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Thinking Its PresenceForm, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry$
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Dorothy J. Wang

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783651

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783651.001.0001

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Genghis Chan Parodying Private Eye

Genghis Chan Parodying Private Eye

(p.205) Six Genghis Chan Parodying Private Eye
Thinking Its Presence

Dorothy J. Wang

Stanford University Press

This chapter looks at Yau’s use of parody—both defensively and offensively, as rhetorical strategy and as weapon—to critique and undermine dominant racial discourses (for example, Hollywood’s stereotypes, narratives of assimilation) and, in particular, representations of Asian American men. Parody allows Yau to occupy multiple subject positions to express conflicting feelings of racial self-hatred, feelings of racial emasculation, anger at American society’s treatment of Asian Americans, and a vexed yet productive and playful relationship to the English language. Beginning with Mikhail Bakhtin, this chapter examines the history and nuances of parody as a genre before turning its attention to Yau’s series of ’Genghis Chan: Private Eye’ poems, which most forcefully manifest Yau’s biting use of parody.

Keywords:   Genghis Chan, Bakhtin, John Yau, poetry, Asian American, parody

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