Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Revolution Will Not Be Twitterized

The recent decision by the US Patent Office that the Washington Redskins football team will lose their trademark protection (on the grounds that the term "Redskins" is inherently insulting to an entire group of people and therefore can not be trademark protected) is a notable victory for Native Americans who have long protested the derogatory name. Amongst all the media speculation about the significances of the decision one question nobody seems the slightest bit interested in asking is; "What does Suey Park think about this?". It would seem her fifteen minutes are truly up.

Suey Park, you may recall, was the "Twitter Activist" responsible for the "#CancelColbert" twitstorm a few months back in which she called for Stephen Colbert to be fired after a joke he had made in response to Redskins owner Dan Snyder's attempts to defuse (or distract) criticism by starting a foundation to combat racism against Natives. Colbert then announced that he would therefore be starting his own bullshit anti-racist foundation stating; "I am willing to show the Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." This was the punchline of a joke that made sense in the context of the show and his character of a right-wing TV blowhard and with a lengthy set-up. However when afterwards a Comedy Centre staffer sent out a tweet using only the punchline with no context Suey Park seized on this to claim the joke was racist and therefore sent out tweets demanding that Colbert be "cancelled". These tweets were eventually retweeted (more on this later) and promoted in the mainstream media to the extent that it became an actual news story for a few days (it was over a weekend) and Colbert was roused to a typically witty and insightful response.


You don't have to have followed the news slavishly to have noticed that Colbert was not in fact cancelled. Unlike other TV hosts who have found themselves the target of actual boycotts, as opposed to twitstorms (looking in your directions Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck), Colbert didn't even lose any sponsors. Coincidentally soon thereafter he was however awarded the much coveted position of David Letterman's successor hosting the Late Show. The surely had nothing to do with the twitstorm but CBS obviously saw no need to delay it either, let alone reconsider. It would seem that "Hashtag Activism" has it's limits.


So who is the leader of this brave new world of the Twitter "Revolution"? Suey Park is a California based 23 year old self-described "activist, writer and comedian"; although nobody in the comedy world seems to have heard of her before and if she has any comedy skills they have not exactly on display. At any rate Park had previously gotten success, of a sort, in her previous attack on January 14 of "Liberal Racists" at CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" who had done a sketch satirizing Kung Fu movies. This campaign had gotten coverage by CNN, Time Magazine and Cosmopolitan and an apology from the show's co-creator.


Park was known, to the extent that she was known at all, by her Twitter handle "NotYourAsianSidekick" starting in December of 2013 the point of which was to hunt down and point out examples of Asian racism on television and the movies. While Park has been the public face of the campaign it was in fact a co-operative organized by Park and feminist writer Juliet Shen, Eunsong Kim, a PHD candidate in literature and a few other supporters including Wall Street Journal writer Jeff Yang along and an Asian organization called "18 Million Rising" . Other previous targets included attacks on Saturday Night Live which attracted little attention until "How I Met You Mother" blinked. Showing an all-to-revealing pattern of attention seeking false modesty Park managed to take sole credit while pretending to thank the nameless little people posting;
"The viral success of #NotYourAsianSidekick after I first tweeted the tag on December 15, 2013, wasn't about me, but all of us." By February, Shen and 18 Million Rising had fallen out with Park (Shen now describes her as a "former friend") and Yang who wrote an article daring to question the validity of the entire hashtag revolution and was immediately denounced as a sexist by Park. By that point she was more or less a solo act, although she still has the support of Kim. She also has 23,000 Twitter followers and a listing on The Guardian's "Top 30 Young People In Digital Media". The Guardian article did not deign to mention Shen or the others.


Still despite the media attention she had gotten to that point, and her obvious desire to grab the spotlight did not guarantee she would actually shine when it came. Exhibit A became the embarrassing interview she did with Salon's Prachi Gupta in May. Salon had been quick to give the whole #CancelColbert campaign coverage, and not hostile coverage either, so when they decided to do a full interview she was no doubt pleased and should have been prepared. The results were a P.R. disaster showing the self-appointed leader of the "Revolution" and spokesperson of all Asian-Americans, especially "Asian-Feminists" to be a walking, talking maze of identity politics, talking points left over from the 1990's, along with being a laughably self-absorbed, utterly humorless, smug prig with a wholly deluded sense of her own power and importance.

Right from the start it did not go well;
Did you watch the Monday night segment on the “Colbert Report”? No, and I think that’s an irrelevant question.
Why do you think that’s an irrelevant question?
Because you’re still trying to understand my context, rather than the reaction and the conversation that I was trying to create.
You don’t think understanding your context is just as important?
I don’t think so.
Why is that?
I think it was just an opportunity to use hyperbole in a way to make social commentary, which is what the [unintelligible] would want to do to begin with. So in that sense, it’s not about understanding context, it’s never about understanding nuance and complexity of a white man’s joke, when a woman of color is always read as literal, when to me it was never a literal hashtag. And so it’s all this like, “What can we do to get you to understand context,” like, “What did you know, what did you not know,” like, “You don’t understand satire, you didn’t see the show,” etc. … When the question is really, what is so complex about understanding someone who is both a writer and an activist, understanding how I use satire and hyperbole to make a political commentary."

So there. Fuck context. The only thing that matters is the reaction you get from manufactured outrage? No wonder she belongs on Twitter. Any more than 140 characters might, you know, explain stuff and allow for nuance and we wouldn't want that to get in the way of sneering self-righteous resentment. She has more in common with Fox News than she would care to admit. Notice also how she adds in that "it was never literal" proviso. She (and Kim) have done this in another article for the New York Times where she said that she didn't really want the show to be literally cancelled so she's not a censor happy racial Anthony Comstock after all, never mind that in the same interview she asserts that she was indeed totally serious about cancelling Colbert. Since Park is clearly not a complete idiot I assume she doesn't really think she can get TV shows cancelled that she doesn't like, although you can't really be sure with her. But it's worth noting that part of her defense is basically to say "Can't you take a joke?". Which of course is exactly the defense she denies to Colbert. Why? Because he's a white guy of course.

"In that case, do you think that “The Colbert Report” itself is oppressive or just that specific joke or comment was oppressive?
I’m talking about whiteness at large."

So the whole publicity stunt was just an excuse to attack whitey? And thereby bring about the "revolution"? Park thinks that's never been done before? Let me introduce you to "The Tawana Bradley fake rape case" and the "O.J. Simpson was framed by the police" case. At least they ended racism with those so it was totally worth it.

"I think as a result of the white ally industrial complex, for too long people of color have been asked to censor whiteness, they have been asked to educate their oppressor, they have been asked to use the right tone, and appease their politics in order to be heard.
….when are we actually going to have these conversations about how white supremacy has caused Orientalism, slavery and genocide? When will we actually touch on those big things? And I don’t think that we’ve seen that yet in comedy, and I do think it’s possible, but no one is ready to flip the switch to make the white person the subject of the archetype."
I always paint my white characters to be singular, to be ignorant, to reverse the gaze onto them instead when they are our subjects, instead of always constantly saying people of color are fucked and a way to kind of always reinforce our subject’s location in reference to white men as some metaphor.I think it would be a more realistic socially commentary if I were able to joke about the totality of white supremacy, but I don’t think that’s going to happen on national television."

Right. Because Richard Pryor, Dave Chapell, Eddie Murphy, The Wayans Bros, Spike Lee, Dick Gregory, Arsenio Hall, Wanda Sykes, Russell Peters and for that matter Margaret Cho were just a bunch of sell outs. I mean did Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor even have Twitter accounts? What a bunch of small timers. But wait it gets worse;

"What is the best way to work with white people, to get them on our side?
I don’t want them on our side.
You don’t want them on your side.
This is not reform, this is revolution."

angry mob

Well yes; we all saw that scene in Spike Lee's "Malcom X" where he tells that white liberal college girl "We don't want your help". Too bad she didn't watch the rest of the movie where he changes his mind and decides that working together to fight racism is kind of a good idea. But then watching the whole movie might conjure up context which we know is counter-productive. Not to mention counter-revolutionary.

"So what do you want to see happen in your revolution?
I mean, it’s already happening I think. The revolution will not be an apocalypse, it’s gonna be a series of shifts in consciousness that result in actions that come about, and I think that like, at this point is really like, ride or die, in terms who’s in and who is out. I don’t play by appeasement politics, it is not about getting my oppressors to humanize me. And in that sense I reject the respectability politics, I reject being tone-policed, I think we need to do away with this idea that these structures are … that the prisons can undergo reform and somehow do less violence as a structure. But any example like that.
Wait, can you ask that question again, I got distracted real quick, there was a bird outside my window."

She added; "SQUIRREL!!"

Seriously, what the fuck was that? You would think she would have had a more coherent answer to the question of what her whole "revolution" was about before launching it. Or any answer really. You get the impression she just ran out of verbiage and bailed out after calling out "Look behind you!". Actually what she reminds me of most is Tina Fey's impression of Sarah Palin's doomed battle to the death with her own talking points. This sort of thing always happens when you only associate with people who agree with you.


Some of Parks' supporters have cried fowl at this "ambush" and not editing out that last comical "Look a birdy" part. But I assume that Gupta promised Park a verbatim non-edited interview and that's what she got. Besides it doesn't change the fact that Park's answer up to that point was still a pile of empty gibberish and politically correct talking points in a hopeless search of a coherent answer. And don't even try the "she just needs some media training" line. First of all that's the usual fallback for right wing assholes who blurt out ignorant things about blacks, women, Muslims and gays. Secondly Suey Park is a well educated and articulate person who bills herself as a "writer and comedian", and who has been actively courting the media spot light for months so she has no excuse for coming off this narcissistic, smug and shallow. Except that she obviously is.


Note one of her more annoying traits, also learned from Identity Politics; the tendency to use the most convoluted rhetoric to avoid answering questions. Example; "I don't want to do the labour of answering this" When what she really means is "I shouldn't have my opinions challenged, especially by white guys". The use of excessive verbosity as a weapon to overwhelm questioners and confuse the audience and is always an effective trick to suggest that you are smarter than everyone else, and therefore obviously right and thus shut down the very possibility of debate. See Conrad Black.

Another thing that happens to activists (regardless of ideology) is a thoroughly obnoxious need to compare themselves to the earlier generation of real activists and revolutionaries who actually went out and sacrificed, in some cases everything, for the cause. To wit;

"I was asking you about if you want white people — because they’re still the majority — if you want them to be allies in your goal to end racism?
Well, one, they won’t be the majority for long. And two, I don’t want any ally who is going to use my emotional labor with no guarantee of aiding my liberation. And so I feel like this question that white America asks of us, “Why can’t you be reasonable to get us to work with you?” And I keep saying, being reasonable has never worked in history. All other big racial justice movements, all of the big historical figures in racial justice were never reasonable. They were always painted as crazy during their time, and even afterwards now."

Yes indeed. I understand Mandela did some of his best tweets from prison.

Which brings us to our grand finale;

"Would it be inflammatory to say that you think white men are sort of the enemy? Um. I mean I think they are, and we might as well label it. Whiteness will always be the enemy. It’s not like I want to hurt them, it’s not like I want them to have any pain, but like, I just want them to realize what they have, and to honor the advantages. And I don’t think it’s much to ask to just even acknowledge it."

And there we have identity politics in a nutshell. It's us versus them period. It's the perfect ideology for the young (and therefore not used to nuance), educated (therefore fond of dense rhetoric), idealistic (therefore looking for a cause), serious (therefore humorless and judgmental) and disaffected (therefore looking for a group to identify with and others to reject). In fact much Park seems to genuinely believe she's inventing this maze of circular reasoning herself, there is actually not much there I haven't heard from University politics going back to the 1990's when was still called "Political Correctness".

Both Ryerson and the U of T student unions were (and are) hothouses for this sort of endless racialism. In fact the U of T's student union is right now literally planning to restructure it's union reps away from electing them on the basis of the various schools of study (engineering, fine arts, law etc) and instead allocating them on the basis of race and gender. Except for white males of course, they don't count because they are oppressors, or something like that. Mind you they still have to pay the student union dues so there's a lawsuit waiting to happen. The phrase "No taxation without representation" comes to mind. Then there's Ryerson and it's former radio station CKLN (where I once worked) which was shut down by the CRTC after it was torn apart by (among other things) nasty and endless identity politics infighting. It was common at staff meetings to have various people introduce themselves by saying "I'm so-and-so and I'm a black lesbian" or whatever, even if that had absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. It was also not unusual for white males to be told they were "oppressors". We were even occasionally told that we should not have speaking rights at all since "white males had oppressed society for too long". We should certainly not be on staff. And white people shouldn't be allowed to play black music (like the blues, swing, gospel or ska, all of which I play) since that's "cultural appropriation" even though most, if not all, activists know fuck all about music or musicians. They certainly don't respect them. Suey Park would have fit right in. When Ryerson tried to get the radio license back from the CRTC their proposal included guarantees that not only would employment equity be followed (no argument there, besides it's the law) but no white males would even be allowed on staff or on the air at all. But white male Ryerson students would still be expected to contribute their $10 fee to support the station. Presumably because they owed it for their centuries of oppression. I was at those hearings and the CRTC commissioners were not amused. More surprising was that the Radio Ryerson group seemed truly shocked that anyone would see any problems with this. Once again; When you only talk to people who agree with you, you are in for some nasty surprises when you meet the real world. They didn't get the license BTW.

What has always struck me about identity politics is that in spite of it's strident leftism it is actually deeply conservative. Other modern ideologies such as Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Green-Ecology and even Libertarianism (but not Fascism obviously) seek to break down barriers between and within societies such as race, nationalism, religion, language and gender. Identity Politics instead seeks to strengthen them, and then hunker down behind them. Regardless of whatever failures they may have, the other ideologies are essentially outward looking and optimistic, believing they can change and improve the world by breaking down barriers they regard as arbitrary or false. Identity Politics however is entirely inward and defensive, believing the world is an all encompassing threat to be shut out. Identity Politics is also an overwhelmingly middle class, university educated and suburban movement. It has little or nothing to say about issues of poverty and class other than to blame poverty on racism and to vaguely assume that once race is solved poverty will sort itself out. Rather like how trickle-down economics devotees assume the "magic of the market place" will fix everything once we have enough tax cuts. Identity Politics was fashionable in the 1990's but today it is somewhat archaic in a time where most on the left generally see the major issues as being those of poverty, income disparity, corruption of the political system plus the destruction of the environment. These issues cross all racial and gender lines. Identity is however the perfect ideology for the sheltered, privileged and self-absorbed. Like Suey Park. How much time does the working class spend worrying about an offensive joke or counting how many black, Asian, Hispanic or gay characters on on TV or counting how many lines they get? Very little in my experience. That's a luxury only someone with spare time and a certain amount of income security would have. And only such a person would be so isolated from the real lives of the "47%" to think that these are really the earth shattering issues that Park obviously believes they are. Park and other Identity Politics polemicists are fond of demanding that white males "check their privilege" or "acknowledge their advantages" while at the same time being utterly oblivious to the "privileges" they enjoy due to their solidly middle class or even upper class, university educated status. 23 year old Park actually still lives with her parents. I know Americans are especially reluctant to acknowledge that class even exists let alone deal with class issues but for a self appointed "revolutionary" to be this clueless is inexcusable.

In another one of the interviews she does via webcam she actually had to cut it short because "I hear my mother coming home." Seriously. It's like an SNL sketch about entitled PC "revolutionaries" plotting the overthrow of the state from their parents basement only to be told to take out the trash. I bet that happened to Fidel Castro all the time. You're just about to launch an attack on the regime when you get grounded. "But Ma; We were about to liberate the people! You never let me have any fun"!

Identity Politics does however arm it's adherents with an arsenal of labels that can be used to shut down any criticism or debate simply by invoking them, even against people who are basically in agreement. So when Jeff Yang had the temerity to question Park's campaign, then he was a sexist, because "Asian men [throw] women of color under the bus." If you are an Asian woman critic, like Juliet Shen then you are "a white feminist." If you are a white feminist, that really means "White (Supremacy) Feminism." And if you are a white male, you are the enemy and nothing more needs be said. (an aside; at one typically nasty argument at CKLN I was amazed to hear a black man dismissed as a "white man of colour". It's also worth noting that most of these identity politics types were white and Asian middle class university students, actual young black people thought they were patronizing jerks).


How self-absorbed is Suey Park? Elsewhere (not in the interview) Park has crowed with a presumably straight face that "my tweet" of #NotYourAsianSidekick was "the point of origin for Asian American feminism." Yep; Suey Park invented Asian-American feminism. Just like that. On Twitter no less. Whew; That was easy. Right now the ghosts of Susan B. Anthony, Nellie McClung, The Pankhurst Sisters, Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinham (I know the last two are not actually ghosts but fuck it) and generations of suffragettes are thinking; "Gee; If only we had Twitter".

How self-absorbed? How about rudely pushing aside the longstanding fight of a clearly marginalized group to push her own agenda of controversy farming. You know; the native people who this whole discussion was supposed to be about. Remember them? Suey Park certainly didn't.

"Then there's the matter of how #CancelColbert "Drowned out the Native Voice," as Indian Country Today Media Network bluntly stated. Native American journalist Jacqueline Keeler criticized Park for shifting discussion away from the Redskins name, and for not promoting hashtags to protest racist sports team names. Keeler claims, "We kept Suey Park in the loop regarding our hashtag #Not4Sale, she was just not moved to act on it." Native activist Jennie Stockle, who works with Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, wrote: "... like a tornado, Suey Park's tweet calling to cancel Colbert Report came through and pushed all of our efforts into a storm shelter."

Park eventually responded with a single tweet; "The almighty @andrea366 has reminded me of an important point--can't ignore anti-Native racism--let's address issues simultaneously." Which she then proceeded to not address again. It was literally the least she could do. And note that she had to be repeatedly reminded to say even that. I note that in Canada it would have harder for her to get away with this simply because Natives are a much larger and more visible part of society. As a percentage they make up around ten percent of the population, slightly less as a ratio than to blacks in America. Whereas the percentage of Natives in America is less than one percent, and most of that is in rural areas of a few sparsely populated western states. For a urban dwelling, middle-class American university student like Suey Park it would not be a surprise if she has actually met very few native people outside the her sociality class. Natives are simply not part of her identity or experience and therefore she never gave them a second, or even a first thought. Park is fond of saying that the "three pillars of whiteness are slavery, genocide and orientalism". Notice that she leaves out any specific mention of the oppression of Native peoples, without which there would be no America at all. I suppose that she would say that she includes them in her "genocide" pillar but she obviously didn't think they were worth a specific mention whereas "orientalism", which concerns her directly, was. It shouldn't be a contest of who has suffered worse oppression (although identity politics inevitably turns into this) but if I have to chose between who has suffered more, Asians or Natives, I would not hesitate to say Natives.

How self-absorbed? How about nominating herself as the spokesperson of "18 Million" Asian Americans. I assume that Suey Park and Eunsong Kim are both Korean since Park and Kim are common Korean names. The only way they get claim leadership of "18 Million Asians" is if they, and we, assume all Asians are the same. The very assumption that Park would normally denounce as racist. But (and I can't believe I have to point this out) Koreans are not the only Asians in America, nor are they the most numerous or oldest settled group. All Asians do not have the same history either in Asia or America. Nor do they even particularly like each other. Hostilities between Chinese and Japanese, Japanese and Koreans, Chinese and Tibetans, Chinese and Vietnamese, Chinese and Mongols, Chinese and Uighurs, Vietnamese and Cambodians, Japanese and Philippinos, to name the most obvious, are deep and go back for centuries. As for their American experiences; most Koreans started to come to North America in the wake of the Korean War. Issues like the Chinese railroad workers or the head-taxes on Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the 1900's are not Korean issues. Nor did they suffer the Japanese internment of World War Two, the atrocities of the American occupation of the Philippines, the annexation of Hawaii or the discrimination and poverty faced by Vietnamese Boat People.

Additionally in another tweet which we'll examine more in a minute, Park also revealed that she was "A Christian". I assume she means Protestant since Catholics usually identify as such but it doesn't really matter. Now I realize there are a fair number of Asian Christians, especially Koreans, however most Asians are Buddists, there are also a fair number of Muslims (mostly from Indonesia, Malyasia and Philippines) and Catholics (From Philippines and Vietnam). Does she really get to speak for them simply because she says so? Does she even understand their viewpoints? Has she even given this a minutes thought? I seriously doubt it.

I'm not Asian but I don't see why Suey Park gets to appropriate other people's historical pain to promote herself and her crusade to purify television of Asian jokes she finds offensive. Especially since Suey Park has no problem siding with one of the more obnoxious racebaiters in the American media. And I realize there is a lot of competition for that title.

warning angry mob ahead


One might wonder how tweets sent out by a random person who is not otherwise famous for any reason can go viral while the random tweets sent out by regular losers (A.K.A. "The Rest Of Us") pass without the slightest notice. Simple, she had a lot of help.
Cue Michelle Malkin.

Malkin is yet another far right bloviater and a regular on Fox News. Yeah, I know; that doesn't exactly narrow things down. For those who are not regular Fox viewers; besides their lily white show hosts they keep a few non-white regular talking heads whenever they want to play the race card against those Evil Liberals. Malkin is their #AsianSidekick. Besides her regular appearances on Fox she is also published on a white supremacist website. Not surprisingly she is a doctrinaire right wing asshole who regularly attacks immigrants, minimizes torture at Guantanamo, (when she isn't actively praising it), is morbidly anti-gay, especially hateful towards Muslims, and frequently smears women who disagree with her based on their appearance. Her book on Japanese internment (she's in favour natch) was so flawed the Historians' Committee for Fairness denounced it as "a blatant violation of professional standards of objectivity and fairness." She's called Asian campaign donors to Hillary Clinton "limited-English-proficient and smellier than stinky tofu," and once dismissed campaigns against anti-Asian racism as "self-pitying and grievance-mongering." Malkin is so extreme that even some on Fox have called her out, although they keep having her back. Given Fox's core audience of angry white males you can she why they want her but why does Suey Park?


Because while Park's 23,000 Twitter followers are fairly impressive, Malkin has 693,000. She also has Twitchy; a right-wing social media site which she funded that collects and promotes chosen posts and reposts them in heavy volume to create "News". Oh; and she has easy access to Fox and Talk Radio to promote the "news" she helped start in the first place. She is therefore well placed to manufacture dissent on twitter.

Park; ostensibly a far left anti-racist activist and Malkin; a nasty far right demagogue were perfectly suited to each other's needs. Malkin (and others in the far right media) had been long looking for issues to pry non-white voters away from the Democratic Party by playing the race card. Thus we have the bizarre, (at least to non-rightwing assholes) spectacle of black commentators like Herman Cain, Alan West, Alan Keyes, Ben Carson and a handful of others hysterically comparing Obama to Hitler and the Democratic Party to the KKK and the S.S. in a notably unsuccessful attempt to win over black voters. Malkin has been particularly aggressive in pushing this agenda.


In January some lowly staffer at MSNBC posted a fairly idiotic and gratuitous tweet snidely mocking conservatives after some racist idiots complained about that cute Cherrios commercial with the bi-racial family. Malkin and Twitchy pounced sending out a blizzard of tweets blaming "liberal race card crap" and their "evil", "poisonous" and "libelous" racist agenda. For the record; the Cherrios ad did indeed provoke some jawdroppingly racist comments on social media, (which Malkin blithely ignored) but it was unfair and stupid to blame that on conservatives as a whole. After MSNBC quickly apologized, deleted the tweet and fired the staffer stating that the offending tweet had not been authorized, Malkin was typically gracious, refusing to accept the apology and sneering that MSNBC were "cowardly".

Park did not play any role in Malkin's campaign but she was clearly watching because soon thereafter she began retweeting Malkin's posts and when some of her left-wing followers challenged Park's promoting an openly racist/homophobic/Islamaphobic right wing bloviator, Park blandly stated in another tweet that she found Malkin "reasonable". When Park went after Colbert, a liberal hero much hated by the far right only slightly less than Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, Malkin, smelling blood in the water, could hardly contain her glee.

An article written by Arun Gupta entitled "Bitcoin Activism; How Michelle Malkin and Suey Park Found Common Cause In Hashtag Activism" exhaustively chronicled the resulting twitstorm;

The supercells of Park and Malkin collided the night of Thursday, March 27, 2014, generating a perfect media storm. Park fired off at least three tweets in four minutes. The first was a "Fuck you" Colbert. The second was the infamous "The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation," which was retweeted a respectable 144 times, a mild breeze compared to a Twittersphere hurricane like Justin Bieber, whose feckless grunts are retweeted 100,000 times or more. In the third tweet, Park accused white liberals of being "just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines." Presumably she meant as complicit as conservatives.
In the next two hours, Park rained directives, exhortations, jargon, and rebukes on her followers while skirmishing with others on the side. Park was Asian-America: "there are 19 million of us," "We are waiting for an apology and explanation," and "we aren't amused."
Park commanded, "White people--please keep #CancelColbert trending until there's an apology. This is NOT the burden of people of color. Fix it. Do something," ordered those who aren't "structurally subordinated [to] please shut up and help #CancelColbert," and sneered, "Still waiting for white allies to make themselves useful, but they probably enjoy the show too much." (She changed her opinion about the utility of white people the following week, telling Salon, "I don't want them on our side.")
Park later claimed #CancelColbert was a provocative way to expose liberal racism, but that night she chided, "White people ... I know y'all are used to having structural power, but losing one show isn't oppression #CancelColbert." Additionally, the headline for her and Eunsong Kim's article for Time magazine read, "We Want to #CancelColbert."
An hour into the campaign, at 8:52 p.m., Twitchy swung into action. In February, I felt the heat from a Twitchy-led mob, including a thinly veiled death threat, after sarcastically tweeting that Republicans were guilty of economic terrorism by threatening to cut aid to a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee if workers there unionized. But for #CancelColbert, Twitchy became as earnest as an Occupy Wall Street general assembly, curating Tweets about racist "othering," transphobia, fat shaming, cis privilege, bullying, and triggering. Garnering more than 1,200 mentions on Facebook and Twitter, the Twitchy post praised Park's persistence, framed the issue as one of liberal racism, and noted the campaign was going viral fast.
At 9:34 p.m. Park announced the first victory. The Colbert Report deleted the original offending tweet that had gone out at 6:02 p.m.: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."
Malkin piled on seven minutes later by tweeting, "Coward just deleted the tweet!" She also referred to the tweet from Twitchy the previous hour. By 9:44 p.m. the tweets were flying furiously. Park tweeted, "I'm sick of liberals hiding behind assumed 'progressiveness' #CancelColbert." Malkin retweeted it instantly, "Co-sign! RT @suey_park I'm sick of liberals hiding behind assumed 'progressiveness' #CancelColbert." Malkin was retweeted 152 times, nosing past the first Cancel Colbert tweet.
Also at 9:44 p.m. Malkin tweeted at Park, "@suey_park I know we don't agree on much, but you are TENACIOUS & I respect that greatly. Hats off to you. #cancelcolbert." Given their contact in January, the tweets suggest the two had been in communication. At minimum the two were now joined in battle against the specter of liberal racism. Park does not comment on Malkin, but she retweeted or favorited all three of her tweets.
Others alerted Park she was making common cause with someone who commits every political sin Park preaches against. At 9:48 p.m. on March 27, only four minutes after Malkin backed Park, noted anti-racist and feminist blogger Mia McKenzie, aka Black Girl Dangerous, expressed her displeasure, tweeting "@suey_park ew michelle malkin, though? ew." Park didn't respond, but she favorited this tweet soon after.
At 9:54 p.m., two hours after #CancelColbert was born, Malkin explained the goal was not to cancel Colbert, it was to "#ExposeColbert & it's working very effectively. Luv the smell of hypocrisy toast." Park favorited the tweet.
Cancel Colbert rapidly went stratospheric. At 10:33 p.m. Park tweeted, "Fun! We are the #1 trending hashtag in the US right now ... Keep it up! Park's mood understandably soured a few hours later as Twitter interactions hit 200 per minute, many of them oozing racist and sexist vitriol, including rape and death threats.
The next morning Twitchy published another post defending Park that made it seem as if she and Malkin were united on the issue. At no point did Park publicly distance herself from Malkin, reject her politics, or at least express concern that Malkin's vicious real-world racism might harm the campaign to address racism in the fictional world. Park's only comment the night of March 27 to Malkin was to declare, "I'm Christian, too," at 8:56 p.m.
While Malkin and Twitchy supported Park, Park concluded that Colbert fans were behind the torrent of abuse directed at her. Park tweeted that night to Colbert's personal account, "Dear @StephenAtHome--your years of satire have failed when your fans send rape/death threats to an asian woman for critiquing your work." From the Twitter feeds of abusers calling her "chink" and "rice nigger," nearly all look to be right-wing trolls.


(Note that as a part of her resume Fox helpfully points out that she's "left-handed")

LEFT-RIGHT INTERSECTIONALITY By March 28, #CancelColbert burned through the media. Park's article in Time indicated that Cancel Colbert was the goal. But in an interview with The New Yorker the same day, Park sounded like Malkin, saying she didn't really want to cancel Colbert, despite the hashtag. Park said of Colbert's sketch, "That sort of racial humor just makes people who hide under the title of progressiveness more comfortable." Malkin completed the Freaky Friday switch, sounding like Park when she tweeted that afternoon, "For all you CLWM's [clueless white males] lecturing brown & yellow women about how we don't get the 'satire' ..."
Park obviously is not responsible for Malkin trying to co-opt her message. But given the number of times she retweets or favorites Malkin, and acknowledges criticism but is silent about it, this suggests she is keeping quiet about Malkin's politics so as to benefit from her support.
Three anti-racist feminists who have been in touch with Park say "she might be in over her head" in tangoing with Malkin. Juliet Shen, who calls Park a "former friend," says she was "shocked" to see Malkin and Park "were talking to each other, and in a way supporting each other." Another source says Malkin "doesn't support Park, she is just eager to use her to slam liberals."
Shen thinks Malkin is using Park to "change people's opinions about her, and in that way help loop Asian-Americans into right-wing politics." She suggests both Park and Malkin may be "using each other for an opportunity to get more visibility in communities neither of them had a lot of presence in."
Shen says, "It is confusing to see why Park wouldn't denounce Malkin of all people," especially when Park is quick to fling around insults such as "anti-blackness, racism, sexism, homophobia [against]other organizers in the Asian-American community." She says Park might be afraid "if she did publicly criticize Malkin, she has this huge following that could easily turn on Suey."
One source who asked Park about Malkin's support for Cancel Colbert claimed Park expressed her distaste for Malkin but then did not respond when asked if she would repudiate Malkin publicly.
Park's first comment about Malkin came on March 30. The previous day Jeff Yang slammed #CancelColbert and the limits of Twitter as a social justice tool in the Wall Street Journal. Park broke with Yang that evening, calling him "a gaslighting self-promoting patriarch." Shen wrote in a blog post that it's common practice among Park's followers to accuse others of gaslighting, that is, trying to deliberately twist someone's memory. At 3:42 a.m. Park tweeted at Yang, "@michellemalkin has been a better friend than you."


On April 1, Malkin threw down in support of Park, making no bones of her intention to use Park to sanitize right-wing racism.
"Question: Who are the most prominent, public purveyors of Asian stereotypes and ethnic language-mocking in America?
"The right answer is liberal Hollywood and Democrats.
"The wrong and slanderous answer is conservatives..."
After denigrating Colbert as an "illegal alien amnesty lobbyist," Malkin applauded Park for leading a group of "diehard liberals" to "tenaciously" question Colbert and his defenders as "race-baiting liberals who hid behind their self-professed progressiveness." Malkin also took the opportunity to bash Muslims and defend her internment book.
Finally on April 1 Park offered some ambiguous criticism, tweeting, "Michelle Malkin cosigning my work means my message sucks, but white supremacists threatening rape cosigning Angry Asian Man means...what?"

Angry Mob victorian

By this last tweet she apparently means that if Colbert is not going to be held responsible for some of the vile racist tweets and comments sent her way then she should not be held responsible for Malkin's support. Which seems like like a fair point on the surface until you remember that;
a) Park clearly sought and encouraged the support of Malkin and the far right to attack Colbert and promote herself whereas Colbert at no point encouraged, even obliquely, anyone to attack Park in any way.
b) Both Park and Malkin specifically do hold Colbert responsible for even the most offensive threatening tweets, even after he specifically and publicly denounced them, which Park has never done with Malkin.

So Suey Park; self appointed leader of "18 Million Asians" is happy to team up with someone who's opinions about the very issues that a Anti-racist Asian leader should be aware of are beyond the pale. As stated Malkin is not only a defender of the Japanese Internment, she is currently hawking a book about it. The millions of Asian Muslims should appreciate that Malkin considers them to be a bunch of terrorists who should be deported. She is of course a defender of the Vietnam War and all the atrocities committed there, and I can safely assume ditto for the Philippines. I don't know that Malkin has ever said anything about the Chinese who worked on the railroads in often dangerous and sometimes fatal conditions for starvation wages. But given her typically Republican contempt for the working class I think we can predict what her opinions on that would be, regardless of race. As for the campaign by some Chinese and Japanese for restitution of the Head Tax charged in the early twentieth century; Malkin is naturally contemptuous of any talk of "reparations". In fact in the past Malkin has been quick to denounce any complaints of racism by Asians, like Park's, as "self-pitying and grievance-mongering." Until she realized that this same "grievance-mongering could be harnessed to attack an enemy and increase her own brand. And Park was just as cynical and opportunistic.

Park gives Malkin some hope (however illusory) of winning over Asians to the Republican Party (right now they vote overwhelmingly Democratic). All Malkin really has to offer Park's "revolution" is attention. Because apparently the medium is the message. No matter how corrupted that message becomes. Marshal McLuhan would have no doubt had some pithy things to say about this but then again Suey Park wouldn't have listened because he was another white guy.

Former friends and allies like Shen and Yang are convinced that Park doesn't actually agree with Malkin and knows she is being used to further a far right agenda but is prepared to go along in order to reach a bigger audience. So she's a cynical opportunist who believes the ends justify the means. That's real inspiring. But what in fact what is the end goal? Not only did Colbert not get cancelled, he got promoted. Are there about to be some news sitcoms and talk shows with Asian hosts I'm not aware of? I doubt it. The reason there are a number of black and gay characters on TV now than there were in the 1990's is not because Spike Lee protested the Oscars. It's because the networks and advertisers decided there was a big enough audience to cater to. Even on it's own stated goals Parks' campaign won't change television. As for the larger goal of a starting a "revolution"; well let's just say #CancelColbert is not exactly the storming of the Winter Palace.

The original anarchists of the Victorian era had a name for it; "Propaganda By Deed". The idea that a revolutionary elite could jumpstart the revolution merely by staging big public events like bombings and high profile assassinations thus removing the need of years of organizing and education. Such high profile publicity stunts would serve to inspire the masses to rise up. Such revolutionaries as Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxembourg warned against this simplistic tactic but it had an obvious attraction for the impatient or marginalized. In the 1960's and 70's a new generation of far leftists like the Red Brigades, Red Army, Baader-Meinhoff, FLQ, PFLP, SLA, Animal Liberation Front, Tupamaros, Weathermen and in another way the Yippies and Rhino Party would try it again with similar lack of results. It is also the basic tactical philosophy that Al Quida uses. I am not suggesting in any way that Suey Park is a terrorist of course, that would be silly. I am pointing out that the idea of a easy bake revolution or large scale societal change through publicity stunts is not new. It's also never worked. Not even once.

Rosa Luxembourg said that the first job of the revolutionary was to "agitate, educate, organize". There were no short cuts. Mao, Ho Chi Mihn, Che and Castro said that the revolutionary should be out amongst the people, not preaching from an ivory tower, much less a twitter feed. Park has not only failed on both counts, she is not even interested in trying to do the grubby, time consuming and difficult work of rallying support for her cause, which if it is to combat racism, is laudable. Worse by relying on exclusionary slash-and-burn rhetoric, name calling, cherry picking outrage and a deeply troubling alliance with a vile demagogue she has burned any bridges she might have crossed and made enemies she did not need to have in exchange for her fifteen minutes of fame. She will not get another chance. She will no doubt still get to monitor the media for stuff to be offended about and sent out snide outraged tweets. Occasionally she may even get an apology. But I suspect people will tire of her hectoring act if they haven't already. People don't like puritan scolds even if they're funny, which for all her claims of being a comedian, Park is not. Spike Lee used to protest the Oscars until people started laughing at him, and then ignoring him. And he had actual talent and a real body of work to point to. Park has a twitter page and some sleazy new friends who will tire of her if she ever steps out of line.

If Suey Park gets to be called a "revolutionary" then right now the ghost of Che Guevera is smacking himself in the head and saying; "That does it; I want those t-shirts back". And yes I get that as a white male I am the enemy and my opinion doesn't matter so I just wasted a fair amount of time writing this.

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