A-pop! All things Asian in popular culture
By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
This month was wacky. In the words of the inimitable Sharon Stone, “Is that karma, when you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?”
Think about that as I run through the latest haps in pop culture.
It’s not racist if it’s sexy
After the June 9 matchup between the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Royals pitcher Bruce Chen gave an interview to FOX while his teammate, catcher Humberto Quintero, pulled back his eyes into Chink-mode and mugged for the cameras. Some fans were pissed.
“I’m not offended at all,” said Chen. “I’m proud of my heritage and being Asian. I really like the way my eyes look. It makes me look sexy. It’s just joking around.”
Guys, Chen is right. We are all overly sensitive. Racism is sexy.
But you know what isn’t sexy? Women of color. At least according to Victoria’s Secret in their annual “What is Sexy?” list. Of 20 entities named on the list, only one isn’t white: Beyonce. To be fair, the cast of “Pretty Little Liars” was also named, and of the four leads, Shay Mitchell is half Filipino, which sort of counts, I guess. D+ for effort!
Coldplay and Rihanna teamed up to make a silly looking music video backed by a really dull song, “Princess of China.” It seems they were trying to give it a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sheen, but it ended up looking more like “Mortal Kombat Annihilation,” minus Robin Shou’s badass fighting skills. I hope, for the sake of Chris Martin’s sanity, “Princess of China” will go into the pantheon of such great hits like “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Turning Japanese.”
Speaking of “Crouching Tiger,” all month, actor Zhang Ziyi has been telling anyone who’d listen that she was not a high-class prostitute paid $100 million to have sex with Chinese Communist Party officials, including Bo Xilai (barf). So, was she or wasn’t she? I hope not, because I love her. And Bo Xilai is super corrupt. And super old. <!–more–>
They said what?
Remind me never to work for Sharon Stone. Her former Filipino nanny is suing her for a litany of bat-crazy things. Stone allegedly bashed the nanny’s ethnicity, food, and banned the nanny from speaking to Stone’s children, lest they grow up sounding all Filipino and junk. Stone also allegedly stiffed the nanny on overtime pay.
Remember, these allegations are being leveled against a woman who was famously quoted saying, “[The Chinese] are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened and I thought, ‘Is that karma, when you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?’ ” referring to the 2008 Sichuan quake that killed 68,000 people. Stay classy, Sharon.
Want to travel to the Far East and hang with virtual pandas and dragons in rice paddies? There’s an app for that.
Zynga is expanding its FarmVille offerings with Jade Falls. Now, for those who don’t get what FarmVille is about, join the club. I think it’s a game people play on their phones or computers that sucks productivity into a black hole. Anyway, people are pretty upset over all the stereotypes running amok in Jade Falls.
From Zynga, “This exotic locale has new quests, rules, and characters, where players can earn ‘ZP’ by planting, plowing, and harvesting new plants including wasabi, rice, and green tea. Players can decorate a new game board with amazing, new Asian-inspired buildings, including palaces and floating castles. … Ever wrestle a dragon or frolic with a panda bear? Yes? Wait.”
Get with it, Zynga. Castles don’t float in Asia.
I’m not a boxing fan, so can someone tell me if a criterion for being a boxer is the ability to spew hateful speech or what? Not too long ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was all like: People only think Jeremy Lin is cool because he’s Asian. Then, Manny Pacquiao was all like: Gay people getting married to one another is gross. Now, Floyd’s uncle Roger Mayweather, a former pro boxer, is all like: Bring me sushi, random Asians — I wish I could eat a grand slam at IHOP without being accosted by the presence of Chinese people — Filipino women’s reproductive systems seem diminutive enough to make me want to take off my pants.
I had to paraphrase his statements for you because Roger almost exclusively relies on F-bombs, MF-bombs, P-bombs, and the word “Chink” to get his points across.
The good stuff
Now that I’ve bummed everyone out, let me pick the mood back up with some cheery news.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and all-around gabillionaire, married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. Chan recently graduated from medical school and plans to be a pediatrician. She pushed for prioritizing organ donation as one of Facebook’s social causes, shuns the media, and seems brilliant, practical, and all around awesome.
Here’s a public service announcement. The next time someone tells you that Asians can’t drive, shove ’em down to the ground and slap that punk with the following piece of news. Recently in Beijing, a dude named Han Yue took the Guinness World Record for tightest parallel parking job. He masterfully slid his car into a space that was longer than the car by only 5.91 inches.
Stoner flick “Harold and Kumar” is slated to become an animated TV series on Adult Swim, an R-rated block on Cartoon Network. The series is in development and both Kal Penn and John Cho will voice the two lead characters. I’m surprised John Cho has the energy. He’s busy playing Matthew Perry’s scene-stealing, hilarious boss in NBC’s upcoming “Go On,” Hikaru Sulu in the next “Star Trek” film, and the bad guy in the “Total Recall” remake. This star’s about to supernova, y’all.
Comedian Steve Byrne, who is half Korean, will star in TBS’s upcoming “Sullivan & Son” as a corporate lawyer who moves back to his hometown and takes over the family bar. Zany hijinks will ensue. I guess.
Christine Ha, a “MasterChef” contestant who is blind, made judge Joe “Death Glare” Bastianich cry because her Vietnamese catfish dish was so amazing. Ha was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition that caused her to go blind when she was a teenager. Like Joe, I also blubbered like a baby when I watched her cook. Two other Asian Americans are still in the competition: Felix Fang and Tanya Noble. (end)
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.