As immersively tangible as the narratives of art are, a poetic irony about being an artist tends to lie with imposter syndrome—this on a worthwhile-role-in-society level. I won’t and couldn’t-if-I-pretentiously-tried speak for anyone else of course, especially those who can make, y’know a sustainable let alone successful living out of it, let alone a true meaningful lasting impact. But what ass-kicks the bad feeling of artist existentialism is art’s resulting living proof of a changing world for the better.
If art’s transcendental power is to change worldview by shaping representation, perspective, and culture, then there is nothing imposter-like about art that changes our collective worldview for the better. And if legit, empowered, and meaningful representation, inclusion, and diversity aren’t ultimately and profoundly tangible, then I don’t know what the fudge is. Cause those things are. So despite how misanthropically weary I’ve known myself to become at art on the most wide-reaching and mainstream-platform-level, I have nevertheless held out for the artists who can create the paradigm shifts from playing fields hilariously out of my self-resigned ghetto-butt league. And Hot Damn is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings not only fucking great but also all those things I run-on sentence[s] preached about.
Anew I experience through the storytellers’ craft and through my response as a consumer-as-well-as-creative what it means to care deeply about and believe in art at every level—specifically confirming here why popular culture matters, regardless where I may specifically operate from.
Watching Shang-Chi allowed me to again come to terms with what I never had from pop culture and the otherwise foundations that were manufactured by the western majority and exclusively handed out on a damngod platter to their privileged next generations. Except this time: gone is the tunnel-vision-feeling as if I’m on my own to start a revolution from the DIY underground. I have now lived to witness and be empowered by what the revolutionaries at the top of popular culture are rectifying, redeeming, and forging forward—this for their past and present selves and for their past, present, and future generations.
As far as superheroes go and the collective metaphors, parallels, themes, and symbols they represent from a larger-than-life lens to translate to our real-life experiences, Shang-Chi / Simu Liu for me is as relatable and inspiring as it’s gotten. Concurrently Katy / Awkwafina is the champion of my generation, and my heroine where as far as Asian empowerment and representation goes, she proves to me that I don’t need to master kung fu to feel worthwhile. I am enough and I can do badass-as-all-Hell-gone-loose things if I just aim enough at something. These artists and those behind the story they’ve together told – these are the heroes we and I need.
Take the shot—movie-reference-wise and also the actual vaccine so you can earn the right to go to the theatre again to watch it. Aim at something. Take the shot. Believe in storytelling and art. Steer culture and capitalism’s wonderful ass forward. Make the time and be part of history. Change the world for the better.
Believe in the movies again. Believe the hype. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing exclusively in theatres. Do It. The writer of this blog was not bribed by Disney and has gone out of the way with full agency and self-autonomy in between editing Open Doom Crescendo to write this review-editorial.