Archive for April, 2007

April 19, 2007

Victims Again

Original entry: http://cherryteresa.greatestjournal.com/2007/04/19/

One of the professors who was killed on Monday was a Holocaust survivor. A student who was a freshman in 1999 in Columbine and was in the cafeteria during the shootings is currently a student at Virginia Tech.

I cannot even imagine how horrible it must be to have one tragedy be a part of your life. And I furthermore can’t begin to fathom what it’s like for two things to happen to you that are unbelievably sad. I’m sure the student from Columbine had a long, hard road beginning to feel at least somewhat secure and to have a little bit of normalcy back in her life, even though things were never the same again. Now what she got back may be gone forever since this has happened to her again.

My thoughts are with all the victims and families/friends, especially the ones who have had to go through a tragedy another time.

April 17, 2007

VA Tech

Original entry and comments: http://cherryteresa.greatestjournal.com/2007/04/17/

My hearts go out to the students, faculty, staff, and the friends of family of the victims of the Virgina Tech tragedy. I know there have been colleges/universities with school shootings in the past, but to me it is more surprising when it happens at a college rather than a high school, middle school, or even elementary school. The reason is that the students generally want to be in college but people in high school and under have no choice. So if they hate it, they’re pretty much stuck unless they can somehow transfer. But of course, the shootings can happen anywhere as people with mental and emotional problems can occur anywhere and of any age, class, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

I don’t want to sound paranoid and I don’t want to make this tragedy into something else, but I just can’t help but feel the way I do. I am worried that because the killer has been identified as a 23 year-old student originally from South Korea that there will be added racism to Koreans, Korean-Americans and even Asians and Asian-Americans who aren’t Korean. I hope that I am wrong about this. But based on how Koreans are treated as it is and based on how people have reacted to tragedies in the past, this is a real possibility. Some people I know don’t think there is much racism out there for anyone other than African-Americans or Jews. They have no idea. Just a couple weeks ago while I was driving home from work, another driver yelled out the window out to me “You g–k b–ch!” My mother works at the post office and it is not uncommon for customers to say racist things to her to her face. (Telling her to go back to her own country – even though she is a U.S. citizen, asking “can someone White help me?”, are just examples of what people have actually said to her). I constantly hear “jokes” about Asians (and Hispanics) from people who never tell jokes about Black or Jewish people. The n word and k word are bleeped out on non-cable tv while the g word and the ch word usually aren’t. I have had people call me a terrorist, even though I was born here and even if I wasn’t, my family is South Korean. Kim Jong-Il is from North Korea. They are two separate countries for a reason! Even if I were from North Korea, chances are I wouldn’t be a terrorist. Most of the citizens aren’t terrorists and if I had actually went through all the trouble and the huge possibility of death to actually come to America, that would mean that I didn’t like North Korea. (Although it is almost impossible to escape N. Korea to come to America).

There are many other misconceptions and stereotypes of Koreans, but that’s another subject altogether. You take the racism that already exists and look at the way people have reated to tragedies such as Columbine and 9-11, and it makes it almost scary for me to be a Korean-American right now. I was in high school during Columbine. Many people who wore black clothing or kept to themselves were labeled as school shooters. Many schools around the country even suspended students for simply the way they dressed and some schools to this day have ridiculously strict dress codes or mandatory uniforms (these are public schools) because of Columbine. The fact remains that most people who dress “artistically” and listen to a certain type of music don’t go around shooting people. I’d dare to say most are actually anti-gun or at the very least believe in gun control. More “average Joes” have been the killers in school/college shootings but no one points that out. And of course, after 9-11 and to this day, Muslims and basically anyone with dark skin who doesn’t look Black, Hispanic, or Latino are harassed and labelled as terrorists. The overwhelming majority of Muslims do not agree with what happened that day and their actions were actually against the Muslim religion. Saying that the terrorists were Muslim and represent the Muslim religion is like saying David Korresh (or however you spell his name) accurately represented Christians. It just isn’t true. This fact is pointed out constantly by many people. Even George w. Bush points this out. Yet people still have a hatred towards all Muslims, not just the ones who are terrorists. Do these people forget that those “Muslims” actually hate the Muslim-Americans. Do people not realize that Muslim-Americans also died in 9-11? It’s something that’s been brought up since 2001, but is still worth mentioning since many people still continue to be prejudice.

There are very few well-known Koreans in American culture. This is something that has always bothered me. Now that there is someone “famous”, it is for something extremely negative. Unfortunately, many people rely too much on media. I’m afraid that Koreans will now be stereo-typed as loners who can snap at any time. I also hope this won’t make people think that we “shouldn’t allow foreigners” in here anymore. What would piss me off if that happens is those same people would use the tragedy to not allow others in, but not see it as a reason for gun control. I’m not going to say that American culture is necessarily the reason why the tragedy happened. But I do want it to be known it’s not Korean culture either. The shooter lived in this country for 14 years, since he was 8 years old. Private ownership of guns is banned in South Korea and there are no known school shootings in the country. I’m worried these facts will be overlooked. Also, a South Korean student was injured. That will probably also be overlooked.

I really hope that I am wrong about this but history has a tendency to repeat itself. I really hope this horrible tragedy of lives lost and people injured does not turn into another tragedy of harassment and racism.

I know I am not the only one who’s worried as I’ve read reports today that South Korean and Korean-Americans on the Virginia Tech campus have gathered in groups because they are scared about how dangerous it could be for them right now. Imagine how vulnerable and unsafe all the students must feel after a shooter. Now imagine adding to that the fear of what others may do because of your race or nationality.

April 16, 2007

Lady Sovereign is not 8 years old

Original entry and comments: http://cherryteresa.greatestjournal.com/2007/04/16

I don’t have MTV. So I sometimes have to rely on other people’s descriptions of popular culture beyond the songs themselves. People will explain some dance move in a music video or an interview on TRL. The thing is, you can’t always count on people’s descriptions.

For some reason, several people have told me that Lady Sovereign is an 8 year old black girl from England. I found out a few months ago that isn’t the case. She’s a chav in her twenties that looks like a yo’d out version of Sporty Spice. When I’ve told a few people this, they argued with me. They swore up and down that she’s a little black girl. Maybe someone fitting that description guest starred on a song or something, but all you have to do to see that I’m right is do an internet search or just look her up on Wikipedia. Or… GO TO HER WEBSITE. Geez. Why would I make this up? Love me or hate me, I am telling you the truth.

I think people don’t want to believe this because they won’t like her anymore. I don’t hold the belief that “white people shouldn’t rap.”. I believe that if you have the talent, ability, personality, presence, etc. you can rap regardless of your skin color. But the fact that she sounds like a little girl but really isn’t might change people’s opinions. Not only does her voice sound like a child’s but her rapping style and lyrics do, too. A little kid can get away with a lot more than an adult.

April 12, 2007

Peeping Tom w/Miho Hatori

Original entry: http://cherryteresa.greatestjournal.com/2007/04/12/

This past Friday I went to a great show at Ram’s Head Live here in Baltimore. Peeping Tom, one of Mike Patton’s bands (it seems like he’s in 300 bands sometimes) was the headliner. Miho Hatori (formerly of Cibo Matto and one of the voices of Noodles from the Gorillaz) was one of the openers.

Ram’s Head is a nice place that books great bands. It’s hard to have a bad seat in the house. I’m only 5’5″, so at a lot of shows that are crowded, it’s harder for me to see. But the way Ram’s Head is set up, it’s a lot easier on the main floor because of how it’s set up. Also, there’s a second floor overlooking the whole thing, which is great. I don’t like how they have bathroom attendants there. I have no problem tipping a waiter or food deliverer, but I’m not paying someone to hand me a paper towel. What also sucks is that it’s near the Power Plant, so you pretty much have to spend the $13 to park in the garage. There is hardly any parking and even if you find a spot far away, it’s on 24/7 meters that you have to fill up every hour or two. So you’d be missing the show to re-fill the meter. That’s if you can even get that spot in the first place. At least the garage is right next to Ram’s Head with the elevator taking you there. That’s convenient, especially if you’re going there on a cold night.

Miho Hatori’s songs sounded similar to Cibo Matto but less funky. It was a mellower version. I do like Cibo Matto better, but I still enjoyed her set and was excited to catch her. It was the first of only four dates that she’s playing with Peeping Tom on this tour and so I feel lucky. Back when Cibo Matto was around, the only one or two times they came to Baltimore after I moved here was either on a school night or an 18+ place and I was still in high school at the time, so I couldn’t go. Back then, less clubs were all ages. Anyway, the crowd was surprisingly enthusiastic, maybe even too enthusiastic. It was funny. During her first song, she and her band had to start over because the sound in the monitors was all messed up. I can relate. That sucks when that happens. When she said she had to start the song over, the audience cheered! But that’s better than someone audiences, who boo because they don’t realize if you can’t hear yourself or the other instruments, it’s pretty difficult to perform well. Later in the set, she walked over toward her guitar to play some songs with guitar in it, and everyone cheered loudly just for that. I don’t know if it was mocking or sincere because later people complained about her. After she played and before Peeping Tom, I walked around to socialize with people and said did pretty much what people did when I saw Mr. Bungle (one of Mike Patton’s bands) back in 2000. Mr. Bungle was an opener and the majority of the crowd hated them. Not just disliked, but hated them. Then, after they were done and they heard “that’s the singer from Faith No More”, they suddenly changed their minds and said how great thet set was. People did that with Miho Hatori. “She does the ‘get cool shoe shine song’ in the Gorillaz? Oh my g-d, I like her now”. Losers.

Then came Peeping Tom. My friends and I were wondering how Patton would pull this off live. The album has a lot of guest stars on it (some of whom, such as Nora Jones and Kool Keith, he has yet to meet face-to-face). The only one of those guest stars performing live with him was Dan the Automator. How was he going to perform without Rahzel? Well, he and his band did a great job! There was a total of eight members on the stage. Three of them were in a band the Dub Trio. There was an awesome female beatboxer, one of the best I’ve heard. The keyboardist had at least three keyboards if I remember correctly. Great energy and each of the member’s performances were spot on. The songs sound like a hip-hoppish and somewhat poppish version of Mr. Bungle. Patton says that this is record is his pop album. Not necessarily pop that’s on the radio, but his version of it. Mike Patton (along with Kathleen Hanna) is one of the few people that can really pull of being in bands of different genres. The music still “sounds like Matt Patton” but doesn’t sound the same as each other. It’s original and fresh and it’s not like “Oh g-d, not another Patton project”. I’m not one of these obsessive Matt Patton fans though like some of the weirdos who were at the show. But I like and respect the guy. Wish there were more signed artists like him in rock right now. Rock is in such a weird state right now, but that’s a whole other topic.

Patton also wore a stocking cap on his head. He was able to pull that off with his personality. 😉