Friday, June 26, 2009

Raising a flap over nothing

Wayne and I had a minor disagreement over the supposed 'ethnicity' of Mudflap and Skids, the Autobot twins introduced in Transformers:ROTF. He thought they were Redneck, I had them pegged for ghetto gangstas.

When it comes to identifying accents, I have the advantage. What I didn't realise was that while my ears were good, a host of other critics had ears just as good -- and criticized both robot characters for being racially offensive.

Fine, both Wayne and I agree they are somewhat irritating. Our first impression of them is that of the Transformers' version of Jar Jar Binks. And they do set our teeth on edge with their childish antics. But to identify them as malicious "racist caricatures" is just reaching.

To be stereotyped suggests that people born into a particular ethnic group have no choice but to look, sound and behave like however the 'type' describes them to be. Autobots have a choice in the matter, though. They adopt their features and vocal patterns/dialects/patois from whatever and whomever they admire or wish to identify with.

And in a sense, that too is how the two voice actors decided to portray their characters. There's no agenda to offend anyone, it's just what works with the chemistry between co-performers as they interpret their scene.

Even if the twins are stereotypes, their portrayal is hardly negative. They talk big, but in a scrap they more than prove they can hold their own. They may be pintsized, but they are the first to inflict significant damage on the Decepticon behemoth, Devastator, before they get taken out of the fight themselves.

Sure, they admit they can't read the text of the Primes, but then none of the other Transformers on either side -- apart from old-timer, Jetfire -- can either. That criticism is like calling a layman who can't interpret ancient Sumerian cuniform 'illiterate'.

Anyway, I'm not about to overanalyze the whole thing. It just annoys me when critics get into this "Emperor's New Clothes" mode and echo each other because the angle is just too sensational to ignore.

Amidst all this criticism, I've decided to throw my support behind Mudflap and Skids. Dumb, self-righteous critic b*tches can take yo' wack s**t and shove it up yo' a** befo' I pop a cap in it. So there!

And over the day's catch at Fish & Co, AMK Hub, we wished many happy returns to today's birthday girl. :)

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