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DVD Talk review of 'The Forbidden Kingdom' (Blu-ray)

Old 08-25-08, 08:16 PM
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DVD Talk review of 'The Forbidden Kingdom' (Blu-ray)

I read John Sinnott's DVD review of The Forbidden Kingdom at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=34405 and...

umm, oriental? really?
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Old 08-25-08, 08:33 PM
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Umm, what? Hong Kong is in Eastern Asia, and hence part of the Orient.

Last edited by John Sinnott; 08-25-08 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 08-25-08, 09:40 PM
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I think what the reader is getting at is that referring to people from Asia as "Oriental" is like calling someone of African descent a Negro -- widely accepted usage in the past, but not now. Oriental is for things like rugs, not people.

In defense of the term, the Asian community itself appears divided over the issue, and perhaps mainly it's a generational thing, as many older Asian-Americans still use "Oriental" in talking about themselves or their community, but "Asian" definitely is the preferred term nowadays.
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Old 08-25-08, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
I think what the reader is getting at is that referring to people from Asia as "Oriental" is like calling someone of African descent a Negro -- widely accepted usage in the past, but not now. Oriental is for things like rugs, not people.

In defense of the term, the Asian community itself appears divided over the issue, and perhaps mainly it's a generational thing, as many older Asian-Americans still use "Oriental" in talking about themselves or their community, but "Asian" definitely is the preferred term nowadays.
I am not so sure your case about political correctness applies here. From Carl Maria Von Weber (Oberon) to Agatha Christie to James Henry Breasted the term has been widely used to recognize, not demean. And as far as its contemporary application is concerned oriental is very much perceived as a form of distinction.

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Old 08-26-08, 05:29 AM
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I am not so sure your case about political correctness applies here. From Carl Maria Von Weber (Oberon) to Agatha Christie to James Henry Breasted the term has been widely used to recognize, not demean. And as far as its contemporary application is concerned oriental is very much perceived as a form of distinction.
Boy, I sure don't understand whatever point you're trying to make. I didn't claim or imply early 20th century writers used the term "Oriental" to demean.

As for your assertion "'oriental' is very much perceived as a form of distinction," that's awfully vague, to put it mildly, considering "distinction" can mean, among many other things:

1. distinguishing as different
2. marked superiority

If you're suggesting the former, than for many Asians it's a distinction they can do without. If you're suggesting the latter, then I beg to differ.

For instance, I asked my Japanese wife just now if she's "oriental" (oddly enough, we never discussed it in seven years of marriage). Her response: No, I'm Asian. Oriental is demeaning. It suggests an inferior race of people."

There you have it. I've already said not everyone feels the same way the wife does, but many do.
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Old 08-26-08, 06:51 AM
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Thanks for explaining Stuart (and pointing it out OP). I didn't realize the term had negative connotations and could be construed as a derogatory or demeaning. I certainly didn't mean it like that. I've edited my review.
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Old 08-26-08, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by S Galbraith IV View Post
Boy, I sure don't understand whatever point you're trying to make. I didn't claim or imply early 20th century writers used the term "Oriental" to demean.

As for your assertion "'oriental' is very much perceived as a form of distinction," that's awfully vague, to put it mildly, considering "distinction" can mean, among many other things:

1. distinguishing as different
2. marked superiority

If you're suggesting the former, than for many Asians it's a distinction they can do without. If you're suggesting the latter, then I beg to differ.

For instance, I asked my Japanese wife just now if she's "oriental" (oddly enough, we never discussed it in seven years of marriage). Her response: No, I'm Asian. Oriental is demeaning. It suggests an inferior race of people."

There you have it. I've already said not everyone feels the same way the wife does, but many do.
I thought I made myself very clear. Oriental is a form of distinction (read identification) which regardless of how some may feel isn't demeaning. If it was then official academic institutions would most certainly attempt to move away from it. At the University of Chicago where I know quite a few Asian scholars I have never heard any of them relating oriental even remotely to the demeaning nature of the Negro-example you introduced earlier.

I also know plenty of Germans who could definitely do without being addressed as Eastern, as they rightfully or not feel that it is a degrading identification that links to a past when East vs. West was equivalent of so many other things, but this does not make it incorrect or humiliating.

Regardless, seeing that John has chosen to edit his review makes any further debating a moot point.

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Old 08-26-08, 09:06 PM
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Oriental is a form of distinction (read identification) which regardless of how some may feel isn't demeaning.
If that's true then I suppose you'd argue "Gook" isn't racist or demeaning, but rather simply the U.S. Military's way of identifying and distinguishing North Vietnamese soldiers from South Vietnamese ones. Just because you (a non-Asian) aren't offended doesn't make it inoffensive to others.

If it was then official academic institutions would most certainly attempt to move away from it.
I can't speak for European universities, but in America they most definately are moving away from the use of oriental to define Asian people. Find me examples of Asian studies scholars currently using the term "oriental" to describe Asian people, then I'll believe you.

Quoting from Dictionary.com:

Asian is now strongly preferred in place of Oriental for persons native to Asia or descended from an Asian people. The usual objection to Oriental—meaning "eastern"—is that it identifies Asian countries and peoples in terms of their location relative to Europe. However, this objection is not generally made of other Eurocentric terms such as Near and Middle Eastern. The real problem with Oriental is more likely its connotations stemming from an earlier era when Europeans viewed the regions east of the Mediterranean as exotic lands full of romance and intrigue, the home of despotic empires and inscrutable customs. At the least these associations can give Oriental a dated feel, and as a noun in contemporary contexts (as in the first Oriental to be elected from the district) it is now widely taken to be offensive. However, Oriental should not be thought of as an ethnic slur to be avoided in all situations. As with Asiatic, its use other than as an ethnonym, in phrases such as Oriental cuisine or Oriental medicine, is not usually considered objectionable.
The Associated Press Style Book (a good source for this kind of thing) also plainly states "Use Asian or Asians when referring to people," not Oriental.

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Old 08-26-08, 09:33 PM
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Stuart,

I believe I made myself very clear that the analogy you drew between Negro, a term with a distinctively racist connotation, and Oriental is far and away from being valid. Regardless of context. Suffice to say, if what you seem to imply was even partially correct the city of Geneva would not champion a film festival where a number of different Asian cultures are recognized annually as Oriental.

http://www.filmoriental.com/fr/index.php

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Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 08-26-08 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 08-26-08, 09:50 PM
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This discussion really isn't focusing on the movie or the review anymore, and since I don't see any good coming out of this, I'm going to go ahead and close the thread.
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