November 29, 2000
Ah, but she's not dead yet!
Once again, the magazine that wakes me from my reverie is This Magazine. This issue's theme: Asian Culture in Canada. It's an incredibly timely topic as during the campaign of the recent federal election, an Alliance candidate tried to raise the specter of an "Asian Invasion".
This "invasion of Canada" has been going on since 1885 - a fact I learned from a very educational timeline of Asians in Canada. Sample quote from our first PM, Sir John A. McDonald : "The Chinaman... has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations, and therefore ought not to have the vote."
I suggest you read this timeline before you tackle the amazing article, "Revenge of the Chinky Chinaman". It will make a lot more sense when you are hit with the confrontational cultural idea of embracing the "Chinky Chinaman aesthetic". A sample passage:
Japanimation, karaoke and sweet & sour chicken balls could be considered foreign, but safe - kitsch. Whereas Japanese tea sets and Chinese embroidered purses are exotic and desirable - cool. These are highbrow and lowbrow transformations of foreignness.
But what about those aspects of Asiana which cannot be easily understood or assimilated into North American consumer life? Those that are more scary and dangerous, the reviled forms of foreignness - that's exactly what Chinky Chinamen embrace. Chinky foregoes chicken balls for chicken feet. It's goodbye Hello Kitty, hello dog soup.
Add to the mix a cartoon and cultural explainer by Windsor's own Marc Ngui (I "heart" his comic, Zak Meadow), an investigation into the claims that China is the West's new threat, and a short piece by Jim Munroe on his own appropriation of Asian culture that contains my favourite line, "When I buy Hello Kitty toys as knick-kancks it's not about refusing adulthood, although that's often a part of it. It's about an alternate childhood where a small white kitten is as ubiquitous as a little black mouse."
Non-asian articles cover such topics as the Mashall decision, Admobiles, how progressive politics make their biggest gains during economic booms, for-profit health-care, and a look into an Internet "incubator".
This issue of This is so good that its hard for me not to flog it to friends. Which is why the Maglog is back up and running.