But first: Vinaman edition
If you miss the news today, Vietnamese actress Ngo Thanh Van just announced a "project to put a Vietnamese spin on the superhero trope",...
If you miss the news today, Vietnamese actress Ngo Thanh Van just announced a "project to put a Vietnamese spin on the superhero trope", aptly called Vinaman. Now, I know all the precautions about hasty conclusion and judging a book by its cover et cetera, but first let me judge the viability of the project from its name alone:
Vinaman is a lazy, unoriginal project, devoid of ideas and doomed to failure right from the start.
Allow me to elaborate.Vina? What the hell is Vina, by the way? “Vina” is a bad attempt at internationalizing the “Vietnam” moniker, back from when most white people found it hard to properly pronounce Vietnam. It is a relic of the past, a reminder of a once obscure country. Vinacontrol, Vinaconex, the likes. The always unkind netizens have already mocked this “Vinaleague” in their own way — memes, which I will include below for your viewing pleasure. We never call ourselves the Vina people — it’s either Viet or bust.And what’s up with the “-man” part? Spiderman, Ironman, Superman, Captain America — these are all superheroes from the Golden Age of Comic Books, when Americans are naive, chauvinistic, and unsophisticated. Powerful men who can turn the tide and save the day. Upholders of justice and unwavering patriots. Between then and now, the superheroes landscape has seen so many changes. We have inept men and women who fancy themselves something greater than they actually are. We have heroes who are drunk with power and become their own antithesis. We have truly omniscient and omnipotent beings who fail to take an interest in human affairs. Who is Vinaman, and why is he male?
Also, why English? Why not “Vinagarçon”? Why not “Vinaseñorita”? The insistence on the “-man” part is both sexist and racist. It shows that this brand is just a cheap knock-off of the real stuff, the Superman and Batman and Spiderman already acquainted by the Western audience. It plays right into the patriarchal (god I hate this word) and Eurocentric narrative that already polluted Vietnam’s modern culture. If she really wanted something “thuần Việt”, how about just use the Romanticized names of Vietnamese deities? Isn’t that not “white” enough for her? Look at how Wukong, a borrowed character in a 16th century novel, was turned into a cultural icon by China. Now THAT is proper culture propagation.
So, yeah. Perhaps Vinataba-chan would be a better superhero than any Ngo Thanh Van could have ever dreamt of. Stick to being a model or what-ever you were doing, missy. That cheesy action flick was bad enough.
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