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Author Topic: Su's Bystander Syndrome  (Read 1320 times)
Water1987
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« on: Feb 04, 2018 10:42 pm »

Even years after the show ended, I still can't wrap my head around Su's actions during Book 4. I understand that she didn't want to assume power over the Earth Kingdom, but she could've done SOMETHING. At the very least, she could've dealt with the roving bandit hordes and sent supplies to the impoverished settlements. I'm not trying to say that Su probably didn't do the latter, but she didn't have a valid excuse for not trying to thwart the bandits. Even the Airbenders did that and they took an oath of non-aggression! Why didn't Su at least try to help?
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Yougo
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 06, 2018 08:26 am »

Because there is no war in Zaofu...

There is no war in Zaofu...

There is no war in Zaofu...

it's not so much Su's syndrome, but more of an EK syndrome.
Wether it's the stone walls of Ba Sing Se or the steel ones of Zaofu. All is dope under her dome. until someone recycles it into Dubstep-Megatron of course.

also i think it's rather obvious these so called bandits were just as much Kuvira's doing as her army. Doesn't matter who takes your resources, they always end up with Kuvira. You can join Kuvira on her terms, or be pillaged until you join Kuvira on her terms. Stands to reason these bandits would only pop up and become a problem just a few months before Kuvira arrives. Standard bully tactics, and who are you going to tell? the EK government?

i don't think Zaofu had that much of a bandit problem to begin with. Coming from Zaofu, Kuvira knew the bully tactic wouln't work on the metal dome, and resorted to waiting until she had a big ass army and an inside guy.
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2018 08:31 am by Yougo » Logged

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Water1987
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 06, 2018 01:12 pm »

What on Earth is EK syndrome?
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2018 01:35 pm by Water1987 » Logged
Yougo
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 06, 2018 01:18 pm »

A tendency of collectively sticking one’s head in the sand and doing nothing in the belief that will aid in keeping trouble from reaching you.
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Water1987
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 06, 2018 02:34 pm »

Is it possible that Su was afraid to take charge of the Earth Kingdom? Maybe she thought she would become corrupted like the Earth Queen. Judging by what happened to Kuvira, this theory is plausible.
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Yougo
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 06, 2018 04:30 pm »

I can’t read that much into her backstory. From what I remember it’s mostly her mom being a strict hypocrite, and her sister being too darn perfect that she thought “stuff everybody, i’m off to the middle of nowhere to found a new town where I and everyone do things my way, and if anyone disagrees I’ll just close my giant metal dome and go lalalala”
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Loopy
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 06, 2018 07:23 pm »

Su, I think, valued her freedom more than other people. Look at her childhood. She 'matured' in that she no longer lashed out in criminal activity as a kind of teenage rebellion, and she seems to have replaced a taste for excitement with a taste for authority, but she's not moved by the needs of other people. She probably had no desire to reach beyond what she could practically and effectively control.
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AtoMaki
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 14, 2018 07:21 am »

I think this kind of "evading the danger zone" approach is universal to every character in the show and not specific to Su. And you know what? I think it is fluffy because it is just the profound effect of the previous Avatar (Aang) on the thinking of the people. This is what Aang had always done, so everyone assumes is the right thing to do and does not see why it can be wrong. Tenzin does this up until he is pushed to the very edge by the Red Lotus or caught up in Korra's shenanigans - note how when he has a problem with Kuvira he sends for Korra rather than deal with her himself. Tonraq does this too. Lin is there. Raiko is a textbook example. Toph surrendered to this, and she even admits it.

Really, the only people who go against this are the villains. The younger generations (the Air Kids, the Brothers, even Asami) who never had to live with Aang also tend to be more ready to face problems.
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luvavatar
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 14, 2018 08:58 pm »

The problem though with Su is that she had a fortified city in the midst of a chaotic continent, if not Kuvira it would be someone or something else threatening the safety of her city. History in their world has shown that eventually walls can and will be breached if their adversaries have a strong will.
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hmweasley
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 09, 2018 02:00 am »


Really, the only people who go against this are the villains. The younger generations (the Air Kids, the Brothers, even Asami) who never had to live with Aang also tend to be more ready to face problems.

I don't think that's just because they didn't live under Aang but is also because they're younger and more idealistic when it comes to solving huge problems. The adults are more likely to be skeptical that their intervention will actually make much of a difference than the young adults/kids are.

(Of course, there's also the fact that the kids are the main characters, so they have to be the ones to save the day, but that's not as interesting of a discussion.)

As for Su, I think it could be interpreted as putting Zaofu's needs above the rest of the Earth Kingdom's. Things are fine in Zaofu, and since it's ultimately that city that's her responsibility, not the rest of the EK, she doesn't want to open up the possibility of bringing trouble to it. Whether or not that's the correct decision is debatable.

I could also see it as her just not thinking she'd make a huge difference in the situation, and to be honest, I'm not sure she would have. At least not any more effectively than, say, Korra or many of the other characters. Su has experience running a city, sure, but there's not really evidence in the show that she'd be effective at handling the larger problems facing the Earth Kingdom at that point in the story. Running one city populated by people who have chosen to come live there because they like your philosophy is a lot different than trying to band an entire kingdom back together after an uprising.

And dealing with individual groups of bandits one at a time wouldn't have made the overall situation better in the long run either, whether or not those bandits were Kuvira's doing.
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