© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Graphic Novelist Adrian Tomine Takes On The Notorious Long Duk Dong

In 2001, graphic novelist Adrian Tomine (<a href="http://drawnandquarterly.com/shortcomings/"><em>Shortcomings</em></a>) published a pungent one-page comic describing his own history with the legacy of Long Duk Dong.
Adrian Tomine
In 2001, graphic novelist Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings) published a pungent one-page comic describing his own history with the legacy of Long Duk Dong.

On Friday, I explained what's "cringeworthy" about Sixteen Candles' Long Duk Dong, whose broken English and social ineptitude left a painful stamp on many Asian-American children of the '80s.

Keith Chow, creator of the pop culture blog Nerds of Color, reminded me that graphic novelist Adrian Tomine took on the legacy of Dong in his 2001 comic "The Donger and Me," in which he recalls watching Sixteen Candles for the first time.

"You stupid f****** a******!" a school-aged Tomine yells at the TV screen as Dong bumbles through another scene.

At school, classmates try to get Tomine to playact the character's lines: "C'mon ... just say, 'Whassa happening, hot stuff?' " and "Say, 'No more yankee my wankee!' "

Later, a grown-up Tomine has a chance to interview Gedde Watanabe, who played Dong, and is raring to give the actor a piece of his mind. And yet, after their talk, Tomine finds himself charmed:

"My impression is that he's a funny, honest guy whose desire to be a professional actor supercedes any sense of political correctness," his character tells us. "And when you consider how hard it is for Asian-American actors to get work in Hollywood, he's got a pretty impressive resume. I think his dedication is actually kind of admirable."

But then Tomine watches Watanabe playing the minor character Chan in the 1997 movie Booty Call. I can't find much about that role, but from Tomine's response, it doesn't sound positive:

"You stupid f****** a******!" the adult cartoon Tomine yells at the TV screen.

Check out the full comic, "The Donger and Me".

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content