Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today's episode of insomniac opinion theater...

OK, between the insomnia and NaNoWriMo, clearly I'm in the mood to spew something out.

So let's open with a shout out to T-girl, who wandered over from Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper, one of my regular blog-reads. (For those who've never been, it's like the Mother of All Not-A-Mommy-Blogs.)

Anyway, earlier in the insomnia, I was perusing the blogs I read regularly, including the aforementioned BIDP (I can't bring myself to just call it "Boobs" like some others do). And there was a big firefight over an off-color joke - which, it must be said, made fun of rich white people - that led to someone dropping the dreaded "r" word.

That's right. Racism.

OK, everybody, before we go on, y'all take a look at that photo over on the right there.

Done? OK, let's begin.

Without rehashing my rant of a response over there (even though that's what got T-girl here), I just want to offer up some more of my feelings on political correctness.

See, for those who don't know me, I'm an adopted Vietnamese Jew of mixed racial background, raised in redneck rural Pennsylvania.

Which really means one of two things: a) I was destined to be the most politically correct person in the world; or b) I was destined to be the most politically incorrect person in the world.

I think you can tell how it turned out.

So one of what I suppose you could call my defense mechanisms is humor.

After all, I get to tell both the Asian jokes and the Jewish jokes.

And it doesn't help that I'm a redneck at heart, too.

I mean, I'm like the Jewish equivalent of the Mormon porn star from "Orgazmo " ("I'm a bad, bad Mormon.")

You know, like when I've got a mouthful of ham-and-cheese omelette at a family gathering, and I'm like, "Mmph? What? Why are you all looking at me?"

(For you goyim, no cloven-hoofed animals, AND no mixing milk and meat.)

And then there's the Asian in me. After all, nobody complains when the stereotypes are good things.

You know, you never hear black (African-American, etc.) men complain when everyone assumes they have big penises and can dunk a basketball. And you never hear Asians complain when everyone assumes they're smarter than all you white folk.

Hey, Jimmy (God rest his soul), the only black kid in my grade, did his part. He was also the only kid in the grade who could dunk. And when the guidance counselor read off the qualifications for the NAACP scholarship before we took the PSATs, when he got done, Jimmy looked around and yelled out, "I won!"

And I did my part. After all, I finished first in my class. But that was sort of to be expected. I'm Asian. And I was voted "class brain" in 8th grade. (As I once pointed out to my friend Dave before our 10th reunion, I was NOT voted "most likely to succeed." That was his problem.) And let me tell you something, part of the reason I was class brain probably was the same reason Willie Horton helped cost Mike Dukakis that election back in '88: Pigment.

The ethnic humor does backfire from time to time. I always joked I was the only Asian in my class whose parents didn't own a Chinese restaurant (because hey, June Yen's parents, they owned a Chinese restaurant). So at the reunion, when they insisted I wear my nametag, and I snarked, who are people going to think I am, the other Asian? The class president went around introducing me to people as June Yen, "post-op."

Strangely, since the joke over on BIDP involved rich white people and country clubs (and black people, thus the race card was played), earlier tonight I heard Alec Baldwin remark that, at the height of the AIDS crisis, someone told him that if you could get AIDS from gripping a golf club, we'd have a cure by now.

So what's wrong with making fun of the rich white people? They get all the other advantages, we can't bust their (golf) balls?

(Yes, I realize some of my relatives are rich white people. I look like the waiter snuck into the family photo. Me and my cousin, Jorge. Everybody else, Eastern European Jews. You should see me trying to wear a yarmulka over spiked Asian hair.)

I realize I'm doing exactly what I didn't plan to do, and repeating some of my jokes from my BIDP comment. But hey, this is good material.

A few years back, at my last job, I got invited to lunch at a country club by some of the upper management at the paper. Needless to say, I went. So one of my buddies was ragging on me about selling out to The Man and kissing up, and I was just like, dude. I'm a Vietnamese Jew. When am I ever going to get another opportunity to see the inside of a country club?

Without carrying someone else's golf bag, that is.

By the way, I don't mean to suggest that because someone black complained about the joke, that all black people lack a sense of humor. Just that one. I mean, I work with three black women, and the other night, one of them remarked that we were working like "Hebrew slaves." I asked her if she meant because I was Jewish and she was black. That cracked her up.

So maybe humor is subjective. But I think we can all agree, as the comedian Mike Binder once said, when you're on a plane being hijacked, never, ever raise your hand and ask for the kosher meal.

Oh, and for me, the argument at BIDP was over when somebody pointed out the girl who was claiming the moral high ground could be found dancing nekkid at some Web site I couldn't find.

Speaking of moral high ground, to borrow and embellish a joke from Don Imus:

Remember the 2000 election? When all the Florida Jews accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan in that hanging-chad debacle? And they all felt really, really bad.

Well, maybe they'd feel better to know Pat Buchanan also had a relative who died in the Holocaust.

(Wait for it...)

An uncle fell out of a guard tower.


Completely off topic, and yet kind of on-topic, at work the other day, the subject of ethnic slurs came up, vis-a-vis an Eastern European. So I was looking up lists of ethnic slurs online, trying to see if the particular one under discussion, well, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, means what he thinks it means.

And I couldn't find it, but I did find that "monkey" is an ethnic slur toward black people. I knew that. In fact, it led to a rather awkward moment a few years back when I was waving the Rally Monkey I used to take to games (don't worry about the waving; stuffed monkey). So I'm waving the monkey after a fight, and I realize the Flyers' then-enforcer, Donald Brashear (the one in the fight) is black. Oops.

(One old joke about hockey is that it's the last sport for middle-sized white guys.)

Anyway, so we know "monkey" is an ethnic slur against blacks.

Well, in one of the glossaries I found, it listed "mookie" as an ethnic slur against blacks as well.

Great. And I named my stuffed monkey Mookie.

I swear it had nothing to do with black people. I just think Mookie's a cute name. I used to call my (now ex-)fiancee Mookie, and she was a white, Catholic suburbanite. Hope that's not why she left.

To come full circle, I'll bet her bleepity-bleeping-bleep of a father is in a country club. And he hated me because I wasn't white, or so I was told by people who knew him. Heh.

Mookie Wilson, the Met
Mookie Wilson, the defunct band
Mookie Wilson, the name

Finally, for those following my NaNoWriMo adventures, I'm almost at 10,000 words - 1/5th of the way there! - and I still haven't figured out how to work in a munkee.

Campers vs. zombies! Scientists vs. zombies! Soldiers vs. zombies!

Death! Mayhem! Sex! (Not in that order. Yet.)

Plus, a Viking or two for good measure (the Norse explorer kind, not the Minnesota-football kind.

And maybe an Indian (the Washington-football kind, not the Bollywood kind).