Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Margaret Cho

Jennifer Jung has a yummy quote from Margaret Cho on her blog, which speaks to the objectified woman in all of us:

"I don't need any more people calling me up, saying, "I have this script that you're gonna love. There's this part for an ASIAN WOMAN--it's really not the lead, but it's such a great part. Call me." The first thing that I do when I get a call like that is to press 3 for "Delete," because there's no way this part is gonna be anything good. I have never had any desire to play a maid, a liquor store owner kicking a black person out of my store, a rude and harried waitress, a worldly-wise acupuncturist, an early-rising, loose black cotton pants-wearing elderly woman practicing tai chi in the park, a manicurist, a prostitute, a student in an English as a Second Language course, a purveyor of exotic mushrooms and ginseng, an exchange student, a newscaster covering gang warfare in Chinatown, a woman drowning my newborn baby in a bowl, a daughter crying with my mom over our constant battle between East and West yet finally coming together over a particularly intense game of mah-jongg, a queen sitting on her throne in the Forbidden City being served a bowl of turtle soup by a eunuch, a peasant carrying a yoke on my shoulders like a yak trudging up Gold Mountain delivering precious water to my village, a young girl being raped and killed by GIs in the Killing Fields, a woman balancing a basket of any kind on my head, being the second wife and committing suicide to avenge the first wife by coming back as a ghost and scaring the shit out of everyone, or, alternatively, committing suicide because my white lover did not come back to Japan after the war, or having him come back for me and fooling him sucessfully for years and years into thinking I am a woman when really I'm a dude, as if my race castrates me so much that this deception is completely feasible, or a girl, barely out of grammar school, playing violin for the president in a long, black velvet dress, or a mother, out of nowhere, screaming and then sullenly freezing out my children in an effort to terrorize them into getting better grades in school, especially in math and science, through emotional blackmail and coercion, or a teenager, figure-skating in the Olympics and winning the Gold but never getting a major endorsement contract because even though I fucking won that goddamn medal for America I will never be considered the hero that I truly am because, no matter what anybody says, this is still a racist country, or a woman giving birth to the Dalai Lama, or holding my breath for over three minutes while diving for pearls, or arguing with Elaine from Seinfeld about her dry cleaning, or saying, "Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond," or being a hired assassin and flinging a ninja star, or sword-fighting up a tree, or writing my Geisha memoirs because playing weird musical instruments and powdering my neck is so fucking memorable I need to write a book about it, which actually wasn't even me writing, just some old white guy who wanted to turn my life of exploitation and prostitution into some "Pretty Woman During the Heien Period" fantasy, or brushing up on those concubine skills, or going anywhere with a chicken under my arm, or travelling all the way around the world to meet my birth mother for the very first time, or eating dog for lunch, or being mail-ordered for marriage to some way-out-of-my-league computer geek I have never met, or getting shot down and then rolled over by a tank in Tiananmen Square, or walking on some Jim Belushi-looking dude's back, or balancing with five other family members on a bicycle, or being knee-deep and pointy-hatted in a rice paddy, or graduating magna cum laude from Stanford, or wearing a lab coat and goggles and holding that beaker a safe distance from my body with tongs, or cooking with a wok after speedily cutting all my vegetables vertically, or binding my feet because that's what all the girls are doing this year, or wearing my long, silky black hair on one side of my head and a big flower on the other side, or doing a dance that requires me to jump over a sword, or getting off a tour bus and taking numerous photographs, or bowing, banging a gong or getting it on, or considering Pearl Harbor some kind of triumph for "my people," or making the best of being in an internment camp by starting a theater company and staging a production of Anne Frank, or taking all my white friends out to Benihana and ordering for all of them, making sure nothing is too spicy, because they all think I know what to get, or dramatically escaping from Red China with none other than Richard Gere, or arranging flowers or pruning a bonsai tree, or being a "teenager" in pink lipstick and a HELLO KITTY T-shirt and miniskirt, or acting like I am five years old and pressing my knees together while making a big O shape with my mouth in a display of cuteness that is really just another expression of the denial of my strength as a woman, which we all know is another way I keep myself from my own power, remaining a safe and ineffectual sexual stereotype, pleasing to the status quo (see the third Austin Powers, the characters Fook Mi and Fook Yu), or breaking boards with my forehead, or being a prisoner of war or a spy of any kind, but obviously not a very good one or my character would be played by a white man, or explaining the mysteries of the Far East to Richard Chamberlain or to Chris Tucker--or to anyone, for that matter--because the Far East is just as much a mystery to me as it is to them, or letting anybody say, "What do I know...I'm just a ROUND EYES!," because that statement is condescending to me and yet so true, in that, yes, you don't know shit, and don't act like acknowledging your own ignorance excuses it, and nobody cares if you can "tell us apart" because we are not doughnuts that you need to first identify to decide if you want to eat us or not." -Margaret Cho-


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