Ghost in the Shell and the Complexity of Cultural Appropriation

by Trungles

There is an old fairy tale popularized by Hans Christian Andersen as The Little Mermaid. I’m one of those odd first-and-a-half generation Vietnamese American immigrants, and tales of living in between spaces have always held my attention. The story goes that a little princess from a world under water wants to live on the land. She falls in love, exchanges her tongue for a pair of legs, and finds herself thrust into the unenviable circumstance of navigating a strange space where she literally has no voice. Ultimately finding no place for her in the world for which she had given up everything, she casts herself off the side of a ship into the ocean, drowns, and dissolves into sea foam. Victorian sentiments about Christianity and moralizing stories for children eventually got Andersen to amend the ending. This is more or less the state of Asian American identity politics. We’re always finding ourselves caught between “where we come from” and wherever we yearn to belong.

The buzz around the 2017 Ghost in the Shell film, among many other film and television projects of its ilk in recent memory, has ignited a bevy of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation and the nature of Asian American identity politics. The topic is complicated.

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APAture2015: Interview with Jason Bayani

We continue our spotlight on Kearny Street Workshop and its APAture2015: Future Tense, a series of showcases featuring emerging artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. This Saturday, October 10, the Comics & Illustration Showcase will feature a number of comic book artists. Yesterday was my interview with artist Thi Bui. Today, I chat with Jason Bayani, Program Manager of Kearny Street Workshop.

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APAture2015: Interview with Artist Thi Bui

Kearny Street Workshop, one of the oldest and well-known arts organization in the Asian Pacific American community, proudly presents APAture2015: Future Tense, a series of showcases featuring emerging artists from the San Francisco Bay Area.

On Saturday, October 10, the Comics & Illustration Showcase will feature a number of comic book artists. Below is a brief Q&A with  Thi Bui, who is the featured artist at this year’s showcase.

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