Friday, January 6, 2012

Racism, the Army, and Pvt Danny Chen

For kids that get bullied in high school the conventional wisdom is that once you graduate It Gets Better. Once you leave the regimented confines of school, once the forced interactions with would be tormenters ends you're allowed to explore the world, find other people like yourself, and really explore the better parts of being alive. That's what we tell children, harassed and hopeless, unable to see any way out. In my personal experience, and in the experience of the vast majority of others who have made it past bad situations, this is a truth.

For Danny Chen, however, reality was cruelly the opposite.

Hollywood and Asian America a Century Later

Over the last few years the subject of Racebending has weighed heavier and heavier on my mind. I was well aware that in the early eras of film white actors routinely played Asian lead characters; the racism of the time relegating Asian actors to supporting and extra roles. I knew that, decades later, these norms had remained strong enough for David Carradine to supplant the iconic Bruce Lee in the television series Kung Fu. It wasn't until the recent debacle that was Avatar: The Last Airbender, however, that I truly began to see that Hollywood, more than lazily resisting change, was continually reinforcing these archaic norms onto the movie watching public.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Favorite Five Albums of 2011

This past year was one in which, I have to admit, I kept up with new music less than is normal for me - and certainly far less than I wanted to. It was only a few years ago that I'd scour the interwebs every Monday night in search of some possible gems about to drop on the following Tuesday. Work and occasional other interests took up more of my time this year, however I was still able to find five albums that I couldn't put down.