You wanna talk about guilty pleasures…man, do I feel awful for enjoying today’s great thing. I’m hoping that this doesn’t make me a secret racist. Today’s great thing (and possible incriminating interest of mine) is:
The website, founded by Serena and Teresa Wu (no relation) is a compilation of humorous anecdotes regarding first generation Asian kids and their endearing but hilarious Moms. So, yeah…that’s why I’m feeling a bit of guilt here. I’m a white girl laughing at broken English and cultural misunderstanding. Even worse, ‘fob’ is actually F.O.B., which is a derogatory acronym for ‘Fresh Off The Boat’.
The most influential bit of fobbery (at least of recent years) is most likely Margaret Cho’s stand-up routine. Here we have a Korean-American who is completely assimilated into American culture making light of her Mom. Probably half of her material, if not more, is based around impressions and sound-bytes of her Mother. All good stuff. I never seem to grow tired of it.
Here’s a sound clip from her stand-up wherein she employs a hilarious Korean Mom voice:
Am I allowed to laugh at these? Cyndi Lauper likes it. Cyndi and Margaret Interview I mean, look, Moms are funny regardless of their ethnicity. Especially when they try to use computers or cell phones. Adorable!
The grammar issues and cultural misunderstandings? Just icing on the cake.
There’s also the argument that you don’t have to be Asian to be a fob. In fact, from a historical perspective, the first F.O.B.s were of European descent–you know, the oft-maligned Irish and Italians of the early 1900s. My friend Alan, who grew up in Coney Island and is descended from Russian Jews, has a hilarious story that he uses in his own stand-up routine… The gist is that his Russian-speaking Dad was trying to describe puberty to Alan when he was a boy and told him. “Son, soon your body will start to mutate”. Which, for Alan, as a comic-book fan was an awesome promise that failed to deliver. This all sounds better, of course, in a Russian accent.
At any rate, there’s something just so very CUTE about the whole enterprise. Moms being all Mommish in American-English is already unintentionally funny. Add in technology and the foreign language/culture barriers? It’s the perfect storm of adorable comedy.
Here’s an example directly from the website:
Honesty is the best policy
I saw some pictures that is we took from Bao-Bao’s wedding party. You
looks very, very fat especial your arm and leg. I will e-mail you when I
figual out how to e-mail you.
I know you don’t like to hear that but I think you really need to do weigh
watch out and stop to eat any sweet foods. When you age go up that will be
very difficult to do diet. Trust me.
I am you mother I always tell you truth. You need do some excise expecial
for your arm and leg.
hello, Miss secret agent:
where are u now?
how is the weather there?
have u eat yet?
do u think that 23th cruise, from Boston, is good deal?
well, it look like going to rain.
ok, movie time ………….
that is the secret code for ur next assingment…………………..
I’m loving it. Here’s a direct link to the website if you haven’t already figured it out.
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