Thursday, March 24, 2005

We're off to see the (lesbian) wizard!

Lala and I are off to wintry lesbiland tonight, the snow-covered hills home to the same maple-sugar farming female same-sex households that got Margaret Spellings' chastity belt all lathered up earlier this year. Did you know: a young Margaret inspired the fictional character Maggie Ramsey, the slack-jawed milkmaid whose digging for eggs in the henhouse with her ample rump prominently displayed catalyzed a steamy BDSM scene between her and Lynne Cheney's rawhide tanner character in Sisters?

Wow, sometimes I shouldn't write down what I'm thinking. Sometimes I shouldn't be thinking what I'm thinking.

Point being, we are off to a quiet trailer in the quiet southern face of a quiet hill in a quiet little state. I'll be absent for a bit.

No one but the wind cares. Whooooooooooooooooo!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Daily Howler: In Scarborough Country, viewers got worked by a brilliant ''Nobel nominee''

Daily Howler: In Scarborough Country, viewers got worked by a brilliant ''Nobel nominee''

Interesting side-by-side comparison of wildly different coverage of this awful story.

I don't like whitey?

The last email they sent, on Friday, with the subject heading "Mandy dont like whitey":
Blackjewlove@aol.com to mhu

Mandy , the difference between your rant on white men and ours on chinese
delivery men is that your rant is not funny. It is mean spirited and unfunny.
This is just our opinion however. Others might find it hilarious and we will
defend your right to express it until our dying days. We love Eminem, Margeret
Cho, Howard Stern.50 cent, Richard Pryor and others facists detest.You started
the name calling in your initial e mail and continue to call us racist and
offensive. You however dont like to be told to chill This dialouge seems to be
going in a circle of name calling . Chill is meaner in your world then
racist.Ouch.You say you want to be respectful and kind. Apologize for your name calling
and we can go further. If not chill


I didn't write back. If New York has taught me only one thing, it's that it is no use arguing with crazy people. Let's just let Epstein and Hassan continue to sabotage their tired old act with ancient stereotypes, and they'll take care of themselves.

Meanwhile, Sarinya, who has been doing some fantastic writing on her blog about being the only Asian American woman FDNY firefighter-in-training, writes in to say:
I'm learning to stretch 1 3/4" hoselines at 50 psi. That translates to 180 gallons of urine per min. Say the word and it's on.

This is similar to my beef with the Mix Fest. and how they had their after-party at Otto's Shrunken Head and Tikki Lounge. To my horror, pratically everyone I knew in the "radical queer" scene was inside this bar, swilling tropical drinks out of the heads of polynesian gods. I spent the rest of the night arguing and having people tell me to "lighten up" and that I misinterpreted "suburban kitch" with "racism."

If the bar was a sambo-watermelon eating-type theme (also popular in the suburbs back in the day) would the same queer hipsters be in there boozin' and cruisin' it up? It's the sad state
of people not thinking and being insensitive towards asians. I've been arrested with people after a civil disobedience and overheard them making fun of the people in Chinatown as we
were being transported to the tombs.

I myself was invited to perform at Mix this year and was going to secretely perform as a comedic act that invloved calling them out with me in a coconut bra and hula skirt. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out with my crazy schedule. Maybe next year!

Have you tried bringing this to the attention of the $pread organizers? Just a thought.

Oh, I forgot to mention this...Epstein and Hassan: FUCK 'EM!


Thanks for all the people who wrote in to support and who wrote Epstein and Hassan with complaints.

In the meantime, I found an effective way to manage all the anger that I generated around this whole exchange: riverdancing! Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than a few slack-armed, stiff-legged high kicks. No bad feeling can survive a good jigging. Try it yourself!

Friday, March 18, 2005

BLOW ME

Epstein and Hassan keep it coming.

It is interesting that you refuse in two emails to confront the Margaret Cho
and Chris Rock questions that we have raised. In our extended 90 minute show
we mock many ethnic groups. We beleive people are laughing at the absurdity of
the line slip menus under the door not the hard working chinese delivery man
that is sliding it under the door. You also refuse to acknoledge the mean
spirited behavior of calling people racist and offensive. You sound anti white in
your rants perhaps seeing all white men as the oppressor. We obviously are not
dismissing you by telling you to chill and lighten up. We would not continue
this correspondance if we were. Calling people racists is mean.Examine your
own language and how you have chosen to communicate.We love white people.
chinese people and all living beings. Do you love the white man?Hurting your
feelings on Wednesday was not our intention.You dismiss the opinions of numerous
chinese people in referance to the joke you find offensice. Is one persons view
more important then many?fascist tend to think so. Are you a fascist?Did any
other part of the show on wednesday offend you?Dogay comics mocking married
couples as breeders offend You?


And, egged on, hot-headed, pissed off, stuffed with hubris, the Angry Chinee writes back:


> It is interesting that you refuse in two emails to confront the Margaret Cho
> and Chris Rock questions that we have raised.

I have not. Let me reference the parts of my previous emails that have
addressed these questions:

I wrote last night: "Margaret Cho can mock gay people and mock Asian
people because she has herself identified very strongly with both
groups of people (to my knowledge, Margaret Cho has not mocked white
people). Margaret Cho contributes her money and her performances and
her publicity to both of these communities, giving her some legitimacy
to rib those she knows best...Likewise, you two can stick to your
black/Jewish interracial couple jokes, and get hearty and legitimate
laughs out of that. But once you start working in territory foreign to
you--and it is obvious that this territory is foreign to you, because
the only Chinese people you address you assume to be service workers
and PRC citizens--you start losing traction.

You see, your reasoning is nonsensical because you two claim
legitimacy by playing off your identities (i.e., you are black/Jewish
interracial couple, so you make jokes about that) while at the same
time you don't see how identities that are not your own are off
limits. You two understand, on the one hand, that the reception of
your black/Jewish jokes depends on the audience and the speakers. A
hypothetical will underscore my point: if you performed your act in
front of a KKK crowd, who would love hearing all about how black women
are sexualized vixens and Jewish men are orally rapacious Jude
Suesses, you are promulgating hurtful racist stereotypes. You are
putting on a minstrel show. It's only because you have considered your
audience and your own positions thoughtfully that you can pull off
your black/Jewish jokes. But, on the other hand, you're not applying
this same thoughtfulness to your Chinese jokes. If you thought as
carefully about the audience and the speakers in the Chinese joke
gags, then I would hope that you would reconsider what you were
saying."

After that, I wrote: "I don't doubt that you "target everyone with
love in [your] hearts," like you said. And I said before, and I'll say
again, that I don't doubt you're trying to do the right thing. I don't
think there's anything wrong with making fun of racial stereotypes.
But the point I was trying to make in the last email was that the
spirit of the joke really matters when you make a racial joke. It's
funny when you guys make fun of each other, because you obviously love
and respect each other. Your audience knows that. It's just not
obvious that you have any respect for Chinese people when you are
making the menu joke."

Again, what matters in racial humor is the tone and the spirit of the
joke, the speaker's position and the audience's reception. I'm not
censoring anyone, but I am suggesting there is inappropriate speech
that sensitive, thoughtful people should try their best to be mindful
of. For example, what was Quentin Tarantino thinking when he called a
bunch of guys "niggas" in "Pulp Fiction"? Was that racist? Maybe not
in spirit, but it was a pretty stupid idea. Different words have
different meanings when spoken by different people: when Margaret Cho
says "fag," it has a different connotation than when Eminem says
"fag." You of all people, who rely on this distinction to make your
humor work, should see my point. My point is that you guys are closer
to Eminem here than Margaret Cho.

Does that address your concern? If you want to start talking about
legitimacy, you need to take a long hard look at your act and see if
you really have a right to be saying what you are saying.

I think your jokes fall into the category of boneheaded goodwill that
attempts to redress racial and sexual problems by "praising" minority
groups for putatively positive characteristics. Hey, do you remember
when Reggie White went before the Wisconsin legislature about five
years ago to talk about race relations? Everyone was really excited
that he was reaching out, but then he said things like, "[Black
people] like to dance, and if you go to a black church, you see people
jumping up and down because they really get into it...Hispanics are
gifted in family structure. You see a Hispanic person, and they can
put 20 or 30 people in one home...When you look at the Asian, the
Asian is very gifted in creativity and invention. If you go to Japan
or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch." Like
Reggie White, you two think you have lots of good feelings to put out
there, but your approach is turned 180 to what it should be.

> We beleive people are laughing at the absurdity of
> the line slip menus under the door not the hard working chinese delivery man
> that is sliding it under the door.

This is the closest you've come to answering the question that I have
posed three times to you already: how does a white man and a black
woman making fun of Chinese people help repair race relations in
America? You suggest that what's funny is the absurdity of the menu
image.

A pat, but unbelievable, excuse. Is this really what people are
laughing at? You really think so? I would find this explanation more
believable if this part of the joke wasn't buffered by lines like
"Chinese people have sex so fast and still slip a menu under a door."
I think I remember something about diagramming sentences from the
fourth grade, and it seems to me that the subject in this sentence is
Chinese people, not those funny little menus.

> You also refuse to acknoledge the mean spirited behavior of calling people racist and offensive...Calling people racists is mean...

Portraying an ethnic group as capable only of fucking fast and
delivering food is also mean. I think you're winning in the meanness
race.

> You sound anti white in your rants perhaps seeing all white men as the oppressor.

Let me apply your reasoning to this. I'll slander all white men with a
declaration--white men are pallid, baby-eating thieves with hairy
assholes--and then excuse myself from responsibility for that
statement by saying many white men like my act and get the joke. Maybe
you should lighten up, right?

> You dismiss the opinions of numerous chinese people in referance to the joke you find offensice.

Wow, your reasoning is so fiercely resistant to logic. Once again,
just because some Chinese people have ostensibly OK'd your joke
doesn't give you free reign to make it. Just because you volunteered
your services for a worthy cause doesn't mean you get to say any old
offensive shit you want to say.

> Is one persons view
> more important then many?fascist tend to think so. Are you a fascist?Did any
> other part of the show on wednesday offend you?Dogay comics mocking married
> couples as breeders offend You?

Yikes. Here you justify racism with majoritarianism, and then you do
some rhetorical maneuvering to make it seem like I'm the one being
unreasonable. Racism is anti-American. You seem like you hate America.
Why do you hate America? Why do you hate your country? Why is it that
you continue to eat babies? Why did you shelter Saddam Hussein in
March 2003?

What offends me most is the devolution of your email into unrelated
accusations and promiscuity with language, ideas, and capitalization.
I have never heard of, let alone been offended by, dogay comics.

This exchange is only depressing me. What is it going to take for you
to change your mind? I don't think you're prepared to hear anything
that I'm saying, so I suppose you will continue to make jokes you find
funny but that audience does not. My heartfelt concern goes out to the
people upon which you will continue to inflict your poor taste.

Thanks for writing back so many times. I will continue to hope that
one day a glimmer of thoughtfulness will illuminate your sadly
misguided gimmick.

With hope,
Mandy

I'm ending the emailing right there, unless E&H write back rudely, in which case, the floodgates open. I'm still not doing so hot with my people-can-be-persuaded game. Plus I'm sick to death of thinking about these stale old hacks with their stale old racial jokes. Since their material is so intolerably dull, it's likely that their comedic lifespans will be short. Soon they will have no one to offend but themselves.

Until then, malice is the only solution. I'm going to all of their shows and heckling the shit out of them. Bring your urine-filled Supersoakers and join me, why doncha?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Epstein and Hassan, again

Well, on goes the saga of the offensive and unfunny comic act. My bitch bags are still tightly packed, since I decided the best outcome of this would be genuine persuasion rather than name-calling, as much as I'd like to call those guys the names I've thinking about calling them. The uber-academic deconstruction of their schtick didn't work so hot, so I'm trying a different approach. Here's their latest response, in an email with the subject heading, "Joke Police":

Blackjewlove@aol.com to mhu
Margeret Cho mocks white people and how they speak and act constantly during
her act. She also mocks straight people and by your logic should stick to
only mocking korean-american lesbians. Chris Rock and many black comics build
their whole act around mocking whitey. Are you equally offended by their
political incorrectness?The whole point of our act is to show that we can all laugh
at each other and ourselves. You will admit there are a lot of chinese people
in this world.Many of whom have expressed their love for our act and their
inclusion in it. They must all be self hating by your standards. We target
everyone with love in our hearts and are sad that you dont get us.We think calling
people racist and offensive is mean spirited. Chill and lighten up are very
kind words when someone insults you. You write very well and mask your nastiness
around ivy league verbiage but you still need to chill.You dont dig us. Dont
come to our shows and leave the room if we are performing at a benifit that
you are attending, but the menu under the door line is in and will stay in until
we as artists take it out.You are as bad as the right wing censors that i am
sure you detest.The Black & The Jew

Sigh. This email is presumptuous and rude, not to mention ungrammatical and just unpleasing to read, and again it reiterates the infuriating illogic of the previous two emails. But again, I have decided to test out my persuasion skills rather than my snaps, so I responded almost ingratiatingly:

Maybe I should spell out to you what you are doing:

White man and black woman get on stage. White man says, "Chinese people sure can fuck fast and make a trillion babies, and then still stick a menu under the door." Predominantly white audience, identified as such by the white man ("I can make that joke because there are never any Chinese people in the audience"), laughs uproariously.

You say that the whole point of your show is that "we can all laugh at each other and ourselves." But Epstein and Hassan, no one is laughing back. You got your white audience feeling great about themselves because they can laugh at those funny foreign menu-pushers.

All I asked you to do, in the last email, was to clarify how this was meaningful and not offensive. You say "we laugh at each other and ourselves." But guys, you're pulling neat little verbal trick yourselves. You really aren't explaining anything. Give it another shot. I see you only laughing at other people. How does a white man and a black woman making fun of Chinese people help repair race relations in America?

I'm trying to be nice. I'm trying to communicate respectfully, but you really aren't hearing me at all. I wish you would. I bet we feel the same way: I think I'm trying to be nice, but I feel like you're being proud and mean and not understanding.

So maybe I should try harder to communicate. The reason I find "chill" and "lighten up" to be just as upsetting as the menu joke is because I think you're dismissing what I find to be legitimate concerns. I find it even more upsetting that you continue to hide behind the whole "We did a benefit" excuse--hey, if I told anti-Semetic jokes at a leukemia fundraiser, do I get away with that?--and are just telling me to stay away from you. I'm trying to open a dialogue, but I'm not getting through. And it feels to me like you'd rather have me disappear than confront what I'm trying to tell you. But if I disappear, and you go on telling your joke, you're just going to hurt a lot of people like you hurt me, and I don't want that.

I don't doubt that you "target everyone with love in [your] hearts," like you said. And I said before, and I'll say again, that I don't doubt you're trying to do the right thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with making fun of racial stereotypes. But the point I was trying to make in the last email was that the spirit of the joke really matters when you make a racial joke. It's funny when you guys make fun of each other, because you obviously love and respect each other. Your audience knows that.

It's just not obvious that you have any respect for Chinese people when you are making the menu joke. When you guys were going through the menu routine, I kept saying to myself, "Why are these guys saying this? What are people going to get out of this?" I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, since you seemed like sincere people. But I kept thinking about it, and I think you perceive your joke differently than it actually comes across. You're trying to keep everyone laughing at each other, but really it just felt like you were attacking one group of people.

I'm not calling for your censorship. I'm just asking for your respect. I only continue to write because I hope I can change your mind; or, at least, you'll listen to me and think about all the Asian folks you're making feel like shit because you make the jokes you do.

Again, all of this would be clarified if you could give me an honest answer to this question: how does a white man and a black woman making fun of Chinese people help repair race relations in America?

Please open your heart, listen to my concerns, and tell me what you think.

Respectfully,
Mandy

This is all leaving an ugly feeling all over. It's so depressing that two people who think they're doing well, and who are probably generally in the "alleviating human suffering" column rather than the "causing human suffering" column, could be so intractable about their own racism. It's making me angry to be so rudely dismissed, again and again, but once again, you win more minds with pulling than with pushing. I'm keeping the lid on the insult pot and cinching the bitch bag tight for at least one more round.

I think if Epstein and Hassan keep not listening to me, I'm going to ask the people I know who attended the $pread launch party, if they also found the "menu joke" sequence to be unconscionable, to write to the couple and complain. Maybe they'll start to see my point if more than just one angry Chinee writes them. Please write me if you want to respond to them, and I'll pass on their email address.

The war inside me:
  • Angry Chinee says: Fuck the healing! Fuck the healing! Off with their heads!
  • Persuasive Outreacher says: Swing voters! They can learn!
  • Angry Chinee: Fucking hate being the educator! Fucking hate being the P.C. joykiller who has to point out the unfunniness of racism! Fucking hate people! Suck my dick!
  • Persuasive Outreacher: Turn the other cheek. Love the other cheek. Massage the other cheek so that its bankrupt opinions start responding to logic and reasoning.
  • Angry Chinee: I fucking hate you all. Fuck you for making me feel like a fucking idiot for standing up for myself. Fuck you, and you and you, and especially, fuck you. Fuck the healing.
That's better. Now let the healing begin, bitches.

The angry Chinee holds back the venom...

...for now. Here's my second email to Epstein and Hassan.

Epstein and Hassan,

I'm sad to see that your response entirely missed my point. I'm not trying to be mean-spirited, nor to discount your volunteer contribution to the evening. I too was at the launch party to support a fantastic effort by a committed group of people, but I don't think that gives me the right to blithely target an ethnic group.

Once again, let me tell you why I'm writing. I am writing because I hope you have something interesting to say. I hope that by addressing your own interracial relationship so publicly, you can give voice to something that is ordinarily silenced. I don't think you would disagree with this interpretation of your performance; why else would you choose so glib a name as "the black and the Jew"? And I find this a fantastic idea that, if thoughtfully executed, could really be funny and constructive.

I am writing because I hope you are kind people, who have thoughtfully analyzed your own positions in a racial dialogue. I am writing because I hope you can see how your stereotypical comments about Chinese people were neither thoughtful nor constructive. I am writing because I hope you will open your eyes to this mistake, and because I hope you will continue your act but take out the offending bits.

I tried to express this to you in a respectful way in the last email, and I am trying again with this one. I am not merely "sensitive to my own group," which I suppose is kind of an awful misappropriation of my point here. If you had made essentializing comments about any other group of people, I would have written you just the same and asked you to account for them. You dismiss me as a mean-spirited person who needs to "chill" and "lighten up," and you smugly claim that "many Chinese people love our act and get the joke." Ouch. The Log Cabin Republicans also like to vote for people who want to obliterate their existence, but that really doesn't justify homophobia, does it? Michelle Malkin is Filipina-American, but that doesn't mean we have to give her any credence when she says Japanese internment was a great idea. Just because some folks have "gotten it" doesn't excuse you from responsibility for your racist comments.

I can see from your response that you have some contradictory logic at work here, so let me try to parse it for my own sake. I'll use your example: Margaret Cho. Margaret Cho can mock gay people and mock Asian people because she has herself identified very strongly with both groups of people (to my knowledge, Margaret Cho has not mocked white people). Margaret Cho contributes her money and her performances and her publicity to both of these communities, giving her some legitimacy to rib those she knows best. But if Margaret Cho made dumb jokes about black people--maybe even "positive stereotype" jokes like the Asian-people-are-industrious-and-prolific jokes you made last night--suppose Margaret Cho said, "Those black folk sure can dance! They got big dicks and can dance!"--she too would have been way out of line. Likewise, you two can stick to your black/Jewish interracial couple jokes, and get hearty and legitimate laughs out of that. But once you start working in territory foreign to you--and it is obvious that this territory is foreign to you, because the only Chinese people you address you assume to be service workers and PRC citizens--you start losing traction.

You see, your reasoning is nonsensical because you two claim legitimacy by playing off your identities (i.e., you are black/Jewish interracial couple, so you make jokes about that) while at the same time you don't see how identities that are not your own are off limits. You two understand, on the one hand, that the reception of your black/Jewish jokes depends on the audience and the speakers. A hypothetical will underscore my point: if you performed your act in front of a KKK crowd, who would love hearing all about how black women are sexualized vixens and Jewish men are orally rapacious Jude Suesses, you are promulgating hurtful racist stereotypes. You are putting on a minstrel show. It's only because you have considered your audience and your own positions thoughtfully that you can pull off your black/Jewish jokes. But, on the other hand, you're not applying this same thoughtfulness to your Chinese jokes. If you thought as carefully about the audience and the speakers in the Chinese joke gags, then I would hope that you would reconsider what you were saying.

I'm taking a long time to get to what I'm trying to say. Maybe this stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of your joke. You say that many Chinese people "get the joke." Well, unlike all those other smart Chinese people, I'm pretty slow on the uptake. Would you mind explaining your joke to me? Where do you intend the humor to come from? How is the joke anti-racist? I really would appreciate your response, because I don't want to continue to accuse you of doing something hurtful just because I'm not getting the joke.

Respectfully,
Mandy


Okay, that was my best effort at being polite, though I still couldn't squeeze all the sarcasm out of my email. I'm giving them one more chance to write back and act all contrite. All I want them to do is be thoughtful, be sensitive, and cut that shit out of their schtick. This is public education folks, not an attack.

I'll give them another chance. Hey, maybe they'll see the err in their ways, and public education will have been committed!

But I'm not too heartened by the defensive and cowardly response they gave the first time around. Man, people are proud. It's so hard to think critically about yourself and change your mind. I'm like that too, but I don't think I'm being the proud one in this case. If Epstein and Hassan can give me a legitimate reason for their racist comments--a legitimate reason might be, e.g., that their words actually formed an acrostic that signaled to the spaceship from which they descended that they were ready to move intergalactic missiles to key targets--then I'll back down from my proud posturing.

If they can't, or if they are as rude and dismissive as they were the first time, I'm unpacking my bitch bags. Oh boy, that's going to feel so fine. Bring. It. On.

It's on, bitches.

Wow. Andrew Dice Clay responds.

Blackjewlove@aol.com to mhu

Many chinese people love our act and get the joke.When Margaret Cho makes fun
of white people and Chris Rock makes fun of white people is that also
wrong?When gay comics make fun of straight people is that wrong?We will continue to
try to make people laugh and think.Your e mail was mean spirited and not
appreciated.We performed for free to support the sex workers and dont need to be
lectured by someone who is only sensitive to there own group.Lighten up.The Black
& The Jew


"Many chinese people love our act."

Wow.

Who wants a smackdown? This isn't over.

The Black and the Yellow and the Jew

Last night, I went to the launch party of $pread, a magazine by and for people working in the sex industry. It has a lot of thoughtful writing about the politics of the industry and it gives voice to many of the most silenced and marginalized people in the business. An admirable idea, decently executed. I know some of the people who started it, and they're great folks with their heads properly screwed on.

But I found myself swilling two beers and a Long Island iced tea--which, because I am frugal, alcohol intolerant, and unfond of ice cubes, I have almost never done before--during the second act of the performance, to help me last until the AMAZING BAND I came see took the stage. You see, I had arrived at a characteristically uncool early hour and had exhausted conversation with friends and aliens alike. The volunteer performers, bless them, were either inaudible spoken word poets or penis-waving transwomen who disappeared behind the sea of standing voyeurs blocking the stage or lit-from-below go-go dancers with bored expressions on their beautiful faces. In short, they were all kind of hard to pay attention to, and I found myself more than once admiring the pounded tin ceiling or looking around for people to start a fistfight with. (No takers on the latter.)

What really drove me to that Long Island iced tea, however, was the second act in the second set, an interracial comedy couple that performs under the name Epstein and Hassan: the black and the Jew. Neat, novel, and potentially interesting. But then they had to go and get my pantaloons all in bunch with some cheap jokes about Chinese people. Chinese people have lots of babies! They have sex fast and then deliver your food! They slip menus under your door! Haw haw!

Making dumb jokes about Chinese people: why the hell did they have to go and do that? I felt like what I imagine all the girlfriends roped by their knuckle-dragging boyfriends to see Andrew "Dice" Clay in the early '90s must have felt like: urinal cakes. I could sense that some segments of the audience, bless them, felt slightly discomfited by the tasteless humor, but equally large segments of the audience laughed uproariously at the jokes about the funny Chinee.

Epstein and Hassan then went forth and feigned fellatio twice, the second time with Epstein locking Hassan in a headlock meant to illustrate the funniness of oral rape. Haw haw!

I don't like it when people call out every offensive slight as an act of racism. It feels like crying wolf--well, that's not the best metaphor. It feels like someone's trying to use a sledgehammer to mend broken fence. Right? No? Like when one of my houseguests thought it was racist that my Polish-Irish lesbipet calls me her "heathen Chinee" and I call her my "kielbasa." How is that racist? Them overly sensitive anti-racists with their humorless sledgehammering.

So I asked myself, am I being humorless, unforgiving, and overly sensitive with Epstein and Hassan's act?

Fuck no! Those folks offended me! I won't drown myself now in the legitimacy-of-the-speaker ideas in which I've previously drowned, but suffice to say that Epstein and Hassan had no business making the jokes they did.

My first thought: I'm a get drunk and tackle both of them onstage.
My second thought: I'm a dress up in my panda suit and give them both a WWE smackdown after the show.
My final thought: I'm a write a respectful email using the social skills I learned during my 7th grade adolescent skills class: pulling, not pushing. "When you blank, I feel blank," not accusation. Assertive, not aggressive. Roses then thorns; first flattery, then criticism. Professionalism. Business letters. Dear Sir and Madam.

Here is the letter I wrote them. I'll post a response once I get one.


Dear Epstein and Hassan,

I saw your performance last night at the Slipper Room, and I wanted to
write you for a few reasons. First, I just wanted to thank you for
performing. You two put yourselves out there and that's always a
daring and admirable act.

Second, I regret to say, I found parts of your show racist and
offensive. Specifically, I'm referring to the unfortunate series of
jokes you made about Chinese people ("How do they have time to have
trillions of babies and still stuff the menus under your door?"). I
don't doubt that you did not intend to hurt anyone with your words,
but I just wanted to bring to your attention how your words were
hurtful: you made the explicit presumption that no one in the room was
Chinese, throwing a veil of invisibility over the Chinese and East
Asian people in your audience; and you seemed to know Chinese people
only insofar as they stuck menus under your door and brought you food,
a jab both classist and racist.

I understand that your act derives from the distinctiveness of your
interracial relationship, and so naturally you turn to racial and
ethnic humor. This kind of humor is tricky because it depends on the
authenticity of the voice speaking it; you can make fun of blacks,
Jews, and black-Jewish couples because you obviously live the
experience. But your license to satirize some racial stereotypes
doesn't give you license to mock indiscriminately. Perhaps you thought
your Chinese jokes were part of a larger effort to subvert often
stifling mores of political correctness, but the overall effect of
this part of your performance was to create a space where it was okay
for two non-Chinese people, and their overwhelmingly non-Chinese
audience, to have a hearty laugh at those wacky procreating,
food-delivering Chinese coolies.

I'm writing not to chastise you, but to suggest that you change this
portion of your routine. It would really be a shame if the interesting
and novel things you have to say are overshadowed by a few cheap shots
at people you ought not to be mocking. Thanks for taking the time to
read this.

Respectfully,
Mandy


Fuck the healing!

Next: I will describe how the social skills I learned during my 7th grade adolescent skills class came into play again recently, when a deranged old fart who liked to wear wedding gowns and rollerskates in West Village in the the 1970s who was the subject of my last grad school history paper decided that my paper misrepresented his character. Money quote: "What, Ms. Hu, is your definition of a nerd?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Salon.com News | "I've had a really long day"

Salon.com News | "I've had a really long day"

Oh my God, what a story.

Nichols went on to speak about his despair. "He needed hope for his life. He told me he was already dead. He said: 'Look at me. Look at my eyes. I am already dead.' I said you are not dead. You are standing right here in front of me."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Blink O Rama



I find this much funnier than it actually is.

Celebrities blinking

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Kid Twinkie in Fire Academy

Twinkie in Fire Academy

My pal Sarinya, one of the toughest badasses who might one day save your life. She's going to be the FDNY's first Asian-American female firefighter; can you believe that's still the state of the world? And once she finishes in May, she'll be only one of 31 female firefighters among the city's thousands. She, like her blog, is brilliant, tough, and fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Handjob for the L Word - ww4mw

To be perfectly honest, Fred Phelps is absolutely correct that all of us sodomites are depraved lunatics out for selfish sexual pleasure. Case in point is an ad that your plucky correspondent posted at 9:43pm on Sunday night.

Handjob for the L Word - ww4mw

The Context: I am both cynical and easily shamed.

The Context Apply'd to Television: I think television is the pleasure of feeble and lazy imaginations, yet I feverishly turn on the television every night at 12:34am to see what Fear Factor has its contestants ingesting that night. So I indulge and then curse myself to sleep.

The Context Apply'd to Lesbian Television: I slaver and hunger for hot lesbian sex on television. (In C++: Hot != tongues touching; false fingernails clacking; slingbacks; bepenised third party. Hot == appraising cross-stitching patterns at a farmers' market; walking the border lab to the dog park; watching indie films with adoptive Chinese baby.) Given the dearth of hot lesbian sex on television, the truer statement is: I slaver and hunger for Showtime's "The L Word." So what if all the members of the ensemble cast, the production team, and the film crew and their equipment collectively weigh less than what was once considered the world's largest burrito, made in the town neighboring Palo Alto? So what if they are all high femme and dripping with cash? There's still lots of hot lesbian creative screenwriting. Regardless, I feel a insect bite of shame somewhere.

The Context Apply'd to Not Having Access to Lesbian Television: the usual Showtime portal is having a fight with her girlfriend, so it is unclear whether or not the portal will be open on Sunday night. Alas, it is not. This I learn after a crippling day of shameful yet eager anticipation. Frantic calls to similarly bereft friends yield no love. Curse my anti-cable/anti-television inhibitions! How it bites me right in the ass! It looks like a Sunday night will elapse and I will find no fix for my furtive Leisha Hailey K√ľndstant Kroving. The horror!

The Context Apply'd to Not Having Access to Lesbian Television But Knowing That Someone Out There Both Has Access to Lesbian Television and Is a Sexually Stunted Adult Who Trolls Internet Personals for Human Contact: Bill Voila! Craigslist, the Rivendell of the sexually stunted adults who troll Internet personals for human contact, meet the three lesbian Hobbits of a drafty apartment on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. And gentle readers, read the result of that meeting:

Reply to: anon-61595851@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-02-27, 9:43PM EST


Alright, now we're desperate. We are three gay girls, interested in watching "The L Word" on Showtime. We tried posting to Community. We tried posting to women seeking women. Now, we're throwing caution to the wind: we want to watch the show, but we don't have Showtime. But you do.

Here's the deal: let us watch your TV from 10-11pm (you must have SHOWTIME!!) and one of the three of us will give you a handjob. We might even throw in a lezzie kiss if you supply snacks. We're partial to strawberry ice cream and pretzels.

The clock ticks. Let the emailing begin. Bonus points to you if you live in the UWS/Morningside area.


this is in or around UWS
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


It must be said that we three prudish and monogamously committed lesbians had no inkling of how to perform, let alone intention to actually do, said handjob. I offered J for the hjob but she graciously declined, fiercely striking me across the skull with an open palm to express her disdain for my idea. Similarly I offered L, but she was idly watching Chris Rock's four-hour minstrel show on the Oscars, and chose to politely ignore me. Which left me, more than happy to theoretically perform an act of what I assume mimics a game of tug-o-war



on a disembodied male appendage, on the condition that I could wear my fleece mittens, but a little squeamish about the actual act and the psychopath to whom the male appendage might be sinuously attached.

Exactly twenty people replied, sending pictures and earnest replies, ranging from "I am decent, laid back, articluate, very well educated & traveled guy who's clean cut & professional" to the anatomically curious [sic sic sic]

"imissed this chance,but would do anytihng to let you use em as your boytoy.im very hung, thick, clean and will do anything you want.will let yuou ride em and see you squirt from my thick cocok. or use me as your whore toy to order and watch. tomrorow night, anything you want!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


to the trailblazingly weirdly voiced "well we are a hot rock coupel who has digital cable with 8 billion channels.......interested?" to the final, plaintive missive [sic again]

Oh wel shuld I still try,,,

thanks,,


Was it wrong to advertising something that I had no intention of selling? Probably. Sorry to the nineteen respondents (and one friend who correctly identified the authors) who had their hopes raised momentarily.

Anyway, "The L Word" never materialized. We finally managed, today, to finagle a copy from a friend. I watched three episodes in succession, pausing whenever Leisha Hailey appeared onscreen and pressing my lips to the cathode ray tube in the appropriate places.

Sinfulicious!

(Leisha Hailey! Write me! Lolo is not jealous as we shall have joint custody of you.)

Apparently Fred Phelps' God is not too fond of Fred Phelps, either

By a narrow margin, the voters of Topeka decided tonight not to pass a ballot question that would have repealed the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. Already winnowed down from a more general, city-wide law against discrimination based on sexual orientation in hiring to a narrower measure against discrimination in municipal hiring, this ordinance - passed only five months ago - was at considerable risk for passing. Why? Because Fred Phelps wields lots of power in Topeka. Apparently, he's got a deck of cards' worth of posterity in the city - 13 children and 52 grandchildren - and when they, for example, picket restaurants for employing opening gay waiters, businesses feel the pressure and fire their employees in response. Oh, that this were hypothetical. Conventions and businesses flee and Topekans suffer the economic and social shame of being the hate capital of the U.S., and much of Phelps' homophobic antipathy only makes sane Topekans sympathetic to gays. Yet still they sign Phelps' petitions and, perhaps unconsciously, absorb his rhetoric and reflect his beliefs.

Kansans seem like fine people. I've asked Lolo, who has biked cross-country both north-south and east-west, where the people were nicest - she says they were most generous and friendly in Kansas; loathsome generalizations aside, I'm inclined to believe her. I believe that lots of the folks I heard wanted to respect what I had to say and wanted to think carefully about their votes. Yet I still spent a lot of the last two weeks talking to people who argued that gay people are 1% of AIDS cases but receive 60% of the tax dollars allocated to HIV/AIDS treatment (a ludicrous statement on both ends) so anti-discrimination measures would cost Topekans money, that gay men were great traveling companions but that discrimination was their fault because they were too "in your face," that one doesn't have to hate fags to think that they ought not to have "special rights," that gay is biological/not biological/a choice/a sin/a sinful choice, that Topeka doesn't need putatively expensive new laws to protect special categories of people. I had long conversations characterized by digressive nonsense. If I had a shoe for every person who talked about the supposed "sanctity of marriage" when debating the unrelated anti-discrimination measure, I would walk myself and all my homo friends to Montreal and start a brand new colony. It's really amazing how people stick to the illogic they've nurtured rather than opening their minds to reason - I mean, how do you argue with flat-earthers? And where do they get these ideas?

I guess I know the answer to that, and it's disheartening. It makes me livid, embittered, and dismissive, but ultimately it just makes me sad, because as a very smart and charismatic man once told me, each vote on a measure that affects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is a referendum on my right to exist. When all these voters bring up "special rights" excuses and "it might be expensive" excuses and "do we really need all these unnecessary laws?" excuses, they are more or less inline with the God Hates Fags squads. Underneath all these varying reasons lies a common thread: I don't deserve equal rights because I love the wrong person. Say this to me because I'm Chinese and me and 12 million best Asian buddies and the Ad Council will riot (or at least, organize a poorly-attended protest outside an Abercrombie & Fitch); say this to me because I'm a lez and all of America seems to think it makes perfectly righteous sense.

So that's why it makes me sad. All of this has been said before, more eloquently by other people and less blatheringly by myself, but tonight's positive outcome is nonetheless spurring me to pour forth all of this in hopes of somebody's compassion. My miraculously supportive dad called me last week and asked me why I wanted to devote my work to the gay. Why the gay and not the Chinese? Well, my first response was that I could and would advocate for both civil rights for gay people and for people of color. My second response was a melodious clatch of missed intonations and Chinglish vocabulary that tried to convey the desperation that my arrhythmic mash of earnest activist talk (see above) tried to convey in English.

As always, all my sentimentality was lost in translation.

Luckily enough, I found something that - even in Google translator - is side-splittingly unbelievable: Fred Phelps' praising the tsunami for purging the world of sodomites.

Money quote:"Not to mention the fact that those Asian countries weren't the only ones affected by the tsunami. Do you realize that among the dead and missing are 20,000 Swedes and over 3,000 Americans? Filthy Swedes went to Thailand - world epicenter of child sex traffic - to rape and sodomize little Thai boys and girls. 20,000 dead Swedes is to Sweden's population of 9 million as 650,000 would be to America's 290 million population. We sincerely hope and pray that all 20,000 Swedes are dead, their bodies bloated on the ground or in mass graves or floating at sea feeding sharks and fishes or in the bellies of thousands of crocodiles washed ashore by tsunamis. These filthy, faggot Swedes have a satanic, draconian law criminalizing Gospel preaching, under which they prosecuted, convicted and sentenced Pastor Ake Green to jail - thereby incurring God's irreversible wrath."

The Westboro Baptist Church takes on the tsunami