the cringe-worthy legacy of long duk dong

NPR's All Things Considered recently did an interesting piece on Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles, of all people, as part of their "In Character" series: Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes?

Ohhhhh man. There are few characters in modern popular culture that illicit the kinds of groans that the stereotypical character of Long Duk Dong induces. If you were growing up Asian American in 1980s, Long Duk Dong basically made your life miserable. Gedde Watanabe's role as the wacked-out Asian foreign exchange student introduced, with a resounding GONG, a painful new Asian icon into the pop culture pantheon: the Donger. As if mainstream hadn't found ways to make it hard enough for Asian American kids in the schoolyard.

The feature includes quotes from the likes of Giant Robot's Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, and some insights on the role from Gedde Watanabe himself, now 52-years-old and fully cognizant of the cringe-worthy legacy he's created. I curse you, Long Duk Dong.

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