Friday, June 5, 2009

ALSO KINDA OFF-TOPIC: I wants my Palm Pre, but not if they're gonna advertise it this way

(Another tangential post that I'll reel back into Asians and comics at the end. I promise!)

So, I'm up for a new phone, and I've been eyeing the Palm Pre with a certain slavering hunger (Parry and Jerry rock the smexy iPhone of course, and whip it out annoyingly whenever an opportunity arises), but I've been in a death-clench with Sprint as my only provider since I got a mobile phone; we shall both go down together. And so, with the iPhone an AT&T-only property for now, my options are limited.

I've got old love in my heart for Palm. I had a series of Treos, before begrudgingly switching to Blackberry when it became obvious the Treos just weren't hacking it anymore. And now, the Pre—which seems to be a legitimate rival to the handheld many call the JesusPhone. So may maybe the Pre wants to be the BuddhaPhone? At least that's what their marketing suggest, kinda. Or something.

If you haven't seen it yet, their big teaser ad for this Saturday's release is called "Flow," and it features your basic porcelain white demigoddess on a rock being worshipped by an emotionless army of Asian drones, performing rippling moves in rhythm with the dance of her slender ivory fingers. It's unsettling. Like, Verizon's "network" ads are freaky enough, but at least the crowd following the dude is a.) multicultural and b.) smiling.

This, on the other hand, does that whole "Asians as synchronized mob" thing that I can't help but find a little troubling—like, it's cool we can do stuff that requires massive discipline and collaboration (see: Beijing Olympics, Cirque du Soleil acts) but why is it always done in a flat-featured, mechanical way that erases individual identity? (At least they told the drummers at the Bird's Nest to smile, so they didn't look so robotic. Not here.) Having the empowered white queen on a pedestal in the center of the Asian hive only makes it that much more creepy, if you ask me.

Anyway, in the real world, wouldn't it be the other way around? Like, a whole bunch of blank-faced Caucasians worshiping an Asian person with a TOTES AWESOME PHONE, because Japan and Korea get all the good stuff first? In Japan, Pre is short for "(only appropriate for) Pre-(schoolers, since our phones already rock so much harder.)"

But Asians always get depicted as faceless, identical hordes, don't we? Like in the comics (see Keith? I'm bringing it back to Asians and comics!). Remember "Contest of Champions"? China's "national representative" for that lame-o crossover was the Collective Man. Some wikilove for Collective Man:

The Collective Man is actually an identity shared by the Tao-Yu brothers. They possess the mutant power to merge into one body, which variously possesses the collective strength of all five men or of all of the people of China. The brothers also share a psychic/spiritual link that allows them to telepathically communicate and teleport to one another.

Oh yes, they're also quintuplets. Five people, all look same! Share one power, can join together using Socialist principles into glorious "super" work team!

(This, by the way, is the future of the Gosselin kids: Merger into one giant, Voltron-esque Gosslective, their unholy strength powered by collective rage at their parents.)

And how about this one, from Grant Morrison's horrible attempt at creating a China super-team, Great Ten (Wikipedia)?

Mother of Champions: Real name Niang Guan Jun, is a woman who can birth a litter of twenty-five super-soldiers about every three days. She uses a metallic chair with six insect-like legs to remain mobile during her pregnant is revealed that she has had thousands of children, and that each batch of superhuman children are conceived by suitors whom she hand picks.

Eewww. That's wrong in just so many ways. Like...she's the mother/whore dichotomy in one misguided ultimate combo. And she births "litters," like a dog or pig, although really if you're talking 25 soldiers every three days, it's more like "spawning" than "birthing."

...let's just move on.

All I'm saying is, we hardly need more Asians-as-undifferentiated-drone-army bullsh*t. Non-Asian superheroes get to be grim-n-gritty individualists, lone-wolf mavericks who ride motorcycles and throw around awesome taglines like "I'm the best there is at what I do" and "Bub." Asian superheroes, meanwhile, are cannon fodder—the original Clone Army.

Maybe I'll get a Samsung Instinct.