Apr. 9th, 2017

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Latest Yo, Is This Racist? podcast featured the guest, comedian David Gborie, who was talking about his complicated relationship with rap: how he wasn't really there, personally, for the artsy struggle stuff, the rap by Kendrick or A Tribe Named Quest or the kind of rap that basically becomes accessible for white people. That stuff is still incredible and he's glad it's being made, but for him, it was kind of retreading stories he already knew and didn't really want to spend more time on in his music. He wanted rap that makes him feel good: stuff that's written off as not high-brow or arty enough, I suppose. The stuff about making millions and getting all the girls and being a badass, etc. It sounds silly when phrased from an prissy middle class Asian-American woman who isn't into rap, so I'm sorry for that, but hopefully you get my gist. (Jay-Z was his example.)

But it made me realize that's pretty much how I feel about Asian-American immigrant stories. Joy fucking Tan and her endless mother issues and all the angst about languages and being a child torn between two worlds, and the struggle our parents went through, and our struggle now. Look, god, these are important stories to be told, for sure. I'm glad they're being told. I'm glad they have the impact for whoever reads them, whether it's other Asian-Americans who identify with it or non-Asians who get a glimpse into what it's like and gain a little more empathy. But, man, that shit is not for me. I'm tired of these stories. This is not where I want to spend my time or energy. Give me Asian-American stories about space operas or superheroes or boarding school murder mysteries, or debonair spies (mentally casting John Cho), or high fantasy that utilizes Chinese mythology but follows the hero's journey tropes and archetypes. I'm into that. I want stuff that makes me feel good and is fun. And that's as legit as the other stuff, but there's a pervasive sense that anything fun isn't high-brow or true art, and anything true to type of its genre is just not breaking enough ground to be noteworthy.

Fuck it, let me have my escapism. Real world's tough enough and if we have a limited time here, shouldn't we try to fill life with things we enjoy?

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