Fist Bump


Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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45 Responses

  1. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Yeah, it can’t be the worst superhero show on air.
    That’s Gotham, pure and simple.
    What the hell is the Cathedral of Learning doing in GOTHAM???

    … yeah. Gotham may have good writing, may have a decent cast, but its artwork is rampant thievery and thus it really, really deserves a boycott. (Also, putting obviously Russian buildings in Gotham is dumb.)Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I watched the whole thing. I didn’t engage it as taking one for the team, either. I find that I am much more patient about art than most people I know. One good friend says he gave up after 3 episodes, describing it with a cranky, “I don’t have time for that”. We stuck with it, and it was worth it for us.

    Next, the whitewashing. Iron Fist suffers because of its roots in the Seventies, where Danny Rand’s story would have had a very different valence. His embrace of Asian martial arts, which were still foreign and a bit mystical then, would have marked him as liberal and open, curious about other cultures. It doesn’t work that way today, and it may be that the attitude of the Seventies grates on people. Exoticism is such a common thread in anything that’s Asian, and it’s impossible to eliminate the exoticism from IF. I have one Asian friend who boycotted it, and is pretty scratchy about the whole thing. I think he gets to be, he’s the one who has to navigate his existence in America. I’m less impressed with white people who denounce it in that loud, “I’m not the racist here” sort of way.

    Would casting an Asian-American instead of Finn Jones fix it? I don’t think so. The core motivation of Danny is that he feels lost and alienated, like he has no real home. The racial difference between him and his adopted home drives that, regardless of any abuse, I mean training.

    The others of the Defenders have a definite emotional focus – a central question that the drama is organized around. For Daredevil it is Matt’s code against killing, which is driven by his faith. Matt isn’t sure that this isn’t a weakness, something that makes him less effective as a superhero, and feels guilt about not killing people, just as he would feel guilt about killing people.

    For Jessica Jones, the theme is consent. Visually, we have the metaphor of doors, and a villain who does mind-control. For Luke Cage, the theme is how being black makes a mans life more complicated and difficult, even if he’s a hero type.

    So what’s the core of Iron Fist. I think its the alienation of young men, and the streak of anger they so often carry around. The series tries to portray it and then explain it, but I don’t think they brought their audience with them.

    Danny is affable and earnest. He is cheerful in an almost unseemly way. But he has an angry streak, and a sense of “don’t take no for an answer” that, I think, triggers some people who have had bad experiences with people like that. He is the entitled rich brat who must have things his own way. The series wants to dig into that, but it poses a problem. You have to get people on his side. This was supposed to be through people who are even more rich and more entitled, but Ward and Joy don’t quite seem evil enough. Nor does Harold, at least not at first.

    By the end of the series, the idea that Danny is wounded, and not dealing with it has been put on the table, it is pointed to by Claire (the awesome Dawson!). But we don’t get that at first, just some very Seventies callback shots of a hawk flying over Manhattan. And a philosophical homeless man that dies in a somewhat inexplicable way.

    Danny has been used. He has been objectified. His training turned him into a thing, a tool, “The Iron Fist”, a guardian of K’un Lun. Whatever he might have wanted or aspired to didn’t matter. It isn’t surprising that he fled, though he is somewhat inarticulate about it. He had reached the top, and found himself on the bottom.

    So were the problems of this show due to Finn Jones? to the writing? to the direction? I find that hard to answer. It was clear that Jones wasn’t a martial artist, and I find it equally fair to say he had no training time due to budget and schedule. Jessica’s lack of form works fine for the character, she hasn’t learned to fight, she’s just really, really strong. It doesn’t matter if she has good form.

    We strongly disagree about Ward. I loved the character, I loved the performance. I’m pleased with Colleen Wing, and I’m pleased you’re pleased.

    And about that thing where heroes have to have dark sides? Tell that to Supergirl.

    Getting back to the pacing, Danny spends most of the season not actually a hero. Fighting for honor is interesting, but it isn’t heroic. When we first meet Matt Murdock, he’s already a hero. Jessica makes the decision to be a hero in the end of the first episode. She’s about to leave town, and turns around because she wants to help Hope instead. Likewise, Luke becomes a hero when he defends the Chinese restaurant run by his landlady at the end of his first episode. Danny goes a long, long time before he has any such moment. Colleen, by contrast, is a hero from the moment we meet her. I think this is a problem.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I haven’t finished watching it yet, but…

      Danny goes a long, long time before he has any such moment. Colleen, by contrast, is a hero from the moment we meet her. I think this is a problem

      I don’t think this is a problem, as such. Colleen has been living in and trying to help her community for years. Her adversary(s) are well known, her battle is well worn. Danny spent his formative years training to battle against a foe he never meets until he comes to NYC. He’s got culture shock, emotional turmoil, and zero guidance from his teachers beyond what they imparted before he left. It takes him a while to spin up into a hero.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I get what you mean. AND, I think that particular artistic choice is part of why so many people aren’t engaged by the story.

        I think they didn’t have a good enough answer to the question, “Why should I care about Danny Rand?” Having him be a hero isn’t the only way, but it’s one way.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          Perhaps, I need to finish watching the season before I can form a proper opinion.

          ETA: If Danny had come to NYC chasing the Hand, that might have worked to satisfy you.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            It might, but “chasing the Hand” is an abstraction. Viewers need to be shown things, shown choices. The abstraction needs to manifest itself concretely.

            However, the plot you suggest would be a very different story, and make it much more difficult to center-stage Danny’s trauma and identity crisis.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              Agreed, which is why it’s good Danny is not the hero at the start.

              As for Colleen, perhaps the problem is not that she was a hero at the start, but that she wasn’t the one who showed Danny how to be a hero? (or did she & I haven’t gotten that far yet?)Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Next, the whitewashing.

      I keep hearing people use the term ‘whitewashing’ when talking about Iron First, and, man, is it confusing. Whitewashing is where you take original source material where characters are either explicitly another race. (Or implicitly based on location.) And turn those characters white.

      Danny Rand has *always* been white. Danny Rand, thus, cannot possibly be whitewashed.

      And I argue that making him not-white would not fix any problematic aspects of the story, and in fact *add more*.

      Here is the story we were given: There is a mystical set of warriors located somewhere in Not-Tibet with access to some magic. (The Iron Fist.) They are in a millennium-long fight with some other mystical set of warriors that have access to some other magic. (Bringing people back to life, and other stuff too.) An American accidentally ends up trapped there for 15 years and then returns.

      Now, right away, we’ve got some problems, even without the American. People of other races and cultures having magical power is a somewhat problematic trope. But having Danny not be Asian-American at least shows use the magical powers aren’t some sort of inherent ‘because they’re Asian’ thing.

      But what about the ‘Mighty Whitey’ trope? That trope, in case people don’t know, is when an American (Or Brit, the trope originates in there.) would have to go to somewhere foreign and be better at ‘their stuff’. He’d show them all up, become their greatest warrior, and defeat their great foe.

      Except…that’s not the story. That’s almost entirely the *backstory*. The story is Danny trying to…do random stuff, frankly. I mean, yes, he’s trying to take down the Hand, but he’s so hilariously outnumbered and unable to understand the scope of the problem he certainly doesn’t read as a hyper-competent white Westerner showing those uncultured natives what’s what! (And also, he’s not even *in* a foreign land anyway!)

      Heh. The Mighty-Whitey trope is an expression of Western Imperialism and what we thought about it 100 years ago. Danny Rand, meanwhile, is a perfect expression of Western Imperialism *nowadays*, in that he really doesn’t understand a damn thing he’s doing. And he doesn’t even understand the enemy is more complex than he thinks.

      Moreover, I’m not sure of any improvement if you make the main character Asian-American. You’ve *still* sorta got the backstory of an American going somewhere and showing up all the natives at their own skill. The trope is mostly about *cultural imperialism*, and I’m not sure a random Asian-American being better at Kung-Fu than a mystic order of Not-Tibet warrior monks would *solve* any hypothetical problems there!

      Plus, now, you only have Asian characters with magical Kung-Fu powers, which is itself a problem!Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to DavidTC says:

        I think at one level you are correct about what “whitewashing” means, but at another level, it’s meant to address the general lack of Asians in works from Hollywood, which is frustrating, and this is a part that seems like it could be Asian.

        Quibbling on this point seems to my Asian friends to be denying their chief complaint, which I agree with. So I don’t argue it with them.

        I thought Doctor Strange did a much better job at navigating these waters, but it still caught a lot of grief. The source of that grief is the lack of parts for Asians.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to DavidTC says:

        But what about the ‘Mighty Whitey’ trope? That trope, in case people don’t know, is when an American (Or Brit, the trope originates in there.) would have to go to somewhere foreign and be better at ‘their stuff’.

        Note that this is just a specific subtype of the more general “Johnny-come-lately outsider turns out to be the best there ever was” trope. This shows up everywhere, and only very rarely has a racial component.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          This shows up everywhere, and only very rarely has a racial component.

          Only rarely *now*.

          Go back 70 years, and older, and that basically *all* English and American literature that featured foreign lands. Like all of it. White guy goes there, learns a tiny bit of their culture, saves them all from something (That mysteriously they didn’t have a problem with in the past.), finds a native love interest, and is generally just awesome.

          Admit it, you thought of at least three different movies, based on books, I was summarizing there, didn’t you? You might even have thought of three *Disney* movies.

          Sometimes the trope gets slightly played with, like in Tarzan (Who doesn’t learn to out-native the natives from the natives, but from animals.) or Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (Which sorta goes the other way…someone who thinks of themselves as a native (But is actually of Irish descent) then gets a proper English education and now is better.), and those are the stories that tend to stick out…but they’re still the same trope.

          Hundreds of years of stories in British literature, and the Americans picked it right up and ran with it….it doesn’t matter how long those natives have been living somewhere, put some cultured white people in charge and they’d make a proper show of things, fixing all problems.

          Which, hey, was *exactly* what the British Empire, and later Americans, *were doing* at that time. Well, with the ‘putting themselves in charge’, not so much with ‘fixing all problems’. (Rather more like ‘causing 75% of all problems, and not fixing any problems that already existed’.)

          And, yes, it was much more cultural than racial, which was sorta my point in that I don’t think an Asian-American actually makes the trope much better. Despite the name of it the trope, it’s a cultural imperialism trope, not a racism trope.

          Although now I’m kinda wishing someone would make a parody Mighty-Whitey movie set in Africa, where an African-American comes over and out-natives the natives. I just want that to exist because I have *absolutely no idea* how that would play once people realized what was going on and the confusion would be fun to watch.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

            It would star Samuel L JacksonReport

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC says:

            Wasn’t this the plot of the Golden Child staring Eddie Murphy or the Last Dragon? Albeit with an African-American being better at Asian things than Asians rather than an African-American out nativing Africans.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I have almost completely forgotten the plot of the Golden Child, but I’m pretty sure that was a Chosen One narrative, which is not really the same thing. And I’m pretty sure the character Murphy is playing is not better than the natives at *anything*…well, I mean, he’s better at functioning in America, but once he goes to *checks Wikipedia* Nepal, he’s an idiot. (I mean, he figures out the water test, but I kinda assumed that was how you were *supposed* to do the test.)

              I literally have never seen The Last Dragon, but from Wikipedia and IMdb, that movie doesn’t seem to have any Asian people in it *at all*, nor is it set anywhere in Asia, so I’m not entirely sure how it would embody Mighty-Whitey trope at all. Just being ‘super-good at martial arts’ isn’t Mighty-Whitey, he has to go to [native land] and be so good at [native skill] that he’s way better than the natives, and considering there *aren’t* any ‘natives’, or anyone going anywhere… (Now, it is the ‘martial arts are magical’ trope, but that trope’s fine if it’s divorced from race.)

              However, yes, I suspect there probably *are* Mighty-Whitey stories with non-whites. There’s no reason you *couldn’t* have a Mighty-Whitey story with a African-American going to Asian and showing those native Asians what’s what…or even an Asian-American showing African natives how to do, you know, the stuff they’ve presumably been doing for millennia but he’s somehow better than.(1)

              My hypothetical wonder was more…has there ever been one of those stories starring a person ‘descended from the _same_ natives’ (Yes, that sounds racist, but that’s sorta my point.) but culturally Western?

              I don’t really know why, I’m not trying to make any point, I just thought it would be kinda funny to see one and see how people responded, because people tend to get this confused with racism, but it’s still a pretty problematic and stupid trope *even if* race isn’t an issue, because it’s really always been cultural imperialism. A black guy from Chicago who shows up African villagers at fighting off African wildlife and saves the village and becomes chief is as dumb a story(2) as a *white* guy from Chicago doing that.

              The problem is…this trope is sorta dead and stupid (Well, outside of science fiction and children’s stories.) which means it’s sorta so old that you’re unlikely to find a non-white protagonist in them in the vast majority of it. OTOH…I will admit I am completely unfamiliar with the sort of blaxplotation films this might actually be found in…so, hey, maybe there’s an entire genre out there!

              1) Incidentally, I realized while writing this that I’ve never heard of one of these stories with a *woman*, either. I’ve heard of them with *couples*, or where there are white women that sorta tag along for a love interest, but that’s it.

              2) For those of you wondering why: Look, telling that story *one time* is fine. Telling it half a dozen times is fine!

              Telling functionally the same story, where the western guys go in and keep doing the same thing over and over, keep being better at everything, with natives being mostly dumb except a wise elder and some hot native woman, starts being a serious problem WRT portrayal of other cultures, especially when, for an incredibly long time, it was *almost the only portrayal* of other cultures that Western audiences were exposed to.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

                “Someone travels and learns forgotten lore” is a pretty old story line. And “Bright young thing brings new ideas to stagnating field”.

                It can get a bit problematic when you combine them. The result can be anything from “Enlightened Foreigner Explains How Wrong Natives Are” to “Synergy between tech/magic/cultures produces even better results” to “Traveler discovers aptitude and vocation he’d never have dreamed of”.

                So like with a lot of things, it’s down to context and execution. America is pretty fond of the ‘hard working American pulls himself up by his own bootstraps’ and ‘bright new ideas challenging stagnant wisdom’ storylines, which mean our stories often tread closer to the “Traveler learns native lore, shows them how wrong they are by being awesome” because we like stories about people like us becoming awesome.

                But it’s all in the handling.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

                DavidTC is not wrong when he points out that the typical story, in Western literature, has been “enlightened Westerner who is intellectually superior due to being White learns the native ways and outperforms them due to inherent racial superiority“. And it isn’t questioned, either; nobody ever says “hey how come you’re so good”, it’s just obvious that white dudes are better at things.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I agree, I’m just saying it’s partially cultural hubris but partly just the weird way our founding mythos interacts with other common stories tends to have an unfortunate nexus in “Okay, taking a step back I’m not sure the subtext here is what we’re after” land.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to DavidTC says:

                The rush hour trilogy is an example of black guy going to hong kong and showing them how to stop crime. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders is a whole damn series made of Mighty Whitey.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Great post! Enjoyed reading your take very much DJ!Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    What would have been interesting would have been if they hung a lantern on the exoticism thing, and made the character actually be a weeaboo jerk. Like, not only did he specifically choose to get the power of the Iron Fist, but now he’s the one who thinks he’s gonna show all these Chinese dudes how Kung Fu works, he thinks that the legend of the Great White Hero is true and it’s him. And then they could have deconstructed that.

    But that would have needed a lot going right to pull it off–like, great writing and great acting, and both at the same time (which takes luck that you can’t always depend on.)Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Yeah, that is an interesting approach. And yes, that is an extremely risky path. Everything has to work right.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Yeah, that’s worse than the Tranniebaiting they pulled with Voltron.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Thats a good idea and the drawback is exactly what you said it is, you have to get everything right in order for it to work well. If Rand stays a weeaboo jerk than your going to get stuck with a very unlikeable protagonist and superhero. If you decide to have Rand repent than you get the same issues that plague the current Iron Fist series.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

        In some ways–and I hate myself for suggesting this–maybe cribbing from “Kick Ass” would help.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Imitation is the highest form of flattery. The basic structure and themes of Kick Ass can flatten some of Iron Fist’s troublesome elements. I still think the big mistake was making an Iron Fist Netflix series to begin with. They should have just picked another Marvel superhero with a Defender’s association. Its not like Iron Fist is well known to the general, non-comic book reading public of the 21st century. He isn’t an iconic character.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

            In a lot of ways I’m disappointed by how Marvel is mining its canon. It’s very unimaginative, just “remember so-and-so from the comic, well here he is on the screen, yaaaay”Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Ooo, that would have been awesome. Missed opportunity.Report

  4. Avatar Fish says:

    I found the show to be not nearly as terrible as many said it was, though it clearly is last out of the four Netflix series. I enjoyed it. Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing was easily, for me, the best part of the show. I was plenty irritated when she suddenly fell in love with Danny–it seemed like it came out of nowhere and was shoehorned into the story.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Doctor Jay gets it right on why you can’t really adopt Iron Fist for today’s audience. During the 1970s, a white guy steeped in the culture of the Mystical East (TM) suggested openness to other cultures that were previously ridiculed in the West. These days it suggests cultural appropriation and racism even if most of the audience might not care about those issues. A small band of vocal activists and culturally prominent activists. You can’t remedy this situation by turning Iron Fist into an Asian-American without other unfortunate implications like Asian-Americans can never be fully American because their home is in the East or something like that.

    Iron Fist was always going to be problematic to adapt to the early 21st century. I know they wanted him for a Defenders revival but they could have used many of the other superheroes who appeared on the Defenders that have less baggage. I always advocated for Marvel’s interpretation of Hercules. They could have also turned Dark Hawk, a 1990s hero that was in the 1990s revival of the Defenders, into a Netflix show. Dark Hawk’s origin stories will allow for the same core of Iron Man, the alienation of young men. They could have also turned Dark Hawk from white young man to an Asian or Hispanic young man to add to the racial diversity of the Defenders roster. Dark Hawk happens to have a really cool costume.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Here is the thing about the whole “Whitewashing” debate that a lot of people seem to forget.

    There are very limited opportunities for minority actors out in the United States and Asian-Americans seem to suffer this worse of all. The opportunities that do exist tend to be very stereotypical still. Asian men get to be uptight nerds, uncool, never romantic leads, stern father figures, etc. Asian women get be a combination of Dragon Lady/Tiger Mom/the exotic love interest.

    There are a few exceptions like Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, Fresh Off the Boat, and whatever John Cho gets cast in from time to time.

    So when Hollywood takes something that is distinctly Asian or could be Asian and casts white actors, the implicit message is that Asian actors will never be a box office draw. People will go Scarlett Johannson in a movie but they won’t see an Asian-American actor play the Major.

    Plus the internet comes up with infinite amounts of trolling. So you have white-guy libertarianish bros pointing to articles about whether Japanese people care about whether Scarlett Johannson is the Major (they don’t) but this ignores very real issues in the United States.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      So when Hollywood takes something that is distinctly Asian or could be Asian and casts white actors, the implicit message is that Asian actors will never be a box office draw. People will go Scarlett Johannson in a movie but they won’t see an Asian-American actor play the Major.

      Well, yes, but the Iron Fist *isn’t* distinctly Asian, at all. He’s the *white* Kung-Fu guy from the 70s Kung-Fu comics craze.

      There is perhaps a valid complaint that *that* is the comic they picked, instead of *other* heroes like that. They could have picked, for example, Shang-Chi.

      But asking for an Asian actor in *Iron Fist* is asking for a different story than Iron Fist is telling. Him being white (And an outsider) is actually a relevant part of the character, meaning this is a distinctly stupid non-change to get annoyed at.

      There are plenty of characters you can change the race of it without it mattering. Jessica Jones could be Asian. Matt Murdock could be Asian. Heck, Danny Rand could be *black*, that would work fine.

      But asking to make Danny Rand an *Asian*-American sorta changes something fundamental about the character.

      And it’s these sort of dumbass ‘Hey, it’s named Iron Fist and it’s about martial arts, why didn’t they cast an Asian actor? Herp derp I know nothing about that character.’ nonsense that causes people to dismiss the *quite legitimate* complaints about the lack of parts of Asian actors.

      It is valid to point out that Asian actors have no roles for them. It’s valid to point out that a lot of the famous comic heroes were white, but there is mostly *no reason at all* they have to remain as such when reimagined for movies and TV.

      But picking the ‘that story sounds vaguely Asian and martial-arts-y’ story, and trying to make *that guy* Asian is kinda dumb.

      And kinda racist, actually, when you think about it.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC says:

        “…trying to make *that guy* [Iron Fist] Asian is kinda dumb. And kinda racist, actually, when you think about it.”

        But the thing is, we’re in a very weird place now where saying “ethnic people have special stuff that’s specific to their ethnicity and nobody else should ever do those things” is…the non-racist attitude. Like, saying white people shouldn’t do martial arts because it’s part of the Asian identity rather than the White identity is not racist.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Even weirder, this seems to come pre-packed with this assumption that everything “white” is ok for anyone to do. Which of course it is, but it has this icky undertone where “white people stuff” is the dominant culture we all share and then there’s these fringe things that are inherently different and NOT a part of mainstream culture, nor can they ever be. It is almost at times like a deliberate attempt to create a dominant, white culture that minimizes other cultures and directly prevents them from spreading.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to atomickristin says:

            Its not so much white people stuff as protestant stuff. Protestant culture* is minimalist and in many ways more purely functional. Protestant food is, generally speaking, blander and is just there for the nutrients. The quintessential protestant food, the sandwich consists of meat, leaves and cheese between two pieces of bread. You don’t get more minimalist than that. Nowadays, of course many english sandwiches have all kinds of interesting chutneys in them, but those chutneys originally came from india.

            Catholic and Orthodox churches are more ornately decorated than protestant ones. The Christian wedding ceremony is much simpler than the Hindu one, but among the christian ones, the traditional protestant one is still simpler than the traditional catholic one. It does not take much to further pare down the protestant wedding into the standard non-denominational civil ceremony that is found in many commonwealth countries nowadays.

            Western clothes are easier to wear and in practically all instances that I can think of, more convenient. While Kurtha bottoms are more comfortable (especially if made of cotton, cut loosely, and given the warm weather), there’s such a thing as raw silk which is one of the scratchiest luxury fabrics to wear. Also, they don’t have pockets.

            Also, prayers and religious rituals are more elaborate for catholics, orthodox christians and hindus and is often in a dead language like latin or sanskrit.

            The point being that if you don’t care about preserving your own cultural traditions, it is very easy to slip into adopting protestant cultural standards. There is a reason why protestant culture exists as some kind of default: It is the most convenient (with the fewest taboos) and regression towards the mean is going to result in a cultural drift towards protestantism. About the only reason traditional ethnic foods have not died out is the invention of modern cookware. If we had to use a mortar and pestle to crush our herbs and spices, we would pretty much stop using them all the time too.
            * Contrast foods** and rituals in protestant countries with those from catholic, middle eastern, eastern orthodox or middle eastern countries let alone those in Asia.

            **Yes the french do interesting things with their breads, but it is still just bread and the french are mostly catholic anyway (nominally). (and chocolate doesn’t really count). The contrast between Catholic france and protestant England or for that matter, the protestant nords, in terms of culture and aesthetic serves, I think, to show just how strong the influence of religion is (As opposed to climate and resources) in shaping this no-frills ethos. IKEA could never have come from a Catholic*** country.

            ***While a plurality of christian Hollanders are catholic, the majority of christians are still of one protestant denomination or another.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Murali says:

              This is an interesting but not entirely accurate take on the subject. There have been European Protestants that certainly advocated a very minimalist approach to life in terms of materials and emotions. English speaking Calvinists or Calvinists derivatives seem especially prone to this. Most Protestants or culturally Protestant people would debate that Protestantism support a minimalist and purely functional culture.

              The Dutch Protestants were seen as being really glutinous eaters during the glory days of the Dutch Republic. The English were also known as prodigious eaters. The food might have lacked the spices of Asian cuisines but thats because they had to export them so use tended to be less. What we would call mass, secular culture only really emerged after England and the Netherlands went Protestant as well. The English playwrights and the Dutch painters and potters were because of not despite of Protestantism.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I actually don’t forget that at all. I fully get the whole larger cultural debate and why it’s happening. I’m just not convinced that the solution is this damned if they do, damned if they don’t approach where our options are Ghostbusters reboots or Scarlett Johannssen whitewashing. I just fear that if companies perceive that shows that are anything other than suitably, generically multicultural, we will then completely lose the ability to tell authentic stories about the Asian experience because they’re too scared to step outside their comfort zones and take a chance on a non-stereotypical plotline.Report

  7. Avatar atomickristin says:

    I just watched a show called “Into the Badlands” that was fun and had an Asian lead. I’m sure it was bad in any number of ways but it was different and I recommend it.Report