Occasionally, readers will send us links to other sites or story ideas they think we might be interested in blogging about (and thank you to those who have been so sharing), but an unusual thing has been happening of late. Over the past few days, we’ve received more messages alerting us to potential stories than we have in all of the past year-and-a-half of YOMYOMF’s existence.
Obviously, a big reason for this is the earthquake in Japan. A sizeable portion of our readership are Asian or Asian American and this is definitely a major event for our community and we have indeed been receiving many earthquake-related tidbits. But the story tip we’ve been most inundated with is the one about a certain blonde girl at UCLA who said some things about Asians in the library. In fact, we’ve gotten more mail/messages related to her than any other subject ever so obviously she’s touched some sort of nerve within our community (more on this in a second).
Now, I’ve also received a lot of direct messages asking me to blog about this girl and while I appreciate that some readers think I’d have an interesting take on this, the truth is…I don’t. Firstly, this story went viral so quickly that I really don’t know if I can add anything new that hasn’t already been touched on (if any of my fellow Offenders feel differently, I’m sure they’ll post their own blogs). Secondly, while I think this girl is ignorant, many of her opinions repugnant and I’m sure she probably had no idea what sort of backlash she’d get from posting this online, frankly, it’s just one insignificant girl sharing her thoughts. I don’t know how much time others spend on YouTube, but there are far worse, and more racist, shit online than this girl’s video, which never receive even a fraction of this kind of attention and outrage from our peeps. Like I said, she’s obviously touched a nerve and I’m definitely curious to know why (FYI, she issued an apology yesterday).
Well, aside from her oft-commented on cleavage, I think a big part of it is simply timing. This girl had the poor judgment to post this in the immediate aftermath of this massive disaster in Japan. Our community was already on edge and our emotions were probably further heightened by things like the story of how folks are attributing the quake to karmic retribution for Pearl Harbor and the incredibly troubling news about the condition of those damaged nuclear reactors which is unfolding as I write this.
I know there are also some in the community who are arguing that we’re giving this UCLA girl too much undeserved attention and they certainly have a valid point. But in this case, I don’t think what people are responding to so passionately is solely this one girl’s ignorant rants. I think it’s also about rallying together as a community against a common target in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy where we have been left feeling sideswiped and helpless. So in that sense, collectively venting about this girl is one way to reach out, assert ourselves and connect with others during a difficult time, but let’s keep things in perspective, too.
The latest I read was that there are Asian gangs who have put a hit out on this girl. Really?! Putting aside the fact that I doubt the validity of this report, if it is true….Is this what you’re going to get so upset about to the point of murder? I mean racist fucks like the white guys who killed Vincent Chin—you don’t care about that enough to take them out—but you’re going to target some college girl who said a few ignorant things? Seriously?!
And on that note, I shall mention this story no more. (FYI, if you do want to read more about this story, I thought Edward’s blog over at 8Asians was well written without being over-sensationalized)
Now, onto another troubling aspect of the reaction to this disaster. I’ve already blogged about some of the conspiracy theories revolving around this earthquake and I suppose it was just a matter of time before the “God did it as punishment” nutjobs would make their views known. It’s happened before like after the 2008 quake in China when the Westboro “God hates fags” Baptist Church put out this ad:
And now similar religious nutjobs have arrived in the name of God in the wake of this recent catastrophe. Here’s YouTuber tamtampamela whose Lent prayer to God asking Him to show atheists proof of His existence was allegedly answered by the quake (“Oh, it’s just so amazing to see how God can just answer prayers like this.”):
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, it looks like the video above (entitled “God is Good!!!”) has been removed. Will repost if it appears elsewhere. But the woman’s statement that her prayer was answered when “God shook the country of Japan, he literally grabbed the country by the shoulders and said, ‘Hey, look, I’m here!’” should tell you what it was like.
UPDATE 2: Full text of her rant here.
UPDATE 3: As you can see, video is back up above. The woman claims now that she did it as a joke/hoax though some are also suggesting she’s just backtracking. Either way, probably not the best thing to have posted at this time.
And here’s another video from YouTuber vbelle6 who sees the quake as a precursor to God’s glorious return:
Not surprisingly, conservative commenter Glenn Beck also weighed in on his radio show stating, among other things, “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. I’m not not saying that either.”:
But it’s not just Americans who are jumping on the “God caused the quake” bandwagon. Senior pastor David Yonggi Cho of South Korea’s Yoido Full Gospel Church (the largest church in the whole world for those keeping score) told an online newspaper that the quake may have been punishment for the Japanese people’s refusal to accept Christ: “Japan sees a lot of earthquakes, and I think it is regrettable that there has been such an enormous loss of property and life due to the earthquake. Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them…I hope that this catastrophe can be turned into a blessing and they take this opportunity to return to the Lord. We in Korea look at Japan and think that at this juncture, more than a physical earthquake, it is in need of a holy spiritual earthquake.”
Even Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, got into the act yesterday when he told reporters that the earthquake and tsunami were divine punishment (tenbatsu) for the Japanese people’s sinful lifestyle.
OK, I admit I may not be the most religious person, but I’d like to think that the God I believe in is not only not a vengeful asshole, but that He’s also smart enough to know that the best tactic to convert people is probably not to try to wipe them off the face of the earth Old Testament-style. Amen!