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Live Blogging in an Empty Tolman Classroom!

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 2, 2008 3 Comments

Crazy Indian Video….Buffalaxed:

Youki: Usree, I came across this video and I was extremely reluctant to share it with you, because of how extremely offensive it was.
Usree: Extremely?
Youki: [Nervous laughter]
Usree: Okay…I love offensive…er “stuff.”
Youki: [Looking away, still nervous]: I actually saw it a couple of days ago. And uh wasn’t [laughter][ gonna send it to you. Then you showed me another…youtube video, and I thought, “aaaahh sure!”

[During the video: Usree laughing uproariously, Youki hand-covering-face thinking what have I done, and unmistakeably relieved that Usree didn’t punch him or that she didn’t throw her laptop against the wall.]


Usree [smiling, happily cornering Youki who is still a little disbelieving that he actually showed her the video]: I think it’s funny!
Youki [feigning outrage]: I think it’s offensive.
Usree: So, Youki, why DID you find it offensive? I thought it funny mimicry.
Youki [hands still covering his face, nervous laughter continuing]: It totally sounds like when people mimic Asian languages like Ching [Usree hands the laptop to Youki cause she’s too embarrassed afraid to write the following line] “ching-chong-ching-chong” like Rosie O’Donnell. [Hands laptop unwillingly gladly back to Usree.]
Usree: I’m not sure I’m embarrassed, or afraid as you wrote, I think I am more reluctant. I don’t feel like I have the right to laugh at that kind of stereotypical mimicry of a cultural group that I am not a part of.
Youki: [laptop handed back to Youki] and that’s exactly why i was reluctant to show you the indian music video…
Usree: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh. So this is a larger question about humor, about what we “can” laugh at.
Youki: Ya -_-
[Silence. Somebody break it]

Usree: Well, it’s like another video that I have seen:

Youki: But that’s…that’s different.
Usree: How?????
Youki: Don’t you remember what I said?
Usree: [resounding silence]
Youki: When we actually saw the video two minutes ago?
Usree: Is that a crack at my memory?
Youki: No! It’s a-Don’t make me say things that will be decontextualized and float around in cyberspace for all eternity. The second video is not [loudly, rising intonation] AS offensive. The first one is offensive among MANY reasons-
Youki: Uh…[LONG PAUSE, nervously laughing].

Usree just tried to view the video and it just got pulled off youtube, as we were writng this! Usree just found another copy. Here it is…we are embedding the new one here:

Update: Original video is working!

Usree: So now, what’s offensive about the first video?
Youki: It’s offensive because there is NO attempt at all to understand the actual meaning of the words.
Usree: Well, it’s humor. What is humor then? I am in a way flattered by his interest in an Indian music video…
Youki: It’s not a genuine interest in understanding the genuine culture. It’s a misrepresentation, an appropriation of another culture.
Usree: Well, it’s not…how do you measure genuineness? It’s attempting to be a misrepresentation; he makes NO claims about the genuineness of this video; as being any kind of cultural commentary, or documentation of a cultural artifact. The first thing he says is this is NOT a translation. You’re saying you’re offended because you think you should be.
Youki: I’m offended because I am actually am, not because I think I should be. It’s offensive because the culture is represented as an object of ridicule, not as an object of understanding.
Usree: [Youki, when she attempts to speak, cuts her off, saying, “You’re not talking to ME”-hands up in the air in a gesture precluding any further conversation…and continues laughing, and hands over laptop, seriously, saying “Write it down.”] By your standards, no one can play around with cultural representations, because if they do, their efforts might be viewed as derogatory. I don’t think he was coming from a place of seriousness, not trying to make a documentary, not trying to “present” a cultural artifact. He was interested by the sounds, and the subtitles are actually quite close to the sounds, though obviously totally off base (I imagine) in terms of actual words, and of course the questions of semantics does not enter into it.
Youki: I wasn’t saying that he was coming from a place of seriousness, I’m saying that he’s exploiting the culture at their expense. I mean, look at the title: it says “Buffalaxed” in it, he’s verbing his own process to alter the video. It implies that Indian culture, as represented in the video, needs to be “altered” or “adapted” – perhaps we can say orientalized – in order to gain acceptance in western culture (at least, Youtube culture).
Usree: I don’t think he’s doing that at all! This is a random guy probably playing around with videos on his mom’s laptop.
Youki: I wonder what Chigaijin would say about all this, or other FITizens.

Final thoughts?

Usree: You were laughing too, when you watched the video. (G)Obama!
Youki: I can’t believe you’re writing that. I hate you. This was soooooo fun!

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3 Responses to “Live Blogging in an Empty Tolman Classroom!”

  1. Usree Bhattacharya on: 2 December 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Hey, Youki…how come we called it empty when we were in it?

  2. Youki on: 2 December 2008 at 9:37 pm

    good question

  3. Usree Bhattacharya on: 2 December 2008 at 10:36 pm

    And was this even “live blogging”? More like live conversation transcription.

    I mean, no timestamps! 🙁

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