Monday, October 11, 2010

Is your taste in "portable valets" racist?

Discovered on a friend's wedding registry by ever-alert Stephanie and Dolly.

Is Das Supertalent racist?

Via Bossip, this story out of the world of German reality TV:

Das Supertalent, the German X-Factor ripoff that brought us such spectacles as the lady smashing beer cans with her boobs, the man who farts on cue, and the guy who paints with his dick (NSFW/L), has stooped to a new low. On Saturday’s episode they featured a white dude in blackface who did a cringe-worthy impression of the black judge on the three person panel, an American-born model named Bruce Darnell who also used to judge on Germany’s Next Top Model. It was embarrassing and racist and not funny at all, particularly since the guy repeatedly mocked Darnell’s effeminate walk.

Darnell took it in stride and just said that the impression could have been better. He then got up on stage and posed next to the impersonator, who took off his shoes to show that he’d even painted his feet black. Then the guy got out some red stiletto pumps and put them on to sashay around the stage. You could tell that it made Darnell uncomfortable, but he continued to coach him and critiqued his technique, even hugging him afterwards and joking that he’d make him a star.

When it came to whether the guy would stay on the show, Darnell agreed but his voice got squeaky when he said “ja” and it was clear he was just trying to be a good sport. The other two judges said “nein” thankfully.

Bossip also shares this video—the audio is useless, but the visuals really say it all:

Submitted by Shelia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Is hipster retro-porn racist?

Wendy calls our attention to this post from Japanistic, which addresses some kind of new hipster porn thing called "Jacques," which, frankly, interests neither Japanistic nor me in and of itself, though apparently the New York Times finds it newsworthy. Here is Japanistic's real concern:

My issue is this, quoted from the NYT article today: “The Fall 2010 issue, which will reach newsstands this week, has an Asian theme and includes articles about massage parlors and martial arts.” YES-it actually says this!! WTF!

The Asia Issue includes such riveting articles as Kung Fu Cinema, and Sex in Asia. Cutting edge stuff, I know.

Here’s what I can comfortably show you of the cover of The Asia Issue:


Yup-Geisha face, and a half-worn kimono. Truly the face of Asian women today, don’t you think? “Real Beauty of Real Women”? I don’t think so.

It’s nothing new to recognize that Asian women are fetishised. But that’s the problem with it. This is STILL happening? Does retro-styling mean that we have to employ old imagery and stereotypes? Is this the only option available to us?

It’s something we talk about a lot at Japanistic. In fact, we jokingly say that Japanistic is “cool Japanese stuff, without the porn.” When we compare what we’re doing with a lot of the other Japanese product sites, it’s fair to say that many of them employ that same fetish-based imagery.

It’s upsetting to see that a new group of hipsters is doing this too. (Need I mention that the husband and wife team behind Jacques are not ethnically Asian?)

And you know what NYT? You are equally guilty here for lauding the work of folks who utilize this vision of ethnically Asian women. Nothing about what is being done here is clever, edgy or cool. It might be retro, but sometimes, retro just sucks.

Our astute submitter Wendy sees this as a larger problem with "hipster" culture, to the extent that such a thing can be said to exist. "My question is," she writes, "are hipsters (and not just their hipster porn) racist? The Asian issue of this retro hipster porn mag reminds me of the Korean American hipster grifter from last year. A big part of her con involved playing up the exotic, Oriental thing (e.g. one of her pick-up lines was something like, 'I am Korean Abdul Jabbar.' Do hipsters have an Asian fetish? And are they trying to avoid the racist label by calling it 'retro'?"