One of these men played the unscrupulous Hong Kong money man in The Dark Knight. The other was a noble if frazzled scientist in The Martian. Both are fantastic actors, but only one is slated to appear as Wong opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming Dr. Strange.
Yesterday, I wrote about what I called the Angry Asian Conflict (if you haven’t read it yet, go at least skim the intro to figure out what’s going on and who the players are because I’m about to jump in without giving more background). I had no idea that this post would so resonate with you all, and I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) by the positive reactions I’ve received from readers.
I’m honoured by those who have taken the time to reach out to me and thank me for the writing of the post, and flattered (and humbled) by the several people who, spurred by the post and my work in general, are calling me Asian America’s Wonder Woman.
"If Phil Yu is the Superman of Asian America, Lela Lee is the Wonder Woman." But Jenn Fang @reappropriate is Wonder Woman.
I don’t even know what to say except that I’m just so honoured, and I will endeavour to never disappoint those of you who decide to stick around and continue reading me after all the dust settles. But, I also want to emphasize that it is you, reader, who deserves all the kudos for staying engaged and involved, and above all for staying angry. So, thank you, everyone, for the outpouring of love I’ve received over the last 24 hours.
That same outpouring of love is emblematic, I think, of the many factors about online Asian America that Lela Lee failed to take into account when she published her first post on Friday evening outlining her ongoing trademark dispute with Phil Yu.
Lee contends in her post that Yu and his online moniker infringes upon the registered ALAG trademark, and that the similarity between the two names will create consumer confusion: basically that the casual reader might mistake Angry Little Asian Girl and Angry Asian Man as related products originating from the same person. Lee goes on to accuse Yu of having plagiarized much of Angry Asian Man from the Angry Little Asian Girl business model — she cites his Angry Reader of the Week feature and a t-shirt design — and of basically taking credit for the phrase and concept of the “Angry Asian”.
Yu responded with his own blog post yesterday, unique in that it is probably 10 times longer than anything Yu has ever written for his site. Yu discloses in his post that not only has this dispute been ongoing for the better part of the last year, but that Lee has sent Cease & Desist letters to both himself and Wendy Xu, creator of the web-comic Angry Girl Comics, threatening both with additional legal action. Xu has since also published her own side of the story, confirming that she has also been targeted by Lee’s lawyers.
So, this is a thing happening right now in Asian America; so, let’s talk about it.
Phil’s always been a pretty private person, keeping a nice delineation between his blogging self and his real-life self. For a long time, he (like I) blogged anonymously, and I even remember the news article that first unmasked Phil as the man behind Angry Asian Man.
Over the last 13 years, Angry Asian Man has been the go-to site for Asian American lifestyle and identity politics, amassing tens of thousands of clicks a week. And for whatever combination of reasons, we assume that maintaining a blog of that size and profile is easy: throw a few words into your WordPress, splash on a Google image, and voila — instant web revenue!