Thursday, April 29, 2004

Gay or Asian?

Details magazine (Yeah, I had never heard of it before either) ran a page titled "Gay or Asian." I'm having trouble loading the image, but you'll find it here.

As you might have guessed, it caused an uproar in the Asian-American community, as you can find He-ah. Hit the link on the right that says "details" and you'll get the lowdown.

They claimed it was a negative stereotype and started a campaign against the magazine.

My first question is this: Is there a stereotype that Asians as a race are likely to be gay? I must of missed of that one.

Question 2: Would something like this "Gay or Asian" piece lead to such a stereotype? IMH(and assuredlly correct)O, I think not. It's a silly nothing piece that would have quickly faded from the consciousness of the limited readership of a relatively unknown magazine.

Question 3: So can we ask if this "protest" has really helped the Asian-Americans' cause (which someday I definitely intend to find out what that might be) to bring attention to this issue? May I ask what good do they hope to achieve by fighting against a percieved stereotype that doesn't even exist found in a magazine that is not widely read?

"Yes, before this event no one in America really thought that Asians were more likely to be gay than any other race, but now, thanks in part to our gallant efforts, they think the same thing! Victory!"

Question 4: If they are so angry about this, aren't they in some way saying that being perceived as gay is a negative thing? Really, what is the source of the anger here?


At their mighty 200 man protest, some who came out were gay and Asian, as you can see from the guy holding the pretty purple poster (very nice choice of colors, by the way)

So what point are they trying to make again? That being Asian and gay is a negative stereotype?

"Hey, I'm Asian AND gay and I just want to say that I am just, like, so totally opposed to people who propagate this evil stereotype that Asians are gay."

Well, can't argue with that logic.


Quiz!! Find the guy in the picture who is most likely Korean!

You'll also find on the site the results of a meeting several Asian American groups had with the editors of Detail magazine. They brought a list of demands. Here's a sampling:

Details had given us an apology statement from Daniel Peres, and provided the same statement to the media when asked about the protest. We demanded that the apology be printed as a full page in a future issue of the magazine. We also demanded that Whitney McNally also sign the apology.

Response: Daniel Peres made it clear that he takes full responsibility for the article. He will not ask Whitney McNally to sign the apology. The June/July issue will include a full page Letter from the Editor that will be longer than the apology statement that had been provided to us, but will probably contain language from that statement. The June/July issue also will include 2 pages of letters that Details received in Response to "Gay or Asian?" Patrick McCarthy stated that "a couple of people" thought the piece was funny, but Peres assured us that Details is not planning on publishing any letters in support of the piece.

Ah, that should do it right? These Asian-Americans are just reasonable people who have been hurt and would just like nothing more than a simple apology and retraction and they'll be on their way. After agreeing to the full page apology and promising to block any readers that defended the offending piece (that's what being PC is all about these days it seems; censoring all "inappropriate" opinions) the editors were probably picking up their briefcases and getting up to leave...

Eh...not so fast. Of course things didn't work out that way. As anyone who was here in Korea in 2002 knows, a demand for an apology is basically meaningless. Apologize all you want, it won't make the slightest damn difference. Demanding an apology is just a sort of throat-clearing gesture before making a list of highly questionnable demands to exploit the situation. Here comes the next demand...

We demanded that Details writers and editors undergo diversity sensitivity training, and recommended that the Asian American Journalists Association conduct that training. Peres was provided with copies of AAJA's Stylebook, GLAAD's media reference guide, MANAA's Stereotype Busters memo, and a flyer for an online diversity sensitivity course offered by AAJA.

This was the first of about 6 or so more demands. God only knows what goes on in "diversity sensititivy training" sessions, but it can't be good. At best, it's a marathon session of being preached to by brainless Berkely graduates who are too incompetent to get a job teaching in a community college. At worst it would be like one of those "re-education" programs that are so popular a few hundred miles or so to the north of Seoul.

So, will the editors show some balls and end the meeting right here? Will they stand up to this PC bullying?

Response: Claudia Chung stated that she is in contact with Mae Cheng, the President of AAJA, regarding sensitivity training. They have a meeting with Cheng on Monday and will email Phil after that meeting. When asked what percentage of their staff are people of color or gay or lesbian, Peres refused to answer. McCarthy stated that they do not ask the sexual orientation of their staff. Chung stated that they will hire more Asian Americans at Details, and that someone from Human Relations will also attend the meeting with AAJA on Monday.

Well, looks like this Asian-American group gots theyselves a new bitch.

Hard to feel pity for a group of people like these editors so lacking in backbone. Enjoy the 8+ hours of humiliation...

Comments on original posts


I see that some people came to our site from this blog... any PR is good for us. :)

They weren't lacking in backbone. They were wrong. That's the bottomline.

Asian Americans have long been regarded as "model minorities," doing well in school, working hard and not making waves. It took a very long time for many of us to realize that we have not really been regarded as part of American society. The piece "Gay or Asian?" really woke Asian Americans up to this harsh reality.

I'm sure it wasn't intended that way but Details galvanized the Asian American community. 30,000 plus people in the petition and 250 people at the protest even though it was during the workday really pissed some people off, eh?

Posted by: James Fujikawa | June 02, 2004 at 10:38 AM

I see that some people came to our site from this blog... any PR is good for us. :)

They weren't lacking in backbone. They were wrong. That's the bottomline.

Asian Americans have long been regarded as "model minorities," doing well in school, working hard and not making waves. It took a very long time for many of us to realize that we have not really been regarded as part of American society. The piece "Gay or Asian?" really woke Asian Americans up to this harsh reality.

I'm sure it wasn't intended that way but Details galvanized the Asian American community. 30,000 plus people in the petition and 250 people at the protest even though it was during the workday really pissed some people off, eh?

Posted by: James Fujikawa | June 02, 2004 at 10:39 AM

Thanks for the comment. Since you stayed civil, the least I can do is return the favor. I'd be interested in hearing your answers to the four questions I posed earlier in the piece, especially #4.

My take is that the article in Details was just silly. It's biggest crime in my opinion is that it wasn't that funny. So what I question is whether or not this is something that you need to make a big deal out of. Certainly there must be more pressing issues to deal with, eh?

Posted by: Scott | June 02, 2004 at 11:46 PM

I didn't expect the response so I didn't notice till today. Anyway, answers....

#1. Whenever you see Asian males on American TV/Film, it's still less likely to be seen as love interest for someone, compared to other minorities. And unfortunately, it is true that Asian males are more prone to be portrayed as sexless or gay (at the best). When is the last time you saw Asian male character getting a girl and how often? I still remember BD Wong was talking about this. He said, "Asian males like me are, for some reason, not allowed to have any love interest." And that's coming from APA gay male. That's sad.

#2. I need you to take a look at this. Doesn't this kinda look like, "Gay or Asian?" in nature? And remember what happened to Japanese Americans during World War 2.

or this

History repeats itself. That's a well-known fact. We can't be too vigilant when it comes to it.

#3 Please refer to my comment on 6/2.

#4. We didn't want to come off as anti-gay. That's why we teamed up with GAPIMNY (Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York) and the guy you see on the pic is its co-chair Glenn Magpantay. The source of anger is media under representation of both straight Asians and gay Asians. The bottom line is, we don't need some white people to define who we are. We can do it ourselves. We don't mind white people to laugh WITH us but do mind white people laughing AT us. That is why many APAs got angry at this "Gay or Asian?" The piece pit straight Asians and gay Asians against each other. People saw it and that's why they wanted to protest. What is an APA media watch group like us to do?

Sure, there are many other issues to deal with but our job is to promote fair and balanced portrayals of APAs in American media/entertainment. Because we all know that the media image goes a long way in this country.

Posted by: James Fujikawa | June 06, 2004 at 12:36 AM

#1 I mostly agree with what you say on point #1 about Asians not being portrayed as people with romantic interests. That doesn't really answer the question about whether or not a stereotype that Asians are more likely to be gay exists however.
Off hand, I can think of some other minority groups that have had gay characters, but I can't think of even on Asian one. Frankly, I just don't think that stereotype exists.

On #2 I've seen those "How to tell a Jap from a Chinese" posters (some much worse than the ones you linked, by the way). To suggest that the author of "Gay or Asian" has any such similar intention or to conclude that the public in general would read it that way is quite a big leap of logic though.

Yes, you CAN be too vigilant in you efforts to prevent racism. Do you see ANY humorous reference to an ethnic group as a cause for protests and boycotts? And the demands your group made to the magazine to ensure that Asian-Americans were hired and that they run a quota of articles putting Asian-Americans in a positive light was bordering on fascism. Is it not good enough that they apologize and agree not to do something like that again? Do you really need to force them to think "correctly?"

Had your group just demanded an apology and agreement not to run material that you feel is harmful to your group, I probably wouldn't have felt the need to blog about it. But when you start to pressure them to hire whom you think they should hire and to write what you think they should write about you crossed the line. Forcing others to accept what you believe to be right is wrong and, in the long run, counterproductive to your own goals.

Posted by: scott | June 13, 2004 at 10:28 PM

Sunday, April 25, 2004

100 Unique Reprisals

Being the well-traveled international man of mystery that I am ("about me" file soon to come), I have friends in all manner of exotic places. The following is a guest blog from a dear friend of mine from Palestine. Times are hard for Hamas as of late, and as you'll see from my friend's letter, it's not getting any easier.

Dear Mr. Pooper and friends

First of all, I hope you are all in the best of health, despite the fact that you are all fornicating mongrel dogs who will burn for eternity in the fiery lake of burning sulphur.

By the way, I started that new, how you say, Atkin diet. I've already lost 2 inches on my waistline. My wife is quite pleased. I have to say though, that eating nothing but goat meat and cheese for last month has really played havoc with you say, smoothly shit delivering ability. I spent so much time on toilet last morning I had to say my morning prayers to Allah while on the toilet, which is very hard because the direction of Mecca is opposite of the way my bathroom toilet is facing.

But anyway, listen to me just go on and on like camel taking an infinitely long pee. I get to the point now.

As you know, we, the remaining leaders of the Hamas organization, claimed that we would commit 100 unique reprisals on the Israeli devil bastards in retribution for slaying yet another one of our beloved leaders.

However, I got to admit, we finding it a little harder to come up with that many different ideas than we first had thought. I explain.

We started off with a lot of steam. We had plans to kidnap Israel scum and hang them from bridges by their sexual organs, strap bombs on 7-year-old Arab girls dressed up as girl scouts selling cookies, lace letters from Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes with anthrax (those greedy Jews ALWAYS have to open any letter that says they won a shitload of money), and dozens more.

Oh, by the way, Mohamed had great idea of packing the bombs with used razor blades and shards of Coke and Pepsi bottles; you know, reusing waste material you otherwise just throw away. Killing Jews and helping out the environment at the same time: who can beat that?

So with material like this we were feeling quite confident we get up to 100 easily, so we told our spokesperson, Eshan, to go public with it and sell it big.

But when we actually get around to sitting down and writing up the 100 ideas the creative juices just did not flow like we hoped they would (not unlike my toilet story above).

Around #26, we realized the new ideas we were coming up were either simply impractical, like the idea to build super big slingshot and send bombs over the separation barrier and the 10,000 exploding cigars idea from Amaan, or they are not really all that new, but just variations on the early ones. For example, #19 is a pretty good one where we take a goat bladder, fill it full of gasoline, spray the inside of bus ticket booths and set the molester of mongrel dogs Israeli inside on fire, just like in that Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson movie (forget the name, but not the basketball one, which was also very good--stupid non-jumping white men...). But then #42 was basically the same thing but now we were just spraying the gasoline under restroom stall doors and lighting up Israelis while they are, how you say, taking the dump. Can you really say that is different enough to be unique? Maybe no.

Then old Aadil spoke up and started his usual talk about praying to Allah for swarms of locusts and other plagues to afflict the Jews and he insisted on putting these on the list. There is always a bit of awkward silence when Aadil starts talking like that. I mean, no one can really say that that cannot happen because then you look like you doubt the almighty power of Allah, but let us face it: Allah has not exactly been bending over backwards to come up with any miracles for us lately. I mean, shit, the Jews kicked our collective Muslim asses in a six-day war, for hell sake. Six fucking days! How can you have your ass kicked worse than that? Allah is great and everything…but damn, can He not throw us bone every now and then?

Well, then we started to get tired and I guess we got a little silly. Amaan, always the jokester, came up with an idea we thought was pretty good at the time, which was #44. Basically, you load up a 16 year-old with a bomb belt and have him knock on the door of a Jewish settler and say the following:

Suicide Bomber: Knock knock
Cursed Jew settler: Who is there?
Suicide Bomber: Not you. BOOM!

Well, I know it does not seem like such funny thing now, but it was really funny at the time and we could not stop laughing for like 10 minutes. But now in the light of day it just gets a sort of embarrassed smile from us and we decided to scratch it from the list.

I am afraid to say it got even worse from there. Number 49 was bomb-strapped belly-dancers that popped out of big cakes at Jewish bachelor parties, number 51 was bomb laden squirrels (it was either squirrels or rats, we debated that for longest time), and Numbers 53-58 all involved gorilla suits (which we actually do have, by the way).

So maybe we are going to have to go back on that 100 unique reprisal threat a little. We are sorry but you know how people can shoot their mouths off when they are really upset about something and besides, we are under a lot of pressure to always come up with bigger and bolder threats. So is it too much for you all to cut us the slack?

But do not get me wrong, my Godless infidel friend; I am not saying that the whole thing is big loss. We still have some great ideas and really, after we get up past #40, who is really going to be counting anymore anyway?

Ok. I finish. Now go back to all your stupid China posts or whatever stuff you do over there.
Take care and may Allah bless you by killing you painlessly and quickly,

Abu Rahman "Rahmana" Dhana al-Fattah

PS Why you no post pictures of Asian harlots like the other bloggers over there? You think peoples will come to your blog just for your "insights?" Tits equal the hits, as they are saying.

PPS chance are you knowing if Sharon is reading your blog? Maybe I should not putting my name...

East Sea, West Sea

I read this in the Korea Times today and came home ready to Blog-slap it, but a certain Kanadian beat me to the bitch-slappin. If you have not already read his piece, do so now (you'll need to scroll down a bit) because I am just going to add to what he already said.

Some relevant samples of the article that need to be pooped upon.

‘Sea of Korea’ preferred on Old Western Maps

By Yoo Ddong-ho

Seven out of 10 old western maps use alternative names to refer to the body of water between South Korea and Japan in lieu of the ``Sea of Japan,” the Government Information Agency (GIA) announced on Tuesday.

According to a survey conducted by the Korean Information Service under GIA wing, 420 or 71 percent of 594 timeworn maps at the libraries in the United States and other European countries designated the disputed area as the ``Sea of Korea,” the ``East Sea,” the ``Gulf of Korea” or the “The Oriental Sea”

Those maps that depicted the area as the Sea of Japan accounted for only 12 percent, the survey said.

Ok, so now we see that the title of this piece was misleading as hell. The big 70% is now cut up into smaller percentages.

What’s even more telling is that along with 3 names that are very agenda-friendly for the Korean team, they lump in the very neutral “Oriental Sea.” Why would they try to squeeze this one in that list? Could it possibly be that WITHOUT the Oriental Sea percentage the combined percentage of the other “Korea friendly” statistics is somewhat pathetic?

Might the numbers look something like this?

Sea of Korea 10%
East Sea 10%
Gulf of Korea 10%
Oriental Sea 41%

Of course, I am just pulling numbers out of my ass here, but presenting this information in the way the author chose to just raises too many red flags to anyone who knows how easy it is play with statistics. If the statistics were more favorable to the East Sea or one of the Korean sea variants, you know damn well that statistic would be prominently placed.

Some mo'

``A considerable number of maps made by knowledgeable mapmakers in the 17th and 18th centuries used East Sea or Sea of Korea for the sea area,” a GIA official said.

What does “Considerable” mean exactly? 5%? 50%? Why no specific numbers? My God, there was a three fucking year study on the issue; they can’t report an exact percentage? The fact that they choose not to give a number again makes me quite suspicious.

Ah“knowledgeable mapmakers." I'm sure these research experts have a good, unbiased reason to give them this title. And can we guess that the "unkowledgeable" mapmakers were the ones who mistakenly put "Sea of Japan?" Did the Korean research team decide to exclude findings of mapmakers they deemed "unknowedgeable" for some reason?

And most importantly, did the "knowledgeable" mapmakers spell it 'Corea’ or ‘Korea’? I mean, if they are so knowledgeable and authoritative and all, perhaps that should put an end to that controversy as well.

As Rathbone points out well, the “study” actually reveals that Korea has no case here. They show that there was no consensus on what to name the sea. If “Sea of Japan” had only 12% and the other 4 mentioned added up to 71%, that means…wait…let me get a calculator…ah..there is still 17% unaccounted for so who knows how many more names were flying around back then. Apparently all of these “knowledgeable” mapmakers were pretty much making it up as they went along if the lack of agreement is that huge.

Now, if they could show that BEFORE Japanese domination in the later 19th and 20th century that the sea had one established name with which an exceeding majority agreed, but then those bloody Japanese forced a change for their own ethnocentric whims, the Koreans would have a case. But they can’t, so they don’t.

As Rathbone notes, the term East Sea is not neutral. It brings up the obvious question: East of whom? It is certainly not East of Japan. Is Korea the center of the world? I mean...we all know they want to be the hub of Asia and all, but still...

Let’s put the silliness of all this in perspective a little. Imagine a group of Amerikkkans decided that they hated that beautiful body of water to the south of us being called the Gulf of Mexico. They made a big-ass fuss to get it changed to a “neutral” term: the South Gulf.

Mexicans would rightly say, “South of who, Gringo?? Now you want us to call the Gulf that is very much to the east of us the “South Gulf?” You think the sun rises and sets on your pasty potato and hot dog eaten asses??

EVERYONE in the world would call the US on the carpet for this completely unnecessary display of nationalism, and they would be right.

There is no difference here.

Hey, I just thought of something. Why doesn’t Russia ask the Koreas to change their names? North Korea should now be called South Korea, and what is now South Korea should be changed to “Really-Fucking-South Korea.” I mean, from a Russian perspective, it certainly makes a lot of sense "North" Korea is certainly not North to Russia). I mean come on, these are just neutral terms anyway, right?

Anyway, in the spirit of fair compromise, I suggest that Japan allow the name to be changed.
Naturally, if the Koreans think “East Sea” is neutral, they should have no problem agreeing to call it the equally neutral term, “West Sea.” I am sure the Japanese would be willing to go along. Case solved.

Shall we start a petition going?

Suggest it to your Korean acquaintances the next time the opportunity arises and be sure to let me know how they respond.