Asploding Asian Girlfriend August 19, 2009 9:07 AM   Subscribe

A place to have a nice cup of tea and a chat about this thread's Asian girlfriend fetish.
posted by i_cola to Etiquette/Policy at 9:07 AM (237 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

[more inside]
posted by shmegegge at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2009


It was a stupid joke, speaking as someone who has an Asian wife. I think bardic apologized for it, though, so what will happen here is largely irrelevant unless maybe the post is edited.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 AM on August 19, 2009


Can we rake this guy over the coals instead?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 AM on August 19, 2009


Im looking for a bento box
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


Can we rake this guy over the coals instead?

At most other sites, he would've simply been ignored. I'm really surprised at the lack of 'net savvy displayed by the people participating in that derail. (Not terribly surprised that my comment was deleted, but it was with the best of intentions.)
posted by knave at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2009


So let me surmise: Bardic apologized but you thought you'd call this out anyway?
posted by ob at 9:19 AM on August 19, 2009


HAI

You know what's funnier than funny? Back in my days as a layabout grad. student in Charlottesville, Virginia, this guy I'd just met told me about this crazy-ass place called Metafilter. And we were drunk at some party and he whipped out this "Hipster Bingo" card he'd printed off the internet due to said website. Really cool guy, haven't spoken to him for a while though.

His name you might ask?

DHOYT I shit you not.
posted by bardic at 9:22 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


His name you might ask?

That story would be even better if he kept coming back from the restroom and introducing himself with a different name.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 AM on August 19, 2009 [15 favorites]


BARDIC IS DHOYT

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST

JENLEIGH IS ASIAN GIRLFRIEND
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Optimus: it took me a full two minutes to actually get the joke you were trying to make.

I don't know whether to be disgruntled (because it is pretty coarse), or to be appreciative for just how subtle it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on August 19, 2009


So let me surmise: Bardic apologized but you thought you'd call this out anyway?

Your surmisuration seems to be incorrect - i_cola seems to be more interested in heading off the derail than specifically calling anyone out.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:25 AM on August 19, 2009


I actually really hate Asian people though. I will treat this call-out as the necessary intervention that me, you, and Jesus Christ desperately require.
posted by bardic at 9:27 AM on August 19, 2009


ob: Not a call out. Just a place to take the discussion that seems to be going on in parallel to the post FPP itself. Probably would've helped if this this had been brought here earlier tho'.

Personally I'm not bothered by the wording of the post, but, as KevinSkomsvold said, it would be good if Metafilter had an alternate site where one could discuss issues not directly related to the post.
posted by i_cola at 9:30 AM on August 19, 2009


surmisuration

I am suddenly confronted by the fact that I can think offhand of no satisfying way to render this inflection of "surmise". But here's a vote instead for "surmumption".
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


What was that? Stuff White People Like? Pitchfork, trucker hats, Asian girls?

FFS, I'm as thick-skinned as any MeFite, but that "grab your Asian girlfriend" phrase just rubbed me the wrong way. Yeah, I know it's a joke, fashion statement ha-ha, hipsters suck, HI I'M BEING IRONIC, etc. I get it, but it still demeans and objectifies. Maybe not Asians or females intentionally, but a group of people.

Full disclosure: I'm female, and an Asian in Asia. Here, we're the majority, and those from other races are the freaks to us. But let's be honest here, people of different races (or even sexes) are far from being treated equitably in the social sphere, and we as a civilization haven't reached the level of universal understanding that everyone is equal for this to be even remotely acceptable.

Jokes like this? They don't help.
posted by Lush at 9:34 AM on August 19, 2009 [16 favorites]


TEA?
posted by dirtdirt at 9:36 AM on August 19, 2009


Derail: Do in-thread meta junctions actually work to move the derail away from the original post? I'm not pulling a metameta, but it would be cool to be able to tag derail comments and autoroute them to some kind of preallocated metabitbucket where everyone can point and laugh.

/ignore me
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:38 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm making a pot right now.
posted by i_cola at 9:38 AM on August 19, 2009


I mean, dude, couldn't you just have used some OTHER phrase like "grab your Vespas" or "grab your Moleskines" or pot bellies or whatnot?
posted by Lush at 9:40 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Main Entry: 1 sur·mise
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, allegation, charge, from Anglo-French, from feminine of surmis, past participle of surmettre to place on, suppose, accuse, from Medieval Latin supermittere, from Late Latin, to place on, from Latin super- + mittere to let go, send
Date: 1569
: a thought or idea based on scanty evidence : conjecture

So the word you're looking for is: surmise.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:44 AM on August 19, 2009


Nah, man: surmiseration, like commiseration.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the puzzles in the WaPo is credited to a dhoyt. Is that the same guy?
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:51 AM on August 19, 2009


That headline just reads like inside baseball smugness. It makes a big racially loaded comment that you need a lot of cultural knowledge to unpack, and name-drops and meme-drops in about five different ways. If you're going to make a comment like that AS THE TITLE OF A POST it should be clear to everybody what you mean and we better all have access to the knowledge required to participate in the joke. Otherwise it draws social lines where there don't need to be any. Mix that with the content of the post...a definitive list of the 'hottest' music from the last decade and you get a certain attitude about the whole stance of the poster.

Granted, Bardic, I really don't think you meant it to convey all that at all, but that's just how it comes across to me, and possibly others. No hard feelings, and I don't mean to rip on you personally. It is a great post otherwise, and I have no judgments about you or your stance/attitude whatsoever. I am just trying to explain how it read to me, and why.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:53 AM on August 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


I think you mean surimiserration.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:59 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess it is pretty clear that bardic still does not get it.

Whatever the joke was intended to be about, it just ended up being plain offensive to a whole lot of people, and that really does not come as a surprise after some minimal thinking.

EvaDestruction and Lush put it quite well.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 10:01 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


ob: Not a call out. Just a place to take the discussion that seems to be going on in parallel to the post FPP itself. Probably would've helped if this this had been brought here earlier tho'.

OK fair enough.

Whilst we're discussing Optimus Chyme's joke, I once saw an episode of "Bargain Hunt" with David Dickinson in which one member of the blue team, (who were both students as only students and old people go on that show) when asked what kid of antiques he liked said, "I'm a big fan of the Asian box". He continued to refer to "the Asian box" and his wholehearted interest in it throughout the show without anyone batting an eyelid. I'm sure he made a lot of money on bets at the student union.
posted by ob at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think he probably definitely gets it, but he has a bit of perspective. this is definitely not the worst thing you will have read on the internets today
posted by Think_Long at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2009


That headline just reads like inside baseball smugness. It makes a big racially loaded comment that you need a lot of cultural knowledge to unpack, and name-drops and meme-drops in about five different ways.

But this is the eternal tension of Making Fun of Hipsters. One must prove oneself simultaneously devil-may-care and yet flawlessly conversant in all the things they like, as if all of one's hipster-knowledge was derived from an accident of cool, a moped collision.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2009 [16 favorites]


Also, is it still fair game to make fun of those Kanji tattoos?
posted by kid ichorous at 10:06 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, we could also call out the post headline. Why mention jonmc? Like it or not, this website doesn't revolve around members with low user names and it's rather silly to keep in-jokes about users going like that.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm still trying to figure out what non-sexist reasons a person may have for having a girlfriend, Asian or otherwise.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think you mean non-sexy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2009


I actually want to second Burhanistan's comment, while agreeing with the majority that the "Asian girlfriend" remark didn't play well. One of the reasons I keep with Metafilter/Ask Mefi is that these sites and their moderation don't allow as much of the cliquish name-dropping "It's a Mefi thing -- you wouldn't understand" stuff that characterizes other parts of the Internet. Call me a fragile flower if you will, but frankly, the name-checking is off-putting.
posted by lleachie at 10:22 AM on August 19, 2009


Next time, err on the side of caution and use "coke-addled trustfundstitute". I'm pretty sure they're still on the "acceptable" list.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2009


and the number 1 song of pitchfork in the 00's - the vapors
posted by pyramid termite at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was an obnoxious post and this post and its comments are obnoxious too.

Ironic racism (with some bonus sexism) is fucking stupid. I'm sick of it. It's not funny.
posted by kathrineg at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


Ufez, as a former coke-addled person, I resent that remark.
posted by item at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do not think he was making fun of Asians.

I do not think he was making fun of girlfriends.

I do not think he was making fun of Asian girlfriends.

I think he was making fun of hipsters who have Asian girlfriends because having Asian girlfriends is what you do when you are a hipster, along with many other things (and I kid you not, I heard someone use "PBR" in a meeting yesterday to indicate that they were not stuffy — I wanted to hurl a flaming Arcade Fire CD at their head)

In other words, he's making fun of a group whose shallow, formulaic lifestyle can lead them to treat some groups of people as accessories (assuming for the sake of argument you believe hipsters exist).

I am okay with that. I'm okay with making fun of the Klan, too.

I am fairly certain someone will be along shortly to tell me why I should get my feathers ruffled on this topic.
posted by adipocere at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [15 favorites]


I mean, we're not all trustfundites.
posted by item at 10:32 AM on August 19, 2009


I didn't even read the thread because of the asian girlfriend comment. Sounded like a bad start to a thread even from the outside.

If there is ONE lesson I learned very early on here, it is that the creation of a quality FPP means that the post is made pretty straight, with a minimum of joking, and especially not including any references which can possibly be taken the wrong way. Every time someone puts a joke into an FPP, it backfires on them. Find a way to make your post interesting without the joke, or likely your post isn't worth making in the first place.
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


The funny (well, unfunny) thing about the joke is how badly it misses the mark. Trucker caps? Obsession with Asian women? Sounds more like a fratty douche c. 2004 than a "hipster."

If the joke was aiming for Williamsburg, it lands somewhere around Staten Island.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


Personally I wasn't offended by the wording of the post but sometimes in my zest for wanting the have a good time, I forget that others may perceive it differently. It's a delicate balancing act; wanting this place to be sort of rough and tumble yet taking a lot more perceptions into account when shooting off my mouth. I don't think I'll ever find that balance but the reactions in that post are a good measuring stick.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:39 AM on August 19, 2009


In other words, he's making fun of a group whose shallow, formulaic lifestyle can lead them to treat some groups of people as accessories (assuming for the sake of argument you believe hipsters exist).

I am okay with that. I'm okay with making fun of the Klan, too.


You just compared hipsters to the KKK. Well played, sir.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:43 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think he was making fun of hipsters who have Asian girlfriends because having Asian girlfriends is what you do when you are a hipster

That's exactly what's offensive about it. I can't believe there are people who sincerely roll their eyes at anyone they declare a "hipster" who happens to have an Asian girlfriend, and who actually believe that the hipster is doing it just because it's hip. What, as opposed to the girlfriend actually being awesome in and of herself, independent of her race? Or *gasp!* that a lot of girls who happen to be Asian are hipsters, too? Why the distinction?
posted by Lush at 10:50 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


In other words, he's making fun of a group whose shallow, formulaic lifestyle can lead them to treat some groups of people as accessories (assuming for the sake of argument you believe hipsters exist).


So would two asian hipster women dating each other cause some kind of feedback loop?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:02 AM on August 19, 2009


As a (half) Asian and a girl who's somewhat connected to the indie music world, I didn't really take offense to the Asian part of the joke. Indie guys tend to like Asian girls, whatever. What rubbed me the wrong was how, by using the 'girlfriend' thing at all, it basically addresses only the guys. I hate that kind of subtle gender exclusion. It feels a nitpicky to point it out, but it also annoys me whenever I see it.
posted by statolith at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2009 [18 favorites]


Adolf Hipster. How about that?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess it is pretty clear that bardic still does not get it.

That's just Bardic being Bardic.

The title was lame, the link was lame, the shoutout to jonmc was lame, the discussion lame.

Like I said, that's just Bardic.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 11:11 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: The 'girlfriend' rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:11 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


What rubbed me the wrong was how, by using the 'girlfriend' thing at all, it basically addresses only the guys. I hate that kind of subtle gender exclusion. It feels a nitpicky to point it out, but it also annoys me whenever I see it.

Precisely.

I guess those of us with lady parts can not possibly, really rock.

I have been living a lie.
posted by readery at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bardic should have picked something different. And I agree with Statolith and Readery as well. On first read it just came off to me like he was listing things people give hipsters shit for. Should have been gender neutral, however.
posted by josher71 at 11:18 AM on August 19, 2009


That's just Bardic being Bardic.

That's a little more personal than it needs to be, I think - while I'm not a fan of in-jokey MeFi post titles (Though I am glad to see jonmc back in the neighborhood), and the Asian girlfriend gag was tired, there's nothing wrong with the link. Brand New day, people!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 AM on August 19, 2009


I think he was making fun of hipsters who have Asian girlfriends because having Asian girlfriends is what you do when you are a hipster

That's exactly what's offensive about it. I can't believe there are people who sincerely roll their eyes at anyone they declare a "hipster" who happens to have an Asian girlfriend, and who actually believe that the hipster is doing it just because it's hip. What, as opposed to the girlfriend actually being awesome in and of herself, independent of her race? Or *gasp!* that a lot of girls who happen to be Asian are hipsters, too? Why the distinction?


First of all, let's just assume, for a second, that the stereotype "Hipsters have Asian girlfriends" is true, or at least was true at some point in the past. If we assume that it's true, then we do NOT have to assume that the reason behind it is that male hipsters fetishize Asian women. It could just be, like you said, that there are alot of Asian hipster girls.

Like "Hipster girls date dudes with weird moustaches". Is it true because they fetishize weird moustaches, or because lots of hipster guys just HAVE weird moustaches?
posted by 23skidoo at 11:37 AM on August 19, 2009


Like "Hipster girls date dudes with weird moustaches". Is it true because they fetishize weird moustaches, or because lots of hipster guys just HAVE weird moustaches?

That's less chicken-egg and more stimulus-response.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2009


Ironic racism (with some bonus sexism) is fucking stupid. I'm sick of it. It's not funny.

I agree. Posters trying to deconstruct or contextualize the "joke" or whatever are jerks.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess those of us with lady parts can not possibly, really rock.

Hee!

To be honest, though, as someone with ladyparts (my own, that is, not some Ed Gein collection), I avoid Pitchfork because of its boyzoneitude.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


as someone with ladyparts (my own, that is, not some Ed Gein collection)

Favorite qualification, ever.
posted by empyrean at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jesus, is this really a thing?

He was making fun of a broadly snarked "fashion" stereotype.

But what about all those awesome Asian indie rockers? Couldn't the hipsters just like them as people?

No. By saying "hipster," it's pretty clear that he meant "shallow douchebag." It's possible that shallow douchebags have real feelings for their Asian girlfriends, but hell, they're shallow douchebags. They don't get the benefit of the doubt.

Bardic does.

Next time you're like, hey, maybe this MeFite meant this in an offensive way! I'll reply all offended, take thirty seconds to think that just maybe they're not a complete idiot and deserve the benefit of the doubt. And if you explain it to them that you're offended, guess what? If they get it and don't seem apologetic, it may be that they don't really care if you're offended about this. Not everyone thinks this joke was beyond the pale, not everyone cares about your outrage, and no one has to.
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


And if I was feeling more petulant, I'd say that complaints of gender exclusion evidence heteronormativism.

Or you could realize that he's making fun of a broader stereotype, likely in a self-deprecating way.

OH NOES
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think that the "subservient Asian woman" stereotype is pernicious and vile enough that it's best to stay way the heck clear off it. Female Asian friends of mine (and female friends who just look vaguely Asian) get a lot of weird bullshit. One anecdote: a friend was at a party when this guy comes up to her and introduces himself with: "Hello, I'm a sinophile."
posted by Kattullus at 11:59 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


And if I was feeling more petulant, I'd say that complaints of gender exclusion evidence heteronormativism.

There's a stereotype that lesbian and bi hipsters (presumably not the ones who are Asian themselves) have a "thing" about having Asian girlfriends?

Oh, right. There isn't. The joke only works if you imply that the "you" being addressed is a heterosexual white man.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:02 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


One anecdote: a friend was at a party when this guy comes up to her and introduces himself with: "Hello, I'm a sinophile."

Obviously, he was using an alternative pronounciation for "douchewad."
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2009


"Oh, right. There isn't. The joke only works if you imply that the "you" being addressed is a heterosexual white man."

No, the joke is even funnier if you expand the audience, by further focusing on "Asian girlfriend" as object, as accessory. This reinforces the reading of "hipster" as "shallow douchebag."

The objectification itself is acknowledged as absurd, and the implication of the whole phrase is that the twin poles of hipster identity are preoccupation with acquiring totems of authenticity and exoticism, even as both of them are undermined by the negative connotation of "hipster." "Hipsters" are not us, they do things for the wrong reasons. But we as a community also admit that we know the definition of "hipster" is necessarily false, and that we share traits in common with them. By laughing at these stereotypical affectations we affirm through recognition and distance through mockery.

Have I killed the joke entirely yet or is it still moving a little?
posted by klangklangston at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think that the "subservient Asian woman" stereotype is pernicious and vile enough that it's best to stay way the heck clear off it.

"Hipsters have Asian girlfriends" does not promote the "subservient Asian woman" stereotype, it promotes the "Young Asian people are cool" stereotype.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:16 PM on August 19, 2009


"Hipsters have Asian girlfriends" does not promote anything whatsoever. It is simply a stereotype.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:18 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some people find a racially loaded comment that you need a lot of cultural knowledge to unpack offensive; some people are even more offended that people would dare get offended and ruin their fun.

It's the Ciiiiiiiirrrcle of Liiiiiife!
posted by ignignokt at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


Ironic racism (with some bonus sexism) is fucking stupid. I'm sick of it. It's not funny.

That's my favourite comedy club heckle!
posted by ob at 12:27 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a nazi girlfriend.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:36 PM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is there anyone who self-identifies as a "hipster," or is it just a term of disdain used by hipsters?
posted by jtron at 12:42 PM on August 19, 2009


It's possible that shallow douchebags have real feelings for their Asian girlfriends, but hell, they're shallow douchebags. They don't get the benefit of the doubt.

Bardic does.


I don't know him, so...
posted by kathrineg at 12:43 PM on August 19, 2009


To be fair, "hipster" usually gets applied to men because 1) men's handbag choices tend to stand out a bit more and 2) not as many beards amongst the hipster-femmes, thus making them harder to spot from a distance.
posted by adipocere at 12:44 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, right. There isn't. The joke only works if you imply that the "you" being addressed is a heterosexual white man.

And the heterosexual white male hipster is being mocked. The phrase is mocking a fictional audience generated from negative stereotypes. I can see taking offense to it because it implies Asian women are an accessory, but taking offense because you're not being insulted along with a douchebag seems kind of weird. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.
posted by ODiV at 12:45 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: The 'girlfriend' rubbed me the wrong way.

This thread won't have a happy ending, will it?
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2009


Um, my girlfriend is Asian and I do not like the suggestion she is a fashion statement. Fuck you too.
posted by cj_ at 12:49 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I don't know him, so..."

You've been here two-and-a-half months.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on August 19, 2009


I do not like the suggestion she is a fashion statement

To be fair, the suggestion was that some hypothetical negative caricature of a particular kind of person might consider your girlfriend as a fashion accessory.

Feel free to track him down and tell him, though...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:54 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Um, my girlfriend is Asian and I do not like the suggestion she is a fashion statement. Fuck you too."

Does her hair match your fixie?
posted by klangklangston at 12:56 PM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


The first rule of Asian fetish is do not talk about Asian fetish.
posted by Iron Rat at 12:57 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe Matt is weeping.
posted by i_cola at 1:05 PM on August 19, 2009


Yeah, look, I get it. Some white guys date Asian girls. Apparently it's a fetish rather than a preference. Maybe that's even true for That Guy who's also really into anime and took two years of Japanese at Uni or whatever. So what? I see a lot of disdain for That Guy and I am honestly curious how this isn't a pretty racist point of view. How is this different than the sentiment behind the phrase "nigger lover"?

Constructing a caricature hipster who only dates Asians to be cool doesn't really change the underlying bullshit behind this, because as far as I know (a) they don't exist and (b) it's still a pretty racist idea rooted in the belief inter-racial dating is bad.
posted by cj_ at 1:07 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


One anecdote: a friend was at a party when this guy comes up to her and introduces himself with: "Hello, I'm a sinophile."

That's lame, but there's just as many people out trophy-hunting for White and Black girls, and for freakishly tall boys, and so on; and it's a most naive assumption that the practice of racial pigeonholing is limited to White males. Whatever your configuration of sex and preference, and unless you're profoundly ugly, people have toyed with idea of you as a fashion accessory, a bauble. And you've done it right back to them.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:08 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


le morte de bea arthur: I just got your name.

and I'm offended!
posted by ODiV at 1:08 PM on August 19, 2009


Divine_Wino: Is this her?
posted by waraw at 1:14 PM on August 19, 2009


"Yeah, look, I get it."

No, you don't. If you got it, you'd see why looking for an Asian girlfriend because having an Asian girlfriend is a status marker/exotic instead of dating a girl that happens to be Asian because you like her for herself, is held up for ridicule and you wouldn't be off on some bizarre-ass jeremiad about "nigger lover" or interracial relationships.
posted by klangklangston at 1:18 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you got it, you'd see why looking for an Asian girlfriend because having an Asian girlfriend is a status marker/exotic instead of dating a girl that happens to be Asian because you like her for herself, is held up for ridicule

The problem is that while you may know that you're dating this girl for the noblest and least fetishizing of reasons, no one else does, and so if it's suddenly okay to look at any interracial couple and assume that what's going on there is some weird sort of exoticism or whatever, you can pretty much rest assured that this is what will be assumed every time, because stereotyping tends to come quite easily to us as a species. I don't think cj's trying to cast himself as the Nice and Not Fetishizing Guy Who Just Happens to be Dating an Asian Chick so much as he's saying fuck you for daring to cast aspersions on anyone for dating outside of their race, because that's actually exactly what is going on here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:30 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Educated stupid is very apt here.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on August 19, 2009


Just after transitioning from diapers to underwear, I wasn't exactly a bed-wetter: I disliked lying on a urine-soaked mattress just as much as I disliked walking down the hall to the toilet, so I would get out of bed in the middle of the night and urinate on the floor.
posted by breezeway at 1:35 PM on August 19, 2009


Yeah, klang, I think you've picked the wrong hill to defend here. Also, this:

> You've been here two-and-a-half months.

...is not cool.
posted by languagehat at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


There's a stereotype that lesbian and bi hipsters (presumably not the ones who are Asian themselves) have a "thing" about having Asian girlfriends?

Do people normally make fun of lesbian, bi, or lady hipsters in general? I'm pretty sure I've never heard one joke about them. All the deprecation seems to be centered on the shallowness of the male bearded hipster.

For that matter, since everyone's complaining about the secondary insult to gender or race or whatever, who's complaining about the unfairness of stereotyping hipsters? Oh, that's right. No one, because no one claims to even be a hipster or speak for them. Our outrage and annoyance at them is so universal that we take for granted that this is what male hipsters do and instead complain about how the phrase used to describe what we think hipsters actually do is insulting to the people they do it to.

To couch this in terms of another universally reviled subgroup, if I were to say that old lechers (specifically, male lechers) had much younger girlfriends, would that be offensive to young girls? Of course not. You're describing a property of the lecherous old man in that he prefers young girls, and yes, objectifies them. That is very different than saying young girls are objects.
posted by scrutiny at 1:38 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is this different than the sentiment behind the phrase "nigger lover"?

It's really more like "jungle fever."
posted by desuetude at 1:40 PM on August 19, 2009


Joe Matt is weeping.

Also masturbating, although that kind of goes without saying.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:46 PM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


klangklangston: I get that you're saying the joke is at the expense of a very specific stereotype and therefore non-skeezy people who are in interracial relationships with women of Asian descent shouldn't get their dander up, but I think their objections are very similar to this comment you posted in the fabled Fedora MeTa:
I'm annoyed that it's "in fashion," as suddenly they're all over, and folks like you judge it as affectation. It's no more affectation than my girlfriend not shaving her legs—my default state is bearded, not shorn.
You were annoyed that a simple aesthetic preference was characterized as a trendchasing affectation. I'm sure that if you felt someone was deriding your relationship or impugning your motives for being in it (In addition to the everyday crap some folks in interracial relationships still have to put up with), your response would be far more vehement than mere annoyance.

I definitely don't think it was bardic's intent or motivation to offend - I agree that he was just playing with a classic community bugaboo, possibly as a preemptive snark to head off any Pitchfork bashers in the crowd. But I can understand how people who technically aren't the targets of the joke can still feel that they are being disparaged by it.

Also, the 'You've been here two and a half months' thing isn't cool. While new members would do well to lurk a little and learn a lot before diving in, I think there's a definite onus on long-timers to facilitate that learning - STFU n00b cliquishness, even if it's not intended to come across as such, doesn't help explain why anyone should get the benefit of the doubt. Are new people expected to research comment histories of every <30k MeFite?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:54 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I avoid Pitchfork because of its boyzoneitude.

I avoid Pitchfork because of its high twattage level.
posted by applemeat at 1:55 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the only reason this particular configuration has come under attack is that, among the upper-classes we so cheerfully revile, and from whose population we draw the Wodehousian hipster flaneur, Asian/White pairings (in either direction) are vastly more common than Asian/Black, or White/Black, or just about any other permutation of races.

Asian-Americans are the wealthiest demographic going, and are overwhelmingly situated in coastal and urban locales, and there is I think a mutual preference being expressed between people of the same class and geography that can easily be mistaken for, or even evolve into, a racial one. You will see the same preference exercised by wealthy adoptive parents, favoring Asian children over Black. On one hand, it seems worthy of remark; on the other, it seems very rude and personal to do so. Hypothetically, what business is it of anyone's why I adopt, or why my parents adopted me, or whom I date, or whose company I keep?
posted by kid ichorous at 2:00 PM on August 19, 2009


The first thing I noticed was the call-out, the second was the "Asian girlfriend" thing. Neither of them made me smirk.

Full disclosure: My parents are Filipino, and I really detest the whole "yellow fever" thing. It makes it more difficult for me to date because I constantly have to keep from rolling my eyes whenever guys say to me (thinking it's a compliment) that they love Asian women.
posted by TrishaLynn at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, enough of this asian girlfriend fetish. Can we talk about asian fetish girlfriends now?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2009


Constructing a caricature hipster who only dates Asians to be cool doesn't really change the underlying bullshit behind this, because as far as I know (a) they don't exist and (b) it's still a pretty racist idea rooted in the belief inter-racial dating is bad.

If you were to poll the people who 1) accept the premise that the hipster and his Asian girlfriend actually happens and 2) have a problem with that - the actual problem most of them will have is DEFINITELY NOT that they think inter-racial dating is bad.

In fact, they'll probably think inter-racial dating is GREAT - it's the bizarrely, suspiciously frequent pairing of hipster (which is mostly just a proxy for "white") male and Asian female. Especially in comparison to all the other potential pairings that just aren't happening. Sure, there are potentially lots of "good" reasons that such a pairing occurs, and some of them might even apply to particular couples.

But in aggregate? To the point of being a widely-repeated stereotype? Maybe some couples are completely free of all the ugly, sexist, colonial attitudes the hipster+Asian girlfriend joke suggests, but all of them? No way.

The joker/joke aren't the problem, it's the material he's working with. The real question is who's contributing to the material in the first place?
posted by NoRelationToLea at 2:17 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Also, the 'You've been here two and a half months' thing isn't cool. While new members would do well to lurk a little and learn a lot before diving in, I think there's a definite onus on long-timers to facilitate that learning - STFU n00b cliquishness, even if it's not intended to come across as such, doesn't help explain why anyone should get the benefit of the doubt. Are new people expected to research comment histories of every <30k MeFite?"

No, hold on. When someone says that another member shouldn't get the benefit of the doubt because they don't know them—which is what katherineg said—it's an entirely fair response to point out that it's not really bardic's fault that some new member doesn't know him. The default should be to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, just as we'd do for anyone here, n00b or not.

No one made katherineg come here, no one made her comment or read bardic's post. If she doesn't want to give people the benefit of the doubt because they're members of the same community, why the hell would she want a community? And her not knowing who he is is not the community's problem—it's hers.

It's like if she had said that she didn't know how MeTa worked, and that's why she made a dumb call-out—you should have a basic familiarity with the culture of MeTa before you make a call-out, and it's no one else's fault if you don't and get ridiculed for it.

Are people expected to research the comment histories of everyone? No. Does that excuse them for being presumptuous when they make bad-faith assumptions? No.
posted by klangklangston at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: "No, hold on. When someone says that another member shouldn't get the benefit of the doubt because they don't know them—which is what katherineg said—it's an entirely fair response to point out that it's not really bardic's fault that some new member doesn't know him. The default should be to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, just as we'd do for anyone here, n00b or not. "

yeah, I think Klang was being more reasonable there than people are giving him credit for. of course, I can see why people could interpret the comment as being more like "dude, you've been here 2 months, who the fuck are you?" because it's a short comment that has several interpretations. this is the problem with comments that short.

to summarize: get off my back the next time I write a god damn novel when I'm responding to people, guys.
posted by shmegegge at 2:29 PM on August 19, 2009


> yeah, I think Klang was being more reasonable there than people are giving him credit for. of course, I can see why people could interpret the comment as being more like "dude, you've been here 2 months, who the fuck are you?" because it's a short comment that has several interpretations. this is the problem with comments that short.

The same could, of course, be said for "Grab your John Deere hat and your Asian girlfriend!"
posted by languagehat at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


well, I don't know how much we're arguing over what bardic's intention was when he said that. the argument mostly seems to be about whether that makes what he said ok.

in klang's case, I think it makes what he said ok. he was just saying "of course you don't know him, but bardic HAS earned a little more benefit of the doubt than that."
posted by shmegegge at 2:39 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


taking offense because you're not being insulted along with a douchebag

Real answer: I wasn't taking offense, I was explicating someone else's point about what they found annoying about the joke.

Comedy answer: Damn it, women have to fight for parity even in Internet insults! I can be as much of a douchebag as any male hipster!!!1!!!


Real comedy answer: I actually own a John Deere hat; it was given to me by a friend's dad, who got it from his tractor salesman.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2009


who's complaining about the unfairness of stereotyping hipsters

I am. I would never get identified as a hipster, but to me, they all just seem like "indie rockers" and I am a big fan of "indie rock."

I though the "asian girlfriend" was rather crass and unnecessary. And offensive to hipsters, which, as an "indie rocker," I suppose I am.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:50 PM on August 19, 2009


I actually own a John Deere hat

Me too. My friend's mom used to work for JD in Iowa, and she got me a hat. It doesn't fit too well and is made of a weird fabric that doesn't seem to break in very well, so I don't ever wear it. TRUE STORY.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"And offensive to hipsters, which, as an "indie rocker," I suppose I am."

No, she's an indie rocker, you just listen to Archers of Loaf.
posted by klangklangston at 2:53 PM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


In fact, they'll probably think inter-racial dating is GREAT - it's the bizarrely, suspiciously frequent pairing of hipster (which is mostly just a proxy for "white") male and Asian female. Especially in comparison to all the other potential pairings that just aren't happening.

Confirmation bias, much? This (American) obsession with race and interracial pairings - even amongst supposedly 'liberal, tolerant' types - is just too fucking much. Lots of people from lots of different backgrounds mix it up, not just white guys and Asian girls.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also with the John Deere hat, which I won by answering trivia questions at some event in Moline, Illinois.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2009


Complicating things further, my wife and I own an almost-certainly-Asian-manufactured John Deere bass.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2009


I took it as a comparison of Pitchfork to Yoko Ono, in that they are (were) both in the business of ruining music.
posted by clearly at 3:07 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


ALSO THANK YOU MOD WHO FIXED MY COMMENT
posted by klangklangston at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2009


I'm disappointed that the John Deere bass turned out not to be a fish.
posted by shammack at 3:13 PM on August 19, 2009


I don't care to belong to any subculture that would have me as a fetish. -Hipster Asian Girl Marx
posted by haveanicesummer at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2009


metafilter: overthinking your asian girlfriend
posted by thisperon at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2009


Confirmation bias, much? This (American) obsession with race and interracial pairings - even amongst supposedly 'liberal, tolerant' types - is just too fucking much. Lots of people from lots of different backgrounds mix it up, not just white guys and Asian girls.

First, I like how my comment about the frequency of the pairing of white males and Asian females was transformed into a 1) generalized, 2) classist, and 3) (but of course the most cutting of all) American obsession about how that's the only kind of inter-racial pairing that occurs. I personally said the joke wasn't a problem (hint: this is an anti-obsession position). But why let that get in the way of your anti-American, anti-bourgeois snark or poor reading comprehension?

Second, I call your tired, trite "confirmation bias, much" nonsense, and I raise: find me one study that shows white male/Asian female parings aren't far and away the most common particular pairing. I won't even limit it to just the good ole USA. Do that for ever first world country outside of those that had colonies primarily in Africa instead of Asia, and very close to all of them will show the same trend.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 3:29 PM on August 19, 2009


I'm disappointed that the John Deere bass turned out not to be a fish.

Me too! I thought maybe it was a Singing Bass
posted by scrutiny at 3:31 PM on August 19, 2009


No, hold on. When someone says that another member shouldn't get the benefit of the doubt because they don't know them—which is what katherineg said—it's an entirely fair response to point out that it's not really bardic's fault that some new member doesn't know him. The default should be to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, just as we'd do for anyone here, n00b or not.

I have no problem with you giving him the benefit of the doubt or even indicating that he is a cool guy and asking me to give him the benefit of the doubt or whatever but I think that you have to accept that other people will interpret the situation differently.

If you have to know the poster to get the maybe-racist-maybe-not joke then maybe it's not appropriate for a FPP.
posted by kathrineg at 3:44 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


shmegegge - tl; dr, sorry. But from the bit I read I have to say you're right, and I really should have given klang the benefit of the doubt rather than defaulting to a jerkish interpretation. Thanks for clarifying, guys!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:44 PM on August 19, 2009


I am the Asian girlfriend of a scruffy, skinny, white dude. Take it from me, folks, he ain't that hip. I make a disappointing fashion accessory.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:47 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


> No, you don't. If you got it, you'd see why looking for an Asian girlfriend because having an Asian girlfriend is a status marker/exotic instead of dating a girl that happens to be Asian because you like her for herself, is held up for ridicule and you wouldn't be off on some bizarre-ass jeremiad about "nigger lover" or interracial relationships.

Sorry klang, but this is pure bullshit. Propping up some caricature white guy and assigning him negative motivations to make him the villain does not justify the blatant disapproval of crossing racial lines.

The list of accusations a mixed race couple have to put up with is really tiresome. Obviously my chinese girlfriend is a status marker, or I'm dating her because she's exotic and I objectify women, or I want a subservient girlfriend to wash my feet, or I have a weird sexual fetish, blah blah. I've heard it all, it's a bunch of hateful bullshit that I have to defend against all the time simply because I have the balls to cross the line and actually have a relationship with someone not white.

You can rationalize it all you want with your imaginary hipster and it doesn't change a damn thing. My stepfather happens to be black and maybe you'd be surprised by how similar the arguments are. People who don't consider themselves racist think it's totally different as long as the person they are making the villain is the white guy. It's not. At all.
posted by cj_ at 3:52 PM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Lots of people from lots of different backgrounds mix it up, not just white guys and Asian girls.

No. They don't. The primary formula for miscegenation in the West is Asian female, White male. (And by "Asian female" we all know what I'm really talking about: East Asian female.)

The stereotype exists because the trend is casually observable in a way others are not, and oh look here's some actual data to back that up. Notice that in every case except for Asian Indians, Asian women marry non-Asian men at a much higher rate than Asian men marrying non-Asian women.

There is a very good reason for this, but I'm not opening up the exoticism/cultural imperialism/emasculation-of-the-Asian-male-in-Western-culture issue here since MeFi is really shit at this whole race thing.

Are we still doing this whole 'full disclosure' thing? Because I'm Asian, and I read Bardic's joke as evidence of his cred: he offered up two examples of 'hipster' affectations that are already very outdated, but which only non-outsiders would easily recognize as outdated.
posted by danny the boy at 3:53 PM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the even more bizarre accusation that I'm somehow racist for dating a Chinese girl because .. I'm not dating a black girl. Like fucking clockwork. You know how predictable this all is?
posted by cj_ at 3:55 PM on August 19, 2009


Basically, what NoRelationToLea said in their first comment, which went by mostly unnoticed:

But in aggregate? To the point of being a widely-repeated stereotype? Maybe some couples are completely free of all the ugly, sexist, colonial attitudes the hipster+Asian girlfriend joke suggests, but all of them? No way.
posted by danny the boy at 3:55 PM on August 19, 2009


Also, klangklangston, sorry if you think I'm coming in here out of nowhere and giving your friend (?) shit, that is not my intention.
posted by kathrineg at 3:57 PM on August 19, 2009


danny the boy: "...I read Bardic's joke as evidence of his cred: he offered up two examples of 'hipster' affectations that are already very outdated, but which only non-outsiders would easily recognize as outdated."

Maybe he was being ironic?
posted by iamkimiam at 3:57 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Deere John,

I'm tired of being treated as a fashion accessory. I'm leaving you.

Your Asian ex-girlfriend,

Ting-ting
posted by pracowity at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The post in question was making fun of a stereotype about thepeopleformerlyknownashipsters

it wasnt a very good joke but getting offended by it means you didnt get it

does that clear things up? i didnt read any of this thread...:-/

Signed

A Pitchfork-hating 25th Level Hipster, Chaotic Neutral
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:01 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Zounds, there's some bad faith and/or dense interpretations happening in this thread.

We've known for awhile now that MeFi doesn't do sex/gender and race "well", but until now I didn't think it did it badly.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:01 PM on August 19, 2009


The post in question was making fun of a stereotype about thepeopleformerlyknownashipsters

it wasnt a very good joke but getting offended by it means you didnt get it


Oh, well, that clears that up.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:09 PM on August 19, 2009


I've heard it all, it's a bunch of hateful bullshit that I have to defend against all the time simply because I have the balls to cross the line and actually have a relationship with someone not white.

I'm confused. That bit about "requiring balls" to date your girlfriend somewhat undermines the rest of your point, don't you think?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:11 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


(although balls probably do come in handy)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:11 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Also, the 'You've been here two and a half months' thing isn't cool. While new members would do well to lurk a little and learn a lot before diving in, I think there's a definite onus on long-timers to facilitate that learning - STFU n00b cliquishness, even if it's not intended to come across as such, doesn't help explain why anyone should get the benefit of the doubt. Are new people expected to research comment histories of every <30k MeFite?"

See, I figured it was of the "you've been here 2 and a half months, so you definitely should know this little bastard by now" ilk. Because the subject is notorious, famous, distinctive, or something similar.

Don't ask me, though, you're all just one big white-on-grey blur.
posted by subbes at 4:18 PM on August 19, 2009


We've known for awhile now that MeFi doesn't do sex/gender and race "well", but until now I didn't think it did it badly.

This all feels pretty predictable to me. There is a good rational reason for skipping racial-content jokes (or random mentions of religion/bodyfat/foreskins) in an FPP unless the intention is to derail it in the station.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:18 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by Kattullus I think that the "subservient Asian woman" stereotype is pernicious and vile enough that it's best to stay way the heck clear off it.

God damn, yes. Asian women are not subservient--Asian women are bossy, smugly superior overachievers who demand you hang up your clothes while they use the dining room table as a computer workstation, they fill up the Tivo with every episode of Law & Order, and they think just because they married you, that gives them the right to call you lazy just because you were goofing off on MetaFilter instead of taking out the trash.


hi honey
posted by mattdidthat at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


danny the boy: The primary formula for miscegenation in the West is Asian female, White male.

This primary formula would find itself inadequate for the US at the very least. The most common interracial pairing in the United States is Hispanic/White, and it's three times more common than Asian/White. Beyond this fact, it's not only Asian/White pairings that are asymmetric over gender, and White males are certainly not favored in every case. I'm not sure how this should be factored into The West at large, or into whatever (I think dramatic) claims of "Imperialism" I sense you itching to impose upon the discussion. But since this issue tends to invite bitter people of every stripe to mistake the chip from their shoulder for a parcel marked "exhibit A," I've more faith in cold numbers than impassioned anecdotal pleas, privilege lists, and racefail callouts.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:22 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The list of accusations a mixed race couple have to put up with is really tiresome.

Maybe you should associate with less assholes. I know several mixed race couples and all anyone ever says to them is "awwww you guys are so cute together" and shit like that.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:23 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Sorry klang, but this is pure bullshit. Propping up some caricature white guy and assigning him negative motivations to make him the villain does not justify the blatant disapproval of crossing racial lines."

Well, no, see, the thing is—and here's where you're off your fucking gourd—the disapproval isn't for crossing racial lines. I mean, I thought you might have gotten that, oh, back when I explained it to you in plain language, but you're too busy trying to make this all about the Asian cross you're carrying up Calvary.

I mean, fuck a duck, man, my brother can't even hold hands with his Asian girlfriend in public (in Korea) because of the problem you think you're fighting against here. That's not the deal with bardic's quip. How many times do you have to have that explained to you?

The list of accusations a mixed race couple have to put up with is really tiresome. Obviously my chinese girlfriend is a status marker, or I'm dating her because she's exotic and I objectify women, or I want a subservient girlfriend to wash my feet, or I have a weird sexual fetish, blah blah. I've heard it all, it's a bunch of hateful bullshit that I have to defend against all the time simply because I have the balls to cross the line and actually have a relationship with someone not white.

Right… So because you don't, that means that no one dates Asian women because of stereotypes about submissiveness or weird fetishes? I'm sorry that makes your life hard, man, but maybe part of the problem is, you know, guys who treat Asian girlfriends as status markers, or date them to have some exotic on their arm, blah blah? No, no, of course not, since we already established your n=1 credentials. We're all nasty racists and the big bad bike saddle to your butthurt.

But hey, way to go on "having the balls" to have a relationship with someone non-white. You can sew a merit badge on your messenger bag.

"You can rationalize it all you want with your imaginary hipster and it doesn't change a damn thing. My stepfather happens to be black and maybe you'd be surprised by how similar the arguments are. People who don't consider themselves racist think it's totally different as long as the person they are making the villain is the white guy. It's not. At all."

Hi, this is classic ad hominem fallacy. Just because the arguments for two things are similar, doesn't mean that they're not different, or that one of them isn't right when another is wrong.

And hey, like I said in the thread, all the hipsters I knew who had Asian girlfriends have moved on to dating Dutch girls (for overlappingly weird reasons: "She designs our t-shirts, her government pays for her to live here, and she barely speaks English!").
posted by klangklangston at 4:31 PM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


So...someone makes fun of hipsters for being sexist twits who consider Asian females to be fashion accessories instead of humans...and somehow ridiculing them for that is a bad thing? We should, what, be all supportive of it?

I used to take it really seriously when a discussion would come up about offensiveness, and one group would all be "what's the big deal" and another group would say "you don't see the big deal because of your invisible backpack". I'd think "I didn't see what the big deal is, but I'm probably just blinded to it by my circumstances". But I think that I've finally realized that it's just that some people really like being offended. When you get offended because someone is ridiculing someone else because they're sexist, you're just doing it out of habit.

(Note: I have black friends. I am married to an Asian woman and live in Asia, where I, as a white man, am in the same position as the Asian woman in the hipster ridicule situation.)
posted by Bugbread at 4:34 PM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


> I'm confused. That bit about "requiring balls" to date your girlfriend somewhat undermines the rest of your point, don't you think?

Heh, fair enough. It's an expression, but of course you know that. What I mean is, people generally don't disapprove of white guys being attracted to Asians, but sure find a lot of ways to put down people who date them. I live in a pretty diverse area of SF so I'd be lying to suggest it took any particular courage on my part, though.

For the record, the joke didn't bother me at all. I thought it was kinda lame but not really meant in bad faith, either, so I wouldn't have called it out -- I didn't even bother commenting in the thread. But when people start trying to defend jokes like that, they say a lot of really lame stuff that I've heard so much already. It's not like white guys dating Asian girls is something new, and people have been disapproving of it in creative totally-not-racist! ways for as long as I've been around.

This whole "hipster who has an Asian girlfriend as a status symbol/fashion accessory" one is new to me, though. I don't even really believe in the concept of a "hipster" as a real person so much as a way of putting down "kids these days" so it makes this particular variant less believable to me. Maybe I'm totally wrong, and there really are a lot of fixie-riding, trucker-cap-wearing, pbr-drinking, pitchfork-reading guys who fetishize asians as a status marker, but it sure sounds like a stereotype to me. And just keep in mind that when you throw down against them, it's nigh indistinguishable from a lot of similar rhetoric. So even if you don't mean it to come off as disapproving of the racial pairing, a lot of people are going to read it that way anyway.

> Maybe you should associate with less assholes.

But I like this place!

> I don't think cj's trying to cast himself as the Nice and Not Fetishizing Guy Who Just Happens to be Dating an Asian Chick so much as he's saying fuck you for daring to cast aspersions on anyone for dating outside of their race, because that's actually exactly what is going on here.

Thank you, this is exactly what I'm saying. I do not feel I need to justify my choice in partner to anyone, and refuse to do so here. Even if I did have some sort of "fetish" (as some guys clearly do), I don't understand why that's a problem.
posted by cj_ at 4:39 PM on August 19, 2009


You know, danny, strike that last sentence. I've found that most attempts to "do race" on Metafilter involve my particular race and gender playing the bugbear for any number of statistically-shoddy arguments, so I've an itchy draw reflex myself. I shouldn't have preemptively gotten snippy. I will however restate that arguments on the statistics of interracial marriage tend to be steered by anecdotes about rejection, failed relationships, and such baggage. It's an unholy spot in Venn space.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2009


Paging Theo Brown.
posted by tellurian at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2009


"I have no problem with you giving him the benefit of the doubt or even indicating that he is a cool guy and asking me to give him the benefit of the doubt or whatever but I think that you have to accept that other people will interpret the situation differently.

If you have to know the poster to get the maybe-racist-maybe-not joke then maybe it's not appropriate for a FPP.
"

I do accept that people will interpret the situation differently, I also think they're wrong.

Like, you don't have to know the poster to get the joke, or to know it's not a racist quip. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with. That's what I was annoyed with you about—I felt that you'd failed the basic presumption of good faith regarding what another community member said.

Without that presumption of good faith, not only does that rot the rope of community in general, but it also requires people to be more on guard in general—it increases the formality of the community, decreases the ability to make self-deprecating jokes, and puts everyone on defense. It shifts discourse from talk to argument, and makes discourse less fun.

I know the counter-arguments, that too much leeway will be abused and encourage both cliquishness and drive away people offended, and that means that it makes sense to hold some discussions to a more formal standard. But as this community has grown and grows, that shift needs to be counterbalanced lest it move too quickly to the detriment of the community.

I'm not arguing some revanchist case against the gains made toward civility in general, and especially not, say, the sexism threads in specific. I am arguing, however, that there is good in being able to make a facile hipster joke without necessitating a shitstorm over it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:47 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


it wasnt a very good joke but getting offended by it means you didnt get it responded to a culturally loaded image carrying a whole lot of "-isms" baggage without ironic detachment. Oh, the horror!

shmegegge version: What bemuses me about this thread, here and in the original post, is the number of people who acknowledge that it was not a good joke - not to mention a joke that could've used different hipster signifiers that wouldn't have made it any funnier, but at least wouldn't have opened up this can of worms - but who are bending over backwards to justify it. Even if you extend bardic the benefit of the doubt, which I think no small number of people have, I really don't understand the lengths people are going to to explain why the joke is okay when a) quite a few people have made it clear that it's distasteful and b) it's a joke that's risky to attempt in a public forum and wasn't well executed, and therefore wasn't funny and proved to not be worth the risk.

Short version: I can understand the impulse to defend someone who has a history here if you like them and feel they're being attacked, but I don't understand why that doesn't take the form of "Hey, bardic isn't a bad person, he just made a bad choice of words, doesn't it suck when that happens?" rather than incredibly involved attempts to justify a poor joke.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:50 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


kid ichorous: Strike the last sentence, but not the one before it, then?

Yup this certainly IS personal for me in a way that most mefi race discussions are for you, which is the reason why I'm refraining from going on about it. But that doesn't mean I have an agenda or an axe to grind. I'm interested in the topic at large.

But. I will say very briefly on the imperialism point: when the country in question has multiple laws at a federal level that limit the number and even gender of your race allowed within its borders, such that it is de facto AND de jure impossible to marry anyone (your race or not)--but then suddenly reverses itself so that its soldiers returning from fighting in your native part of the world are allowed to bring back its women as wives... I think the word 'imperialism' fits.

BTW, if you have a handy link to census data on Hispanic/white miscegenation, I'd be interested in taking a look.
posted by danny the boy at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2009


This thread makes a pretty good litmus test for determining who I should never be the Asian girlfriend of.
posted by casarkos at 5:02 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


According to the U.S. Census, in 2000 there were 1,432,908 Hispanic Origin-white marriages.[140], 504,119 Asian-white marriages, 287,576 black-white marriages, 97,822 Hispanic Origin-black marriages, 40,317 Asian-Hispanic Origin[141] marriages, and 31,271 Asian-black marriages. (here)
posted by kid ichorous at 5:05 PM on August 19, 2009


Although Asian/White pairings would be the most common if the Hispanic/Latino population were (as are Arab-Americans) rather ambiguously folded under White.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2009


BTW the data I cited about Asian intermarriage was in specific response to Asian intermarriage, and the idea it is somehow strange that the joke (and stereotype at large) are about an Asian female with a White male. My point there is that it's not strange because that is the reality.

I think cultural attitudes about Hispanic/White intermarriage are different than other pairings because the racial difference is less (immediately) noticeable.
posted by danny the boy at 5:08 PM on August 19, 2009


Jinx
posted by danny the boy at 5:09 PM on August 19, 2009


I don't understand why that doesn't take the form of "Hey, bardic isn't a bad person, he just made a bad choice of words, doesn't it suck when that happens?" rather than incredibly involved attempts to justify a poor joke.


Because not everyone is in agreement that he made a bad choice of words, or that it was a poor joke.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:14 PM on August 19, 2009


Well, at the risk of treating Asian-Americans monolithically (and thus putting Indian-Americans and Korean-Americans in the same category of Vietnamese-Americans, which is uncomfortable for various reasons including intermarriage rates and incomes), it is less common overall; but very similar to White / Black pairings, where White males tend to lose out at about the same ratio. One of the explanations cited is:

Social enterprise research by the Columbia Business School (2005-2007) concluded that while East Asian women statistically prefer East Asian men for marriage, they show no discrimination against White men, causing Asian women-White men pairings to consistently become the prevalent form of interracial dating & marriage in the United States. (Mine: Okay, looks like they don't consider Hispanic / Latino intermarriages interracial in this case) The study found the phenomenon to be the result of a (sociologically) unique and mutual neutrality East Asian women and White men tend to show each other as potential partners,[6] rather than due to the pronounced preference of either side. [...]
The study [...] observed a clear gender divide in racial preference with regards to marriage: Women of all the races which were studied revealed a strong preference for men of their own race for marriage, with the caveat that East Asian women only discriminated against Black and Hispanic men, and not against White men. A woman's race was found to have no effect on the men's choices.
(here)
posted by kid ichorous at 5:19 PM on August 19, 2009


Like, you don't have to know the poster to get the joke, or to know it's not a [x-]ist quip. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with.

That's a great sentiment, klang, even though I note that you have honoured it more in the breach at times.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:20 PM on August 19, 2009


Here (PDF warning) is the link to the cited article from the Review of Economic Studies. Wikipedia only had a link to a summary at Slate.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:28 PM on August 19, 2009


I have a G.H. Bass cap, does that count?
posted by languagehat at 5:44 PM on August 19, 2009


The thing about the people that don't have a problem with the headline/text is that they understand the cultural inference(s) on some level, and they possibly aren't attuning to the interpretations by the people who don't. For many people, there isn't an 'inside' read...they don't know enough about hipsters, jonmc, the meaning of 'asplode', or American culture's orientation towards white guys dating Asian girls. That understanding of these things is absolutely necessary to determine whether or not the post is sexist/racist/etc. is a problem. It is exclusionary and creates some sort of social stratification where the people who 'get' the joke (and the person who wrote the joke) belong and you don't.

So, for those of you who don't have a problem with it...imagine that you don't have the same precise, fine-grained understanding of what these words mean. Imagine that you are more sensitive to in-group vs. out-group dynamics than you currently are. Imagine that you suspect that you might be being referred to in the text, but you lack the inside baseball knowledge to be sure, therefore you don't speak up for fear of being shut down. All you can be sure of is that several things are being called upon, including stereotypes about race, but you don't have access to the insider information to decode it. Now also imagine the sort of balls and privilege it must take to casually post something like that, and feel totally justified...no wait, entitled to say those things. Seriously, the more I think about this, the more pissed off I get.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:53 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]



Although Asian/White pairings would be the most common if the Hispanic/Latino population were (as are Arab-Americans) rather ambiguously folded under White.


On state-sponsored standardized tests and the like I seem to recall there being two white categories: hispanic and non-hispanic. Is this a recent development? I took those tests ~15 years ago in Louisiana (where I never saw a Hispanic person while growing up so I wasn't really sure what it meant).
posted by scrutiny at 6:22 PM on August 19, 2009


Can't we all just get a Wong?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:31 PM on August 19, 2009


Well, the 2000 census data seems to distinguish between Hispanic and White, and nothing I can find on the 2010 census indicates that this will be changed. As Danny points out, there are reasons why White/Latino intermarriages might not be taken superficially as miscegenation, but this strikes me as unsatisfying in exactly the same way that treating Arab-Americans as White does.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:34 PM on August 19, 2009


That is, you're categorizing people as White who don't even self-identify as that.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:36 PM on August 19, 2009


Can't we all just get a Wong?

You're just trying to keep up with the Joneses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:41 PM on August 19, 2009


I am not anti-hipster or anti-Asian.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:11 PM on August 19, 2009


I guess those of us with lady parts can not possibly, really rock.

Hispters don't really rock.
posted by spaltavian at 7:20 PM on August 19, 2009


That's right - they only rock ironically.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:22 PM on August 19, 2009


Here's my contribution to this thread (which I've quite enjoyed btw) - a link to a terrible article in Marie Claire! Enjoy!
posted by awfurby at 7:31 PM on August 19, 2009


Seriously, the more I think about this, the more pissed off I get.

Really, more thinking about this has gotten you MORE angry? I'm not certain your apparent conception of people crafting their Mefi jokes with the every aspect of the potential reaction of any and all sorts of people to it is accurate. People simply don't preanalyze things to such a rigorous extent.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:33 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because not everyone is in agreement that he made a bad choice of words, or that it was a poor joke.

"tl;dr" would've saved some typing, considering that in the shmeggege version I said that what I didn't understand was the subset of "everyone" who acknowledge that the joke is bad but are working hard to defend it. The people who think it's all fine and dandy at least have a certain degree of internal consistency in their argument.

I am arguing, however, that there is good in being able to make a facile hipster joke without necessitating a shitstorm over it.

This, I missed before posting. And I understand the concern about not closing off styles and avenues of communication. But I think iamkimiam also makes a good point about the way this joke has the potential to be very exclusionary. We all want "in" and we all want to feel safe, and it's an imperfect world so that's never going to happen. But I think one of the strengths of this community is that people feel like they've got room to object when they feel excluded, and by and large be taken seriously (unless you're that L.P. Hatecraft guy - I'm willing to give hugs to everybody who isn't him).
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:36 PM on August 19, 2009


I'm tired of all these Asian girls objectifying innocent white hipsters. WILL NO ONE TAKE A STAND
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:47 PM on August 19, 2009


CTHULU WANTS A HUG
posted by scrutiny at 7:59 PM on August 19, 2009


The list of accusations a mixed race couple have to put up with is really tiresome.

I am the Asian boyfriend of a white chick. Strangely enough, nobody's ever really given me any trouble over this. I blame this on my excessively good looks.

"Gosh," I imagine them thinking, "Normally I'm against interracial relationships, but Hell -- this guy obviously can date whomever he wants to date. I assume that long distance and good taste are the only things keeping him from cutting a wide swath through the latest crop of Hollywood starlets."

The other explanation is that I am both oblivious and slightly delusional.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:23 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


haveanicesummer: "164Seriously, the more I think about this, the more pissed off I get.

Really, more thinking about this has gotten you MORE angry? I'm not certain your apparent conception of people crafting their Mefi jokes with the every aspect of the potential reaction of any and all sorts of people to it is accurate. People simply don't preanalyze things to such a rigorous extent.
"

Eh, actually not really. It totally passed. And I completely agree with you. But I still don't like when people do exclusionary inside joke shit, intentionally or not.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:24 PM on August 19, 2009


I actually own a John Deere hat; it was given to me by a friend's dad, who got it from his tractor salesman.

My dad only buys Case International. Would that hat make me more or less hipster?

A true hipster would wear a Steiger hat.
posted by graventy at 9:16 PM on August 19, 2009


One anecdote: a friend was at a party when this guy comes up to her and introduces himself with: "Hello, I'm a sinophile."

It would have been very awesome if she could've pulled out a hand-written sign from her pocket that read 'Fuck off'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:18 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Asian friends of mine (and female friends who just look vaguely Asian) get a lot of weird bullshit. One anecdote: a friend was at a party when this guy comes up to her and introduces himself with: "Hello, I'm a sinophile."

To be fair, I often go up to complete strangers and tell them I'm into 14-year-olds.


But that's because the judge said I had to.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:40 PM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I once had an Asian girlfriend. True story.

Also, I was never a hipster. I wear feed caps, though.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:54 PM on August 19, 2009


Look, a lot of us who find the "grab your Asian girlfriend" phrase grating actually get the LOLHIPSTERS joke! (It has been stated many times upthread.) But just because we understand that it's meant to deride the imaginary hipster demographic doesn't mean we can't find it annoying. Why it's annoying is a fine, fine thing to discuss.

I don't really understand klangklangston & co's level of outrage and vehemence in defending the joke. People are talking about why they don't find it funny - whether they get the joke or not. "It rubs me the wrong way, here's why" is a far cry from "GRAR OFFENSE AND MORAL OUTRAGE!"
posted by Lush at 9:56 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


""It rubs me the wrong way, here's why" is a far cry from "GRAR OFFENSE AND MORAL OUTRAGE!""

Remember this? How 'bout this one?

I mean, I understand the rhetorical technique of minimizing the aggressiveness of positions you agree with while simultaneously portraying those you disagree with as unreasonable and uncalled for—I may have even done it once or twice. But when my strongest statements quoted the comments I was referring to, I mean, y'know, you could at least try to present things honestly, if not out of fairness then because anyone can scroll up. And if "Fuck you" isn't "GRAR OFFENSE AND MORAL OUTRAGE," but my argument for a good faith reading is "outrage and vehemence," you might want to abandon any pretense of being a disinterested judge.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eh? Don't be disingenuous, klang, you raged against the people you thought were offended because they don't get the joke, as if explaining the joke were the obvious solution, long before cj_ popped in.
posted by Lush at 10:54 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I raged?

Madam, if "Jesus, is this really a thing?" and some links pointing out the context for the quip is a rage, then I can only hope that this thunderous reply doesn't have you huddled in a corner weeping from my typhoon of wrath, rending your clothes and awaiting the consolation of Job's friends.
posted by klangklangston at 11:17 PM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


What I'm saying is that I don't understand why despite my initial comment and several others early in the thread that stated yeah we get the joke and bardic probably didn't mean for it to come across the way it did but it still bothers us (and gave reasons why), you still proceeded to "explain" the joke without giving us the benefit of the doubt that we're not complete idiots, or that we actually understand the absurdity of hipster racism yet still find it really grating and annoying for the reasons stated upthread. "Jesus, is this really a thing?" was utterly dismissive and shows that you either didn't read or understand why people object to the objectification, which leads us down this road.
posted by Lush at 11:22 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


""Jesus, is this really a thing?" was utterly dismissive and shows that you either didn't read or understand why people object to the objectification, which leads us down this road."

Wait, hold on—if you've recovered from my WWE rage-a-thon above, your dead buried, your shiva sat—if I said that you didn't get the joke, explained it, and was dismissive of your concerns, well, then, I didn't read or understand the objections, because if I had read and understood them, of course I would have agreed. But if you read my explanation, and still disagreed, well, then, you got it and I was treating you like a complete idiot?

I get your objection—I disagree. You can either attempt to form a better argument if you'd like to convince me, or you can realize that not everyone has to agree with you and that, hey, maybe it's you disagreeing with me and not vice versa. I mean, hell, the central point here is the ambiguity of irony. I think it's pretty damn impossible to argue that bardic was endorsing the objectification of Asian women, and pretty easy to argue that he was commenting upon it. You can disagree, but I don't find your disagreement compelling.

After that you've got annoyance—annoyance not likely to dissipate in the face of my towering wrath, the fury that burned Lot's house!—and that's fine. I'm still annoyed by the beard thing, but you know what? I lead by example there. I make it clear whenever I leave the house that beards are worn by smelly, chubby unemployed guys who probably listen to boogie rock and tejano radio. There's nothing cool about my beard (though Koreans seemed to want to touch it, possibly for good luck) and in five to ten years, I'll still be rockin' the Benjamin Harrison look, and all the hipsters will have moved on to William Powell mustaches and Latin American dictator dirt lips. You can lead by example too, by not dating hipsters unless you're really pretty sure that he's actually into you, and not just using you for your Nardwuar vinyl and borrowing your vintage barrettes.
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like how you put words in my mouth and use such bold, reference-riddled statements, then proceed to disagree with the straw man you just constructed.

I refuse to engage in it. Good day, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY!
posted by Lush at 12:07 AM on August 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yeah, sorry for starting that.

I still think it was a stupid joke, but I make stupid and offensive jokes all the time as well. After having a days rest, I realize I was probably overreacting after a bad day at work.

I don't feel like reading this whole thread, but to Bardic and anybody else no hard feelings.

on preview Ok, I couldn't resist skimming, but do people seriously not see that sentences like this are inherently objectify and deny Asian women the possibility of autonomy?

I think he was making fun of hipsters who have Asian girlfriends because having Asian girlfriends is what you do when you are a hipster.

sorry, I'm done now. let's have a beer summit. I'll bring some Old Style, PBR is so '07

posted by afu at 12:12 AM on August 20, 2009


A Godwin hipster would wear this tractor cap.
posted by jouke at 12:56 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The other day I had a conversation with a friend who was wondering if saying "i think (insert race here) tend to be more fun to hang out with" was racist, giventhat "I think (insert race here) are a bunch of jerks" would obviously be racist.

To which I replied, "yes...but no."

It's technically racist, but not offensive, and if your intent is good, and you put some thought ito it, there's probably a better way of getting the point across you're trying to make. But I had to work really hard to get her to understand that simply mentioning someone's race isn't in and of itself a bad thing. My advice to her was not to spend too much time thinking about the effect of her words, but focus on the point she was trying to make. You're swimming in much safer waters that way.

If however, you're making a joke, then I put it on the listener to understand that every statement that mentions a thing, isn't always ABOUT that thing. I don't know how you can make it through this world without understanding that. "a duck walks into a bar..." is not really about ducks, and their drinking habits. And if your father was a drunk who killed your pet duck? Sorry. I think the appropriate response is for me to acknowledge that's a sore spot with but only if you are big enough to realize that even the worst jokes aren't always about *you*. 's nothing wrong with discussing the subject, correcting, educating, debating. But it doesn't help things to take the position that a poorly set-up joke that uses the words "Asian girlfriend" is about you because you have or are an Asian girlfriend. It simply wasn't the subject of the joke.

Equating the Asian GF comment to the term "nigger lover" is a faulty analogy. I would more equate it to a joke about a girl sleeping with a person of color to piss of her racist dad, or a woman having a same-sex relationship in college. Jokes about people appropriating something for the wrong reason tend to be about the person, and not the thing. A joke about a guy buying a Sports car and dating a 22year old because of a midlife crisis isn't a slam against Corvettes or recent college graduates. Calling a woman a "cougar" is offensive to women,not large mountain cats.

I think I'v linked this before, but JSmooth says it way better than I ever could.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:29 AM on August 20, 2009


I dunno. I just read the OP's header and thought "ew." As in, Bardic has a nice, convenient way of categorizing people, and it must be nice to snicker at white guys with Asian women on the street, ya know, cuz they're so damn entertaining.

Of course, I'm only picking on him because the joke wasn't funny. If the joke was funny, Bardic would be THE MAN.


No. By saying "hipster," it's pretty clear that he meant "shallow douchebag." It's possible that shallow douchebags have real feelings for their Asian girlfriends, but hell, they're shallow douchebags. They don't get the benefit of the doubt.


Well, the problem I have with this defense is that it implies that the Asian girlfriend has zero thoughts or feelings on the matter. Cause she'll willingly put up with any shallow douchebag, right? Niiice.
posted by thisperon at 2:37 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I mean, fuck a duck, man, my brother can't even hold hands with his Asian girlfriend in public (in Korea) because of the problem you think you're fighting against here.

klang, would it be possible for you to expand on this? Understandable if you're not interested in doing so, but I'm curious about this as someone who has never lived outside of the Northeast U.S.

(Not the fuck a duck part, as billyfleetwood explained, I'm sure that was just a snipe at my duckfucking father and his fowl predilections.)
posted by haveanicesummer at 3:59 AM on August 20, 2009


billyfleetwood: I think I'v linked this before, but JSmooth says it way better than I ever could.

The link is broken. I'm curious as to which Jay Smooth video this is.
posted by Kattullus at 4:36 AM on August 20, 2009


I thought the Asian girlfriend reference was crass, but coupled with the phrase "Metafilter's most hated music site" (which was a surprise, since I'd never heard of it before), the reference to a MeFite (jonmc) in the header and the fact there's no link for the 50-1 countdown, I felt the whole post was trying too hard to impress us. I mean, best of the web is "Metafilter's most hated website", what?

And is this something I'd have to know jonmc's taste in music to understand?

It all felt a little bit personal bloggy to me.
posted by crossoverman at 5:35 AM on August 20, 2009


I think it's pretty damn impossible to argue that bardic was endorsing the objectification of Asian women, and pretty easy to argue that he was commenting upon it.

I don't see why you are making this an either/or. He was clearly commenting, and in an ironic way at that. At the same time, it was an ironic commentary that functioned to objectify Asian women. Language is cool that way, in its ability to carry layers and layers of meaning; trying to simplify a symbolically dense phrase like that into good/bad misses all the ambiguity and multiplicity of readings available.

That said, I think it was, if not a stupid joke to make, at least a joke made stupidly. There's plenty of humor to be made from people's attitudes and practices around interracial dating (because people are funny, no two ways about it). But if you are going to make those jokes, you have to make them in really smart ways, and in ways that don't layer in offensiveness where you weren't intending it. That's tricky, and it's why so much racialized humor falls flat.

Just because I'm an awesome post-racial ironic kind of guy (and in an interracial relationship, no less) doesn't mean that everything I say will be given the green light of ironic coolness, you know? In a public forum, I think that having control of one's writing and awareness of the different readings it will receive is an important thing to have. If you and I were hanging out over a beer, we could be as inappropriate as we wanted, because that's who we are. But that doesn't mean that that's the right way to talk or write in all settings.
posted by Forktine at 5:48 AM on August 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


That said, I think it was, if not a stupid joke to make, at least a joke made stupidly.

Can't it be both?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:45 AM on August 20, 2009


"Well, the problem I have with this defense is that it implies that the Asian girlfriend has zero thoughts or feelings on the matter. Cause she'll willingly put up with any shallow douchebag, right? Niiice."

Not any shallow douchebag—a hipster! But I do take your point: there are absolutely no Asian girlfriends, and in fact no girlfriends at all, nor boyfriends, who date shallow douchebags. It is an inconceivable thing!

The objection would be the same, obviously, to "trophy wives." Which also do not exist! Nor "trophy husbands," nor any objectification in relationships. They do not exist because they would be morally wrong, and as we all know, morally objectionable things cannot and do not exist, and if they do, they should never be mentioned, because they don't exist and make people sad to think about.

"At the same time, it was an ironic commentary that functioned to objectify Asian women."

The fundamental point is that I simply do not see this as a legitimate reading—it strikes me as willfully obtuse and literal, like abducting Henny Youngman's wife.

I understand your points about it not being high quality material, and the inability to control how other people read text, and even the argument addressing set and setting. However, I'm arguing that the opprobrium Bardic's gotten over this is largely misplaced, and standing for the principle that it should be OK to make stupid jokes here from time to time without having to worry about some 200 comment MeTa developing. From that point, much as my interlocutor above played the martyr, my arguments have been misread and misrepresented.

If there are two possible meanings of a phrase, one innocuous and ironic, the other both offensive and unlikely, the good faith response if offended is to take a moment to consider the innocuous and ironic one primary. Then if it still bothers you, feel free to say something. If someone else has already addressed it, and the original poster/commenter says, yeah, that innocuous thing was what I meant, then it doesn't need to be run into the ground.
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 AM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Seriously, the problem was that the joke was made as a toss-off in the actual text of a FPP. It shouldn't have been there. It might have worked okay in the comment stream, but even there it would stir up shit. But it didn't have any place as part of a FPP. It wasn't even in the [more inside] section. It was right there on the front page of the Blue. It dragged the entire site down while it was there.
posted by hippybear at 8:50 AM on August 20, 2009


"klang, would it be possible for you to expand on this? Understandable if you're not interested in doing so, but I'm curious about this as someone who has never lived outside of the Northeast U.S."

As explained to me, in Korea it's considered, by older Koreans, scandalous or inappropriate for foreign men to date Korean women. There's a bit of national chauvinism and sexism about Korean women being at risk of exploitation by foreign men, arguably understandable in Korea's historical context. So while Korean-Korean couples have considerably more leeway, it's taboo for Foreigner-Korean couples.

I would still have no problem joking about foreigners going to Korea to look for girlfriends, or Korean girls wanting to date Americans as English practice.
posted by klangklangston at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2009


Good god that's a lot of justification for a bullshit joke.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


If however, you're making a joke, then I put it on the listener to understand that every statement that mentions a thing, isn't always ABOUT that thing. I don't know how you can make it through this world without understanding that. "a duck walks into a bar..." is not really about ducks, and their drinking habits. And if your father was a drunk who killed your pet duck? Sorry. I think the appropriate response is for me to acknowledge that's a sore spot with but only if you are big enough to realize that even the worst jokes aren't always about *you*. 's

OK if you don't understand the difference between a joke about a duck and a joke about race then I don't know what to say.
posted by kathrineg at 8:57 AM on August 20, 2009


OK if you don't understand the difference between a joke about a duck and a joke about race then I don't know what to say.

Something like this maybe:

Why do ducks have flat feet?

To put out burning camp fires.

Why do elephants Asian girlfriends have flat feet?

To put out burning ducks.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A little late to the party, but I recall a dumb article on Jezebel about the Hipster Grifter titled

Did "Hipster Grifter" Play On Loathsome Hipster Asian Fetish?
posted by electroboy at 9:34 AM on August 20, 2009


that is a good joke
posted by kathrineg at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2009


The objection would be the same, obviously, to "trophy wives."

Just for the record, you're sorta correct--that term is something that I've never felt entirely comfortable using or hearing from other people. And I've never heard it in any context which made me laugh, since all too often it sounded extremely bitter, from whoever it was coming from.

I'm arguing that the opprobrium Bardic's gotten over this is largely misplaced, and standing for the principle that it should be OK to make stupid jokes here from time to time without having to worry about some 200 comment MeTa developing.

We're giving our feedback and our impressions. It's not like his joke-writing skills are static (I hope). If he's interested at all on improving them, he should be eager to hear both your side and the side of the people saying, "not funny to me and here's why."
posted by thisperon at 10:37 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


And there's also the more likely possibility he could give a rat's ass. In which case, people are venting, and why is that a problem?
posted by thisperon at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


congratulations. this is now my favorite thread ever.

Ms. Ferrell—petite, 22 years old, of Korean heritage—had a huge tattoo of a phoenix across her chest and a cute pixie haircut. She was talkative, funny, charming, adorable. She had a tattoo on her back that read “I Love Beards.”

Oh, come on. (I admit, that article was the first I'd ever read about a hipster Asian fetish. Maybe it's an east coast thing.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:45 AM on August 20, 2009


kattullus,
This was the link, In case you're still wondering.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2009


kattullus,
This was the link, In case you're still wondering.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:19 AM on August 20


That video seemed to be heavily influenced by The Show.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:14 PM on August 20, 2009


I thought the Asian girlfriend reference was crass, but coupled with the phrase "Metafilter's most hated music site" (which was a surprise, since I'd never heard of it before),

I'm surprised you've never heard of pitchfork.com - but then I hadn't until I was dating someone who wrote for one of their rivals.

Anyway. I have a Scottish boyfriend - does that mean I can't tease him about Irn-Bru? I mean, we've covered this on Mefi before but...It'd be good to know where I stand here.
posted by mippy at 3:19 PM on August 20, 2009


"Well, the problem I have with this defense is that it implies that the Asian girlfriend has zero thoughts or feelings on the matter. Cause she'll willingly put up with any shallow douchebag, right? Niiice."

Yeah. And what's up with implying that guys in the KKK date white women? That implies white women have zero thoughts or feelings on the matter, because they'll willingly put up with any racist douchebag, right? Niiice.

Fact of the matter is, with any large enough set (Asian women, white women, Asian men, white men), there will be enough idiots to correspond with any sufficiently small set (hipsters, Christian rappers, Radio Shack employees). If your two sets are close to equal in size, you end up implying "All A are B", which can be quite offensive. If set A is way bigger than set B, you're just saying what is true with pretty much any large group: "Set A is so huge that there is some subset that B".

"Good god that's a lot of justification for a bullshit joke."

Well, if a joke is justified, the amount of justification will exactly equal the amount of opprobrium aimed at it. More opprobrium = more justification. So, good god, that's a lot of opprobrium for a joke.
posted by Bugbread at 3:26 PM on August 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was stunned by someone saying they had "an Asian wife".
If my husband called me his "Russian wife" instead of saying "my wife, who is Russian", heads would roll. Seems like a person who'd define their wife by her ethnicity like that is displaying an attitude that was being mocked in the first place. And I definitely read the original sentence as mocking the kind of a person who'd look to date someone based on their ethnicity/race. Kind of like those dating sites for your very own Russian bride, and yes, there are men who are specifically looking to date/bed/marry Russian women. Don't ask how I know, please...
posted by Shusha at 4:03 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. You're allowed to date an Asian woman if you want
2. You're allowed to not date an Asian woman

Now open your window and breathe.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 7:35 PM on August 20, 2009


Thanks, billyfleetwood, I'm very fond of that video.
posted by Kattullus at 7:54 PM on August 20, 2009


"I was stunned by someone saying they had "an Asian wife".
If my husband called me his "Russian wife" instead of saying "my wife, who is Russian", heads would roll. Seems like a person who'd define their wife by her ethnicity like that is displaying an attitude that was being mocked in the first place."


I'm not the guy who said he had an "Asian wife", but I did say "I'm married to an Asian woman", which I'm guessing is close enough to also stun you.

I said this because if I said "I have my wife, who is Asian", that would sound incredibly bizarre. I'm guessing a person who uses the phrase "Asian wife" in a discussion of "Asian girlfriends" is not someone "who'd define their wife by her ethnicity", but someone who would use parallel sentence structures when discussing a topic.

You can only really get stunned and offended if you want to read deep into every little sentence, by which token I can be stunned that your choices of how to be called by your husband are limited to "Russian wife" or "wife, who is Russian", leaving out the simple "my wife" with no nationality mentioned. Of course, that's clearly not what you meant, but when you decide to deep read people, that's the kind of silly conclusion you're likely to reach. Which is precisely why that kind of deep reading ("you placed the adjective before the noun, instead of after it, which means you objectify Asian women!") should be avoided.
posted by Bugbread at 12:38 AM on August 21, 2009


Just as an exercise:

"Annoying liberals! Grab your jazz collection and your black best friend!"

Offensive? Inoffensive?
posted by thisperon at 2:20 AM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


[Pejorative adjective] [plural collective noun]! Grab your [compound noun] and your [arbitrary 'racial' descriptor] [loved one]!

Which is to say, come on: stop flogging that dead horse already. No juice left and no lessons to be learned.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:11 AM on August 21, 2009


Whether you think it makes sense or not, some people are genuinely hurt when you refer to them as a "____ person." I knew a person with a disability who was crushed when people would refer to her as a "disabled person." She felt that cast her in a way that would make people think of her as another class of person to which no one could relate instead of just a person.

You can tell them to get over it and insist on calling people that are in a non-dominant group what you think makes sense, but why not just give them a break? I know that "colored people" and "people of color" can mean the same thing and "colored people" may flow better in a sentence, but is it really worth insisting the people that feel hurt when they hear themselves referred to as "colored people" not be hurt by that worth it?

I know things can get ridiculous (i.e. niggardly - although, really, I doubt anyone is genuinely threatened by that word) if you go too far in this direction, but I really don't think that just referring to someone as a person first is that unreasonable. And of course, not using an ethnic or racial descriptor at all, as you mentioned, is best when the conversation has nothing to do with that.
posted by ignignokt at 7:00 AM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't speak for the Asian woman fetish, but when I was single a few years ago it seemed to me that some Asian women had a Jewish guy fetish. Seriously, an Asian woman would come up to me and say, "You're Jewish? All I've ever dated is Jewish guys." This happened more than once.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:59 PM on August 21, 2009


"Just as an exercise:

"Annoying liberals! Grab your jazz collection and your black best friend!"

Offensive? Inoffensive?"


Inoffensive.

Er, well, rather, offensive, but offensive to liberals, in the same way as the original was offensive to hipsters.

"Whether you think it makes sense or not, some people are genuinely hurt when you refer to them as a "____ person." I knew a person with a disability who was crushed when people would refer to her as a "disabled person." She felt that cast her in a way that would make people think of her as another class of person to which no one could relate instead of just a person."

True, of course. But there is a big difference between using an expression that specifies a class of person when it's totally unnecessary ("I was talking to this black guy in my class about Star Wars, and he thought episode 2 was better than episode 3") and when that class is the entire thing being discussed, as in this case.
posted by Bugbread at 4:25 PM on August 21, 2009


"Just as an exercise:

"Annoying liberals! Grab your jazz collection and your black best friend!"

Offensive? Inoffensive?"


Maybe replace "jazz" with "Delta Blues," but for some reason this is a funnier joke to me. I'm still trying to figure out why, though.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:59 PM on August 21, 2009


So when all y'all are done counting your favorites earned by sarcasm/aloofness, could you explain to me why I shouldn't feel offended when I'm looked down on and accused of horrible things for having a relationship with someone not as white as myself?

I don't think I'm emasculating asian men or objectifying women, and I'm pretty sure my not-even-remotely-subservient partner would be even more argumentive were I to point her to this thread.

So, seriously, honest question: What is it about our relationship that bugs you so much that it has to be a "joke" (that I'm not allowed to take offense at) so often? 'Cos people like you keep putting me down but telling me I'm out of line for being offended, and that seems just a little unfair to me.

You do realize you're casting judgment on people based on their skin color, right? Am I missing something here? Could someone please tell me how this isn't textbook racist bullshit?
posted by cj_ at 1:28 AM on August 22, 2009


"Maybe replace "jazz" with "Delta Blues," but for some reason this is a funnier joke to me. I'm still trying to figure out why, though."

Because you're younger, and "jazz" is passé; it went out with holidays in Cambodia.
posted by klangklangston at 10:54 AM on August 22, 2009


"So when all y'all are done counting your favorites earned by sarcasm/aloofness, could you explain to me why I shouldn't feel offended when I'm looked down on and accused of horrible things for having a relationship with someone not as white as myself?"

'Cuz that's not happening here. Jeez, CJ, grab the rebound—I only explained the joke, like, five times. Scroll up.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 AM on August 22, 2009


Sorry, cj_, I completely agree with you. I wish people had enough compassion to understand--or try to understand, at least--where you're coming from and respect that.
posted by kathrineg at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2009


"So when all y'all are done counting your favorites earned by sarcasm/aloofness, could you explain to me why I shouldn't feel offended when I'm looked down on and accused of horrible things for having a relationship with someone not as white as myself?"

Are you a hipster? If so, you should feel offended, not because hipsters are necessarily evil people and deserve to feel horrible, but because the comment was intended to offend hipsters. So being offended by it makes sense.

If you aren't a hipster, you should feel offended when you're looked down on and accused of horrible things for having a relationship with someone not as white as yourself, but you shouldn't feel offended here because this isn't an example of looking down on or accusing of horrible things for having a relationship with someone not as white as yourself.

The joke isn't predicated on the idea that "hipsters are bad people for dating non-whites". it's predicated on the idea that "hipsters are bad people for treating Asians as fashion accessories". So unless that's what you're doing, the insult isn't aimed at you. My wife is Japanese, and I don't find the joke remotely personally offensive, because I'm not a hipster.
posted by Bugbread at 3:00 PM on August 22, 2009


I agree that a central part of the joke is that "hipsters are bad people for treating Asians as fashion accessories" but for that joke to make sense the assumption has to be that Asian women are happy to be treated as fashion accessories.
posted by Kattullus at 4:31 PM on August 22, 2009


You know, it's not usually a winning strategy to tell people they shouldn't feel offended by something you didn't intend to be offensive. The better way is to apologize and recalibrate your meters.
posted by languagehat at 5:23 PM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I agree that a central part of the joke is that "hipsters are bad people for treating Asians as fashion accessories" but for that joke to make sense the assumption has to be that Asian women are happy to be treated as fashion accessories."

The difference is that set A is so much smaller than set B. There are a tremendous number of Asian women. There is a pretty damn small number of hipsters. So for the joke to make sense, the assumption has to be that there is some very small portion of the Asian female populace which is happy to be treated as fashion accessories. Here in Japan, there is a similar situation with white males being treated as fashion accessories by some Asian females (certainly in no way the majority), and I have met white men who are happy to be treated as fashion accessories. Certainly not the majority, but they do exist. So I'm assuming if there exist white men who are willing to be that, there are probably Asian women who are also willing to be that.

If we were comparing like-sized groups, or if set A were bigger than set B, then one would be saying that "all (or most) Asian women are happy to be treated as fashion accessories", but in this case set A is tiny, and set B is huge.

"You know, it's not usually a winning strategy to tell people they shouldn't feel offended by something you didn't intend to be offensive. The better way is to apologize and recalibrate your meters."

Yes and no. Or, rather, "no, and yes".

To apologize for something you don't believe is wrong, and which you think other people are wrong about, is to either 1) fake an apology, or, worse, 2) do that thing where you don't apologize for doing something wrong, but do the passive-aggressive "I'm sorry that you are offended" thing. Instead, since you're not going to convince those who vehemently disagree, and yet you're not contrite either, the best choice is to try to make your case once to the best of your ability, so that neutral folks can see where you were coming from, and then let the situation be.

That said, I agree that continuously arguing the position is fruitless as well. The better way is to just shut up after initially explaining your case, and if you're convinced that you're totally right but the majority is totally wrong about the offensiveness of a mode of expression, don't use that mode of expression in the future. You don't have to agree with other folks about the offensiveness of a subject, but if your goal is communication, and one way communicates well, and the other doesn't, even though you think it should, then the communicative approach is far superior.

And, yeah, you're probably thinking "but bugbread, you've made more than one comment in this discussion", but that's because 1) I'm not the guy who made the joke, so I'm not really writing from a defensive position, and 2) I'm commenting because it's interesting to me, intellectually. That's what I do. I'm not really writing with the belief that I'm totally going to convince anyone, but I don't write with that belief in general. I find the give and take of discussion interesting in itself, even if I realize that in most discussions about anything, few opinions are changed. It's a fun group mental workout.
posted by Bugbread at 8:17 PM on August 22, 2009


Because you're younger, and "jazz" is passé; it went out with holidays in Cambodia.

No, I get that part. What I meant was I''m not sure why I find the "blues music/black friends" riff more accetable than the "hipster/Asian girlfriend" joke.

I'm sure I'm overthinking it either way.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:32 AM on August 23, 2009


You do realize you're casting judgment on people based on their skin color, right? Am I missing something here? Could someone please tell me how this isn't textbook racist bullshit?

Honestly, I don't think you're ever going to see this joke as anything other than "textbook racist bullshit", and I think that's a shame, because other people have done a really good job at explaining how the joke makes sense in a context that has nothing to do with the notion that people who date inter-racially are bad. If you are offended, I can appreciate that, but if you want people to think you're listening, you should at least be able to effectively explain the talking points of people who disagree with you (instead of calling them racists).
posted by 23skidoo at 9:29 AM on August 23, 2009


I have the same reaction, Bookhouse, and I think the difference is that the black friend isn't sexualized like the hypothetical asian girlfriend of the joke.
posted by Kattullus at 9:45 AM on August 23, 2009


Something can be textbook racist bullshit without it being put out there by racists
posted by kathrineg at 11:05 AM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Read it again, slower. Racists are people who cast judgment on people based on the color of their skin.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:19 AM on August 23, 2009


I think it is pointless to act like racist things can only be said or done by racist people because it's very easy for us to say "hey, I'm not a racist, therefore everything I do or say is okay". That's not productive.
posted by kathrineg at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2009


Hey everybody! I propose that we all just hold hands and sing along to Avenue Q!
posted by Lush at 12:04 PM on August 23, 2009


Let's not
posted by kathrineg at 1:02 PM on August 23, 2009


Because you're younger, and "jazz" is passé; it went out with holidays in Cambodia.

Playing Pitchforky blues
In your thrift store shoes
On your five grand fixed gear bike
Bragging that you know
Where to get the best blow
And Asians are the girls you like.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on August 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Something can be textbook racist bullshit without it being put out there by racists"

And some things can mention race without being textbook racist bullshit. Which is what we're disagreeing with here. It doesn't matter whether the guy who made the post was racist or not, because we're not (as far as I know) discussing whether or not he is racist, but whether what he said was racist.

So to go back to your initial statement, "You do realize you're casting judgment on people based on their skin color, right?", the answer is "I'm not judging Asian females, I'm judging hipsters. And I'm not even judging Asian females by extension, because my judgment is that there are far, far, far more Asian females who don't date hipster douches, so for any given Asian female to date a hipster douche is clearly a personal decision that is not representative of Asians in general". More succinctly, "I don't realize I'm casting judgment on people based on their skin color because I'm not casting judgment on people based on their skin color." Even more succinctly, "I don't realize it because it isn't true".

You may disagree that it isn't true, but that's a discussion that's already been had. Neither of us have convinced eachother yet, so we probably won't convince eachother now. But to say "You do realize (thing which you do not believe is true)" is an underhanded rhetorical trick, not discussion.
posted by Bugbread at 7:09 PM on August 23, 2009


I'm just really grateful that this thread is here to break this joke down to its ticking motive force - its racist pendulum, its flywheels of sexism - as well to tell me how to correctly interpret and react to it. It's almost like the generosity of hip friends in protecting me from the vagaries of sellout music and unfashionable prose.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:13 PM on August 23, 2009


So, are you saying that racism oscillates between opposing extremes (presumably some kind of dialectical process of perpetually alternating racism & non-racism) but sexism is geared to continue along at a constant momentum - moreover, a momentum that serves to stabilise the entire system & protect it against undue variation? That's a rather tall claim.

By the way, clockwork metaphors went out with the Swatch & should only be used ironically.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:41 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, are you licensed in racism repair?
posted by kid ichorous at 10:52 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, I'm only a hobbyist...*shuffles feet*
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:11 PM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jeez Louise, the things that happen when you leave town for a week. I've had a few Asian girlfriends but i still hate Pitchfork.
posted by jonmc at 6:30 PM on August 25, 2009


« Older Echo Echo Echo   |   L.P. Hatecraft Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments