This morning I woke up to the news that the Census Bureau counts dad staying home with the kids as "child care arrangement" (not so much, moms who do the same thing!), and a certain, Gawker-owned "women's issue" site posted stills of a woman being raped, but in a week of douchebags, I had to spend some time pointing out Pete Hoekstra's racist political ad that will be airing in Michigan for the next two weeks.
If you watched the game on Sunday, you might have caught creepiness from Teleflora, and fetishization/objectificaiton from Fiat, and typical bottom-of-the-barrel ad fare from GoDaddy.com. But in Michigan you would have gotten the added bonus of watching a anti-Chinese, racist, WTF political ad as well!
Pete Hoekstra, who is running for U.S. Senate, has a new take on some old-fashioned "yellow peril," using inaccurate and offensive stereotypes to gain votes. The commercial opens with a gong, natch, and a young woman approaching on a bicycle through a rice paddy field (which many have pointed out resembles more of a romanticized, pastoral Vietnam than a present-day China).
In a dialect that can be best described as "An American poorly affecting stereotypical broken English" (I optimistically like to think it was the actress's way of subverting the commercial?) she says, "Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie 'Spend-it-now.' Debbie spend so much American money, You borrow more and more, from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie 'Spend-it-now.'"
What you may see is an amalgam of ruh-dunkulous Asian stereotypes and a bad pun out of democratic senator Debbie Stabinow's name. What you may have missed is the subtle commentary on Chinese education! "The fact that a Chinese girl is speaking English is a testament to how they can compete with us, when an American boy of the same age speaking Mandarin is absolutely insane, or unthinkable right now. It exhibits another way in which China is competing with us globally," a Hoekstra spokesperson explained to POLITICO. "I think the viewer of an ad is going to recognize satire. I wouldn't agree of the characterization [of the ad] as racial."
But it doesn't stop there. The website DebbieSpendItNot.com was created in conjuncture with the ad, a websitethat Disgrasian has described as "crammed with just about every Asian cliché imaginable. Oriental fans? Check. Dragons? Check. Red lanterns? Check. The Great Wall of China, a clay teapot, and everything written in that Chinese takeout font? Yep." Now, that URL simply redirects to Hoekstra's official site, but these screenshots give you a taste of what was up just yesterday:
Maybe the reason Hoekstra has to rely on tacky, link-baiting websites is because he doesn't have access to his own. Not quick enough to buy his own URL, PeteHoekstra.com is actually dedicated to all of the candidate's bad PR (they were flush with content this week).
Comedian Ali Wong has already posted a new take on the video (Attention Hoekstra spokesperson! This is what "satire" actually is), turning the racist ad into an absurdist version of itself, with even more egregious stereotypes (and more gongs). "Have I ever met an Asian person? No. But I have seen Rush Hour. And Rush Hour 3," a Pete Hoeska stand-in says. "I'm Pete 'Is a Racist' Hoekstra, and I approve this message."
Hoekstra, if you don't want to alienate democrats and conservatives, stick to making bad puns out of your opponent's name next time and leave it at that.
DISGRASIAN OF THE SUPER BOWL! Pete Hoekstra's Racist, Anti-Chinese, "We Take Your Jobs" Ad [Disgrasian]
Super Bowl ads: Pete Hoekstra's hits a nerve [POLITICO]