Saturday, July 10, 2004


bruce made pop art

Little known secret but I have a complete set of Giant Robot Magazines from issue 1 to their current, 10th anniversary edition. Someday, I'm sure I'll be able to eBay this off and pay for my future children's college funds but for the time being: damn, 10 years! It's momentous enough that even the NY Times caught on.

I've had an ambivalent attitude towards GR in its early years...not because I didn't like the magazine, but I found its indie rock-inspired DIY attitude to be slightly grating with my own indie hip-hop-inspired DIY attitude. You'd think the two would actually get along really well but, actually, Indie hip-hop, ten years ago, was still about pushing a movement forward and GR, while heading a movement, was always loathe to feel beholden to it. Whereas a rap 'zine might have felt the obligation to cover certain people or topics because they were "important" to hip-hop (decided by who is another question entirely), GR's general atttitude of defiance can be summed up as: "we got some ideas/that we want to share/you don't like them?/so what?/we don't care". At times, their editors (Eric and Martin), reacting to constant letters to the editors whining, "how come you don't cover thiiiiiiiiiis?" would throw this attitude back with such force that I just wanted to say in a soothing voice: hey dudes, it's ok, it's your mag, we get that. Chill.

At the time, I thought the mag had too much of a cult of personality but ironically, this would be the same reason why I LOVED Ego Trip when it came out. I think, as a rap mag, I expected arrogant defiance from the ET crew. It occurs to me now that maybe my negative reaction to GR's 'tude had to do with the fact that on some subconscious, self-racist level, their simple statement of independence triggered a fear inside of me about how Asians shouldn't make waves and play nice all the time.

In any case, congrats to GR. People may quibble about whether it's "Asian" or "Asian American," blah blah blah, but bottomline, it's had one of the biggest impacts on the perception of Asian American pop culture over the last decade. Well, until William Hung came along. (word to Eric: quit hating on our #1 stunna.)

  • Wait - chess boxing is for real? Like whoa.
    (credit: Catchdubs)

  • It really is incredibly ridiculous that these new fall t.v. shows that take place in Hawaii are so incredibly WHITE. Um, demographic check crackers: Hawaii is only 24% white and 40% Asian. So where all my peoples at!

    Not like any of this is new...people have complained for years that shows like Friends exist in a NYC apparently absent of all color (except when someone needs a girlfriend and then, voila! Two episode token!) but c'mon ya'll, if you're setting a series in a state where almost half the people around you are yerrow, it's time to represent. Why don't they make a TV series called Zimbabwe Legit and stock it with white Afrikanners? Good gawd, the networks are morons sometimes.
    (credit: Angry Asian Man)

  • I'm not exactly the biggest Cal cheerleader out there - maybe because I've buried 12 years of my life at Berkeley and it's just hard to get all rah rah about the gold and blue when you feel like you can never left your alma mater. But hey, even I get a lil bit of pride, especially when fellow alum kick so much ass. This is a New Yorker story on Natalie Coughlin, the latest in a line of incredible swimmers who come from Berkeley (that's right ya'll - our football team hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since the Eisenhower administration but put us in a pool on God's blue earth and we'll triple our worth). The hotness: the photo of her features her standing at a bus stop by Spieker Pool, a Daily Californian peeking from behind ripped stickers and Coughlin rocking a Cal one-piece. Go you Bears!

  • Speaking of The New Yorker, all praises due to Katherine Boo. The staff writer has been consistently killing it with her pieces on labor, class and the new global economy. She's already written about working class struggles in the Midwest and Texas - last week, she tackled the question of American outsourcing to India in a piece that was both eloquent and insightful. This is the kind of reporting that impresses me to no end - I just want to sit down with her and pick her brain. Holla at me, ma! (Alas, this piece isn't online, but she does talk about her story in this online piece.)

  • One day, it will come out that Bill O'Reilly> tortures little kittens for fun, or has 5 wives and 33 children, or gets caught, shooting H in the Fox News parking lot but until that day, read Prof. Mark LeVine's encounter with one of the most biased and dangerous windbags in American media today.
    (credit: The Pnuthouse)

  • Leave it to the Japanese to invent a new crazy thang: catch my drift? (Dig, what racists don't understand is that we're not bad drivers by accident: it's on purpose mane! So if you see us doing a hundred on the highway, get the fuck outta our way.)
    (credit: False Cognate)

  • Wow. Like...WOW. Spiderman vs. Dr. Ock. Done with Legos.

  • Back to the Beastie Boys: The Three + Frogger = Online Game Wickedness.
    (credit for both: Royal Magazine)

  • Last but nowhere least...I confess - I don't really care about R. Kelly. Never have, might someday, don't know, except that he makes great fodder for Chapelle Show and that's good enough for me. That said, I thought Josh Clover's recent remarks on Kelly's controversies and what relation - if any - these have about our attitude to his music to be brilliant. Please consider:
      "itís [people's] absolute free choice to focus on the moral actor and set aside the art. But if youíre not going to ignore it, you better give up on explaining how ďIgnitionĒ must perforce be as bad a song as R. Kelly is a person. Youíve got to fucking deal with how good it is, because itís real real good. Listen: The desire for an unambiguous world is not going to work out for you. Awful people will make thrilling art, and vice versa. I checked my Infinity Calendar, and this is a ďrecurrent event.Ē Itís not hypocrisy; itís exactly one of the things that makes art more than a victory garden on the chateau grounds of philosophies of right. Itís what makes it art. And then one has to figure out how to live with this; thatís what makes it life."