Sunday, February 1, 2009

eurasian relations, part 2: 80s pop-culture analysis

last year--er, in 2007, rather--i posted some ridiculous euro disco music videos, including this one by the confettis. today while revisiting the italodisco genre on youtube (i can spend hours--days--years, apparently checking this stuff out), i came across a few more gems that seem to indicate something less than charming about the views of european (males?) toward asian women.

peter randell's "lost in tokyo" (linked here and embedded below--sorry, don't know how to operate this blog properly) finds a traveler wandering through tokyo in the wee hours of the night, unable to find his way back to his hotel. (i'll admit, this bit resonates with me--i had a similar experience my first night in shanghai, minus the whole failed attempt to be picked up by a prostitute bit.) the longer he wanders, it seems, the more he's lost, when finally "a strange woman" beckons to him, and having nowhere to go the hapless young chap follows her. even though he can't understand what she's saying to him, he "knows what she wants." the weary sojourner just wants to sleep, but somehow she persuades him to follow her to her apartment. as soon as he informs her that he's lost his money, however, he's "back in the cold night." not too eventful, in the end.

which brings us to 'lectric funk's "shanghaied", which tells the story of a man tricked by a "dragon lady ... strolling down in chinatown." she approaches him on the street, and what do you know? takes him up to a "strange hotel." central to her image are her silken gowns. she gets the poor victim charged up, feeding him "demon potion"--and of course he wakes up in a dirty alley to find all his possessions gone. since they're in chinatown it seems this poor fool doesn't have even the excuse of the lost-in-tokyo guy, who's on foreign soil.

irreverent pop music from generations past, perhaps, but still worthy of some analysis, i think. have we come much farther, 30 years later? a gander on discussion forums for expats in asia would lead me to believe otherwise. how many threads have i seen warning other foreign men the evils of golddigging, passport-seeking chinese women. (but, of course, their sex appeal is literally irresistable.)

then again, if you ignore the unflattering portrayals of asian women communicated in the lyrics, the songs are pretty fantastic. well, personally, i quite like the 'lectric funk one; the other, not so much.

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