Web Civ: Alison Gold’s ‘Chinese Food’

It’s been well over a week since Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food,” the latest from Ark Music Factory—the one-man brain trust behind such staples as “Friday” and “It’s Thanksgiving“—dropped on YouTube, and the odds are not low that you’ve seen it by now. Over the course of its brief existence, the video has amassed 10 million views and a whopping 4:1 dislike-to-like ratio. Media response has been swift: Bon Appetit spoke with a grammatically challenged Gold via instant-message for its website last week, and Yahoo OMG! Insider followed with this cringe-inducing interview segment tackling the “alleged” racism in the video.

Of course, saying the racism in “Chinese Food” is “alleged” is kind of like saying Charles Manson is “allegedly” a bad dude. From fairly harmless Chinese imagery (a dancing Panda bear, pervasive and improper use of chopsticks) to more troubling conflations of pan-Asian life (dancers in kimonos, a Monopoly piece landing on Oriental Avenue), “Chinese Food” deals primarily in stereotypes. But before you head over to YouTube to jump into the spirited viewer debate (and believe me, an analysis of the comment section would make for a riveting post of its own), ask yourself: “Am I not doing exactly what they—being Ark—want me to?”

And the answer is, of course you are. Ark videos are much like Westboro Baptist Church pickets—by responding with outrage or disbelief, you’re merely fanning the flames. These people live for negative feedback. (Which then begs the perennial question, who the hell are the parents that continue to send their kids to Ark’s Patrice Wilson? Obviously, they are has-beens or never-weres living in the greater Los Angeles area, where dreams are eviscerated and hearts ripped from souls… but even for that demographic, isn’t this a little much?) In any case: just don’t bother reacting, and you’ll save your precious time and energy.

And I believe in that stance. Truly, I do. The best way to watch an Ark video is to not watch it at all. But, the next best way to watch an Ark video is to laugh, indulge in the low-hanging fruit that it offers, and pick it apart for every single one of its moronic frames. Which I have done, after the jump:

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