Op Ed

  • Polygon - The cyberpunk genre has been Orientalist for decades — but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks Acleacius.
    "It’s cool. It’s slick. It’s cyberpunk. The idea and the iconography of the samurai in the Western consciousness has been diluted into two things — the venerable samurai of Akira Kurosawa films, or the highly stylized, slick street samurai that occupies the neon-illuminated cities of cyberpunk media. Yet within the cyberpunk genre, Japanese corporations are the enemy, even as multi-national vocabularies and cultures have been congealed together to create a future envisioned by paranoia and fear. This is one of the many examples of techno-Orientalism and xenophobia that has been persistent since cyberpunk’s inception."
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21.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 13:39
Jivaro
 
21.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 13:39
Feb 1, 2021, 13:39
 Jivaro
 
Interesting. I can understand that I guess. I fully misunderstood the definition of the word previously.
Avatar 55841
20.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 13:32
20.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 13:32
Feb 1, 2021, 13:32
 
Jivaro wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:39:
Beamer wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:25:
FloorPie wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:07:
Cutter wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 18:31:
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.


I'm actually shocked they used Orientalist instead of Asianist or something similar.

It's the correct term. They're not making these terms up, they already exist.

I think what Floorpie is referring to is the word "oriental" has been sort of deemed in bad taste. I have been told that by many people with asian heritage. Is that not the case? I am not comparing it to the "N" word but, at least where I live, that wouldn't be anyone's first choice in vocabulary.

Note: Don't care about the SJW vs "Everything is racist now!" debate....so please nobody start that ridiculous debate for like 100000000th time.

You shouldn't refer to people as Oriental, but you can refer to things as Oriental. Rugs, not people.

But the term Orientalism is one that has a lengthy history.
19.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 13:13
19.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 13:13
Feb 1, 2021, 13:13
 
Asian corporations in Cyberpunk are the embodiment of a world where multinationals have become more powerful than nations and explaining the cosmopolitanism of the society depicted. Having Japanese corporations is a good choice as of the time Cyberpunk was created, and the time it paradoxically takes inspiration from (the 80s) the most powerful and threatening foreign companies were Japanese and Korean companies like Sony and Samsung. Nowadays those companies are still powerful but China has replaced Japan in the shoes of the big competitor. I dont know if it stands as orientalism but it also reflects the popularity of Japanese cultural icons like the Ninja and the Samurai in 80s roleplaying games.
18.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 12:39
Jivaro
 
18.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 12:39
Feb 1, 2021, 12:39
 Jivaro
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:25:
FloorPie wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:07:
Cutter wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 18:31:
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.


I'm actually shocked they used Orientalist instead of Asianist or something similar.

It's the correct term. They're not making these terms up, they already exist.

I think what Floorpie is referring to is the word "oriental" has been sort of deemed in bad taste. I have been told that by many people with asian heritage. Is that not the case? I am not comparing it to the "N" word but, at least where I live, that wouldn't be anyone's first choice in vocabulary.

Note: Don't care about the SJW vs "Everything is racist now!" debate....so please nobody start that ridiculous debate for like 100000000th time.
Avatar 55841
17.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 12:32
17.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 12:32
Feb 1, 2021, 12:32
 
An article like this is just a classic case of confirmation bias. You cherry pick the evidence that supports your thesis and ignore evidence that disconfirms it. In the comments for article look for the comment by "celestialflower" which offers a good response.
16.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 12:25
16.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 12:25
Feb 1, 2021, 12:25
 
FloorPie wrote on Feb 1, 2021, 12:07:
Cutter wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 18:31:
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.


I'm actually shocked they used Orientalist instead of Asianist or something similar.

It's the correct term. They're not making these terms up, they already exist.
15.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 12:07
15.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 12:07
Feb 1, 2021, 12:07
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 18:31:
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.


I'm actually shocked they used Orientalist instead of Asianist or something similar.
14.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 08:21
14.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 08:21
Feb 1, 2021, 08:21
 
To me it feels like if anybody went full Cyberpunk first, it would be Japan. Their culture seems much quicker to adopt new technology for technology's sake. From ridiculous phones and cameras, to robots and vending machines, they'll try just about anything. Some of it may work well enough to find its way into the US.

As a westerner I love seeing Asian influence in sci-fi settings. Architecture, culture, people - it make a setting feel exotic and interesting. It's not xenophobia IMO, just a natural sense of wonder and curiosity. My SO, who actually lived in China for a couple years, used to love watching me walk around in the Asian-themed areas of Deus Ex:Human Revolution. It was nostalgic for her, and that more than anything makes me think the designers did a pretty good job.
Avatar 6134
13.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 06:40
jin
13.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 06:40
Feb 1, 2021, 06:40
jin
 
dumb article. cyberpunk isn't intrinsically racist or xenophobic in the least and it must be one thirsty writer trying to squeeze that particular stone for a drop to drink. if anything, cyberpunk AGGRANDIZES foreign cultures - especially in its FETISHIZATION of asian things in general and japan (ala 80s) in particular.
12.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 06:30
12.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 06:30
Feb 1, 2021, 06:30
 
So some fan boys and a racist or two got their buttons pushed.

Splitting hairs about literary/cinema genre's bores me.

Harrumphing after their nut-less brainless insurrection attempt to let us know they are still around, the mongers of fear and hate still infest our world.
"Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss." - The Who.
Avatar 57379
11.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 04:11
11.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 04:11
Feb 1, 2021, 04:11
 
Okay let's use some common sense and logic here. The reason why Cyberpunk is so heavily influenced by Asian or more specifically Japanese culture is because back in the 80s Japan was so much further ahead technologically than any other part of the World. From the point of view of Sci-Fi writers and producers it looked like this lead would probably extend far into the future and would eventually lead to Japanese culture replacing the dominant Western or rather American culture that is so prevalent in all forms of life today. This has not happened, and in fact the innovations that the Japanese corporations pioneered were quickly appropriated, matched and even exceeded in cases by other corporations. In fact most corporations these days don't really have a particular national culture, they are multi-national in the true sense of the word.
In short, cyberpunk is fiction. Deal with it.

This comment was edited on Feb 1, 2021, 05:12.
Avatar 58327
10.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 03:30
NKD
10.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 03:30
Feb 1, 2021, 03:30
NKD
 
Hmm, I can't speak for the genre as a whole, but if the author thinks the Cyberpunk 20xx lore paints the NUSA and Militech as a better alternative to Arasaka or Chinese corps like Kang Tao, they aren't paying attention.
Avatar 43041
9.
 
Re: Op Ed
Feb 1, 2021, 00:01
9.
Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2021, 00:01
Feb 1, 2021, 00:01
 
anonymous anonymous wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 21:45:
Oh, god: please make the wokeness stop. Everything in Western Culture is racist, now, I guess.

Yep!
8.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 21:45
8.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 21:45
Jan 31, 2021, 21:45
 
Oh, god: please make the wokeness stop. Everything in Western Culture is racist, now, I guess.
7.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 20:57
7.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 20:57
Jan 31, 2021, 20:57
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 18:31:
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.


Japan is certainly more xenophobic than the west, But all non-western nations are more conservative and xenophobic.
After living in Japan for several years though I really don't think it qualifies as "The most" xenophobic. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be hard to find a country that was much worse.
They love western culture for the most part, If you're Chinese or Korean you'll probably have more problems. North Korean ICBMS and CCP threats of war aren't helping much.

This is a terrible article though, I agree with you its obvious they've never read any William Gibson.
The author also assumes that because cyberpunk depicts a future with an Asian cultural influence that its somehow promoting a "fear" of Asians which is an insane takeaway. They're also cherry picking the shit out of history and games, leaving out a whole bunch of inconvenient points that mess with their conspiracy theory.

Some of these polygon articles are a weird sort of racist hipsterism. Where the authors seem to seek out something currently popular in culture and try to lay claim over it based on their ancestry, regardless of if they were actually raised in that culture or contributed to it in any way or not. Its like they think it gives them some kind of power.
6.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 18:31
6.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 18:31
Jan 31, 2021, 18:31
 
It's a Polygon article obviously they're going to construe anything that isn't part of their groupthink as racist and bigoted. Never mind the fact that the Japanese are probably the most xenophobic people on the planet. Never mind that every country has its own organized crime - the Yakuza as it applies to Gibson's work. This just the typical snowflake whinging. Just another assault on white men who aren't white guilty liberal extremists. It's clear they've never actually read anything by Gibson or Stephenson. Their works are the very opposite of what the idiot author is contending.

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Avatar 25394
5.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 18:22
5.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 18:22
Jan 31, 2021, 18:22
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 17:32:
Well, I recommend actually reading Neuromancer, Fall; or Dodge in Hell, and any of the other novels from William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, really. Of course Neuromancer is from 1984? 1982? It predates anything GITS/SAC, and to be honest, GITS and everything else stem from Neuromancer.

Fall is... not Westworld. In any way. The most important aspect (in my opinion) of Fall is what happens to society as people start moving into the virtual world, it's a pretty good commentary on what really happened the past 4 years or so, honestly.

But you are in Germany, right? Your English seems quite good, so you can probably read these novels in English, but I'm not sure if it's a hassle over there to get novels in English vs German, etc. I'm not going to claim Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't have any problems, it has many. The tabletop RPG it was based on had many problems, story wise. CP2020 and Shadowrun, etc. were all pretty Cyberpunk-lite in my opinion, compared to Neuromancer/Snowcrash/et al. But yes, those were actual novels, vs games or even the anime of GITS.

Any genre suffers the problems you're talking about though, eventually. There are the pioneers and outstanding examples, then there is the sheer mass of mediocre and worse entries into the genre. Cyberpunk as a genre is not immune to the same problems afflicting any fictional genre; all I'm saying is I disagree with holding up GITS as the gold standard. At least say Akira or something.

Hah, I am just assuming we include Akira in this by default, but I have definitely a weak-point in that I have a hard time finding the gems in reading genres in general. I read Neuromancer ages ago (hence my - "this is quite trope heavy and culturally outdated" mention, although I don't remember much more than that anymore.. not in todays times), and the whole sci-fi asimov, enders-game etc. stuff, Wheel of Time etc. but where I am on on-point with games, books elude me and my limited attention pretty heavily. Especially as it goes in specific sub-genres, if it ain't fantasy I have a REALLY hard time even finding anything worth reading because I have no idea how orient myself in that. Especially as I am from Germany and yeah, it gets quite annoying, since I can't go to a local book-store anymore for what feels like a decade I literally get ZERO recommendations nowadays ~.~
Avatar 54727
4.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 17:32
4.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 17:32
Jan 31, 2021, 17:32
 
Well, I recommend actually reading Neuromancer, Fall; or Dodge in Hell, and any of the other novels from William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, really. Of course Neuromancer is from 1984? 1982? It predates anything GITS/SAC, and to be honest, GITS and everything else stem from Neuromancer.

Fall is... not Westworld. In any way. The most important aspect (in my opinion) of Fall is what happens to society as people start moving into the virtual world, it's a pretty good commentary on what really happened the past 4 years or so, honestly.

But you are in Germany, right? Your English seems quite good, so you can probably read these novels in English, but I'm not sure if it's a hassle over there to get novels in English vs German, etc. I'm not going to claim Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't have any problems, it has many. The tabletop RPG it was based on had many problems, story wise. CP2020 and Shadowrun, etc. were all pretty Cyberpunk-lite in my opinion, compared to Neuromancer/Snowcrash/et al. But yes, those were actual novels, vs games or even the anime of GITS.

Any genre suffers the problems you're talking about though, eventually. There are the pioneers and outstanding examples, then there is the sheer mass of mediocre and worse entries into the genre. Cyberpunk as a genre is not immune to the same problems afflicting any fictional genre; all I'm saying is I disagree with holding up GITS as the gold standard. At least say Akira or something.
Avatar 54863
3.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 15:59
3.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 15:59
Jan 31, 2021, 15:59
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Jan 31, 2021, 15:27:
GITS/Stand Alone Complex were great, at least the original and the SAC from like 10-12 years ago. I know they've rebooted it a couple of times.

But surely you aren't discounting William Gibson and Neal Stephenson and their novels? Neuromancer from the 80s, up to Fall; or Dodge in Hell from a year or two ago? Those two literally defined Cyberpunk, outside of the more popcornish tabletop RPG stuff of Cyberpunk 2077 and Shadowrun, etc. There are also plenty of other authors in the genre of various levels of fame and skill, those two just stand out, off the top of my head.

It seems to be an exaggeration to say nothing comes close to Ghost in the Shell, just my opinion.

What from western authors comes close to GITS? If you have some reading tips do share, because I have read nothing that has superseded the GITS manga and the 1995 movie and the 2 SAC's in my "this defines the genre for me now" list. Fantasy is well catered, but Cyberpunk from western authors is trope city for me. To point "Neuromancer" main character.. is a Cyber-Cowboy. NO, that would have sounded modern.. what was it... ah, console cowboy. And Fall; or, Dodge in Hell sounds to me like something I already seen.. oh wait,.. what was it.. ah yes, Westworld.

I am not saying the genre is borked, but I am saying it's going in loops... and even Westworld wasn't fully modern, it played, to wit, in a cowboy setting initially.... anyhow, we could talk about the genre a lot, but the article already did it.

The thing about Cyberpunk 77 for example, is that it perfectly shows what is wrong with the western Cyberpunk genre. It has zero substance. Mega-corps are supposed to be smart, have exceedingly deep intrigues and conspiracies. And dystopia does not mean everyone lives in the sewers, dystopia means that the development into the future is in the hands of those who maybe shouldn't have that power. Can you imagine Arasaki corp in CP77 running more than a hotdog stand? Because I can't
Avatar 54727
2.
 
Re: Op Ed
Jan 31, 2021, 15:27
2.
Re: Op Ed Jan 31, 2021, 15:27
Jan 31, 2021, 15:27
 
GITS/Stand Alone Complex were great, at least the original and the SAC from like 10-12 years ago. I know they've rebooted it a couple of times.

But surely you aren't discounting William Gibson and Neal Stephenson and their novels? Neuromancer from the 80s, up to Fall; or Dodge in Hell from a year or two ago? Those two literally defined Cyberpunk, outside of the more popcornish tabletop RPG stuff of Cyberpunk 2077 and Shadowrun, etc. There are also plenty of other authors in the genre of various levels of fame and skill, those two just stand out, off the top of my head.

It seems to be an exaggeration to say nothing comes close to Ghost in the Shell, just my opinion.
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