hello, intarweb. hello world!
I had wanted very much for my inaugural post here to be in response to something substantial. Unfortunately i’ve been so exhausted as of late that i’ve been unable to come up with much of anything. every day I approach this site and just as quickly turn away from it; I find myself actively resisting racial discourse at the moment. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe I’m still stubbornly occupying the affective dead-zone that asserts itself in the wake of any trauma, private-personal or public-national (the VATech rampage, after all, took place just one month ago.)
My suspicion is that we are all still coping with the remainder of Cho’s violence, though life has largely returned to normal. The moment of trauma has incurred, the seeming coherence of the Real has shattered and over the past few weeks has quietly reassembled itself. And now is the time for the ironing out of pleats, time for the Nietzschean active forgetting — what is necessary, I suppose, for the social world to move forward.
I haven’t completely forgotten Cho though. I still feel a vague sense of pity and unease when I think of him. I confess I don’t remember him as much as I do the media’s response to him, and the implications for both Asian Americans and Asians on Eastern soil. And what I take note of now is the extent to which the frenzied, highly public speculative aftermath — those crazy few days when google-news showered us with nothing but headline after headline, OMGZR the killer is from tEh Korea!! we must tighten immigration laws! (nevermind the slew of insipid reactionary commentary barring the teaching of race/class/identity/literary issues in the classroom) — has permanently altered my semiotic compass, my practices of reading and interpreting, my way of sense-making as i go about my day. Such are very minor shifts, barely perceptible, but they are always deeply personal. Take this site, for instance.
It seems innocuous enough. good times, great taste, food and decor thoroughly informed by slanty-eyed goodness. but what irks me to no end is why the owners decided to call it “MY Asian Village” and not simply “Asian Village” (note even the graphical emphasis on MY in their logo, the bright red background and inversion of letter fill-color.) It’s a subtle point, yes, but I’m a stickler for detail, especially when I’m trying to post to kick-start this blog, *ahem*.
What bothers me, of course, is the easy slippage between (uh oh, here it is) the notion of possession and the well-circulated imperialist fantasy of master-slave ownership. It’s a very slippery space, and the lingering question for me is this: how can we, as Asian Americans, achieve more cultural valence on our own terms, apart from strategies of possession/consignment over to (a presumably) superior Other? how do we even make a claim to power within the social symbolic? [i touched upon a few of these issues here, in a brief letter to a reporter writing about Cho’s NBC media ‘carepackage’]