I was grumbling on Twitter earlier today about writing comics that basically required a lot of work from the reader in terms of being socially aware of some pretty common concepts IF you read a lot about intersectional social justice things, such as cultural appropriation, and ingrained racism. Because, truthfully, I don’t really feel much of a desire to write a comic that explains institutionalized racism, but it is difficult sometimes to just write comics about my personal experience when my personal immigrant experience is rooted in a lot of history that really is not taught in schools.
Anyway, I wrote this comic, and it’s about the cultural appropriation of food - the tendency of people to easily co-opt “ethnic” cuisine as their own, while simultaneously obsessing over the “authenticity” of food.
Still, I’m writing from the viewpoint of a cranky immigrant, but also as someone who considers bell hooks’ “Eating the Other" and Edward Said’s Orientalism, as major touchstones that have informed a lot of my work(and viewpoint). How does this comic read to someone that doesn’t share that same viewpoint? Or background? I think even a lot of my white liberal friends would feel annoyed at me commenting on how they consume something they love(“ethnic” food). I think a lot of my asian friends would tell me I’m over thinking it.
It rambles, I know that. But I wrote it, and I want to share it. The “you” is not a single person, but an amalgamation of experiences I’ve had.
It’s directly informed by Soleil Ho’s Craving the Other from late 2013 - I’d started this comic before I read it, but once I did, it was several moments of “YES. THIS. EXACTLY THIS” It is a much more focused essay than my comic, and I really recommend you read it.
The girl who submitted this entry had this to say:
"The funny thing is I’m totally fluent in Korean, love KPop and KDramas (mmm Dong-gun Jang), and even taught English in Korea briefly a few years ago, which is probably why I ignore guys like this. I saw way too much of their entitlement and sense of privilege while I was over there. But what do I know? I’m just a twinkie after all."
…he didn’t even get the translation right, neither in meaning nor grammar.
His first word is an informal form of “love you”; his second, it’s less “beautiful” and more “pretty” (matter of degree, really, but), and it doesn’t have the correct ending that would make it modify the noun that follows.
And his romanization is off. Neither MOE nor McCune-Reischauer use hyphens between syllables; the word he wants, 예뻐, is better romanized in MOE as yeppeo. Even then, it’s not correct; the form he should use is 예쁜, or yeppeun.
That’s some real 씨발놈 shit there.
let’s talk about housecats and how fucking weird they are evolutionarily/anthropologically
like who thought it was a good idea to have tiny malicious predators in our homes anyways????? (not us actually)
are they even domesticated????!!!?? (yes) do they even feel LOVE???????!!? (yes)
LET’S LEARN ABOUT CATS
“you ready 2 learn punk”
Pronounced, obviously, as “Yitzhak Ironmin”. Built by Saul Superman & Avi Aquaman LLC.
Designed by Moishe Megaman.
Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart
I went to Comicpalooza this weekend and I was full of nervous energy as I was standing in line to ask Sir Patrick Stewart a question at his panel. I first had to thank him for a speech he had given at amnesty international about domestic violence towards women . I had only seen it a few months ago but I was still dealing with my own personal experience with a similar issue, and I didn’t know what to call it. After seeing Patrick talk so personally about it I finally was able to correctly call it abuse, in my case sexual abuse that was going to quickly turn into physical abuse as well. I didn’t feel guilty or disgusting anymore. I finally didn’t feel responsible for the abuse that was put upon me. I was finally able to start my healing process and to put that part of my life behind me.
After thanking him I asked him “Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in you life (that you are willing to share with us)?”. Sir Patrick told us about how he couldn’t protect his mother from abuse in his household growing up and so in her name works with an organization called Refuge for safe houses for women and children to escape from abusive house holds. Sir Patrick Stewart learned only last year that his father had actually been suffering from PTSD after he returned from the military and was never properly treated. In his father’s name he works with an organization called Combat Stress to help those soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.
They were about to move onto the next question when Sir Patrick looked at me and asked me “My Dear, are you okay?” I said yes, and that I was finally able to move on from that part of my life. He then passionately said that his mother had done nothing to provoke his father and that even if she had, violence was never, ever a choice a man should make. That it is in the power of men to stop violence towards women. The moderator then asked “Do you want a hug?”
Sir Patrick didn’t even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug. Which he held me there for a long while. He told me “You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.” I couldn’t stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked strait in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.
Sir Patrick Stewart is an absolute roll model for men. He is an amazing man and was so kind and full of heart. I want to let everyone know to please find help if you are in a violent or abusive house hold or relationship. There are organizations and people ready to help. I had countless people after the panel thanking me for sharing the story and asking him those questions. Many said they went through similar things. You are not alone.
^ Here is the video of my question to Sir Patrick Stewart
Photos by Eugene Lee, Thank you
Star Trek XII: Chekov Develops An Ulcer
Or, “DevOps Reactions: Whenever I’m forced to take over a new project right when it goes live and have no idea who built it.”
The Death of SimCity.
Originally released way back in 1989, when the computer gaming was in its precocious childhood, SimCity began one of the most recognizable franchises in history. Putting players in the position somewhere above a mayor and somewhere below a god, they were given some tools, some space, and told that if they built a city, people would come.
And they did, in droves. SimCity 2000, released five years later, and SimCity 3000, released a decade later, would prove to be brilliant evolutions of this basic game.
However, in 2000, a year after SimCity 3000's release, The Sims came out. The digital dollhouse game, which, to be honest, is quite wonderful and charming, would prove to be the worst thing to ever happen to Maxis and the SimCity franchise.
The Sims' enormous popularity (over 150 million copies sold, with innumerable more pirated) pointed Maxis in a direction towards simulating individuals' behavior ever more precisely, ever more accurately, with the idea that they would be the center of any future games by Maxis.
While an argument can be made that increasing granularity can make for better simulations, their focus on that aspect has come at a frightening, and tragic cost—it’s warped the fundamentals of the SimCity game into something unrecognizable, losing the skyline for one or two buildings. It forgets that in larger cities, accurate models can still be made by observing that people behave in aggregate manners, rather than as isolated, atomized data points.
And so we now have the 2013 reboot of SimCity. Let’s ignore the simple fact that the onerous requirement of having an always on-connection means that any cities built are saved remotely, in the cloud, with no guaranteed permanence (there will be no epic decade-long games for this…). Let’s even ignore the problematic issue of forcing multiplayer on everyone, whether they like or not, and is completely persistent with any mistakes being permanent ones.
Really, when you get down to it, SimCity now isn’t about building a city. It’s about building a small 4km2 township that can’t really grow to any size. Sure, it’s pretty. Sure, you can find out what individual residents are feeling and doing.
But gone is the sense that you’re actually building and guiding a city from nothing to populations of millions. Gone is the notion of the sandbox to create and destroy, to raze and rebuild. It’s all about the artificial tiny people, not the great works of the city.
It’s not SimCity anymore. It’s Sims in the City.
On what it means to be Asian-American.
Like all stories about Americans, it’s kinda long. It’s kinda confusedly muddled. It’s kind of wonderful.
It’s a story about loss, about disconnection.
Traditions are the first to go. Born here, raised here, half a world away, your parents try to keep as many as they can, but it’s a losing battle. What holiday is this? 추석? Well, we’re not going over there. Mom’s too tired to make the traditional foods, whatever they are, so let’s just go out to dinner. Maybe call 할머니. Then, later in the year, maybe the next, you fly home, across the Great Flat Ocean, and you visit the shrine of your ancestors. How many 절 do I do? Am I even doing it right? Am I spelling it right? My knees are getting tired. Why prostrate myself to these ancestors I’ve never met, whose gaze of my life is so distant, clouded by time and space, whose memory I can’t even conjure?
The language is the next to go. You have a fight with your mom about going to homecoming. You want to go. You don’t know why, exactly, since you don’t care much for the football team. You’re angry all the time. Angry because they get all the funding. Angry because all the ‘traditions’ that come so naturally to others, you don’t know about. Angry because the white girl you kinda like and want to go with can trace her family back to the first settlers, and you don’t know anything past the hint that your grandfather might have been in the Resistance. Angry because of hormones. Your mom yells at you, demanding you study. That you stay home and spend time with your visiting relatives. She shouts in Korean at you. And instead of shouting back in Korean, you yell back in English. You slam the door to your room, cursing in English. Years later, in a college class you picked because you thought it would be cake, you realize the only Korean you know comes from the few movies you watch, what you learned at home, and how you order at restaurants. You barely pass.
The ties are the last to go. You rarely speak to your relatives unless you visit or call, the distance becoming more than just geographical. You try to keep up with them on Facebook, but you hide parts of your life because you don’t know how they’d react. Even your mom gets in on the gig, saying that it would be best if they didn’t know some things. You dream of living back in your ancestral homeland, but reality reminds you that it would probably only be fun for a little while, before you want to come home, here, in the Americas.
It’s a story about gain, about building.
When your roots are loose, the first thing you do is to put new ones down. You end up in a place you find rather agreeable. You make friends, build your own ‘extended’ family. You let your best friends’ families ‘adopt’ you, and you bring your own to their Thanksgivings, their Christmases, their Seders. You get hurt when these friends move away, but you eventually realize that wherever they settle, you have carte blanche to visit them, to make new roots someplace new.
When your knowledge of your ancestral culture is fractured, the first thing you do is try to create one. You do this by voraciously reading up on your own. You still don’t remember all the details, but you go through the motions, hoping that there’s some meaning there. You read up on others’, and you discover ones that you never knew existed. You fall in with the nerds, the punks, the gays, the outcasts. You pick up their slang, their argot, their mannerisms. You move on, sometimes, after you get bored, but they’re always a part of you, and you make your own.
And when your traditions are hazy and gone, you make new ones. Your Christmases are now spent with your family, watching bad movies like Jingle All the Way. You always block time out at the major holidays to visit your best friends. When you’re sick, you always order out from that same Korean restaurant that makes 짬뽕. Is that what your relatives eat when they’re feeling sick? No? You don’t care. It makes you feel better. Every birthday, you invite your friends out to a Korean restaurant, and put what little Korean you still remember to good use, and on theirs, you learn how to wrap gifts in 風呂敷. It’s Japanese, actually, but you don’t care, and neither do they—it’s elegant, and beautiful.
It’s a story about bridges, about synthesis.
At potlucks, you’re the one everyone’s curious about. You bring dishes that are usually a little bit interesting, outside of the norm. Risotto, but what’s that flavor? You used miso as the broth? Amazing. These dumplings? Chorizo and scallions? Wow. They come to you after hearing about the Korean taco stands, and you go together, to everyone’s enjoyment. You hear about this amazing phở place, or a brand new place that serves fufu and melon seed soup, and you drag your friends along.
Sometimes you answer questions. What exactly is that Gangnam Style he’s singing about? Why is the North so weird? Is the internet there really better? And even though you preface your answers with a little bit of uncertainty, you muddle through. They’re just as interested as you are, maybe more so. But you’re interested in what your Romanian friends’ experiences were when Ceaușescu fell, and you ask. You want to know what your friends from Zimbabwe eat. You want to see this ‘Austin’ that your Texan friends rave about. And everyone understands each other more.
You’ve flitted in and out of various subcultures and groups. Your facility with English is top-notch. You’ve experienced all these new things now, sampled from various plates and listened to all sorts of songs. So you take all these things home with you; you take your mama out all night, and you show her all these things you’ve done, that you’ve learned. You see her eyes open, like Sokath’s, and she understands this place in a new way, a way she never has, as a native, as an American.
It’s a story, like every other story.
When I first sat down to write this, I thought a little bit about writing about the little things that trip one up every day. The assumption that we’re foreigners. The stereotypes and the suspicion that hangs over us whether we pretend to ignore it or not.
But that’s not the story. That’s not what it means to be Asian American. To be Asian American, you start to realize that you put more and more of yourself in the American category, and you view the Asian as a slight spin, like Irish, Newyorican, German. You know that while you could pass in the old country, for a little while, you grew up with a few too many cheeseburgers and cokes, a taste for grits, and a soft spot for Country Pop that you keep deep in the closet, deeper, probably, than the affection you have for really bad action movies like The Expendables. You know you’re too loud, abrasive, and obnoxious to be anything but American, too proud, and maybe even a too little knee-jerk patriotic. You can talk shit about America, because it’s yours. Those people in other countries can’t.
And you know that no matter how others see you, it doesn’t really matter. Your blood might have come from overseas, but your heart started beating here.