Showing posts from November, 2009

Blips of Progress

You know progress is never linear. If you lived during the time of Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa, then you would have thought that Asians would become a significant force in Hollywood in the latter half of the 20th century.

There were always blips of progress in cinematic history with regards to representation of the Asian American male: The Crimson Kimono (1959), Flower Drum Song (1961), Bruce Lee (1972), Vanishing Son (1994), Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), Harold and Kumar (2004).

Every time one of these movies appeared, it looked like, "Yeah, things are getting better! We're on the road to full representation for the Asian American male!"

But representation always comes in spurts, and we've never been able to reach a point of critical mass. I'm hoping that now with all the Asian guys in movies, Internet and TV that we'll gain some traction as far as representation, but more importantly… respect.

Divide and Conquer

The thing is Alpha Asians tend to be iso…

Kobukson's Book Recommendation: The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization

We have been taught, inside the classroom and outside of it, that there exists an entity called the West, and that one can think of this West as a society and civilization independent of and in opposition to other societies and civilizations [ie the East]. Many of us even grew up believing that this West has [an autonomous] genealogy, according to which ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat Christian Europe, Christian Europe begat the Renaissance, the Renaissance the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment political democracy and the Industrial Revolution. Industry crossed with democracy, in turn yielded the United States, embodying the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

[This is] misleading, first, because it turns history into a moral success story, a race in time in which each [Western] runner of the race passess on the torch of liberty to the next relay. History is thus converted into a tale about the furtherance of virtue, about how the virtuous [ie the West] win o…

Western Masculine Ideal vs. Asian Masculine Ideal

So here’s a great article on the 10-year anniversary of the movie Fight Club and it’s impact: Fight Club 10 Years Later

… Fight Club isn't saying something as simple and inane as men are pussies. It's not a dumb jock statement of being a "man." Rather, it shows how through the alienation of social institutions, and the de-masculination of culture, the rugged individualist is rare. How to tap into being a man, fast?

"Punch me as hard as you can."

… watching Fight Club, ten years later, with all that we have available to us, it seems even more prescient. For better and often for worse, we've become even more disconnected from ourselves. And even more narcissistic. People text, they twitter, they communicate online instead of talk on the phone or in person. They create alternate identities and pretend to be tough in, of all places, chat rooms, and blogs. Can you imagine a flame war in a biker bar? It's no surprise Fincher's now making a movie about t…

The Sims in China

Beta Asians

Here's an excerpt from an article by Dr. William Wong on the supposed epidemic of infertility:

Worldwide, the fertility of both men and women is declining but things seem to be worse for the men! In 1960 a good sperm count was considered to be 120 million sperm per milliliter of seminal fluid. Anything lower than that and a man was considered to be only marginally fertile. These days, things have become so bad that a man is considered fertile if he has only 20 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate! What happened?

Xenoestrogens happened. Since World War II, mankind has filled the world and himself with estrogen like substances. Pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, petrochemical fumes, the esters that plastics give off when heated, and the worst offender of all in the estrogen world – soy. I won't rehash my litany against soy, you'll have to read about it's many ill effects at

In both men and women high estrogen creates infertility. That's why…

Interview with Rain on Ninja Assassin Movie

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil - Kobukson

Patricia J Williams is currently a Professor at Columbia Law School. She writes a column for The Nation magazine titled "Diary of a Mad Law Professor." The Mad-Law-Professor is also the name of a super hero that she created.

In 1997, she published Seeing a Colorblind Future: The Paradox of Race.

From The Atlantic Online:

[bold emphasis mine]

Can you explain your book's title? Do you see yourself as entering self-consciously into current debates over the achievability, even desirability, of a "color-blind" society? The book doesn't mention affirmative action explicitly.

Yes, all of this intersects with specific legal remedies such as affirmative action, and the counter to those, which has been appeals to color-blindness -- not just color-blindness as a social ideal but as a kind of literal mandate that seems to be requiring, as in California's Proposition 209, that you eliminate all reference to race even when you're trying to remediate the …

ABC's Go to China

The reporter refers to this woman as an ABC, but from the interview you find out she's a 1.5 generation.

Asian American Bloggers Unite!

From Channel APA:

If you're in the Los Angeles are on November 21, 2009, be sure to check out BANANA, where Infamous Asian American Bloggers Unite to Chop It Up. This is probably the largest group of Asian American bloggers ever assembled. The event is organized by author Lac Su (I Love Yous Are For White People) and television/film producer Steve Nguyen ( LA correspondent). 

It's an opportunity to meet the people behind your favorite blogs as well as hear important discussions about the future of our voice, where it will lead to, and how we can come together to find common grounds and focused endeavors to voice our opinions about relevant issues affecting our community. The event will be held on the USC campus on November 21, 2009.

If you're on Facebook, then you can RSVP for the event HERE

I know the video says I'll be attending, but like I said in a previous post, I won't be there. I'm going to be coached on how to coach my wife on how to breat…

Degrees of Separation, Part Two - Mojo Rider

Awhile ago, I read a fascinating essay by Malcolm Gladwell on a woman named Lois Weisberg (the essay was later included in Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point but you can find the essay on Gladwell’s website). Gladwell discusses how we all know someone like her: sociable, seems to know tons of people, seems to know everyone. We’ll get to her importance in a moment. Let’s review what this six degrees is all about.

In short, the six degrees of separation was an experiment conducted by Harvard professor of social psychology Stanley Milgram in the 1960’s. He dealt with the “small world” phenomena, wanting to answer just how are people connected, how are we bound together, and in what social webs? To do this, he conducted a chain letter type of experiment. Selecting over 100 random people in Omaha, NE who participated, the goal was for these participants to write their name on a roster sheet and give the roster sheet to someone they thought could help get it to this stockbroker in Boston,…

Degrees of Separation, Part One - Mojo Rider

We’ve all heard about 6 degrees of separation and have had those “small world” moments when running into someone who’s a friend of your friend. Within the last few months, I’ve had some moments like that and it got me thinking more about the phenomena. It touches upon what Kobukson and James have talked about in the previous post.

But first, let me describe the events. I had been talking to my cousin and his wife Alexis (who is from Hong Kong and educated here in the US) about this indie movie Shanghai Kiss and how it was able to honestly portray an Asian American male in a lead role. I’ve also commented on this movie in another thread on this blog. Anyway, they seemed interested in it and so I loaned my copy to them.

Just recently, we met up at my nephew’s birthday party and my cousin’s wife approached me and said they watched the movie. She laughed and said that for a romantic drama it was a male fantasy, which in some ways it was, but she liked it because it had nothing to do …

You are not alone

"What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there is something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it is there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." 
 - Morpheus

Hey you! Out there in the cold Getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me? Hey you! Standing in the aisles With itchy feet and fading smiles, can you feel me? Hey you! Don't help them to bury the live Don't give in without a fight...
- Pink Floyd

Hey you. You are a fellow Asian American brother. Here, in the New World, there is no Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Cambodian, Laotian, or what have you. We don't have time for bullshit. Here, we all speak English, and share a common experience. And if you are a fellow brother, who has lived through what might be called the Asian American Male Experience, and are still standing...congratulations. This is what we are here to talk about.
Maybe you are still…