Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game. Continue reading
Greetings Loved Ones. Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
In light of the recent bombings in Paris, I felt it was necessary to sit down and write something positive–something up-lifting. I felt that this was necessary because, in recent years, I’ve noticed that people seem to have lost faith, and I don’t just mean in God, or the government. I mean they’ve lost faith in the idea of faith itself. They’ve stopped believing that there is anything worth believing in. And when a tragedy like the one that took place in Paris happens, it becomes necessary for us to be reminded that there is some goodness left in the World.
Now, on the off chance you think I’m making too broad a generalization about society, I’d like to ask you all to take a step back, and examine the pop culture of the past decade. If you do that, then you’ll notice that the movies, TV shows, and music that my generation has grown up on is overwhelmingly negative and pessimistic. House Of Cards, Breaking Bad, True Detective, Hannibal, Dexter: these are works of art that very often showed evil–or, at the very least, morally ambiguous people–doing evil and morally ambiguous things with little to no repercussions, and all while justifying their actions with a shrug and the statement, “Hey! Life’s not fair. Get used to it.” And rather than be disgusted by these characters and their abhorrent acts, we love them. We hail them and their creators as visionary–as brilliant minds who have captured and accepted the bleak realities of life. But, the question we never seem to ask is, have they really? Have they captured the despair that awaits us at the end of our existence, or have they simply created an unrealistic, overly negative version of the world that should be questioned or done away with?
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of wretched, unfair, and even downright evil things that happen in the World. 9/11, the Paris attacks, the Rape of Nanking, the Holocaust–the list goes on. But so often we get caught up in the negative that we forget that there are lots and lots of good people out there who do good things every day. The Peace Core, Habitat For Humanity, The Gates Foundation–these are organizations devoted solely to helping others. People like Dan Habib, Nicolas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn and Li Yinhe have devoted their lives to ensuring that everyone–regardless of their gender, sexuality or disability–get treated fairly. And if all that seems too broad or vague for you, I’d like to remind you that there are tons of good deeds done on a smaller scale almost constantly. Take what happened to me last Thursday as an example. I was feeling sad, and a classmate of mine–someone I don’t really know that well–reached out to me and asked me if I was okay. She didn’t need to do this. She probably had other, more important things to do than see how I was feeling. And yet, in that instance, she tried to make me feel better. She showed me kindness–showed me basic human decency. And even though it wasn’t much, that simple question, “Are you okay?” made me feel better than I had in ages. It reminded me that this life is worth living, because there are people in it worth meeting, people who will help you, and who will need to be helped.
But, of course, when you bring up such things to people of my generation, they more often than not laugh at you. They say you’re naive, that you have an unrealistic view of the World. My girlfriend even tells me this. “Life isn’t sunshine and rainbows. The Knight doesn’t slay the Dragon, and he and the Princess don’t live happily ever after.” This is what she says to me when I bring this topic up. And it’s not just her that thinks this way. This is a view that’s reflected all the time in the pop culture I listed earlier. Very often, characters in movies and TV shows who are religious, have a moral compass, or who believe that life is worth living are portrayed as stupid, weak, or naive, and are usually patronized by the “wiser, more grounded souls” who have accepted the World for the bleak place that it is. If you don’t believe me, look at how Matthew McConaughey treats Woody Harrelson in True Detective, and how Hugh Laurie treats, well, everyone in House.
The problem with this mindset, and the recent trend to not give stories happy endings is that it teaches us to give up. It teaches us that, because life is so dark, miserable and unfair, we shouldn’t even bother trying to do good. The bad guys–the Jordan Belfort’s, Frank Underwood’s and Hannibal Lecter’s of the world–will just win in the end, so don’t concern yourself with anyone or anything else. This strain of pessimistic nihilism that has become so popular nowadays–the one that we think makes us stronger–actually makes us weaker. It teaches us to be apathetic. It enables us to detach ourselves from the world. It tells us that it’s smart–that it’s “cool”–to whine and complain, and not care about anyone else.
I don’t accept this. Good people do good things everyday, and we need to be reminded that those good things are worth doing. Make movies and TV shows with happy endings. Show the virtuous and the kind being rewarded for their efforts. Don’t laugh at It’s A Wonderful Life or Superman for being optimistic. The truth is, we need things like them! We need the hope that they give us. They teach us to care. They give us a reason to help and get involved in this world. They are what’s going to carry us through the bleaker moments of life, not the whiney nihilists who say it’s all pointless. To quote the Man of Steel, “there’s nothing funny about truth, justice and the American way.” And we’d all be happier, and better off, if we were reminded of that every once in a while.
Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
And it’s easy to talk the talk, but not necessarily to walk the walk.
What I mean by that is, here on this blog, I review movies, TV shows and screenplays, all while claiming to know what I’m talking about. But do i? Do I really have a clue? To find out, I have decided to share some of my scripts with you all. You guys are the ones who will be seeing, and commenting on, my work in the future, so I figure, it’s best to try to improve my craft now, and get a feel for what the masses want.
Each script will have its own page here, on this site. You’ll know what they are, because they’ll have the word “script” in the title. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, LEAVE COMMENTS! This is as much for my education as it is for your entertainment. Shoot me an e-mail (my address is email@example.com). Find me on Facebook (my account name is Nathan Liu). Let me know what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s in-between for each of them. I want to improve, and I want to hear from you all.
So, please, let me have it! Let me hear your thoughts!
Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
Loved ones, it’s a hard truth to swallow but, we’re all somewhat prejudiced. At least, as far as entertainment is concerned we are. We all have set notions about the way certain characters should look and act–about who our heroes and our villains should be. This is most likely due to the fact that Hollywood consistently employs archetypes and formulas in its films–particularly in the genres of action, horror and comedy. As a result, we tend to develop preconceived notions about the characters and story-lines of films even before we see them. Oh, she’s a blonde girl in a horror film? That means she’s a slut, and that she’s going to be the first one to die. Oh, he’s a black dude in a crime drama? Well, that can only mean that he’s a drug dealer and/or ex-con. Now, on it’s own, this presumption about fiction might seem harmless, but it can have serious real-life consequences. If all we ever see of certain groups is what’s shown to us in TV and movies, and those representations are biased or inaccurate, we can develop negative and fallacious conceptions of those groups. Not all blonde girls are sluts. Not all Black guys are drug dealers or ex-cons. This is why Colorblind Casting is such a good thing.
For those of you who don’t know, Colorblind Casting is when a filmmaker chooses to cast an actor in a part that they might not typically be seen in–i.e. casting a Black person to play a character traditionally shown as White, casting a woman in a role usually reserved for a man, etc. This has been done several times throughout theater and cinema history, and more often than not, to positive effect. In the sci-fi horror classic Alien, for instance, the main character, Ripley, was supposed to be a man, but the director, Ridley Scott, ended up casting Sigourney Weaver in the role. Similarly, the 2008 BBC television series Merlin employed several actors of color in roles traditionally described in the Arthurian legends as Caucasian, most notably Queen Guinevere and Sir Elyan The White. Basically, Colorblind Casting is an incredibly good, not entirely uncommon practice, and one that I believe more filmmakers should partake in. Why? Well, three reasons, actually.
First, Colorblind Casting is good for the actors. Whether we like to think about it or not, women and minorities do oftentimes get relegated to smaller and/or stereotypical roles in films and television. So, when they’re chosen for non-conventional, higher-profile parts, critics and audiences tend to pay attention, and the actor in question’s career usually takes a turn for the better.
Second, Colorblind Casting is good for the filmmakers. Studies have shown that films and TV shows with more diverse casts tend to do better with critics and make more money. Just look at Grey’s Anatomy. The creators of the show wrote the characters without any specific racial identities, cast the actors who did the best job, regardless of how they looked, and now the series is on its 12th season. That’s got to tell you something.
And third, Colorblind Casting is good for audiences. As I stated earlier, the way we perceive certain groups is oftentimes influenced by how those groups are represented in media. If those representations are more well-rounded, then our perceptions of the groups in question will likewise be more nuanced. Alien’s Ellen Ripley taught us that women can be bad-ass action heroes. Hannibal’s Beverly Katz showed America that Asians can be witty, well-rounded and tough, and don’t have to know Kung Fu, speak broken English or lack a sense of humor to be taken seriously.
So why not employ Colorblind Casting more often? It’s good for the people making the films, and it’s good for the people watching them. It is, in every sense of the phrase, a win-win situation. That is why I’m calling upon all aspiring filmmakers out there to keep an open mind when working on a project. Don’t just go for the first thing that comes to mind when casting. Try to envision what the story would be like if the main character were Asian, Latino, Female or Disabled. If you do so, I can almost guarantee that good things will happen to everyone involved.
If you agree, and would like to share your thoughts, please leave a reply. If you disagree, and would like to express why, don’t hesitate to do so. And if you enjoyed this post, and would like to see more, feel free to follow my blog at liusviews.com
Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
And I love to laugh. Seriously! There’s nothing that I love more in the whole wide world. I love the goofy little grin that spreads across my face when I chuckle. I love the pain that boils up in my abdomen when I’ve been laughing for too long. I love feeling happy, and I love making others feel happy too.
And yet, even I, a person who fully enjoys the lighter side of life, acknowledge that there are times when the laughter must stop, and serious issues must be addressed. One such issue is the Nanking Massacre, or Rape of Nanking, a tragedy that many of us here in the West either don’t know, or simply don’t care about.
For those of you who have never heard of it, the Nanking Massacre was a period of mass killing and systematic rape that took place over the course of six weeks in the winter of 1937. It began when the Imperial Japanese Army occupied what was then the capital of China, Nanking. The Chinese government and military had fled by the time the Japanese entered the city, and so, the Imperial soldiers, recognizing that there was absolutely no one to stop them, did whatever they pleased. This included, but was not limited to, decapitating dozens of unarmed civilians as part of a contest to see who could kill the most people at once, burying men, women and children alive, raping and executing girls as young as 8 and women as old as 70, and even forcing certain family members to commit incest with one another for the soldiers own amusement. What they did was not only morally reprehensible, it was also illegal, according to the Geneva Convention. What they did, to put it bluntly, was evil. And I think I speak for everyone when I say that evil, wherever and however it is done, must be punished.
And yet, this evil was not, and still has not, been punished. That is the great tragedy of this affair. To this day, the Japanese government has refused to apologize for the atrocity. No reparations have been paid to the survivors of the massacre. In fact, the current Mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, has gone on record and stated that the sexual violence perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers was “necessary,” as it provided them with “rest.” And as if all this wasn’t outrageous enough, many Japanese schools have even omitted the event from their history courses, in the hopes that subsequent generations will never know it happened.
THIS OUTRAGE CANNOT CONTINUE! AWARENESS OF THE MASSACRE MUST BE RAISED! Imagine how furious you’d be if the German government tried to deny its Nazi past by claiming that the Holocaust had never happened, and refusing to pay reparations to survivors. DON’T BE HYPOCRITES! SHARE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED HERE TODAY! DONATE TO “RAISE AWARENESS FOR NANKING MASSACRE” (the link is at the bottom of the page). These funds will go straight to the Nanking Massacre Memorial Museum, where they will be used to educate people about this great tragedy. DEMAND THAT THE TOPIC BE TAUGHT AT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL! WRITE TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JAPANESE EMBASSY! DO SOMETHING TO HONOR THE 300,000 WHO LOST THEIR LIVES, AND TO ALL THOSE WHO STILL LIVE WITHOUT CLOSURE!