I sometimes have an issue with figuring out what I want to write when I don’t have a prompt to follow. Sometimes it’s due to lack of any ideas, other times it’s because I have too many. One thing that can really help is to jot everything down, regardless of density or how invested I am in the idea, then work from there.
For example: I recently watched a documentary from 2006 titled The Slanted Screen. It was a film dedicated to examining the various stereotypes that East Asian males faced in Hollywood and in the media. It featured a long list of various films and productions, and included interviews with a variety of Asian male stars at the time. Watching it in 2017 made me wonder how things have changed. Have they improved? In what ways? Have things stagnated? Gotten worse? I think it’s worth looking into more deeply, especially with Marvel’s Iron Fist being released recently amidst much racial controversy, and Netflix’s Death Note adaptation receiving mixed responses on Reddit upon the release of its trailer
Another, broader topic to come out of that would be Asian representation as a whole in Hollywood, and the conversations surrounding the ‘Americanization’ and white-washing of certain media. Besides the two already mentioned, the upcoming Ghost in the Shell comes to mind as well as Marvel’s Doctor Strange among a smattering of other works that have suffered criticisms in this realm. To be fair – I personally don’t have any major issues with the casting of Ghost in the Shell in particular, but I’m still ambivalent towards it as a whole. That topic is an entire post on its own, and a debate I’ve had with many of my Asian friends repeatedly.
Further removed from this train of thought, a documentary film called Miss Representation deals with media stereotypes and messaging that women in America have to deal with and the repercussions that follow. Things like representation in government and age discrimination during casting calls were highlighted as well. Watching that film reminded me of a different culture that suffers from similar problems. South Korea is known as the plastic surgery capital of the world, and spending any time consuming popular Korean media will show you why. Nearly every major ‘idol’ or star in the game today has had some sort of work done. Hell, even an American man who wound up on a Korean talent show was convinced to do it. It’s a striking cultural phenomenon and I wonder how directly it’s linked to American media and influence.
These are just some working ideas I’ve had floating around in my head for a while, some more fleshed out than others. It all comes down to what I’ve seen and consumed recently that gets added to my mental library for later dissection.