Monday, February 5, 2024

It's Iimi! Making Nothing Out of Something?!

With a large Asian-American population, Tết (or Chinese New Year… it depends on the nationality of who you ask) is a big thing in the Riverside District. So, the girls came down to check out the decorations around Canal Street. But when two classmates claim Catholic views are an arrogant attachment to illusion, the girls must answer a question. Are these attacks… Making Nothing Out of Something?!

Pre-Comic Notes:
On the cover, Iimi is dressed in the saffron orange robes of Buddhist monks of Southeast Asia. This was simply a stylistic choice, reflecting that the population of the Riverside district in Babylon is 50% Vietnamese. 

Post-Comic Notes:

Tết (Tết Nguyên Đán [lit. 'Festival of the first day']) is the Lunar New Year celebrated in Vietnam. The Chinese call it the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, though it lasts longer. Since Riverside has both a Vietnamese (50%) and Chinese (30%) presence, it's a big thing here. But, since the Vietnamese have a bigger presence, it's commonly known as Tết by the rest of the town.

Krysta's reference to Samuel Johnson ran as follows:

 After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, "I refute it thus."

In other words, "If matter doesn't exist, what did I just kick?" History has not been kind to Samuel Johnson on this. His action is considered a fallacy. And while Berkeley's claim is stupid, Johnson didn't refute it because Berkeley's claim would hold that the sensation of kicking the rock is also in the mind.

It's probably a good time to remind readers that none of my characters from outside the Catholic Church are supposed to be an "Everyman" for their religion. They're all individuals with different outlooks. Luk and Tieu are not supposed to represent all Buddhists. But I have encountered Buddhists like them. Luk represents those I've met who are very fond of telling Christians how arrogant and intolerant they are for believing they have the truth. Tieu represents those I've met who, while disagreeing with Christianity, are at least polite in expressing it.

I don't pretend to know what percentage of real Buddhists think like either of them. But, in a Catholic comic, the Catholic position will be defended against these attitudes. 

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