In order to justify the little “Editor-in-Chief” tag I add to my email signature, I figured I’d start writing once-a-week Editor’s Notes to chat a little bit about music, Asian America, and Ninja Pants. I know, I know, this kind of thing usually comes at the beginning of a magazine issue or something, but my Mondays suck, so there you go.

This week brought us an interesting batch of news; that is, besides the random YouTube videos and Paul Kim updates (fun fact: these two, combined, account for approximately 60% of API music news! Just kidding.), we at Ninja Pants had an excuse to chat about Avril Lavigne and Tila “Tequila” Nguyen, both of whom are unusual topics for an Asian American music weblog. Don’t worry, we haven’t lost our indie cred with this recent excursion into pop music; rather, we write about what Asian America gives us, and this week, it was Avril and Tila.

It isn’t immediately intuitive why Ms. Lavigne’s foray into foreign-language singing is particularly relevant to Ninja Pants; sure, her pronounciation exceeded our (admittedly low) expectations, and I suppose Chinese and Japanese are Asian languages, but short of groveling for Google hits, why bother covering it? After all, it’s not like she’s, uh, actually Asian or anything. (Though our very own Chelsea Yamabe is seriously a dead ringer for Avril once she starts singing “Complicated”.)

To which I respond: if you aren’t at all curious by now when white Americans start exploring Asia (n culture/markets?), go watch a few more Gwen Stefani music videos and see how long it takes for you to get creeped out (side note: free the Gwenihana Four!). Of course, Avril is decidedly more innocuous – it doesn’t seem to be particularly fetishistic, thankfully, nor is it exclusively Asian (see the Spanish and English versions of “Girlfriend”), so we’ll let her off the hook for that – but it’s still worth paying attention to.

Also worth paying attention to: “Girlfriend” is a song, presumably addressed to a boy, about how Avril would make a much better girlfriend than said boy’s existing one, and the polyglot lyrics are no exception. Maybe she has a newly-discovered thing for men of color? Alas – Wikipedia says she’s married.

Tila Tequila is a little bit of a different story; her “I Love U” gives us an image of Asian America in music that gives us something to argue about. Her bipolar “I love you” and “I’ll fucking kill you” , her alternating “I’m what you need” and “Gimme what I need”, her riding crop and her submissive moaning; all of these link back to classic images of Asian women as dominant and submissive, “dragon ladies” and “geisha girls”. And yet to our intuitions – well, some of ours – there appears to be something more than shameless self-exploitation there, somewhere, though I’ll be damned if I can find it. Her music is unremarkable (stick to your day job, miss) but her character is unforgettable, and for that we are mysteriously compelled to pay attention to her.

This must be how white people feel about Paris Hilton.

I’ll leave you for the weekend with an excerpt from Tila Tequila’s Wikipedia talk-page discussion about, well, you’ll see. I love the Internet.

pat m.

breasts fake or not?

I removed the following sentence:
She also had breast enhancement surgery performed, which altered her breasts from a size ‘A’, to a size ‘C’.
Tila has not had breast implants. Read her resume on her official website. It clearly states that her measurements are “34B-24-36”. — J3ff 02:45, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

She’s had breast surgery done. Her breasts are artificial.
Where’s your source for this? — J3ff 23:30, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I removed the following sentence:
Since then Nguyen has had surgery to enlarge her breasts to a B-cup size.
Unless this is verifiable through other sources, this should not be in the article. — J3ff 20:36, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Her breasts are fake. if you read the article from import tuner called “up close and personal with tila” then you know she admits to it. 2NR: Real or fake? TN: Real on the outside! They’re fake, but they are proportioned to my body very well. its from the interview.
Well, can you give us an Issue number and/or Issue date so we can Verify this ourselves?
indeed, unless people can come with some actual trustable sources it’s simply not something that should be added. – Boneyard 10:10, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

i found the website that has that quote from the magazine “import tuner”

I don’t think this is an appropriate source. Its like saying that a porn star loves double anal because she says so on video – she only saying what the viewers (or readers in this case) want to hear. If you look at Tila’s playboy shoot, which was her first modelling experience, just after her 18th birthday, her breasts are perfect, just like they are now. They’re not fake. —Nambio 23:28, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, Import Tuner Magazine is a verifiable source. If you can find a source which is is reliable saying otherwise, please add it. –LBMixPro 05:35, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree, it may well be a verifiable source. Similar to how Penthouse is a verifiable source. Like I said above, just because a porn star says she loves getting fucked by dirty old men, doesn’t mean it is actually true. Tila Nguyen’s appeal is based on sex, and sex alone. In order to keep up this appeal, it is only natural that she is going to BS reporters to some extend. When discussing her breasts to a magazine, in which her existence is based SOLEY on sex appeal, she is obviously going to have an agenda. This does not mean to say her breasts are definately not fake, but we just need to take it with a grain of salt. –Nambio 22:12, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, if her appeal is based on sex alone, keeping in mind of the hundreds of asian models out, why is she signed with Interscope? Regardless of how it may not seem, record companies DO NOT waste money, musicians (and producers) time and label resources (CD processing, recording studios) on people who don’t have any form of musical talent. Even Spears and Madonna have some kind of musical talent. Import Tuner is a automotive magazine, NOT an adult mag like Penthouse. I’m sorry the policy states “verifibility, not truth” but if Tila said somewhere that she doesn’t, then post it up. I’d rather have verifibility and truth. –LBMixPro 10:11, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

My point was actually not to speak of her modelling rather than her music – the former is (arguably) where her breasts matter. While I understand Import Tuner is not an adult magazine, Nguyen’s role is exactly the same as it would be in a magazine such as Penthouse. In this instance (as is true for any other model), her appeal is soley based on sex. Therefore, I do not think this source can be purported as fact, especially considering various sources in conflict. Like I said above, I am not saying her breasts are fake; I am merely suggesting we look at such sources with a little more scrutiny than we would the New York Times or Newsweek. –Nambio 06:28, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of what her role is, I fail to see why her words should be taken at less than face-value. There are *at least* as many men who prefer natural breasts as who like fake breasts, so I don’t see a particular reason to think she’s lying in the interview. At the very least, it can be said that she *has* said they’re fake in interviews.