Pssst. Hey, you. Come a little closer because I have a secret to tell you. I fucking hate Amy Tan. Shocking, I know, but I cannot stand the bitch. OK, OK, to be fair, that’s not exactly true. I don’t hate Amy Tan herself (partly because I don’t even know her), but I hate the trend that she has spawned. Do you remember back in the day when The Joy Luck Club (the novel) was released and became a sensation? It was released in 1989, and the movie was made in 1993. The book became a smash and everyone was reading it. I read it after I discovered I was Asian American and a woman to boot (you remember the drill of how I was was a blonde skinny bitch wannabe early in my misbegotten youth) simply because I had read so few Asian American women before, and I was thrilled to find that we did exist in the literary mainstream. I found it easy enough to read, but I was disappointed by how the characters weren’t fleshed out and how all the women were long-suffering at the hands of evil men. It seemed like if the women weren’t suffering, then they weren’t really living. I didn’t like the book very much, and I put it aside. I was done with it, or so I thought. Unfortunately, America’s obsession with Amy Tan wouldn’t let me be done with the damn book. I remember one woman gushing to me about how, after reading the book, she knew what it was like to be a Chinese woman in America. I didn’t say anything, but I was thinking, “I don’t even know what it’s like to be a Chinese woman in America (I’m Taiwanese), so how the fuck can you?” I dismissed her as a typical guilty liberal, and I moved on with my life. Yeah, whatever. Amy Tan. She would have her flash-in-the-pan moment and then disappear into the night. Oh, how young and stupid I was.
Little did I know that The Joy Luck Club would kick off the genre I like to refer to as the heavily-oprressed, intergenerational Asian women genre. I would throw Maxine Hong Kingston’s Warrior Woman into the mix as well, but that didn’t reach nearly the lofty heights that The Joy Luck Club did. In this genre, the characters were Fresh off the Boat (FOB) Asian. They spoke with thick accents, lived in Chinatown or equivalent neighborhoods, stuck to their own, and worked long hours in a laundry or restaurant. For many years after The Joy Luck Club hit its peak, any female Asian American author had to follow the standard boilerplate of working class FOB Asian women who got oppressed or beaten or abused by the men in their life. I don’t blame the women who wrote these books; I blame America’s insistence in putting the ‘other’ in a palatable box.
Hello. I have not blogged for the past few days for several reasons. One, I am fucking sick and tired of political bullshit, and it’s one of my bailiwicks. Two, I’ve been busy with work and shit, damn it. Three, I’m mulling something over in my mind that I don’t really want to blog about, but I do. But I don’t. But I do.
In the end, I will blog about it because that’s what I do. However, for the first time, I am going to be circumspect about what I say, so be prepared for the vaguest post ever. With that disclaimer out of the way, here I go.
I have been relatively happy for the past few months for several reasons. It’s a new feeling for me, and I had a hard time getting used to it. I don’t trust happiness, you see, because it has a bad habit of coming back to bite me in the ass. In addition, happiness eventually ends in tears. In the past, I would decide that whatever possibility of happiness I might be offered was far outweighed by the surety of pain that was to follow. For the most part, I stayed in my safe little world, shielding myself from any potential pain–which meant shielding myself from any potential pleasure as well.
The beginning of the change was when I finally got up my courage to blog. I had so much shit running through my mind that I had to let it out somehow. Words have always been my friends, my allies, my comfort, my solace, and my home. I decided I might as well use them to my advantage, and so, this blog was born. It took me many months to get it up and running (including a complete rehaul of the whole damn thing), but I finally reached a point where I felt ready to share my blog with the world–or at least a really tiny sliver of it. I let a few friends know that my blog was up. Then, a few more. Then, I posted a link on the home page of my FB profile. After a few months of that, I took a deep breath and started posting my URL on various political blogs on which I commented.
We lost a good man today. Well, yesterday, but I woke up to the news today. Senator Ted Kennedy, the last of the fabled Kennedy boys, has left this world. He has been in serious decline for the last year or so, so I can’t say it was a shock to wake up to the sad news this morning. I can say, however, that it was still startling to lose him right now. I feel an ineffable sadness that I can’t explain. The assassinations of JFK and RFK were before my time, so their impacts on me weren’t as immediate as they would have been if I’d been alive at the time.
Teddy Kennedy is the only Kennedy man I’ve ever really known. Yes, he was the drunk driver in the car that killed Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969. The fact that he was a Kennedy probably got him out of serving any jail time. Still, he had a decision to make at that time. He could continue to drink and do stupid, stupid, stupid things, banking on his family name to get him through scrapes, or he could man up and do something worthwhile, damn it. He chose the latter and spent the rest of his life atoning for the grievous sins of his youth.
His last great passionate was universal healthcare. He worked so hard to pass a bill that would ensure that every American would have health insurance. He fought and he fought, damn it, until his body gave out. There are some on the right (yes, I’m looking at you, Michelle Malkin) who warn the left that we better not use this moment to push through healthcare reform. We better not make it political, damn it, but her saying that isn’t political in the least, is it?
I am blogging tipsy again, and I have reached my limit with the sheer stupidity that is the GOP party right now (as well as the asswipes from the so-called liberal media who are nothing but a bunch of apologetic whores for the right). The birthers, the deathers (or, as Keith Olbermann calls them, the death-eaters. Heh heh), the death panels, the death books, and now the circumcisers. When the fuck will it end?
Beyond that, the crap that the GOP is spewing about how healthcare is socialism and fascism and omigod there’s a blackity-black man in the White House!, and we need to defeat Shaft! in his Obamacare. You know what? We are the last fucking first world nation that doesn’t have some sort of universal healthcare. We can give a bajillion zillion dollars to Wall Street (and yes, it’s a technical term–look it up), kajillion bamillion dillion dollars to Halliburton and Blackwater, er, to fight our two endless wars, and yet, we can’t spend any money to help the poor people in our own fucking country? Give me a fucking break.
Ok, fine. Congress people, listen up. Those of you who are against socialized medicine and the government running healthcare should have the moral intergrity to give up your own tax-funded healthcare plans. Currently, there is only one Congressman who is refusing to accept health insurance with his job in order to make a point. He is an M.D., and he is from Wisconsin. Meet Steve Kagen, the only Congress person who is putting his money where his mouth is. He will not accept a plan that has options not all his constituents can access. He is, of course, a Democrat. He is for universal healthcare. See, he’s walking his talk.
Sorry. You get no blog today. I am feeling shitty, and I don’t feel like talking about it, so you get some videos instead.
Video Number One is from TiredMom. She said she thought of me when she heard it. Besides the fact that I DO want it all the time, I agree with the rest of the song. It’s called Give it to Me Right by Melanie Fiona. It’s just the song because I can’t embed the actual video. I’m providing a link to the video because she’s freaking gorgeous, and the video is steamy.
Next up is a video clip from Rachel’s show with my newest political crush, Anthony Weiner of NY. He’s a true progressive with balls, and he’s very cute, too. Here’s the link.
When we left your intrepid blogger, I was waxing poetic about sex. What? I was talking about god? Little matter. My blog, my spin. Anyway, we were talking about words and how much I adore them. They intoxicate me and fill me with a swooning glee. I savor the taste of a new word as it rolls off my tongue–or trips, as the case may be. Each word has a subtle flavor to it. Well, some aren’t subtle. Piquant is spicy, of course; dolce is sweet; chocolate is utter paradise. These are all self-evident. Some other words are a bit more enigmatic in their taste. Lugubrious has a hint of black licorice to it. Deliquesce is creamy alfredo sauce. Melancholia is laced through with limes and raspberries. Alan Rickman is chocolate, which is, if you remember, utter bliss.
So the next word I chose to describe myself was writer. I hesitated to use it for a long time because I didn’t feel like a “real” writer (read, published). I had had a few things published in the Asian American Renaissance Literary Journal, but not much else. Oh, wait. I should say I added performer to my repertoire before adding writer. I was an Actor (with a captial A, thank you very much, and not an actress), but then I got frustrated with theatre, as it were, and I decided to do my own thing. I wrote the performances, blocked them, staged them, provided the makeup and costumes, and I performed in them, so I guess autocrat would be a better description, but I’ll settle for performer.
Words are funny things. In and of themselves, they are pretty neutral. It’s only because of the meaning we imbue them with that they become charged. Take, for example, the word faggot or fag. In America, it’s a derogatory term for a homosexual man. In England, it’s a cigarette. Originally, it meant a stick.
In addition, who uses the word make a big difference as well. Queers can use it; non-queers cannot. Many people outside the community (any community, really. Look at the word nigger as a very explosive example) don’t understand why it’s ok for a gay man to call another gay man a fag, but it’s not ok for the non-gay man to call him that.
I used to work for the county, and I did diversity training. I said something about being bi and that those of us in the queer community, blah blah blah. I got two emails informing me that someone outside the community should not use the term. I emailed back and said that is correct, but as I am in the community, I can use it. However, I realized that using it would bring up issues that were not relevant to the discussion, so I changed it to GLBT instead.
As I have noted many times, I love words. I love saying them. I love reading them. I love learning new ones. I love using words that may not be a part of every day conversation. In fact, I know so many words, I sometimes don’t realize that a word I’m using isn’t in the American vernacular. For example, the word ablution. I love it, and I use it whenever I can. However, I have had several people ask me what it means, so I took a poll of the smartest people I know: my family and friends (and my therapist). To my surprise, only one person knew what it meant. That amazed me. I mean, I just assumed it was a well-known word. I was wrong.
First of all, this is the best political thread of the day, bar none. It’s classic Balloon Juice snark–very high quality. I start out with that because I need all the laughs I can get these days, and that entire thread gave me hearty guffaws for several minutes. I go to BJ for the front page bloggers, but I stay for the commenters. They are in a class of their own (and yes, you can find a few comments by me there as well).
Second, I am sipping a rum and Diet Pepsi as I blog, so who knows what will flow from my fingers? I am going to see if alcohol helps me sleep. I know, I know, but I’m desperate at this point. Last night, I had a horrific dream. I dreamed that there was a woman who knew something that she refused to tell. So, “they” (the military) put her and a guy into an air-tight, glass-walled room and turned up the heat. I am watching the scene as if it is a movie. The interrogator is calmly informing his underlings that you have to go slowly so that you can still get information from the person being grilled. Literally. The flesh melts off the people’s faces and their hands (they are wearing clothes). Both of them have their faces and hands pressed in horror to the glass walls as their flesh disappears. The interrogator keeps giving his lecture, failing to notice that the people are fried to a crisp. He (the interrogator) turns to the woman and demands that she tells what she knows. She can’t say anything, obviously, because she’s dead, but that doesn’t stop the interrogator from threatening to throw a friend of hers into the room to make her talk.
Sadly, this is far from the most disturbing dream I’ve ever had. So, numbing my brain with alcohol before going to bed doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. I can’t take sleeping pills because the dose is never right. I have a hard time waking up afterwards, which is never a good thing.
I have many things going on right now, so why do I feel as if I’m going nowhere, and fast? As I mentioned yesterday, I have a new blogging gig. In addition, I have my mom’s magnum opus to type (around 250 pages), and another editing job on the backburner. In addition, I’m blogging every day. I have tentatively stepped back into the realm of fiction, and I intend to get my fiction blog up and running sometime soon.
So, what’s the problem? I am burnt out. My emotional reservations are low, and I don’t know how to shore them up. My sis-in-law is neurotic, controlling, and the unhappiest person I know. Whenever I am around her, I am overwhelmed by the negative sensory input that I receive.
My mom and I went to my bro’s today to celebrate my nephew’s third birthday (and cake. Cake IS NOT a lie). I didn’t get the chance to snooze before we went, so I was already thin in the protective shield area. If I am up and rested, I can shrug off my SIL’s constant sniping. When I feel the way I did today, however, I just can’t deal with it.
It doesn’t help that it reminds me of being around my father when I was young. His big weapon was his silent treatment. He would sit in a recliner in stony silence, and the rest of us would have to tiptoe around him lest we sent him further into a tizzy. I never knew what would set him off and what would finally snap him out of it.
I just found out some news that really pisses me off, but since it’s of the least importance, I will save it for later.
First of all, I have added Yellow Menace to my blogroll to the left. Please check it out when you have a moment because it’s a rollicking good site filled with all the fun facts about Asian pop culture your little hearts could ever desire. You should also check it out because Musashi (with gentle prodding from Mazinga) has invited me to be a blogger on the site! I had visited the site and perused it because both Musashi and Mazinga are really cool guys, and after Musashi made his invitation, I looked over the site much more thoroughly.
I liked it. A lot. In fact, I bought a book based on a recommendation from AnaKhouri, the third member of the Yellow Menace staff. I told Musashi I would give it a go, and after I picked a name (Mazu, the sea goddess of Taiwan. Her original name means Silent Girl, which I think is appropriate for me), he set up my account and wrote an introductory post welcoming me aboard. Now, however, I am a bit intimidated. I am Asian, but I don’t know much about pop culture. Plus, I tend to be, um, outspoken. I warned Musashi that I am not family-friendly, and he’s fine with that. In addition, I tend to write many many words. Most of the posts over there are much briefer than mine–except for the movie reviews.