March 10, 2021

"I like to say that when you see stuff like that you should give me credit for doing it intentionally, so I need to disclaim credit in this case."

"If I'd thought of it myself or even noticed it after I did it, I would have rewritten it to avert microaggression. But I'm not so fussy and fearful that I'll change it now, and I'm not such a creature of The Era of That's Not Funny that I feel that I need to strike the 'LOL.'" 

That's something I wrote in the comments to the previous post after an "LOL" directed at Jack Klompus. Klompus, reacting to my post, had written: 

The "Ah! So..." triggered me into doing an impromptu Charlie Chan impersonation. Very problematic. 

I had to look back at the post, which is about a WaPo article, "The Biden administration confirms some but not all of Trump’s Wuhan lab claims." Had I written "Ah! So..."? Yes, I'd quoted something from the article, then exclaimed: "Ah! So it's not that you've determined that any of these claims are false." The "Ah!" was independent of the "So," but the "So" directly followed, and I have inadvertently caused the "ah"/"so" combination to come into being in a post about the Chinese. 

I'm sure some of you who comment here think there's nothing even wrong with saying "Ah, so!" intentionally, even with a Charlie Chan-style intonation, but I've got to find my own balance of correctness/incorrectness. In this case, I would never purposely exclaim "Ah, so!" while talking about the Chinese or even while talking about anyone else. It's just pointlessly disrespectful. And I do mean to imply that sometimes disrespect is justified and warranted. But casual disrespect — disrespect as a go-to demeanor — is lazy, dumb, destructive, and degrading. 

***

For a serious, critically acclaimed examination of the Charlie Chan character, read "Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History" by Yunte Huang. I'd read it, but I've never watched any Charlie Chan movies, so I have no context — other than the context of hearing various Americans imitate Charlie Chan, usually by saying "Ah so" (and just meaning something like "Yes, I understand").

94 comments:

Danno said...

Microagressions are a figment of the progtard mind.

Jack Klompus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Has there been a discussion of "long time no see" on this site? Some claim it is a pretty fair rendering into English of a Cantonese expression, but many boomers picked it up from Charlie Chan, with the implication of mocking someone who is learning English, but whose English is still not perfect. A bit weirdly to me, the expression comes up in the subtitles of "Midnight Diner," obviously set in Tokyo with people primarily speaking Japanese. There is some interaction with Korean and Chinese people speaking their own languages.

There used to be a lot of this: "At's a matter for you" for the Italians, etc. Show biz gave us a lot of Yiddish isms. "For this I went to med school?" Schmuck, etc. There is an implication of sounding smart rather than stupid--adding richness to English. "Aye Yai Yai" as an expression of distress apparently came from Mexico.

Retail Lawyer said...

Macro vigilance required to avoid micro aggression. Takes some of the fun out of life, doesn't it?

Jack Klompus said...

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan DVDs should be running at around 10 grand a pop at this rate.

Mr. Forward said...

China is ah so.

stevew said...

Lordy, this microaggression policing is tedious. And here we have another examination of the question of intent and whether its absence absolves the offender. That just adds to the tedium. Personally I cannot be bothered to continually update the rules list of what is and is not a microaggression. The rule, or guideline, to not be pointlessly disrespectful is a really good one, for the reasons you list.

I did learn something though, never knew that "ah so" was a Charlie Chan, probably because I am largely unfamiliar with the character. Note this from wiki: "Ah-So is a line of Asian sauces and marinades from Allied Old English, Inc.".

Then there is this, cut from an entry at a site called EVS Translations:

Ah, so
It’s perhaps a little surprising to note that the Japanese expression “ah, so” has made it into the Oxford English dictionary. Once used in the dialog of Western cinema when depicting an Asian person – usually old, with a long grey whispy beard – they can often be heard to say “ah, so” during conversation.

In the real world (that is, Japan), the expression “ ah, so ” is a common one – and has nothing to do with wise Chinese men.

Skookum John said...

“Ah so” is not Chinese. It’s Japanese words mistakenly put in the mouth of a white actor playing a Chinese detective, by a white screenwriter.

“Ah so” is the abrupt and slightly vulgar conversational form of the more polite “Ah so desu ka”, expressing understanding and affirmation of what was just said by someone else. You will hear both forms of the phrase dozens of times per day in Japan, if you listen for it.

https://boards.straightdope.com/t/ah-so/104123

Breezy said...

Is Google going to ban sites based on the use of “Ah!, so” now? If not, carry on. I have some friends that often mock and tease each other ...it’s all done with love and respect, not derision. Any community needs to accept they have particular tics or common phrases based on their heritage. Shouldn’t we respect the endurance of these?

R C Belaire said...

In today's episode we have Ms. Althouse taking herself to the woodshed...

Jack Klompus said...

I remember in Beijing when I noticed the "ne-guh" at pauses in speech like the English "um". Right away I thought, "Oh this would go over GREAT in the US!"

SURE ENOUGH!

https://nypost.com/2020/09/06/professor-placed-on-leave-for-using-chinese-expression-that-sounds-like-n-word/

Roughcoat said...

Ancient Chinese secret, Althouse. You'll never know the answer.

rhhardin said...

I would never purposely exclaim "Ah, so!" while talking about the Chinese

Warburton said that the elephant is the only animal having no ridiculous aspect.

Jack Klompus said...

How do you get shirts so clean, Mr. Lee?

Kevin said...

In this case, I would never purposely exclaim "Ah, so!" while talking about the Chinese or even while talking about anyone else. It's just pointlessly disrespectful. And I do mean to imply that sometimes disrespect is justified and warranted. But casual disrespect — disrespect as a go-to demeanor — is lazy, dumb, destructive, and degrading.

This is one of the biggest problems with the woke movement.

Honorable Althouse should be excused of any perceived slights, given her position of authority and party affiliation. To do otherwise would overburden her and make it impossible to do her job.

Less than honorable commenters should not be excused on such grounds, lest the structural racism continue to oppress those deemed worthy today of wearing said badge of honor.

Of course Honorable Althouse, given her position of authority and party affiliation, must vigilantly police her comment section to show her worthiness to be excused from such inspection herself.

The system is unworkable if everyone is held to the same standards, yet the system must be fully and vigorously implemented with sufficient waivers such that it can be said to be working.

MadisonMan said...

@Jack Klompus, I recall fondly the theme song to the Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. But like Althouse, I've never seen a Charlie Chan movie. Whenever they ran them in the afternoon on Channel 5 (or 11?) out of NYC back in the 70s/80s, I'd watch about 2 minutes and conclude the grainy B&W just wasn't up to snuff for viewing.

Roughcoat said...

Recently an old friend* woke-scolded me for using the term "kung-flu," instructing me that it was racist. "Purely, simply racist," he said.

Serious question for all commenters here. Is "kung flu" racist?

I am genuinely interested in your views on thi

*He is no longer a friend. I don't take kindly to being woke-scolded, less so to being called a racist.

Lurker21 said...

Has there been a discussion of "long time no see" on this site?

Probably not, because it's only a short slide from that to "Me love you long time."

farmgirl said...

Does this mean we’re no longer a melting pot- ?

Jack Klompus said...

"Probably not, because it's only a short slide from that to "Me love you long time."

I miss the 2 Live Crew.

LakeLevel said...

"I've never watched any Charlie Chan movies, so I have no context"

Charlie Chan had an upstart brash, Americanized son who always got into trouble when he didn't follow the advice of his wise, Chinese father. Never mind that the movies respected Chinese culture, anything from America's cultural past must be cancelled then erased. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot would be proud of today's Leftists and their history erasing ways.

Lurker21 said...

Does this mean we’re no longer a melting pot- ?

Something like that occurred to me as well. It used to be people could take these things in their stride. Friends could joke about these things because they identified with the majority culture. Today, people don't identify with the majority culture and don't want to. Maybe there is no majority culture anymore, so what used to be seen as little jokes are now insults and opportunities to take offense.

The other aspect is that the line between public and private has broken down. Today people say all kinds of things online that they would have kept to themselves or shared with family and friends, so there's a rich collection of utterances that you can use against somebody if you really want to.

Francisco D said...

I don't know, Althouse.

For someone who is a sort of language perfectionist, you should have been more sensitive to the great harm caused by putting those two words together, even if separated by a period.

If you start a Go Fund Me account to deal with your cancellation trial, I will gladly contribute to your defense. However, I hope you learned your lesson.

crusadingknight said...

https://rich-flavours.com
don't think just go

Hey Skipper said...

Mr Forward: That is likely to be the funniest thing I will read this month.

OP:
“ I'm sure some of you who comment here think there's nothing even wrong with saying "Ah, so!" intentionally, even with a Charlie Chan-style intonation, but I've got to find my own balance of correctness/incorrectness. In this case, I would never purposely exclaim "Ah, so!" while talking about the Chinese or even while talking about anyone else. It's just pointlessly disrespectful. And I do mean to imply that sometimes disrespect is justified and warranted. But casual disrespect — disrespect as a go-to demeanor — is lazy, dumb, destructive, and degrading.”

You reached a conclusion absent anything like an argument. In what way, and please be precise, is using those two syllables which shall no longer be said disrespectful? I, for one, just don’t see it. There is no implied insult anywhere; at worst, you could be accused of punning, which is supposedly the lowest form of humor.

Unknown said...

He is no longer a friend. I don't take kindly to being woke-scolded, less so to being called a racist.

It's slightly racist and slightly funny. If you said it at work you might get dragged to HR.

I lost my best friend over a conversation about abortion. I think it's a homicide of a baby and he does not think that. Painful to lose a friend that way. If you can salvage the relationship, I would do so. Friends are nice to keep if you can.

Breezy said...

Why doesn’t Joy Reid’s show get cancelled? She’s so nasty! It’s unbelievable what “woke” people get away with. Tim Scott coined it Woke Supremacy, which is apt.

Eleanor said...

Why would you read a book about a series of movies and never take the time to watch one of the movies? They're free on Youtube.

Leeatmg said...

All of this Charlie Chan discussion has reminded me of what is, in my opinion, the best portrayal of the character ever - Peter Sellers, in Murder By Death, as inspector Sidney Wang.

Roughcoat said...

It's slightly racist. . . .

How -- in what sense -- is it racist, and not merely a clever, and amusing, play on words?

I wonder. As an Irish American, should I regard the term "Fighting Irish" as racist?

I don't. But even it were racist, I wouldn't care.

Fernandinande said...

"Ah, so!" [is] just pointlessly disrespectful.

C'mon, man!

Fernandinande said...

Serious question for all commenters here. Is "kung flu" racist?

Yes, because the Kung people live in Africa and the disease was created Chinese.

Hey Skipper said...

Roughcoat: “Serious question for all commenters here. Is "kung flu" racist?”

I have had exactly the same experience, courtesy of a woman who has gradually become essence of Karen.

One of the many things that infuriate me about progs is the willful destruction of language. The word “racism” has a very clear meaning, and “kung flu” doesn’t even remotely fit. It is clearly both a sarcastic rejoinder to those who suddenly changed the rules on colloquially naming diseases, and a not so subtle reference the the likely culpability of the CCP in its creation and spread.

In deference to this woman’s enhanced sensibilities, I later used “Mao Tse Lung”. Yep, you guessed it, made me a rayciss. Why “South African variant” isn’t similarly to be excoriated is a real mystery.

I can’t help but notice all the self censoring is one sided. Not for a moment did she consider her resentment to be ill-founded, illogical, or not the kind of thing to throw in someone else’s face.

Roughcoat said...

Yes, because the Kung people live in Africa and the disease was created Chinese.

Cheetah ungawa, Ferandinande.

Owen said...

“...sometimes disrespect is justified...”

Reminds me of the old saying: “A gentleman is never unintentionally rude.”

Roughcoat said...

“Mao Tse Lung”?

Now THAT'S funny! May I use it?

Fernandinande said...

Speaking of racist and disrespectful, as well as stupid and crazy, check this out, it's even worse! than repeating a common phrase which is associated with a Chinese movie character:

"Decolonizing Light investigates the reproduction of colonialism in and through physics and higher physics education and explores ways of academic decolonization."

"Why physics?

Even more than other sciences, physics is a white male[*] dominated field and, thus, a mirror of colonial patterns and social inequality. Despite this fact, physics is considered as “hard” and objective science, disconnected from social life and geopolitical history. This narrative both constitutes and reproduces inequality, which is reflected by the underrepresentation of women, racialized people, and Indigenous peoples in physics."

[*] They're bad.

Unknown said...

Charlie Chan had an upstart brash, Americanized son who always got into trouble when he didn't follow the advice of his wise, Chinese father.

Charlie Chan is very, very stereotypical (and played by white men in the movies). It's not mean-spirited, in my opinion, but it's not realistic, either. The movies are fun. The two best ones I think are Charlie Chan on Broadway and Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo.

In one of the Charlie Chans (Charlie Chan in Egypt), you can watch Stepin Fetchit. That movie is mediocre (no #1 son, so that's a big problem). But Stepin Fetchit kind of steals the movie. Here's what I wrote in my book.

If you've heard about Stepin Fetchit and you want to see what the fuss is about, well, here he is. For what it's worth, I think he's funny. He's playing a guy who's superstitious and drinks too much and gambles and likes the ladies. It's broad, sure--you can see why people might be offended--but it's a funny performance, too. I like the way he tosses off comments, grumbling and not wanting to go into that pyramid where all the bones are. In fact, Stepin Fetchit's character is so frickin interesting that it kind of derails an okay Charlie Chan movie. You don't care about the mummy's curse so much as whether Stepin Fetchit is going to straighten out his problems with that Egyptian girl or move back to Alabama. It's a human performance, like a character out of Mark Twain. He creates a flawed, interesting character, filled with sins and failings, and you like him right away. He more or less steals the movie. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that he rewrote his dialog to make it more authentic black patois.

If people in the 1930's had brains they would have made a Stepin Fetchit movie and made him the hero. Funnier than Abbott and Costello, and he was doing the same shtick. As I see it, what's unfortunate about Hollywood racism in the 1930's is not that Stepin Fetchit was doing comic roles and mocking himself. What's unfortunate about racism in his day is that Stepin Fetchit did not have an opportunity to be a star and meet up with Dracula and Frankenstein and the Wolfman and all the rest of them. And of course Stepin Fetchit crafted his own persona. "You want a servant, I'm a servant. I'm a super-servant. I'm Stepin Fetchit." In a way his adopted name is his commentary on the society that he's living in. It's like adopting a slave name and mocking it at the same time. The character he creates is shiftless and no good. And we like him and it's funny.

It's really remarkable if you think about it. He's mocking racism, and the limitations placed upon his career, in a knowing and self-aware way. And this allows him the freedom to play his character to the hilt and to genuinely be funny. His name is his commentary on his situation. But in his art, in his performance, he's funny and makes fun of himself.

I think he's a little too big when he plays afraid, but he's terrific when he's grumbling and mumbling. I suspect many people miss the irony of Stepin Fetchit's art and aren't really being fair to him or his career.

Fernandinande said...

created Chinese looks dumb.
"created by the Chinese"

mikee said...

The main point is completely missed in the "Ah! So..." exegesis: The Chinese Communist Government/Party deserves to be disrespected, good and hard. China is Asshole.

Fernandinande said...

Cheetah ungawa, Ferandinande.

You shouldn't say "ungawa" because it's a catchphrase of a movie character who was a member of a racial minority group, namely Tarzan in Africa.

Now, saying "Men no go, Bwana, men say juju!" just for fun is perfectly A-OK because the men who say "juju" weren't minority characters.

Bob Smith said...

I keep telling you guys, the internet is a 24/7/365 standup comedy routine. The whole thing. Sooner or later you’ll see I’m right.

rcocean said...

"I wonder. As an Irish American, should I regard the term "Fighting Irish" as racist?"

Seriously, can the Irish just eat shit and die. They're not a race. They weren't even country for 400 years. So they're such boring clowns. Always trying to garner sympathy. Always supporting the worst elements in society. Any group of people responsible for Tammany Hall, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, IRA terrorism, and a million corrupt Politicians needs to just shut up and go away.

Roughcoat said...

Words can kill.

Just like guns, amiright?

rhhardin said...

The mocking Ah So in my experience always refers to Japanese.

rcocean said...

This is just another "What was liberal then, is Extreme Right wing now". Charlie Chan showed the Chinese in a good light. All the movies of the 30s and 40s did, because of the sympathy for the Chinese being oppressed and attacked by the Japanese. After 1941 they were our allies. It wasn't until 1950 when Mao attacked us and started killing Americans in Korea, that this changed.

Do the Chinese say "ah, so"? I've never heard one say it. The Germans say "Ach, so" - or at least they did in "Stalag 17".

Hey Skipper said...

Roughcoat:

“Mao Tse Lung”?

Now THAT'S funny! May I use it?“

With care. “Winnie Xi Flu” is probably rayciss, too.

Roughcoat said...

With care. “Winnie Xi Flu” is probably rayciss, too.

The deuce you say!

Lucien said...

Oooh La La!

Do you suppose someone who says "kung flu" means:
a) Chinese people, or maybe even all Asians, are somehow inferior to the speaker; or
b) By mocking a deadly virus, the speaker seeks to make it seem less scary?

rcocean said...

Why are Anti-japanese movies of WW 2 bad, but the Anti-German movies OK?

Here's what Hollywood was saying about the Japanese in 1944:

No your excellency. It's true we Americans don't know very much about you Japanese. And we never did. And now I realize you know even less about us. You can kill us. All of us, or part of us. But if you think that's going to put the fear of god into the United States of America, and stop them from sending other flyers to bomb you, you're wrong. Dead wrong. They'll come by night, they'll come by day. Thousands of them. They'll blacken your skies and burn your cities to the ground and make you get down on your knees and beg for mercy. This is your war. You wanted it. You asked for it. You started it. And now you're going to get it. And it won't be finished until your dirty little empire is wiped off the face of the earth.

We were a little miffed over Pearl Harbor.

Rick.T. said...

Curiously enough, Chinese natives were much less conflicted when they were introduced to Charlie Chan. His movies were big hits across Asia -- and in China especially -- despite the fact that Chan was being played by a white man.

When Chan movies were being shown in the 1930s, "people flocked to the theaters and they loved him -- especially with his pseudo fortune-cookie aphorisms," Huang says.

https://www.wbur.org/npr/129424778/story.php

Unknown said...

How -- in what sense -- is it racist, and not merely a clever, and amusing, play on words?

I think it's both. We live in a racially-aware society and if you make a clever and amusing pun about another race, it's slightly racist.

I had a friend whose last name was Spears. One time we were in the woods, and he picked up a large stick and threw it like a javelin. I yelled out, "Spear-chucker!" And I said it really, really loud. And he got mad at me, because "spear-chucker" is a racist term for black people. (He's white). I was literally innocent because I had never heard that one before.

I'll tell you another one. I was on a film shoot and our D.P. is Japanese. And we had to do a count and so somebody said, "One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi." And I said, "Or you could do Hiroshima." And the director (black guy) started laughing at my insensitivity and said, "oh shit." And I said "what?" because I didn't get it. And I then I was like, "oh." And then I was trying to think of another Japanese city with a lot of syllables and I said, "Nagasaki." And then I said, "Oh shit, I did it again." And then I said, "What's another Japanese city with a lot of syllables?" And another white guy said, "Yokohama." And I said, "Yokohama." And the Japanese guy didn't say anything. We're still friends on Facebook.

Howard said...

You people are real gong ho about Asian stereotypes.

Roughcoat said...

Unknown @9:19 AM:

All well and good, but you still haven't answered the question: How, and in what sense, is "kung flu" racist?

Roughcoat said...

Note: My use of "kung flu" was not, as you say, "about another race."

William50 said...

All this talk of Charlie Chan makes me think of another popular Asia detective Mr. Moto played by Peter Lorie.

Roughcoat said...

Is the term "teeming" racist? As in, "teeming Asian cities," a common enough characterization in years past?

Roughcoat said...

All this talk of Charlie Chan makes me think of another popular Asia detective Mr. Moto played by Peter Lorie.

Whoops, Mr. Moto, I'm a coffee pot!

narciso said...

Well they kill real reporters in mexico city or russia, you wouldnt waste a bullet with most of this lot

Sam L. said...

I have always loved the Charlie Chan movies. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen all of them.

narciso said...

One is reminded of the city of ophir in tarzans tales when you look at wakanda and how he was threatened by the tribes from arabia.

Lurker21 said...

The Germans say "Ach, so" - or at least they did in "Stalag 17".

I had a German teacher tell me that "Ah, so" meant the same thing in Japanese, English, and German, but maybe he was pulling my leg a little. They probably understand the phrase well enough by now, since most of them understand English.

Yes, because the Kung people live in Africa and the disease was created Chinese.

It's "!Kung" or it's racist.

"Decolonizing Light investigates the reproduction of colonialism in and through physics and higher physics education and explores ways of academic decolonization."

"Decolonizing Light" sounds like what we are going through now. I thought Dinesh D'Souza was full of shit when he said Obama was motivated by anticolonialism (he usually is full of it and he was that time as well), but there are parallels between decolonization and our current obsessions. Another parallel is between race now and class origin in communist regimes. It's not as serious now, but you can see the same mindset at work.

narciso said...

No d souza was right on point, obama picked up all the antiwestern tropes that you would think he would had no need for

Hey Skipper said...

I guess “holy cow!” is now rayciss, too.

Roughcoat said...

I guess “holy cow!” is now rayciss, too.

Anti-religion at the very least.

narciso: you are correct, sir.

Openidname said...

Professor, did you search your other posts to see whether you'd ever begin a sentence with "Ah! So . . . " in a non-Chinese context? The Woke love to pounce on coincidence.

Joe Smith said...

I don't know about the Chinese, but 'Ah so' is used by the Japanese.

When I first heard it spoken I was kind of taken aback...why are Japanese people using a stereotypical phrase?

But that's the point with any stereotype...they are derived from real life.

'Ah so' is an abbreviation of 'Ah, so desu.' Which roughly translates to 'Of course' or 'Sure...got it.'

The 'Ah' part is just an ordinary 'Ah' like we would say. The 'so desu' is more of an 'it is.'

A go-to reply to a question that I would understand to be true, or a statement of fact that I would agree with, would be 'So desu.'

Hiroko-san: Kyo wa atsui desu. (Hiroko: It is hot today.) Me: Hai, so desu. (Me: Yes, it is.)

Hard to explain unless you hear Japanese spoken all of the time, but the Japanese use a lot of sounds that are equivalent to our 'mm' when agreeing with someone, etc. They often sound like grunting noises but they make sense once you hear them a lot in context.

narciso said...

I remember there was a classic dr. Who who had a alien robot playing the part of a fu manchu character, wen chiang that makes certain woke very cross.

narciso said...

So chinese are supposed to be always wise ( they have been very learned) but noble, of course the first counts againsr them for achool admissions.

Roughcoat said...

I always thought they were inscrutable.

tim maguire said...

I wouldn't say "ah, so" in a Charlie Chan voice, but it wouldn't even occur to me to worry about the offensiveness of putting those two words together under any circumstances, including if the topic relates to China. That's absurd. What kind of person thinks like that?

Roughcoat said...

I wouldn't say "ah, so" in a Charlie Chan voice,

But you'd be thinking it in a Charlie Chan voice, and that's just as bad: double-plus ungood-think.

Anyway, if you don't say it in a Charlie Chan voice, what's the point of saying it at all?

Roughcoat said...

How many think the way Boris and Natasha speak is funny? Show of hands ...

Marty said...

According to CRT, every white person is de facto racist, and all of the apologies for misuse of language as determined by the Thought Police are in vain. Well, maybe, unless you give them all your money. That includes the Professor.

(BTW, I wonder: do they know they elected a racist President?)

Jack Klompus said...

If you don't stop, you'll turn Japanese!

Joe Smith said...

"How do you get shirts so clean, Mr. Lee?"

No idea, but if you have no tikee you will get no raundery.

Jack Klompus said...

Ancient Chinese Secret!


Retail Lawyer said...

Confusing Japanese with Chinese must surely be racist.

Jack Klompus said...

The Frintstones take karate.

Balfegor said...

Re: Lloyd Robertson:

Has there been a discussion of "long time no see" on this site? Some claim it is a pretty fair rendering into English of a Cantonese expression, but many boomers picked it up from Charlie Chan, with the implication of mocking someone who is learning English, but whose English is still not perfect. A bit weirdly to me, the expression comes up in the subtitles of "Midnight Diner," obviously set in Tokyo with people primarily speaking Japanese. There is some interaction with Korean and Chinese people speaking their own languages.

The Japanese phrase is probably either お久しぶりです (o-hisashiburi desu) or ご無沙汰です (go-busata), and the Korean 오래간만이에요 (oregan-man ieyo), all of which mean more or less "it has been a long time."

Incidentally, I would have thought "Ah, so" to come from Japanese rather than Chinese, since the Japanese say things like ああ、そうですか (Aa, sou desu ka ~ "Ah, indeed?") as part of regular conversational aizuchi.

Balfegor said...

Re: Roughcoat:

All well and good, but you still haven't answered the question: How, and in what sense, is "kung flu" racist?

A phrase like "Wuhan flu" or even "China virus" just appends a geographic descriptor to the word, like "Spanish flu" or "German measles." But turning it into "Kung flu" now incorporates a cultural practice (Kung Fu) associated stereotypically with a particular race (Chinese) into the mix. That is, it makes the leap from geography => ethnic group, like if we used terms like -- I don't know -- bullfight flu or Kraut measles. At that point, it's no longer just a geographic descriptor. Now it's an ethnic (or racial) descriptor. Which is what makes it arguably racist.

But the line I'm drawing is different from the line the people who throw a fit over China virus or Wuhan flu are drawing. I don't know or understand the logic behind the line they're trying to draw.

Unknown said...

How, and in what sense, is "kung flu" racist?

I used the term "slightly racist." It's racialist. And if you want to say kung fu isn't a reference to China, whatever. I don't actually give a shit. My point, which kind of flew over your head, is that friendship is important. When we start reducing friends to "woke scold" or "racist" we demean ourselves as human beings.

Maybe call up your friend and ask if he wants to have a beer summit.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Lurker21 said...
Does this mean we’re no longer a melting pot- ?
*************

These days, it's the pot that's melting.

Roughcoat said...

I don't know or understand the logic behind the line they're trying to draw.

I know and understand your logic, and I think it's bullshit.

Roughcoat said...

My point, which kind of flew over your head,

I got your point. But it wasn't my point. I was addressing a specific element of your post, that "kung flu" is slightly racist, or racialist, or whatever stupid definition you want to give it. And my point, which seems to have kind gone over your head, was that you are full of shit.

tcrosse said...

Here's a blast from a more enlightened past: Chinese Laundry Blues

KellyM said...
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Balfegor said...

Re: Roughcoat:

I know and understand your logic, and I think it's bullshit.

Well then I'm afraid we must disagree. I do think "Kung flu" crosses the line into a mildly racist joke, and if you use it, well, you're being racist.

Rockport Conservative said...

I think whoever pointed out the "Ah! So" was being racist. I read it, I am an older woman from the era that would have seen and said Ah, So in the racist way. I did not even notice it was an "Ah So" moment, because it wasn't. It was an Ah, followed by a sentence that makes sense in itself. If you aren't thinking racism you wouldn't see it there. Is that what they mean by systemic? I don't think so. I hate to think every word is looked over and taken out of context to be called racist or even semi-racist.
No apologies needed here. Forgive yourself for having racist readers and move on.

Joe Smith said...

Whether 'Ah, So' is racist or not, it's best to refrain from pulling the corners of your eyes back while saying it.

And maybe don't bow either...

Rabel said...

"And I said "what?" because I didn't get it. And I then I was like, "oh." And then I was trying to think of another Japanese city with a lot of syllables and I said, "Nagasaki." And then I said, "Oh shit, I did it again."

Bull Shit.

Rabel said...

"Guilty conscience always first to speak up." (Charlie Chan in The Feathered Serpent)

Hercules, not that one though said...

I watched a lot of Charlie Chan movies. My take was that Chan was like Sherlock Holmes. Both could hear the dog that didn't bark. Ah...so.