Insights & Art

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Crazy Rich Asians: Beyond the Confines of the Screen

CRA Banner

Is it possible to separate the viewer from the viewed? A difficult question, but one which nonetheless appears when I think of this film. For me, so much of Crazy Rich Asians (2018) exists outside the confines of the screen that sometimes I feel like I’m not so much as commenting on this film but rather the cultural context around it.

Is that fair to Jon M. Chu’s piece of work? Is it fair to view the film not as an individual piece of art, but something embedded into the cultural zeitgeist of the time? I’m not entirely sure. One cannot deny that this film attempted to challenge the preconceptions surrounding the Asian ethnicity. The opening scene with the matriarch; Eleanor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh), was very much a giant middle finger to the feelings of cultural alienation that Asians have felt in Western culture for decades, if not centuries. The cartoonish Caucasian men rudely denying Eleanor a place to stay at the luxurious hotel for no explicit reason is understood to be a racist (or even possibly sexist) attack at her: Conclusions which the audience came to because of ‘reasons’ outside the screen. Once again, the question must be asked, “Should we see Chu’s film as an independent piece of work, or does it lose a lot of its significance once it is removed from its context?”

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to refrain from consuming ‘mediocre art’. Yet, why did I watch Crazy Rich Asians if I expected it to be a somewhat generic romantic comedy? I’ll be honest, if the cast were not a majority Asian and if it wasn’t a big milestone for Asians in the West then I would not have watched it.

“Is it possible to separate the viewer from the viewed?”

Is the promise of seeing yourself represented positively, a good enough reason to consume a piece of art? It’s not like my love of the Godfather was tainted by the lack of Asians, nor did the lack of diversity make The Dark Knight any less enjoyable. Maybe, watching a film to see your ethnicity portrayed in a more appealing light isn’t a solid philosophical justification but it is also important to recognise that all attempts to separate the art from the context is impossible as both parties shape each other.

Was it wrong to watch Crazy Rich Asians because it was cultural comfort food? Entertaining and fun but definitely not intellectually challenging. I don’t know. But I watched it anyway.

There were quite a few moments which Crazy Rich Asians made me pause, not because it was showing anything which was revolutionary but rather because it just portrayed an Asian lead like the protagonist of any romantic comedies; attractive. Near the beginning of the film, there was a scene where an absurdly muscular Michael Teo (Pierre Png) walks out of the shower and approaches his wife; Astrid Leong-Teo. It was quite an exploitative scene and very objectifying. But there was no small penis joke, nor did a calculator fall out of his pocket nor was he being bullied for getting good grades.

He was just an attractive male, who also happened to be Asian.

Strange.

Likewise, I was also shocked that a lot of the music in this film was Chinese, with a few classics from Teresa Tang (甜甜密) and a few additional catchy tunes sung with Mandarin lyrics (我要你的愛). Even if this was a film that was located in Singapore with an all-Asian cast, it still stunned me that the director was going so far as to insert Chinese songs. It also made me a little uncomfortable, not because the songs didn’t fit, I thought the jazz-infused tunes were catchy and fit the city of Singapore; an Asian city with Western influences. But because I had subconsciously expected an English or French song to signify love.

None of these directorial choices are intellectually significant but culturally they are. So how do we judge this film’s merit as a piece of art?

Crazy Rich Asians heralds the rise of East Asia and the increasing influence that economic powerhouses like Korea, Japan and China wield upon world culture. The Asian demographic has become such a financial lucrative draw that even Hollywood is making films which specifically tell the Asian narrative. Maybe because of this, Hollywood green-lit a story that glamourises wealth and excess hedonism. This is a story about the 1% of the 1%; the gorgeous Astrid buys a pair of million dollar earrings nonchalantly and Bernard Tai rents a cargo ship for a bachelor party. Maybe I wasn’t the target audience since I was never impressed by the unchecked capitalism on display and soon the dialogue about bank accounts and designer cars started to irritate me.

I’ve heard it be argued that this film doesn’t celebrate excess wealth because Nick married a girl who was significantly poorer than him. But that always seemed to be a comment on Confucianism; the tension between filial piety and individualism. Rachel (an embodiment of Western thinking) earns the respect of Eleanor because she forgoes love (Nick’s proposal) for reasons greater than herself; his relationship to his family. This selfless act wins the Young family’s trust and thus she is welcomed into the house. However, for me, the ending reflect this film’s stance on wealth; crazy rich Asians celebrating an engagement on top of a crazy rich high-rise in Singapore. I understand that part of the reason for the cartoonish display of opulence was to juxtapose the Young family to Rachel’s docile upbringing; but as someone who thinks East Asia is already too obsessed with money, the celebration of excess seemed jarring.

Another moment that urked me more than I would have expected is the little fling between annoyingly-arrogant Bernard and the gold-digging Kitty. The pair get touchy during the celebration of Colin and Araminta’s after party and get caught out for their faux pas, much to the delight (and squeals) of the people who were attending. It felt odd for a film which attempted to expose how stressful Asian family dynamics can be due to gossiping to then make a joke about characters acting inappropriately. This was the Asian equivalent to a fart joke, it got a little chuckle from the audience but it seemed counterproductive for a film which seemed to be highlighting the overbearing elements of filial piety.

The question remains; “Should one attempt to see Crazy Rich Asians without factoring in the context around the film?” If this is even possible, it is certainly a hard task. The quotes from various important individuals within the film industry praising the film’s success whilst emphasising the financial risk that Warner Bros. took to produce a film with an all-Asian cast inherently reflects the cultural glass ceilings that Chu had to break before production had even started.

For me, it’s not possible, at least not in 2018. As someone who rarely see Asian representation in Western media, supporting this film went beyond just a question of artistic merit. And I think this film understands this, Chu carefully crafted this film in order to break the cultural assumptions of its time. Will this story be as widely received or ‘unique’ in a time where tales of attractive Singaporean bachelors and wealthy Hong Kong mansions are the norm? Most likely not. Maybe, this film’s power comes not from what is depicted within the camera, but the cultural assumptions it challenges outside it. Maybe this makes Crazy Rich Asians a propaganda piece or a mediocre piece of art, I think both cases could be argued. But as someone who got a celebratory message from a close friend for watching a film which explored an Asian narrative in the Western world. Maybe Crazy Rich Asians was the right film at the right time to break the mould.

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The Curtain Call of Rhetoric

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Is Technology indistinguishable from Magic.

Rhetoric is something which is constantly evolving, it evolved under the Humanism movement, it defined itself against the scholastic movement and during the Industrial Revolution it became less and less important as economics opened up trade and communication amongst different nations with different languages. With the spread of the internet, rhetoric has also undergone changes as communication adapts to an increasingly shrinking world.

In my opinion, the internet has allowed unknown individuals to publish their thoughts anonymously meaning that ethos is becoming less and less important and instead there is a larger focus upon the strength of one’s arguments. Likewise powerful influences like situated ethos have been nullified by the internet as the author’s physical appearance and socio-economic status are hidden from sight. I also believe that pathos is harder to effectively implement and aggressive tactics such as intimidation would be poorly received as those rhetorical strategies often require face to face communication or at the very least the use of body language to subtly convey certain emotions and feelings.

I also believe that the main purpose of modern rhetoric is not to ‘persuade’ but rather to simply communicate or pass along a certain message or theme, this is due to the widening audience which can access a speech, article, essay, comment or picture. This means persuasion is harder than ever as the audience will have a wider spectrum of values and beliefs ingrained into them by their culture, thus simple and effective communication seems to be more important than ever as language barriers become more apparent than ever on the internet.

Personally I don’t see this evolution of rhetoric as something which destroys the ‘art’ or ‘soul’ of rhetoric, which is a form of knowledge or practice which has under gone many different transitions and likewise a 16th century rhetorician might of complained about the destructive capabilities of the printing press, something which is integral to modern society.  Instead I think it is necessary that rhetoric evolves along with the world so it does not become an outdated skill left to gather dust upon a bookshelf, void of all relevance.

One Language to Rule Them All.

In today’s tutorial we examined the power imbalance of different cultures in any given society and how there is an unspoken yet widely observed hierarchy within society which determines whether an action, word, gesture or belief is correct or incorrect. This was seen in the story of the Indigenous Australian who had a dream that he meet Elvis Presley and immediately and unfortunately I categorised him as uneducated or dumb because he used Indigenous Australian slang instead of ‘official’ and accepted forms of English. I guess that’s the beauty and flaw of language, the emotional connotations attached to words gives speech an intrinsic emotional underpinning and grounds our communication in authentic feelings. However this also means that unlike scientific discourse, there can be close to no objectivity since certain words will have different meanings depending on one’s context.

The connotations surrounding a word reflects one’s true intentions and labels like men and women carry with it certain values, expectations and stereotypes which society dedicates we follow and these values are grounded into the its citizens through constant repetition. It’s interesting that labels which should be completely objective such as Asian, Lebanese or Australian are also burden with specific associations.

The Knife Edge of Acceptance.

Whilst my discussion posts have generally incorporated my perspective and opinions, I have yet to create a post dedicated solely to myself and my experiences, but for week twelve, I think this is appropriate as next week will be my presentation, something I am definitely looking forward to! I plan to speak about male rights and how feminist discourse has meant that sexism against men is now seen as appropriate or acceptable. (I support feminism and I believe it’s done some wonder things to balance up the genders; however the fact I don’t feel comfortable publishing this thread without defining my position highlights how it has influenced social discourse)

A big part of the challenge will be ensuring that I have a positive ethos as advocates of male rights are generally pierced to be women haters and sexists with outdated views, if I am not about to present my speech without respect, restraint and class then my message will neglected and dismissed. It’s important that I assure the audience that don’t support the restrictive and sexist gender roles and I plan to predict and answer a lot of their concerns within my speech. I also want to word my speech so I can subtly pull the audience ‘over to my side’ and this is done by presenting myself as a moderate armed with sophisticated and relevant statistics and arguments to forward my point.

My main aim in my speech is to change society’s perceptions that men can’t be discriminated against which is as ridiculous as saying “white people can’t be discriminated against because most first world countries are white nations!” I want to start my speech off with something along the lines of… “Men are the leaders of society…” followed by “Women are the leaders of society” and if the audience reacts like I expect them to, then I will point to the hypocrisy in their reactions.

I’m definitely going to forgo intimidation and hopefully through a combination of statistics, good will, ingratiation and moderate language I will be able to present my topic without the label of misogynist slapped onto me.

“Master has given Dobby a sock! Dobby is free!”

I’m glad that a course which was built around the concept of rhetoric did not neglect a speaking component, on a more personal level, these past week threes of presentations have been some of the most enjoyable tutorials I have ever been a part of, so kudos to the ENGL2652 tutors and teachers for assembling this syllabus.

I attended two different tutorials during the final stretch of tutorials and something I noticed within both classes was that every presentation except two was quite serious and focused on a topic which was legitimately a serious issue within society. This was the same for people’s ethnos, as most people tried to be well mannered, polite and respectable with only one speaker trying to use intimidation. I was originally considering doing a satirical and sarcastic piece on why Australia should implement the White Australia Policy or why homosexuality should be out lawed, I eventually decided to speak about discrimination against men, but it would of been interesting to see how a more ’emotional’ or ‘less standardised presentation’ would of functioned.

I also noticed that most of the topics were well suited towards the audience of young teenagers with a generally more liberal mindset, maybe it was to demonstrate good will or maybe the speakers were passionate about those certain topics, but a few I recall include banning Christmas, banning plastic water bottles and the dangers of consumerism.

It was my belief that logos seemed to be generally the most effective form of persuasion during these five minute presentations, not to discredit ethnos or pathos, but those aspects take time to build. Whilst a strong and well-timed statistic or fact only ‘required’ a short amount of time to present, meaning the speaker would of time leftover to expand upon their presentations.

The Second Blog Update

The 18th of May, 2015 has been chiseled into history. Many generations on, my descendants will commemorate this day with a feast. The great songs shall echo through the grand hall of the Ching dynasty, the wine shall flow like the Nile and the ancient kings will rise from their tomb to herald the changing of the new age.

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Ask not what the blog can do for you, but what you can do for the blog.

ONE THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SIX VIEWS IN A SINGLE DAY.

Note that my previous record was 49 views in a full 24 hours, the jump to 1886 represents a net increase of… 3748.9796%. I was completely stunned when I first saw this, believing that either I instantly needed to get corrective eye surgery or that I had taken one too many shots of Vodka that night.

Now you as the audience must be asking, “How on Earth did you get such an explosion in views?” and secondly “Did you threaten the slaves in the basement your friends to continuously press F5 at gunpoint?” After donning my thinking cap and investigating, I found that my website was linked several times in a Norwegian forum dedicated to academia. Many students used my piece analysing the rhetoric in Obama’s Yes We Can speech (which you can found by clicking here) as a scaffold for their own writing.

The Peloponnesian War cemented the greatness of the Spartans in western lore, the 13th belonged to the ferocity of the Mongols, the year 1788 signified the start of the French Revolution and the solidification of modern day European ideals. But the 18th of May, 2015 heralds the triumph of humanity, the forging of the human spirit. But most of all, the 18th of May will forever be the swan song of the Norwegian nation, they rose like a Phoenix from the ashes, dashing away villainy and corruption in a single stroke.

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So what’s next for Insights & Ball? I’m currently completely swamped in assessments though I’m loving this semester as it is really allowed me to dive deeper in my education degree. The timetable gods have also been merciful and I’ve been able to meet some incredible like minded education peers and to strengthen past friendships that I’ve already developed.However I do have a few essays and articles which I do want to publish in the near future, I’ll be on holidays around the end of June.

Schedule

The Fifty Greatest Moments in the Avatar Franchise
This has honestly been a piece that I’ve wanted to publish for many months. I’ve already established my 50 favourite moments from the Avatar franchise in order. However I would like to re-watch The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra one final time just in case I want to make changes. This article will most likely be stretch out over a five separate post starting at number 50 to the magnum opus, I find posting 50 consecutive moments in a row to be a little extreme and very ugly on the eyes.

Tim Duncan; an Ode to Greatness
Duncan is a living legend, the embodiment of a professional, the symbol of longevity. His resume is overwhelming, 5 different championships, 2 MVPs, 3 finals MVP and a ridiculous 18 regular seasons under his belt and another 18 PLAYOFF RUNS played. However, Duncan is nearly the end of his career, how will he proceed? Will he silently exit the game, content with the legacy he has craved out, or will he strive for another championship run?

The Yellow Vicks; a Cherished Memory
The yellow Vicks cough drop will forever be associated with my childhood. My grandmother will always reward me with that delicious treat, promising that this would be the final one of the night. However she could never contain her love for me and by the end of the night, I would sit in my parent’s car with four or five cough drops happily consumed in the stomach. That was close to a decade ago and now her Dementia has cruelly stolen away her memories, ripping down her charisma and destroying her independence. I visited her in the nursing home recently, I tried to make conversation but it was hard connecting intimately with someone who was starting to forget you. As I walked out of her room, I left a packet of yellow Vicks near her bedside table, maybe for one more time she will remember me, the past laughs we shared and how much I loved her.

These are the pieces that I have lined up, however I write whenever I’m motivated and if an idea or an event catches my fancy then I’ll focus on that topic instead. Though I hope that you as the audience have a better idea of what I’m planning to focus upon and I hope that you’ll follow me as I document my life, my beliefs and my experiences before I, too, am whisked off the stage off life.

To my Norwegian viewers, I salute you.

Farvel, Chingy out.

The Mental Drug of Mediocrity

I was strolling with my friend, Jacob, both of us eagerly awaiting the challenges and joys which would accompany our third year at university. The cold Autumn wind had began to taint the warm earthy buzz of Summer and all around me, joyful optimism was painted upon the faces of my fellow peers. I asked about Jacob’s trips to Papa New Guinea and what lessons he could take away from such a polarising experience.

“I learnt that… That being a good person and wanting to help people really means nothing, it means nothing if you are not currently engaged in helping others.” Over a month later, this phrase has still resonated deeply with me.

There have been many quotes which have expressed a similar opinion, but to hear it from a close friend with similar ideas and values really shifted my perspective. It is very easy to swallow the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism” it is very easy for one to slip into a state of dull acceptance, “I’m a good person, I help people when I can.”

Except, when was the last time I had been involved in charity? It had been years since I gave up my precious time to help those facing difficult situations. How could I claim to be a good person if my existence didn’t positively change the lives and attitudes of my peer citizens? Values such as honesty, friendliness and acceptance are not traits or characteristics which should be celebrated, they are to be expected from any decent human being.

I write this to any one reading, do not be lulled into a mental state of mediocrity, good is never enough if better is possible. rhetoric can never be a substitute for action, the people who talk through their actions are the ones who will have a lasting legacy upon this world. People who dream with their eyes open are the ones whom history shall sing praises about. The call to action has been sounded and it has invited you to help others who share this beautiful planet with you.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
– Pericles

Théoden’s Last Cry

“Forth! Down fear of darkness!
Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden!
Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered!
A sword day… a red day… and the sun rises!
Ride now… Ride now… Ride!
Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death!”

Lord of the Rings stands as a pillar of English literature with Tolkien’s world serving as the archetype for the fantasy genre since the book’s publication. But beyond that, it stands as a symbol of humanity, our ability to overcome darkness with courage.

One major criticism I have on the Lord of the Rings trilogy is generally the lack of duality within characters and more specifically, the lack of flexibility within certain races; all orcs are evil whilst elves are pure and angelic. But in reality orcs are really just a symbol, a blank token or unwavering hatred which must be challenged and defeated. The lack of character development amongst the orcs, goblins and trolls reflect their use as a catalyst to put humanity and it’s neighbouring races through adversity.

The characters and kingdoms in the Lord of the Rings respond magnificently to these waves of chaos, steeling themselves against the forces of evil, forces who wish to trample upon community. I was very scared of death when I was younger, I have made my peace with the inevitable now, but unquestionably the prospect of the abyss still scares me. This is why I see sacrifice as the noblest and most courageous act an individual can perform, when someone believes in a cause so strongly they see fit to forfeit their life to protect that ideal or that spark of hope… It’s powerful, beautiful and extremely moving.

Against all odds, the forces of Rohan unite, reforging their ancient alliance to Gondor, they see the hordes of darkness before them yet they do not stumble, they do not falter. In that moment, the actions of the soldiers showed that humanity was worth protecting, that mankind was not beyond salvation. The soldiers which all hail from different backgrounds prepare to rush to their tangible death to protect something intangible; their ancestor’s legacy and the right for their future generations to walk as free on this green Earth.

Their great deeds would forever be recorded in the songs of lore, of a bygone age where the strength of men did not flinch from the call of duty, where evil merely broke like water upon an iron cliff. From the lowly foot soldier to the mighty king, all were equal on that day and all were willing to die in pursuit of higher ideals. There is no moment more powerful in the trilogy, courage in the face of impending doom, valour against hatred and glory when met with the impossible.

Tis’ a sword day, a red day indeed Théoden king.

 

Korrasami Confirmed

This scene crushed me, I would argue that Konietzko and Di Martino would of been kinder to have had dropped an atomic bomb on myself rather then tear my heart to a thousand pieces. I still don’t fully understand why I am so attached to the Korra and Asami pairing. I still think that their relationship was rushed with the audience only getting small hints that Korra had developed feelings but never hints from Asami’s character.

Maybe it was the fact that I could not separate their relationship from the ending of Legend of Korra. Maybe it stems from the fact that I am a lot more emotionally invested in Legend of Korra than the original Avatar The Last Airbender. In Korra’s case, I followed it religiously, every update, every twist and turn, every trailer. But Konietzko and Di Martino’s bold stand on a ‘taboo’ topic reflects how modern their works are, heroes are not longer just physically imposing men. Women are just as capable (if not more capable) then men in Legend of Korra and the cliche implied characteristics of ‘children television’ shows have all been reversed.

This is why I think literature is one of the most powerful forces in human history, we create interesting and beautiful worlds filled with intriguing characters and situations to explore our own humanity. The events and actions which occurred in The Legend of Korra echo throughout our own world, the characters which we have become emotionally invested in, become real breathing characters with unique traits and habits.

So this is how the franchise ends, I have a feeling that both creators will not touch the Avatar universe again as Nickelodeon completely disrespected one of the most revolutionary children cartoon shows ever by axing its television run and by reducing the final book’s budget. Now, I don’t think Legend of Korra is as strong as its predecessor and I’m still bitter about how they treated Asami in season two and three (basically reducing her to a minor character).

But this scene, this one scene between two lovers… Well, this may be the most memorable and emotional moment both of the entire franchise. So with bittersweet feelings and a sore heart, the loyal fans say farewell to a franchise which has touched millions deeply and has inspired thousands more. Finished, completed but never forgotten.

“Sounds perfect.”

Korra/Asami.

Mike DiMartino

Now that Korra and Asami’s final moment is out in the world, it seems like an appropriate time to express how I feel about it. I didn’t want to say anything right away so the audience could experience the finale for themselves.

The main themes of the Avatar universe have always revolved around equality, justice, acceptance, tolerance, and balancing differing worldviews. In subtle and maybe not so subtle ways, Avatar and Legend of Korra have dealt with difficult subjects such as genocide, child abuse, deaths of loved ones, and post traumatic stress. I took it as a complement when Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair called the show subversive. There were times even I was surprised we were able to delve into the really tough stuff on a children’s TV network. While the episodes were never designed to “make a statement”, Bryan and I always strove to treat the more difficult…

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Subtle Rhetoric. (A Dime A Dozen)

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“Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

These following submissions are part of my Rhetoric course at the University of Sydney, I’m required to submit around 80-100 words every week as a requirement to pass my course. (obviously my submissions completely broke this word ‘limit’…) Hopefully, this is an enjoyable read as it details my thoughts on rhetoric, it’s uses and how it effects society.

Friends, Romans, lend me your ears!

Intangible Consumerism.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s work is very similar to the lecturer who believed that fundamentally language is about quotations and paraphrasing and thus there can be no real sense of creativity since the medium used to translate the ideas are socially constructed.

This made me question the purpose and the legitimacy of copy right or patenting, is this just a method for companies to store up ideas and inventions? Are ideals like trade mark and copy right just a product of a consumeristic society? Or is it used to heighten one’s ego? Giving their words or beliefs legitimacy because of their association to an idea or item that is recognised as their ‘personal’ production? Personally I think capitalism, pride and financial gain are the three biggest contributors to a world where intelligence and ideas can licensed.

Lost in Translation.

As the world becomes more and more connected with the rise of technology, the distinction between cultures and nations have been blurred with the internet becoming a powerful medium where people can experience a wide variety of texts. There has always been critics of translated texts, personally I am a big fan of anime (Japanese animation or cartoon) and there’s a huge split down the community about the authenticity about translation animes.

However just like translation can take away from a text, it can also add meaning which may be more relevant to the audiences. In some ways translation can be compared to adaptions, such as Romeo + Juliet by Baz Luhrmann, which took a traditional text can placed it into a different cultural environment, though no one questions the validity or the purpose of those adaptions. My views on translation has been directly influenced by something my year eight English teacher talked about; The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes. Whilst this may be influenced by my relative mentality, I believe that once a text is created, the author loses their position of authority on it since different interpretations of the same event, book, and sentence etcetera will be supported by varying experiences, all of which are just as valid.

I guess it is up to individual viewers to decide whether they value complete ‘authenticity’ or the injection of a ‘foreign’ perspective.

Apples and Oranges.

In today’s tutorial the class (spear headed by Benjamin) discussed how national perceptions are social constructions within involve the participation of the said nation along with the international communities which all contribute to the final image. In some ways this could be seen as the situated ethos of the nation which is an accumulation of the perceptions and surrounding stereotypes around a nation. Despite the statistics (logos) which reflect the modern, technological society that most Australians live in, the typical belief that all Australians are Caucasian surfers with blonde curly hair who are also ironically desert dwellers exist.

Though instead of pointing how the creation of beliefs and perceptions are a joint product between multiple parties, I think it’s interesting how societies will always define themselves in comparison to other nations. Australians share a lot in common with the British, a similar language combined with a capitalistic society with democracy as its social foundation. However Australians proudly uphold the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ image whilst the English will joke about their fetish for tea and biscuits.

This is another issue I have with the media, it’s over simplistic rhetoric is both manipulative and false. It aims to present easy to consume stories and images for the busy and largely ignorant masses. These over generalisations will often reinforce the already socially accepted stereotypes and thus trapping society in a dangerous cycle of self-delusion.

Rhetoric and how we word and portray ideas is important my friends.

Is Technology indistinguishable from Magic.

Rhetoric is something which is constantly evolving, it evolved under the Humanism movement, it defined itself against the scholastic movement and during the Industrial Revolution it became less and less important as economics opened up trade and communication amongst different nations with different languages. With the spread of the internet, rhetoric has also undergone changes as communication adapts to an increasingly shrinking world.

In my opinion, the internet has allowed unknown individuals to publish their thoughts anonymously meaning that ethos is becoming less and less important and instead there is a larger focus upon the strength of one’s arguments. Likewise powerful influences like situated ethos have been nullified by the internet as the author’s physical appearance and socio-economic status are hidden from sight. I also believe that pathos is harder to effectively implement and aggressive tactics such as intimidation would be poorly received as those rhetorical strategies often require face to face communication or at the very least the use of body language to subtly convey certain emotions and feelings.

I also believe that the main purpose of modern rhetoric is not to ‘persuade’ but rather to simply communicate or pass along a certain message or theme, this is due to the widening audience which can access a speech, article, essay, comment or picture. This means persuasion is harder than ever as the audience will have a wider spectrum of values and beliefs ingrained into them by their culture, thus simple and effective communication seems to be more important than ever as language barriers become more apparent than ever on the internet.

Personally I don’t see this evolution of rhetoric as something which destroys the ‘art’ or ‘soul’ of rhetoric, which is a form of knowledge or practice which has under gone many different transitions and likewise a 16th century rhetorician might of complained about the destructive capabilities of the printing press, something which is integral to modern society.  Instead I think it is necessary that rhetoric evolves along with the world so it does not become an outdated skill left to gather dust upon a bookshelf, void of all relevance.

Greatness personified.

LeBron James was asked when the pressure to win a title will shift to Kevin Durant

 “When I retire.”

Champions talk like champions.

The First Avatar: Genesis.

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GOOD LORD HAVE MERCY. Those four words accurately summed up my interpretations of episode 7 and 8 in season 2 of The Legend of Korra, Nickelodeon hit a complete home run the one hour long episode Avatar special. Not only were the episodes visually pleasing with the Asian inspired water colours and water colour landscapes, but the voice acting was superb. (Love to Steven Yuen and April Stewart.) Watching the two episodes was like having a one hour long sexual explosion within my brain, so intense that it has disabled various of my bodily functions like my ability to urinate.

Firstly let’s just give Nickelodeon a round of applause, I thought season 2 was getting boring, the characters didn’t intrigue me like Aang’s cast of lovable and unique personalities. The story line was unquestionable with quite a lot of large plot holes left unfulfilled, bending the four elements lacked their distinctive styles and all fights looked like UFC matches. But this episode really set the bar high for this season and thank the good lord we didn’t have to endure another episode of the creepy serial rapist; Eska. In fact I don’t think I’m living in the moment but this might be my favourite Avatar episode of all time, yes it sits in front of Aang defeating Ozai, yes it sits in front of the invasion of the black sun and maybe even in front of Sokka meeting Foo Foo Cuddly Poops.

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“I’m Sokka the meat and sarcasm guy.”