Friday, February 1, 2008

Was anyone else thrown off by the fact that not a single mention of Buddha was made in My America?

So after reading through all the posts here, it seems that My America has thoroughly proved to all of us that the term "Asian-American" is a lexical nightmare capable of inducing bouts of soul-searching and internal conflict. It reminded me of when I was little and would repeatedly ask myself "Why am I me?" ('cept in Chinese) until I reached a point of existential singularity that was ... completely beside the point of anything.

Let's first make it clear that I really liked the movie. It even made me tear up, which is quite something for this old no-nonsense heart of mine (I think a friend once called me completely devoid of romanticism... I wanted to kick that friend, but it probably would've confirmed something to her). ANYWAY, now I'm going to sound like a spoil-sport and say that I don't really think the point of it was to make everyone think "what IS Asian?" but just as a way of showing the possibilities of such a nebulous concept as the Asian-American.

RTP (lazytalk for Renee Tajima-Pena) began trying to figure out what being Asian-American meant and how it fit into the US. By the end, it seems the answers to those are (respectively) "gee, that's a tough one" and "it may blow your mind, but they are all over the place and do not plan on leaving." And then RTP got married and moved on, which I think begets a pretty important point: The big, philosophical question wasn't the most important thing, in the end. The stories of all these different Asian-American people (RTP's included) are what make up Asian-America (or a tiny portion of it, at least).

So I walked away from the film with the idea that more people need to know more about Asian-Americans... and boy, ain't that the truth.

Oh, and just for kicks, here's a definition of an Asian American care of Google:

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