Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the man who brought you Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ has a new ear bleeding melody, served up with a side of rice and racism.
It has all the makings of viral insanity: racial stereotypes, black man dressed as a panda, and a blameless suburban white girl. The lyrical genius that is ‘Chinese Food’ has reached over 6 million hits on YouTube, accompanied by nearly 92,000 dislikes to date (and 20,000 uplikes) and a slue of furious comments. Leading the massacre is Patrice Wilson, who used sweet Alison Gold to disguise sour racism beneath mildly auto tuned vocals and a run of the mill beat.
In the video, Gold frequently confuses Chinese and Japanese culture and prances through a field with a paedophile panda (the friendship prophesied by a fortune cookie). One repulsed reviewer gave this video a big kimoNO, and went as far to say that “[This song is] the best example of why American children … are among the worst educated in the world.”
So does this happy-go-hungry song carry with it a hidden message, is THIS finally the answer to all that is wrong with the world? The downfall of youth not in bongs, but in a song with a gong?
No. It’s a money maker and it’s working. The art of polarization; capitalizing on the two extremes of either good or bad, as in between is rarely remembered. Think Miley Cyrus where Hillary Duff could not. It is meant to be controversial because that’s what gets the people going, it is meant to be terrible because backlash makes the big bucks.
Udon noodles, a game of Monopoly highlighting Oriental Avenue and Japanese dancers are just some of the wrong outlined in the video. It’s unclear whether Wilson wrote the song with intention to be blatantly offensive, and although it’s not explicitly hateful, it is bordering on the edge of being harmful and misinformed.
But don’t songs, movies, and even sometimes individuals reinforce ideas that are vastly overgeneralised, with no malicious intent? Why is it that Russell Peters’ ‘Red, White and Brown’ tour, which doesn’t even bother to tiptoe between racism and humour but rather stomp upon the issues, receive such rave reviews? Is it only depending on the circumstance that dictates what we tolerate, or aren’t we all victim, at some point, to casual farce? If Alison Gold claimed to be a comedian, or better yet, if she was a comedian of colour, would she be given a “get out of jail free” card? Is it only because she is white, she is American and she is seemingly unknowing, that we are repulsed? Maybe in cases like these, we just want to offended.
There still exists a blurred line between the humorous exploitation of cultures and the solidification of racist views. The line includes people who don’t consider themselves racist, but still straddle the trench between lasting damage and harmless fun.
With a viral video like this one in particular, not everyone who sees it can differentiate between obvious inaccuracies and a sensationalize joke. It is not an expensive comedy show for adults, it is a click away for all ages.
But then at the end of it all, maybe we are JUST talking about a silly song by a mindless puppet, backed by a money machine churching out faux-hits in hopes of making it to your mouth, as this very discussion.
So chow down on this “mein” course.
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