How much influence does the cinema of our youth shape persona? When I was thirteen, the personas of myself and my friends were profoundly shaped by the discovery of Tae Kwon Do. Bolstered by hit "karate" films of the 1980's, in our minds we were ninja warriors and martial arts champions. Nearly thirty years later, the memories retained are an articulation of not only of my Tae Kwon Do experience, but the peripheral imagery generated by the 1980's karate media, including martial arts films. These articulated images, imagined as film stills, create for many of us what Meaghan Morris describes as an "inner life." Far from marginalizing this persona making experience, Morris embraces it and investigates the Hong Kong movie genre, not for its impeccable cinematography, but for its rich text and complex implications for cultural studies. In my essay, I use Morris' "Learning from Bruce Lee: Pedagogy and Political Correctness in Martial Arts Cinema" as a lens to look deeply into a cultural form which challenges the reductive tendencies of political correctness and instead celebrates its rough edges as a framework for understanding the creative process and its persona creating properties as narrative for us all.

About the Author(s)

Michael Soares is a doctoral student in English Studies at Illinois State University and has been a high school English teacher for nineteen years. His academic interests include popular culture, dystopian studies, Orwell studies, eco-conscious pedagogy and genre studies. If asked, his three children would tell you that besides Tae kwon Do, his obsessions from childhood include Superman, science fiction, and Peter Gabriel/Genesis.



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