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re: There's a crazy, rich talent pool of Asian-American actors
Last Edit: AlanScott 11:54 pm EST 01/01/19
Posted by: AlanScott 11:54 pm EST 01/01/19
In reply to: re: There's a crazy, rich talent pool of Asian-American actors - BroadwayTonyJ 09:04 am EST 01/01/19

Can you or someone else explain to me why the book of the original FDS is considered by some to be patronizing or condescending? Virtually no one I know feels that way about it, and I certainly don't feel that way. I'm not saying it's 100-percent authentic in every way, but I see nothing patronizing or condescending in there. It's a light musical comedy, written in a light musical-comedy style, with charming characters, all of whom speak in grammatically correct English almost all the time. The only characters who occasionally don't are Mei Li and perhaps Dr. Li. They are recent immigrants whose first language is not English and so it's only realistic that they occasionally make errors, but even they mostly speak in perfect English.

I read somewhere someone objecting to the whole mail-order bride aspect of the plot (which is not in the novel), saying this was some kind of myth, but it wasn’t a myth.

If the characters are stereotypes to some degree — and they are — they are standard musical-comedy stereotypes, not specifically Asian ones. I know people look at Mei Li and think of her as a stereotypically dutiful Asian young woman, but the whole Mei Li-Linda Low contrasting pair of leading female characters is just very musical comedy. How many musical comedies feature the demure girl and the brassy girl? Countless. And although there are differences in the musical from the versions of those two characters in the source novel, the essence of both is pretty much the same.

I’ve said this all here before, but not recently. One more thing that, forgive me, I've said here before: I think some of what some people find objectionable is stuff that comes directly from the novel, and does anyone think that C. Y. Lee didn’t understand what he was writing about or was being condescending or patronizing to his characters?
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