How Youtube killed Mickey Rooney

ms. clara c

kev jumba has over 1,000,000 subscribers

In the National Poetry Slam Contest in 2006, Alvin Lau’s “Asia America, Where Have You Gone?”  had this to say about fleeting duality in the nature of Asia America.

“There’s got to be a solution to this rubiks cube identity, a dictionary for this shifting terminology.  The key that unlocks the mystery why neither Asia nor America will ever feel like home to me. I need to know what cross of stereotype I’m gonna be crucified cuz in this coloring book of skin I need to draw outside these lines.”

Asian Americans are a people who are in perpetual motion, redefining what we stand for and what it means to hold the distinction of this Asian Americanness every single day of our lives. And as the world moves in its breakneck speed with bluetooth and 3g everything, Asian Americans are forced to make these decisions of binding or loosing of this identity faster than ever to the audience of every man, woman, and child on the internet.

Fall of 1961- Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released to an American public who immediately pinned Audrey Hepburn as the classiest women of all time. Legions of American women came out of theaters empowered to wear wayfarers, pearls, and go out to expensive brunches in the greatest city in the world.

Fall of 1961- Asia America faces the most popular, frenzied, and degrading image crisis in its’ history. In the very same movie about NY bachelorette life, amid the brunches and the stunning Ms. Hepburn was Mickey Rooney’s incarnation of Mr. Yunioshi, the bucktooth, yellow-faced, degenerate landlord that would not stop pestering the lovely Ms. Hepburn about the damn noise in his building! Ms. Hepburn shows compassion upon the perverted man and assuages his complaints with the fleeting promise of letting him take pictures of her (for his private collection). Believe it or not, this was the most iconic image of Asian Americans that the mass media had to offer until the 1990’s where bucktoothed Mr. Yunioshi was replaced by mind-numbing footage of Korean grocers firing carbon-powered rifles into a crowd of Blacks in the K-Town LA during the LA riots.

Suffice to say, Asian Americans have some difficulty maintaing our image.

But a new global, media force has come to save us from Asia America being deemed the worst, perennial PR Nightmare America has seen post-slavery times.

YOUTUBE, friends. YOUTUBE has come to save us. With fresh Asian faces, most ranging from your average looking Asian guy to DAMN he’s fineee.

Youtube in al of its unfiltered glory has allowed the best and brightest of the Asian American community today to put themselves out there in the way they’d like to be seen. With many of today’s best attracting a subscription rate of hundreds of thousands or even a million(KevJumba) these handsome faces of Asia America get to put out there very best faces and talents, usually in front of home webcams.

This inexpensive, very anti-Hollywood process form of entertainment has provided Asian American content that would not have been allowed to screen anywhere else.

These beautiful, young stars are using youtube as a springboard to gain prestige points in their true fields of passion. Youtube has launched the singing careers of David Choi and Clara Chung (KOLLABORATION WINNER), as well started up the up and coming film company, WongFu productions. Hell, it even got Kev Jumba and his dad on the Amazing Race.

Youtube is proving to be more powerful than anyone had ever expected. Its’ boom has provided the greatest impact to a people who once had no choice but to watch the horrible things put up on movie screens about their lives and character. Now, the fresh, optimistic personalities born from the generation who faced such ugly stereotypes put their best face forward.

All hail youtube! Slayer of that little Irishman with the buckteeth.

the bearded crooner

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5 thoughts on “How Youtube killed Mickey Rooney

  1. Mickey Rooney is the best actor of all time. I was lucky enough to be chosen out of over 300 people along with about 13 others to film with him in San Diego. He was great to work with and he really loved his wife, Jan and he talked of her often. He also talked about Judy Garland and all the movies he made with her.


  2. I think you’re going a bit overboard with how negatively the US saw/sees Asian Americans. Much has been publicized about our model minority image and our high rates of obtaining undergraduate degrees and high average income.

    Also, you seem to have forgotten the impact Bruce Lee and Jacky Chan had in terms of the Asian American image in the US. Sure, most Asian Americans aren’t martial artists but it was certainly a much better image than Mr. Yunioshi.


    1. @ababab
      I apologize that your comment did not get up here until now. We’ve been only sporadically checking our blog since the end of semester and I didn’t know our blog comments had to be approved.
      THANK YOU for the first intelligent comment on this post.

      Hollywood has this profound impact on the world, so much so that a kid from Kenya who sees an Asian person for the first time will immediately drop down in a Kung Fu stance to challenge the great Jackie Chan. (I’ve seen this in video) It is a powerful platform to completely configure an identity, especially for an ethnic minority.

      While I love Bruce and Jackie to a lesser extent for their martial arts ability and latter’s comedic timing, one thing that stuck with this image is the inability to speak English. Hollywood didn’t let Bruce make any films in the US and only when his movies became so popular in Asia did Hollywood chose to dub over his mouth. Jackie has been great for physical comedy, but watching any interview shows that Jackie’s command of the language just isn’t there. I believe this reaffirms the belief that Asian Americans are always foreigners, unable to pick up the language.

      Hoollywood and the papers tell very different stories, yet Hollywood appears to hold greater influence.

      All of what you said about the model minority being so highly publicized is true. While I do see many negative aspects to that myth as well, I understand that there are benefits to be deemed hardworking and intelligent.

      The original Asians in cinema were also caricatures and just as Amos & Andy stain the minds of Black people, Fu Man Chu, Charlie Chan, Mr. Yunioshi, and even Jackie Chan stain ours.

      I hope you get to read this obnoxiously long reply.
      Once again, thank you for your input!


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