By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
While the “Crazy Rich Asians” fever pitch was happening last summer, I was very withholding in my appreciation, very careful and moderated. I like to think it was because a part of me intuited that nearly a year later, we would be watching Constance Wu try to torch the show that first gave her a shot at mainstream success. Ha!
Before we get to that, let’s first tackle the continuing unfair rap that durian, the king of all fruits, always gets!
OMG, Asians, be careful not to get persecuted by the man for your forbidden love
According to Chinese video website Pear Video, a Chinese man ate durian, got pulled over for his erratic driving, was given a breathalyzer test, failed it, and then he protested, stating that he was not drunk on alcohol. Just drunk on loving a complicated fruit. The man stated that the only thing he consumed was durian before driving.
The police probably heckled him for this, but they also probably weren’t laughing anymore when the dude’s blood test came back negative for alcohol.
The cops did their own informal test with durian, eating the fruit and then blowing into their breathalyzers. It turns out that, for them, durian did actually raise their blood alcohol level! *Not verified with actual science, so don’t try this with Seattle Police.
But if someone has a breathalyzer they want to lend me …
Luxury brands continue needing to apologize because accidental Brownface is a legit epidemic in the fashion world.
Not too long ago, I wrote about how Dolce & Gabbana tried to hawk its thousand-dollar wares by featuring a Chinese model engulfed in tired old stereotypes, stuffing her face with spaghetti using chopsticks.
Well, not one to be outdone, last month, Gucci released its blue “Indy Full Turban” out into the world, the vibe of which is what comedian Hasan Minhaj straightforwardly described as “white dudes in turbans.”
The turban was listed at $790 at Nordstrom because that seems reasonable. People naturally freaked out—over the cultural insensitivity and also the audacious cost of this ridiculous turban.
Nordstrom was like, OMG OOPSIE! and pulled the turban from its website right away and issued an apology. Gucci, however, has not apologized as far as I know.
Good for them, for sticking to their racist guns.
Tiger Woods’ former swing coach ‘guesses’ that his casual sexism and racism makes ‘people feel bad’
Hank Haney has a golf-oriented radio show on SiriusXM—for now—and was heard saying just crazy old white man things on-air, on May 29.
Speaking to his co-host, Steve Johnson, Haney starts off by predicting that the U.S. Women’s Open would be won by “a Korean,” before he admits that he cannot name any Korean golfers because why learn people’s names even though it’s kind of his job to know, right? And then Haney doubles down by saying that it’s not really people he takes issue with, it’s women specifically.
He’s like, “I couldn’t name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour,” because who cares about women’s golf, right?
Haney started getting heat from his audience while still on the air, so he starts digging himself into a deeper hole:
“I’m getting blown up a bit … I can’t remember what I said … I guess people are taking this as racially insensitive. … So I’m gonna apologize right now if I offended people. … I guess I said something that made people feel bad.”
LOL, I hope he loses his job.
Kodi Lee wows on ‘America’s Got Talent’
During the season premiere of “America’s Got Talent,” 22-year-old Korean American contestant Kodi Lee, who is blind and autistic, brought judges to tears through his amazingly soulful rendition of Donny Hathaway‘s “A Song for You.”
Judge Gabrielle Union pressed the Golden Buzzer after Lee’s performance, which means that he will automatically advance to the live shows, and we will not get to see him on our TVs for a little while.
I sincerely hope that Lee doesn’t become just “inspirational porn” for the ableists (aka pretty much all of us). BTW, my title for this section is so bland because I was scared of accidentally being viewed as a jerk, which definitely makes me kind of a jerk.
‘Blue’s Clues’ reboot coming to Nickelodeon
“Blue’s Clues & You” is an updated version of “Blue Clues,” which featured an animated blue dog and originally premiered on Nickelodeon in 1996 with host Steven Michael Burns. Burns’ performance on the original show used to creep me out so much, but then, I was never in the right demographic for it. In the course of Googling info about him for this write-up, I pretty much learned that he’s a cool guy, and I was creeped out by him for no legit reason.
The new show is oriented at the preschool crowd and helps kids learn through crafts, drawing, songs, and performances.
The new host of “Blue’s Clues & You” is Filipino American Joshua Dela Cruz, who previously appeared on Disney’s “Aladdin” on Broadway, as the understudy for Aladdin.
The new “Blue’s Clues” will premiere in November.
Marie Kondo to release children’s book
Here’s more news for all the parents of young children out there. Tidying up genius Marie Kondo is coming out with a kids’ book this November, titled “Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship.” The book will also demonstrate the KonMari method of sparking joy through decluttering.
It’s the exact sort of thing that I really hate, so it’s definitely the exact kind of thing that we should probably be teaching young kids. So yay!
Zuckerberg’s head of security is probably a scumbag, probably said racist and sexist stuff about Dr. Priscilla Chan
Two former staffers of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security detail went on record at the end of last month, blasting Zuckerberg’s head of security, Liam Booth, for sexual harassment as well as for making racist and derogatory remarks against Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan. Chan is unfortunately often known as the Facebook guy’s wife, but she is really awesome in her own right.
She could’ve done nothing for the entirety of her adult life, but instead, she is a freaking Ivy League-educated medical doctor and philanthropist.
Booth is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who worked under President Barack Obama. Referring to Chan, he allegedly said, “She’s a woman and Asian, and Asians have no peripheral vision,” according to CNET.
Additionally, he allegedly also made repeated transphobic, homophobic, and anti-Black remarks.
The former staffers stated that they reported Booth’s misconduct to the managing director of Zuckerberg’s private office, but he failed to take action, which sounds about right.
Constance Wu blazing trails, showing white people what Asians already know about ourselves: We are all 16-year-old boys sometimes
On May 10, Constance Wu acted like a 16-year-old upper-middle class Asian American boy from the suburbs, who got a Lexus IS 300 for his birthday instead of a Lexus IS 350 F Sport and went nuts on his hardworking parents for being so freaking stupid and devoid of taste.
And it was a pretty amazing meltdown.
May 10 was the day that ABC announced that it was renewing “Fresh Off the Boat” (FOTB) for another season. Wu went bezerk publicly because she forgot that a TV show is a steady job that pays the salaries of dozens of people who have families to feed and kids to put through college.
Rather, she was really wrapped up in the fact that her show’s renewal meant that she could not take her “Crazy Rich Asians” fame and parlay it into the artsy fartsy film career of her dreams.
On social media, she wrote, “So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. Fk.”
And then she followed that up with, “Fking hell.”
And then she backtracked on her ungracious comment in the most problematic way, showing us that she is not the perfect Asian representation hero we have been asking for, but the one that we need.
Wu wrote an incredibly long, really self-important, self-aggrandizing apology post. Here are some highlights:
“Playing Jessica (on FOTB) is fun and easy and pleasant … so obviously I don’t dislike doing a show that is fun and easy and pleasant. But in general, I’ve always sought artistic challenge over comfort and ease.”
Also this: “I know it’s a huge privilege that I even HAVE options … but if one has privilege, they ought to use that privilege as best they can. For me — that means pushing myself artistically.”
And this: “I appreciate those who have given me the space and faith to believe what I say about both parts of my heart. Thank you. It is meaningful when you make the choice to believe women.”
I like that Wu referred to her privilege and how she is using it for the betterment of society, like making us see her in grittier, non-family-friendly roles. I also like how Wu invoked #MeToo with that last statement about how we should believe women. Like, we should believe women when they say they have been sexually assaulted. And we should also believe women who throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want and later call it wanting to push themselves artistically. They are totally the same thing.
Two of Wu’s FOTB co-stars were asked about the incident. Randall Park, who plays her on-screen husband, was asked during the premiere of his new film with Ali Wong, “Always Be My Maybe.”
He jokingly said, “Oh come on man, this is my night. You’re really going to bring that up on my night?”
Ian Chen, who plays Wu’s youngest onscreen son, is an impossible class act and said, “I understand why Constance would have these certain feelings, but I don’t think she intentionally was being selfish. Constance is a really talented actress, and it’s great working with her.”
Hey, did Chen kinda low-key say that Wu was being unintentionally selfish?
OMG, show me your ways, you sly little angel.
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.