Have you read the new novel by Gary Shteyngart? The reviews are everywhere, from The Atlantic to the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York Times. The “love story” in this dystopian epistolary satire involves Lenny Abramov, a homely, balding, 39-year-old Jewish man from Flushing, New York, and 24-year-old Eunice Park, a Korean American from Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Shteyngart makes great emphasis of the “Korean American” component. But does he do it in a way that’s smart or trite?
One Wall Street Journal reviewer writes:
“Mr. Shteyngart gives a good deal of attention to the anomalies and similarities of Jewish and Korean families. Although he has done commendable homework (Korean words like yamjanae, meeguk salam, ajumma and dolsot bap stick in the narrative like currants in a bun), the members of the Park family—the angry father, the hand-wringing mom, the chubby sister, their dreams and aspirations—feel as clichéd as the Irish and Jewish families in the old Broadway hit ‘Abie’s Irish Rose.’ Eunice’s mother writes emails to her daughter: ‘Dating nice boy extra. But all the time you must to be careful with him because you are woman. Do not give away mystery. Are they any korea boy in rome?’ This kind of thing is doubtless meant in good fun, but it feels lame, as do the ethnic-joke riffs that dot the narrative.”
This Thursday, KoreAm editor-in-chief Kai Ma will be speaking in a panel discussion alongside some of our favorite writers at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in Los Angeles. If you’ll be there, check it out!
A Hyphenated World
2:30PM TO 3:30PM, LOS FELIZ, 3RD FLOOR
PRESENTERS: JEFF YANG, COLUMNIST, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE; BERNICE YEUNG, HYPHEN MAGAZINE CO-FOUNDER/BOARD CHAIR AND FREELANCE JOURNALIST; DIANA NGUYEN AND JEN WANG, BLOGGERS, DISGRASIAN.COM; CYNTHIA WANG, ASSISTANT EDITOR, PEOPLE; OILVER WANG, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN SOCIOLOGY, CSU-LONG BEACH; KAI MA, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, KOREAM
Journalists, every day, are challenged to report on a diverse and multicultural world. This panel discussion shines a light on the stereotypes prevalent in media today — with a focus on Asian Americans in Hollywood – and offers insight into covering a world rich in nuances and culture.
He’s witty, he’s informative — and now he’s been featured by the New York Times. “The Korean,” the anonymous blogger behind the popular website Ask A Korean!, gives us a glimpse of who he is: a 29-year-old associate at a major Manhattan law firm who relishes his role as a “cultural interpreter.” Through astonishingly thorough blog posts, he gives insight into Korea and Koreans, answering questions like “Why do Koreans hate Japanese?” “Do Koreans eat dogs?“and “How do I pick a Korean among Asians just by looking at them?” Read, laugh and walk away educated.
Here’s a sneak peak of the new collaboration between Poketo and Target. The full collection will be available at Target stores across the country on August 10. Can’t wait!
It looks like South Koreans will be waiting a while before they get their hands on the coveted iPhone 4. The supergadget releases at the end of July in 17 countries including Singapore and Hong Kong, but not in Korea. And it seems that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is blaming the Korean government.
“It’s going to take just a little bit longer to get government approval there,” Jobs said at a press conference. But as reported by The Choson Ilbo, Korea never received an application.
“The Korea Communications Commission, which gives the green light to sales of electronic communications devices, issued a quick response denying responsibility, saying the Radio Research Agency has yet to receive an application to test the electromagnetic frequency levels of the iPhone 4.
KT, the distributor, appears to have been caught off guard. On its website it published the full text of Apple’s response to its queries in which the company admits that a delay in its preparation is behind the two-month postponement.”
Many are also upset about another comment Jobs made at the press conference. When asked about the iPhone 4′s reception glitches, he complained of an American press campaign against Apple. “Would you rather that we were a Korean company, instead of an American company?” he asked.
Korea saw its first iPhone, the 3GS offered in 2009, almost three years after the U.S. launch of the original iPhone.
Photo from Fast Company
Wanna know more about the KTown reality show cast? Most are on Twitter. Read their daily thoughts in 140 characters or less.
Bio: A Eurasian actor hustling in Los Angeles, Jennifer hails from San Jose. The San Francisco Bay native is also a hip hop culturist and committed foodie.
Sample tweet: All i want is to get out of bartending forever. I hate the two spots i work at and i just want to get out of there one day.
Bio: 2nd generation Corean American born & raised in Baltimore MD, grew up in Seattle WA & now residing in Los Angeles CA. K-Town Reality cast member… OnE~
Sample tweet: Heading 2 the 24 Hour Fitness Downtown Seattle @ 5:00… Shoulders, traps, core & legs today… OnE~
Bio I’m a personal trainer and fitness model. I’ve been in the fitness industry since 2004.
Sample tweet: going in for my 90 minute massage for the second time this week then im going to read a book today.
Bio: ♥♥♥ HairHairHair ♥♥♥ www.JASMINEYCHANG.COM ************************** Ice cream conversations they all want the scoop **************************
Sample tweet: Can i ever sleep at a decent time when i have to do hair early in the morning??? CRACKHEAD 4 LIFE “I wake up every morning like FMLLLLLLL!!”
Sample tweet: I had no F-ing idea that when we shouted, “cheers to peter fever!”, that we were cheering to peterfever.com and that he was a bi pornstar.
Sample tweet: I love the orgies scene in True Blood.. I wanna hook up with a Vampire so bad.
My wedding is in three weeks (holy moly!) and I am on a strict no white rice, no noodles diet. I just started this madness about five days ago and it has been torture. Especially the noodles part. (Brown rice is bearable.) I live for my pho, ramen and especially in the summertime, my Korean cold noodles.
Pulitzer prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold gives his recommendations for places to get cold noodles in LA. He writes:
“I can’t help feeling that the most effective cold noodles of all come from Korea, a country whose winters are as brutal as its summers are hot. July and August see enormous lines, endless waiting lists and jet-speed service at Koreatown’s cold-noodle specialists in Koreatown. The second most refreshing dish in the neighborhood may be the handmade kong gook soo, noodles in cold soy milk, at Ma Dang Gook Soo, a dish whose elusive, chilled sweetness is as restorative as vanilla ice cream or a dry martini, a bowl of noodles with the ability to lower your core temperature more effectively than anything this side of an ice bath.”
I myself love naengmyeon but my favorite cold noodle dish is the dong chi mi gook soo (cold noodle soup) at Corner Place in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. So refreshing and addicting. And the jalepenos add just a hint of spice.
Do you have any cold noodle recommendations or recipes to share? Please, go ahead and torture me!
Congrats to one of our favorite singer/songwriters, Priscilla Ahn, who wed actor Michael Weston during their trip to Kauai! They were visiting the island to plan their wedding in 2011 but suddenly decided to get married then and there.
Priscilla tells the beautiful story on her blog.
“Something makes us pull over to the side of the road, and say, ‘I don’t give a crap about any of this stuff. I just want to be married to you.’ We’d been engaged for a year and a half already, and it felt a little silly to have to wait another year and a half to get married just because of scheduling. Lame, right?”
She decided not to post wedding photos but there are some lovely snapshots of the trip.
Priscilla is back in Los Angeles now and is getting ready to record her second album. We can’t wait.