Video: LA DPW insults Japanese-Americans?

posted at 2:01 pm on May 10, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

There’s something about government attempts at video humor that don’t just fall flat, but causes jaws to drop.  CBS’ Los Angeles affiliate discovered an instructional video produced at taxpayer expense by the city’s water district that set a skit in the Japanese Gardens, which uses reclaimed water to keep the well-known site beautiful and blooming.  Had they just produced a straightforward walk-through documentary, they might have made something worthwhile.  Instead, the city had to apologize for officially producing the most offensive Asian performance by a non-Asian actor since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (via Instapundit):

The City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is under fire for producing a controversial video depicting the Asian community—all with taxpayer money, according to CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein.

The video, shot at the Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, showed a non-Asian man dressed as a geisha girl who talked with a mock Japanese accent.

“The Japanese water park is a beautiful, beautiful site, with blooming, blooming lotus and water lilies,” the actor said.

The short was apparently meant to teach viewers about recycled water, which is what they use at the Japanese Garden.

It’s not as if the city doesn’t understand about racial sensitivity, either.  Their site features a few videos with rapping, but as a representative for Media Action Network for Asian Americans points out, they don’t have the same actor here dressed up in blackface for those videos:

They also have a YouTube channel where Goldstein found more than a dozen other unusual videos, with stories like the “History of Trash” and “L.A. CityWorks Rap.” …

Guy Aoki with Media Action Network for Asian Americans, an organization that advocates for Asians in Hollywood, said that’s a double standard.

“They don’t have the same actor, for instance, putting on makeup trying to pretend to be a black person. There is a certain kind of taboo where, ‘Oh no, we can’t do a blackface, but it’s okay to pretend to be Asian,” he said.

DPW apparently spends $48,000 a year making and publishing these videos. Er … why?


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Oh crap..
Now we will be attacked by Kamikazes

/

Electrongod on May 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

lol wow is that bad

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Whoa. Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan was more believable.

Oh, and Bishop.

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Is this all!??

I was waiting to hear “Me so Horny”

ToddPA on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

DPW apparently spends $48,000 a year making and publishing these videos. Er … why?

Because it’s tax payer money and they need any excuse to keep their phoney baloney government jobs?

sentinelrules on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Couldn’t happen to a ‘nicer’ bunch.

Leftists are always tards.

Schadenfreude on May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I’ve got no problem with them making PSA type stuff but you can’t do it like this

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Their cause was good and their intentions were noble. No harm..no foul.

HumpBot Salvation on May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Diversity!

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

They couldn’t find an Asian actor……..in LA?

Bitter Clinger on May 10, 2013 at 2:08 PM

“liberals are the most racist people there are”.

jawkneemusic on May 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM

DPW apparently spends $48,000 a year making and publishing these videos. Er … why?

Because they have so much money to waste. They jack up the rates but never replace the infrastructure which in some areas is over 100 years old. They get higher salaries and gold plated pensions.

Blake on May 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Wasn’t Long Duk Dong available?

OhEssYouCowboys on May 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM

From the good people who brought you smash hits like “Let Tha Yella Be Mellow.”

/

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

They flyed the lice on that one.

docflash on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Hey get over it Japanese-Americans,
Hussein bowed in advance to your King for all the future jokes !!

burrata on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Am I going to be the only one NOT offended by this?

So tired of this “racial sensitivity” stuff.

redzap on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Maybe they can cut a vid about cell phone etiquette in public libraries.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

True racists are always on the left. It’s the most non-secret fact.

Schadenfreude on May 10, 2013 at 2:18 PM

From the good people who brought you smash hits like “Let Tha Yella Be Mellow.”

/

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

My sister lived in NorCal back in the late ’80s, and back then she told me about the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” campaign.

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I was thinking, couldn’t they do a film noir commercial with Jack Nicholson?

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

producing the most offensive Asian performance by a non-Asian actor since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

It’s only in recent years that some people decided they were suddenly offended by Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi character, Ed.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

They flyed the lice on that one.

docflash on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Laaaaacist !!

burrata on May 10, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:20 PM

LOL…same people, but I was alluding to Rev. Lowery’s “colorful” benediction during Obama’s first inauguration.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Who are we to take offense at the actions of the Men Who Get Off On Dressing Like Geisha Girls-Community?

It is California, you know.

MNHawk on May 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

How come those silly guys didn’t do a stereotype black or Hispanic skit? That be too funny GI.

arnold ziffel on May 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

leftists and government workers are among this dimmest people around..and yes, that would include our trolls. Thus the wonders of government dimatude

“I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice. It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives.”

http://lfb.org/today/how-government-wrecked-the-gas-can/

and, no, they don’t mean well.

r keller on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

It’s only in recent years that some people decided they were suddenly offended by Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi character, Ed.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Not me. I was so offended by it that I stopped watching it the first time I tried, and have never gone back to it.

Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

How come those silly guys didn’t do a stereotype black or Hispanic skit? That be too funny GI.

arnold ziffel on May 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Because the aren’t enough firemen in LA.

oldroy on May 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

The offending actor should come out with the Tropic Thunder defense and claim he’s just a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Somewhere, Iron Eyes Cody is crying.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Has our Japanese ambassador been murdered in Tokyo yet for such an offensive video?

catmman on May 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I think it’s likely the guy in the geisha outfit was already onsite and they asked him to participate, making this an LGTB issue. Darn those homophobic Asians!

danielreyes on May 10, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I’ve got no problem with them making PSA type stuff but you can’t do it like this

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I do. Many of the PSA’s I see on TV and hear on the radio are just brain-dead stupid and a big ole waste of money.

Fallon on May 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Does the right wing hate machine know no bounds? Getting inside these poor peoples heads, making them do this…

CURSE YOU BUSH!! CURSE YOU!!!

Seriously, at what point did they think “yeah, lets do this. Comedy gold all up in here!”

Gatsu on May 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Yes. I think I remember the film.

Arnold Yabenson on May 10, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Hey! They’re Democrats! They mean well, they’re just stupid. But not to worry, Mayor Tony Valar will be bailing out in a couple of months, just as LA heads into bankruptcy.

GarandFan on May 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

How low will the leftists go?

And they call us raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacist?

When the shoe fits fother muckers, WEAR IT!!!!

I sincerely apologize to all Asians everywhere for the people in govt in LA for making this atrocity!!

Scrumpy on May 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Is this all!??

I was waiting to hear “Me so Horny”

ToddPA on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

That particular line of dialog appears in the video for LA’s Vietnamese Gardens.

JimLennon on May 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Breaking: Officials who made offensive video placed on administrative leave, banned from sex, drugs, wine, women, fun, and sin.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

It’s only in recent years that some people decided they were suddenly offended by Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi character, Ed.
whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Not me. I was so offended by it that I stopped watching it the first time I tried, and have never gone back to it.
Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Meh, it was 1961. According to Wikipedia, people started getting offended in the late 90s.

Just my IMHO – if it offended you to that point you might need to work on developing a stronger stomach for film reviewing. Of course, I watched a lotta Charlie Chan flix with my dad on WCCO weekends back in the day. Great good fun.

The interesting thing here is the TV channel had to go out to some Asian Museum, find some guy who seems to have some amount of Japanese blood, show him the video and hope he gets offended.

Now, what offends me most here is the government wasting money on stuff like this, whether it offends somebody or not.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

..meanwhile, back in Japan the controversy rages over all of this news about “flea erections”.

The War Planner on May 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Somebody’s due for a promotion.

blammm on May 10, 2013 at 2:47 PM

This is what I imagine most meetings in government in California sound like:

Neo on May 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Oops link Derp.

Neo on May 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Old WWI line:

“..you surprised I speak your language? I was educated in your country at UCRA..”

That always breaks up Mrs War Planner who is an Issei, by the way.

The War Planner on May 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I do. Many of the PSA’s I see on TV and hear on the radio are just brain-dead stupid and a big ole waste of money.

Fallon on May 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

but a PSA is part of the job of the local Public Works department. I’ve done a couple for my local department when I was in highschool, one was driving in snow and the other was pointing out the extra costs when throwing away recyclables in the regular trash (when my town was on a kick in the late 90′s).

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

It’s only in recent years that some people decided they were suddenly offended by Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi character, Ed.
whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Not me. I was so offended by it that I stopped watching it the first time I tried, and have never gone back to it.
Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

By way of addendum, just an interesting tidbit from Wikipedia:
The 1961 New York Times review of the film said that “Mickey Rooney’s bucktoothed, myopic Japanese is broadly exotic.”

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

The 1961 New York Times review of the film said that “Mickey Rooney’s bucktoothed, myopic Japanese is broadly exotic.”

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

“Broadly exotic” and “Mickey Rooney” should never appear in the same sentence together.

Ever.

JimLennon on May 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

“Broadly exotic” and “Mickey Rooney” should never appear in the same sentence together.

Ever.

JimLennon on May 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

but he straddled the line between midget and dwarf

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

It’s not as if the city doesn’t understand about racial sensitivity, either. Their site features a few videos with rapping, but as a representative for Media Action Network for Asian Americans points out, they don’t have the same actor here dressed up in blackface for those videos:

They used a different actor?

unclesmrgol on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Oh brother. So the only two people this news organization could find to be outrageously outraged by this are a guy who doesn’t look Japanese and a Japanese guy who is an advocate for more Japanese actors? You know they were scraping the bottom to find some outrage.

From a racial-offence angle, this is a non-story. The only real scandal here is that taxpayer money is once again being wasted by idiotic bureaucrats. But the libs that produce the news wouldn’t touch it if that was all there was. They only go there if they think they can wrap it in a ‘racial sensitivity’ liberal narrative.

WhatSlushfund on May 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM

They used a different actor?

unclesmrgol on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

since it’s a city municipal so they have to use union, it does make you wonder why they just didn’t specify to central casting that they needed a black or asian actor

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM

“Broadly exotic” and “Mickey Rooney” should never appear in the same sentence together.

Ever.

JimLennon on May 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

It’s the NYT, afterall.

but he straddled the line between midget and dwarf
Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

And we all know how painful straddling can be.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Has our Japanese ambassador been murdered in Tokyo yet for such an offensive video?

catmman on May 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Absolutely brilliant post.

ToddPA on May 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM

The solution is obvious. Fire the black spokeswoman and replace her with an asian.

After all, it worked for Benghazi…

unclesmrgol on May 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Oh brother. So the only two people this news organization could find to be outrageously outraged by this are a guy who doesn’t look Japanese and a Japanese guy who is an advocate for more Japanese actors? You know they were scraping the bottom to find some outrage.
From a racial-offence angle, this is a non-story. The only real scandal here is that taxpayer money is once again being wasted by idiotic bureaucrats. But the libs that produce the news wouldn’t touch it if that was all there was. They only go there if they think they can wrap it in a ‘racial sensitivity’ liberal narrative.
WhatSlushfund on May 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Yup, pretty much my thinkin’, too.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Has our Japanese ambassador been murdered in Tokyo yet for such an offensive video?

catmman on May 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

This.

bofh on May 10, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Whoa. Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan was more believable.

Ward Cleaver on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Charlie Chan was always the smartest guy in the room.

These clowns? Not so much.

SagebrushPuppet on May 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Yeah, the dude in the video does look moronic doesn’t he? Kind of what I would expect from those actor snobs. Those pillars of “we know better than you about humanity” types that, in the end, are the worst of the racist bigots.

I have more fun watching those elitist Hollywood types mimic the stereotypical Southern redneck. I’m not insulted by it so much as I am so entertained by the fact they always manage to look “stupider” than any redneck I have ever known. So no need to call my nearest Whiney Chapter on Political Correctness here.

So, before anyone calls me out for being overly insensitive, I might need to point out something here: I am okay with making fun of my fellow rednecks because, after all, in the immortal words of Mr. Foxworthy, “I is one.”

Turtle317 on May 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

The only real scandal here is that taxpayer money is once again being wasted by idiotic bureaucrats.
WhatSlushfund on May 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Yup, but what else are you going to do with a degree in performance art?

kirkill on May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The only real scandal here is that taxpayer money is once again being wasted by idiotic bureaucrats.
WhatSlushfund on May 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM

That’s the only thing I would be “outraged” over.
This is just another moment brought to you by the scourge of political correctness.
Yes, because you know, Japanese geisha’s never wore white-face, nor do any Japanese people talk with accents. And that Japanese guy was only outraged because they didn’t use actual Japanese actors. In the liberal(outrage)-minded world, NOBODY can ever portray another race in tv or film(especially if the actor is caucasian). It is called acting, you know.

Sterling Holobyte on May 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Not me. I was so offended by it that I stopped watching it the first time I tried, and have never gone back to it.
Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Huh. Same with me. I HATED that character and found it unwatchable.

John the Libertarian on May 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

but he straddled the line between midget and dwarf

Doctor Zhivago on May 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

..and he straddled a lot of race horses and some pretty striking starlets as well. That and he was a great friend and admirer of Ronald Reagan.

The War Planner on May 10, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Not me. I was so offended by it that I stopped watching it the first time I tried, and have never gone back to it.
Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Huh. Same with me. I HATED that character and found it unwatchable.
John the Libertarian on May 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

It’s a very minor character with maybe two minutes total screentime. Not all that to ignore or just blow off within the context of of a classic that runs 115 minutes. It’s not exactly the same as enduring a 3 hour documentary on Auschwitz replete with real footage.

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM

On the other hand, I’m sure there a few Korean grocers in the LA area that will find this hilarious…

M240H on May 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM

And I enjoy watching the hyper-sensitive, identity-politics advocates being offended. It’s the resultant expending of tax dollars and loss of freedoms that tick me off.

M240H on May 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Wasn’t Long Duk Dong available?

OhEssYouCowboys on May 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM

How about Hop-Sing from Bonanza? And he would have brought that music that always accompanied his appearances.

BuckeyeSam on May 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Wasn’t Long Duk Dong available?

OhEssYouCowboys on May 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Hey, I just remembered Pat Morita from Happy Days fame or Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid fame. “Wash on, wash off.”

BuckeyeSam on May 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Why? A city official has a friend needing work and s/he gets, perhaps, 10% of the $48K back under the table.

vnohara on May 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

On the other hand, I’m sure there a few Korean grocers in the LA area that will find this hilarious…

I wonder how they amusing they found Joel Gray playing an elderly, soap opera addicted martial arts master in 1985′s “Remo Williams” The Adventure Begins”.

Of course the movie was bad enough that the adventure ended there and we were blessed with no sequels.

hawkeye54 on May 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Forot to add this:

Joel Gray playing a Korean elderly, soap opera addicted martial arts master

hawkeye54 on May 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Huh. Same with me. I HATED that character and found it unwatchable.

I did too. He could have played the role as a caucasian and I would still have found the character just as unwatchable.

hawkeye54 on May 10, 2013 at 4:51 PM

*Sigh*

Dual reaction here. I’m Chinese, and this “character” was supposedly Japanese. However, I know that all y’all [family comes from South China] round-eyes can’t tell us apart and an insult by a racist White [which pretty much translates into a Democrat in my experience] against one variety of Asian usually carries over to all of us. And that we will never be forgiven by the Left for following what was then the American Dream instead of becoming welfare slaves.

Second, I would love to see the reaction if the character was a White actor in minstrel blackface, or dressed as the “Frito Bandito”. Aside from the flames looking like the explosion in West, Texas; dogs in Australia would be able to hear the high pitched whining. And the Federal government would be showering those both rioting and whining with cash reparations.

Subotai Bahadur on May 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Oh crap..
Now we will be attacked by Kamikazes

/

Electrongod on May 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

A Divine Wind strikes Hollywood….Although that might actually be entertaining come to think of it. Thankfully for the Hollywood leftist the Japanese in the 21st century do not behave like Muhammadans or sad to say some Americans.

Exit Question: What would happen if LA had produced a video like this about the Islamic religion?

William Eaton on May 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

…I’m Chinese, and this “character” was supposedly Japanese. However, I know that all y’all [family comes from South China] round-eyes can’t tell us apart ..

Subotai Bahadur on May 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

“Round eyes”?? I’m offended. That does it, Wang. I’m boycotting pu pu platter.

Instead, switching to Fritos.

WhatSlushfund on May 10, 2013 at 5:59 PM

whatcat on May 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

It depends on where you are coming from, I guess.

But the best Asians are done by Asians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftgAG3Vnif8

unclesmrgol on May 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

I was waiting to hear “Me so Horny”

ToddPA on May 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

That’s hilarious — Ahem.. but inappropriate.

Axion on May 10, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Their cause was good and their intentions were noble. No harm..no foul.

HumpBot Salvation on May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Am I going to be the only one NOT offended by this?

So tired of this “racial sensitivity” stuff.

redzap on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

White people, do the Humpty Hump…

yubley on May 10, 2013 at 9:16 PM

The world would be a better place if every man, woman, and child made a racially insensitive video and uploaded it to youtube. I’m sick of being part of a culture that’s so sensitive bad taste makes the news.

jhffmn on May 10, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Tasteless, stupid, and vulgar.
Par for the course in Obamerica.

AshleyTKing on May 10, 2013 at 9:44 PM