Has anyone seen this Kia Motors commercial? Its odd to me. Watch it, then we’ll talk:
What a cute commercial, a 10-year old Southern red headed white kid on a bike rolling through Kia’s new assembly plant in West Point, Georgia in 1951 2009 (what’s more of an American city name than WEST POINT?). Why a bike? Cause Kia Motors started out making bikes in the 40’s, duh. Thing is, they did this in Seoul, South Korea. From Wiki:
According to Kia Motors, the name “Kia” derives from the Sino-Korean words ki (“to come out”) anda (which stands for Asia), it is roughly translated as “arise or come up out of Asia” or “rising out of Asia”.
I don’t want to call out an Asian company trying to market themselves as American, because the $1 billion assembly plant in Georgia means American jobs. But does it really require this sort of trickery to get the average American consumer to purchase a South Korean Kia over an American Saturn? Do they need to not only Americanize but also Anglocize the company’s origin to appeal to White Americans? Maybe in this economy.
It sucks though, cause every time I see this ad, it reminds me of Vincent Chin. Cause Americans are comfortable with buying Nintendo Wii’s and Sony Playstation 3’s over Microsoft Xboxes but the racism Asian Americans felt over the Asian car industry in the 80’s isn’t going away anytime soon. Its the only industry where folks are still compelled to “Buy American”. Maybe that’s because everyone knows American cars are an inferior product and we need to be pressured to buy a shittier car to make up for this disadvantage… (Please try to name 3 models from Ford, GM, and Saturn, I dare you)
One other point, which may make it seem like I’m being paranoid. But the ad noted that the company started in 1951 making bikes. Which is wrong, cause the company started in 1944 making bikes. 1952 was when they changed their name to Kyungsung Precision Industry. So why the ruse? Is it because the mention of 1944 makes older folks remember World War II and the 38th Parallel and the start of the Cold War and the Korean War? Just a thought… I’m being paranoid, I know.
A few weeks ago, Slanty of Slant Eye for the Round Eye asked me to contribute a guest post for his “2009 In Review” series (jeebus knows why!?). Apparently he didn’t find my entry too shite, because he actually posted it! Huzzah! And once more for overexposure:
Best Progressive Campaign of The Year: Drop Dobbs/Basta Dobbs
We’ve all witnessed a lot of heartache and heat in the kitchen this year, politically and policy-wise. We went from flying high as a kite on the Obama victory to the jaw-grinding comedown of dismal political realities and unfulfilled pre-election promises. Bank bail-outs drew criticism from both the left and the right. The health care debate, including the disastrous teabagger-swamped town halls (and the left’s failure organize any comeback), made the fight for reform a discouraging one. Fox News’ host Glenn Beck called Obama a “racist”, with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture”, and instead of confronting it head on, the Administration stayed consistent in its practice of evading rather than confronting racial accusations, giving more space and power to pundits’ cockamamie crap.
So amid all these wingneezys, pansy progressives, and administrative waffling, were there any wins for lefties?
Well, if anything would inspire hope for the possibility of progressive change, I would look to the “Drop Dobbs/Basta Dobbs” campaign.
Presente.org, in partnership with civil rights groups and grassroots membership, launched a campaign in September 2009 targeting CNN to drop the right-wing Dobbs (who also promoted racially-charged conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate and American citizenship).
With the power of social media, Drop Dobbs called CNN out on its hypocrisy of employing Latino reporters and promoting Soledad O’Brien’s Latino in America series while supporting Dobbs and his racist, downright bogus anti-immigrant rhetoric. Even Geraldo Rivera got up in the mix, saying “Lou Dobbs has done more to slander Latin people in this country than other single human being.”
Pressure mounted, and on November 11, Dobbs resigned and aired his last show.
The Basta Dobbs campaign demonstrated the power of the people to take down an enormous talking head and let corporate media know that this horseshit won’t be tolerated. And with immigration reform looming on the horizon, taking out one of the most vocal anti-immigrant hate-mongers – and continuing to combat such racism – will be critical to winning policies that are just and humane for our community.
While the Drop Dobbs campaign mainly targeted the Latino community, the wider backdrop– the immigration system and the need to reform it – hugely affects APIs as well. APIs are one of the fastest growing undocumented groups, with over 1.5 million. Whether we’re being exploited while “illegally” toiling in restaurants and sweatshops, waiting years or even decades to be reunited with family members due to backlogs, or prevented from accessing financial aid and job experience (or in some cases even enrolling) in higher education due to immigration status (a recent report by the University of California Office of the President revealed that 40 to 44 percent of undocumented students in the UC system are Asian), the way immigration reform shakes out will impact our lives drastically. The Drop Dobbs campaign serves as a great source of inspiration, and a model to look to for galvanizing our own communities around issues affecting us in 2010.
Although we’ve all switched to Facebook for our photo collections (how else can I tag friends making bad life decisions in public?), Flickr remains a great photo networking site cause you can collect other folk’s photos into one collection and share. Then you get something like Ballers with Randoms, a collection of basketball players taking candid photos with random women (not my words, theirs). There are gems like Channy Frye, 6’11”, and jump-suited to go with a women who might be considered a wood nymph in The Shire, if not for the fake UGGs:
I don't get the boombox fanny pack. But I want.
And of course, you can’t call us an Asian American blog without a pict of an awkward Asian bball player (Wang Zhizhi) doing his duties as an NBA spokesperson and posing with Heat cheerleaders at an event (unless he just accidentally wore the same Heat shirt as two random girls).
Wasn't this picture in Vice Magazine's Don't list as well?
So peep the site, and check out everything from the creepy (Pau Gasol looking drunk with a Sydney muscle T), to the strange (Gary Payton crooning to a wide eyed AzN girl), to the adorable (Dwight Howard going to prom with a cute AzN girl), to the regrettable (Chris Duhon giving lapdances).
Via BuzzFeed: Two thieves on a scooter snatched a woman’s purse on a street in Wenzhou, China. A man on his bicycle witnesses the robbery, and decided to step in. Watch as he calmly steps off his bike, lifts it into the air, and takes out the would-be robbers.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Not sure why they’re playing Kung Fu Fighting though…
In a shamelessly self-indulgent exercise, BCB picked our 10 personal fave posts (for each other) from the past year. Take a trip down memory lane with us, won’t you? From Tiger’s blasian wandering wang to everything you needed to know about snagging a Vietnamese guy — share a chuckle, shed a tear, and wonder how you ever pissed 2009 down the drain reading this crap.
— TV shows can be like relationships — bringing escapism, obsession, and dysfunction into our lives. Ne’er was there such a roller coaster ride of emotion as The Wire (An Open Love Letter to The Wire) by Sherdizzle
We may not have the same level of loons as on the subways in NYC, but we come close. And now there’s a way for us to keep track of the weirdness that occurs on BART in the Yay Area. Ironically, the site to get weird updates about what’s going on in those trains is Bart.gov. Follow their Twitter page, Twitter.com/sfbart, to find out what the heck is going on here, near those BART stations in the Far East Bay (you can also get train updates):
UPDATE: Thanks to GV for hooking it up with this site: peopleofbart.com, which has gems like these: