Blast San Francisco Bureau
I work at a Fortune 500 company on the East Coast and recently started noticing something that's been really bugging me. Everybody in our department always asks me for help with their computer even though I work in marketing and my job has nothing to do with computer support. People ask me how come their printers don't work, how to install a new screen saver, how to change screen colors or other questions that have nothing to do with my job. What gives? I always ask them how come they don't call the help desk and they always reply that they're stupid dumb asses.
-- K. Wang in Boston.
ÜberAsian has heard this same sentiment from other brothers and sisters. It's just like when non-Asians ask you where the best Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese/etc. restaurant in town is. Like we have a secret Zagat guide to Exotic Oriental food that's only given to us. Non-Asians apparently believe all Asians understand computers like they understand Budweiser. Just as they fear our math abilities, these same people also fear our computing abilities. Like all stereotypes, there is some truth. Ask yourself how many of your Asian friends under 35 don't have computers. Zero, right? In fact, the brothers (and sisters) usually have two or three computers, extra parts to build another computer and a LAN in their household. Basically, we tend to be the ÜberComputer consumers. ÜberAsian has even gone so far as to propose a magazine devoted solely to Asian computing, maybe Asian Computing World or PC/A Magazine. Unfortunately in talking with large publishing houses, ÜberAsian was rebuffed. Many publishers believe they can pick up the Asian demographic with the same ads aimed at whites and Latinos.
Is it true there were two endings filmed for Antoine Fuqua's new movie, "The Replacement Killers?"
-- R. Wong in Berkeley, Calif.
Yes. The film parallels the making of "Godzilla Vs. King Kong." For American audiences the film ends with their own icon, King Kong, defeating Godzilla. For Japanese audiences, Godzilla kills the big ape. "Replacement Killers" has a similar ending. In a role tailored for HK action star Chow Yun-Fat, American audiences see an ending where Chow, an Asian, says good-bye to minor god Mira Sorvino much the same way you would see Grandma off on a trip at the airport. See ya!
Chow, who has been compared to Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart, doesn't get the girl. He doesn't get to kiss girl. Hell, he doesn't even get to shake hands with the girl or ask her to return his luggage cart to the rack to get his $1.50 back. The key word isn't girl here, it's white girl. Some would say it's institutionalized racism by a status quo Hollywood bent on emasculating Asian males. I suppose there is some logic to this. Look at the big mistake they made with African Americans.
African Americans got their foot in the door, now they're entitled to see Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and Morgan Freeman in starring roles. While Hollywood realizes it can't roll back the carpet on African Americans, it sure as hell isn't going to let a bunch of squinty-eyed Asians get the same access. If that happened, they'd have to let Mexicans and American Indians and East Indians and non-Canadians in. Whew. Can't let that happen. Okay, some of that may be true. But ÜberAsian has the real reason why Chow didn't get to swap spit with Mira Sorvino: Quentin Tarantino. Up until March, Hollywood's golden boy had been Sorvino's beau for two years. A longtime fan of Chow, Tarantino initially pushed for Sorvino to be in the film with Chow. But Tarantino got cold feet at the aspect of any love scenes with Chow and his girl. Check out this tape ÜberAsian obtained from reliable Internet sources:
Jan. 1997. Breakfast between directors Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers), Michael Bay (The Rock), Simon West (Con Air) and David Fincher (The Game) at an undisclosed location in West Hollywood.
Fuqua: "Let me tell you what 'Replacement Killers' is about. It's about this guy who has to kill people for a living or his boss will kill his family."
Bay: "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Fincher, mumbling as he reads aloud from a list of names, "Ken Tsang. Johnny Lee..."
West: "No, you got it all wrong. It's about this ex-con who goes to jail for something he didn't do. When his plane crashes in Las Vegas, he does the right thing."
Fuqua: "Hey, you're making me lose my concentration. 'Replacement Killers' isn't about some dumb plane or an actor who really can't do a southern accent. 'Replacement Killers' is about one really cool cat who shoots everybody in a really stylistic way. I mean, he really digs shooting guns. See, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, and blam."
Bay: "How many guns is that?"
Fuqua: "It's a lot of fucking guns. When he doesn't finish a contract. His boss sends for the 'Replacement Killers.' See? Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam."
Fincher: "...Garrett Wang, Jackie Chan. Chow Yun-Fat..."
Bay: "What the fuck are you talking about Fincher?"
Fincher, broken out of his spell, "Oh, its the casting list for 'Replacement Killers.' I've been going over it for Antoine."
Tarantino, snatches papers from Fincher. "Give me that fucking thing. I've got Fuqua's guns coming out my left ear and fucking Toby the Jap coming out my right. Ain't no way I'm letting some Korean kiss my girl. I'll let that happen when you guys learn to make fucking movies."
Fincher: "What the fuck, they're Chinese."
Tarantino: "I don't care. I don't believe in no one kissing my girl. Just because society says it's OK for an actress to kiss some East Indian doesn't mean I have to let some Nip kiss my gal. That shits for the birds."
Q: What about that second ending ÜberAsian?
A: Using multi-processor Silicon Graphics computers, Hollywood managed to use a stunt double to replace Sorvino for the love scenes in the international release of "Replacement Killers." For southern states, computer graphics are used to remove any touching between an Asian and Sorvino. To make southern viewers more comfortable, Chow's accent, which most would agree is nonexistent, is enhanced to make it sound more like a bad Charlie Chan film.
Enjoyed your column "Tips on buying and maintaining a car," but I'm curious: Are you into car stereos at all? Are any of your friends? Do you have hopped up systems, or do you like listening to the stock cassette radio and those tinny little speakers?
ÜberAsian just added an Alpine CD changer to his 1998 Honda but hasn't had time nor money to add alloy rims that cost more than the car or to upgrade the stereo system yet. Some of ÜberAsian's friends were into stereo systems, but many of them have instead invested money into their PCs. It must be an age issue. Has ÜberAsian had friends who are into car stereos and their cars? ÜberAsian is Asian. Some of UberAsian's friends buy cars and invest more money in them than they paid for the cars.
I spent about a year in Japan, before returning to the United States. Upon my return, I noticed that there were many Japanese things about me that I retained. I would constantly stare at people for no apparent reason. I would agree with things people said, even if I had no idea what they were talking about. I would also bow in front of every doorway, but I think that was more of a Pavlovian response. You see, I'm 6 foot, and most doorways in Japan are also 6 foot or lower. It only took one near concussion to make me see the light. That problem I feel will heal itself in time, but the most alarming problem is that my English has deteriorated dramatically. I was an English major before I left, and my vocabulary was immense. Since my return, I feel it has been whittled down in my attempts to communicate on a simpler level. Can you help? Will these symptoms ever go away? I want to go back to the simpler and more verbose days of my youth. But I want to keep my Japanese perspective. I guess I need to retain the good and get rid of the excessive. Can you see a possible solution for this?
-- J. Anselmo
The staring thing is a pretty dangerous habit. I'm guessing it was a cultural issue and you're a non-Asian. Being a non-Asian in Japan is like being an Asian American in, say, the Midwest. While it's OK to stare at people when everybody else is doing it (it's OK because there's strength in numbers), you have to break yourself of this habit. Let's use the example of the time ÜberAsian went to Ohio. Pretty nice state except you'd think ÜberAsian was painted fluorescent orange because of the intense stares he received. Take these same Midwest types and send them on vacation to Los Angeles. Still unable to break themselves of this staring habit, the Midwest types stare at the wrong people at the wrong time. Someone pulls out a Gat and bang, instant Page 3 newspaper headline about somebody capping a Midwesterner for staring at them too hard.
The English thing. It's actually OK to lose some of those extra words. The problem with the language is the options. Like buying a car, too many options and you get confused and end up with a bad deal. ÜberAsian is a hardy advocate of the MAVA (Metric American Vocabulary Association). The average person has a vocabulary of about 25,000 words. A college graduate has a vocabulary of about 40,000 words. While east coast intellectual elite columnists bemoan the diminishing language and vocabulary skills of Americans, MAVA believes it is simply big-money lobbying efforts by huge multinational dictionary companies. Why do we need "who" and "whom"? MAVA believes whom can be completely eliminated from the English language as well as about 140,000 other words hardly used by Americans. MAVA is pushing for a base-10 language that would also aid poorly sagging American math scores instead.