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2.20.2009

angry reader of the week: junichi semitsu



Once again, it's time 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 reader is law professor/blogger/father-at-any-moment-now Junichi Semitsu, who co-writes at one of my favorite blogs, Poplicks, and did not at all influence me with this recent beef-y diatribe.

Who are you?
I am an angry (but loving) Asian American man who is married to an angry (but loving) Arab American woman who is currently 39 weeks pregnant and 39 seconds away from giving birth to our first child. As my parents are from Japan and Dima, my wife, is from Lebanon, I think of myself as an East Coast Asian and her as a West Coast Asian. Hence, our son will be born an Angry Asian Man, assuming he comes out screaming. We half-joke that our baby will be 50% Lebanese, 50% Japanese, and 100% internment material.

What are you?
Not yet what I want to be. When I was a kid, I always dreamed of becoming "The First Asian American" something. There are still barriers to be broken. I still have pipe dreams that some magic unicorn will select me as the first Asian American columnist for the New York Times or the first Asian American male cast member on Saturday Night Live. As of now, however, I only have the distinction of being the first Asian American person to be a blogger for the Dixie Chicks (the only person, really) and the first Japanese American guy to appear as a dancer on Soul Train (although I don't know if I was actually the first). I am working to ensure that my obituary will include more significant accomplishments.

Where are you?
I am chilling in my crib near an actual crib. I live in the OC, which is still hard for me to accept since I spent most of my life in either Northern or Central California. By the way, as a fan of Lost, I wish you would also ask, "When are you?"

Where are you from?
I'm from a small, rural, cow-town in the San Joaquin Valley called Hanford. When you're driving up I-5 from LA to SF and you reach that midpoint where you have to roll up your windows because of the stench of cow manure from Harris Ranch, you're rolling past the freeway off-ramp to my house.

What do you do?
I am a professor at the University of San Diego Law School and Business School and a blogger for Poplicks.com. I don't know what I actually "do," however. For the past two weeks, I've been spending most of my time wondering how you could have chosen my blogging partner Oliver Wang as your reader of the week before me. C'mon. I actually included your website in my syllabus when I was teaching "Asian Americans and the Law" at Boalt Law School!

What are you all about?
I've spent most of my life trying to give an outlet to the humorous/irreverent/light-hearted part of me so that the easily-enraged/provoked/angry part of me doesn't get me in trouble. In high school, my comp-lit teacher seriously predicted that I would one day end up in prison. Last year, I was chosen as the "Funniest Lawyer in San Diego" at an amateur stand-up comedy competition for attorneys in San Diego last year. In all honesty, I think it's way more likely that I end up in prison than it is that I'm actually the funniest lawyer in San Diego.

What makes you angry?
Instead of writing a treatise to fully respond to your question, I decided to type as much as I could in two minutes. Here's what I managed to write:

1. Censorship.
2. The fact that Palestine, Taiwan, and Tibet are not yet independent countries.
3. Wedding DJs who think that everyone at the reception came to be entertained by them.
4. The Academy for failing to nominate "Do The Right Thing" for Best Picture in 1989.
5. The fact that it is perfectly legal to openly discriminate against gay and lesbian employees in 30 states and under federal law.
6. People who underuse commas and misuse apostrophes.
7. Any person, publication, or media outlet that pays attention to Paris Hilton.
8. The fact that when it comes to those in power in Washington D.C., the most powerful Asian American man (Steven Chu? Daniel Inouye?) or woman (Doris Matsui? Mazie Hirono?) is someone unknown to 95% of all Americans.
9. Religious fundamentalists who are infiltrating my rights with their beliefs.
10. Game 6 of the 2002 World Series between the SF Giants, the Anaheim Angels, and that feral rally monkey.
11. Stores that sell gift cards that come with hidden fees.
12. Jewelers who play dumb or are actually dumb about whether they are selling conflict diamonds.
13. The Counting Crows.
14. The trillion dollars we wasted in Iraq.
15. People who reject my suggestion that we eat Indian or Thai food because they "just had Chinese food last night."