Archived Posts - February 2002


The 20th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival begins in one week. Heard a good feature story about the festival and opening night film Better Luck Tomorrow on this week's edition of KQED's Pacific Time.


James HongJames Hong, the other Asian actor who's on everything, showed up on The West Wing this week as a Chinese ambassador guy. You may remember him as Cassandra's father on Wayne's World 2, or the host on the Chinese restaurant episode of Seinfeld, or in about a million other roles... Yeah, he's that guy.


Eat in or wok out.  Racist.
Jesse spotted this tee shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch and snapped up a picture for us. That's racist!


Saw Asians on TV tonight. Kinda sad, our favorite terrorist Al Leong bit the dust on 24. I know it was inevitable, but I always root for him. Alas, his terrorist character Neil met the same fate as all the others. . . Spotted this Asian dude on Scrubs. Franklin, the geeky lab technician. He (and his lab) unfortunately meets the wrath of Dr. Cox. . . Has anyone seen that Dr. Pepper commercial with Garth Brooks? He's jammin' with this random band, singing about Dr. Pepper, and this four ladies come along and dance along with him. One of the ladies is Asian, standing to the left of Garth. And let me tell you, she's just dancing her ass off! It's just a happy fun time, all thanks to the wonders of Dr. Pepper.


Response email from Alessi, manufacturers of our favorite product, the now-infamous Mandarin Juicer:

Dear Ms. Lee:

Your letter did not go unnoticed and we know when it comes to emotional
issues such as this sometimes we cannot always offer a solution that
satisfies everyone. But, we respect your right to voice your opinion. And, I
know you are now looking for a response from our company.
Alessi, as you may be aware, has for the past eight decades been dedicated
to recruiting designers from around the world<-representing a diversity of races, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs--to create everyday household products. By its very nature, the company upholds a philosophy of converting these artistic dreams and aesthetic expressions into utilitarian items. Thus the company's moniker, The Dream Factory. Freedom of artistic expression is strongly encouraged in this environment and must be integral to it. We know not every design we produce strikes the same chord of agreement with consumers. Some will love it; some will hate it; and others just won't get it. There will be those who will find it more beautiful than functional, and those who will say it's as functional as it is beautiful. One design will never please all.

Interestingly, in the Eastern Asian market where Alessi has sales and
distribution sales for Mandarin account for approximately 6 percent of the
total sales of that product worldwide. So, we know that the product is
accepted and selling respectably well there.

We apologize that this particular design offended you personally and anyone
else you may know. It is not predicated on malice or to diminish the
integrity of any one person or any group. And, we hope you agree that just
as it is important and wonderful for our artists to have freedom for
artistic expression, it also is important and wonderful for you to have the
freedom to express your opinion about it. And, how wonderful, too, that you
can freely choose to shop elsewhere or purchase another brand. This is the
beauty of our democratic society.


Antonio Pavan

Executive Vice President

Alessi USA

155 Spring Street

10012 New York, NY

Ph (212) 431 1310

Fx (212) 431 1390


Blah blah blah blah blah that's racist!


Yui, who keeps it real as one of, like, five Asians in Lousiana, writes in with some angry information:

Racist comic.In our Sunday paper today, there is a "comic strip" called "Luzianna" which is written by a Louisiana native. On the front page was a long article about Slave Reparations. However, in another section called "Sunday A.M." was the "comic" I have enclosed. I don't really know how our newspaper could get away with posting something so incredibly anti-Asian... and just
so generally ironic that the paper would post this racist "comic", when on the front page there is such a huge article about slave reparations... Unfortunately, I think I'm the only person in Louisiana who is this angry about this "comic" strip.

What kind of a freakin' racist newspaper is this? I can't believe someone would allow this to run... No, sadly, I can. Does this make you angry? You may be in California, or Chicago, or Miami. Doesn't matter. Tell The Town Talk that this cannot happen, even in Louisana. Here's what you need:


Toll free number: 1-800-523-8391

Executive Editor Jim Bulter - jbulter@thetowntalk.com

Write in, and tell them, that's racist! Keep it real, Yui. And STAY ANGRY.


Want to get a Korean person angry? Mention Apolo Anton Ohno. No joke. It has become a national mission over there to hate Ohno. The whole ordeal has definitely got people talking, shaking their fists and surfing the web. It seems with Ohno, people love him or hate him... The visits to this site have increased by 100% in one day, wholly due to internet searches for "Apolo Anton Ohno pictures" or "Apolo Anton Ohno sucks."


Unexpectedly, out of nowhere, Sarah Hughes has become America's darling. But you can't help feeling sorry for Michelle Kwan, considered THE gold medal contender all along. I fear she'll now shrink into obscurity, overshadowed by the surprise success of her younger, cuter, whiter teammate. Yeah, that's what I'm getting at. There's a subtle racism to it all, and not everyone's going to be with me on this one. America was poised to anoint Kwan as their golden girl, but when Hughes nabbed it, you can bet there were those who breathed a suprised, ecstatic sigh of relief. We now have a fresh face to pin our American ideals to, something that's been rather unattractively tarnished with this sport and Salt Lake Olympics in general. You can bet advertisers are going to be coming at Hughes with a truckload of sweet endorsement deals. She certainly fits the profile of a sweetheart spokesperson: Cute, Teen, White (CTW). Don't get me wrong, Michelle Kwan would've gotten some great endorsement deals. She has in the past, and most likely will continue to. But probably not with the same kind of lucrative contracts as the girl with the greater CTW factor. Even if Kwan had won gold. But of course, we'll never know. The fact of the matter is, in the eyes of many people out there, Hughes is more all-American that Kwan would ever be. Thus, to them, Sarah Hughes is a more appropriate winner. Can you believe that after all this time, people still have trouble fully acknowledging Michelle Kwan as an American? It's very subtle, but it's there. Consider the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. As we all remember, Kwan lost to Tara Lipinski. The MSNBC website headline read: "American Beats Out Kwan." Yo, Kwan is American too. Now consider this week's upset in Salt Lake. Friday's front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle makes another reference to the Nagano Olympics: "And Kwan, who persevered for the past four years after losing out on the Olympic gold medal to American Tara Lipinski..." Sure, sure, people may think I'm being nitpicky, but really, how hard is it to say, "fellow American"? Like I said, the racism is subtle. Now, I fully believe Sarah Hughes deserved to win. She is an excellent skater and her performance was virtually flawless. And now she's also America's girl. Let's just try to be aware of what's going on here.


Kim Dong-sun is pissed.More drama unfolds from the short track incident. The Koreans are mad, threatening everything from pulling out of the closing ceremony to boycotting the 2004 games to legal action. I don't know. To me, it looks like they're just being sore losers, but the call was pretty controversial. It's just a bad situation. I mean, the Koreans are MAD. They are saying some nasty stuff in the Korean press. Is it me, or has it just been a bad week for Koreans? There's Kim Dong-sung's disqualification. You've got President Bush's visit to South Korea, which was met with some CRAZY unfriendly protests (he's not too popular over there). And earlier this week I heard this NPR story on the "popular" Korean Delicacy --dogs, of course. Korea just seems to be getting a bad rep. I guess that's the way it is in America.


How about that Apolo Anton Ohno? Saw the short track speed skating race last night where Ohno kicked some booty. It was like roller derby. Swift moves, plus a disqualified Korean, equal gold for Ohno. Talk about drama on the ice. Ohno hanging back for most of the race, then quick moves advancing him to second. And then when first place Kim Dong-sung was disqualified for cross tracking. Whoo, that guy was pretty pissed. Medal stripped by young American upstart. Those Americans!


Michelle Kwan has the lead after last night's figure skating short program. Right on. Does anyone else find it unfortunate that her fiercest competition comes from someone named Slutskaya?


Executive Order 9066I apologize for forgetting to mention that yesterday was Day of Remembrance. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans. Since 1978, many Japanese American communities have commemorated that date as a "Day of Remembrance." Yesterday marked the 60th annniversary of Executive Order 9066.


The Olympic women's figure skating competition begins tonight with the short program. Although I'm not a huge fan of figure skating (I detest it), I suppose I am rooting for our girl Michelle Kwan. Go Asian! Go America! Yeah.


Props to Hmong American Mee Moua, the first southeast Asian American ever to be elected to a state office. Moua won the senate District 67 seat in St. Paul, Minnesota with 51 percent of the vote, and was sworn into office on February 4. Read more here: St. Paul Hmong is First Southeast APA in State Office


Tracy informs there's an Asian dude, Bobby Lee, on MadTV, that sketch comedy show on Fox.


Oh yeah, in case you haven't seen it, check out the trailer for Better Luck Tomorrow.


Thanks to good ol' Asian Bastard, who writes in with an astute Asian dude TV sighting:

Last night I saw a commercial for Midas brakes that featured an Asian
guy, and get this -- he was NOT playing either a wacky Japanese
businessman or a wacky Long Duk Dong type! He was just doing the
ad pitch, and his ethnicity was never referred to. I found this kinda
heartening. Could this be a sign of progress?
Perhaps. But for every one positive regular Asian guy on TV, there are ten psycho long duk dong suckas, like these freaks on the USA network. And that's racist!


Today's USA Today has some interesting statistics about Asian actors... For the 135 major releases in 2001, Asians were
nearly exclusively cast in action pictures (no surprise). Here's the breakdown:

Action and adventure: 81.8% (9 movies)

Comedy: 0% (0)

Drama: 0% (0)

Horror and suspense: 9.1% (1)

Romantic comedy: 0% (0)

Other: 9.1% (1)

Overall, Asians made up only 1.9% of the main actors in movies (this
percentage is probably singlehandedly Jackie Chan and Jet Li), while they
make up 3.6% of the overall population. Whites and blacks are represented
more in movies than they are in the general population.

This is depressing. although definitely not surprising. Of course Asian actors are only in action movies. We always need someone who knows some kung fu. I would've fell out of my chair an Asian guy had registered as lead actor under 'romantic comedy.' Show me THAT movie. Not happening any time soon. That's racist!


Check out this interesting interview with Better Luck Tomorrow director Justin Lin and a cool perspective piece ("Chop Suey!") on Flower Drum Song over on the NAATA site.


So yeah, the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. And as usual, no Asians in sight. Props to Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Halle Berry --African Americans up for acting Oscars. Still, that's pretty weak. Hollywood sucks such ddong when it comes to real diversity. Anyway, Asian Americans have one Oscar nomination to feel some pride in: Freida Lee Mock and Jessica Sanders' film Sing!, nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject. Mock won a Best Feature Documentary nomination in 1994 for Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. Props.


Welcome, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, new outfielder for the San Francisco Giants.


Some follow-up on the Mandarin Juicer, on the downlow... Jo does a little bit of undercover investigating at the mall:

I stopped by Chiasso, just to see if the Mandarin Juicer was still on the shelves. It wasn't! However, when I asked the salesperson if they still sold the Mandarin Juicer, she pulled one out of the storage shelf below the display. She told me that they would probably be getting a new shipment in soon.

I should have just said "That's racist!" And walked out.

That's right, baby. That's racist!


Happy Lunar New Year, everyone. It's the Year of the Horse. Dude, I was born in the Year of the Horse...


Shiri opens in theatres in select cities today. Pretty good, well-made Korean action movie. I have the DVD. If you're cool, you can borrow it.


Sadly, every school seems to have some kind of incident like this. From the Vanderbilt Hustler: Racist graffiti found in Lewis and Towers East. First, Vanderbilt's paper is called the HUSTLER?? Second, that's racist!


Latest on the Mandarin Juicer... This morning, Austin talked to one of Chiasso's presidents about the Mandarin Juicer.††Apparently, in the last 24 hours, more than 11 emails were sent to the headquarters... with more coming in.††They've pulled the Mandarin Juicer from their website (now replaced by a juicer that looks like a spider), and they intend to pull the product from their retail shelves - at least temporarily.

Wow. Good job, everyone. Stay angry.


Chiasso seems to have pulled the Mandarin Juicer. It was up last night... but the link now goes to another Juicer. How about that? I guess the emails worked. Thanks to HV, Min, Austin and others who got angry and wrote in... Next targets: Know Play?, Pad, Unica Home and American Retro. These stores all feature the Mandarin Juicer on their sites. It's clear that one must go to the source, designer Stefano Giovannoni and Alessi.


This looks like a pretty interesting online discussion, happening today at 1:00 PM EST. Check it out: Yellow: Race in American Beyond Black and White


Props to the several fellow Angry people who have cc'ed me with their Angry emails to Chiasso, in response to their Mandarin Juicer product. I've written my letter. How about you? Write to products@chiasso.com and let them know what's up dig? Man, I still can't believe that thing. Mandarin freakin' Juicer?! That's racist!


Rufus, who keeps it real over at C'est la Bombe!, informs me that this afternoon a CNN reporter, in a story about Harry Potter, referred to the Chinese as "imaginatively deprived." Now what does that mean? I'll tell you what it means: That's racist!


Mandarin JuicerHV brings this to our attention... at Chiasso, proprietor of fun, functionally designed household goods, you can purchase a "Mandarin Juicer" for $38.00. Shaped like a chinky-eyed Mandarin dude. Check it out here. That's not cool. Right? So write to Chiasso at products@chiasso.com, and let them know --that's racist!.


Evil KoreansIn his State of the Union address, President Bush named North Korea among the "Axis of Evil." The villains in the next James Bond movie are North Koreans. Those Koreans! They're Evil Axis and they're 007 bad guys and they eat dogs too! Dang.

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