The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Today's San Jose Mercury News had an article on the "18 Mighty Mountain Men" with the subhead "Asian-American troupe skewers stereotypes." The first line of this effusive article was "When it comes to satire, the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors take no prisoners."

Naturally, what this really means is that the Warriors are not at all daring or scandalous, and are bound by political correctness like a magnet dropped on a metal floor. But don't take my word for it; here's more information from the article that describes the Mighty Mountain Warriors in action:

The running theme in this show is outrageousness. Epicanthic eye folds, ``Miss Saigon'' icon Lea Salonga, the historical animosity between Korea and Japan . . . no subject is off-limits.


Still, some theatergoers think the troupe goes too far. At a recent production in Los Angeles, objections were raised during a sketch about the 2002 World Cup, in which a Korean and a Japanese soccer player started hurling insults at each other -- turning politics, history and racism into punch lines.

I wonder if the reporter who wrote this article has ever listened to radio or watched a sitcom or a movie. I imagine her hearing that Howard Stern had been fined a million bucks and thinking to herself, "He must have done a monologue on Japanese-Korean tensions."

Americans stereotype Asians as being meek, polite, and inoffensive. Bragging that you are crossing boundaries by making jokes about epicanthic eye folds is hardly a good way to dispell that caricature.



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