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April 10


[ about that new yorker poem]

So my friend Clarissa sent me this poem in the New Yorker and was like, "This makes me uncomfortable and I don't know why," and I read it and I was like, "Uh, NO. This is terrible." (In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google "Calvin Trillin New Yorker Chinese food" but I'm not about to link to it.) 


So then I tweeted about it. And then it blew up. And next thing I knew, my tweet was appearing in news outlets and I was getting trolls sending me Nazi memes, and all I wanted to do was run and hide.


On the other hand, I also had a fun time tweeting bad couplets about Chinese food with writers Celeste Ng and Beth Nguyen, and so when we were asked by The Establishment to write a poem response to the whole thing, So we opened up a Google Doc and spent a couple of hours having a blast, writing a response poem inspired by Hamilton's rap battles.


That awesomeness is HERE.


Also, related, I was asked by Cathy Erway, of the awesome literary + food podcast "Eat Your Words" to join her one afternoon to talk about the poem, and why me and others found it offensive. Thanks to her for asking for an Asian American voice.


That podcast is HERE.


And THAT, I hope is the last of this. I don't really have any desire to talk of it anymore here, but figured I should like, at least publicize the goodness that came out of this. I glimpsed briefly what famous people must deal with all the time, the horrible tweets they get, and I'm not about it. But I am glad for this community, and for having allies when you have to fight these sorts of battles.



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