[DWJ] Re: Heyer and Ghibli (now with Mononoke spoilers)

Kyra Jucovy klj at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Tue May 15 00:54:01 EDT 2007


On Sun, 13 May 2007 minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

> Kyra wrote:
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> I think that if you assume this claim is being made in opposition to
> other things, then it is perhaps hard to understand; if you take it as
> being not about "this work in relation to other examples of that class
> of art called film" and think of it as being simply about "this
> individual item", you won't find what I wrote of it to be particularly
> extraordinary.  What I wrote was "Nothing in it is cut-and-dried,
Fair enough.  It's certainly inappropriate for me to take out my
frustration with people who are _not_ you on you, and I apologize for it.

> Is he a Villain?  It could be argued (has been argued!) that he is
> honourable within the existing code, and he is obeying the undoubtedly
> legitimate orders (no other sort exists) of his Emperor to whom his
> first loyalty has to be no matter how much he might wish it were
> otherwise on a personal level, and the people against whom he is acting
> are ambiguously correct at best, at worst a danger to the common weal,
> and certainly in opposition to his Emperor's wishes; therefore he can't
> be seen as being exclusively villainous, even if *some* of his
> motivation is that he is to be covered in gold if he obeys orders
> successfully, and even if he is a mischievous cynic.
>
> It is not possible for the Emperor to be the villain.  That would be
> unthinkable in the society in which the film is set.  To suggest that
> the Emperor's representative is a villain would be unthinkable too
> unless he disobeyed the Emperor.
These are also interesting points and can help me see why people with a
moral code other than mine might find the movie's presentation of the
character more ambiguous than I do.  I personally would never think of
loyalty as an excuse for this kind of bad behavior, but I certainly am
aware of the fact that there are people out there who would.  In fact, in
some of my own favorite Japanese fandoms, there are characters who are
well-beloved by some fans despite the fact that I find them utterly creepy
because they do, in fact, act largely out of loyalty to others.  So this
is definitely just a blind spot of mine, and one which I should be aware.

It's probably always the case that the extent to which one finds any given
narrative morally ambiguous actually does depend on one's actual sense of
morality.  For example, I can think of at least one story that I find very
morally ambiguous entirely because I'm less inclined to think that
destroying the entire human race is an unmitigated evil than most people
presumably are ;-).

(Okay, I exaggerate for effect.)

> I think the one he has said most wants to make is *Drowned Ammet*, but
> I'm not sure how he would get flying-ships into that one!  Still, I
> suppose if he could fit them into Howl he can fit them into *anything*.
Well, even if it's not _Spellcoats_, it fits my parameters well enough
that I would definitely be excited if he did do it.

Maybe water-ships are close enough to air-ships that he would be satiated?

> Minnow
						---Kyra

---
"Pelops sulks.  He walks with the others down into the kitchen and gets in
the stew pots.  'I hate you,' he says.  'You're ruining my life.'"
			---Rebecca Sean Borgstrom, _Hitherby Dragons_




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