Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Manga Madness

This was almost a Diversity Thursday post, but I couldn't wait.

If taken alone, it may just be goofy - but I don't know if seen as described by its advocates this is paternalistic racism, patronizing, unhinged, wrongheaded, or just plain silly.
The U.S. Naval Academy released a graphic novel Thursday to attract minority students and applicants from areas that don't send many students to the college, using sharp drawings, tales of saving the world and sound-effect words such as "FZZZZZZZ" and "FZAAAAAAT."

Adm. Fowler has made diversity a priority at the academy, and minority characters play a prominent role in the story. The 4,500 minority applications for the class of 2013 were the most ever received at the school founded in 1845.
Seriously, this isn't all that far from hearing some pouchy late middle aged white guy taking a break at the turn from the 9th to the 10th hole, looking over at his sans-a-belt clad foursome buddies and saying,
"Them there dark-skinned minority kids have trouble reading like our normal kids here in the USA and just don't seem to get it. Let's see if we can hook a few of those boys by putting some pictures in front of them so they can understand."
Seriously, it reads as that insulting.

LT B., if you are out there somewhere, please offer up an alternative universe version of this,
"Bravo Zulu" tells the story of five midshipmen on the day of their induction at the academy. They envision their futures during a night in an ornate crypt under the academy's chapel, a shrine to Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones.

One student touches Jones' sarcophagus to a thunderous "FZZZZZZZ" and sees "Destruction. Despair ... the world is on the brink of chaos. It's strange how the decisions of one can affect so many ... and sometimes the entire planet."

The student then is shown "a future where you graduate first in your class and are assigned to the [carrier] Ronald Reagan."

"Then one day ... while on watch navigating the ship ... you spot a pirate ship ... in the cornerstone of evil in the world." Panels illustrate the student peering through binoculars and spotting two armed pirates on a ship in the distance.

A shadowy adult character who earlier chided the students for not being able to "see past the next five minutes to your future" tells the student: "Your eyes caught what no one else would have. And no one else might."

Another student envisions being a doctor on the hospital ship Comfort and going on to "be the doctor to one of the greatest presidents of the United States."
Snerk. Perhaps you can help Admiral Fowler out,
The publication, which had an initial run of about 100,000 at a cost of 40 cents a copy, will be distributed during outreach programs throughout the country.

"This is a first edition," Adm. Fowler said. "We are under way planning the second one and we're going to see how it's received and what its effect is before we decide how much further we go."
For you farmers out there - how do you select your seedcorn? In modern terms for those of us forced to turn our land to planted pines; how picky are you about selecting you seedings?
UPDATE: Oh joy.
"Diversity is my number one goal," Fowler said...
...because we know how important your DNA source is to getting ships underway, fighting wars and leading Sailors and Marines, and ... because we all know that white males are only 25% of the Navy and are always at the back of the ... picture....or is that blue eyed guy in the back Hispanic? Hard to tell with all the self-identity fraud going on...

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