To the the Dimly Lit Fusion Restaurant and To My People:

Wait. I wasn’t sure. What kind of restaurant is this?

Just to clarify: I love Asian Fusion New York City-type establishments where’s it’s one stop shopping for the all things Asian and probably stir-fried. I’ve been to many an establishment in New York City where I enter the dimly lit foyer to some familiar pop music, sparking new tile glint and the table, black chopsticks rest upon a matching holder. The restaurant is so dark, you can’t see where your soy sauce container is. The waitresses yes the crap out of the diners and then yap away in Mandarin or Fujian to their bosses as they serve you the perfunctory miso soup and edamame.

Whenever you find a restaurant with a ‪#‎fobby‬ name of any kind, you know it’s owned by Chinese people. These are all over my neighborhood and all over pre-dominantly white neighborhoods: the Asian Fusion Take Out Upgrade owned by my people.

I’ve been to Italian restaurants owned by Chinese people and yes, to me, it seemed passable but not to my Italian American husband/partner/dude guy. So you know the rules. If the said ethnic says a said ethnic restaurant isn’t good; one cries “Inauthentic!”

But when you go to a Japanese restaurant owned by Chinese people, there’s this default belief that by virtue of the cooks being Asiatic, the food would fare better. Okay maybe a little better than that Chinese Parm…I mean Chicken Parm. 

What I don’t get is this: why don’t these Chinese people just make really good Chinese food and stop being fake sushi chefs? I’m not arguing that Chinese people can’t be sushi chefs, of course, gastronomy is universal. Rather, there’s a deficit of real rib sticking good Chinese food in non-Chinese markets. What are we afraid of?

I think humanity would really benefit from my people just getting real with others.

Make that Fujianese or Cantonese food, but make sure it’s good. Be proud and charge like the Japanese and Koreans do.

Turn up the lights! Keep the tables sticky and leave the bone on the meat! I want menus scribbled in Chinese and I want the shame to wash over me as I point desperately at it. Humanity!

Here’s some Chinese! Although I don’t think anyone that would actually know how to read the characters who go here to eat.

Alas, make those changes but  keep my Bento box lunch special on the menu though: chicken teriyaki and fried shumai. Soup. And a fortune cookie.

An Open Letter to “Judge” Jeanine Pirro

Preface: I wrote my letter to Judge Jeanine Pirro prior to Fox’s other in-depth coverage on “no-go zones”. The city of Paris is currently mulling over a possible lawsuit against Fox News for allegedly committing libel and slander. American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, is currently killing it (excuse the pun) at the box office and the Islamophobics appear to have called an open season on who they consider Muslim or more simply, who they consider, terrorist-looking.

Dear Judge Pirro,

In regards to your recent statements in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and your proposed next steps in tackling religious extremism, particularly of Islamic extremism, should be, you argued, “We need to kill them. We need to kill (Radical Islamists).”

As a teacher, I couldn’t help but make a Text to Text Connection (1 of Zaner and Bloser’s 9 Habits of Good Reading) to your in-depth analysis.

I don’t teach rocket science. I’m just a Global Studies and Participation in Government teacher in your home state. I follow the NY State Common Core alligned standards.

You see, I teach a unit on “Religious Radicalism” titled “The Crusades,” (NYSSS Standards: 9.6a Internal tensions and challenges grew as disputes over authority and power arose between and among religious and political leader – Students will investigate the Crusades from multiple perspectives, focusing on aspects of religious conflict) and usually I start with a recruitment speech by the Pope who started it all.

Pope Urban II in 1096 “Christ commands it.”

Like a lot of these religious radicals, Pope Urban II was a pretty good religious spin doctor. “Most beloved brethren: Urged by necessity, I, Urban, by the permission of God chief bishop and prelate over the whole world, have come into these parts as an ambassador with a divine admonition to you, the servants of God. ”

And if people back then weren’t listening, they were after this guilt-inducing plea: “I hoped to find you as faithful and as zealous in the service of God as I had supposed you to be.”

When the Pope spoke, the peasants listened. The Holy Land was being plundered by the Arab Muslims, continued the Pope, “On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends.”  And it was his job to rally the people to defend it by seizing it back.

Now the Pope sweetened the deal, “All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested.”

He also catered towards their fear of the Muslim Arabs and created a distinct enemy, “O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons (Ironic, they worshipped the same God.) should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ!…Moreover, Christ commands it.”

If people needed additional convincing to take on this divine war, the Pope gave them the cherry they were looking for,“Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward.”

It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to infer how the words of someone so exulted, can also be so exploitative in his intentions, in his manipulations and in his ability to bribe the living daylights out of his congregation: the God-fearing, the peasants, his army, under his command.

I know you don’t compare yourself to this  Medieval papacy, but your words echo the same codified call to action, a call to kill in the name of what? Democracy? Christianity? Freedom?

Does killing these “radical Islamists” give one the reward of bonified American-ness?! Will we really be more safe?

One thing is for certain, there will be greater division and fear. In fact, you’re awfully scary.

Rabbits are cute.

What also really scares me about you is that you were once a judge. You once ran for NY State Attorney General. You don’t fear being reductive and incendiary. You sit upon a pulpit where millions of people watch you everyday. You work for a “news” network that is hell bent on crucifying bunny rabbits.

You are a religious crusader yourself; you espouse the same hate that you rail against.

I am just a teacher trying my hand at shearing your sheep’s clothing.  I don’t have the same millions, in dollars and viewers, that you have. All I have is my classroom. That I have.

So there you have it, my Text to Text Connection. And if there’s anything that we do share in common, it’s our steadfast belief in “freedom of expression.” Although I think you’re a fear-monger and a hate speaker, I would never deny you that right.

If I did, I would be denying my own right to take you to task by comparing you to a Medieval wartime Pope, twisting the logic of the faithful to exterminate the perceived enemy.

Yes, pretty Medieval.


Subversive Mommy