Foot-in-mouth syndrome seems to be getting ever more contagious, infecting the likes of NY comedian and ex-Aflac duck Gilbert Gottfried, as well as members of the New York City Ballet. It’s even wrecked the career of a veteran Brooklyn teacher.
Perhaps the nation’s most tweeted city ought to take a lesson from the other coast.
Out west, one Alexandra Wallace, a UCLA student who posted a video on YouTube March 11, blasted her Asian classmates for talking on the phone in the library (regarding, she presumes, their relatives in “the tsunami thing”), among other crimes. Ms. Wallace imitated an Asian student’s speech–”Ohhhh! Ching chong ling long ting tong”–while priding herself on her “American manners.”
The rant, which went viral despite being removed by Wallace on Sunday, promptly earned the third-year political science (indeed!) major a number of death threats. (None of this, by the way, is the lesson worth learning!)
Enter Jimmy Wong, a 24-year-old musician who decided to take a softer approach. He posted a video response Tuesday, March 15, featuring “Ching Chong,” a humorous love song dedicated to Wallace. It garnered over 125,000 hits in five hours, yet Wong’s ultimate victory lies in the fact that over 100,000 viewers and thousands of page subscribers have since populated his other videos. He was yesterday’s #1 most viewed musician on YouTube.
What messages can we send to Gottfried, ballet people, raging teachers and other loose-lipped New Yorkers? Unabashed “self-expression” is not always brave; in fact, it’s frequently dumb–unless done with artfulness, or song! (We must admit, it’s stuck in our head.)