“RapeLay” Video Game

Ya’ll may have heard via CNN about “Rapeplay”, a Japanese interactive video game featuring unwilling, busty young girls — which users can virtually stalk, grope, repeatedly rape, and even cajole to get an abortion. In another game, the object is to exact revenge for getting fired by finding and raping a female boss.

This and similar games, as well as their ready availability on the internet, has had many individuals and women’s rights groups up in arms, including a campaign mounted by Equality Now in May 2009.

I don’t think I need to explain how fucked up this is. Themes of rape and assault in Japan are nothing new as far as porn and hentai go. But I also wonder — is there a way to measure the impact this may be having in real life, which is what many critics voice concern over?

According to rape statistics per capita by country, 53 countries rank higher than Japan, including the US, Australia, and Canada. Disturbing fantasies aside, maybe Japan just does a better job of teaching its men: “Hey guys, don’t rape! Not OK!”, while countries such as the US tend to put the onus for avoiding sexual assault — as well as the blame — squarely on the victim.

However, due to the stigma associated with being a rape victim, especially in Asian countries, I’m highly skeptical of stats since they only reflect reported cases. Even in the US, the Dept of Justice estimated that only 26% of rapes or attempted rapes are reported to law enforcement officials.

Another take on the controversy can be found at gaming blog Kotaku, which has been following the issue since last spring. To summarize today’s post from Kotaku’s Senior Contributing Editor Brian Ashcraft:  “RapeLay” came out in 2006,  but  has been out of print since Western audiences began to protest the game. In June 2009, Japan’s Ethics Organization of Computer Software held an emergency meeting, and decided to implement a self-policing policy that the manufacture and sale of rape-type games should stop.

However, there was no legislation passed (meaning they’re technically still legal), and to me it looks like implementation and effectiveness has been spotty (see CNN’s video in which these games are still easily obtained).  Some manufacturers simply found a way around the policy by re-naming games with titles like “Slave Maiden’s Rape Hell” to “Young Girl’s Prison”.

According to Kotaku and Ashcraft, the games featured in the CNN report are outdated, and the angle of the story sets up Japan as a morally-absent “punching bag”, casting an typically Western, overly critical (and hypocritical) eye on Japan’s gaming options.

I know these aren’t themes that appeal to people in Japan only. Perverts abound everywhere. But there is a difference between kinky fantasies practiced by two consenting adults, and a fantasy based upon another party’s unwillingness and victimization.  At the end of the day — whether these games really have an impact on people’s attitudes and behavior or not — I’m sickened and saddened that sexually assaulting someone is used as a form of entertainment or excitement. No amount of rationalizing or justification would make me feel OK with a boyfriend, a relative, or a friend plugging into this garbage.

Thanks AZN and Char Char!

Stop Appropriating Brazilian Culture Diplo! (NSFW)

Although I do like your music, Diplo, I gotta say, you seriously have a Brazilian fetish that has gone way past any level of decency. It was great when you started incorporating Baile Funk into your Miami drum/bass/electronic beats. But now you’ve gone one step further and created a persona, Major Laser, which has not just appropriated the beats of the favelas, but the violence and sexualization that is part of genre. Baile Funk, which has some pretty nasty beats with lyrics about sex and violence to match, is a tricky thing to produce, especially for a White DJ like yourself, Diplo. And I’ve been able to accept your MIA beats cause its was candy coated. But when you start producing music videos like this (NOT SAFE FOR WORK):

I think you’ve gone too far in appropriating Baile Funk. Why? Cause you are a White American from Florida, and not an impoverished Brazilian living in the City of God. When will it be ok for you to produce and market this music as your own and not have it be a stain on your conscience? Maybe start off by reading Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums to get educated on the future impacts of informal housing and the rapid population rate of impoverished third world countries and then donate part of the proceeds from your albums to local music producers in Rio that you’re stealing from. Or travel back in time and have your mom and pops air drop you into the hills of Rio. Then we’ll talk. Regardless, I’m saving you from getting your ass beat down like this Brazilian reporter who was tortured and murdered in 2002 while doing an expose on Baile Funk…

Census 2010: Be Counted!

Census Day is this Thursday April 1st! Remember to fill out and mail back your form! An accurate count can help AAPIs receive our share of over $400 billion in annual federal funds for resources our community needs — from schools, to hospitals, to fair Congressional re-districting that affects our political representation for the next decade.

Filling out your Census form is critical to our voice and visibility, and unfortunately AAPIs have been among the groups most likely to discard their forms. And fear not, ‘cuz  the Census Bureau is prohibited from sharing any of your  information with other government or enforcement agencies, including DHS or ICE. Undocumented immigrants should be included in the census count too, and the form (only 10 short questions!) does not ask about immigration status. 

And if you’re an “Other” Asian — meaning your ethnicity is not listed as a category — like Laos or Taiwanese, be sure to write it in (ignore the creepy white guy at 1:39):

For more info and resources on the 2010 Census, visit the Asian American Justice Center and its partner AAPI Action’s “Fill in Our Future” Campaign.  Their website, fillinourfuture.org, features Census FAQs, in-language resources (in over 24 Asian languages), informational brochures, sample Census forms, in-language assistance guides, celebrity and community leader PSAs, and monthly contests and giveaways. The larger campaign also includes media and community outreach, workshops, a speaker’s bureau and training seminars.

Stand up and be counted! Even Colbert wills it!

You can't argue with this

More Northern Style Pho in SF

mfk sign.jpg

What do you get when you combine Northern-style Pho from Hai Phong with Blue Bottle Coffee Beans? A new poppin’ Pho spot in the Western Addition. For an area that is exactly in between the two Turtle Tower locations, My Father’s Kitchen/Pho Phuong Hong will be a great spot for Western Additioners if you like hoisen-free noodles. And the fact that the guy working at Blue Bottle trying to make “artisanal” Vietnamese drip coffee for the pho joint is Vietnamese American, I can’t be any happier. So meet me in SF this weekend to check out PPHo (you heard the nickname here first).

Thanks KidJaundice.

Hello Kitty Wine, Ya’ll!

Two things that make me crazy (with delight!): Hello Kitty. Booze. Together at last! It’s a beautiful thing, people.

Altho it may look like cheap Arbor Mist hooch from the packaging (which would be A-OK by me), the wines are actually DOC certified (Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata). Translation: the wines are made in well-defined regions and following very specific rules of production…which means Hello Kitty Vino is not only adorable, it’s some high-quality shit you can chug with your pinky out!

Here are some tasting notes for the four types from Innovation Spirits, which will be marketing the wine in the States:

Hello Kitty Sparkling Brut Rosé – A deep reddish pink sparkling rose made from 100% Pinot Noir that has a frothy mousse as well as a pretty nose of rose petal and red currant scents.

Hello Kitty Sparkling “Sweet Pink” (Half Size) – This semi-sweet sparkler sports a pale pink hue and has very delicate bubbles.

2008 Hello Kitty Angel White – This is a fresh, very “blanc” white wine made entirely from Pinot Noir free run juice.

2006 Hello Kitty Devil Red – Garnet red with brickish highlights, this is a classically rendered Pinot Noir that presents a seductive bouquet of wild flowers and forest aromas.

I don’t know what “brickish” means other than the way my head will feel the day after drinking a bottle of each…but overall, these wines sound mighty classy!

And why the hell not? The power that is HK has already united with vibrators, waffle makers, and men’s draws, so it was only a matter of time until she was paired with foiyne wines. And hopefully only a little longer until they come out with a Hello Maker’s. Fingers crossed!

In specialty wine & liquor stores throughout the Western United States soon, or you can purchase directly through their website over the next month.

Thanks Char Char!

This Year’s Recipient of sxsw’s HARDEST MF’ing ACT is…

… The Suzan, live from Japan. They came the realest, illest, and hardest at the Fool’s Gold party (located this year at Malverde, my favorite venue ever). The Suzan have two CDs, an EP: Suzan Kingdom and an LP: Suzan Galaxy. Check out this live performance of High and Low:

Friday Fuckery: The Definitive History of Asian Men Dating Outside Their Race

For this week’s FF, I’m re-posting a piece from the men’s mag Complex: “Yellow Fever! The Definitive History of Asian Men Dating Outside Their Race“.

Be warned – I’m no fan of the juvenile and borderline misogynistic captions that refer to having sex with a woman as “smashing her” or state how “French women always get it in”…and I’m not too sure if illustrious former Presidential Cabinet Member Norm Mineta would appreciate Complex’s description of his wife as a “blonde ex-stewardess who found her way into his cockpit”.  Also gross: their suggestions for alternate titles to the film Catfish in Black Bean Sauce: “Egg Roll Buried in Onion.” “Dumplings Dipped in Caramel.” “Ginseng Root Inside Warm Chitlins.” Ugh. No thank you.

Anyhoo, if you can ignore that, “The Definitive History…” makes for an interesting and somewhat-encouraging read to while away your Fuck Off Friday Afternoon (and for a d-bag rag, surprisingly sympathetic to the Asian Man’s sexual plight). Yo, did they get some Asian brothers infiltrating their staff or something?

Terry Richardson & Dov Charney: Perverts in Crime

Pervert alert! Well, said alert is not really breaking news…but recently several models – including supermodel Rie Rasmusson and Jamie Peck — have come forward with frank and graphic allegations of sexual harassment against fashion photographer Terry Richardson (arguably the godfather of the VICEAMERICANAPPARELIRONICFACIALHAIR hipster ideology, along with fellow old letch Dov Charney, who I’m including in this post because they’re so similar they’re often confused with each other) .

Fake ad, real quote (thanks Lxy)

More from Jezebel:

Jamie Peck, who was 19 at the time, shot with Richardson at his studio twice. Although she was prepared and willing to pose for him nude, she writes, “This man has built his business/pleasure empire on breaking the cardinal rule of asking a young girl you don’t know to come over to your house and hang out naked: don’t be a fucking creep.”

Before I could say “whoa, whoa, whoa!” dude was wearing only his tattoos and waggling the biggest dick I’d ever seen dangerously close to my unclothed person (granted, I hadn’t seen very many yet). “Why don’t you take some pictures of me?” he asked. Um, sure.

It gets worse. “I’m not sure how he maneuvered me over to the couch, but at some point he strongly suggested I touch his terrifying penis,” writes Peck.

This is where I zoom out on the situation. I can remember doing this stuff, but even at the time, it was sort of like watching someone else do it, someone who couldn’t possibly be me because I would never touch a creepy photographer’s penis. The only explanation I can come up with is that he was so darn friendly and happy about it all, and his assistants were so stoked on it as well, that I didn’t want to be the killjoy in the room. My new fake friends would’ve been bummed if I’d said no.

I must have said something about finals, because he told me, “if you make me come, you get an A.” So I did! Pretty fast, I might add. All over my left hand. His assistant handed me a towel.

While Richardson’s reputation has since been no secret (he’s been quoted as saying: “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow. I don’t have a hole in my jeans for nothing“), his fame and influence with magazines like Vogue and designers like Miu Miu make it difficult for young models trying to establish their careers to come out against him publicly.

I’ve also seen this skeezebag many a time walking his dog in the Soho and Bowery area (he lives on Lafayette between Broome and Grand, my roommate informs me), blatantly scoping out any and every young female passerby.

OK, Richardson’s conduct and Charney’s opinions on women are pretty vile, but so what? How does this affect us as Asian Americans (and women)? Welp, aside from this behavior being despicable in itself, unfortunately it’s not contained to photo shoots or the models they “work” with.

Every American Apparel billboard and soft-porny ad on the back of VICE showcasing a jailbaitish Asian girl with legs splayed open (which seems to be the flavor du jour) is a reflection of their pervert penchants and the huge influence they’ve had on fashion and marketing. Which — whether you like it or not —  sends the message that yellow and brown women are interchangeable sexdolls here to fulfill whiteboy hipster fantasies. We don’t just sell the product, we are the product.  That’s the message I get when I look at this, and when I look at Asian chicks strutting around Williamsburg wearing the same outfits in the ads.

Our images are not controlled by us, but by some old scumbags – including one who’s M.O. is to waggle his dick in your face and impose an HJ before having you pose nude to sell hipster merchandise. And a whole generation of douchebag yippes think this shit is cool and edgy, and this excellent portrayal of women of color goes on and on and on.

More on the Richardson allegations at Jezebel, where contributor Jenna Sauers (a former model) is fed up and offering to post accounts from anyone who’s had a similar experience.

The Return of Vietnamese 80’s New Wave

New Wave Guy Smoking

GO TO THIS BLOG: Amoeba Music’s “Keep on Music New Wave and 80s Reunion Party – The Vietnamese New Wave Revival

Were you ready for that? All those PICTURES and VIDEOS of the height of the 80’s Vietnamese New Wave experience! Well, its coming back apparently. My first thought is, “did it ever really leave?”, cause just looking at my aunts and uncles nowadays, you wouldn’t have known it died and resurrected as this new kitschy, so ironic let’s put it on an Amoeba blog post phenomenon. My second thought is, I can’t believe people outside of Westminster and San Jose’s Viet community might actually recognize this subset of the New Wave pop culture of the 80’s (or this subset of the Vietnamese American immigrant experience, depending on your lens). The fact that this generation of Vietnamese Americans came over to the States and immediately and wholeheartedly adopted this genre of music and lifestyle still amazes me today, decades after sharing a room with my older cousin with the largest OMD and Depeche Mode posters I have ever seen in my life. Maybe its all the excess hairspray I swallowed as her roommate, but if this is coming back, and the girls look like this, sign me up for them marbled jackets and fishnet gloves.