George Kelly, who sent along this Salon article with that subject line, keeps insisting that copyeditors/web lackeys are my friends, and it keeps being so not true. Is there a J-school course on bad puns, or does this come naturally?
Let's talk about sex
Margaret Cho on her Emmanuelle year and her ex-boyfriend, the super-duper leather dude. Plus: Why Asian-Americans make fun of their parents.
Aug. 22, 2002 | Margaret Cho leaves little to the imagination in her new concert film "The Notorious C.H.O.," detailing, whether you really want to know or not, the details of her more recent sexual escapades, including being fisted by a very short lesbian in a sex club. Yet there's something in her delivery -- and in her remarkably cartoonish face, which seems to almost turn inside out expressing outrage at herself -- that makes even the most graphic revelations as charming as they are disarming.
[. . .] "The Notorious C.H.O." isn't just sex talk. Cho's parents get a fair amount of screen time, both as talking heads in the pre-show interviews and as characters in some of Margaret's most affecting moments on stage. "When I was growing up they were the worst," she says. "I was so mad at them all the time. I started making fun of my mom because -- its such an Asian-American phenomenon to make fun of your parents because they are so foreign and you just can't believe that they live with you and they are so embarrassing, and so we would just always make fun of our parents. My characterization of my mother came out of that. It was one of the first things I ever did as a performer, when I was like 5."
There's a brief interview with Margaret's parents at the beginning of the film. You know that impression she does of her mom? Where you keep thinking, "Oh, she's exaggerating, she's making this up"? Um, no.
Cho lives her life in recurring cycles: putting a show together, touring, promoting the film version and then returning to real life again to rest and begin gathering material. She's balancing now on that cusp between projects, reading, collecting her thoughts, catching up on other interests. This morning she just finished reading Jim Goad's new book, "Shit Magnet," and she's a little obsessed. "He was put in jail for beating up his girlfriend and he's very proud of having committed this crime," she explains. "But he's really an amazing writer, so I get past all of my own ... I'm the kind of person that if an artist is saying things that I absolutely disagree with, I can still like them. I just don't have to agree with what they are saying."
Another reason I love her so. There's too many folks whose work I'd have to skip if I thought about their icky politics/personal lives/marriages to their step-daughters. . . this is all hypothetical, of course. And I haven't really seen any of his movies since the earlier, funnier ones.
On the other hand, there's people where I like their work more because of their politics/personal lives/marriages to Dawn French. I mentioned the hypocrisy thing, right?
She isn't sure what the next show will be, but it seems likely that it will deal with racial identity. Cho was particularly pissed off and inspired by the recent line of Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirts featuring Asian stereotypes doing laundry and the like. "It was so fucked-up. It's infuriating the casualness people have towards racial discrimination of Asians." A group of Stanford students started an Internet protest and inspired a nationwide boycott of the stores. "The response was really exciting," she says. "Students gathering together and taking action. I don't think there's been that level of organization by Asians before." It's not just Asian stereotypes that inspire her ire. Take the recent thriller "Unfaithful": "All that movie's about is how it is OK to kill French people. It is not OK to kill the French!"
Here I'd managed to forget A&F's attempts to market racist chic. Thanks heaps.
Then again, this provides political cover for not buying their crap, so it's all good.
Why are we meant to hate the French so much? They gave us that statue that really don't mean shit to me, but those with lighter ancestors seem so fucking impressed with. And, y'know, Josephine Baker and James Baldwin and more jazz/pop musicians than you can shake a spittle-soaked reed at. . .
And I must apologize to the Minnesotans. They didn't close Notorious C.H.O. after only one week. They just moved it to the full-price theater down the street.
To make room for The Good Girl. I take back what I took back.