Comments: Week of October 10, 2022


“The New Asian America,” (September 26–­October 9)

Photo: New York Magazine

New York’s latest issue featured a ­special section examining “The New Asian America.” ­Radio producer Samantha Lui said it was “­essential reading for everyone,” and The New Yorker’s Michael Luo praised the “fantastic, thought-provoking package. ­Sifting through it all and thinking about it all. ­Kudos to everyone … who worked on this.” Although the cover, a self-portrait by artist Susan Chen, was inspired by her survey of Asian Americans on what they were buying to protect themselves from violence during the pandemic, several commenters criticized the magazine’s use of it. Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, wrote, “This is ­awful framing and an editorial ­offense.”
On Instagram, Jeff Li commented, “I can ­appreciate the intent of the message, but painting us all as delusional and paranoid is counterproductive.”

Photo: New York Magazine


“How to Hit Back,” September 26–October 9

Esther Wang ­reported on the vexed politics of the #­StopAsianHate campaign. Podcast editor Alan ­Montecillo wrote, “This topic has been swirling around in my head for the better part of 18 months … It’s worth reading ­closely and ­sitting with the discomfort.” Frankie Huang called it “a sympathetic, probing ­investigation that never­theless pulls no punches.” And ­Gawker’s Jenny G. Zhang commended the story for “grappling with two uncomfortable truths: that societal ills under­lie many perpetrators of violence against Asian ­Americans, ones that can’t be fixed by ­policing—but that is cold ­comfort to Asians who face very real threats and fear.” On Twitter, Alice Meichi Li ­argued that Wang “missed the class-­divide ­aspect … It’s the blue-collar service-worker Asians who are living immersed in the ­miasma of ­racially targeted crime—not the college-­educated, white-collar Asians who are ­reporting on their own people as if they’re subjects of a colonizer-gaze ­National ­Geographic documentary.” And the Dragon Combat Club, a group providing self-­defense classes for Asian Americans that was featured in the article, critiqued the story at length online, tweeting, “At the end of the day, people like those behind the article get to close their eyes to our reality. We’re the ones who have to live it as others condescendingly judge and mock us for what we have to do to get through since it doesn’t fit their ideo­logically pure lens.” The Bronx-based ­artist Chi Nguyen added, “I’m sitting with the heaviness of this feature and making room for the many different perspectives from Asians and Asian Americans about violence against our community. How might we speak with one another across difference to get to a collective safety?”


“Mixed Metaphor,” September 26–October 9

Andrea Long Chu wrote about the anxiety that half-Asian characters in literature represent. Tony Sun Prickett called the essay “one of the only pieces I’ve ever read that takes seriously mixed white–Asian American identity in a way that doesn’t fetishize us or read all of the ­anxieties of the future of Asian America onto us.” Though Documentary filmmaker Leighton Woodhouse said, “I wasn’t aware we made people so anxious.” And @azninthesun wrote, “My white friends on today’s AsAm piece in Vulture: ‘Oh what a genius, beautifully written.’ My Asian friends on the same piece: ‘What the fuck man.’ ” Jay ­Caspian Kang, the author of The Loneliest ­Americans, tweeted that he “found it interesting that there was almost zero discussion of the class position of half Asian half white kids in this very long piece about me and Celeste [Ng] … Where do you move to? What politics do you adopt bc of your surroundings? What is your education and earning potential? And what does your ‘­racial admixture’ connote in your environs? Idk seem like interesting questions but weird that ALC seems more interested in representation?” However, Claire Stanford, whose work was also discussed, praised it as an “incredibly thoughtful essay … It is an indescribable, bodily thrill to see my work placed in this literary context (Ozeki! Tan!) & this political framework.”


 “­Podcasting Is Just Radio Now,” ­September 26–October 9

For “The Culture Pages,” Nicholas Quah asked whether “­Podcasting Is Just
Radio Now.” In his news­letter, Ryan ­Broderick said the article agreed with his sense of “a general downward spiral I’ve seen the podcast industry heading in lately: Everyone and every­thing just seems real tired.” WAMU’s Chris ­Chester said, “I think the reason pod­casting hasn’t seen another ­Serial is the same reason there hasn’t been another Game of Thrones: ­Appointment media is basically over. We’re all niche now.” Commenter cozycat wrote, “It’s like ­blogging—there were a few blogs that grew into something big because they were done by people who had a true interest in and knowledge about a topic and an audience that had a similar interest. But when the technology makes it cheap to ­create content, you get a lot of cheap content.”

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Comments: Week of October 10, 2022