Cafe 227

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Crash Course in African-American Culture

Well, I'm (unfortunately) back from southeast Asia. It didn't rain once in Phnom Penh during my visit, even though it's the peak of the monsoon season there. Yet ironically, I've witnessed nothing but torrential downpours since my return to DC. The constant rain and ubiquitous dreariness is not helping my post-vacation depression...

Anyway, I have a number of thoughts about and stories from my trip to Hong Kong and Cambodia, none of which I will share here. After all, I suspect that no one gives a shit anyway.

But I will share this...

During my time in Hong Kong, I read a movie review for Crash in the HK Magazine (Hong Kong's slightly inferior version of the City Paper) . Crash was just released in Hong Kong, and the reviewer was lamenting the length of time it took to be released there. The reviewer attributed this delay to the fact that Asian (and specifically Chinese) audiences are perceived to be generally unfamiliar with and uninterested in entertainment with African-American themes. "Makes sense," I thought at the time.

So, on my return flight home, I had the misfortune of being on one of those old Boeing jumbo jets that have the centrally-controlled television monitors. In other words, United Airlines had sole discretion over what video entertainment to dull our senses with over the 11-hour flight. Now, bear in mind that (1) well over half of the passengers on the flight were Chinese citizens (judging by the customs lines in San Francisco) and (2) United shows the same videos on a flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco throughout the month of June. Bearing these two facts in mind, and also considering the previously established hypothesis that Asian audiences are generally uninterested in African-American-themed entertainment, you would think that United would not show Big Momma's House 2 and Last Holiday as the first two movies on an 11-hour flight.

But they did.

So, I have two theories for this. Either (1) United really doesn't understand it's client base on key international flights (although they did serve us a cup of Ramen Noodles as a mid-flight snack), or (2) they were trying to not-so-subtly prepare the passengers of Chinese citizenship for the large dose of African-American culture that we got upon arrival at the San Francisco International Airport. I suspect the latter, because I find it hard to believe that United would be so oblivious.

Anyway, this whole post was simply an excuse to link to this superb article in the NY Times today titled "10 Years Wiser, Jay-Z Offers his Reflections of a Hustler." If only this were published last week, United could have passed this out along with the customs forms on my flight...

4 Comments:

  • This is bullshit. Your readers demand a full account of your time in Cambodia.

    By Blogger Lonnie Bruner, at 1:02 PM  

  • Cambodia was amazing. And so was Hong Kong for that matter.

    By Blogger Johnny Shades, at 1:27 PM  

  • Hahaha that's funny to me. I think I would consider shooting myself if I had to sit through both of those movies, back to back.

    I want to hear all about Cambodia!

    By Blogger The Blonde Menace, at 12:27 PM  

  • Not happening. I've been sworn to secrecy about the goings-on in Hong Kong and Cambodia. You'll just have to trust me - it was good times.

    By Blogger Johnny Shades, at 4:11 PM  

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