Saturday, June 23, 2012

Avatar - Political Discourse in Cartoon Form

Avatar - Political Discourse in Cartoon Form

You know when you were a kid and your parents watched shows with you, GOOD shows. The way that Pixar does its films and what not where an adult can enjoy the media just as much as the child? If not, slightly more because of the undertones in it that only they can pick up on? Yeah.. The Legend of Korra is pretty much like that.

As the season ends today, I'm sure there's a lot of people complaining that unlike the original Avatar, in which there was an absolute ton of episodes that do nearly nothing to move the plot along, but are entirely devoted to character development, it was really a circumlocutory show which fit with Aang being impulsive and childlike while Korra is more straightforward and she's very to-the-point of a character.

First off, the music to Korra is really top notch. I also like that in Korra, the bending is so ubiquitous and commonplace that it's reduced to a commodifiable skill. Korra can say "Bending is the coolest thing ever!" but it's a really shallow statement. Bending has become boring, and it's a reversal of the much more heroic themes seen in the last airbender where the ability to bend is a gift to be cherished and mastered and not a basic fact of life.

It's great how there's a lot of class statements in this show, a show for children, which is probably the best show on television to deal with class issues in the last ten years. And it's a kid's tv show. I know you're not suppose to sympathize with Amon, but how can you not? He's the manifestation of 20's socialism.

It's really the exact opposite of the way the last show went, where the traveling group was: The Avatar, the son and daughter of the chief of the southern water tribe, a scion of the earth kingdom's upper class, and the prince of the fire nation. But then again, there were the episodes about Ba Sing Se. Which is really one of the best episodes ever.

As ab acetic Aang got to dodge a lot of questions about money but his party always seemed to have enough, or be helped by any people they traveled with. I don't think Korra has quite that level of pull. And then there's Mako + bolin growing up poor but being able to manage partly because they were benders. One of the first scenes was Korra surprised that she needed money for things, and then meeting a homeless man and being harassed by a policeman. Not to mention the guy who was the pro-bending extortion ring.

It goes back to really liking the intense surveillance/revolution/class war themes that are really thick, but really good in this series. What's really making me crack up is that Korra is creating a lot of high schooler's on tumblr to post about it and in a sense become unintentional Stalinists because of it.

It's truly the hitherto greatest achievement of Western Media. Korra fills the role of the gifted but inexperienced and hotheaded new pilot that the current ace has trouble accepting at first. Sure it's cliche, but it's good stuff.

Amon is a radical liberal and is trying to destroy feudal privilege and birthright which has manifested itself in the development of a political and labor aristocracy of blenders over non-benders.

He's an interesting character regardless if you like him or not. He's one of the few representations in any children's media I've seen who actually had brought up the issues of systemic oppression. Even if they make him cartoonishly evil.

It seems that the parallels between Amon and Mao, and the Equalists with the Chinese Communist, then this would be very fitting: This isn't some Nazi-like genocide thing where the only good bender is a dead bender, there's an option for reform and becoming one of the flock, just like how the CCP didn't go out and kill all of the "class enemies" and "capitalist roaders," but through constant waves of criticism in "Struggle sessions" and "re-education through labor," one could be rehabilitated.

Long live the equalists!

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