April 18th, 2007 → 1 Comment
I found out about the Virginia Tech massacre not by TV (which i don’t turn on), radio (which was stolen from my car) or internet (though I get most of my internet news via The Onion) but instead found out about it all via Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip blog. It was sandwiched between blog entries about Sanjaya and Britney Spears.
What a world that this is how I have to find things out.
I also notice in retrospect how inappropriate my last posting was. Especially since my label for the post was “shoot me.” I posted it not knowing what had happened yet at VT. Here I was all riled up about Will Smith’s rap comeback, when Will Smith’s rap comeback was perhaps the best news that Monday could have brought.
I am sorry if anyone found that inappropriate or offensive.
Today was strange. I’ve been back in LA for four days and as usual, I have not unpacked my things, I haven’t even put fresh sheets on my bed, and I have been working non-stop. It makes me blind to work like this.
Today I get an email on the aa-drama listserv (a theater listserv for Asian Americans) from a notoriously angry guy named Wei Meng who is a huge rabble rouser on the listserv. In his usual fashion, he starts firing off accusations to the whole group about how we are so passive as Asian American artists and why aren’t any of responding to the massacre and the fact that the shooter is Korean. It’s been a day since the shootings and it’s like this guy wants everyone to snap out of their shock and start hammering out the screenplays or something. I really can’t stand it when people on APA arts listservs are so angry at “the system” or other artists with less radical political views but never take any creative steps to address their political issues. Instead, they spend way too much energy tearing down other artists for being “passive.” And there seems to be way too many of these folks, usually men, on these listservs. It’s like a social phenomenon. The angry Asian guy on the arts listserv.
Anyway, Wei Meng’s email rant mentions ME in it and how I’m the only artist who responded to the Kenneth Eng situation via my YouTube video for him. So I read this and am I’m thinking like, “Oh god, please dude, don’t align me to your militant tirade right now.” I already have enough problems with people thinking that “Big Bad Chinese Mama” is actually Kristina Wong and not a persona created by Kristina Wong. I don’t need to become cannon fodder for this guy’s cry that we all rally around this Korean guy at VT. And I try writing him a constructive email about how as artists we all have the right to respond, not respond, or create work that directly or indirectly comment on our ethnic identities. I also attempt to suggest that he create his own work if he feels so compelled by what’s happening at VT (since I’m pretty sure nobody on the aa-drama listserv has ever seen this guy’s work).
I also tell him that it’s not a good strategy to send these accusatory emails around and also send emails to the listserv asking people to help finance his film (which he’s done in the past). It’s just not the best strategy to get an indie film financed.
Anyway, he sends this totally hurtful email back about how I should stick to “lame parodies” and how I’ve never done anything creative in my life, and how nobody on “asian listservs” go to my shows.
Ouch. Here I was proud that I was finally making a living as an artist and this guy decides that he knows what I’m all about and who is coming and who isn’t.
I just said something to the equivalent of, “Whatever. Good luck to you” and decided it already took up way too much energy to even talk to him.
Anyway. Because I’m doing this show on depression and suicide among Asian American women, I am finding myself lately, drawn to taking a closer look at this breed of unstable and angry Asian men that seem to be cropping up lately in the news and on listservs.
And I feel that other people are feeling me on this too. I have already received a few calls and emails today from people who want me to “respond” to what happened at VT. I also had a few emails asking me to “comment” on Kenneth Eng’s recent videoblog about how “hilarious” the massacre was. (YouTube just removed it. )
I seem to be the “go-to” girl for all things Asian, depressed, and suicidal.
I asked my friend who called me on the phone, “Why are you calling me and asking me, of all people, about why I think this Korean guy killed all those people?”
“Because of your show. You are like a safe space.”
So… What is with this particular breed of fanatical and angry Asian men?
Kenneth Eng is fascinating in how angry and unloved he is and how it’s manifested in such bitterness and hatred. How he has inventing this complex sci-fi world where he will always be superior to others. And yet he continues to work in such public mediums(as a novelist, columnist and internet blogger), an odd way to bring his message to others, albeit, deaf ears. Is this his way of sharing? Is this his way of asking for help?
Then there is Cho Seung-Hui. I find it odd how people are constructing the backstory or narrative for this mysterious killer at VT to provide an (simplified?) “answer”to what happened. Is it really as easy as “he was an immigrant and that was hard” or “he was isolated among white people” or “he was just crazy”?
And then there are these radical and angry Asian men screaming on these arts listservs. Why don’t they realize that screaming that artists should create political dialog is actually making it hard for anyone to get a word in edgewise?
Yes, right now I can only offer three anecdotal examples of Asian men who fall into this extreme category. But it’s definitely a new anti-model minority extreme I’m seeing. But not one that’s positive. That’s for sure. And I’m sure the backlash for lumping all these people together is yet to come.
Category: asian men