Words: Weapons Of Love And Hate

Words: Weapons Of Love And Hate

Words are like a double edged tool, one side you could use to destroy and one side you could use to build.

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What's something more destructive than an all-out nuclear war between countries over the world? What's also something that could unite allies and enemies together to build an entire nation together? It's not bullets, money, or nuclear warheads, but by the words and symbols communicated between the two sides. Words aren't just letters on a paper, they're a way to deliver a message to others, indicating whether you're hostile or friendly, and they in return to react to your choice of words. Full blown wars could occur in an instant just by mere sentences with the declaration of war as well as the building of a sanctuary for the poor with long paragraphs of words. Words are the keys to unlock the door of love and unity yet can be abused to be the harsh winds that blow open the gates of hate and spite.

Words are just tools for people to communicate their thoughts, ideas, comments, etc. to other people. It seems so simple yet complicated because over the years words have developed more than being just words, they've become meaning. When someone says that they're fine, are they really feeling fine or just a way to shrug off a concern coming from a friend. When we talk about the weather and describe how the weather is becoming worse, is that what we really want to talk about or do those words about weather convey another message about your current mode and pessimism? When someone creates humor, they create it through the play of words back then; now humor is created when there's a play on irony in the words that make a typical scenario abnormal and seemingly "funny." As you see words are such a versatile tool used to convey all sorts of messages. Some of these messages are delivered directly through clear, concise words with no other meaning in them; some messages are delivered indirectly with a twist on the meaning of words like sarcasm or the tone in which the words were delivered.

As you can see words are used for so many purposes, and it's up to the sender of those words to decide what message they will deliver and often these messages conveyed by words could bring dire consequences. Have you ever met someone who's always being critical of things and pessimistic and you just generally don't want to hang around him/her? Do you know someone who always seems cheerful and gives compliments to everyone they meet? Have you met an extremist that always pressure others to follow their ideas and be assertive and aggressive in their words? The words are still just words, but the words that build into the message delivered could be the building blocks for you to either love the person or hate that person.

When we turn to people, who use words "formally," we often see them use complex words that have vague meaning in them. Why is this? This is to prevent any indication of aggression or emotion in those words and deliver the message as straightforward as possible without including any other hidden messages. Formal messages seek to deliver only the message the sender intended to deliver. So they would carefully select their choice of words, so no hate nor love is delivered, but they are seemingly changing as we see more and more people throw away the art of words and choose to deliver messages through poorly chosen words that include messages the sender intend or did not intend to send.

We seemed to have lost the art of words from the past. Our words are now going out through our mouth by going through our minds first and thus bring upon unexpected consequences. Especially in an era with such controversy and distrust, we need to be wearier of when to use words, how to use them, and where to use them. Sometimes we don't need to spout out the obvious or say the truth when we would clearly disrespect someone. Sometimes we don't have to use offensive words to get our points across and argue our ideas. Sometimes we don't have to bash everyone we disagree with hateful language and nonconstructive words. Sometimes we could create humor without bashing the dignity of a person. Sometimes we don't need to be hateful and malicious with our words. Sometimes we can make the world a better place filled with love when we just think before we talk and consider the consequences of our words before they come out. We were granted the great ability to talk and with great powers comes great responsibilities; your words make the difference between day and night for someone.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Still Iconic, And Here's Why

Although it's a children's cartoon from the 2000s, ATLA remains one of the greatest shows ever made.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, but I've watched the full series at least ten other times since then. I was a big fan of ATLA when it was first airing, but sometimes I marvel at how lasting it's impact is over a decade later. I've seen ATLA bumper stickers and tattoos depicting the four elements, not mention that I myself have a "Jasmine Dragon" sticker on my laptop resembling the Starbucks logo. ATLA was incredible. It's witty, fun, emotionally impactful, interesting in plot, and filled with relatable characters. "Korra" was a nice attempt to follow up on a passionate fanbase, but it ultimately didn't resonate with viewers to the same degree. That said, sometimes people wonder why I'm still so invested in a kid's cartoon from the 2000s. Here's why.

The show referenced a variety of cultures from around the world

If you've watched the show, you've probably realized that there aren't actually any "white" characters in the Avatar-verse. Not that European cultures aren't valid, but it is notable that the show was created as an appreciation of cultures that often go overlooked. The art and music were heavily influenced by East and South Asia, and the different nations clearly reference Asian and indigenous traditions. Earth Kingdom cities were based off of real cities in East Asia, and the culture depicted drew from various East Asian nations as well. The same applies to the fire nation, which was originally modeled off of Japan and China. The water tribes have their foundations in Inuit and Sireniki cultures, and the air nomads are based on Tibetans, Sri Lankan Buddhists, and Shaolin Monks. There are many other historical references throughout "Avatar," including a nod to ancient Mesopotamia in the Sun Warriors.

The characters were complex and relatable

"ATLA" didn't just give us a typical group of teenage heroes, with each one fitting into a typical mold. They were complex and realistic, and that's what made them relatable. We saw Aang balance his role as Avatar with his personal moral philosophy, all while experiencing the onset of puberty and young adulthood. We watched Katara struggle with responsibility as the main female role model in her family after her mother's death. We observed and related to Toph and Zuko's complex relationships with their families, including the influence that an abusive parent can have on a young life. We experienced the struggles of inferiority to "better" friends with Sokka, and even learned about toxic friendships with Mai and Ty Lee. These were all growing kids and teenagers, and nothing could have been more genuine.

"ATLA" gave us some incredible, strong female leads to look up to

Katara was truly the first feminist I ever encountered on television. Not only did she become a master waterbender in the span of weeks, she also taught the Avatar! And the whole time, she reminded us that strong fighters can be feminine too. Meanwhile, Toph showed us that just because a person has a disability, doesn't mean that they are defined by it. In fact, Toph's blindness only enhances her abilities, rather than holding her back. We also encounter powerful female characters like Azula (I know, she's evil, but that doesn't make her any less of a prodigy), Ty Lee, Mai, Suki (and all the Kyoshi warriors for that matter), Smellerbee, and even Princess Yue (who literally died for her people, mind you).

It made a deep, dramatic topic witty and fun

It occurred to me recently that "Avatar" is basically about imperialism and genocide. The Fire Nation decides to take over the world through military force, and it does so by exterminating an entire people and occupying and colonizing everyone else. For such a deep topic, you wouldn't think the show would be quite as fun as it is, but it is. I've restarted watching, and I find myself constantly laughing. With Sokka's sarcastic comments, Iroh's oddities, and everybody else's regular quips, "ATLA" is regularly lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.

There's some real wise advice throughout

Finally, what "ATLA" is really known for, is its heart. Uncle Iroh provides us with a regular understanding of the world around us, encouraging us to see the world in balance and look for our true selves. His wise words ring true throughout childhood and adulthood. The underlying themes and messages of the show, including balance, friendship, love, and loyalty, all serve the greater purpose of advising the audience.

In summary, "Avatar" was amazing. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do. If you have, maybe go rewatch!

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