Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Asian Week Is Dead

Some folks are comparing this ridiculous Kenneth Eng editorial to the “Tsunami Song” incident at Hot 97 two years back. I am not going to disagree.

Talk of a boycott against Asian Week is already afoot. If these interweb activists are serious–and we can ask Abercrombie & Fitch about how serious they can be–they may be enough to actually shut down this tiny little weekly paper that claims almost 50,000 readers–which is, not coincidentally, equal to the number of all the people in the Fang family plus all of their friends and everyone they owe money to rounded up to the nearest half hundred thousand.

It is truly jaw-dropping that the same pressure to be not just stupid, not just anti-”PC”, but completely frickin’ moronic, has not affected only media monopolies (think radio, TV, the New Times) but even Asian American-targeted free weeklies, that is, the alternative alt-weeklies!

Trust me, I get that community papers don’t always have access to the “best and brightest”, who are all, um, going to work for Google. But in Eng, we have a 20-something dude who barely leaves his house, doesn’t seem to hold anything in esteem–Blacks, religion, whites, Asian Americans–except for his writing abilities, which are not yet developed enough to allow him to be able to write coherently about anything for more than 400 words, except for sci-fi stories, as Poplicks points out none-too-subtly, about dragons who pack swords and guns. Isn’t fire-breath enough any more?

(For kicks, you can read Kenny’s rabid description of his recent college-going experience, click here and scroll down to the article gently entitled, “DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ASIANS AT NYU”, all caps his. Yet another jaw-dropper in the way it manages to cheapen the real experiences of discrimination all too many Asian Americans experience every day.)

Eng has now been sent packing–and we can rest assured he will not be recruited to go work at some competitor ala Star & Buckwild because even Viacom now thinks this niche is just too damn small.

The financial damage to Mr. Eng will also be miniscule. He could make more money washing dishes, if he would ever bother to leave his bedroom. Perhaps he’ll get called for that new “comedy” show on Fox News Channel. Even Jon Stewart has one black guy working for him.

But someone named Fang ought to be seriously questioning Asian Week’s Email-Forwarder-In-Chief Samson Wong’s judgment. If this was s’posed to be an expose of real tensions between Blacks and Asians, who let it past logic check? (Russo-Japanese war–huh?) If this was s’posed to be edgy humor, who the hell thought it was funny?

Here’s Asian Week’s tepid, at best, apology which reveals, by not saying so, that essentially the Fangs’ last serious journalistic venture–whoa, who knew those words after ‘last’ would ever appear together in a sentence?–is getting out in the world with no one at the wheel. It doesn’t take that famous Asiaphile Paul Haggis to tell you that such cars will eventually crash, and afterward, often burn.

So anyway, it’s not as titillating as the fake Antonella Barba pictures (I’m not linking those you perves), but Hyphenblog is hosting a funky feedback fiesta. For me, the best of all is Claire Light’s angry screed–I consider Emil “Amok” Guillermo a friend, but whew! just read this–entitled all too aptly, “Embarassed 2 B Azn”.

Yup, I think I’ll stay home tonight, too.

posted by @ 5:31 pm | 4 Comments

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

God Bless Forest Whitaker

For representing to the fullest. Who shouts out the ancestors when they are the only reason we can do what we do? Only Forest. That’s all I gotta say.

posted by @ 9:09 pm | 2 Comments

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Beyond Beats and Rhymes


What’s really going on?

Tomorrow, we’ll be featuring a screening of Byron Hurt’s important new movie, Beyond Beats and Rhymes, at San Francisco State University . It’s a documentary that will be airing on PBS nationally on February 21st. It’s a must-see, a bracing examination of issues of sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and masculinity. Due to personal reasons, Byron will no longer be able to make it, but we will be featuring a panel including Davey D, Deep Dickollective’s Juba Kalamka, and UC Berkeley’s Dr. Leigh Braiford.

I suggest watching Byron’s movie in light of this heartbreaking short, A Girl Like Me, made by high school student Kiri Davis. Kiri revisits the important Kenneth Clark thought experiment that formed part of the NAACP’s argument over Brown V. Board, to unpredictably devastating effects.

Join us Thursday night at SFSU for this important discussion.

posted by @ 11:47 am | 4 Comments

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Plug Three With The Whole Committee

In my talks, I’ve often asked my audiences if anyone knows what the 1996 Telecom Act was about, and how it affected the quality of hip-hop we are hearing and seeing. I’m usually met with blank stares. Yet the story of media consolidation explains a lot about why reactionary shock jocks of color rule urban radio, why there’s so much crap on TV, and why the media justice movement has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last three years, especially in hip-hop circles.

There have been a raft of books in the media justice movement recently, but none as good as NYU prof and progressive journalist Eric Klinenberg’s new book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media. Eric breaks down the massive changes that have occurred and their human toll, including the firing of Davey D from KMEL. If you’re in the Bay, Eric will be appearing at the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday and the Berkeley J-School on Wednesday. Check his website for more info.

2007 seems to be the year to talk hip-hop arts. Spelman prof and all-around brilliant dude Jelani Cobb also has a book out now on the aesthetics of hip-hop, called To The Break of Dawn that is definitely worth checking. If that wasn’t enough, he’s got another book coming out in March–a collection of his essays provocatively entitled The Devil and Dave Chappelle: And Other Essays–and he also makes an appearance in Byron Hurt’s essential documentary, “Beyond Beats And Rhymes”, which airs nationally on PBS on February 21st. Much more about that important movie to come.

My man Keith Knight has been called America’s most dangerous man with a Sharpie. He’s got a new collection out called Are We Feeling Safer Yet? and it was so funny I put my back out again while reading it. Click here to see why, or if you’re in the Bay, just open a San Francisco Chronicle “96 Hours” section on Thursday and go straight to the back. Then, if you’re like me, just make sure you’re strapped into an ergonomically correct seat.

posted by @ 10:34 am | 4 Comments



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