as a parent of a little asian american boy, i’m keenly interested that the rest of the world also acknowledge my son’s innate charisma, force of personality, and wonderful, appealing self.
sad to say, this isn’t always automatically the case. while few would cop to being overtly racist, there’s still a blind spot in mainstream culture when it comes to seeing asian americans in three dimensions. in academia, the saying in asian american studies is that asian women are hypersexualized and asian men asexualized, and while this shorthand is a decent description of the situation, it isn’t a proper analysis of WHY that perception is. (for that, you’d have to read my dissertation. ha ha…as if anyone would willingly do that.)
i’m perfectly down with asian american men. i liked one so much i bought the company (so to speak), and have one for a son. when it comes to examples of asian american manhood, i’d prefer to steer my son to observe guys who’ve quietly figured it out, and somehow got it goin’ on without the hysterical chest-beating and homophobia/misogyny, thankyouverymuch. (or at least don’t appear to be so afflicted.) see, fellas, when you try too hard to be Macho, you just come off like a guy with a bad combover. this asian woman is simply mortified on your behalf–yo there? STILL bald, dude–and too polite to tell you, in the immortal words of yoda: “there is no try. there is only do.”
so this here blog entry is devoted to Ten Damn Foine Asian Men. because while Fine is good-looking, Foine really is all that and a bag of chips. they have surpassed try, and have mastered do. look, listen, and learn, kid.
in no particular order:
- Keanu Reeves: so beautifully empty, so very tao…the space that makes up the vessel’s interior is equally important as the walls of the vessel, etc etc. with Keanu, you get both groovy emptiness and nice-looking vessel. honey, when you’re clean-shaven and toned, ain’t nobody can hold a candle to you. can’t believe you’ve been a hollywood fixture for for as long as you have.
- Bruce Lee: still setting the standard. you made tight ’70s polyester shirts and sideburns look good, and put the fear of whupass into redneck hearts. we miss you and your heir to the throne, your son Brandon.
- Tim Wu, columbia university law professor and go-to guy on the intricacies of digital intellectual property/network neutrality. smart men, always hot. question mark about the libertarian politics…aren’t they just republicans who want to legalize pot smoking? all i can say is, with regard to the web, keep using your powers for good and not evil, please. keeping the interwebs free and open-sourcing our cell phone service is a major start.
- Lt. Ehren Watada, conscientious objector to the iraq war who refused to deploy on the grounds that the war is illegal and unethical. agree or disagree with his stance, a well-spoken, principled and courageous man is always admirable. most recently, he won an injunction from the U.S. District court stopping the court martial proceedings the army filed against him. with any luck, he’ll make his point and get his honorable discharge.
- Danny Seo, author/evangelist of books on green living and decor. guys with a passion and focus are all that. when they’ve been committed to their beliefs and living them out for longer than most of us can say “An Inconvenient Truth,” well, that’s even better.
- Yul Kwon, lawyer/management consultant/Survivor winner/smokin’ hot beefcake. that was easy. (i actually was at an event where he spoke briefly and though i never watched Survivor, i have to give him props for holding his own on that silly show, creating his multicultural coalition, and maintaining some dignity while doing it.) he’s still holding it down for accomplished and big-bicepped asian american men. we’ll have to see where his career goes next.
- Kazuo Ishiguro, writer. okay, what’s more swoony than a hot guy who’s a brilliant writer? a Booker Prize winner, a distinctive voice, and well, those cute glasses. i came to his writing in grad school, long before i knew what he looked like, so i can claim cred points of actually having appreciated him for A Pale View of Hills and The Remains of the Day (the novel infinitely better than that godawful movie), and um…oh yeah, his mind. bonus points for not having a blog where his grocery lists are posted, and for always looking chic in public instead of disheveled, which seems to be the natural state of a lot of male writers.
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and tv medical correspondent. for only having been a tv journalist since 2001, this man has a ridiculously long list of accolades. as a medical reporter, he’s no fluke. in fact, everything about him is slightly unreal, including his looks.
- Mike Shinoda, musician/rapper/bandmember Linkin Park and Fort Minor. okay, he sings about japanese american internment and does a ton of charitable work (with his children’s book author wife). plus he can play half a dozen musical instruments…always impressive.
- Michael Balaoing, executive at a charitable foundation and professional “robin hood.” he doesn’t exactly steal from the rich to give to the poor; instead, he helps wealth from the entertainment industry find worthy organizations that serve people in need. public service and a commitment to social justice–an incredible combination of substance and style.