Strangers in the House

Last night we watched House of Sand and Fog, which was quite good but over-the-top melodramatic in the end. Short synopsis: Kathy is on a downward spiral and the county repossesses her house and sells it on a technical mistake. The buyer, Behrani, wants to fix-it-up and resell it a market price. Kathy wants her house back. The conflict is set up and ends badly. The best thing about the movie was the dialectic of immigrant/native in contemporary America. Gandhi (i can never remember his name, ben kingsley) plays an Iranian ex-Colonel who works 2 jobs to keep the veneer of respectability on his family. There are some good themes where the American Kathy (Jennifer Connelly) and her non-existent support structure is contrasted to the much more genial and welcoming Iranian family. The movie highlights that some of the animosity of Kathy and Lester (Ron Eldred) is due to the Iranians being immigrants in America and invaders in their house. Behrani enforces the separation between the groups by haranguing to his son on Americans and how superior he is compared to them.
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Platitudes from the Olive Tree

I thought that mcsweeney’ had jumped the shark but, i dare say, this is brilliant:
Create Your Own Thomas Friedman Column .

Speaking with a local farmer on the last day of my recent visit, I asked him if there was any message that he wanted me to carry back home with me. He pondered for a second, and then smiled and said, “[Short phrase in indigenous language],” which is a local saying that means roughly, “[Every branch of the tree casts its own shadow/That tea is sweetest whose herbs have dried longest/A child knows his parents before the parents know their child].

Orientalist details

Details – The Most Irrelevant Magazine Ever – pissed off Asians in their April issue [full disclosure: in 1993, i had a Details subscription that lasted 8 months]. The culprit was a Gay or Asian? style guide featuring a metrosexual (!) oriental and blurbs like “A bonsai ass requires delicate tending”. Indeed.
Needless to say, the East Asian community protested their metallic snickers off in front of the Details office yesterday.
All this is barely amusing and i only have a couple of incidental observations. First, what happened to us south asians? how come we haven’t cracked the Habib-gas-attendant and Patel-KnightsInn-clerk glass ceiling? When can we be cool enough to be slurred wearing $400 jeans and Dolce&Gabbana Suede Jackets (“Keeps the last samurai warm and buttoned tight on the battlefield”).
I would love to go protest such injustice in manhattan.
Secondly, as gerry would attest, I use with glee the 18th and 19th century descriptions of the Asian races (wily chinee, crafty hindoo, savage mohammadin) and in that regard i appreciate Details trying to put a 21st century spin on it.
I insist that future posts in Details should include “Terrorist or Paki?” and “JobStealer or Bharati?” as well as hard-hittin’ investigative pieces such as “Curry: The Thais stole it from the Indians” and “Queer Eye for the Mullah”.
hmmm…maybe I should work on these myself.