Hey, folks! What's up? It is time, once again, to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Andrew Choi.
Who are you?
Andrew Choi or St. Lenox.
What are you?
I'm a singer-songwriter, and a Juilliard and Princeton educated JD/Ph.D. I work as an attorney in New York City. I'm a hit with the Korean moms until they find out how homosexual I am. The answer is that I'm a lot homosexual.
Where are you?
I live in Brooklyn, NY. At work, I occupy an office very high up in a tall building, with a large window that overlooks midtown Manhattan. It looks like a Batman movie up here.
Where are you from?
I'm from Ames, Iowa. Or Columbus, Ohio. Or Columbia, Missouri. Or South Korea (my mom and dad grew up in Pusan and Seoul, respectively). Or North Korea (where both my parents were born).
What do you do?
As St. Lenox, I write, record and perform music in bars and open-mics around the city. I just released an album called Ten Hymns From My American Gothic intended as an exposition of the first and second-generation Asian-American experience. AllMusic recently referred to the album as a "dazzling litany of soulful free-verse," and "true 21st century songwriting," rating it on par with the latest from Leonard Cohen.
What are you all about?
I'm about using Pop as a weapon to introduce new narratives and perspectives to American music -- I'm a proponent of modern American social realism. The music industry does not properly represent Asian-American musicians. It also does not properly represent Asian-American narratives in music (which is different, and also important). When you put those narratives out, the industry may view them as "odd" or somehow not "Everyman" and I think that represents a culture gap that needs addressing. My belief is that Pop can be a vehicle for addressing that -- or at least that is the best weapon that I have at my current disposal.
What makes you angry?
Oh god, so many things to say. These days, I think lately it's public intellectual culture. I think people don't understand that universal participation in public intellectualism is a failing proposition. We have universal participation in democracy, because people universally have a right to play a role in the nation they live in -- which they can do by voting. That makes sense. But we have to have standards for intellectualism -- both standards that we place on others and standards that we place on ourselves. I don't know a goddamned thing about particle astrophysics, so I don't talk about it, and if I ever have questions, I will ask my friends who are particle astrophysicists. If you want to know about ethics and the logical structure of arguments, you talk to an ethicist and read some goddamned Immanuel Kant. You want to understand the negative effects of racism in the United States, you should probably goddamned talk to some racial minorities. And these public intellectuals that you see working for these media outlets that make their living off of public intellectualism -- I consider it a form of televangelism. Except they don't lure people in with the prosperity gospel, they lure people in by giving them a false sense of expertise and status. It's not much better because It's not much different.