1. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Are these characters offensive?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rick n Morty, Aug 12, 2016.

    This is about the dinosaur story again.

    Anyways, the secondary antagonist of the story is a Quetzalcoatlus named General Azdark, who has a thick German accent and a fleet of three other pterosaurs whom he is very bossy and grouchy with. There's also a couple intense scenes where he chases the heroes through the dinosaur city while trying to grab them in his storklike bill.

    The pterosaur fleet also consists of...
    • A British Pteranodon named Captain Longiceps, who is a clever schemer who only attacks when he feels it's time to do so.
    • A female Japanese Ornithocheirus named Sergeant Senshi who is a quick and silent warrior. The rare times she speaks, it's in Japanese.
    • A Brazilian Tapejara named Private Bobo who's a pretty incompetent soldier compared to the others. He is upbeat, happy, and friendly, and he's more interested in partying, Samba music, and making smoothies than fighting.

    What scares me is the idea of German, British, Japanese, and/or Brazilian audiences being offended by these characters. I won't deny that they're somewhat stereotypical with the accents and everything.

    Of course, it's impossible to predict what will offend people, especially since different people are offended by different things. Cartoon Network thought Speedy Gonzales cartoons were offensive to Hispanic audiences until it turned out Mexicans saw the character as a positive role model.

    For those wondering the final fates for the characters...
    • Longiceps and Senshi are both devoured by Darren, a Megalodon who befriends the heroes.
    • Azdark is trampled and killed by the freed prisoner dinosaurs during the climax.
    • Bobo reforms and throws a Samba party for all the other dinosaurs.

    So, what do you think? Are these characters offensive or not?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  2. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    I personally dont think these characters are offensive, I'm British and I don't find the British character remotely insulting. I think if you were writing a serious book about important issues it might be something to worry about but in this case I don't think its worth worrying about. (Unless I miss judged your story and it's an intense political thriller )
     
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  3. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    It's not a political story. It's a cute, cartoony adventure in the same vein as many Disney and Don Bluth films. I picture it as a traditionally animated film in a similar style to those two creators.

    My target demographic consists of children, nostalgic adults, and paleontology fans who want to see more accurate dinosaurs and pterosaurs in fiction.
     
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  4. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    Haha, it was a joke I forgot the emojii.
     
  5. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Anyways, the reason I was worried was because it's impossible to predict whether depictions of other cultures will offend people or not, no matter how positively you portray them.

    A good example are the crows from Dumbo. They're obvious black stereotypes, talking and dressing like blacks did in that time period. Despite being positive characters who encourage Dumbo and help him to fly, they're still pretty hated by many people. (A person on deviantART outright called me a racism apologist for liking them.)

    On the other hand, you have examples like Speedy Gonzales, which I already mentioned above.

    Anyways, Private Bobo is the one I'm worried the most about. He fits Brazilian stereotypes pretty well, being a friendly comic relief character and enjoying Samba music and smoothies. I'm not trying to mock or maliciously attack Brazilians by any means. I just thought it would be funny and interesting since Tapejara was a Brazilian pterosaur. I guess you could call him a positive depiction, since it's obvious he was drafted into the pterosaur air force against his will, and he makes a heel-face turn in the end.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I think they're pretty stereotypical. The German one is a bossy general, the British one gets to be clever, the Japanese one is a silent warrior - I'm not well informed on Brazilian stereotypes but you seem to know that one is yourself. Whether they're offensive isn't for me to say, but certainly they're stereotypes and stereotypes are boring. They're just regurgitations of the same character. If you're not looking to write anything particularly deep or new then I suppose that's fine.

    I'm more curious as to how dinosaurs developed the same languages/accents as humans but I guess I'm over thinking it.
     
  7. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    It's not meant to be big, epic oscar bait or anything. It's just meant to be fun and enjoyable.

    Too bad completely original, non-stereotypical characters are so hard to come up with, since it's impossible for the human brain to come up with anything unless it has some sort of prompt.
     
  8. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    Then why can't one of the dinosaurs be gay and say things like, "If you're going into battle, kill someone! And for god's sake, don't clash".
     
  9. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    It sounds to me like you already know your characters are stereotypical--at least in terms of Hollywood. So that's fine. If you want to write it that way, no one will stop you.

    My question is this: Why would you want to write stereotypical characters? That doesn't even make a lick of sense to me. Isn't the point of storytelling to engage the creative parts of our mind? What is creative about--as @izzybot says--regurgitating what's already been done?

    Seems the simple solution to this, instead of worrying about whether or not it will offend people--is to make your characters not stereotypical adaptations of what's already been done. Seems like a win-win; you get to massage your creativity AND you don't have to worry about it being offensive.

    Also, saying it's hard to create non-stereotypical characters is a giant hunk of bologna. Take those stereotypes and turn them on their head. All you'd have to do is mix up those traits YOU ALREADY HAVE between the characters and bing-bang-boom.
     
  10. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    So, either change the personalities or change their nationality?
     
  11. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Right, I was just going to add that you can just delete the nationalities.

    Upon further thinking, I'm wondering why a dinosaur story would have nationalities. Seems a little strange, and maybe unnecessary?

    And if it is necessary, what is it adding to your story?
     
  12. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    It can be fun and enjoyable and more original, though. It's not like they're mutually exclusive.

    I'm not sure if your second paragraph is meant to be sarcastic or not, but I personally subscribe to the "everything is a remix" train of thought: no 'true' originality but we can still reconfigure tropes in rare and interesting ways. Which really isn't all that hard, frankly.
     
  13. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Well, I may change Longiceps and Senshi, since they're somewhat minor, but I like Azdark and Bobo the way they are, and here's why.

    The reason I made Azdark German is because Quetzalcoatlus and other azhdarchids have a crest that sorta resembles a German military cap, as you can see here, so I thought it would be funny and interesting.

    [​IMG]

    I did consider making him French early on. Maybe that would subvert the "cowardly Frenchman" stereotype.

    I made Bobo Brazilian because (as mentioned before) Tapejara is a Brazilian pterosaur, and I thought it would be funny and interesting. Plus, I wanna have at least one minion with an F in evil in the group, which is why he's friendly and fun-loving.
     
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  14. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    I read somewhere that EVERYONE in real life falls into some sort of stereotype. So it's not about avoiding stereotypes, it's about putting a new spin on them, which I'll figure out how to do with these characters eventually.
     
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  15. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I get the resemblance to the German military cap and the Brazillian dinosaur. That's fine if you want to do it. But you have to ask yourself which is more important? Isn't there a way to make the Brazillian friendly and fun-loving without making him stereotypical? The answer is a loud YES and it wouldn't be difficult; all you'd have to do is engage your creativity and think outside of the box.

    As for the german cap, is that worth the stereotype? I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze. But that's just me.
     
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  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe less TV Tropes, more original thought?

    I mean, TV Tropes is fun as a consumer of media, but as a producer? I'd generally consider the tropes something to avoid, not strive for.
     
  17. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Well, I'll figure it out eventually.

    Also, pterosaurs are NOT dinosaurs. That's a common mistake. They're related to dinosaurs, but they're not dinosaurs themselves. Sorry, but I'm a paleontology fan and I just wanted to correct that.
     
  18. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    Tropes aren't automatically good or bad, you know. They're just tools. And I think it's better to have at least one good guy on the bad guy team to show that not all pterosaurs are evil here.

    My idea is that Cletus (the main villain of the story) forces all pterosaurs on his air force regardless of whether or not they're good fighters (which is how drafting works in real life), and Bobo is there to show us that.
     
  19. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Well...thanks for asserting yourself as the foremost paleontology expert on WF. I'll remember to not waste time trying to answer your questions in the future. Since correcting minor mistakes is really very important regarding this thread. :confused:
     
  20. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    What's the matter? I was just trying to point out a fact. I'm not angry or anything.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Sure, people fall into stereotypes in real life - I'm a southerner and I do love my sweet tea, for instance. But I don't fill every stereotype; stereotypes aren't all that I am. Because when we create characters we often won't get a chance to explore all the ways in which they don't adhere to stereotypes and are full and complete people, I find it's more compelling and useful to base them in things that AREN'T stereotypical.

    A southerner who loves sweet tea - wow, me, real original, suuuper interesting, never heard that one before. I also love sushi. That's a bit more memorable (for, yknow, being really boring food trivia).
     
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  22. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    What if I had Bobo making something BESIDES fruit smoothies? (Though it'll be hard to think of something, since Tapejara and its relatives are thought to have been mostly fruit-eaters in real life.)
     
  23. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    You disregarded the rest of his post with a "well I'm sure I'll figure it out" and focused on a minor detail unimportant to the discussion.

    If you're sure you'll figure it out, why post the question in the first place?
     
  24. Rick n Morty
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    Rick n Morty Active Member

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    What question? The one that started the discussion in the first place? I wanted to see if there was a problem. Now that I can see there is, I can brainstorm a bit.
     
  25. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    What if the Brazilian fruit-eater wasn't the fun-loving one? The Japanese one could be the light-hearted one who defects and is there to show they're not all evil instead.
     
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