from a neutral and fair state, a sudden surge to recast characters as women or black or whatever, would be something worth looking into. but since the state everywhere is crazy unbalanced towards white and male, a few tiny steps towards not making everyone and their cat white and male by default isn’t really the big eradicating crusade of political correctness, the war on whites, or whatever else it often gets turned into.

    as for the term oppression: sure, we can argue it day and night. and it won’t turn what’s happening into concentration camps and mass killings either. but i’d say there is merit to the notion that what is part of general discourse vs what isn’t does shape reality in so far as it informs how people parse the world. a mental inventory of things in their world, so to say. as long as gay people weren’t part of the common notion of the world, it was easier to treat them as outsiders or evil or what have you. (the words in eliade’s the sacred and the profane, iirc, are ‘aliens, demons and foreigners’ ;)) when certain ethnicities don’t get to be perceived as normal parts of american life, it’s easier for them to be seen as not actually real americans. and that could have real and tangible effects.

    (as for the wiz: it was my understanding that it’s a deliberate transposing of a plot into a different culture, isn’t it? if so, that’s the way i wouldn’t object to an all-white ghost in the shell either: take the story and make an effort to translate/adapt its point into the context of another culture. i’d be fine with that because it still requires accounting for gits’s cultural roots. in drawing terms: if you take a good pencil drawing and you want an ink version, you’re going to have to do some translating to make it work. just tracing won’t look good – it’ll try replicating something ink isn’t geared well to do, and doesn’t utilise any of ink’s strengths either.)

  25. I have to admit, this is a conversation I didn’t anticipate having. I’m arguing with an artist for artists to have more creative freedom against the power and influence of critics!

    Think of it this way – would you want someone to impose artificial restrictions upon you? Yes, if you WANTED to do an in depth piece involving much research, that would be fine, but if you felt like just tossing off a fun little thing inspired by a fleeting thought you had based on a word, a sight, a fancy notion, a smell . . . etc., do you really want a critic to come along and completely dismiss your piece because you didn’t strangle inspiration in its tracks in order to sit down and do gobs of research first?

    Incidentally, I do think it absolute folly for anyone to believe he can actually truly understand a culture by watching a movie (no matter how well researched). In fact, I think it’s one of the (many) dangers of our age in that people think they receive real and actual knowledge by watching a movie about something. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    However, for the sake of brevity (I need to go to bed right now), I’ll restrict my thoughts to 3 aspects wherein I believe your assumptions are faulty:

    1) – You are assuming (intentionally or not) that American cinema represents some sort of pinnacle or high mark in movie making. Perhaps years ago this was true, today American cinema is mostly garbage. Korean dramas are better directed, better acted, and better scripted by far. Much other foreign cinema is likewise vastly superior to the average piece of American garbage. Bollywood would greatly resent your idea that in order for a minority to be properly represented in cinema he needs to be in an American movie.

    2) – You are assuming that people do not admire, enjoy, respond to, or are not inspired by people of other races, cultures, creeds. As a Korean kid did I love the Data from Goonies? Sure. Was I a big fan of Short Round? Of course. And, yes, Quick Kick was my favorite G.I. Joe. But did those figures have any profound impact on my life, character, or identity? Heavens no. I did, however, look up to Indiana Jones (however misguided I might have been). I clearly remember trying to emulate his courage when I was stuck in scary or dangerous situations. Just as I admired and looked up to countless non-Korean or Asian figures all throughout my childhood experiences (both real and fictional). Insisting that little minorities running around today are oppressed because they can’t see more people their skin color on the screen is a.) – insulting to people who by and large admire heroic qualities in heroes wherever they find them b.) – very shallow thinking in assuming skin color must color personal preferences, c.) – a gross, gross, gross abuse of the word “oppressed” and d.) – bound to lead to nothing but further factionalization and sectarianism.

    3) – You are assuming that there is no such thing as actual American culture. This is a mistake made by many, including many modern Americans. You cannot grab a German, stick him in the middle of geographic Japan, and then proclaim him Japanese. Likewise, you can’t take a Korean, plunk him in the middle of Kansas, and thereby declare him an American. America does have her own history, culture, and character, same as any other country, despite what modern day cultural Marxists claim. American cinema should, rightly, be allowed to reflect this identity. And, no, folks who come here with the express intent to NOT integrate or participate in the American culture should not consider themselves Americans.

    As far as your comments on the war against whites, I’m against it. Yes, American culture and history is ethnically tied to European/White culture. That’s a historical fact. And there’s nothing wrong with it. I completely, absolutely, and utterly reject the school of thought that tries to claim all things European/White/Caucasian are evil. I’m afraid I’m way too familiar with world history to even think twice about the idea that white people are in any way, shape, or form more evil than other peoples. Sin is a part of human nature, regardless of culture or creed or skin color, and all peoples have good and bad parts in their histories.

    I’m glad you’re against banning older works that don’t fit into today’s stifling and utterly insane PC morality, but you’re sadly in the minority. The ever-growing rabble I hear from will be happy to destroy every last thing of the past that runs counter to their current short-sightedness. I mean, here in America we’re busy removing monuments and memorials to Americans who, just one generation ago, really not more than 10 to 15 years ago, were considered great men who served their country with honor (just Google Teddy Roosevelt’s quote on Robert E. Lee – or heck, google the VAST majority of quotes about Robert E. Lee). I mean, 15 years? That’s fast, even for a Hegelian like yourself, no? You really think they won’t hesitate to destroy Laurence Olivier’s absolutely brilliant portrayal of Othello? I’ve already heard folks calling for it to be banned. There’s no reasoning with these self-righteous buffoons. They will not be happy until they’ve razed the city.

    At any rate, I did want to compliment your English. It’s excellent. Far above the average native English speaking internet commenter.

    Ultimately, GitS is a stupid movie, and it was likely doomed to be a stupid movie from the simple fact that it’s a Hollywood movie. No amount of minorities in starring roles will save Hollywood. It’s become one of the most creatively bankrupt forces in the world today.

  26. hey,

    thanks for commending my english. i try my best, but still, some things are bound to trip me up. (some idioms, and a lot of philosophy terminology, where it’s not only a translation from german to english, but also from a continental to an anglo-american tradition)

    of course, not every doodle can be researched, and it would be foolish to assume so. same goes for process pieces, where you just try to work out a certain composition problem or whatever else in isolation. i’m not saying ‘this is how it needs to be done, or else it doesn’t get the stamp of legit artiness.’ or otherwise make hard and fast rules for how art can be done. everyone has the right to just shoot from the hip.

    but for one, i don’t think whether or not one puts in research is stifling to creativity or inspiration. it’s tempting to think that you sit there, and as soon as inspiration strikes, it’s just a matter of letting it flow onto the canvas or into the word document, and BAM, solid art. it’s still puzzles to solve, problems to unravel, technique and materials to command, and so on. some of these may become second nature through experience, but it’s still work. some of it is manual/skill-based, some of it is intellectual/concept-based, and some is knowledge-based. plus somehow getting all of them to play nicely with each other without it looking stilted and patched-together.

    and secondly, i don’t think having shot from the hip is an absolution from certain critique. as i see critique, it spans a huge spectrum, from mere personal preference to deeply thought-through arguments. somewhere in there is looking at it from an angle you hadn’t considered, or hadn’t even known of. i might make a drawing without thinking of any political issues at all, but that doesn’t invalidate someone looking at it through a political lens, and the points they make. i guess what i’m going at is that i don’t see the need to defend myself against such critique with ‘but freedom of art! i must be allowed to do this, therefore your critique is wrong!’ where’s the harm in a polite ‘i hadn’t thought of that,’ especially when it’s the truth? it’s not like strong critique somehow invalidates my work, and vice versa. as long as the intended consequence isn’t the banning of either of them, i’m perfectly happy to let them both stand side by side, and more than happy when i get to learn something about the point of view of someone else along the way.

    as for your three points:

    re 1: no, i don’t assume american film as a pinnacle, but it is an industry with a lot of money, and i posit it to be a fair assumption that its target audience is the american public, i.e. an ethnically diverse mix. it’s not about people from india needing to get their representation by appearing in hollywood films, i’m talking strictly about americans of non-white ethnicities and their representation in american film. if the ideal is that you take a society, you’d find its composition more or less mirrored in its art and entertainment, the hollywood state is that you take a racially mixed society and all the films make it look like 85% white dudes with some female or non-white bycatch.

    re 2: enjoyment of characters not like oneself is a given, of course. 🙂 take note that in a fictional translation of GitS into an american society, we’d admire/despise basically the same traits in the respecive characters, yet they’d be from different ethnicities. i’m not facing this non-representation issue based on gender and ethnicity, but i do remember being rather touched by seeing the first few episodes of monk – seeing a character roughly similar at odds with the rest of the world as myself, and he’s not the butt of the joke, or the useful appliance for the hero, but *a person*? that was very impactful. (i looked up to bond’s effortless and confident socialising and ‘leading’ in situations in a manner probably not unlike your looking up to indiana jones for courage.) if some people from ethnic backgrounds other than white can derive similar pleasure from being treated on film not as stereotypes, i’m all for it. especially because it doesn’t really cost us anything, does it? it doesn’t diminish enjoyment for everyone else, right?

    re 3: sure there is american culture (or else all african-americans could indeed just go to african art, all korean-americans would seamlessly find themselves represented in korean film, and all white americans would be indistinguishable from white europeans. also, i wouldn’t have made a point of an asian-american being socialised in the US if i didn’t think it’d be something distinct from being socialised anywhere else), but i’d surmise that saying it is a white culture is selling it short. how is all american music a direct derivative from black music, for example, if american culture is all white?

    admittedly, immigration factors into german society in a much smaller way, but maybe this applies similarly: we have a lot of people whose parents or grandparents immigrated here from turkey. it’s really easy to see and refer to them as turkish people. yet, they aren’t. over here, they’re the turkish, but in turkey, they’re the germans. usually, they’re raised between their families (living in germany, but with ties to the ways of the old country) and society around them. it’s a unique situation for sure, with the potential for mutual influence (consider how döner kebap has become a mainstay in the german street food landscape, and a quite substantial turkish influence in several leisure activities making way among different strata of society) as well as confrontation (the not feeling accepted in both turkey and germany can lead to a kind of openly confrontational hyper-turkish kind of character role, not unlike punk in its own way). if it’s anything like that in the US, it’s a difficult call to say what’s german/american culture and what is ‘foreign.’ someone with roots in two cultures, whose ‘foreign’ culture itself presents an influence on the ‘home’ culture certainly isn’t something you can easily label A or not-A.

    anyway, even if US culture is predominantly white, it’s a predominantly white culture on a multiracial society, therefore doesn’t touch the issue of representation of society in entertainmant and/or art. 😉

    re the evil of whiteness: phrased like that, it’s of course bs. i’d be heavily on board with an examination of what whiteness in US history entails, and owning up to some as-of-yet unowned-up-to parts. but then, i’m german and find it rather incomprehensible how you can still have an american culture that doesn’t own up to native genocide and slavery, both of which lie back far more than the holocaust.

    re GitS: it absolutely is a stupid film, and you’re most likely right that giving it to hollywood all but doomed it. (i certainly didn’t expect anything from it after i heard who was going to be its director.) i still hold that being stupid isn’t its only shortcoming, though. but the film as it was, recast, would still be a stupid film.

    re hegelian: no. 😉 never was. historical idealism holds about as much appeal to me as historical materialism. none. as a comparatively clear-cut husserl fan, i accuse them both of instating historicity as a dominant principle when it’s but an abstract notion, descriptively unrooted. (witness here the aforementioned struggling with philosophical terminology. i have no idea what’s a good translation for ‘anschaulich’ in a phenomenological context.)

  27. I don’t think I ever said that American culture was “white” – it very obviously has influence from other sources, most predominantly African. However, it is predominantly Anglo-European (in its laws, language, aesthetics, and social norms). Actually, to speak of “American culture” is misleading itself as the culture of the South is as different from New England is as different from the Midwest is as different from the Southwest . . . etc. as Germany is from France (at least, that is until both of those countries become majority Muslim 😉 ). Also, to say we haven’t discussed slavery is to ignore pretty much everything that’s been going on for the past 50+ years. I mean, it’s at the point where hardly anything else is ever discussed! From movies (12 Years a Slave, Birth of a Nation, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Amistad . . .etc.) and TV shows (they just rebooted Roots) and books to actual policies like Affirmative Action, slavery probably predominates our discourse to the point where most average folks are absolutely sick of the topic. It’s not as if the USA was the first or last country to have slaves, nor is it even the case that the USA was notoriously wicked in how slaves were treated. After 150 years, will we ever move on? The answer is, obviously, “No”, not so long as politicians can use to their advantage and hustlers like Al Sharpton can make money off it. We could have a long discussion on this topic, but not through internet comments.

    We’re at the point in this discussion on culture and movies where we will just have to politely disagree (although I will say you’re a pleasure to disagree with – I mean that as a compliment). I just don’t believe you can put any universal sociological rules to govern art, specifically rules concerning culture content / i.e. social justice requirements. Whether Mozart deeply researched Turkish culture or not, the Turkish March is magnificent. For anyone to try to claim that it would be so much better if only Mozart had strived to more perfectly capture the reality of Turkish culture is to miss the entire point. I also pointed out Olivier’s portrayal of Othello because it WAS a case where an actor did massive amounts of research, and that research DID truly enhance his performance and even bring revealing light to the work itself – but it hasn’t saved him from criticism and calls for his portrayal to be banned.

    And that’s really my point. Abstract theories about artists doing research are fine, but in reality your line of reasoning has lead to concrete stupidity (not in you, but in many others), at least in my experience. Folks with no talent or inspiration use that line of reasoning either to disparage good art (this piece is no good because it doesn’t accurately represent XX – it’s cultural appropriation) or to create their own talentless bad art which gets sung Hosannas to because it happens to focus on XX oppressed culture. I find this not only a waste of time but truly destructive to the creative energy upon which good art is so violently dependent. If one wants to criticize art, it should be done because of the merits or deficiencies of the art and not along lines of social justice dogma.

    Your point about Turkish immigrants in Germany is worth pondering, as immigration can be a difficult reality. However, I absolutely reject the idea that movies (or art in general) can “fix” such a problem. Art rarely fixes problems, but it very often correctly diagnoses them.

    I think part of the disagreement here does stem from translation. Your use of the word “oppression” is I think what originally got my goat. It’s simply not a case of “oppression” for a minority to not be cast in an American made movie. Not by any reasonable definition of that word. There’s no active effort to NOT cast minorities in roles, and if anything Hollywood has already deeply drunk from the well of social justice (the vast preponderance of bad guys in almost every action movie have to be white males because Hollywood is afraid of being called “racist”). In fact, despite all the “Oscars so White” blather from last year, if you compared the actual list of African American actors who won or were nominated for Oscars over the years with the corresponding population of African Americans in the country, it was perfectly proportional (and this doesn’t count the fact that there are “black only” awards and awards shows in which no one else, not Whites nor Asians nor Hispanics, are allowed to participate). American cinema often has entire movies and casts devoted to minority interests and culture. I simply can’t get the word “oppression” to stick no matter which angle I look at it from.

    At any rate, I wish you well. I’ll let your response be the closing post on this thread. I enjoyed it, but life is calling me back to my duties (I have a massive obstacle course birthday party to prepare for tomorrow).

  28. y’know, in my lead-up thinking to my last reply, i was going to mention that ‘oppression’ really could be replaced by a more precise word and there wouldn’t be any damage done. i guess what i was going for at the time was a ‘different (very very much so) aspect of the same evil thing’ kind of point. add to that issues like the surplus of connotations that words carry, that’s not easy to always get right in a language not your own. triangulating it implicitly from dictionary meanings you learned and usage patterns you observed can easily go amiss just enough to cause trouble. anyway, it only occurred to me a few hours after i sent that reply that i completely forgot to put that in.

    as for us disagreeing in a very enjoyable way: i agree, and would like to give that compliment back to you. if we achieved nothing else, at least it was a reminder that our ‘opponents’ (for lack of better word) aren’t always the amorphous mass of same-ish brainwashed idiots it’s so easy to make them out to be. and that’s no bad thing to get reminded of, every once in a while. (this is a shortcoming of not being much of a religious person – i don’t attend services that can reinforce such a point on a regular basis)

    best of luck for your preparations, and my best wishes to the birthday boy/girl!

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