Where the f-- is Matt, 2008
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.
The UpTake's "Gook" video has garnered a lot of good response. Thanks to everyone who has emailed, commented, and Twittered. There's a ton of (often crazy) near-conversation on the Veracifier version, and it's been posted on AlterNet, Huffington Post, Brave New Films, and several other blogs, including most prominently Minnesota Public Radio's NewsCut with Bob Collins.
Bob started out talking about the thorny issue of racism, especially accusations of racism in an election year, which I agree merits healthy skepticism. But then he set his sights on the way I covered the story. We've gone round and round, and near as I can tell, Bob is unhappy with a video only about Irwin Tang's book, though the basic facts of the story are sourced.
For example, in the video Tang talked about McCain wanting to kill the Iranians with cigarettes, and sang "Bomb bomb Iran" in response to a question about Iran. Tang argues that this sort of dehumanizing is a preparation for war upon those people. Considering McCain has warned of Iran 'Armageddon', and promised "I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars," I don't think that assertion it unreasonable. Perhaps more links or quotes by McCain in the video would have underscored the validity of Tang's assertion.
More information, more research, and a deeper story are certainly there for the making. I don't claim this video is the be-all end-all, or the most comprehensive video on the subject of McCain's alleged racism. But it is a story, and a good one I think, presenting Tang's case, a history of the word "gook" and it's connection to U.S. wars and invasions, and Tang's own experience with the word "gook" as a Chinese-American.
Bob Collins seems to want me to go find someone trying to prove John McCain is not a racist, or wants a documented conversation between Tang and McCain.
This is not that story. That story would be good, too - not better, necessarily, but different and informative. I welcome Bob Collins, or anyone else, to make that story. The more the merrier. I stand by my work, and I'm damn proud of it.
Collins says he likes non-political stories about people. I like making stories about people, too – in fact that's what I love, and why I'm a documentarian. But, I will not shy away from people with controversial stories. I find Irwin Tang's story, and the case he makes, compelling. I hope people know more about the term "gook" and John McCain's use of that word after watching it – I sure do.
John McCain's use of "gook" and why it matters
I interviewed author Irwin Tang at Netroots Nation about his new book, Gook: McCain's Racism and Why It Matters. Tang actually goes into much more detail than you see in this video, for example McCain's connection to white supremacy groups, his vote against making MLK a national holiday, and his personal funding of contra guerillas.
Paul Schmelzer wrote about this video for the Minnesota Independent.
How can I keep not caring about Julia Allison when she goes and finds my weak spot?
ps - Sorry my blog is all fudged up. I shut down most of my other web sites which hosted chunks of my blog and I haven't gotten around to fixing yet.
The Ointment winding down
I've become a big fan of Steve Tatham's daily funny news show The Ointment. Steve first drew my attention to his vlog show in a comment on my blog in March 2006. I was a little harsh on his humor at first, but I found his take on things funnier and funnier the more I watched.
After 550 (!) episodes, it looks like he's calling it quits with just a few more episodes to go. I know how hard it is to produce daily content, and can imagine the challenge and sacrifice of doing it for 2.5 years.
So I salute you, Steve Tatham, and look forward to your next project after you catch up on the teevee. (There's this one show called Lost...)