Monday, December 14, 2009

Coin-Money Mile-ionnaires

It is a few months later, and my colleagues at the Wall Street Journal have written an adendum to my post "A Coupon Clipped is a Coupon Earned."

Miles for Nothing: How the Government Helped Frequent Fliers Make a Mint

Free Shipping of Coins, Put on Credit Cards, Funds Trip to Tahiti; 'Mr. Pickles' Cleans Up

This article tickles me. If I had the patience and time to pull off one of these schemes, I just might... but I can't help but wonder how many people start things like this -- endless rounds of free teeth whitening trials, toll free numbers, and get-now-pay-later "arrangements" -- and end up with -$234,097,234 in the bank from automatic free-trial-payments or by just forgetting to deposit the money they bought from the mint!

Well, more power to ya, Mr. Pickles, cuz it seems like sweepstakes nowadays aren't what they used to be!

More on CBS Cares and their wild gift ideas to come! Read more!

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Extended Metaphor:

I've gotten into a lot of arguments with my friends about "Free Tibet" clubs in colleges here. My case is this: Allowing Tibet to be its own sovereign nation would not harm China in any conceivable way beyond stinging a few egos, so it really should not be this much of a problem to let the Tibetans have their independence. That's plain fact - Tibet as a region does not provide China any sort of significant economic advantage, people are not flocking there to settle down and create new job markets - in all honesty, the region is largely destitute in terms of capital.

However, where do you as a (usually white) American undergrad come off demanding China concede to your stentorian will? Have you seen what's going on in your backyard, or was the steam coming off of your chai clouding your vision? Before you get all hoity-toity about how Obama's betraying progressive morals by "snubbing" the Dalai Lama in his visit to DC, consider the following:

Imagine you're living on the second or third floor of a high-rise (called Earth). Now, twenty stories up on the opposite side of the building, there's this big man with a huge family who's been helping you get through a rough patch, money-wise. For years he's been giving you cash with the guarantee that one day you'll pay him back.

By this point in your lives, everyone in the building has heard about your relationship with this big man. And everyone (including you) knows that you're not going to be able to repay him any time soon, and that, if he were to ask you for the money now, you would have to sell your apartment (and just about everything else you own) to him and his family, and then some.

Now, say this guy has this one nephew nobody in the apartment talks about. Like your financial dealings with the man, everyone knows the story about the nephew but doesn't talk about it - he's been beaten over the span of several decades and is slowly starving to death. He has the sympathies of every single tenant in the building, for sure, but nobody is certain of what to do.

Out of the blue, the man says he's coming over to your apartment to see how you're doing the following morning. That night, the nephew appears in your living room and asks if he can stay for the weekend. Would you hide him in your bathroom when his uncle comes by, or bring him out to the living room for coffee?

That's all I'm saying.

Item two, to return to my former point, is that you don't see Chinese undergrads holding up banners to "Free Lakota." Who speaks for the dying tribes of First Americans that have been relegated to third-world conditions in the US? Nobody in any college rally I've been to, walked past, or heard about. Why don't we fix that before we get on China's case? But then that would be too practical...

If there's any reason to get on Obama's case, it's his appointment of Larry Summers as director of the National Economic Council. What is that about? But that's a rant for another day.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Coupon Clipped is a Coupon Earned

When I was younger, I never understood stories of my grandfather continuing to enjoy watercress and onion sandwiches or a timeless goose-grease sandwich long after the depression was over. But now as more and more people are inventing ways to save money, that are quite resourceful, I can’t help but think that maybe these practices are just common sense ways to conserve, that we may overlook during times of plenty. And I am enjoying that these methods are making the news more and more because I get to admire how people stretch a penny, and am constantly entertained by those who attempt to cut the penny in half, paint it silver and get 20 cents out of it.

Much of the advice for saving money is still common knowledge. Don’t spend too much. Know your cost of living. Organize receipts. Make shopping lists and adhere to them. Budget your money by listing how much you want to spend each month and compare that to how much you do spend to know where to cut back.

Some ideas start to push the limits of intuition. Like, if your bar of soap is getting really small, instead of throwing it away, you can stick it to a new bar of soap. And voila! Fewer trips to the store to buy more soap because you use each bar to the end. One site I found recommended saving your junk mail and making note pads out of the paper you would have otherwise thrown away.

Conserving is not the only way to save money. There are accounts of a woman who whitened her teeth, a process that can cost a lot of money, for free just by using free trial after free trial of long term whitening methods. And depending on how readily you can print coupons (perhaps on the back of some saved junk mail?), you can always go to to get exactly what the name advertises. They have an entire page of their website devoted to links for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

However it is possible to take it too far. Recently, authorities have reported a spike in auto fraud like they’ve never seen before. In hopes of collecting insurance money, car owners have taken radical measures. “SUV’s have been found ablaze in the Nevada desert, cars have been dumped in a Miami canal and a BMW was discovered buried in a field in Texas. Some vehicles have been parked in the path of a hurricane.”

These practices are instantly flagged as suspicious, prompting further investigation and several arrests. “The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud says the number of people arrested statewide on suspicion of making false auto theft reports jumped from 96 in 2007 to 130 in 2008.” And in Dallas County it is estimated those reports have increased another 12% this year. (i recommend reading the full article here...)

So, by all means, cut the toothpaste tube when it gets to the end (evidently there’s another week’s worth of dentifrice in there. All you have to do is squeeze!). And I won’t judge if your 2009 planner is made of AOL leaflets and the envelopes to the sweepstakes you may or may not be in the running for. But if you’re planning on burying your Mercedes Benz, or torching your 1995 Camry, I say, don’t do it! Or at least make sure you've turned off all the lights at home and shut your leaky faucets. You’ll need money to pay your fine.

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What happens after?: A Discussion on the Post Racial

At first, I was astonished that there were so many people named Henry Louis Gates Jr, living in Cambridge. Not that “something like this” couldn’t happen to Henry-Harvard-Louis-Professor-Gates-African-American-Scholar-Jr, but getting arrested on your own porch for being suspected of opening your front door, whether with your key or your shoulder, seemed bizarre. Stupid, if you will.

And not just because it was his own house. There are plenty of situations in which you can, and should be arrested in your own home. Situations which warrant the time and attention of those who are in charge of serving and protecting. But this wasn’t one.

So what intrigued me was not that he got angry, or got arrested for being angry. The abuse of power, as an expression of racial superiority, is nothing new. It was that this situation became a symbol of the death of our burgeoning post racial society that caught my attention and begged the question,

what post racial society?

I have never enjoyed conversations about post racialism. On the one hand, it is hard to have a conversation about an idea where there are so many conflicting definitions. On the other, it is hard to accept an idea as new if it operates within the model of time conflated with progress, and overlaid on race, that has played a huge part in entrenching racism into our present racial society. On the third hand, when is this post racial society supposed to begin? And how far beyond our borders does it expand? On the fourth hand, who is in charge of removing all the race traces from the present _ _ _ _ _ _ society? The FCC?

How many hands do I get?

But in an effort to give post racial society a chance to defend itself, I went on a hunt for some definitions. One of the most interesting things I found was how frequently President Obama was linked to it – either as a symbol of its success or its imminence. One article defined him as the “documentation of change that has already occurred,” stating, “It is exactly because America has made such dramatic racial progress that whites today chafe so under the racist stigma.” The author goes on to say that the president “tapped into a deep longing in American life – and presenting himself to a majority white nation – Obama knew intuitively that he was dealing with a stigmatized people.”

Another article cited David Duke’s “nonchalance” about Obama’s candidacy as evidence of a blossoming post racial society saying, “we've come an awfully long way when a white Supremacist sees past race.”

Neither of these arguments supporting our post racial society inspire much confidence in me. A single person’s tepid feeling towards Obama, while he still maintains that Obama is “a racist person,” does not seem like a radical change from whatever previous racial society we just left. And using Obama, by virtue of his blackness, to absolve generations of unmitigated institutionalized racism, does not seem like a reversal of much besides who's getting which adjectives. It is hard to resolve that our post racial society is supposed to be, “an America where all groups are equal recognized for their achievements, but where all people are free to be distinct individuals,” at the same time it is thought to represent a heightened period of our already unrestrained “pro-nonwhite, anti-white policies and beliefs.”

Not only does the wording become impossible to follow as the very definition of a post racial US doubles back on itself, I begin to wonder what post-racial theory was before Obama. It seems that the entire society hinges on the function of one (1/2) black man to absolve, victimize, empower, protect, destroy, and preserve whiteness. All at the same time. And for a role that is supposed to bring about a time where we can all be “over race” there’s a lot of race in that job. Which brings to light the fact that the way race operates in the United States is much more nuanced than racial guilt or anything else that fits neatly into post-racial theory.

It therefore comes as no surprise that when Obama comments that the police acted “stupidly,” it is assumed he could only mean that the stupid act extended only to the profiling. And, in referring to race, has brought our delicately constructed post racial world crumbling down.

The reaction to his comment make more sense when taken as a measure of how instantly we rely on ingrained ideas of race relations. Gate’s race and gender in combination with the accusation of robbery distracts us from the idea that with another combination, one may focus on the idea that the police department may need a refresher course on what constitutes grounds for arrest instead. Or that profiling as a practice happens all too immediately, and may function to keep even those who work against racism blind to all its mechanisms. For those who were shocked or upset, what was it about the situation? Notions of Black masculinity? That it overrode age or physical ability?

Take for example, Richard Aoki. Imagine, Aoki, a Japanese-American man, only slightly older than Henry Louis Gates Jr, and a scholar on race and ethnicity, were arrested in the same situation. How would the press have reacted? What would have been the highlights of their story? How many people would have understood Obama’s comment to mean, the police shouldn’t have profiled Aoki and assumed as an Asian-American man in the US he had an inherent tendency towards violence – they handled the situation stupidly. How many people would have thought Aoki, at 58, capable of threatening the police officers to the extent that it would have warranted his arrest? The notions of East Asian masculinity promulgated throughout our present day society make it difficult. Is that what was so upsetting before? These are the same notions that make any idea of a post racial society impossible. If we are unable to interpret situations for more than they seem, post racialism is a dangerous place to arrive.


Richard Aoki was a member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He was the only Asian American man to hold an official leadership position – Field Marshall. Aoki passed away in March of 2009. A documentary of his life and activism is set to be released this year.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Disney in the Bayou... and LA and NY: An Update

Back in December, I wrote an article called Disney in the Bayou that focussed on Disney's newest feature film, The Princess and the Frog. The article really focussed on Disney's rocky history with characters of color and whether this film may fit into that history. Then, the bulk of available information was a teaser trailer, several outraged focus groups, and the ever important fact that history (and Disney especially) tends to repeat itself.

Recently, Disney has released a full trailer that shows us more characters and gives us an idea of their unique take on the fairy tale. 

And while I'm not sure about their decision to go from "Huh-huck, i' look like dis might take some tiiiime!" as the closing sound byte of the teaser to, "Dis gon'be goooood! Heh heh heh heh!" in the full trailer, I'm more interested to know your thoughts and opinions.

There will be a limited release in NY and LA November 25th, and the movie will be in theaters everywhere December 11th.

To see the teaser trailer and for the original article, go here: Disney in the Bayou.
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Fine Line

Today's dinner discussion topic:

Your thoughts, dear readers? Read more!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

When Things Are Taken Too Far:

It's that time of year again, when the religious disappear for a day, sandwich shops have an excuse to close extra-early (or never open, much to my frustration), children collapse in paroxysms of chocolate-induced giddiness, and the rest of us scratch our heads and ponder questions like:

"How did we get from an already dubious story about a Jewish zombie to a rabbit laying colored eggs in the dirt?"

...and other such cognitive chasms.

Fear not. I present, to use a Wikipedia term loosely, a disambiguation of (most) things Easterly.

To begin, where does the name "Easter" come from? It doesn't appear to have a Hebrew precedent, and that's because it stems from Germanic lore. In the same way that "Saturnalia" (the Roman festival observed around the winter solstice) was appropriated by Christians to garner pagan converts and establish a set date by which to observe the birth of their Messiah, "Ostern-monath" ("Ostara Month") was appropriated to represent the day Jesus punk'd the world and stopped being dead for a minute.

Ostara, also known as Ēostre (the spelling should be starting to get familiar now), was an ancient Germanic goddess of fertility, springtime (the two often go hand in hand in mythology for obvious reasons), the dawn, etc. The sunrise she brought to the Old English hills was allegedly carried in by hares, and she is commonly depicted with a hare hovering by her side (amongst a bevy of similarly adorable woodland creatures).

What is the significance of the floating bunny? Legend has it that, to amuse the young children of the land, Ostara would turn one of her favorite pet birds into a hare, and this hare would go around laying brightly colored eggs.

...Wild, isn't it?

Obviously, the poetic implications of a certain Mr. Jesus O'Nazareth rising from the dead when the deciduous world awakens from winter and blooms into life would have been foolish to pass up, and thus, Ostara's month (April), aka the weeks following the spring equinox, seemed like the perfect time to celebrate and thus, "Easter" as a holiday was institutionalized. Once again, like Saturnalia:Christmas, aspects of the pagan ceremonies were maintained (in the case of Saturnalia, gift-giving is one prime example), and thus, somehow, the magical rabbit perservered.

As a final cherry on top, the last section of this article suggests that Ostara herself may have had zero historical precedent, and may have been invented by the Venerable Bede, a famous monk whose writings are the first mention of Ostara in connection to Ostern-monath. Prior to his book, all mention of Ostara disappears. Thus, the Venerable Bede (side note: best name/title combo ever?) may be the Old English answer to Stephen Hillenburg (he of "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" fame).

What does it all mean? For this humble, secular and chocoholic citizen, this particular Easter story suggests that for centuries we have been celebrating an unreasonably well-crafted practical joke on all counts - w/r/t Jesus, the bunny, and beyond. But what else is new?
(History: Eerily repetitive since the dawn of time.)
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Sunday, March 22, 2009


The 8 Millenium Goals:

As ambassadors from IINOI, Grambo and I went to the Millennium Development Goals Awards on Tuesday, held in the UN General Assembly. The objective of the Millennium Goals, agreed upon by 189 countries at the 2000 UN Summit, is to "free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected."

And to do it by 2015.

But as we learned from an extraordinarily entertaining and inspirational celebration that night, it is not so unrealistic…

[I have to admit that I knew very little about the program for the night, and had no idea what to expect, besides some speeches and musical performances – pretty standard elements of any formal event. But it turned out to be so much more than that, it would take me hours and hours to describe my reaction to or impressions of every unexpected detail. Like the fact that every member of the MDG Awards house band has won several Grammy’s in the course of his musical career. Or how hilarious Desmond Tutu is. Thankfully, the whole ceremony was webcast here. If you do not have the time to watch the whole thing, I would suggest watching the 4th and final section. You’ll at least see Tutu’s acceptance speech and a performance by a very interesting artist named K’naan. But for now, I want to focus my reflections on what I felt was one of the most important elements of Tutu’s speech: the concept of ubuntu.]

You and I were made for one another.

It’s hard not to think of this phrase as a Hollywood cliché (or more recently, as one of the cutest Frito-Lay ad campaigns ever). But at the MDG Awards, this was the definition Tutu gave for the term ubuntu. And thinking about what it can mean on a larger and probably non-romantic scale, it is the simplest way to describe how our society functions every day.

Take language as an example. Many consider the ability to speak one of the only characteristics to definitively separate us from animals. It is our vehicle to transmit moral concepts, preserve histories, develop technology, or have any opinion at all about anything. And yet, it is a known fact that human beings who grow up outside of a society, isolated from other human beings, never develop language and rarely acquire it even after being introduced into a community. But at the same time, any infant from any part of the world, if moved to a different society with a different language, would have no trouble at all obtaining fluency in that language as he or she matured into a child and then an adult.

It is the social, not necessarily biological, element that allows language to be the characteristic that can separate us from animals. And in that sense, you and I were made for each other. Without others, we would not exist as the same human beings we are now because we would have none of the markers we use to establish our identities as shared or dissimilar. It is the concept, as Tutu went on to describe, that “a person is a person through other persons.”

Applying that logic globally does two things simultaneously. It strips away the campy, kum-ba-yah feel of saying all humans are part of the same family. And it heaps a load of responsibility for the conditions of others’ lives on us.

If we couldn’t identify the markers that made us alike or different because we were all feral and isolated, then it seems like the importance we put on those same markers is rather arbitrary. We need each other in order to push each other away? But if we choose society over isolation, then we accept that a person is a person through other persons and must equally accept that a person’s conditions are a certain way because of our own. If you ever had a job, it is because your boss had a job and received whatever training or qualifications he/she had from whoever’s life was such that they could provide them. Examples like this can be crafted for every aspect of human life. So it follows that if to meet all eight Millenium Goals in 15 years will require $50 billion in aid per year, but governments spent $300 billion in 2003 alone on arms and weapon development, something has to be re-evaluated.

For many, the reaction to that may be the argument that much of that money was spent in a war against terror. And perhaps anticipating this, Tutu, in a very poignant and sobering prediction said, "We will never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate.” If we take responsibility for those conditions, it is a war we had a significant part in starting and we are fighting against ourselves.

If you don’t know how you can contribute to this effort, my suggestion is to learn more about it and its various branches. And if you still don’t know what I mean about Desmond Tutu being hilarious, my suggestion is that you watch the webcast of the extraordinary ceremony.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA® March Madness®

Baller. Also y'all should watch the live video by checking our post below this one!! IT'S MADNESS!!!

Get Ready for the Best Time of the year... when madness represents something more than your organizational skills. I did y'all a favor and got the live video feed from CBS so that you can indulge in your most marvelous March Madness® mania mayhem... ehh, you get the point. Tell your people to just hit us up: to get your updates and to watch the tournament at work or on the go.

Because... we care. haha.

Click Here if you want that goodness known as NCAA® March Madness®.

Enjoy the tournament!! You probably won't here much from your friendly neighborhood Perf until after April 6th!
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Friday, February 13, 2009

NBA Pre All-Star Weekend Finals Prediction

So for the last two years I have been priding myself with correctly predicting the NBA Finals teams and the result. Last year, I even managed to predict the number of games in which my C's murked the Lakers. The trick is that I have to do it before All-Star Weekend... and lucky for y'all, it's the first day of All-Star Weekend in Phoenix.

There's no formula, as a friend asked me the other day when I told him that I've done this in the past, there's no money down, hell... I don't even tell people that I made the prediction. But I thought that I would put myself out there this time and see if I have a knack for seeing how this game unfolds. So let's do a mini analysis of the top 3 teams in the East and all top 9 teams in the West.. because let's be honest, no other team has the chance of making it to the finals stage. There will be no 1999 8th Seeded Knicks repeat this year... unless the Jazz are the 8th seed, Boozer comes back 125% and they can torch the likes of the Lakers/Spurs/Hornets/etc.

Let's start with the easy part, the West. Sounds funny that the division that has 9 contenders is the easy part but it is. For one simple reason; Kobe Bryant. All of these teams are good and you can make a case for all of them going to the Finals but they have to get by Bryant's Lakers. The Lakers that are one of the most dominating teams to play the game. I mean, they're nothing like the Jordan-Pippen-Rodman Bulls but pretty close; Jordan/Kobe and a bunch of really good role players. The West standings right now are in this order: Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, Trailblazers (whaaaat?!), Rockets, Hornets, Mavs, Jazz, Suns. First of all, I can't believe young man Brandon Roy is leading his team right now to a home playoff game --in the first round?! Baller, to say the least. But if any of these teams have a chance to derail the lakers, I'll say the Spurs. They know how to control a game and just demoralize a team. Most Likely Lakers-Spurs again... Lakers in 6...?! Who knows.

Now the tough part. The East. Any of these top 3 teams can go to the Finals. The top 3 being the Celtics, the Cavs and the Magic. The Magic took a big blow when Jameer Nelson was injured putting him out for.. probably the rest of the season. He's neccessary to the Magic if they plan on making it to the Finals. They're a good team without him but they are championship caliber with dude. So what will probably end up happening is that the Cavs murk the Magic in 5 games without Nelson.. if he's there, 7 games. Looks like a repeat Eastern Conference Finals with the C's and the Cavs. The Cavs are hungry this year.. very much unlike they've been in the past. Watch when Delonte West comes back from his injury how well they play and they will probably steel the top place in the East from the C's for more than half a week. Ultimately, however, the C's will reclaim 1st place and home field advantage. The Cavs also have All-Star point guard Mo Williams and are not relying on young dude with the bad haircuts Daniel Gibson as the point guard. Making it really, really hard for me to say that they upset the C's in 7 games. :-(

Dude needs homies to tell him that his
hair ventures are not ok. smh.

The Finals are set, Lakers v. Cavs. Let's not get too much into it but let's just say one future hall of famer does not get another ring and one future hall of famer gets his first. This time 6 games.

I'm telling y'all. The Cavs are hungry. And even if Bynum makes it back for the playoffs, which is highly unlikely, Big Z will give him a clinic.

two times.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Daily Diversion:

Click this button: Cornify

Visit to do this to your own website. For whatever reasons you might have. Read more!

Role Models

If there's one thing that Michael Phelps, Alex Rodriguez, and Chris Brown can teach America's youth, it's this: get rich then get in trouble, and let your agent or spokesperson handle the dirty work.

Has anyone else noticed that 2009 has exposed more phonies than Playboy? I mean, from the jokers who spend $50 million on private jets (American jobs, yes, I know) and $200 million to name a stadium, to those "performance enhancing" athletes (whether it be testosterone or that gold medal kush), to those allegedly abusive "squeaky clean" R&B artists, who are parents supposed to trust with their kids attention these days? Never before in my lifetime have so many cheaters been exposed in such a short period of time. And it seems to be more and more difficult for them to come clean and look sincere...

Personally, I think that cheaters should never prosper (see Marion Jones), but at the same time, everyone should be given a fair shot at forgiveness. I worry about the kids who will watch this unfold (most likely from a video podcast on their brain-melting iPhones) and think that if they haven't been carted off to jail, or kicked out of their sport or their jobs, then it's not all that bad. I know nothing about parenting, but I imagine I would have a really, really tough time pitching the morally high road to my kids. Unless that high road had an exclusive agreement with Fruit by the Foot and Apple Jacks, and the low road only had brussels sprouts and cottage cheese.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Job Fairs: Get Hired

The economy's rough. You need a job. Check one of these fairs that I found in this morning's copy of amNewYork.

Tuesday - Feb. 10th
Virtual Engineering Fair
Time: 9am-8pm
To register: Free registration at Click on the Advice & Resources link and scroll down to the Career Fairs section.

Wednesady - Feb. 11th
Advertising Industry Diversity Job Fair and Leadership Conference
Location: NYU Helen & Martin Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square South
Time: 1pm-530pm
To register: Preregistration closed. Onsite registration available.

Women Job Fair
Location: Affinia Manhattan, 371 Seventh Ave., at 31st St.
Time: 10am-3pm
To register: Free registration at

Friday/Saturday - Feb. 13th/14th
Japanese-English Bilingual New York Career Forum
Location: Penn Plaza Pavilion, 401 Seventh Ave.
Time: 9am-7pm
To register: Free registration at

Village Voice Virtual Career Fair

two times.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Oh Hell No! Diddy gets confused

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words... sometimes it's only worth one word...

I got this pic from, one of my favorite websites to keep track of hip hop with. Diddy is like 'What the hell is this? Looks like the rest of these but different.. hmm..'

Also the 50 cent and Rick Ross beef is probably one of the most entertaining things in the news.. so if you don't know, find out..
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Montana Syndrome: Or, the Popularization of Not Giving a Shit About Asian America

Confession: The same thought I usually have when I see this poor girl's name in the news crossed my mind when I read this headline: "Ignore it. She is a child. Who goes by Miley. Because that is an improvement on her actual name. Which is Destiny Hope (not kidding). She is nothing to you." But how could you resist a header like "Miley Cyrus Denies She's Racist" and just move along with the rest of the drivel about the latest butthurt Republican salt lick? Really, I'd like to know, because I couldn't. And I'm not sure if I'm a better person for reading the article or not.

There's a problem with the photo in question - one that kills me every time I try to discuss the topic of racism in a multiethnic America, particularly with regards to "Asian-Americans" - namely, the second kid (from left) in the photo.

I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on this whole situation, because I imagine it's all to do with his being there in the first place. Because the fundamental question that needs to be asked in this kind of a situation is: would you pull something like this if a person of East Asian descent was in the room?

Now in a normal, educated setting, the answer would of course be a resolute "no." But that's not what we're talking about here. I would not endure friends like these for very long, and because of my own personal experiences, I read a slight measure of discomfort in that poor guy's face. But I could be totally mistaken. The boy could be fine with it. He's friends with Miley Cyrus, after all.

Which is the crux of the matter, when it comes down to it. That a pop starlet (regardless of what you think of her talent, that is her objective position in society) could so blithely and earnestly deny the inherently offensive nature of that gesture speaks more to the environment she comes from than her character - again, she's a child. Read part of the statement she made earlier today:

I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new `BAD GIRL'!

To this I say: think a little more carefully, Destiny. You cannot deflect this, or place it amongst the sundry misbehaviors of your teenage-pop-star predecessors. When the press singles out a "bad girl" (take any example you prefer), it's generally because she provides a recurring string of incidents involving profound substance abuse that are fun to photograph. However, at the end of the day none of those photos reveal much of anything in particular about the person in question. Even in the dawn of show business, it was rare for celebrities to be seen en masse as moral compasses, and especially now, women in their 20's who don't like to party are pretty hard to come by. Being a "bad girl" never did and still does not have a thing to do with, to provide another example, hanging out with your One Black Friend and deciding it'd be fun to take pictures of you sitting next to him/her with shoe polish and lipstick on your face.

Why, Destiny, is that "goofy" face you and your friends are putting on not so goofy to your one East Asian friend? Is he just not as funny as you are? Is that it? Just to provide some 101, this is the sort of thing that goofy face originated from:

I could honestly talk about this issue for hours. I have. I hope for a day when the term "Asian" isn't even part of the culture, because it's as meaningless as calling Miley Cyrus "North American." But stories like this remind me that the 20th century is going to be tough to shake, and all I can do for now is declare my objections and then hunt for another glass of wine to cherish and hold close.

Good night.
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