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pendell
2012-08-09, 09:12 AM
So the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19112066) has an article[/url] on comic book styles around the world. The US has larger-than-life superheroes. Japan has manga in a variety of styles. France and Belgium give us Tintin and Asterix.

I wonder what OOTS says about us...?

I'm thinking of adjectives which describe OOTS, and thoughts that come to mind are ...

1) Minimalist.
2) Creative and/or flexible (comes from #1: Easier to show a globe-spanning epic when you don't have to make every city rendering a Michealangelo masterpiece as opposed to color shading -- blue walls = Azure City. Grey = Greysky. And so forth).
3) Band of misfits.
4) Common -- what? Not alignment. Belkar is evil. Not race. We have elves and halflings and humans. Not ideology. What, exactly, brings these people together for a common purpose?
Regardless, that seems to me to be a very American modern western idea. Male, female, good, evil, all come together to stand together and make the world a better place. They aren't bound together by common blood, by common faith, by common ideas. Yet somehow they're tighter than many biological families.

Just some thoughts. Anyone agree/disagree? Something to add?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

tensai_oni
2012-08-09, 11:08 AM
Camaraderie is not an exclusively American concept you know.

CheesePirate
2012-08-09, 11:25 AM
Aw...how can they talk about comics in France without mentioning Métal Hurlant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9tal_Hurlant), or the UK without mentioning Dan Dare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Dare) and 2000 AD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_AD_(comics)), etc..

pendell
2012-08-09, 11:33 AM
Camaraderie is not an exclusively American concept you know.

Never said it was. But when you've got protaganists as mixed as ours are -- black , female, "challenged" (Elan), LGBT (Vaarsuvius -- I think ze fits under 'transgender', to the extent no one's figured out what ze is) , elf, dwarf, psychotic halfling -- that's something which makes it an American modern Wetern epic , I think. Maybe There are other western cultures that have the same commitment to inclusivity, but it's still something notable about 21st century American culture. It's not a story that would have been made or accepted in 1950s America, I'm sure.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Tiki Snakes
2012-08-09, 11:37 AM
Never said it was. But when you've got protaganists as mixed as ours are -- black , female, "challenged" (Elan), LGBT (Vaarsuvius -- I think ze fits under 'transgender', to the extent no one's figured out what ze is) , elf, dwarf, psychotic halfling -- that's something which makes it an American epic , I think. Maybe there are other western cultures that have the same commitment to inclusivity, but it's still something notable about 21st century American culture. It's not a story that would have been made or accepted in 1950s America, I'm sure.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

That makes it modern perhaps, but I'm not sure it really makes it american, as such.

pendell
2012-08-09, 11:42 AM
That makes it modern perhaps, but I'm not sure it really makes it american, as such.

I think it does. Lookit Harry Potter, where protaganist diversity is limited to white (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_(character)),

English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Weasley)

schoolkids. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermione_Granger)

Find me ONE European comic strip that has a black main character and puts his face as the symbol for the comic strip and (this happened (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13697290&postcount=7)) I will therefore immediately change my comments to "OOTS is modern western" instead of "Modern American".

Respectfully Somewhat sheepishly over his ignorance,

Brian P.

CheesePirate
2012-08-09, 11:48 AM
Find me ONE European comic strip that has a black main character and puts his face as the symbol for the comic strip and I will immediately change my comments to "OOTS is modern western" instead of "Modern American".

http://www.theurbanlegend.no/

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/375275_237731676303391_231074590302433_532657_1062 36906_n.jpg

pendell
2012-08-09, 11:50 AM
http://www.theurbanlegend.no/

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/375275_237731676303391_231074590302433_532657_1062 36906_n.jpg

Point noted and conceded. Earlier posts will now be revised to take this information into account.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Eldan
2012-08-09, 02:05 PM
I think it does. Lookit Harry Potter, where protaganist diversity is limited to white (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_(character)),

English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Weasley)

schoolkids. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermione_Granger)

Find me ONE European comic strip that has a black main character and puts his face as the symbol for the comic strip and (this happened (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13697290&postcount=7)) I will therefore immediately change my comments to "OOTS is modern western" instead of "Modern American".

Respectfully Somewhat sheepishly over his ignorance,

Brian P.

Well, that's the thing, really. It probably reflects demographics, a bit. I am quite sure that I have never in my life spoken to a black person. Africa is on my list of travel destinations, but I don't see them here often. Yes, I pass black people walking by in the city, but I have never spoken to any. Just because there was never really a reason to. Black people in a comic for no reason would just feel strange. And if the cast was Swiss, German, Italian, Serbian and Turkish, they would all still look mostly white.

Yora
2012-08-09, 02:15 PM
Oots is a single case, which does not support any statement about a society.

However, I did notice a strong trend in my webcomic bookmarks: Real Life, xkcd, SMBC, Darths & Droids, Gone with the Blastwave. I am turning into a sarcastic snarker. :smallbiggrin:

I don't think many people know it, but there are German comics.
And that is probably for the best.
I love Walter Moers, but "Das Kleine Arschloch" requires a lot of context to be not taken in the wrong light. It's over the top offensive on purpose. And then there is "Werner", which I believe is supposed to be genuinly funny without being a satire. You can also add Ralf König to the bunch. If you know the spanish Mortadelo y Filemón, that's pretty much what you can expect from those comics.
There are some okay comics made by german creators, but those immitate Belgian style so closely that even Germans would assume they are Belgian.
So my advice, do not try to read German comics. It will be embarassing for everyone involved. :smallbiggrin:

Ravens_cry
2012-08-09, 03:21 PM
Gender bending, transformation, science fiction, fantasy and superheroes tend to dominate.
I go more for story comics than gag-a-strip and/or 'three guys on a couch' comics.
In fact, I don't think I have any of the latter anymore.

Prime32
2012-08-09, 06:28 PM
"Humans, elves and halflings working together" is an American idea? Better tell Tolkien! :smalltongue:


Camaraderie is not an exclusively American concept you know.Yeah, when it's a choice between the two US culture tends to prioritise the rights of the individual. In very rough terms, the further east you travel the more things tend to swing towards prioritising community.

Kitten Champion
2012-08-09, 07:04 PM
I don't know about society in general, but the D&D creators are highly conscious of sexism and racism. They clearly have attempted to actively subvert the more traditional tropes of euro-centric hyper-masculinity that pervaded fantasy. It's curious looking at how pronouns are chosen for character descriptions in the texts, and how the art actively portrays men and women with differing phenotype and cultural apparel. Most of my discussions with players are similarly well considered, though my sampling method is hardly scientific.

Though at this point it's pretty unremarkable, enough at least to not surprise me even if I notice it.

The ambiguously sexed elf is fairly old hat, humour-wise.

Anarion
2012-08-09, 09:53 PM
One thing I find interesting about OotS is that it's very genre conscious, so it's both telling an epic story and parodying role-playing storytelling at the same time. I don't think that's particularly easy to pull off, and it quite often comes across as a tip of the hat to the readers.

I'm not sure if that's just OotS being cool, or if it speaks to something broader about people being more aware of the social constructs and ideas that run our lives in this day and age.

Feytalist
2012-08-10, 06:41 AM
4) Common -- what? Not alignment. Belkar is evil. Not race. We have elves and halflings and humans. Not ideology. What, exactly, brings these people together for a common purpose?
Regardless, that seems to me to be a very American modern western idea. Male, female, good, evil, all come together to stand together and make the world a better place. They aren't bound together by common blood, by common faith, by common ideas. Yet somehow they're tighter than many biological families.

I'm also just going to add to this. Common whatever is less a "modern western" idea and more a D&D idea. One of D&D's (and other RPGs, to be fair) core structures is the getting together of a disparate group of characters in order to "aventure", which is exactly what OotS exemplifies, as seen in various backstories and whatnot. I'n not going to say it's a uniquely D&D concept, given that D&D borrows ideas from all over the place anyway. But still, coming from a D&D-based webcomic, you can see where the concept most likely was lifted from.

pendell
2012-08-10, 07:44 AM
Well, that's the thing, really. It probably reflects demographics, a bit. I am quite sure that I have never in my life spoken to a black person. Africa is on my list of travel destinations, but I don't see them here often. Yes, I pass black people walking by in the city, but I have never spoken to any. Just because there was never really a reason to. Black people in a comic for no reason would just feel strange. And if the cast was Swiss, German, Italian, Serbian and Turkish, they would all still look mostly white.

Which may bring back the ghost of my point. Let me discuss my last few days --

-- My downstairs neighbor (Korean) complains about noise. I go to speak to our apartment manager (Ethiopian) about it. Then I wave goodbye to my neighbor across the way (Indian) and his wife, who have just completed a contract in Afghanistan. Drive to work, where I work closely with the technical support department (African-American) to report to my boss (Irish) and coordinate with another one (From Ulster , migrated first to Papua New Guinea, then to Rhodesia, then to Quebec, now a Canadian citizen) to work for a company President (Puerto Rican) who is having a chat with the folks working in the warehouse (Guatemalan and El Salvadoran) so we can sell the Big Boss (Swiss) on the latest project.

In the past fourteen years I have worked alongside or for people of every race, creed, ethnic group, and sexual orientation. I don't think that's at all unusual for an American living in a major American city, and I consider it a source of pride. We aren't "Ein Volk", as other peoples have called their countries. Instead, we're refugees, convicts and immigrants from all over the world who've come together to build something new and wonderful. That's our American mythology. And while OOTS is not unique on that score, at the very least it was written in a country and a culture where such things are possible.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 08:47 AM
Here are a few examples from my own life: Sami, American and Irish close family members, Swedish boyfriend, English ex, Finnish, Hungarian and American co-workers, Somalian employer, went to school with and have friends from all over the world. Oh, and I live in a small (even by Norwegian standards) town with about 25,000 inhabitants.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, I just wanted to point out that immigration and diversity and such isn't necessarily uniquely American.http://cheesepirate.com/forums/images/smilies/goblorc_wink.png

pendell
2012-08-10, 08:48 AM
Thank you, Cheesepirate. Point well made :).

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Terraoblivion
2012-08-10, 08:54 AM
You probably don't want to use Nazi slogans to exemplify other countries. :smalltongue:

Also, that's not really uniquely American. The only city with greater ethnic diversity than London is New York and that's only by a tiny fraction. Similarly cities like Paris, Marseilles, Amsterdam and Berlin are all very close to being that diverse as well. In general, ethnic diversity is a real thing across the country, I mean I'm from one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in Western Europe and my sister is still getting married to an Iraqi while my other sister's boyfriend has an Iranian father, I'm dating a Puerto Rican, my family has more significant German descent than most Americans claiming that and looking at the local places I regularly eat, I talk to Thai, Italian and Turkish people.

In general, rather than insisting that the US is special, you should probably listen when Europeans tell you about Europe being quite diverse too. Some countries more so than others, but not all of the US is New York or California either, but it is still a very real thing you'll experience across the continent. Not just that, the US is less likely to include sexual diversity than Europe would given that it is considered far more controversial west of the Atlantic than east of it.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 08:57 AM
In the graphic novel Drabant one of the two main characters is Chilean-Norwegian:

http://dittoslo.no/polopoly_fs/1.7361143!/image/4274424299.jpg_gen/derivatives/derivative_article_480/4274424299.jpg

In the comic strip Kollektivet one of the main characters is a "second or third generation muslim immigrant" who shares a house with a death metal musician, a christian and a lesbian:

http://s.cdon.com/media-dynamic/images/product/book/unknown/image5/kollektivet_3_borte_bra_hjemme_fest-964248-frntl.jpg

Avilan the Grey
2012-08-10, 08:57 AM
Well what comics say about Americans in general (and all the rest of us that read Marvel or DC) is "We DEMAND butt-and-boobs* poses EVERYWHERE". :smallbiggrin::smalltongue:

*The typical way all super heroines fight crime: By standing with the back towards the enemy, then turnin their upper torso far enough that you see their chests... Very dynamic pose, and utter rubbish to do any kind of combat with. (Maybe they are constantly sneak-attacked from behind?)

Eldan
2012-08-10, 09:10 AM
Oh, I wouldn't say we aren't a diverse country. We are a country of seven millions, with about 20% immigrants and tens of thousands of new ones every year.

The difference is just that they are very recent immigrants. The Italians have been here since the sixties (maybe fifties). Other ethnicities came even later. Before that, Switzerland was just too poor for anyone considering actually coming to live here. So, many immigrant groups are still fairly isolated and don't really speak the language. It's changing, and the second and third generations tend to be fairly integrated, but there's still not that much mixing going on.

Switzerland has always been rather proud of not being One People. We are a confederation of originally 13, now 22 states, we speak four languages, we have approximately half as many dialects as inhabitants that are sometimes mutually incomprehensible to each other. Diversity is big here.

However, I don't actually know any Swiss COmics. There probably exist some, I just can't think of any. I grew up on a mixture Belgian and French comics and European Disney (which is only very loosely connected to American Disney). I don't know what it says about me, but what I most remember are Tintin, Asterix and the those large German disney comics that came out once a month. Strange things, those.
350 pages thick, filled with a very strange mixture of Superhero parodies, Ducktales-esque adventure stories, absolutely out-there-weird fantasy and science fiction, sometimes rather dark detective murder mysteries, re-tellings of classical literature (seriously, Les Miserables? Schiller's Die Räuber? Lord of the Rings? Shakespeare? All with talking ducks and aimed at eight year olds?) and slice of life stories, all told with disney characters.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 09:26 AM
However, I don't actually know any Swiss COmics. There probably exist some, I just can't think of any.

Buddy Longway, Yakari, Titeuf are all Swiss (and awesome).

pendell
2012-08-10, 09:27 AM
You probably don't want to use Nazi slogans to exemplify other countries. :smalltongue:


Noted. I tried to change it, but found that I couldn't find a similar pithy comment that would not be equally offensive to someone. It's been an idea that's been around at least since the Byzantine Empire, which insisted on one emperor, one faith, one country, etc. So I left it as a discredited slogan from the previous century.



Also, that's not really uniquely American. The only city with greater ethnic diversity than London is New York and that's only by a tiny fraction.


Agreed and conceded.




In general, rather than insisting that the US is special,


My point is that it is fundamental to American cultural mythology. Every culture has stories we tell about ourselves, and some of them even have a nodding acquaintance with fact :).

And our cultural mythology is of many peoples coming together to make one country. It's on our coins and on the Great Seal of the United States -- "E Pluribus Unum" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_pluribus_unum), which means "Out of many, one". It's also on one of our most famous monuments --


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


At any rate, I hope you see the difference. You're talking about fact, which is that many countries are diverse. I'm talking about cultural mythology, the stories we tell about ourselves, and in America this diversity is built into that mythology at a fundamental level, and has been since it's foundation.

I further contend that a comic strip is an artifact of cultural myth. Therefore, OOTS being an American comic strip, demonstrates this because it has those markers which distinguish American cultural myth from anyone else's.


Cheesepirate has demonstrated that Norway is diverse. Yes. But -- check me on this -- there could be a Norway without diversity. Norway existed long before it was a word, did it not? Likewise, when they said "There will always be an England" -- but "diverse" and "English" are not synonyms, are they?

To the best of my knowledge, it is only the United States which has E Pluribus Unum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_pluribus_unum) built into its cultural mythology at such a bedrock level.



In general, rather than insisting that the US is special, you should probably listen when Europeans tell you about Europe being quite diverse too. Some countries more so than others, but not all of the US is New York or California either, but it is still a very real thing you'll experience across the continent. Not just that, the US is less likely to include sexual diversity than Europe would given that it is considered far more controversial west of the Atlantic than east of it.


Yes. These are facts. But as I have tried to demonstrate, "facts" and "cultural myth" are not synonyms. Comics are part of cultural mythology, useful for communicating how we think about ourselves, not for communicating facts about the way the world actually is :).

Respectfully,

Brian P.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 09:32 AM
"diverse" and "English" are not synonyms, are they?


Actually they really ought to be, considering how the English language and the English culture was built up over the centuries. England was a melting pot long before there was a USA.

pendell
2012-08-10, 09:46 AM
Actually they really ought to be, considering how the English language and the English culture was built up over the centuries. England was a melting pot long before there was a USA.

In fact, yes. In cultural myth, no.

Robin Hood (saxons vs. Normans). Lord of the Rings (small kingdom standing alone against a tide of orcs). Harry Potter (English schoolkids facing off with the world). Chronicles of Narnia ("Kind, gentle land rather than strong, cruel Empire like Calormen). Shakespeare. Of all the stories I am aware, only Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork really seems to have the theme of "we are diverse people, and this is a good thing". Others like Tolkien use words like "mingled" to describe diversity, and the connotations are negative.

And Lewis' thoughts on mixing things was stated by Mr. Beaver ...



"There may be two views about humans (meaning no offense to the present company). But there's no two views about things that look like humans and aren't. ... in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be human and isn't yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet."



I further note that Pratchett is a modern author. So it appears that diversity is becoming part of England's cultural mythology. But I'm not sure it's foundational to cultural myth the way E Pluribus Unum has been in US myth.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 09:55 AM
Lord of the Rings (small kingdom standing alone against a tide of orcs).

And here I thought it was hobbits, dwarfs, elves, ents, several nations of man and what have you standing together against that tide of orcs and whatnot. How wrong was I. http://cheesepirate.com/forums/images/smilies/goblorc_surprised.png

pendell
2012-08-10, 10:05 AM
And here I thought it was hobbits, dwarfs, elves, ents, several nations of man and what have you standing together against that tide of orcs and whatnot. How wrong was I. http://cheesepirate.com/forums/images/smilies/goblorc_surprised.png

It's about many allied nations, yes, but that is a different thing from one diverse nation.

The English stand-in in Lord of the Rings is The Shire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_(Middle-earth)#Inspiration), which is approximately as diverse as a block of cheese. When human outsiders come to the Shire and bring in new ways, new technology and new ideas (seen in The Scouring of the Shire), it is considered a bad thing.

Which is probably why that entire section was cut by a modern film-maker, but I digress.

Remember the world Tolkien lived in. He lived in a world of allied nations working for a common goal, but they remained separate. Elves, Dwarves and men work together for common goals, yes, but they remain separate peoples. Elves do not live among dwarves, and dwarves do not live among elves. Hobbits live by themselves apart from humans. Attempts to blend different species to produce a new thing are done by people like Saruman and Sauron and it is considered a 'black evil'. Even the marriage of elves and humans, as discussed in the appendices, is not an unmixed blessing. Arwen outlives her husband and her children and dies alone, having lost everything she had gained.

Many nations working together to achieve a common purpose, than going their separate ways, is a different thing from many nations merging into a single nation , to becoming one people.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 10:16 AM
I am sure I could dig up many old American books that could be interpreted in unflattering ways as well, but I think I'll stop here before this crosses over into politics and other topics best avoided. http://cheesepirate.com/forums/images/smilies/goblorc_smile.png

Instead I'll ask, if the diversity in OOTS is purely a result of this unique American mythology, why do we find similar diversity in other comics from other parts of the world (such as Norway)? And why don't we see more of it in old American comics?

pendell
2012-08-10, 10:38 AM
Instead I'll ask, if the diversity in OOTS is purely a result of this unique American mythology, why do we find similar diversity in other comics from other parts of the world (such as Norway)?


Okay, you're an expert on Norway and I'm not. So I'll ask: Is this diversity something that has always been expressed in Norwegian mythology, dating back to the Sagas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings%27_sagas)? Or is it fairly recent, something that has appeared in the 20th and 21st century?

If the second, I would say it is a result of cultural interchange. Cultural mythology is not a static thing. The stories we tell about ourselves change over time, just as our view of ourselves changes over time.

This means that American mythmakers are influenced by Japanese anime and by Tintin, European mythmakers are influenced by Hollywood, and Japanese mythmakers stick western references into their stories. The result is stories which combine elements of all these different myths, such as Kingdom Hearts.



And why don't we see more of it in old American comics?

While E Pluribus Unum is fundamental to American mythology, it is not the sole element of American mythology. There are elements, and mythmakers pick and choose those elements to tell the stories they deem most suitable , depending on their target audience and the story they want to tell. Just because 'out of many one' is our #1 seller doesn't mean it's the only song we've ever released, or indeed see the need to play all the time. Did the Beatles play "Imagine" at every concert?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Eldan
2012-08-10, 10:56 AM
Buddy Longway, Yakari, Titeuf are all Swiss (and awesome).

Oh, right. Titeuf. That said, I would have bet money that Yakari was either French of Beligan.

And as I said further up, Pendell: look into Switzerland sometime. The Old Confederacy has been around since the Middle Ages, and it had four different languages, just as we do now, consisted of thirteen states that had their own laws and currencies and yet still banded together. Of course, "small state against evil giant oppressor" is much a part of our national mythology, but if you look at history, that comes mainly from us beating the Habsburgs, Austrians, Germans, Italians and French whenever they tried to move back into the territory the Confederacy had conquered from them.

Edit: and our national motto is "Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno". But we probably stole that from the US, just like half of our constitution and government system :smalltongue:

CheesePirate
2012-08-10, 11:10 AM
Personally I think it has more to do with "modern vs old" than "American diversity vs supposed European insert-offensive-German-term-here homogeneity". Modern comics tend to be more diverse than old comics, simply because society is more diverse and more accepting of diversity these days. It may well have been a uniquely American concept in comics at some point, but it's certainly no longer exclusively an American concept. That's a good thing, surely.

Also, you don't have to go further back than 1992 to see that even in the USA diversity in comics had its limits:
"Dexter Howard: A college-age freshman that was introduced as a potential love interest for Betty, that would be introduced in order to create a love triangle between Betty, Archie, and Dexter. The character was originally conceived and drawn as African-American; however, the editor of Betty and Me objected to an interracial romance between Betty and an African-American male and had Dexter re-colored as a Caucasian male before the character's debut issue was printed. After a few appearances, Dexter was written out of Betty and Me and never reappeared in an Archie comic."

pendell
2012-08-10, 11:12 AM
It may well have been an uniquely American concept in comics at some point, but it's certainly no longer exclusively an American concept. That's a good thing, surely.


Agreed on both points.



And as I said further up, Pendell: look into Switzerland sometime.


I'd like to, actually. Can you provide links?

*Notices Dr. Epic's comments , decides smacking him would incur Mod-wrath*


Respectfully,

Brian P.

Dr.Epic
2012-08-10, 11:13 AM
I think it does. Lookit Harry Potter, where protaganist diversity is limited to white (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_(character)),

English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Weasley)

schoolkids. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermione_Granger)

I don't know what you're talking about. Those books were extremely diverse. What about that large hairy guy with the big beard? I'm pretty sure he was part bear. And the main villain was a snake person. Also, what about that tiny guy who got freed by giving him a sock? I'm pretty sure he was a shaved ewok.

:smallwink:
:smalltongue:

Eldan
2012-08-10, 11:42 AM
Wasn't one of the harry Potter kids black? And a few had names that sounded very non-English to me.

As for sources on Switzerland: I can't seem to find anything good in English, no. Wikipedia, I suppose?

Aotrs Commander
2012-08-10, 04:58 PM
Actually, the make-up of the overall cast in HP was not too far out of line for the balance of UK ethenicites (for want of a better word). Dean Thomas, Angelina Johnson and Lee Jordan were black, Padma and Pavati Patil were asian (possibly of Indian decent or that part of the world), Cho Chang was far-eastern asian (possibly Chinese)...

But the fact of the matter is that not much attention was paid to this in the books, really, (to the point I didn't always twig until later) because it isn't as big an issue over here as stateside (or at least it wasn't in schools at the time the books were set - co-incidently the same years as I was at school (I'd have been in Harry's year, a fact that never fails to amuse me.))

Granted yes, the three protagonists are white English, but to be fair, that is - according to the UK census data - the most statistically numerous ethnic group.

MLai
2012-08-15, 04:41 AM
Remember the world Tolkien lived in. He lived in a world of allied nations working for a common goal, but they remained separate. Elves, Dwarves and men work together for common goals, yes, but they remain separate peoples. Elves do not live among dwarves, and dwarves do not live among elves. Hobbits live by themselves apart from humans. Attempts to blend different species to produce a new thing are done by people like Saruman and Sauron and it is considered a 'black evil'. Even the marriage of elves and humans, as discussed in the appendices, is not an unmixed blessing. Arwen outlives her husband and her children and dies alone, having lost everything she had gained.
Oho ho! You having this discussion again, Pendell? On GitP forum? Therein lies madness, my friend.

I contend that the USA has a cultural mythology too utopic for its people to aspire to. Study its history and the USA is full of WASP intolerance to all the subsequent waves of immigrants. First it was against blacks, then against Irish and Italian and Jew, then against Asian, then South Americans, now against Arabs/Muslims and still South Americans. I think ST:TNG had a quote which encapsulates it perfectly, (I paraphrase) "You are such a flawed species, yet you aspire to such impossible ideals (speaker referring to the Prime Directive)."