brian 's Reviews > Avatar Volume 1: The Last Airbender

Avatar Volume 1 by Michael Dante DiMartino
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Aug 13, 2008


i have this theory about television (well, really all pop culture, but let’s stick with t.v.) – that it can, in its entirety, be reduced to three things, my holy trinity of pop culture:

1) schadenfreude
2) panty-sniffing
3) happy tears

the first requires no explanation: taking delight in the misfortune of others is the bread and butter of talk shows, reality t.v., most sitcoms, and hour long dramas. the second is all that obligatory sex shit and covers just about all cop procedural shows, law and order svu, csi, etc… and the third is best seen on daytime television, oprah, dr. phil and the final few minutes of most reality shows.

i’ve been taking care of these two kids -- the boy is 9 and the girl is 12 -- and have had to sit down and watch kid t.v. with 'em. now there’s watered down versions of the pop culture trinity but I saw something else that freaked me the fuck out.

the one that left the deepest impression was their favorite animated show avatar: the last airbender. and here’s the thing: on the surface it’s really good: visually sophisticated, emotionally complex, well crafted. the episode i saw had the main group of good guys, led by avatar, trying to help refugees who were kicked out of their village by a marauding warlord. it felt and looked like bosnia circa 1998: crying babies and people in rags and bombed out huts, etc…

so my friend julian told me a story about his nephew who consumes all this shit like I consume glenfiddich and one day the kid looks over at julian and says “bill (his stepdad) is my nemesis. who’s your nemesis?”

this kind of shit, the natural assumption of a 'nemesis', comes out of the strange fascist mythos of these shows. they offer a manichean view of the world with little or no shading in which all people are good or bad. now, I might be some old bastard crying about how the old days were better and smarter, but loony tunes did offer a more complex view of the world, didn’t it? or alice in wonderland in which everything is not so simple, not so black and white, and the protagonist is a smart girl who, despite getting caught up in some silly shit, at a certain point, won’t take any more crap. kids are always smarter than we think; they understand the machination behind all this stuff, they understand the nature of power and how it’s used and abused.

and it’s strange dealing with kids. I mean, it freaks me out sometimes in that I feel that there’s no weight to anything I say… that it goes in there and kinda goes away. For such a narcissistic prick as myself this is wholly unacceptable.

and then it hit me that it’s kind of a relay race – and everyday I’m handed the baton and at the end of the day I hand it off and that the short daily heat i’m engaged in might not matter, but over the long haul it’s all of one piece, y’know? the words disappear, but every day i can tell that there’s a little more there. that it means something. that it’s important.

and what of all these children’s films? these warrior sagas (the lion the witch and the wardrobe, star wars, lord of the rings, avatar: the last airbender) with the message that the world’s problems can be solved with a sword? is it 'just a film'? am i being crazy? getting old?

and what of the ‘adult’ crap that is so highly praised by ‘smart’ people? iron man? the dark knight? this is the shit everyone loves? what’s amazing to me is that all these films inadvertently shill for fox news... they all offer the same manichean picture of absolute evil -- an evil with no shade of gray, an evil that needn’t be understood just eliminated -- as the shit that’s used to inculcate kids into the fascist mindset. the dark knight is right-wing wetdream disgused as liberal fantasy.

it will be hard for people in 200 years to believe that we just didn’t get it.

and jon favreau is the leni refienstahl of the 21st century.

shit yeah, cowgirl.

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Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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message 1: by brian (last edited Aug 13, 2008 10:28PM) (new) - added it

brian   appreciate the link robert, but it's nonsense: my favorite living writer lives in brooklyn. and said writer is not even published! no justice in this world.

sarah montambo. montambo. montambo. i'm sorry. i'm being rude. but i really love to say your name. and read it. it's amazing. and your pictures and reviews seem to prove that, somehow, in real life, you live up to your name. is that even possible?

yeah, i've had to watch some Suite Life. it's baaaaaaad.

oh, john favreau. i'm kind of operating on a meta level here, referring to my own past reviews. (i did admit to being a narcisstic prick, didn't i?) explanation of favreau/refienstahl connection to be found in the footnote to my review of euripides/anne carson's Grief Lessons...


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah You can keep your maiden name. I should have. At the time I thought my husband might be hurt if I didn't take his name, but later he told me he didn't care. But I did, and now I'm stuck with "Null."


message 3: by brian (last edited Aug 13, 2008 11:08PM) (new) - added it

brian   he'd be a fool not to. i hope his name is pablo.



message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason I've got a 5-year-old, currently eating a waffle--so this'll be a quick note. I liked your review, feel your pain, yet might throw a few other balls in the air, knock a few of yours to the ground.

The manichean philosophy: it's in a lot of the stuff they watch, but it also pervades our culture. My kid Max will show up at home having waged some kind of pokemon war on the playground at school, or even without the nudge from a show, will have engaged in "fights" which befuddle me and my wife. My niece is abuzz with princess crapola, no matter how my sister fights it, and Max will turn every cardboard tube into a lightsaber, despite never having seen Star Wars in any form. You almost throw your hands up.

But--a couple of buts: I recall watching Laurel & Hardy's "The Music Box" with him one morning when he was 3. I was excited; I love these old comics, and the battle with the piano's one of my favorite films. Max watched rapt, and when it was done he turned around in my lap and slapped my face. I've been careful about all my passions since, and even Looney Tunes, while quite distinct from the world-encompassing battle-nonsense of faux-Japanese animation, has its wars and its endless guns-going-off-in-faces.

But I grew up watching this stuff, and I don't routinely rage, never fired a gun. Still love the ultravee in my viewing, yet lament the tedious manichean worldviews of so much political and cultural chatter. Despite certain ways we could read (or be read by) our pop culture, there seems to be far more room for us to make it ours.

Max, for instance, adores transformers less because they fight in a clearly-defined moral universe (autobots v. decepticons) than because they change. He's really into shows where protagonists have the power to become something else. What he's getting out of this stuff is wondrously strange and different than how I tend to read it. So even when some absolute trash comes along, I will try to see how he's seeing it before I pull the plug. ('Though I'd pay to see Megatron rip Zack and Cody limb from limb.)

So, blah blah. Sarah, keep your maiden name. My wife was never much of a maiden but kept hers, regardless. I almost agreed to flip a coin to pick one to share, but her last name is Deffenbacher, and I couldn't bear any less than 95-5 odds against bearing that mouthful for the rest of my life. I'll stick with my own bland patronym.

Brooklyn?


message 5: by Matt (new)

Matt I've often wondered at the claim a more complex view of the world requires everything to be gray. How is this 'more complex', 'more mature', or 'more perceptive', particularly if it is taken to the extreme that everything is somehow the same indistinguishable shade of gray? That seems to me to be a terribly uncomplex view of the world.

Shouldn't a complex view of the world be that some things are gray, and others black, and others white? I'm inclined to think that some things need to be elimenated because they are understood and for all your protests to the contrary, you seem to agree. You seem to have a rather 'manichean' view of the things you label 'manichean'.

And I'm not at all sure that you should be using the label 'inadvertent'. Are you trying to imply, "These people are too stupid to know what they are saying, and the viewers are too stupid to know what they are watching"?

"...with the message that the world’s problems can be solved with a sword?"

I have much more sympathy with this complaint. I long ago figured out that if your superpower was 'beats people up good', it wouldn't be that useful to you. Probably not once in an average lifetime would it be useful. Sure, one might could go looking for trouble knowing that you had a talent for surviving it, but that has very limited utility as well. What's the likelihood you'd come upon a mugging, robbery or rape in progress outside the comic books? Some sort of super 'crime-sense' would be alot more useful than simply 'beats people up good'. Just about everything would be more useful than, 'beats people up good', and yet invariably its 'beats people up good' that we tell our stories about.

But you are utterly and completely wrong to claim that the message of the Lord of the Rings is 'you can solve the world's problems with a sword'. If you think that, either you've never read the book and have just scene the movie or you didn't pay much attention to the book when you read it.


message 6: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins Children's imaginations need to be given as much latitude as possible, which includes allowing them to be "inspired" by Manichean cartoons. A black/white world is more immediately thrilling, which is the quality that appeals to kids. Adults adopt a Manichean outlook due to laziness and a need for simplicity in an admittedly bewildering world of competing, conflicting ideologies. I don't think kids are plagued by these things yet. Nuanced greyness needs to slowly dawn on people, not be forced on them. Some kids will grow into their own unique greyness, others will rigidify into black/white. Personally I'd rather not get involved in trying to shape children into something we deem better, though there are qualities that I find clearly important for kids to struggle with, such as compassion, which is the opposite of schadenfreude (by far the most despicable of the three you mention).


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Sarah, my maiden name wasn't as good as yours - it was Kalsey and no one ever spelled or pronounced it right. But isn't anything better than being nothing? I mean, Null makes me feel like a real zero.


message 8: by Edan (new)

Edan Brian, who in the hell let you take care of their kids?

When I was young I was obsessed with a cartoon called Beverly Hills Teens. They rode around in a limo with a jacuzzi in the back.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 14, 2008 10:28AM) (new)

Hey look, everyone! Brian's nesting! (Someone get a mop.)

Most entertainment--regardless of the intended audience--must be simple because people crave simplicity. For instance, it's too problematic and ethically cumbersome to imagine that "villains," for example, might be the natural products of their environment. Of course, the right wing (predictably) derides this viewpoint as morally relativistic and (unofficially) effete; the left wing imagines they can preclude all value judgments by wrapping itself in the cloak of victimization.

When I was young, I loved G.I. Joe, the comic books, the television cartoon, and, of course, the toys, but what is interesting (and perhaps very revealing) is that I never gave one flying fuck about the "good guys." They were too blandly valorous for my tastes. Who cares about some nimrod who seems encoded to do and to act in a way which the greater society defines as "good?" Baldfaced indoctrination, I tell you. What was more interesting were the often all-too-human motivations for evil because they rang truer than the ethos of those automatons in U.S. armed services. I loved Cobra Commander, Destro, Major Blood, and the Baroness, who was badly disfigured and shipped off to Switzerland for reconstructive surgery and came out as a new, improved dominatrix model.

My point--and I insist that I have one--is that Brian is absolutely right (for once). Nothing is black and white, but the unceasing barrage of narratives from our childhood until our death prepares us (intentionally or not) to toe the line, for instance, when America declares a figurative war on terror. That is, we're safety partitioned away from any problematizing notions. Why would we want to recall that America aided Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War (when we knew Iraq was gassing the Kurds)? Or that Saddam's "crimes against humanity" became a source of our moral indignation only when we had other, more pragmatic interests? Certainly, complexity often implicates us in a way that we don't feel at all comfortable with. We love comfort. That's why we sit our proverbial fat, sweaty asses in our proverbial La-Z-Boys nightly and feast our eyes on the candy-colored worlds of morally-simplistic entertainments.

Whoa. I got way off-topic. Return to the original idea and discuss: Brian. Nesting.


message 10: by brian (last edited Aug 14, 2008 10:42AM) (new) - added it

brian   marcel (rose) is a real bastard. i write out a few paragraphs of some really good, way too serious, righteous indignation that gets tossed in the trash because (s)he, as usual, kicked my ass in the language and idea department. silly silly boygirl.

watch it edan! we're only a few years away from when i babysit and corrupt a lepucki/brown brat! AMBER ALERT! AMBER ALERT!


message 11: by Matt (new)

Matt "Nothing is black and white."...

...always struck me as a self refuting claim.

The problem with 'Nothing is black and white', is that it attempts to refute absolutism with an absolute claim. It attempts to claim that there is absolutely one right way to view the world, and that it is absolutely wrong to view it in any other.

Instead of separating the world into competing dualities of 'black and white', you end up separating it into the competing dualities of those that see the world as shades of grey and those that see the world as 'black and white'. Take yourself seriously, and you end up bandying around how the 'black and white seers' are 'fascists'. And 'fascists' is little more than syntactic candy encoding for 'evil'. So for all that, now you've painted something in your moral world 'black' - those that see black and white are absolutely wrong and morally deficient. Inevitably, the 'seers of grey' - ei the people who think like you do - become the white hatted protagonists in this conflict, fighting against the nasty fascist 'manicheans', and once again you're safely partitioned away from any problematizing notions and you can sit on your proverbial fat, sweaty asses in our proverbial padded office chairs nightly and swap pretentious verbage on flat-colored worlds of morally simplistic entertainment with other self-proclaimed literati while we congradulate ourselves on how much smarter and more sophisticated we are than everyone else.

We live in a quantum universe. It's fuzzy at the small scale, and there are few observable absolutes. Try pinning down exactly where an electron is. But these difficulties aren't in practice so extreme that we can't make dependable and reliable observations. I can make a statement like, "It's dark.", and it's true that that statement is a fuzzy one. 'Dark' is a perception. What's dark to me might not be dark to a cat. Because we live in a quantum world, it's true that there is nothing that is perfectly dark. Even if you've been in a cave and have some idea of what real dark is, its also true that some tiny fraction, maybe 1:10^30 photons, is flittering down through that never perfectly opaque stone ceiling. Yet for all of this, a person who quibbled with the factual claim that it was 'dark at night' would still strike us as blind, crazy, or disingenious.

I'm inclined to think that these supposedly 'simplistic' tales of black and white are actually pretty darn nuanced. Most of the ones that are successful feature stories with somewhat complex villains and heroes. I'm inclined to think that there are three stages in a developing understanding. The first is the realization that there is 'black' and 'white'. The second is the realization that there is also gray and that many of the things you formerly labeled 'black' and 'white' are actually more complicated than that. And the third is the realization that for all of that, you still must make choices in the midst of the confusion and chaos and that sometimes for all that confusion and chaos the choices are still clear.

The purpose of the sort of stories that children like isn't to indoctrinate them into notions of good and evil. We don't need stories for that. Our predator evolved nomadic social animal biology is more than capable of doing that for us without any intervention. We need the stories to define the measurements for us so that when we are forced to make a judgement, forced to choose our way, we have some sort of nuanced yardstick/thermometer/photometer to help us judge how to proceed. That's why we tell stories of heroes. Not because its always easy to pick our way forward between black and white, but because we need to pick our way forward between various shades of gray.


message 12: by Jason (last edited Aug 14, 2008 01:29PM) (new)

Jason I wrote a big long rant against the charge that "Nothing is black and white" is absolutist.

Then I thought: what's wrong with me? And erased it, and am now going to pet my dog.


message 13: by brian (last edited Aug 14, 2008 02:18PM) (new) - added it

brian   smart move, mike. i had a similar notion... give the hound a pet from me.


message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 14, 2008 04:15PM) (new)

[Mike and Brian, you two are better men than I...]

The problem with 'Nothing is black and white', is that it attempts to refute absolutism with an absolute claim.

Okay, Socrates, I'm sure you can wedge me into a logical-semantical corner, but let's dispense with the sophistry for a minute. I had hoped it would be understood (by people neither in togas nor standing amid Doric columns) that, when I say that nothing is black or white, I meant only that there is no objective, universal standard for good and evil and that, therefore, morality is and will remain subject to argument or disagreement. Sure, take a poll of a billion people, and maybe (maaaaaybe) 94.6% will say that randomly stabbing a stranger in the street is evil, wrong, and messy, but is this because human beings have a natural moral aversion to murder (which I don't believe) or because, practically, it makes sense to define murder as "immoral," for as much as we'd like to murder freely and wantonly, we recognize that this moral sanction would ensure the right of others (possibly) to do the same? In other words, nothing is black and white. I'd imagine that you and I probably aren't even referring to the same thing when we use the word morality. Such is the slipperiness of language and abstract nouns and philosophical concepts...

The purpose of the sort of stories that children like isn't to indoctrinate them into notions of good and evil.

I never claimed this was the purpose of stories or entertainment, but it is, in the most generous appraisal, an unfortunate byproduct. Entertainment product is a function of the society which creates it, and the society which creates it is a function of entertainment products. It's all muddied up, you see. I'm not ascribing intentionality. There's not (I don't think) some mustache-twirling, black-hatted villain in a bunker somewhere trying to further his agenda. Intentionality is, again, an oversimplification. We live in a society of complex integrated "systems" rather than mere individuals with individualistic motivations. Thus, in a society which enjoys assigning blame, it's difficult to know who or what is at fault. Again, here, we encounter a need for simplistic narratives. We need to know who's at fault. (A famous example: Osama bin Laden is at fault, dumb ass!)

Yet for all of this, a person who quibbled with the factual claim that it was 'dark at night' would still strike us as blind, crazy, or disingenious.

Darkness is a poor analogy here because, while it is possible to disagree about darkness, it is not a contentious issue like morality. I can agree to let you name that which is darkness anything you wish, but if you decide raping and pillaging is a viable moral option, it's clearly much more pertinent to me. I understand your point that, while much of what we discuss matter-of-factly is relative and contestable, we agree to it in the spirit of common sense, I suppose. I am not a fan of common sense, however, in any of its guises. Being common does not necessarily make it sensible.

Our predator evolved nomadic social animal biology is more than capable of doing that for us without any intervention.

A highly questionable claim here--or else muddled in the way that you express it. Do you mean we are naturally endowed with morality or that morality is defined according to biological and social needs? The latter I would agree with, but the former alludes to some sort of quasi-mystical a priori.

That's why we tell stories of heroes. Not because its always easy to pick our way forward between black and white, but because we need to pick our way forward between various shades of gray.

Yes, I agree that we need to "pick our way forward" among various shades of gray, but mostly we just pick our noses. Many notions of heroism are highly ideological. Again, this doesn't mean there's an active intentionality behind them but that they reflect some social interest or perspective which often blindly perpetuates itself and becomes "Truth." Sure, we can make judgments about which heroes are valid and which are invalid--some are very easy judgments for most of us to make. But what happens when most of the representations of "heroism" have been excessively simplified, and we--as consumers of entertainment, media, political discourse, and "common sense"--become immune to the subtleties, complexities, and nuances? Sadly, I think this is what has happened and is continuing to happen as we tap away at our keyboards.






message 15: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin As a child i learned the world was black and white, but as I have grown older I just see alot of grey!


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica The Good Guys of Bookface (representing light, truth, glory, wisdom, and gleaming smarty-pants heroism) = Brian, Mike, and David!

The Bad -- oh wait, oh fuck.... What am I doing?! I knew I shouldn't have sat through that stupid Batman movie.


message 17: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin David=Good NO! oh Jessica, the Joker was Bad. Bad= evil. David= The Joker! now that would have been great casting indeed!


message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:01PM) (new)

DFJ, I still can't figure out who's the hero in Dirty Dancing. I'm pretty sure about the villains though... Eric Carmen (obviously) and Patrick Swayze's tight black dancin' pants. Ideological or not, those things were objective and universal evil. Do not pass GO, no philosophical proofs necessary...

If I haven't wandered off into the wilderness by then like Zarathustra, I'm definitely getting you a "Nobody Backs Puts Baby Into a Corner" t-shirt for Kwanzaa.


message 19: by Sarah (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:18PM) (new)

Sarah Okay, but then you should get the line right. It's "Nobody PUTS Baby in a corner."


message 20: by Jessica (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:26PM) (new)

Jessica Dude, I am 100% sure you are just antagonizing me and cannot possibly be serious, but I'm going to snatch up the bait and escort you firmly to Dirty Dancing school anyway, even though I know for a fact you're only PRETENDING to be confused about this important point:

In that cinematic masterpiece, Robbie the Waiter was the villain, as clearly indicated by his exhortation that Baby read The Fountainhead ("But make sure you give it back when you're done -- I've got notes in the margins.") so that she can understand why it's okay that he knocked up the hot ex-Rockette dancer chick and wouldn't even give her money for the abortion. Actually, though, Robbie is the only 100% vile "bad" guy in a movie which explores themes of morality in infinitely subtle shades of gray, with a killer motherfucking soundtrack....

Wait, though, who's this Zarathustra of which you spake? Is that the lithe, sweaty, shirtless guy dirty dancing in that early scene when Baby carries in the watermelon? You're losing me a little there with some of these references, Denny. We are not all high falutin' self-proclaimed literati on here, you know! Please keep the subject on Dirty Dancing, your mind off philosophical leanings, and your hands where I can see them at all times.


message 21: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Thank you, Sarah. He keeps doing that, and I've been wanting to correct him for awhile, but I didn't didn't want to embarrass the guy or seem intellectually condescending.... I'm glad you're not troubled by these kinds of concerns!


message 22: by Sarah (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:24PM) (new)

Sarah Not when it comes to David.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GBy7r...

Watch and learn, David. Watch and learn.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

This looks vaguely compromising... Is that John Edwards? He looks as though he's going to strangle Baby to death with his dance belt after the big Catskills finale.



I feel I should in fact go to remedial Dirty Dancing school. After all, I feel kinda responsible for you witnessing Ingrid Thulin sticking a glass shard up her yoohoo. Paybacks are hell.

Let me rephrase: If I am still untouched by full-fledged madness by late December, you will get a DD t-shirt. I'm not even joking. Try me.




message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

My soul just vomited... But oddly enough my body was groovin' to the rhythm. I've come down with a terminal case of Dirty Dancitis. Clear the floor, prepare for some spicy moves, and have the paramedics standing by...


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Sarah, can you hear me FREAKING OUT all the way in California?? Also, the loud, off-key singing of "Time of My Life." That's me, too.

AAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!


message 26: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I think I might have to watch that movie tonight.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm glad (seriously) that a Nietzschean discussion of good and evil has devolved in an appreciation of the period-appropriate gyratin' of a Catskills gigolo and his newly empowered, pre-rhinoplasty filly. The world once again makes sense to me.


message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Damien, the Manichean school of film theory holds that the history of that medium can be understood purely through two brief and diametrically opposite celluloid moments: Ingrid Thulin's glass shard moment (pure, irredeemable evil), and Jennifer Grey's triumphant lift (the goodest of goodliest good goodly goodness).

Yep, that's kind of all you need to know!


message 29: by Jessica (new)

Jessica What or who is Nietzche anyway, and does he know how to dirty dance?


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Coolness. Now I'll go out into the world and apply this knowledge...

Although it would've been neato to see Patrick Swayze sweep into Ingrid Thulin's boudoir, mid-gouge, and suddenly lift her up and out of her repressive marriage into a world of sweaty, V.D.transmitting dance moves. This would be the so-called "Grey area." Yuk yuk yuk.

But seriously, folks, I'll be appearing at Funny Bone night club with Fred Travalina through August 19th... You've been a great crowd.


message 31: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:46PM) (new)

Nietzsche is one of the judges on American Idol. Not the black one, not the British one... He's the one who sang "Cold-Hearted Snake," I think. In other words, a has-been.


message 32: by Jason (new)

Jason Fred Travalina!! Damn, you are amazing. I am still waiting on that Pink Lady & Jeff reference.

Does Patrick Swayze rip anyone's throat out with his bare hands in Dirty Dancing?


message 33: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 14, 2008 07:53PM) (new)

Mike, I'm a warehouse of useless information. Meanwhile, I don't know how to make toast or which century World War II was fought in. There's give and there's take.

Oh. Dirty Dancing gets really gory towards the end. Jerry Orbach gets mad cow disease and eats everyone's spleen. Fortunately, it's not gratuitous, and it's mitigated by Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" playing in the background.


message 34: by Jessica (new)

Jessica At least Patrick Swayze is not dead. Yet. That's when we'll all be in real trouble....


Jackie "the Librarian" Jeez, you guys must be old, arguing about kids seeing the world in black and white and gray.

My television set shows kids' shows IN COLOR.


message 36: by Cole (last edited Oct 25, 2013 11:19AM) (new)

Cole Some of these comments have probably already been made, but I don't have the time to read all the comments on this page to find out, so I'm just going to point out all the problems with your argument that immediately jumped out at me. One, I agree that violence is usually not the answer, but violence kept Hitler from taking over the world. Two, you have obviously not watched the whole series. If you had, you would have seen that not every character is absolutely good or absolutely evil. Zuko in Book II is the best example of this. You would also know that Aang is like Batman: he absolutely refuses to kill people, even the main bad guy who is actually very similar to Hitler. Three, this "assumption of a nemesis" did not necessarily come from Avatar: The Last Airbender. You have become the victim of a logical fallacy known as "Post hoc ergo propter hoc". That is lawyer/Catholic language for "Event B happened after event A. Therefore, event B happened because of event A." In fact, it probably came from some other cartoon or some other element of pop culture that this child has been exposed to: it sounds more like something from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Justice League. Four, it shouldn't surprise you that your words carry very little weight with children; your words carry very little weight with adults. Words in general carry very little weight with people in general. Actions are much more substantial. Five, while we're on the topic of shades of grey, I would like to make a comedic jab at the negative effects of having fifty of them. That would be a lot less healthy for children than seeing the world in black and white. That last one, however, was just a joke.


message 37: by Barış (new) - added it

Barış First of all as mentioned above I have neither time to read the points of the older comments nor the will. Possibly they all made their point and possibly some of them already said what I'm about to say from a greater perspective. But I just can't not say something about this.

Seeing just an episode and making a judgement about ATLA by including and comparing to WAY too many genres and shows and movies is mere butchering all of those work of art. In the essence the not-so-visible-greys are all ATLA deals with. It's not about this or that. It's not about be this or you'll have no legitimate reason to be alive kind of thing. Avatar is the person who defines the grey and brings balance to earth for crying out loud. Like I've said before people probably already made their point so I'll stop right here.

Also old school cartoons are what you should be afraid of. They're really messed up with racism, sexism, dark themes of drug abuse and even rape in some cases. I strongly recommend some original Star Trek works for the lack of sanity.


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