Friday, March 28, 2014

Against Hashtag Warriors

For those of you who were lucky enough to miss the shitstorm in Twitter in the last two days, here is some background:

On Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert was speaking of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who responded to those who criticized the name "Redskins" as a racial slur by founding a non-profit organization called Original Americans Foundation. Then a 2005 episode of the show replayed, in which Colbert, in character as a satirical conservative talk-show blowhard, was "caught" making racist jokes about Asians. After the callback, Colbert, in character, said he would atone for his racism by establishing the "Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

The butt of the joke here is very clear: it is Dan Snyder. Snyder thinks founding a non-profit organization would let him continue having a racial slur in his team's name. To mock Snyder, Colbert assumed the same posture as Snyder, only in a more ridiculous way so as to make Snyder's folly more obvious.

After the show, the official Colbert Report Twitter account repeated the joke on a tweet: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." Then came the outrage. Suey Park, who recently rose to prominence due to a series of Twitter hashtag campaigns, most notably #NotYourAsianAmericanSidekick, began yet another hashtag campaign: #CancelColbert.

I believe Ms. Park's efforts are dumb and damaging. Here is why.

*             *             *

Previously in this space, I shared a story of his friend from Louisiana:
"The father of my ex-girlfriend was a rare breed -- a real deal racist. I'm not talking about someone who has a lapse in judgment and says the wrong thing from time to time. He genuinely believed that black people were inferior to white people. But whenever a black person happened to cross him, he would never yell, "you damn n-----!" Instead, he would yell: "You damn Democrat!" That way, nobody would accuse him of being racist."
This anecdote is interesting because it reveals the true nature of racism. Racism does not reside in the words; it resides in the mind that utter the words. Regardless of the precise word uttered--either "n-----" or "Democrat"--the man described in the Korean's friend's story remains just as virulently racist in his heart. Using the word "Democrat" instead of "n-----" does not mitigate the racist man's sincerely held belief that African Americans were inferior to whites. This shows the vacuity of what I call the "magic word racism," which may be defined as an attempt to detect racism by the presence or absence of certain words or phrases. 

If we cannot rely on the presence or absence of words alone, how are we to know what makes something racist? Recall where racism truly lies: it is in the person's mind, her intent. What makes something racist? It is the racist intent that makes something racist. For the man in the story above, the words "n-----" and "Democrat" serve the same function: to express his racist disdain toward African Americans. The precise vehicle by which the man delivered the racist intent does not matter. What matters is the intent delivered in those vehicles.

(More after the jump.)

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.


By this measure, was Colbert's joke racist? The clear answer is no. From the way the joke is structured, we can easily see that Colbert's intent is not racist. As discussed earlier, the target of the joke is obviously Redskins' owner Dan Snyder, and not Asian Americans. Colbert assumed the personality of a buffoon, and made him look more laughable by making the buffoon's racism more obvious. 

The best case one can make in favor of finding Colbert guilty of racism is to say that the post-show tweet lacked the context to let the audience know that a satire was being delivered. But this is not convincing. For Americans (and many non-Americans,) one has to live under a rock to not know that Stephen Colbert engages in a kind of method-acting, playing the role of a racist, arch-conservative pundit. The Colbert Report's twitter account is always in the same character. The fact that the joke was delivered via the Colbert Report's twitter account provided sufficient context to understand the intent behind the joke.

Let me make this clear: this is not a dismissive, hand-waving defense of a racist joke by re-labeling it as "satire." Just as much as magic word racism is fallacious, so is the magic word attempt to ward off charges of racism. This is a sincere analysis of the intent behind the joke, which is made plain from the way in which the joke was structured, packaged and delivered. Given the nature of racism, there is no other way to figure out what is truly racist, and what is not.

This brings us to the first reason why Ms. Park's hashtag warfare was dumb: she made charges of racism where there is none. Second reason why it was dumb: her call to action was wildly disproportionate to Colbert's (supposed) offense. Ms. Park did not call for apologies or retraction; she called for the cancellation of the entire show. Her call to action was untenable: she was advocating for extreme measures in response to no crime.

In fact, it appears that Ms. Park knew herself that her position was untenable. Appearing HuffPost Live, Ms. Park first received this question: "Why cancel Colbert? What did you hope to achieve with that?” Ms. Park's response? Characterizing it as "a loaded question." But how is that question loaded? Ms. Park was the one who began the campaign to cancel the Colbert Report. It is eminently fair to be asked why she wanted to do that, and what she hoped to achieve with that. Ms. Park evaded those questions, because answering them directly would make her look foolish.

Here is a thing about making an outrageous claim: they bring about outrageous reactions. HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps reacted to Ms. Park with condescension, calling her opinion "stupid." (True to form, Ms. Park started another hashtag campaign, #CancelZepps.) Ms. Park also received a heap of severely negative reactions, many of which included legitimate racism against Ms. Park. Ms. Park, in turn, used those reaction as prima facie evidence that Colbert's joke was racist. In her submission to the Time magazine, titled We Want to #CancelColbert, Ms. Park asks: "But if the joke isn’t actually racist, then why have so many racist slurs been hurled at those of us promoting #CancelColbert?"

Simple answer: it's the Internet. The Korean regularly receives death threats because he strongly defends Koreans' consumption of dog meat, from those who supposedly love all living things. Be visible long enough on the Internet, and one is virtually guaranteed to run into crazies and knuckleheads. This maxim cannot possibly be lost on Ms. Park. But she must retreat to this line of argument, because there is no plausible way for her to address the substance of the joke and find racism there. 

Rather than staying in her retreat, however, she doubles down later in her article: "If the only people who 'get' your satire are racists--might we suggest some soul searching on your end?"

This is nuts. It is most certainly not just racists who "got" Colbert's satire. Here are just some of the people who understood Colbert's joke the first time, and disagreed with Ms. Park's position:
Steven Yeun (actor, Walking Dead)
Alex Hwang (musician, Run River North)
Jeff Yang (journalist, Wall Street Journal)
Jay Caspian Kang (sports writer, ESPN/Grantland)
Danny Chun (executive producer, The Office)
Phil Yu (blogger, Angry Asian Man)
The list reads like who's who of Asian Americans in media and pop culture. You can also visit my Facebook page, in which numerous Asian Americans (who have lower profiles than those above) are expressing the same sentiment. Does Ms. Park seriously think that they are all racists also? If she does, Ms. Park's issue runs deeper than the inability to understand satire; she is unable to (or unwilling to) take an accurate stock of the Asian Americana, the community that she claims to represent through her hashtag campaigns. She is a false prophet of what Asian Americans are supposed to feel about what they see in the media. In doing so, Suey Park does the opposite of her stated goal of creating Asian American solidarity. 

This is what happens when one picks a dumb battle to fight. Setting aside all the shit that Asian Americans take in the media (not to mention the shit that Native Americans are currently taking from Dan Snyder's team,) Suey Park chose this, a non-issue. Please, do not compare this hashtag campaign to other media-related campaigns against, for example, the racist fake names of the crashed Asiana flight or the outpour of racism following Nina Davuluri's crowning of Miss America. Run the "racist intent" analysis one more time for each of those cases. They were motivated by an actual racist intent, which makes them racist beyond any doubt. Those battles were worth fighting; this one was not. By getting into an unworthy battle, Suey Park debased worthy battles against true racism by making a mockery out of the entire effort. It was a dumb thing to do.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

48 comments:

  1. Not disagreeing, but I wanted to point out that the actual, full name of Snyder's non-profit is "Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation".

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  2. All this may be true. But I find it meaningful that Colbert chose Asians, historically the easy target, to satirize in this way. How would it have gone over if he made a similar tweet about blacks?

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    1. He exposes racism against blacks ALL THE TIME. As a matter of fact, he needs to choose Asians more, because by exposing racism against black people he discriminates (possibly inadvertently) Asians by not mentioning them more. Just watch his show.

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    3. @VB
      Wow what a stupid comment. The person you were responding to didn't say Colbert doesn't expose racism against black people. He just wondered if Colbert might have been more hesitant to use bigoted language directed at blacks in his satire. I agree with this. The guy(s) who sent the Colbert tweet probably thought that it would be provocative yet still politically safer to tweet ching-chong rather then jigaboo or the like.

      Implying that Colbert inadvertently discriminates against asians by not mentioning them more is hogwash.

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    4. @Max Well

      Wow what a stupid answer. No, the staffers at Colbert Report (the ones that run his Colbert Report Twitter account) are not hesitant to post little snippets of the show no matter how politically "safe" or "bigoted" they appear to be. They just pick the funniest lines and tweet them. And that presumably "racist" statement they posted is just what it is - a joke taken out of the context that the regular viewers of the show would definitely appreciate.

      By writing your comment about using bigoted language you just showed the rest of the world that 1. you have no idea what the show is all about 2. you are not smart enough to get Colbert's humor 3. dumb enough to expose yourself.

      As Colbert always says, you are welcome :)

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    5. VB wrote:

      "Wow what a stupid answer. No, the staffers at Colbert Report (the ones that run his Colbert Report Twitter account) are not hesitant to post little snippets of the show no matter how politically "safe" or "bigoted" they appear to be. They just pick the funniest lines and tweet them."

      First of all the tweet in question never appeared on the show at all. It was not a snippet picked from the show and then tweeted so your going nowhere with this.


      Let me make this so simple that even YOU VB have a chance of getting it. It wasn't the joke that got Ms. Park upset it was the very cavalier use of the phrase Ching-Chong Ding-Dong.
      Imagine if Colbert tweeted: "I am willing to show #AfroAmerican community I care by introducing the Shadow-Sambo Foundation for Sensitivity to Coloreds or Whatever.—" Colbert would be finished. But who ever sent that tweet thought that asians are more likely to let it go then African Americans and certainly Asians to have less influence in the media. Ergo safer target.

      People do get into trouble for making wise cracks, even celebs.

      Terry Bradshaw
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2228449/Terry-Bradshaw-Analyst-accused-racism-saying-Reggie-Bush-ran-like-chasing-bucket-chicken.html

      Steve Martin
      http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2013/12/steve-martin-explains-apologizes-for-racist-tweet/

      Neither Martin nor Bradshaw had racist intent yet both were criticized and apologised.


      I get the joke, but I don't let some cable funnyman do my thinking for me like you do.

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    6. Dear "Max Well",

      I usually do not answer stupid questions, unless I am paid to do so, however, just for you I will make an exception. I know, my efforts will go unnoticed but I will give it a try. Maybe not for you personally, "Max", but for other dumb people in the world, just like you.

      1. "First of all the tweet in question never appeared on the show at all. It was not a snippet picked from the show and then tweeted so your going nowhere with this."

      Eh??? Please watch the Wednesday's episode and watch it again if you need to. The tweet did not appear, but the phrase " "I am willing to show Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever" was the part of the show. Those were exact Colbert's words.

      2. If Colbert would say on his show, "I am willing to show #AfroAmerican community I care by introducing the Shadow-Sambo Foundation for Sensitivity to Coloreds or Whatever.—" He would NOT BE FINISHED. In fact, this is what his show is all about. He says things like that ALL THE TIME. By the way, he has said worse things than that. If anybody could get offended by watching his show, that would be people from the Middle East after his Munchma Quchi joke. Lurk moar.

      3. He did not use Asian Americans because they have less influence in the media. He used Asian Americans (my guess) because the comparison was just funnier. Colbert's number one goal is to make if funny while attacking the evil.

      4. Anything, and again, ANYTHING that Colbert says on his show cannot be deemed offensive because Colbert says stuff not as himself but as his character. It is as if Tina Fey would say some dumb thing playing Sarah Palin. People cannot get offended because the only butt of the jokes would be Sarah Palin herself and if she showed any displeasure, she would just demonstrate her own stupidity.

      Steve Martin's joke was funny but insensitive. The worst part of it was that it came from Steve Martin being Steve Martin. Everything Colbert says or does on his show comes from Stephen Colbear who went to Dartmouth, and the point of his jokes are to humiliate and mock all the good ideas and praise all the bad ones.

      Again, the only insensitive joke about Koreans that ever came out of Colbert's character mouth was the one about Asiana pilots. It was not racist, it was culturally insensitive. But since this is what his character does for living, he would not have to apologize for it either.

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    7. Part 2:

      5. No, you do not get the joke because it is funny on multiple layers. If the phrase "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever" was announced by Barack Obama even as a joke, that's would be a precedent.
      But when it is used by Stephen Colbert, it is just what he says on a regular basis. This is not even offensive - you should see how he compares Barack Obama with Hitler all the time and makes fun of black people.

      The worst part of this whole ordeal is that people who watch his show tried to "defend" him by sending death and rape threats to Ms. Park. Ok, maybe she is not the brightest tool in the shed, but this does not mean that she should have been attacked so viciously. And this is what Colbert's show is totally against! I had different expectations from his audience.

      I know that a part of his audience does not even get his jokes, some of them honestly believe he is a Republican! But I was hoping those "odd" people would eventually stop watching it. Or maybe Colbert's viewers should take an I.Q. test as a requirement, to make sure they understand what his show is all about.

      Anyway, I am not going to respond, I have wasted enough of my time on this. Just so you know, nobody measures up to Colbert in terms of funniness. Not even Jon Stewart. Not even Conan. Nobody. He is unique and irreplaceable.

      You want something really racially offensive? Russell Peters. He is not very funny, but he can get away with everything, because he is Asian.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sshAhLPuV_I

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    8. Dead VD
      No I'm guessing that your usually the one asking the stupid question.

      1 - You got me on the first one I didn't watch that episode.
      2 - So now your telling me that he says stuff like this all the time and has said even worse things? Ok I believe you.

      3. -Weak response. I could just as easily say that whatever other race would have made a funnier comparison then asians. His number one goal is to get good ratings same as all the other comedians.


      4. -By your rational, anyone can say anything offensive just so long as they remember to cover their ass by claiming "Hey I was pretending to be someone else." it's a get out of jail free card. By the way, if Glenn Beck admitted that he doesn't believe half the stuff he says and is just acting like a character, do you honestly believe that Colbert would give him a pass? No he would use that comment to take a shot at Beck.

      "It is as if Tina Fey would say some dumb thing playing Sarah Palin. People cannot get offended because the only butt of the jokes would be Sarah Palin herself and if she showed any displeasure, she would just demonstrate her own stupidity. "

      -Wait, so if someone dressed up like a caricature of you and acted the fool on national television you wouldn't be offended? And if you showed any displeasure you would "just demonstrate your own stupidity"? Wow.



      "Steve Martin's joke was funny but insensitive. The worst part of it was that it came from Steve Martin being Steve Martin. Everything Colbert says or does on his show comes from Stephen Colbear who went to Dartmouth, and the point of his jokes are to humiliate and mock all the good ideas and praise all the bad ones."
      -You could just as easily say that Martins joke was more forgivable since it was just off the cuff, where as Colberts script was written and rewritten by him and a staff of writers over a period of hours. They had more time to think. Why would he "mock all the good ideas and praise all the bad ones"?


      "Again, the only insensitive joke about Koreans that ever came out of Colbert's character mouth was the one about Asiana pilots. It was not racist, it was culturally insensitive. But since this is what his character does for living, he would not have to apologize for it either."
      -Wow super. But the original question that started this thread: "All this may be true. But I find it meaningful that Colbert chose Asians, historically the easy target, to satirize in this way. How would it have gone over if he made a similar tweet about blacks?" You've seemed to ignore that one.


      "5. No, you do not get the joke because it is funny on multiple layers."

      -Saying Colberts over the top rightwing caricature shtick has multiple layers is like saying Katy Perry is as deep as Leonard Cohen.


      -So if your say something offensive once that is a precedent. If however you say it on a regular basis then it's not even offensive? You know that he isn't actually comparing Obama with Hitler right? He's taking a sarcastic jab at those who do.


      "The worst part of this whole ordeal is that people who watch his show tried to "defend" him by sending death and rape threats to Ms. Park. Ok, maybe she is not the brightest tool in the shed, but this does not mean that she should have been attacked so viciously. And this is what Colbert's show is totally against! I had different expectations from his audience."

      You mean like this:

      http://crosstalk.kinja.com/point-counterpoint-the-colbert-thing-1554175473/@nappyheadflo


      Oh look Deadspin is calling Suey Park a Gook now. Cause you know satire.
      http://deadspin.com/gooks-dont-get-redskins-joke-1553907157













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    9. 4. a. "By your rational, anyone can say anything offensive just so long as they remember to cover their ass by claiming "Hey I was pretending to be someone else." it's a get out of jail free card."

      This is EXACTLY what Republicans say about Colbert. That he can get away with murder pretending to be someone else.

      Yes. If Steve Martin makes a character who mocks Barack Obama and says anything offensive - this is comedy. If Steve Martin says anything offensive as Steve Martin - he should apologize.

      b. "-Wait, so if someone dressed up like a caricature of you and acted the fool on national television you wouldn't be offended? And if you showed any displeasure you would "just demonstrate your own stupidity"? Wow."

      I actually had it done to me. Not on national television, but during the show. One of my students did just that. At first it felt a bit weird to have somebody mocking you, and I even disagreed with the script. But I had to admit - it was hilarious. It was really funny.

      Comedians do it to people all the time. Have you ever watched SNL?

      c. Why would he "mock all the good ideas and praise all the bad ones"?

      That's the purpose of the whole show. That's how it has so many layers.

      Colbert, who is a Democrat and a real humanist and anti-racist plays a Republican pundit (Bill O'Reilly or Papa Bear). On his show has to say the script so it is
      1. funny
      2. mocking everything and everybody, especially his guests - he is rude and obnoxious to them
      3. opposite of what he, the real Colbert believes
      4. so satirical and ironical that the viewers have to guess why he is saying what he is saying. On top of it, the viewers have to guess the real meaning of his satire and why what he is saying is wrong.
      5. Also, he has to convey his christian and humanistic ideas while being sarcastic and funny.
      6. All the facts should be true.
      7. The show should be educational. So his rightwing pundit should be extremely smart and educated.

      His show is like a puzzle and it is so full of jokes, sometimes the audience does not even catch up to him. He is #1 when it comes to jokes per second.

      d. "How would it have gone over if he made a similar tweet about blacks?" You've seemed to ignore that one.

      I have not ignored it. I actually answered that one. I think you have some problems with reading comprehension. Please read and reread my answer #2.

      e. No, you did not get his joke. He wasn't just joking about Dan Snyder. His joke was not about some rightwing caricature shtick. His joke was not even about Asians even though he used Asians as an example.

      Just because you don't understand Fermat's last theorem, it does not mean it's a hogwash. As simple as that.

      Plus, I would love Colbert to come back to his K-pop theme. Especially since Rain is out. It was extremely funny. I laughed so hard! And not just the dance off, it was not really funny, but him singing in Korean.

      I could find only one part: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/wtbn4l/time-s-2008-top-100-most-influential


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    10. Two more things:

      1. If I were mocked (racially, ethnically or otherwise) by Colbert, it would be the greatest honor. I would be probably cry with happiness because it would be my dream come true. However, I don't think I will ever be a guest on his show, not in my lifetime. Although I would love it more than anything.

      2. The only alternative route for Colbert to make that joke would be to use Hispanic Americans. Because he cannot use the N-word. Ching-chong (and let's be truthful) is not even close to the N-word in derogatory meaning since, and I am guessing here, Asians were never the lowest class on the social pyramid in the U.S.A. Never. They were never enslaved.

      So "I am willing to show #African-American community I care by introducing the Nig** Foundation for Sensitivity to Colored or Whatever" would not be as funny since the N-word and "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" have different rings to them.

      Notice that he did not use the word "chink" or "gook" or "gink". I bet his writers do not even know the word "gook".

      Okay, I agree that even Ching-Chong part is technically a slur, although childish, I would go with Soy Sauce or something like that. I bet that's why the writers tried to water it down with Ding-Dong.

      Using Hispanic slurs would not be good as well. Colbert always uses "anchor babies" and "border bandits" or even "blue collar". So "I am willing to show #Hispanic community I care by introducing the Chili Choker Foundation for Sensitivity to Mexicans or Whatever" is not even remotely as funny.

      My guess is Ms. Park got all upset about the Ching-Chong part. I think she should re-examine the whole joke, not taken out of the context.

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  3. Thank you very much for bringing it up.

    Yes, I totally agree, Ms. Park's remarks are dumb and damaging. Like one bad apple, she makes ALL Koreans look bad. I think someone should counterattack with #SueyParkisNOTKorean or something along those lines.

    I have been a proud citizen of Colbert Nation since the very beginning and let me tell you: Colbert is as much of a racist as MLK was.

    However, I need to point out that yes, he has made one racist joke about Koreans and I remember it very well. It was on the day of Asiana crash. He not only mentioned those made-up names (Wi Tu Low) but also his writers came up with their own. To me it was pretty racist since he was mocking Asiana for suing the news company.

    I have also noticed that his writers are a bit less sensitive when it comes to Koreans in comparison to African Americans. But Colbert makes up for the lack of sensitivity when he invites people like Rain to perform and even sings in Korean.

    I kind of disagree with you on the intent of racism though. My take on racism: racism/sexism/agism/whatever -ism is referring to other people as if they are different and making generalizations about them (whether true or not) by lumping them together. This referral can be both negative or positive. E.g.: Men are better drivers, women are better with kids, Koreans are good at math, old people drive slowly, etc.etc.etc.

    Yes, the intent of Colbert's joke was NOT to ridicule Asians. At least not those Asians that are smart enough to understand that he targeted racism with his joke.

    If Suey Park ever reads this, I want her to know:

    If you want to call someone a racist, please make sure to take your time to understand the joke first. Colbert is one of those rare cases where the audience has to be EXTREMELY SMART (actually, this fact has been researched) to get his jokes. His audience not only has to be educated, it has to be quick-witted.

    If you try to stomp out something that is just not there, you are either dumb or deliberately misleading your followers. You have just proved to the entire world how dumb some Asians can be. And not only Asians.

    By the way, there is a group of Colbert's fans in Korea. They watch him, they get him, because they are over-educated and have a good sense of humor. Maybe you should have checked with them prior to writing your nonsense on Twitter.

    #CancelStupidity


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  4. Ms. Park stepped int a pile of s88t! She really don't understand what Stephen Colbert does. I have been watching and enjoying Stephen for more than 10 years mocking the REPUBLICANS! With the Dan Snyder Skit, as many of us saw, Stephen was intentionally going over the top to show the ridiculousness of Dan Snyder. As the Korean said there are many Korean-Americans like me that WASN'T offended. It was done to bring up Dn Snyder's Stupidity. Ms. Park may become the Korean-American Version of Ann Coulter. She failed here and deservingly got kicked in the A88.

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    1. Wow. That you bring up Ann Coulter is weirdly prescient. I think if Suey Park upgraded her on-air rhetorical game just a tad, just a teeney weeny bit, she could take up the conch and reign supreme as the future "Asian Ann Coulter," but instead of representing the knuckle dragging right-wing crazies, she could lead that ultra-extreme "PC fascist" demographic. Suey Park could totally do it.

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  5. Redskins? For me that's a part of the Skinhead culture....

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  6. Obviously TK cares about the words rather than merely the message on some level, since there's only one words that he renders with dashes, and it's neither "ching" nor "chong" nor "redskin". Do you think Colbert could have pulled off a similar joke using that word?

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    1. As to the analysis behind the n-word, please refer to this post: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2012/03/chink-in-armor-and-how-to-think-about.html

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    2. I'm not suggesting that it's *wrong* to treat the words differently; rather, I'm suggesting that the obvious sarcasm isn't quite the whole of the defense here. There's an additional premise that the "ching chong" imitation of the Chinese language is closer in magnitude to the term "redskin" than to certain other racial slurs or stereotypes. We seem to agree that this is currently the case, but what is that argument against Asian activists wanting to make it *not* be?

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  7. What can I say? Asian Americans can't even figure out when they're being made a donkey's a** of, whether that is with benign or malevolent intent.

    When the Asiana pilots joke came out, many Asian Americans also laughed along with America as well. Sum Ting Wong? Wi Tu Lo? Ho Lee Fuk? Hilarious, right?

    How do you blindfold a Chinaman? Floss.

    How do Asians come up with their names? Break dishes.

    These jokes are probably 30yrs+ old, but they never get old, apparently.

    No, Colbert probably did not "intend" to be racist. But his schtick is trite and bigoted and Asians are being used as cheap fodder. Again.

    If Jews or blacks were the butt of similarly distasteful “satire”, it would never pass the sniff test. The ADL, NAACP, Jackson, Sharpton and the JDL would be all over it like fly on s***.

    I don't support Park's "CancelColbert" (and neither does she, really), but she correctly recognizes that you can't try to help one minority group by stepping on another, no matter how you contextualize it or what you call it.

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    1. Oh for heaven's sake...

      Asians should be PROUD of being mocked by Colbert. If he makes fun using anything even remotely Asian, it means he REALLY CARES. If he only joked about African Americans, it would mean he discriminates against other ethnic groups.

      ONCE AGAIN, YOU DON'T GET THE POINT OF HIS JOKE. It is NOT about Redskins (although he used it within that context), it is not about Native Americans, it is not about Dan Snyder. The joke is deep and good-natured on its own.

      When you finally get the joke (if you ever will), please get back to me, so we can talk.

      Your examples of jokes about flossing and breaking dishes are REALLY racist. Colbert would have never stooped so low.

      I know, you are probably hung up on Ching-Chong Ding-Dong part. Well, if you just take this part out of the context, yes, it is very racist. But the way Colbert used Ching-Chong Ding-Dong was actually flattering to Asians!!!

      One of my favorite Colbert's Korean jokes is "this is a bunch of bul..gogi" and how he mocked Korean alphabet. It was just hilarious. And he does not joke around just for fun! Being mentioned on Colbert's show is the greatest honor. He proclaimed his love for Rain and he dances Gangnam style occasionally. I think Asian community should be paying him to be on his show since he introduces Asian culture to mainstream America. He just gave all Asians his Colbear bump.

      I understand, it is easy, way to easy to misinterpret Colbert especially if you have no idea what the heck is going on. You have to be a part of a Colbear Nation to really get it.

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    2. VB:

      You're failing to make distinctions between trite, tiresome jokes that have aged into something resembling racism and insult ("ching-chong") and new ones that are original, fresh and clever ("bunch of bul...gogi").

      When I was 7 or 8 and heard the joke about floss and dishes, I laughed. Hearing it for the first time, particularly as a child, it's funny because it's a clever caricature of reality without the racial baggage. But for adults, fast forward decades and a million retelling of it, the humor is gone but a bag of racial element remains. Today, if you still think "ching chong" or the "Asian names" joke is funny, you're probably under the age of 10, a buffoon, or a racist.

      "Ching Chong" in particular is so cliche that you probably have to assume that the guy telling it is intentionally trying to insult. It is also, while less directly offensive on the face of it than gook or chink, in some ways even worse because it passive-aggressively dehumanizes and ridicules with guffaw.

      Is there a way to make fodder of Jews or blacks short of blatantly crossing the line? How about:

      "I am willing to show #black community I care by introducing the Fried Chicken Watermelon Ghetto Ebonics Welfare Foundation for Sensitivity to lazy Colored people or whatever".

      "I am willing to show #Jewish community I care by introducing the Jewish Palestine Occupation Holocaust-losers Foundation for Sensitivity to Zionist-Nazi Supremacists or whatever".

      How would this go over?

      Asians today may never have been enslaved, but we are at the lowest class on the social pyramid in areas that affect us personally, ie, how we are perceived as full spectrum human beings. On that basis, we are lower than blacks and hispanics.

      The irony is, even if Colbert is playing a right-wing racist who tries to get away with racism by only going up to the edge, it still fails because for most America, "ching chong", "Ho Lee Fuk" and doing "slitty eye" impressions are acceptable or quasi-acceptable forms of humor. With or without satire and context, most Americans have few qualms about it, and like Deadspin, would just admonish "gooks" to lighten up.

      Delete
    3. GST:

      1. No, it is YOU who is failing to make distinctions between a very deep meaningful joke and a childish aggressive "ching-chong". Once again, you did not get Colbert's joke.

      And "bunch of bul... gogi" is not a fresh and clever joke, it is a very simple joke that requires background knowledge. By the way, only two people in Colbert's audience laughed at his bulgogi joke, so he remarked along the lines that some people go to Korean restaurants.

      Ching-chong and Asian names jokes are NOT FUNNY. But the way Colbert presents his jokes in context is REALLY FUNNY, you just do not get his jokes because they are too complicated for you. Stop being hung up on the Ching-chong part and see beyond those two words.

      2. Your jokes would go over fine if Colbert would use them in a different context.

      3. "The irony is, even if Colbert is playing a right-wing racist who tries to get away with racism by only going up to the edge" WRONG.
      Colbert is playing a democrat playing right-wing buffoon conveying anti-racist messages. But you will never be able to grasp that.

      4. You are an ignorant idiot on so many levels, it is too boring to even reply to your "lower race" claims.

      Delete
    4. VB:

      You're very angry and uppity. You act like I insulted your TV boyfriend or something.

      Anyways, good luck "ching chonging" and "gooking" yourself. The humiliation and self-flaggelation must feel very satisfying in a weird, pitiful sort of way.

      And as the FLOTUS would say: Y'all knuckleheads!

      Delete
    5. GST:

      I am not angry, I am just bored. And I want to be entertained. So when I have to explain some very obvious things (obvious to me at least) I get irritated. I want people to entertain me, not me entertaining everybody else.

      Don't worry, I am not going to ching chong or gook myself, because my TV boyfriend is Lee Min Ho <3 <3 <3 and I have a tiny (ok, huge) worship of Korean actors, actresses and... pretty much everything else Korean. So just to make sure I am very attuned to any racism or insensitivity towards Koreans.

      I think you are a fun guy, by the way, so if you write something entertaining/ interesting or provide a link to a topless picture of Lee Min Ho, I will be willing to write something nice back with gratitude.

      However, there is one requirement on my part: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you want to say anything negative about Colbert try to demonstrate some knowledge about his show first. If you would like, I can give you a test and if you pass I will give you permission to write anything you want about him. But if you don't get his humor, why writing nonsense? I only hate two things in life: when people say things they no nothing about and when people are racists. Colbert is no racist, trust me.

      Love,

      VB

      Delete
    6. You're a woman? That explains some things.

      You're also not Korean, just like those 2 dorks at Deadspin despite some apparent tenuous connections? Not even Asian?

      Well, I'm going to make your day. Your dream come true. It's April Fool's Day, but no joke.

      http://bit.ly/1pFkY35

      Delete
    7. Thanks! LOL. It was funny! Although in all honesty I prefer Lee Min Ho without an extra head. But I appreciate your effort :) Kamsahamnida, cho-yn namja.

      Actually, I made a joke about him being topless, I guess, I have been watching Colbert for too long and now I am being cynical, just as his character.

      You should watch Colbert's show today. He came up with a great response to Ms. Park. I laughed like crazy for the first three minutes. If you still think he is a racist, I hope today's episode will change your mind and helps to explain many things. Especially when Colbert "fired" the only Asian guy who worked for him.

      I feel bad that he deleted the Colbert Report Twitter account, but I guess he was hurt by the whole thing. Since he is totally anti-racist, he was probably very upset with the fact that so many people did not get the joke.

      Now, by the way, Ms. Park is unhappy that he used her official Twitter picture on his show because of the death threats. Well, if she was so scared, why did she even go on Zepps show? Her picture was out in the open on Twitter for at least four days, and Colbert only showed it for a split second. I guess she is one of those ladies who is just looking for some cause to fight, whether it is right or imaginary. Just today she came out with yet another tweet blaming Asian men. WTF???

      One good thing that came out of this whole ordeal is that people started to question what is a racially offensive joke and what is not. But I wish it would be done at the expense of some real racists, and not those people who fight racism, like Colbert.

      Delete
    8. VB:

      I'm sorry you didn't like the 2-headed manbeast. When you're not making out with Lee Min Ho, I thought you'd want someone who can make you laugh.

      I watched Monday's Colbert Report. I thought it was very funny.

      I never said Colbert is racist. I think he's a good guy. Still, I don't think using "ching chong" as a gag is appropriate. And it doesn't matter whether it's being said by a racist, Colbert or even an Asian who says cavalierly it isn't offensive to him/her.

      I don't want to pile on Park but obviously she's in the grievance industry. It's depressing work but I suppose someone has to stand up against real or imagined injustice. Ironically, I will probably disagree with 90% of what she fights for but on this one I agree.

      I think Colbert went to great length to explain that he didn't mean to offend. I think the deletion of the official Colbert Report Twitter account was a small gesture of requital. I wouldn't be surprised to see the account back up in the future.

      Delete
    9. GST:

      It's okay. It's the thought that counts. I will never be able to make out with Lee Min Ho. First of all, he is probably gay (I hope he is not reading this). Secondly, there is a long line of women who are willing, ready and able. Thirdly, Lee Min Ho is an object of my platonic desire so there is no chance of me ever getting physical with him. Sigh.

      In the mean time I definitely want someone who can make me laugh. Colbert's show is only 30 minutes long and there were 24 hours a day the last time I checked.

      True, it was on Monday. I am glad you liked it :)

      Let me reiterate: sometimes using bad words in the right context takes on another meaning. For example, the word "shibal". It can be used as a slur or ... just as a regular word. Same with "ching chong". Or "nig**". It is not the word per say, it is the use of it. You seem to think that "ching chong" is offensive on its own where ANY WORD can be offensive if you provide the right context for it. In fact, there is an example of the word "ching chong" that is NOT OFFENSIVE:

      "Using the racial slur "ching chong" when speaking to Asian people is very derogatory and offensive. Please refrain from using it".

      See my point?

      "Someone has to stand up against real or imagined injustice"??? Eh???
      By analogy:

      Someone has to stand up against real or imagined enemies.
      Someone has to stand up against real or imagined crimes.

      #borderlinepsychosis?

      If you noticed, he used the same line "Ching Chong Ding Dong" again on his show. He did not apologize for his word use on that segment. He apologized for America not being ready (read: too dumb) for his humor.

      #Colbertforeva
      #Coreanmenfetish

      Delete
    10. I totally agree with you. It's not just the "Ching chong ding dong" reference, it's also Colbert's racist Chinese character "Ching chong ding dong". It was a lame, unfunny, and cheap joke at Asian people's expense.

      I have to laugh at people who think Colbert is so cool and they are so cool for watching the show. The Colbert Report stopped being funny several years ago.

      Delete
    11. Sean, the Colbert Report is THE FUNNIEST thing on TV right now. There is absolutely nothing funnier. Nothing. Nada. Does not even come to it.

      Thanks for demonstrating your total lack of humor. If you like something else, it is your taste. But if you don't get Colbert's humor, it is your problem, not the thousands of viewers who totally get it.

      Colbert is playing a democrat playing a white republican who is totally racist while not knowing it. This is a tough role to play and he is doing it beautifully.

      Now, tell me, if you are watching a movie where one guy plays a racist - a horrible complete racist - are you going to expect this guy to use some racial slurs or not??? And is it going to be offensive if this actor in that movie uses bad language?

      That joke was not cheap and it was not made at Asian people's expense. But it was made at all dumb people's expense. So you can be proud because this joke is about you too, not as an Asian person but as a dummy.

      You are welcome.

      Delete
    12. "Colbert is playing a democrat playing a white republican who is totally racist while not knowing it."

      No shit Sherlock. Of course it's "satire." Only it's stupid as hell and only 3 year olds or lobotomized people would find the ching chong ding dong character funny. When was the last time Colbert used a racial epithet for another race in his satire?

      If Colbert had come out in blackface and acted like a stereotypical black person (whatever that is supposed to be), you think people would have been okay with it?

      Delete
    13. Sean:
      "It was a lame, unfunny, and cheap joke at Asian people's expense."


      Unfortunately, I think you and I are in the minority. Asian Americans, at least the vocal ones, don't seem to care. Oh well... time to disengage.

      Delete
    14. VB:

      "In the mean time I definitely want someone who can make me laugh. Colbert's show is only 30 minutes long and there were 24 hours a day the last time I checked."


      You don't find much humor here, do you? I don't think AAK does jokes.


      "Let me reiterate: sometimes using bad words in the right context takes on another meaning . . . See my point?"

      Ah... Yes... You are so right! You are a very persuasive girl.


      " "Someone has to stand up against real or imagined injustice"??? Eh??? "

      The "grievance industry" can take on a life of its own and often see trouble where none exists.


      "#Coreanmenfetish"

      Really? Is that a twitter hashtag? I get ZERO results for that! You need more followers.

      Delete
    15. @ Sean:
      No shit Sherlock. Of course it's "satire." Only it's stupid as hell and only 3 year olds or lobotomized people would find the ching chong ding dong character funny.

      The reason you think this is probably because you don't understand the reason people find it funny. They are not laughing at the character per se; the Ching Chong Ding Dong character is obviously an uncomfortably racist throwback to a bygone era. It's funny because Colbert (the character, not the person) is so oblivious to it being offensive. People are not laughing at Asians, they are laughing at the stupidity and lack of awareness of the archetype Colbert is playing.

      If Colbert had come out in blackface and acted like a stereotypical black person (whatever that is supposed to be), you think people would have been okay with it?

      Yes and no. People who understand satire would be okay with it, which includes black people who understand satire. Hypersensitive social justice warriors would obviously not be okay with it.

      Colbert says politically incorrect stuff about blacks and Latinos all the time.: http://www.alternet.org/stephen-colbert-celebrates-stereotypes-end-black-history-month

      Not only that, he also says mean insensitive stuff about poor people, homosexuals, liberals, the disabled, and the elderly. Gee, what an asshole! It's almost as if he's saying the exact opposite of what a decent human being would say...

      Delete
    16. @ Eurasian Sensation:

      Finally somebody who gets Colbert. My faith in humanity is restored. Temporarily. Till another person says that Colbert is a racist...

      GST:

      I have always been wondering why Koreans are not that funny. They are sweet, nice, generous, intelligent, proper, good-natured, everything but funny. It is very very rare, almost impossible to find funny Korean people. I know they have fun, but they are just not funny in general. Maybe because they are afraid of hurting other people's feelings? Not sure.

      I bet the only reason why Margaret Cho is funny (and she really is) is because she was born in America, so she is like American funny, not Korean funny.

      #Coreanmenfetish is VERY POPULAR, just not with a hash tag. Just ask "the Korean" how many letters he gets on a regular basis with "where can I meet Korean men?" "How can I marry a Korean guy?" "How do I make a Korean guy like me?"

      On Facebook there is a page "I want to be Lee Min Ho's wife". I forgot how many thousand girls signed up. Too many for one guy. Too many for any guy. Poor Lee Min Ho. He is a wanted man.

      The problem is that all the girls think most Korean men are like they portray them in dramas. Those girls are in love with their own perception of Korean men that is quite different from reality.

      Anyway, you should be proud to be Korean. You guys (and girls) are in vogue.

      Delete
    17. VB:

      I have always been wondering why Koreans are not that funny. They are sweet, nice, generous, intelligent, proper, good-natured, everything but funny. It is very very rare, almost impossible to find funny Korean people. I know they have fun, but they are just not funny in general. Maybe because they are afraid of hurting other people's feelings? Not sure.

      Maybe the Korean guys you've been around don't feel comfortable around you. You're high maintenance, demanding and intimidating!

      I bet the only reason why Margaret Cho is funny (and she really is) is because she was born in America, so she is like American funny, not Korean funny.

      I never liked Margaret Cho. Her personal anecdotes and mom imitations are so hackneyed and annoying.

      Now, if you like comedians who make funny faces, Bobby Lee is your guy. He's funny, goofy, and also does the Asian schtick but not at the expense of Asians.

      Personally, I think Asian Americans are little stunted because of the hangups and social prejudices they grow up with as minorities. And America's preoccupation with race, gender, etc are tiresome/toxic.

      But you probably prefer Korean-Koreans anyways.

      #Coreanmenfetish is VERY POPULAR, just not with a hash tag. Just ask "the Korean" how many letters he gets on a regular basis with "where can I meet Korean men?" "How can I marry a Korean guy?" "How do I make a Korean guy like me?"

      Do you want to make a Korean guy like you?

      I don't know if AAK is the best place to ask. He might reply with an F-bomb and remind you that he's not Ask a Kupid.

      On Facebook there is a page "I want to be Lee Min Ho's wife". I forgot how many thousand girls signed up. Too many for one guy. Too many for any guy. Poor Lee Min Ho. He is a wanted man.

      Really? I don't get the appeal. He looks like one of my friends and we always make fun of him.

      The problem is that all the girls think most Korean men are like they portray them in dramas. Those girls are in love with their own perception of Korean men that is quite different from reality.

      When you saw past the illusion, what kept you from runnning as fast as you can? Was it pity or masochism?

      Anyway, you should be proud to be Korean. You guys (and girls) are in vogue.

      Are you going to feel the same way 10yrs from now? Or is it just another passing fad like Hello Kitty and yoga pants?

      Delete
    18. So you think I am high maintenance, demanding and intimidating? Wow! To be able to judge another person's character based on their internet posts is highly amazing. Or amusing. Let me try:

      You are a Korean American, a young guy, who is bitter, somewhat lonely and wants to be acknowledged for being smart and manly (strong).

      No, the Korean guys I have been around try to make jokes all the time, they are just not funny.

      Bobby Lee sometimes can be funny, but for the most part he is boring.

      Margaret Cho's latest jokes are kind of boring. Her jokes about her mother were hilarious. She did not say them at the expense of her mom, you just didn't get it. She loves her mom too much. She loves her enough to talk about her.

      Yes, I do prefer Korean-Koreans. They are more polite and proper.

      No, I don't want a Korean guy to like me. I am not a racist and I take people for who they are rather for their ethnic background.

      I envy you that you have a friend like Lee Min Ho. If I had a friend like that, I would try my best to make him laugh. Of course you don't get the appeal, he is a guy.

      When I saw past the illusions, I figured that Korean men are a good match for Korean women. Only Korean women are strong enough to handle Korean men.

      I hope it is not a passing fad. I hope South Korean culture makes this world a better place.





      Delete
    19. VB:

      So you think I am high maintenance, demanding and intimidating? Wow!

      LOL. I was just kidding.


      You are a Korean American, a young guy, who is bitter, somewhat lonely and wants to be acknowledged for being smart and manly (strong).

      I am kinda bitter but with a little cream and sugar I could be the perfect warm refreshment.


      No, the Korean guys I have been around try to make jokes all the time, they are just not funny.

      Well, my motto is if a girl refuses to laugh then resort to tickling.


      Bobby Lee sometimes can be funny, but for the most part he is boring.

      Bobby Lee carried the show on Mad TV.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6-2YSb09yI

      C'mon, that was hilarious.


      No, I don't want a Korean guy to like me. I am not a racist

      I thought you said you liked Korean guys? It's not racist to want a Korean guy to like you. It's benevolent desire.


      When I saw past the illusions, I figured that Korean men are a good match for Korean women. Only Korean women are strong enough to handle Korean men.

      Korean men are stuck with Korean women, but Korean women can date whomever they want? That's not fair!


      I hope it is not a passing fad. I hope South Korean culture makes this world a better place.

      No, I meant whether it's a passing fad for you. Are you going to stick with Korea for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health? Or become another statistic?

      Delete
  8. What struck me most was that Ms. Suey Park had a series of tweets that blasted Asian men for not supporting her. It came off as, "You Asian men complain about us Asian women not supporting you, but this is why! So fuck you too!"

    There seems to be so much anger and bitterness between Asian men and women in activist circles. It's very disheartening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CJL:

      That is sad.

      I don't believe in the Al Sharpton school of activism, but I believe that something should be said when insults are made.

      To the extent Park is leaning towards Sharpton, I disagree with her. But I also do not like the way some dissenters have reacted, such as Daniel Chun who wrote, "Asians, this is your leader speaking. Stand down." This is not constructive dialog.

      In the end, not only has this become a farce, but so has Asian Americans. The result will be that in future, more people will be able to insult Asians with even greater sense of impunity.

      I think you know it's become bizarro world when even the guy from Angry Asian Man gives his whiny seal of approval to "ching chong" humor. True farce.

      Delete
    2. Here's an example of what I'm talking about: https://twitter.com/suey_park/status/450862248454389760

      It's entirely possible for someone to think that she picked the wrong target in Colbert, AND be sympathetic to the death/rape threats she's gotten.

      Delete
    3. CJL:

      These guys are loons.

      She's just 23. A kid. There's no reason to besiege her when her motive is to call out bigotry against Asians, something that is too often tolerated. She's not Al Sharpton... at least not yet. And we're not at a point collectively where we are overly sensitive. If you disagree with her, vehemence is not necessary; just be patient and wait for the maelstrom to subside. The maelstrom in a twitter teapot.

      Delete
  9. GST, That is a flat out lie

    Watch comedy central, and they make fun of blacks all the time. Robert Downey Jr did black face for christ sake in a movie that got wide exposure. Louis CK & other white comedians have used the N-word and no one goes crazy. No one lost their heads, and no one would have lost it had Colbert made some ebonics fried chicken water melon reference. The notion that Asian Americans are easy fodder compared to blacks is laughable, and shows me you have a clear misunderstanding of what blacks face in the media and in reality. And there really is little comparison considering the 200 year history of this country

    If you really think blacks would go crazy over something similar you have no clue what you're talking about

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watch comedy central, and they make fun of blacks all the time. Robert Downey Jr did black face for christ sake in a movie that got wide exposure.

      Jokes are fine, but it's understood that there are lines that shouldn't be crossed.

      After a little debate, I think the consensus was that RDJ's black face was not offensive.

      Louis CK & other white comedians have used the N-word and no one goes crazy.

      Louis CK didn't really use the N-word. He was clinically deliberating on names and slurs, including the N-word.

      Delete
  10. While not surprising, it always disheartening and frustrating to learn of people's kneejerk pearl-clutching and utter of comprehension of satire. Context, folks, is what matters. Mere mention of a BAD WORD should not lead to cries of insensitive racism. And for anyone that claims NO ONE WOULD MAKE JOKES ABOUT JEWS, here is an excerpt from Josh Levin's take on Slate:

    ["Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation"] is perhaps the most uncharitable name ever conceived for a charitable group, something akin to calling your organization “Kikes United Against Anti-Semitism.”

    Context, folks.

    Full post here: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2014/03/dan_snyder_washington_nfl_team_the_owner_s_cynical_new_effort_to_squelch.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kozy:
    "And for anyone that claims NO ONE WOULD MAKE JOKES ABOUT JEWS, here is an excerpt from Josh Levin's take on Slate: ["Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation"] is perhaps the most uncharitable name ever conceived for a charitable group, something akin to calling your organization “Kikes United Against Anti-Semitism.” Context, folks."

    Indeed, context.

    The author is himself a Jew and he wasn't trolling for cheap laughs.

    Let me know when Gentiles can get away with the same thing.

    ReplyDelete

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