Sunday, June 16, 2013

Overcoming Ethnocentrism & Prejudices, The 90s & The Matrix

I want to comment a bit about prejudices, and Ethnocentrism.

It turns out, that most people are guilty of this at some point or another of this, in some variation, whether they mean to or not. This includes myself. Overcoming this involves being curious about other cultures, and sharing things like arts & music, and other creative things.

Being or doing something Ethnocentric just means to judge people or persons of another culture by the standards of YOUR values & views from YOUR culture.

Even tho' it's not a good thing, it's important to keep in mind that people of another culture have a different view or perspective than that of your own, be aware of it, and ask yourself: am I being ethnocentric? Don't beat yourself up if you find out that you might have been... Instead, learn from it.

It's TOTALLY OKAY to shift your view of the way you view the world, and not just your micro version of the world, because it will broaden WHO YOU ARE. Others may feel threatened by it, and try to deter you from it, because people fear what they do not understand. (things that are different)

But, I can assure you, there's NOTHING better than the realization that you WERE WRONG about something, and then OVERCOMING it. Because you can FINALLY grow as a person.

This type of theme was ULTRA popular in the 1990s, but also throughout the 20th Century. And even uncovering that you were wrong or misjudged someone, or even about yourself.

(1990s) Movies I loved were: 

The Jungle Book (Jason Scott Lee version)
Dragon; Bruce Lee Story (Jason Scott Lee)
Map of The Human Heart (Jason Scott Lee)
Blade (Wesley Snipes)
The Matrix

Mortal Kombat (The Movie)
Jungle Fever
The Lover (1992 Tony Leung) 
Terminator 2; Judgement Day
Shindler's List
Fight Club
Home Alone
The Lion King
Beauty & The Beast
The Sand Lot
Radio Flyer
The Good Son
Beethoven (the dog movie)
Pretty Woman
Liar Liar
The Game
The Mask
Ace Ventura; Pet Detective I & II
Sister Act
Dangerous Minds
Rush Hour (Jackie Chan)
In The Army Now
Cool Runnings
Forrest Gump
Problem Child
Best of the Best (1989)

(and, yes, I was a fan of Jason Scott Lee in case you were wondering)

Films like this have an emphasis on "learning your lesson" and growing as a person, maturing, and giving back to your fellow human society in a good constructive, productive and genuine way by also being "true to your heart".  "Being the better man" even if someone is unwilling to be civil, and unwilling to let go of their prejudices by continuing to cling to it & fear-based ego driven ideals or judgements. To do the right thing.

Watching films like these, or even TV content from that period is like night and day compared to now. Now, you can find themes justifying torture frequently in TV shows. I've seen MORE rape depicted in films today than ever. And, I'm not talking about making the case against it like "The Color Purple" (1985) but a very gratuitous amount, often to entice viewership. It's VERY dark.

I used to think Chinese & Japanese films had an overdo of dark & tragic themes, such as rampant rape & torture, but I think content from the USA has far eclipsed it now.

But, art is art... and I don't think artists should be censored too much.... if at all...

The unfortunate thing about themes & media today is that they very rarely seem to make the case against theses actions or conduct on an inner level. Like, there's no moral to the story... Not that all stories require morals, and I understand entertainment for entertainment sake... but, it's just not there so much...

It's this: Be afraid. Look out for yourself. Dog eat dog. Take it while you can, winner takes all, over the top stuff... Or stuff that reinforces prejudices. advocates in favor of it, sometimes in subtle ways, others in your face...

And, sure, I do watch some of it... but, not all...

(Gratuitous content I have watched: Spartacus Blood & Sand (and the spin-offs), Game of Thrones, Star Trek Enterprise, 24, Lost, The Event)

Yet, I especially don't watch so-called "reality TV".

As for me, overcoming a number of things (prejudices) involves being open to other cultures, including films, music, etc...

It's a REALLY good feeling actually...

Chobits Freya n Chi by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

As I mentioned, I was very anti Japanese animated content, because most of the junk I'd known was what I saw on TV. But, when I was in college, there were SOOOOOOO many kids that loved anime.

If you didn't know, Anime movies/videos are VERY expensive, even if they are the bad quality ones. But, the experience of going to college is a VERY good one and helps one to open up and GROW as a person. Something I liked very much was how freely everyone wanted to share movies & music together.

When I was younger, like I said, I loved techno music even if it was in a different language, like German, or in Chinese. And, I got so much heat & hate for it. When I was in college I recognized that my classmates also loved the Japanese content in the same way that I loved mine, and that they had ALSO undergone the EXACT same kind of hate & prejudices others also had. So, I could identify with them... and so, I found myself opening up to all kinds of Japanese movies, videos, and even some music.

It's ironic because, now today due to the internet being FAR more accessible, there have been a number of forign hits world wide due to memes, such as:

Numa Numa (Dragostea Din Tei)
Caramel Dansen

-and the newest and biggest hit:

Psy's "Gangnam Style":

So, altho there is so much prejudices on the usual fronts in the media, you can find that in arts & music we've come quite a long way! And, it makes me feel good about Humanity...

Often people would say to me:

How can you listen to this or that music?  It's in German!

To which I would laugh: Well, I can speak German! XD

If I listened to Kelly Chen in any number of languages she sings in (Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Japanese) did it really matter what the language was?

When Blümchen (Jasmin Wagner) became a HUGE hit in Sweden with the song "Nur geträumt..." (Only Dreamed...) years after it was originally released, they asked her why she thought the song was so popular even tho' most people couldn't understand the words in Scandinavia, and she even had an English version ("Just A Dream..."/Blossom) but no one liked that version as much as the original version in German, she often would comment, laughingly, that she felt that the words really didn't matter, the feeling did, and if the feeling was good then that was all that mattered.

She said that when she was little she loved music by a Swedish rock band Roxette (Joyride, Listen To Your Heart, It Must've Been Love) and learned all the words to the songs because she just loved the music, even tho' she couldn't understand what they were singing about. Then, because of music, she learned to speak English.

It's like that with me as well.

I would like very much for the world to overcome more prejudices. At times things seem like they are, and other times I question whether we might ever get there...

Dhehkaujaa Humanoid ModelSheet by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART
 So, for my own stories and concepts I've also incorporated similar themes, and not JUST whimsical ones...

Remember how I said I liked things that reminded me of my own work, or ideas?

Well, it's true.

When The Matrix came out, I was BLOWN AWAY. It was loaded with subculture, underground themes, it mixed & blended ideas that were already around but MOSTLY just among others on the internet, like myself at the time, as well as mixing Asian, European, American, and Australian cultural themes. It has a very anime or even a comic book feel, but more Anime/Manga than anything... It has both what you would call "higher thinking" ideas as well as "deep thinking" if you care for philosophy... The classical types of what Science Fiction was originally about.

They used innovative new technologies with cameras, and ways to shoot film..
It was the big project by Wachowski Brothers, now known as just The Wachowskis. 

Wouldn't it be great to do something THAT big, some day? 

I think so. 

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