reappropriate

Monday, January 24, 2005

Who me? 'Angry'?

It seems this blog has me miscast. I describe myself as an angry lil' asian girl (I actually came up with the phrase that became the tagline of this blog, independently several years ago, a little bit before Angry Little Asian Girl even made it to the Internet). But it's meant in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way -- as a sort of contrast to my real personality, which I would describe as more laissez-faire and bubbly. I had an argument the other night with a friend who shall remain nameless (Frwhosharn, for short) who claimed that I am angry, 'intimidating', perhaps even a little 'overzealous' when it comes to my passions. This blog is a one-trick pony, Frwhosharn says, every post is (too?) 'angry', and even in my personal life, I'm almost always 'on that level'. This isn't the first time I've heard that. I have to ask myself, am I really 'angry'? At the risk of sounding like an as-of-late frequent YW troll, what is meant when one describes another person as 'angry'? Granted, I am an unabashed activist. I also like to think of myself as a debater, a theorist, and oftentimes, an opinionated bitch. Reappropriate.com tends to reflect that side of me: I'm going for an Angry Asian Man meets YW forums meets Boondocks feel with this blog. But perpetually 'angry' and 'intimidating'? Well, wait a minute. Other activists have been described (and dismissed) as too angry, too militant. Being empowered is no longer cool ('cept maybe at Berkeley), staging a protest no longer in-style. My armpits are shaven, and my bra remains unburnt. It seems like in this post-Civil Rights age of lethargy, the race activists who are still politicized, energetic or vocal are being typecast as boat-shakers. Like slaves satisifed with an extra helping of master's day-old pork before heading to bed to prepare for the next day's cotton-picking, those who are not activists seem to view those who busy themselves protesting modern day oppression (throwing around such words like 'institutional racism' and 'political correctness) as those crazy, ungrateful rabblerousers out to get the rest of the plantation workers killed by actually (*gasp, shock*) seeking an end to slavery. The point is that I take offense to the word 'angry' being used. 'Angry' implies a lack of thought, a lack of reason. Anger is an irrational emotion, usually talking about a lack of control. It also evokes the image of a rabid dog, barking at anything that threatens it, for the sake of barking alone. There is a lack of relevance associated, like the 'angry black man' stereotype where the black man is angry primarily because he likes to be angry. Similarly, can you really take the 'angry' race activist seriously? Frwhosharn also talked about how intimidating the existence of the passionate race activist like myself is. Frwhosharn defended Barbie's statements that my, electroman, and others' discussions on race politics and all other things 'intellectual' during the off-hours was either intimidating or improper to those who would rather only 'be on that level' with extremely close friends or in class, as if 'anger' meant that I could never 'turn it off'. I've got to ask, since when did using one's brain fall into this category of angry activist? Do average people really champion forced ignorance as a best-selling form of entertainment? As if to use one's brain is to care is to 'be angry', while the average person, whom Frwhosharn represents, just 'doesn't care'. Thus, my penchant for intellectual discussion seems to have contributed to Frwhosharn's perception of me as a perpetually angry person who takes on a persona of the bubbly and optimistic enthusiast. It's as if Frwhosharn and others who dismiss the 'angry' activist are buying into the idea that the activist has nothing to say. This traditional method of ignoring the cause of the activist by concentrating on the activist's potentially selfish (or emotionally unstable) motivations is a means of using a political sleight of hand to castrate civil rights activists before they even begin to plead their case. My passions as an APIA activist might categorize me as this stereotypically 'angry' asian girl, but I question why Frwhosharn went on to say that everything in this blog is 'angry' (and thus, to Frwhosharn, no fun to read). Frwhosharn described reappropriate as follows: 'want to know what pisses Jenn off about the world? Go to Reappropriate.com'. I don't deny that this blog is an outlet for ranting, but what surprised me was, going back into my archives, how many of my posts actually were not particularly 'angry' at all. Minor posts which describe major events in my day, or even short posts in which I re-posted funny clips from YW's Whatever forum were mysteriously overlooked by Frwhosharn. A previous post in which I bitched about how the post office had dicked me over, however, was added in as Exhibit B of Frwhosharn's assertion, yet a few posts further back, Frwhosharn completely missed the 'Ashlee Suck-son' post. Could it be that the 'angry' label can only exist if it is a generalization? To properly dismiss a person as 'angry', that person must be 'angry' at all times -- and thus, I am no longer merely 'angry' about racial oppression, but am 'angry' about everything. Or perhaps I really am 'angry'. Perhaps in this case, I'm 'angry' about being 'angry'. If 'angry' means 'passionate' and 'enthusiastic' than sign me up. But when 'angry' comes to mean 'overzealous' or 'intimidating', I begin to think that there's simply more to it than all that. Still, if it came down to a choice, I'd rather be 'angry' than 'apathetic'. My brain is my most powerful organ, and I'd rather not waste it while I'm still running a top-of-the-line 4 GHz processor. Best to retire it when it slows to 256 MHz then to trash it in its prime. In that context, I will embrace my 'anger' in favour of the other alternative. And, really, who would want to make an 'angry' little asian girl even angrier?

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont think that anger has to be irrational... it can just be a negative emotion, cant it? you can have thought-out, justified anger.

maybe Frwhosharn just feels that you and electroman "talk shop" too much and htat you should talk about other things sometimes if hte poeple youre with dont want to be angry about race issues at that time too. i dont know you so i dont know if youre really the way Frwhosharn says you are. you dont have to be angry in order not to be able to "turn it off." they might not be the same thing.

as for happy posts versis angry posts maybe its just that most of them are angry. sure you have happy posts sometimes, but if its more normal to have the angry ones then thats going to be the tone for your whole blog. theres nothing wrong with that if your blog is a place to vent (like you say it is).

1/24/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angry? Sure - sometimes. Intimidating? "Frwhosharn" should be named "FrwhoShouldBeShamedOfHisself." Call me a heightist, but it's sad when someone finds a 5-foot-tall person - and none other than the queen of cuteness herself - "intimidating." It's not exactly the first word that jumps to mind when I think of someone who routinely sleeps hugging a Care Bear that's as big as she is.

-Karlos

1/25/2005 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

K is damn right. Frwhosharn ought to be ashamed of himself.

Since the elephant in the room threatens to stomp all over this issue, I'll just acknowledge the obvious truth - Frwhosharn is being openly racist towards you.

Look, Frodo Frwhosharn is trying to reduce your justified political commentary into the 'angry' category just so he can feel morally justified in ignoring it. In his estimation, Asian females are to be seen and not heard, reduced to cute China Doll attachments powerful men purchase for housekeeping and consistant sex purposes. His disgusting racism would rather you stymie your speech before he uses his cognitive abilities to analyze what you say. Anytime a person tries to break down an individual into base race stereotypes in order to disavow all knowledge of their intellectual production, they are being racist.

Furthermore, as a free-thinking individual, their is no "off-hour" for my brain. I'm always on, and I believe you are too. The introverted always flee from the natural brillance of their extroverted counterparts, yet Frodo Frwhosharn and Barbie exuded some outright vitriol towards you that they should have left at home. Who cares if they feel intimidated? Life is not a Ben Stiller movie! You need healthy grey matter to survive here, and those childish individuals who can't help but assail you for excercising your brain need to stop shuckin' 'n jiving for Massa and start reading the New York Times. It's not elitist to express what you think.

1/26/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

"i dont think that anger has to be irrational... it can just be a negative emotion, cant it? you can have thought-out, justified anger."

I dunno... I tend to think of the angry black man stereotype... and people don't usually associate a quiet thought-out anger with that.

"maybe Frwhosharn just feels that you and electroman "talk shop" too much and htat you should talk about other things sometimes if hte poeple youre with dont want to be angry about race issues at that time too. i dont know you so i dont know if youre really the way Frwhosharn says you are. you dont have to be angry in order not to be able to "turn it off." they might not be the same thing."

we're usually not. i mean, if race issues or other intellectual stuff comes up, we'll talk about it, but it's not an all the time thing. our brains are always on, but we're not always talking about nietzche or something. for example, we went to see Matrix 3 with Frwhosharn, when it came out. Afterwards, Frwhosharn got frustrated when we and some others spent like an hour and a half discussing what the movie meant, philosophically -- which is understandable given how complex Matrix 3 was. (Who's the little girl...?)

Then again, we can go see a movie like 'the Grudge' and Western imperialism in Japan might not come up at all. :)

It isn't all about race issues, it's like... anytime discussion requires a certain amount of thinking... I'm wondering if that's what's really meant by 'angry'. Not 'angry', but 'thinking too much'.

"as for happy posts versis angry posts maybe its just that most of them are angry. sure you have happy posts sometimes, but if its more normal to have the angry ones then thats going to be the tone for your whole blog. theres nothing wrong with that if your blog is a place to vent (like you say it is)."

Lol... you'd probably have to tell me whether you think so or not. This blog is just me and whatever I have the time to write about...

To Karl: "... hugging a Care Bear"

Hahahaha. I really do, too. :p electroman has some competition in bed. It's like a threesome. :)

1/26/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't leave this comment in the appropriate post, but I'm glad you had a good time hanging out with us!!

Also, you are so totally not an Anger Girl (tm)!

1/26/2005 12:26:00 PM  
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