S5.2: “Self-Made” Asian American Billionaires, Amazon Buys One Medical, Polio, and Fat Suits in Thor

Aaron: [00:00:00] This guy named Alexandr Wang. He is the 25-year-old CEO of a company called Scale A.I… So he is the CEO of Scale A.I. But I think one thing that that’s not mentioned a lot is that one of his main clients is the US Army. Cool.

Gerrie: [00:00:19] Yeah. It’s just what representation? That, like, we can be the villains too? I don’t know.

Aaron: [00:00:23] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:00:37] Welcome to the Politically Asian podcast. We’re just two Asian American buds talking about politics and the Asian-American community in hopes of getting more Asians to talk about politics. We are coming at you live from Brooklyn, New York. My name is Gerrie Lim. My pronouns are they them? And you can find me across the Internet at Gerrie Yaki. That’s g e r r i e y a k i and my co-host.

Aaron: [00:01:02] Hey, my name is Aaron Yin. My pronouns are he him. And you can find me on social media at Aaron and that’s ar0nflarin.

Gerrie: [00:01:14] Okay, great. So we’re going to go into our new segment this season called Practice What You Preach on the Pod. We talk about politics often, but it’s also important to actually do those things. So each week we share one thing we did related to politics and or organizing. Do you want me to go first or do you want to go first?

Aaron: [00:01:35] Usually go first.

Gerrie: [00:01:36] Okay, great. What did I do this week? I RSVP’d to go to a DSA meeting.

Aaron: [00:01:44] Oh, really?

Gerrie: [00:01:45] Yeah. I guess just because I was interested and then I realized it was last night. So we’re not doing too well and actually following through. But we did. We did actually get around to RSVP and I did get the Zoom link and then I was like, Oh shit, I was supposed to go to that. So there is that. But I will counter-balance my absence from actually attending with the fact that I am now on terms with my coworkers about talking about our salaries. So, you know, a little bit salary transparency there and yeah.

Aaron: [00:02:18] Okay, no, that’s cool. I like how this segment puts a little pressure on both of us to do something, you know? So, yeah, worst case, even if we did nothing, you know, I guess there would be some kind of a little bit of shame or something to try to do something next week. But no, it sounds like you did two things, right? Tried going to a DSA meeting and then salary transparency at work seems very hot. Right? Very cool. What made you decide to want to join DSA? I have many thoughts, but I will withhold all of them and just watch you go along the ride.

Gerrie: [00:02:58] I feel like knowing you, our thoughts are probably the same. So the thing about DSA is that you don’t get access until you sign up, register pay dues, I think. So I, I pay dues I think a couple of months ago and then, oh my, I know.

Aaron: [00:03:17] What are the dues?

Gerrie: [00:03:18] It’s actually pay-what-you-can. But I was, I feel like I should pay the regular amount because it’s not like, you know, I feel like I should. So I, I was, oh, shit, I’m paying. I’m technically paying for this. I should log on to like the Slack group and then there’s actually a Slack group for our, our neighborhood, me, and Aaron’s neighborhood. And it’s, it’s very white in there. So that was very concerning. I mean. Kind of a red flag, honestly. Maybe the group at large is more diverse. But yeah, it’s pretty white in my group, which is surprising because it’s central BC, which I think includes Bed-Stuy. So there’s that.

Aaron: [00:04:12] Okay, so not too hot on the racial diversity. What about gender?

Gerrie: [00:04:18] I mean if we’re going by pronouns in bio, then it’s not the worst, it’s not too bad. But yeah, so there’s that white gaze, but that feels familiar.

Aaron: [00:04:31] Yeah. Cool. Oh, and wait, when you said regular price, what are we talking about, like 20 bucks?

Gerrie: [00:04:36] 30 bucks? No, no. So for the year, I just want to head and pay dues. It was like 50 bucks, I think, which I was like.

Aaron: [00:04:43] Okay, that’s interesting. Wow.

Gerrie: [00:04:44] Okay, that’s one magazine subscription. Whatever. Oh.

Aaron: [00:04:48] Interesting. Okay, cool. Interesting. And seeing how that goes more hot. How’s the salary taco? What and what made you started?

Gerrie: [00:04:56] Well, I mean I think I’ve told you before  I really wanted to resist being friends with my coworkers, just being friends with my coworkers this time since I got laid off at my last company because I’m pretty sure it was a quote-unquote cultural thing in that I got too comfy with my friends slash coworkers and let a little loose in the sense that I was saying things like, “we’re acting like a broke bitch. Why do we acquire this company? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, why are we getting an NFT?” You know, all that stuff, just, you know, letting them know how I really felt. But this design, this, this team is this team’s pretty good. I feel they’re pretty nicest people, and I’m trying not to get political. I think that’s like, sorry, I don’t want to say I’m not getting political because I feel talking about salary is fairly political. I’m just not talking about formal politics that that makes sense. So when Roe v Wade happened, I’m oh, yeah, that’s very bad. End of conversation. You know obviously, I know how I feel about it. And so I’m not, I’m not trying to start discourse or engage in discourse.

Aaron: [00:06:13] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:06:14] I don’t get paid enough to do that.

Aaron: [00:06:16] Yeah. You’re only talking about workplace politics. And within workplace politics, it’s pretty much just salary, right? Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:06:24] Yeah, yeah. So I, I get the vibe that my manager would actually probably even encourage us unionizing, but as a manager, he would probably have to say something, but as a human being, he would be, he would probably support us unionizing. That’s, that’s very, very far off in the never possible, never future. But anyways, yeah, so we’ve just been talking a lot about salary transparency and stuff that because half of the team has been hired recently and half the team has been here for two years, which I feel at any company that’s kind of a big disparity. If half your team is three months in and the other half is two years in know in-betweens. And so we were just, Hey, what do races and stuff look around here? Because inflation is getting crazy.

Aaron: [00:07:20] Yeah. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:07:22] And one of the people who was here for a long time, she was like, yeah, here’s this is what I make. I haven’t really gotten a raise since joining. And I was like, Hmm, yikes. What about you? What’d you do this week?

Aaron: [00:07:37] This week? I’ve been doing a lot of planning and flying for this event this Sunday. It’s firing on Wednesday and posting on Thursday for this protest in front of Kam Hing Bakery, Kong Bakery, very famous on Tiktok for its sponge cakes. But the reason many people in Chinatown are protesting this bakery this Sunday is because the boss of the bakery used to work at a dim sum hall that stole almost $1,000,000 from its workers and hasn’t paid back a single cent because he transferred all of the assets from that old dim sum hall to his other businesses, basically wage theft. So yeah, pretty exciting.

Gerrie: [00:08:22] Isn’t that also called something else? Isn’t that called money laundering or something like that?

Aaron: [00:08:26] I think money laundering is when you set up a fake business to. To get money for another business. This is only based on me watching Ozark, where they set up a laundromat as a cover for trafficking cocaine. So I think I think it’s a little different. It is kind of I mean, the only aspect of that’s kind of the same as they’re moving money to a different place. But I’d say probably not money laundering in this case. You.

Gerrie: [00:08:57] Okay. What is postering?

Aaron: [00:08:59] Postering is taking posters and just putting them on, you know, lampposts and just in street lamps all around the neighborhood. So it was a group of ten people. We split up into groups of three and four. We mapped out all the routes. So we put them all over Chinatown, a lot of streets, even the famous ones like Pell Street that has, Pell Street and that little brand street in Chinatown that has that very colorful sidewalk art. Yeah, Mott Street are every single main Chinatown Street. So, yeah, we cover a lot of ground that day.

Gerrie: [00:09:38] And flyering is like when you just pass out flyers.

Aaron: [00:09:41] Firing is me standing on a sidewalk corner. Be like, Hey, read about this protest on Sunday. Come to this protest on Sunday. Have you ever been to Kam Hing Bakery? Read about why we’re protesting Kam Hing this Sunday. Whatever, whatever catches the eyes. It’s like, “hey, you know, nice shorts, man.” You know, it’s truly it’s a lot.

Gerrie: [00:10:01] I know how y’all work. 

Aaron: [00:10:04] It’s a lot like barking for stand-up, but just for protests.

Gerrie: [00:10:08] And I guess my next question is like, why it why don’t you all do that in front of Kam Hing, to get customers that are coming in and out? Do you ever flyer around there or hang posters or anything?

Aaron: [00:10:25] Yeah. No, that’s a good question. So the reason we don’t is mainly that the customers at Kam Hing attract a lot of tourists, you know, people who come to Chinatown for some good food. We’re trying to target mainly, you know, residents of Chinatown, people who live in the neighborhood and know about the issues. So it’s more like going to where they live because we don’t expect tourists to be consistent supporters here. But that was the reason reasoning behind that.

Gerrie: [00:10:53] I mean, you never know. I feel like a tourist looking for a real New York experience could protest.

Aaron: [00:10:59] Yeah I mean they’ll get the experience on Sunday. Yeah. I mean whatever tourists go to buy those sponge cakes on Sunday I guess that’s it’s two days before this episode is going to come out. But you’ll see photos, right?

Gerrie: [00:11:13] Okay. Okay. Damn. I was going to be like, tell our listeners where they can join in or I don’t I’m going to see if I can make it out this time. Yeah. It’s 1 p.m.

Aaron: [00:11:23] Yeah. Just show up at 1 p.m. at Kam Hing bakery. You’ll see. Yeah, you’ll see us. Yeah, yeah.

Gerrie: [00:11:29] Okay, great. Yeah, cool, cool. So. So this week it’s just us again chatting about the news. Where do we want to get started?

Aaron: [00:11:39] Yeah, let’s start. I’ll go first with the piece. So today, the first thing I wanted to cover was something I saw a Nextshark first, but I thought it was a good topic to talk about. Okay. This guy named Alexandr Wang, he is the world’s youngest, quote, self-made billionaire. He is the 25-year-old CEO of a company called Scale A.I. And what that company does, in short, is they build A.I. tools for other developers and companies. Okay. Before I dive into this, Gerrie, immediate thoughts.

Gerrie: [00:12:19] So, unfortunately, when Aaron put this in the outline for today, I was like, Why does scale A.I. sound familiar? And it’s because I’ve met one of the co-founders before in real life. It was like a couple of years ago pre-COVID. And I’m trying to figure out, like. I want to say nice things so or like nothing that’s going to, like, get me in trouble.

Aaron: [00:12:51] I will say the main thing. Oh, that’s just to make this clear to the pod. This is not a billionaire. This is an anti-billionaire podcast. 

Gerrie: [00:13:01] We’re not a pro billionaire. Yeah, it is. It’s just weird. It’s just weird when you like, yeah, fuck Jeff Bezos. Like, he’s this bald white man, but, like, it’s like, weird when it’s like a billionaire who is like. So to be clear, I have not met Alexandr Wang Alexandr without the iPad, by the way, not the designer, but a different Alexandr Wang. I’ve met this I’ve met his co-founder, Lucy, and she’s a lot. And all I’m going to say is I don’t think we would have been friends. And that’s okay. It’s weird. Just like meet billionaires that like, you look like that are Asian and your age. That’s what I will say. It’s like one thing when they’re crunchy and old and, like, ugly and, you know, but, like, when they’re young and, like, Asian is just is weird. It hits a little differently. That’s. That’s all I’m.

Aaron: [00:13:55] Going to say. Okay. Yeah. No, I think that’s a good litmus test for Asian people in politics. Right. It’s like how do you deal with someone who’s also Asian, who’s not going, good shit. Okay. Yeah, I was just curious before dive in, the whole reason I brought this up was that I think this is like an example of representation that people want to hype up, but there’s a lot underneath that makes it not that celebratory. I was inspired partially because someone in our discord, actually, Bryce Alvey, was thinking of a podcast episode where we talk about why Asian Americans love representation and why it matters, but in reality, it shouldn’t. And this Alexandr Wang example is a good one because this guy so he is, you know, the CEO of Scale AI. But I think one thing that that’s not mentioned a lot is that one of his main clients is the US Army, the Air Force, and the Department of Defense, their artificial intelligence center, who gave him a $250 million contract. And so, you know, when I think A.I. and military, my head immediately goes to drones, robots that may kill people, and definitely many other any kind of technology that might be killing other people. So I’m like, great. You are a quote, you know, billionaire, but you also have been making your wealth through the, you know, probable death of, like, other people.

Gerrie: [00:15:18] Hmm. Yeah, that’s fair. Like, when I think of that’s interesting because when I think of tech in the military, I think of plants here and how they’re facial I think it was facial recognition technology they use that they like sold it to ice.

Aaron: [00:15:32] Yeah. Oh, that’s so fucked up.

Gerrie: [00:15:33] Fine. Yeah. To like help them deport people and, and like the, I think one of the founders or something like that or like one of the investors in it is like a big supporter of Trump.

Aaron: [00:15:49] Like, you know, kind of.

Gerrie: [00:15:51] Thing. Yeah. Yeah. And he is, he was I know that like that co-founder that I mentioned, she was a teal fellow. So, you know, just a lot of. Yeah, just a lot of. Just a lot of interesting politics with lots of money. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:16:10] Yeah. He is a self-made billionaire who also got 100 K from Peter Thiel to start off the company. Yeah, that was. I find that funny.

Gerrie: [00:16:19] Yeah. Is that representation, that we can be the villains too? I don’t know.

Aaron: [00:16:23] Yeah, no, I was going to say that. Yeah, it is representation, but it’s for Asian villains. All right? This is Asian villain representation, right? Yeah, that’s what we need more.

Gerrie: [00:16:33] Okay, I guess. Well, continuing down the topic of tech, there’s also Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical.

Aaron: [00:16:44] Which is..?

Gerrie: [00:16:46] Yeah. So for those of you who don’t know because I’m pretty sure One Medical is only in cities like major cities.

Aaron: [00:16:52] Oh okay.

Gerrie: [00:16:54] One medical is a concierge medicine tech company. And basically, it’s you can text a doctor like a clinician pretty much any hour of the day. You can send them a picture of like whatever’s going on and they will answer within the day. Or like you can video chat them, you can schedule a video call appointment, or you can go to like a brick and mortar clinic, which is pretty cool. And a lot of like tech companies offer One Medical membership. You or you can just pay out of pocket, which is like $200 a year. And then like I think you get like $30 co-pays per like. Yeah, but their whole thing is like, we guarantee that you only sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes.

Aaron: [00:17:46] Oh, mean. Yeah. Going to pull out my little watch in time for like 1501.

Gerrie: [00:17:51] Right, exactly. And the founder. The founder is Asian, the founder’s Asian.

Aaron: [00:17:56] Tom Lee. Okay, people listen. Is the CEO Asian? Okay, okay.

Gerrie: [00:18:00] Yeah, yeah. And it’s just like so I was just like super interested in this because Amazon had a previous venture into health care and they, they recruited like Atul Gawande to lead this thing called Haven Healthcare. And they were like, we’re going to revolutionize the health care system because the thinking was like, well, Amazon could do anything. And this was like a couple of years ago. So like, Amazon is even more powerful now. And then they gave up on that and they were just like, Fuck it, we’ll just we’re just going to buy someone. So they bought One Medical for 3.9 billion. And this is their first major foray into like providing health care because before they just like deliver pills. So, yeah, very scary to think about.

Aaron: [00:18:47] Yeah. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about my Bezos Band-Aids, you know? Yeah, yeah. Very interesting times. And could you remind like so Atul Gawande, I see in the nose you wrote South-Asian in parentheses, but that’s all I see? It was Haven Healthcare.

Gerrie: [00:19:06] So so yeah. So it’s all Gawande is. I’ve talked about him before on the pod. Like he’s a he’s like a chief of medicine, I think, like Harvard or Mass Gen. And then he also teaches at like both Harvard Medical and Harvard School of Public Health. He has a ton of a ton. He has four books. They’re actually really good about just like it sounds stupid but like humanizing healthcare which like this, for example, there’s like this one book called The Checklist Manifesto which like, yes, manifesto is such a bad word to use, but like basically it’s just like how checklists could like really reduce morbidity mortality.

Aaron: [00:19:52] And that sounds like super nerd self-help productivity guru shit right there. The power of checklists.

Gerrie: [00:20:00] It’s more about self-help as a doctor or self-help in the medical field. Yeah, something like that.

Aaron: [00:20:09] Yeah. I definitely feel a lot. Yeah, very you know, Gerrie, public health background coming into all of this, you know, very a lot of knowledge. I’m like I’ve never heard of. 

Gerrie: [00:20:17] It’s its fear. Yeah, it’s fear. Would you go to a clinic that was owned by Amazon, specifically Amazon, not One Medical?

Aaron: [00:20:31] Branded and Amazon one. No, it’s straight up. No, that’s I don’t because the thing about Amazon is that they have so much consumer data on us already. So if I go there for a health purpose, I can imagine they’re going to start selling me more medicines or, you know, just they’re going to use my data to try to sell me more stuff. And I do not like that mixing of, you know, personal medical info with a consumer brand trying to sell you stuff because they will 100% try to just milk more money from you. And then also just very general concerns that like not a big fan of Jeff Bezos, you know, Amazon’s really well known for exploiting workers. So, you know, not too interested in seeing Amazon grow bigger than it already is. Yeah. What about you?

Gerrie: [00:21:23] Yeah. I don’t know. Like, what am I supposed to do with my One Medical subscription?

Aaron: [00:21:30] Because I actually really like the one. See, I didn’t know that at all. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:21:34] I’ve been. Yeah, I’ve been going to I use One Medical, I really only use it for emergencies like urgent care staff. I go to Mt. Sinai for all my primary care needs. But yeah, you know, like, it’s, it’s pretty good when you need immediate gratification from a medical concern.

Aaron: [00:21:55] I see. So it’s not health insurance. It’s just like a separate service on top of health insurance.

Gerrie: [00:22:01] So, yeah, imagine like a city MD but like for rich people.

Aaron: [00:22:07] Very 1%. No.

Gerrie: [00:22:09] Yeah, no, no. I get it through work. If I ever leave my company, I don’t get One Medical anymore. I don’t know what happens on my health info but yeah.

Aaron: [00:22:19] What’s Tom Lee saying about all of this? You know, that seems to be the biggest.

Gerrie: [00:22:26] He’s already on another start-up. He’s like left already. It’s like a white dude in charge. I was like, that’s why it got sold. 

Aaron: [00:22:38] Yeah, really? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Gerrie: [00:22:42] I need to. I don’t want to make any, like, opinions or anything I need to look into his new venture, because I was trying to do research for this episode, and I don’t know, but something I read was that his new startup wants to position itself against Medicare or Medicaid. And I’m just I don’t know how I feel about that.

Aaron: [00:23:02] Yeah, this sounds bad news bears, you know? Bad. Yeah. So bad News Bears.

Gerrie: [00:23:08] Yeah. Typically start up the customer population of a startup does not typically overlap with Medicare and Medicaid.

Aaron: [00:23:19] Yeah, yeah, no. For sure, for sure.

Gerrie: [00:23:21] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. My one my last note is that I do want to see what would happen to prescription medications. Will they be cheaper through Amazon because yeah, you know, I don’t know? Scary. Yeah. So yeah. And then, you know, kind of jumping from health topic to health topic. The first case of polio in a decade now I think it’s more than a decade. I swear I saw the number 1979 was detected in New York State, which is very concerning because if you were born after the year 2000, there’s a good chance you did not get the polio vaccine.

Aaron: [00:23:57] Oh, okay. Wait, is polio the one where you have the mark on your arm after you get it? Or is that smallpox?

Gerrie: [00:24:04] That is smallpox.

Aaron: [00:24:05] Okay. Never mind.

Gerrie: [00:24:07] Yeah, because it’s literally, they gave you a little pox and then it bursts and that’s what leaves the scar.

Aaron: [00:24:12] Oh, okay. Yeah. Nice. Okay, well, I guess I’m not sure if I have the polio vaccine. Are you vaccinated for polio?

Gerrie: [00:24:19] I am. I have all four doses. The one thing that was revolutionary about the polio vaccine was that it was an oral vaccine. So all they had to do was give you a little drop and that’s it.

Aaron: [00:24:31] Oh, wow. Okay, that’s. That’s what Thanos was trying to be with blood drops, but not successful. Just one drop of this. Yeah, well, wow. Okay. Yeah, that is extremely scary. You know, it reminds me of Ronnie Chang’s joke about how we’re just bringing back these small, organic diseases very history, almost, that we’re just bringing these back after 30 years. I’m like, Yo, what the fuck? I was telling you earlier that I thought polio is something we just got rid of and didn’t have to look back. But now it’s the ice melted from global warming, and we found a new strain in the ground or something. I’m What the fuck is happening?

Gerrie: [00:25:12] Yeah. No, that’s how I feel, too. I don’t know. I would love to not have more diseases. I think polio was… I want to say it was eradicated in the United States. I’m not 100% sure, obviously.

Aaron: [00:25:29] Well, definitely not now. 

Gerrie: [00:25:31] Yeah, well, it was weird how it happened was a vaccinated person transmitted it. So he, I think this person didn’t have any symptoms and then gave it to an unvaccinated person in Rockland County or whatever county in New York State. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:25:48] Oh, okay. Okay. So that’s kind of strange.

Gerrie: [00:25:51] I don’t know if you can get a polio vaccine these days.

Aaron: [00:25:54] Yeah. You know, I love fighting three battles at once. We got COVID B5, Monkey Pox, and polio. No. Yeah. Three battles at once now. Oh, my God. Infinity War is. Is it?

Gerrie: [00:26:09] Oh, my God. Okay, not to be alarmist. Yes, it is pretty contagious. Yeah. 70% of the cases are asymptomatic and. Oh, of it’s of its symptoms. The really scary one. Which president had polio? I can’t fucking remember.

Gerrie: [00:26:28] Well I don’t remember the one in the wheelchair. I don’t remember. Anyways,, permanent paralysis is one of the less common symptoms. So you know, you’re probably more likely to get COVID and die from that than you are to get polio.

Aaron: [00:26:45] Yeah, well, definitely. I mean, it’s only one case, right? And it’s not spreading. So I’m like, I’m not going to be alarmist about it until it hits New York City. And there are maybe 50 cases, you know, that I’m like, okay, yeah, that’s a little concerning. But one, I’m one person and they already found it like, okay, yeah, praying for, you know, the New York state government to just not subject people. Yeah, exactly. Please, just I only my my my cap is to battle disease battles per life lifetime. Okay. At the same time.

Gerrie: [00:27:21] You know, that’s it. No more diseases. This is it.

Aaron: [00:27:25] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:27:26] Okay. Well, that’s all the news we wanted to cover this week. I think after that, Aaron and I wanted to try something new where we kind of discuss things that we’ve seen on our various social media feeds. And so the first thing that I wanted to discuss was this Tiktok from The Washington Post, which if you don’t follow The Washington Post on Tiktok, they’re incredible. They did a piece about Thor and body shaming because there was one of the Avengers movies, which I don’t watch. He wore a fat suit.

Aaron: [00:28:06] Oh, yeah, yeah. That was Thor. Yeah, yeah. Infinity. Infinity Wars Part two.

Gerrie: [00:28:10] It was a whole thing because I think in later movies, he loses the fat again or it was made into a punch line. It was very clearly meant to be, aha, this super muscular man is now fat. Ha ha. And this Tiktok by the Washington Post basically, dove into how the idea of a, quote, ideal body image. So cis women having hips and big boobs and being skinny or the alpha male with buff muscles, you know, all that. It came about roughly around after slavery ended and white people needed another way to shit on Black people and people of color because, as populations became a more mixed race. And like, what’s that word? Heterogeneous. They were just well, we need a way to control the masses and assert our dominance. So we’re going to say that this is the ideal form. Also, happen to be white. Yeah. So yeah. Tldr Fatphobia is rooted in a history of racism. Discuss.

Aaron: [00:29:28] Okay. Yeah. Okay. So I think this is important for two reasons. Number one, I always love finding a slight Asian. I guess in this case it’s not Asians, but Taika Waititi You know, Pacific Islander, it has Pacific Islander roots. It’s the pie of AAPI if we go that route. But hell yeah, yeah. You know, not a white person, what I’m saying. But I also think it’s good to bring up because, you know, a very, you know, common theme, at least among Asian-Americans, is like, oh, my, my mom’s calling me fat. My family thinks I’m too fat. A lot of, you know, body image and shaming people for how they look still going on. Yeah, I just never knew it. So I’m like, I guess after this episode, I’ll be kind of reading more into it. I guess that immediately makes me think so. So then are all, you know, I think about K-Pop, for example, right? And K-Pop, all the guys in K-Pop are super skinny, kind of buff. Are they just also, you know, where they also just fed the fed, the US body type image?

Gerrie: [00:30:38] Hmm. That’s a good question, I don’t know. I’m kind of curious where the notion came from. I wonder if it also has ties to you know how a lot of East Asians love to be pale. I wonder if it has any correlation with that around the same time. 

Aaron: [00:31:07] Yeah. Paleness was definitely a class thing in Asia.  Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:31:12] Oh, that’s true. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:31:13] Farmers working outside, and we’re very tan. You’re rich, or you could stay indoors. It didn’t have to work. So you were pale.

Gerrie: [00:31:20] But. I heard. I heard that. I remember hearing things, reading, hearing. I don’t know that something similar with body image where really it was good to be seen as fat because it meant that you ate well, as you ate like a king. Oh, like that.

Aaron: [00:31:37] Kind of thing. I remember reading that in my European history textbook, but that was during times of famine. Like during times of famine. I thought it was good to be like that, but that makes sense. That means you had little resources in your body. But I guess during times of I guess we’re kind of in terms of wealth, I guess it’s the opposite. It is interesting. I think I need to do more research because I can see how white people will try to use another standard after their existing standards are gone. What does that say about all the other examples in different countries and you know, where they are all just affected by the same idea?

Gerrie: [00:32:17] Or I can only imagine as I can only imagine, right? I imagine because even then, you know, throughout history it wasn’t until I feel fairly recently that you would see buff, people of color, you know what I mean? Like, for example, maybe Hollywood media went out to the Philippines. I imagine it’s mostly buff white people. So I don’t know which one came first or like, hmm, I don’t know. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know if it was colonial or it was a media thing or what.

Aaron: [00:32:51] Yeah. In my head, I’m just, okay, well, well, you know, people normally, you know, Drew Buddha and Buddha was very fat. And, you know, all these, all these examples of, like, Buddha.

Gerrie: [00:33:01] Is actually radical. Okay. I mean, I must admit that, like, I do want to see the new Thor movie, but I want to be clear that it’s only because Natalie Portman is in it.

Aaron: [00:33:11] Okay. Yeah, yeah. That’s it. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:33:14] I’m glad she’s back. Okay. Oh, do we want to talk about, like, how that, like, could play a role in, like, Asian masculinity? Because there is that discourse of, like, Asian men not seen as like, what’s it called, like, masculine enough and then like how that kind of plays in or do we want to skip that? How does that make you feel? Aaron As a.

Aaron: [00:33:36] Man, I mean, you know, I could talk. I was like, Oh, that’s a big topic. We are running at 40. I can talk about it briefly. Like I don’t know because like there are a lot of Asian guys getting, getting buff now, you know, I think it’s like a meme on Tik Tok. It’s like when you go to the gym you’ll see you always see one really buff Asian dude. So like I can see how, you know, notions of like fatphobia and, you know, ideal guy image based on like whether it’s Marvel movies, action movies, magazines can encourage any guy to want to be super buff. But I also I mean, I too, I mean, I don’t want to get like buff, but I would just like to work out because I feel like I sit around all day and I’m like, I don’t I’m not exactly happy with how I look right now, but, you know, it’s a work in progress. Okay. I think the issue is, that I don’t know enough buff Asian guys to have an accurate read on like the reasons why you’re doing it. You know, like obviously from a general case, I’m like, yeah, if you’re doing it only to look like white guys or like Chase the standard, it’s like, that’s not great. I would probably look a little, you know, maybe ask yourself, why are you doing that? But you know, if you’re genuinely doing it for yourself, I’m like, you know, go for it. It just really depends on how influenced you are by like external factors versus like internal ones. This is what I think looks good.

Gerrie: [00:34:55] Yeah. But then like, my question is, is like, why do you think that looks good?

Aaron: [00:34:58] No, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And like, who shaped that? Yeah, it is a little bit of always both, but. Yeah. I mean, I like a lot of the Asian guys, I know they’re not like super buff, you know, they’re just chilling. I’m they don’t seem, you know, I don’t know. So I think it’s I think the short answer is if you’re a buff Asian guy listening to this podcast, please chime in with like why you want to be above Asian guy.

Gerrie: [00:35:21] I mean, I get it. I would love to be a buff Asian guy. Yeah, yeah, I get it. But, also a lot of questions. Yeah. Okay, cool. And so our last thing to discuss today was a Tiktok by @asante_legal and basically just discussed how law as law is a means of class warfare. Law is the way that the ruling class legitimizes its power, which I thought was a really interesting take. And, yeah, I just thought that was a really good way to understand a lot of the stuff that’s been happening lately, especially with Roe v Wade and I don’t know, hopefully codifying same-sex and interracial marriage.

Aaron: [00:36:11] I don’t know. In that same Tiktok, when I was watching it, there was this great example about how, you know, individuals like we’re we could be like charged, fined 200 bucks for littering. But large corporations, aren’t charged at all for like environmental pollution. Right. And if anything, you know, the Supreme Court recently was saying that the EPA didn’t even have the right to regulate carbon dioxide, which was like, okay, ha. All right. P But to, to even tie this to like a person’s personal daily life, New York City, right? It’s like we have COVID going on in New York City. The MTA still requires masks, you know, maybe like 50% wear masks. But it’s you know, whenever I see a cop in New York City or even Eric Adams sometimes they just go kind of freedom with no mask and there are no repercussions. There’s no punishment. Right. So I think there’s you know, you see so many examples in real life of rules applying to people who are not empowered. So I think that’s a good example that laws are not unbiased, it’s just to protect what’s going on at the moment.

Gerrie: [00:37:14] Yeah. I mean, to your comments about masks and in New York a cop and Eric Adams that’s the same thing. So I’m not surprised.

Aaron: [00:37:22] Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Gerrie: [00:37:23] Yeah. And the first thing he did when he came into power was, we don’t no more mask mandate. That’s ridiculous. Or, no more vaccine mandate one of those. So I’m not surprised. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, okay. Here, relatedly. And also what I remember, we covered this a little earlier in, one of our earlier seasons, but Uber, right? Uber and the whole whatever prop that was in California, I can’t remember the number, but the one that would have reclassified gig workers as employees. It’s interesting. Yeah, it’s interesting to see companies influence the law in that way. Right., they put out a lot of propaganda that was, this is bad. this, this, you know, a lot of people love being gig workers. They earn more blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever.

Aaron: [00:38:12] Yeah. But, I love being exploited, right?

Gerrie: [00:38:15] But, when, when it comes to repercussions of the law or even, I mean, even really just societal repercussions. They’re just like, we’re just a company, we’re not a person. We’re not like, we can’t do anything about this. We’re just a platform. But then it’s like, okay, awful analogy, but it’s Tobi Obito from Naruto, the way he’s able to be transparent and like have things go through him and then rematerialize again. it feels a lot like that.

Aaron: [00:38:51] Okay. Yeah, a very loose example, but I’ll go with it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can’t do anything. But now I can. Now I can’t.

Gerrie: [00:38:59] Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So it just, I, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know how you’re supposed to fight that in a class war, right?

Aaron: [00:39:09] So yeah, yeah. I think, I mean, that’s I think that’s where protests and boycotts come in, right? And I guess. Yeah, I mean, that’s yeah. I mean, ideally, yeah, I guess that our form of like lobbying is through public protest, but yeah. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:39:26] Okay, well, that’s, that’s all the items we had on our outline for this week. So I hope you enjoy the episode again. You can follow the podcast @politicallyasianpodcast on Instagram, @politicasianpod on Twitter, or email us at politicallyasianpodcast@gmail.com, support us on Patreon or if you have no monies, you can leave a review on Apple or Spotify. Give us five stars please and yeah cool until next time and thanks for listening— BYEEEEEEEEE.

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