MEMEWATCH: Adventures In Linsanity

As part of her column today, Sonita Moss sent us a batch of Jeremy Lin-inspired pictures. So many, in fact, that they threatened to overwhelm the actual piece.

But we thought, why let the images go to waste? So to supplement the ones she sent us, we decided to look up “Jeremy Lin” meme and see what popped up. The newest appears to be Linning, based off the bit from the picture on the right, where Lin and New York Knicks teammate Landry Fields cap off their Troy-and-Abed-like salute with a ritual donning of faux-glasses.

And like any good meme, it didn’t take long for it to spread, as you can see below in a pic taken in Australia:

Also, the pic above came from JeremyWin, which tends to feature Lin in action, but made time yesterday for some Va-LIN-tine cheer. Some of the others under the cut … well, they’re rooting for Lin, at least. How problematic are they? We’ll let you decide.

  • umm…what????

    The worst thing about the Jeremy Lin fiasco is that this is what America is like when it’s trying to show a person of color some fanfare and adulation.

  • Anonymous

    So are you now clear that there are multiple ethnicities in both China and Taiwan, although there are groups that live in both places? And that native Taiwanese is in fact a real thing?

  • Anonymous

    No, I wasn’t confusing it b/c I listed some of those Chinese ethnicities IN MY COMMENT.  So yeah, there are different ethnicities in China and Taiwan and the “Chinese” as in the government are the ones who rule Taiwan now, and yes, there are ethnic groups that are officially recognized by that same Chinese government.  Chinese is a real adjective that refers to citizens of China.  I mean, if I talk about Blacks and then talk about the American government it doesn’t mean that I’m denying the existence of one subset just b/c I make reference t0 of the whole.  

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  • Strat

    Those references to (cough) “Asian” culture like Yakuza, Godzilla, karate, or kamikazes above are classic examples of the stereotypically racist lens that America predictably views Asia and particularly Japan.

    It’s called pop culture Orientalism.

    Not only do these Proud Amurikans pathetically confuse Japan with China/Taiwan, as noted, but they also ignore the little fact that J-Lin himself is native born Asian American.

    Throughout the USA’s ignominious racist history, “real” Americans (aka Whites) have viewed Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners, regardless of how long they have lived here.

    And as evidenced the case of these J-Lin memes, the more things change, the more they stay the same–even in the age of Hope and Change.

  • Mickey

    *Reads twitter comments*

    I think some people really need to stop inhaling the fumes from a burning cross.

  • Elli

    I don’t know the guy and not very keen on professional sport, but it still made me sad.  Apparently his looks and asianess (I woudn’t say etnicity, because those people clearly don’t think in those terms)  is the only important thing about him. ;(

  • Anonymous

    I am amazed by the idiocy of confusing China and Japan, but I have a serious question: is it a notable distinction that he is Taiwanese rather than from the mainland? Does that make him “not Chinese?” I’m just curious.

    • Anonymous

      Someone else can probably explain it a lot better, but basically it depends on who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about.

      Ethnically, many (but not all) people in Taiwan are Chinese, and there also are aboriginal Taiwanese people. The official language is Mandarin, but there also is a Taiwanese language, as well as other languages spoken by small groups of people. (And then there’s a whole Japanese influence, too.)

      Politically, there are people who believe Taiwan is either part of China or an alternate China (<= huge oversimplification), and people who believe Taiwan is an independent nation. The former seem to be more likely to refer to people in/from Taiwan as Chinese; the latter seem more likely to refer to people in/from Taiwan as Taiwanese.

      Also, during the last U.S. census, there was a viral video push for Americans with roots in Taiwan, who previously had been identified as Chinese-American, to identify as Taiwanese-American. I spoke with a woman in Taiwan who said she's most comfortable identifying herself as "Chinese from Taiwan," which seems wordy but precise, but I don't know how mainstream that approach is.

      I am pretty sure Lin is ethnically Chinese, but I don't know whether he identifies as Chinese- or Taiwanese-American, and I didn't want to make a political statement by my choice of adjective, which is why worded it the  way I did.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the clarification! From what I understand there is also overlap with Vietnam, considering the border with part of China. Is that right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Vandivere/650258206 Derek Vandivere

      Well, not if you ask the Chinese, anyway. As far as I know, there’s not a difference in ethnicity, just in the form of government.

      • Anonymous

        That’s not really accurate at all.  You are confusing ethnicity with nationality.   That’s like saying that no one’s race or ethnicity matters just b/c of who runs their gov’t.  That’s like saying Native American’s/Indigenous.  

        The Chinese may claim sovereignty over Taiwan but I doubt they are pretending that some people are not ethnically Taiwanese, just like the people in mainland China belong to different ethnic groups,  Han,Uyghur, Tibetan etc.  So the Chinese do in fact recognize different ethnicities, just not their right to self-govern.

        • Anonymous

          I meant that it would be like saying that there is no such thing as Native American’s/Indigenous people just b/c a bunch of Europeans came over and took their land from them and started running their lives.

  • Purpleduck84

    The second one especially annoyed me…. Jeremy Lin isn’t Japanese, ffs. I mean, I know that to a lot of non-Asians, we’re all the same, but REALLY.

    I adore the High Expectations Asian Father, though.

  • Purpleduck84

    The second one especially annoyed me…. Jeremy Lin isn’t Japanese, ffs. I mean, I know that to a lot of non-Asians, we’re all the same, but REALLY.

    I adore the High Expectations Asian Father, though.

  • Anonymous

    Totally laughed at the Hadouken picture. 

  • Anonymous

    Totally laughed at the Hadouken picture. 

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  • mickinickharp

    I never cease to be embarrassed by my fellow Americans who are unable (or unwilling) to understand that all of Asia is not China or Japan, nor that all Asian folk are Chinese or Japanese.  The Tweets that wrongly cite a Japanese heritage are the images with which I have the biggest problem.  The other images, I believe, are clearly meant in a celebration of Lin’s talent.  A couple of the images reminded me of bits that comedians like Bill Maher or Chris Rock might use in their routines.

    • Purpleduck84

      I completely agree. The second one annoyed me the most out of the lot. ALL of the jokes were related to Japanese stereotypes. I mean, come on. If you’re gonna make jokes, at least do your research. But I guess that would defeat the purpose, lol.

    • Purpleduck84

      I completely agree. The second one annoyed me the most out of the lot. ALL of the jokes were related to Japanese stereotypes. I mean, come on. If you’re gonna make jokes, at least do your research. But I guess that would defeat the purpose, lol.

  • Mike

    Maybe it’s just a coincidence but “crouching tiger hidden point guard” is a pretty interesting way to describe Jeremy Lin considering the proverb’s meaning.

    • Kat

      Well, at least that is a CORRECT cultural reference: “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” was made by Ang Lee, another Taiwanese American.

  • Pajamas

    Nice! Kamikaze, Godzilla, karate/sushi, Yakuza, Hiroshima… every. single. one. of those iphone comments referred to JAPANESE culture. That is SO pathetic.

  • Pajamas

    Nice! Kamikaze, Godzilla, karate/sushi, Yakuza, Hiroshima… every. single. one. of those iphone comments referred to JAPANESE culture. That is SO pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Adding insult to injury, the twitter favorites reference things Americans associate with -Japan-, when Lin is Chinese/Taiwanese-American. (Not that they’d be OK if he -were- Japanese-American.)

  • Anonymous

    Adding insult to injury, the twitter favorites reference things Americans associate with -Japan-, when Lin is Chinese/Taiwanese-American. (Not that they’d be OK if he -were- Japanese-American.)

  • Sanoe

     Someday, Americans will know the difference between China and Japan, but today is not that day.

    • Gillyrosh

      You are so much more optimistic about this than I am.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, every time I tell people that I study Japanese, they start mentioning stuff about China!