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19 January 2009 @ 07:09 pm
While I drink my spiced chai tea latte  
A juggernaut, yeah, that's a great big machine
from Star Wars -- or maybe a truck
Avatars are who you are in a game
and karma, we all know, is luck.

Kali's a demon; Dan Simmons should know
He went to Calcutta one year
and Soma's a drug out of Huxley. It's so
very great how inventive they were!

---

Sparked by some of the conversation on the What is Cultural Appropriation thread. And oddly not entirely consistent with what I've said about it. Apparently my writing brain doesn't entirely agree with my analyst brain.

ETA: I'm very sorry to do this but I'm disabling comments for now. turning off email notification on this thread and won't be checking  back on it for several days.   I  meant to disable comments, but then realized that would hide the comments that were already made, which isn't my intent at all.

This is all me and my silly head -- I need to work on a paper and won't if I keep wondering if people have said anything here.  So I  need to forbid myself lj till the paper's done.
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
 
zwol on January 20th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Wait, people take Lord of Light as an authoritative depiction of Hinduism? When it is crystal clear in-text that the characters using the names of various Hindu gods are (super)humans who found it convenient to use those names and appropriate some of the associated attributes?

*head go splode*
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on January 20th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
For reals.

That makes me feel better about Zelazny, anyway :) But there is what he intended, and then there is what some readers got out of his book.
zwol on January 20th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
there is what he intended, and then there is what some readers got out of his book.

Can't hardly argue with that especially as this whole kerfuffle seems to have started over just that distinction in someone else's book. But it seems like wilful misreading in this case, when a major point of the narrative is that these people calling themselves gods? They're people. They have been playing the role for so long that they believe their own hype, but they're not superior beings.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on January 20th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Well, I think the person concerned concluded that Hindu Gods aren't superior beings.
zwol on January 20th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
... Oh. Hmph. Still missing the part where the whole story takes place on an alien planet in the distant future, I think.

But also seems like a standard move in monotheist and/or atheist theology -- "these alleged gods are hardly worthy of worship, look how wretched their attested deeds are!" And never mind whether the source for the wretched deeds is trustworthy.
mackatlaw on January 20th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
Lord of Light is one of my favorite books. It won the Hugo Award, and it deserved it. I highly recommend it. Even though zwol is correct that the characters are appropriating the divinities, it also served as part of my introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism, as I recall. I reread it about once a year. You should read the book just because it's a great book with very human characters.

Mack
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on January 20th, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
I know this is well-intentioned, dear, but.

Telling me I should read a book, when I cannot stop associating it with the major misunderstandings people have taken from it, and I'm not real happy about the level of appropriation in general, is really just making it less likely I ever will.

And. I know you don't intend to be dismissive of my culture by calling it an introduction to Hinduism/Buddhism. But... argh. This is like calling Good Omens an introduction to Christianity. Only worse; it's like doing that in a culture where Christianity is a misunderstood minority religion.
mackatlaw on January 20th, 2009 06:34 am (UTC)
By the time you'd met me, I'd read many original myths and much philosophy which "Lord of Light" had led me to. So yes, it was my introduction to Buddhism and Hinduism. It does a much more thorough job (while still being fiction) of introducing religious pluralism and the Buddha's message than the comedic Good Omens did for Christianity.

I think the way to stop associating it with other people's misunderstandings is to read the thing for yourself, but I can understand you not wanting to. For all I know, you'd hate it. I'm just telling you what it did for me.
mackatlaw on January 20th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
Edit
Me, of course, not being raised in a religiously minority culture under issue. :)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on January 20th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
Missing my point.

It was only actually your introduction, rather than the thing that led you to your introduction, if you grant it authority.

And you don't know, by definition cannot know, what Good Omens tells someone who reads it without knowing a fair amount of Christianity. Neither can I, since it's not a minority religion and the mythology has pervaded my life.

But since it is a not-actually-meant-to-be-canonical take that nevertheless is based on the religion in quite a lot of details as well as overall feel, it seems like a reasonable analogy to me.