Longtime followers of the site may remember the Tsunami Song Rant. I never found out if Miss Jones and her oxygen thief co-hosts ever got fired for their stunt. If you don’t remember the incident (which happened in early 2005, but never got much coverage in the media), it involved the hosts of the Hot 97 morning program singing a song making fun of the tsunami victims in SE Asia, calling them among other things “Africans”, “chinks”, and “Chinamen”. So NYC was already on my bad side.
Then came JV and Elvis.
JV and Elvis, midday hosts for WFNY “92.3 Free FM”, aired on April 5th a stunt in which they called in to Chinese restaurants and had a computerized voice order “shrimp flied lice” and tell the lady taking the order that he would like to “see your hot Asian spicy ass”. The hosts of the show referred to one of the workers as a “very nice Chinese man that probably can’t drive for shit”. This was one day after Don Imus’s comments calling the Rutgers women basketball players “nappy-headed hos”, but apparently they saw nothing wrong with it. They even had the temerity to re-air the skit two weeks later, on April 19th.
On April 23rd, finally bowing to complaints from Asian civil rights groups, CBS suspended JV and Elvis without pay indefinitely. Many groups say they want JV and Elvis fired. After all, CBS canned Imus pretty quickly.
The skit is ridiculous, but I’m not so much offended by the CONTENT of the jokes as I am by the attitude behind the skit. Saying Asians are bad at driving and talking about ‘flied lice’ are such old jokes, and fully uncreative. It’s nothing less than the re-spewing of age-old stereotypes for a cheap laugh. Sort of like what Carlos Mencia does on his show all the time. (As followers of this site will notice, I despise Carlos Mencia. Racists love Carlos Mencia because he says out loud all of the racist things they’re thinking, but of course he gets away with it because he’s a minority.)It’s the ATTITUDE, that’s it’s fine to say the same old trash and that they expect people to find it funny, which sadly some of their audience probably will.
It’s the abuse of free speech by shock jocks to say racially provocative things just to provide entertainment.
It would be a mistake to say that this is just a problem of two white guys with bad judgment. This is more of an indictment on the entire business of shock radio, where just like with the Tsunami Song incident, the producers encourage the radio hosts to be as shocking and offensive as possible because that’s what provides the entertainment value and therefore the listeners, and therefore the money.
Of course this skit didn’t hit the media in the big way that the Imus thing did. One could argue that it’s because Imus is a much bigger household name, and that it came first, both of which are certainly contributing factors. But there’s another factor here that I’ve mentioned before, and that is this – Asians aren’t used to complaining. Sure, the Asian civil rights groups complained, but they don’t command the same sort of media attention. Basically, Asians don’t have a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton to drag this sort of idiocy screaming-and-kicking into the media spotlight. You can bet that if JV and Elvis had instead aired a skit calling into a Church’s Chicken where they had a computerized voice speaking Ebonics asking about watermelons, Sharpton and Jackson would have ordered a press conference the day after and CBS would have fired the DJs on the spot. Asians just don’t get the same sort of media impact, or the attention.
Which just brings us to the sad fact that this sort of thing will probably happen again. Radio hosts will certainly be watching themselves to make sure they don’t pull a repeat of Imus’s ‘nappy-headed hos’ comment. Sadly, with the seeming lack of attention or consequences for offending Asians, those same hosts will be egged on by their producers to do more of the same. All in the name of entertainment. It makes me sick.