Here are some of the reactions in the blogosphere to Dean Koontz’s "Mr. Teriyaki" speech.
From It’s Matt’s World:
It should be kept in mind that Koontz isn’t some anonymous man wearing
a white sheet over his head. He is a mainstream American author, whose
books have sold in the (probable) millions…
Koontz didn’t utter the words "chink" or "jap." Yet can it be disputed
that his speech was racist? It’s important to realize and understand
this, and not shy away from labeling it what it is. This is the only
way we can move forward and progress as a society.
those who would argue that racism exists today only in the form of the
occasional march of men in white sheets, or whenever the "n" word is
uttered, or some member of a minority is dragged from the back of a
moving vehicle. But all that does is insulate us from the reality that
still exists. Racism is not dead, it is simply more insidious than it
used to be. It comes in the form of kids beating up on other kids
because "the Asians are smarter." It comes in the form of a popular
novelist stirring the pot of racial tensions and the bitter past. It
comes from comedians making jokes based upon racial stereoypes and bad
impressions of various ethnic accents. To ignore all of this and not
call it what it is, is to be complicit in the racism of the 21st
century. Surely, we can do better?
From Amy Ridenour:
Get a clue! Black people were victims of slavery. Jews were victims of the Holocaust. Japan conducted the Bataan Death March. Personally,
I’m not one for Bataan Death March humor. Doesn’t strike me as funny,
but not because I would fear offending the perpetrators, but because I
would not wish to make light of the horrors experienced by the victims. The
difference between a victim and a perpetrator is a very clear one. It’s
odd, and rather worrisome, that some people don’t seem to see it.
Koontz doesn’t see anything wrong with his personal story of writing to
a Japanese movie executive and addressing him as Mr. Teriyaki while also
referencing low points in Japanese history to try to get his point across. He calls it George Carlin-esque. The difference may be though that a comedian
is just making jokes while, if Koontz’s anecdote is to be taken at face value,
Koontz really engaged in this behavior.
Steven Barrie-Anthony reports that "Koontz blames the brouhaha on
‘some sort of an agenda,’" and dutifully records the author’s
explanantion that he can’t be a racist because "I was a poor kid with a
Jewish grandmother and a great-grandmother who was black, [and] I grew
up in a dirt-poor family." Koontz also describes the letters that
prompted the controversy: "There’s some political incorrectness in it,
but nothing mean."
Right. "We could have a few sake and reminisce about the Bataan
Death March" is absolutely not a mean thing to say to a Japanese
executive, just good-humored political incorrectness.