Sunday, April 18, 2004

William Hung

Out of pure luck, I happened to catch William Hung's rendition of "She Bangs" on Starseach a few weeks ago. My initial reaction was "He should be on Letterman tonight". I loved it. According to Emil Guillermo, writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, that makes me a racist. I wasn't aware of it, but William Hung's popularity is "driven by racism".

He writes:

With William Hung, is there any other reason to extend the joke on America except that it plays to a racist image of the ineffectual Asian-American male?

What is Hung but an infantilized, incompetent and impotent male image?

My explanation is a little different:

Dear Mr. Guillermo,

I hope I can explain Mr. Hung's appeal. A great many American's, myself
included, love nothing more than grateful immigrants. Mr. Hung has been
afflicted with the American "can do" spirit and, like many foreigners, believes that
"anything is possible in America". Even a singing career for a guy like himself.

That partially explains the appeal of our governor. If celebrity alone explains
his election, than any number of politically active performers (nearly all with
opposing views) could have become governor had they only run. They would not have.

Personally, I think you not only owe Mr. Hung an apology, but the millions
of people who admire and respect him for having the courage get in front of
the cameras and perform with less talent than they. We deserve better than
to be accused of racism. He deserves your respect.

Mr. Guillermo was kind enough to respond, simply asking if I really believed those who are "exploiting" Mr. Hung respected him. I wrote back "I think you'd find they adore him - polite, courteous, friendly, one take".

The irony is that it is Mr. Guillermo who so obviously doesn't respect him.


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