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The Public Ineffectual

For entertainment purposes only.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

News Flash: American Culture Sinks to New Low; World Not Surprised

The now infamous tsunami that killed nearly 250,000 people was the subject of a parody of "We are the World" on Hot 97, a Hip Hop radio station in NY. The target of the humour is people's suffering, the language is school yard received racism:

There was a time, when the sun was shining bright
So I went down to the beach to catch me a tan
Then the next thing I knew, a wave 20 feet high
Came and washed your whole country away

And all at once, you can hear the screaming chinks
And no one was saved from the wave
There were Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away
You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches swim.'

So now you're screwed, it's the tsunami,
You better run and kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
And now your children will be sold to child slavery

I would like to believe that ANY subject can be satirized but it must be politicised. Is that too much to ask? From these people, I suspect it is.

Compare and contrast....in Australia, Triple J's morning hosts Jason Whalley and Lindsay McDougall also wrote a parody song entitled "Tsuna-me". I've had trouble finding the complete lyrics but here's a snippet:

Well we killed them in cricket, turned back their refugees.
But now the time is right to offer help...
Linking arms together, sing aloud in harmony
So we can feel good about ourselves.

From what I've gleaned they take issue with the fact that it takes a tragedy of this proportion for people to pay any kind of attention at all and in the ensuing media hubub, they have criticised (rightly, I believe) the self-interested nature of Australia's aid efforts. You can read a really good analysis of the situation here.

Jason and Lindsay* should be congratulated for understanding what rights and responsibilities come with being on air.

Multimedia Bonus!: Click here to hear how the Korean-American entertainment reporter and fixture of the offending program is treated on air when she objects to the song, followed by the tsunami song. She's told that she' always "tries to make herself 'seperate'" and that she "thinks she's superior because she's asian." Um. No, its because she's smarter than you.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the lyrics, the updates and the link to the audio.

* Jason and Lindsay both are former members of an Australian band called Frenzal Rhomb. Jason was in my film studies class back at Sydney University - he smelled incredibly bad.

UPDATE: This is the apology from Hot 97:


HOT97 regrets the airing of material that made light of a serious and tragic event. We apologize to our listeners and anyone who was offended.

Both HOT97's program director and Miss Jones issued on-air apologies on Monday stating that the material was offensive and should not have been aired.

HOT97 takes pride in its community involvement and in the last few weeks has joined with broadcasters nationwide to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. Our relief effort will result in a substantial cash donation.

I read somewhere that the show's personalities are going to donate a week's pay each. The best retort can be found in Tsunami Response, a recording by Jin, a respected Asian-American MC. It goes a little something like this:

That bullshit statement
Has got to be
The world's most half-assed apology
Thousands are still getting discovered each day
How dare you compare a life
With a week's pay.


At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This afternoon, they've been fired:


There's tasteless humour, which personally, I'm all in favour of, and then's there this racist tripe. It attempts to pass itself off as satire but it's just a mean-spirited enjoyment in the suffering of others.

This show is from New York. Maybe someone could write a parody insulting the people who died on Sept. 11 and see how frickin' hilarious that is.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Oblivia said...

Thanks for the update. I assume this is including Miss Info, the Asian gossip reporter who registered her wish to distance herself from this regrettable production.

The same thought occurred to me re: a 9/11 mocking song. To "Disco Inferno" perhaps?

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just a quick update: According to that story Miss Info was not among those who were suspended.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Oblivia said...


Did you see that their publicist is also one Lizzie Grubman, the publicist who spent time in jail for a drunken hit and run? Good company they keep.

I also found an interview with the morning show's replacement whose name I forget and Jin who seems to have become a voice of dissent in all this, probably more effective than politicians and interest groups. I'll find it and post update....


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