Nov 14 2005

I Took Cho To Bed


As you know, I take to my bed for a week in the fall whether I’ve come down with cancer or not, and this year has been no exception. Last weekend, because I am fond of her, I took gay icon/cult figure Margaret Cho to bed with me.

She’s got a new book-video combo out. To double my Cho, I read the book (I Have Chosen To Stay And Fight) while watching the video (Assassin). The book is a collection of short, showbizzapolitical essays about stuff like how it’s lame to hate Courtney Love and how Dubya is a fucktard.

The video is Cho’s standup show, where she says basically the same thing as the book but spends a lot more time in the character of a gay man who goes "Girl?!" a lot. My mom watched the first part of it with me. "Wow, she’s really lost some weight," she said. I was relieved that she left before Cho started pantomiming how the GOP gave Mary Cheney cock-sucking lessons.

Anyway, the vid kind of drags, so I recommend watching the trailer instead, which hits all the highlights in about 2 minutes, conveniently freeing up your busy invalid schedule for a restorative nap.

Maybe I prefer the book because I was born without the standup appreciation gene. I get antsy when comedians, even when they impersonate flaming faggots, wait expectantly for the audience to get the first part of the joke before continuing with the second part of the joke. Just tell me the joke! I’ll catch up, I promise!

Parts of the video, I am sad to say, are actually kind of creepy. In addition to the performance footage, there is a lot of Cho-as-Messiah stuff that I found frankly weird. Fans and bedazzled acolytes are shown gushing over how the great Cho speaks "for the people," members of her entourage are shown gushing over how she is the most important radical philosopher of her time. At the end, the camera follows her in her smart red leather coat as she rushes down empty halls to her waiting, definitely not of-the-people limo, which speeds her off into the night, probably for drinks with the cool trannies. Why is she rushing? Will the rabid Cho-maniacs tear her limb from limb if they catch her? It reminded me of that scene in Apocalypse Now where strippers rush back to the helicopter, pursued by a thousand erections. Celebrities, I guess, even the populists, are always prisoners rushing from their own fabulosity.

And I’m sorry, but at one point the video shows Bob Mould, a former hero of mine, using the phrase "at the end of the day" not once, but twice. Et tu, Bob?

The part of the book that made me the happiest is where Cho says something like "if you’re not a feminist you should just fucking kill yourself." I guess I’m down with that!

She also tells a nice story about her great-great grandmother, "the legend of [whose] ugliness spread far and wide" and "who killed people with her bare hands." Particularly riveting is Cho’s confession that she has inherited this distinguished relative’s abnormally tiny pinky fingers, which she calls "dinkies." After reading this I scrutinized the video closely for evidence of these dinkies, but I couldn’t really see that her fingers were that different from regular pinkies. Maybe after she gets shot–Cho seems to believe that she will be shot for being a mouthy Asian activist chick–she will donate her body to that museum in Philadelphia where they keep freaks in formaldehyde, and we can get to the bottom of this dinky mystery.

The part of the book that made me leeriest–and you have to be a little leery when dealing with celebrity personalities who ride in limos yet make a point of saying that they take the bus and eat at McDonalds–is where she says she is a devout Christian. The words "devout" and "Christian," when spake in the same breath, are usually code for "nutjob." Cho’s devout Christianity appears to take the shape of loving everybody–Michelle Malkin, Bill O’Reilly, the people who call her a fat chink cunt–so I guess it’s pretty harmless. But still. It was a nasty jar.

You know, people are going to read this and think I’m all anti-Cho. I’m not! I’m pro-Cho! She’s a firebrand! She hates the patriarchy! It’s great that she likes belly dancing and eats as much pizza as she wants and hangs out with cool trannies. Pointing out the hypocrisy of, say, people who hate gay marriage yet enjoy "Will and Grace," or of gay-bashing popes who wear gold dresses "and live in the Vatican with 500 mens" is useful and worthwhile. And I can appreciate that, to people who are used to Time magazine or CNN, the statement "George Bush is fucked!" may seem gutsy and blasphemous.

But let’s keep it in perspective. Remarks like "I think Laura Bush is pretty, but you know her pussy tastes like Lysol" may help bridge what for some may be a difficult or confusing gap between politics and entertainment, but are not really the stuff of insurgent iconoclasm. Cho’s dressed up like Patty Hearst, but she’s an Air America personality, not a militant.


Skip to comment form

  1. Miss Albanian Sworn Virgin

    Dear Twisty:

    A hop, skip, and a jump, took me from General J.C. Christian to Nancy’s Edicts to your site, where I landed and lingered with pleasure. And then Horrors! Twisty is ill! And while you are elsewhere occupied, I notice with dismay an excess of out-of-control ratiocination in the comments section, for which, of course, I am happy to take your lead and blame you-know-what. Semantic arguments regarding beauty and matter give me a not-fresh feeling down there, and lower the tone quite a bit, don’t you think? I hope you feel better soon and up to the task of daily douching around a nice maiden aunt vinegar concoction to keep the growth smacked down. I don’t have much first hand knowledge, but I’m told the culprit is the smegma that lurks under the foreskin. Or perhaps the chemo nurse could pay a visit here? Dressed up for business? That’ll shrivel some curlies!

    If you ever need a six-foot tall, unreconstructed feminist, old-school dyke to watch your back—I’m your man-hater!

    I am, with admiration, yours,

  2. Sunya Harjis

    Margaret Cho: safe feminism for people who still look to the books of stand-up comics for hilarity! Some people understand hilarity lives online with blogs and The Slugger. (I like Twistyblog because it’s like the Slugger except with breast cancer and patriarchy blaming instead of shoulder cancer and crimefighting.)

    Cheer up, not everything is a big pile of shit. British Men: surprisingly not all piggies!

  3. Ron Sullivan

    Cho’s dressed up like Patty Hearst, but she’s an Air America personality, not a militant.

    To be fair, that’s true of Patty Hearst too, except for the Air America part.

    Geez, didn’t Cho used to be funny? OK, the book cover made me giggle. I am of a certain age, and watched that whole mess live on local TV.

  4. ae

    Twisty, I absolutely, w/o equivocation, qualification, hesitation, or tarnation, love you.

    [My friend tried ice chips when she couldn’t stand the thought of anything else in her mouth. Hard candy also good (but not too minty and not too sweet). I hope that helps.]

  5. ae

    The words “devout” and “Christian,” when spake in the same breath, are usually code for “nutjob.”

    Furthermore, those two words spake in such close proximity also signify “I’m finally off the hooch!” Or blow. &c. Either way, a little Jeebus goes a long way.

    I consider MaCho an envoy, if you will, a sort of wilderness guide for adventurous suburbanites. We need her. She provides a service like those palatable primers to which the directionless flock: “Chicken Soup for the Fag Hag Wannabe Soul” or “The DaBitchy Code.” MaCho’s just priming the pump. All part of our evil librul homosessual agenda, of course.

  6. kate.d.

    i’m definitely all right with cho. it’s one of those “it’s all relative” things – not much that reaches the realm of patriarchy-blaming feminism makes it into mainstream print or movie theaters, so i’ll take what i can get.

    and whoa, she did lose a lot of weight! i saw her on a rerun of sex and the city the other day, and she is much thinner now. and she really hasn’t talked about why or how she lost the weight. i do find that interesting, in light of her whole self-acceptance and body image bit from “i’m the one that i want.”

  7. Twisty

    In the book Margaret outlines her “Fuck It” Diet. She eats whatever the hell she wants, which includes peanut butter cups and pizza, and doesn’t give a fuck, and somehow, the pounds melt off.

    I have been eating this way for years, and can attest to the efficacy of the method.

  8. Nancy

    Since you’re clearly dismissive of Air America – whom/what do you consider sufficiently militant?

    And Patti Hearst was hardly a bona fide militant.

  9. Hattie

    Similar to your problem with Cho, I had a problem with Lois Ann Yamanaka who if you don’t who Colette is you don’t know who Yamanaka is either. She wrote several wonderful Hawaiian novels, my favorite being “Blu’s Hanging,” and then wrote a creepy sentimental one about how she found God in Las Vegas or something, called, alas, “The Father of the Four Passages.”

  10. Kyra

    “gay-bashing popes who wear gold dresses”

    Thank you sooo much, Twisty, for making me choke on my Mountain Dew.

    Funny, though.

  11. Kyra

    Re: the “fuck it” diet—I, too, can attest to its effectiveness.

    Mostly. I tend, however, to have financial and logistical difficulties with the eating “whatever I want” part—salmon, very expensive chocolates, Mutsu apples, and the like are either too expensive or too out-of-the-way. I haven’t had Mutsu apples in seven years or so, since the local orchard lost their supplier. *curses the universe for this oversight* But then again, I just had Honeycrisp apples the other night (just developed by the University of Minnesota, weighing about a pound (yes, that’s per apple), and crisp-sweet-tart as hell), and it does quite a surprisingly good job of making up for it.

    Damn deer ate all the Concord grapes at my grandma’s farm, too. Another thing that makes me unable to eat anything I want to.

  12. Twisty

    I’m not dismissive of Air America, but there’s no doubt that it’s the mainstream. I’m merely stating that Cho, as an entertainer with liberal leanings, is not a revolutionary political figure.

  13. Hattie

    But she dresses like a revolutionary, and that’s enough for me!
    To me she looks, as they say, as if she has had a lot of work done.

  14. evelyn

    I went and saw Cho when she came out to Sydney for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras a couple of years ago. I really really know what you mean about how she waits for people to get the first part of a joke before she moves on.

    I’m used to comedians who just go, if you don’t keep up, you miss out.

    So we were all a bit disappointed, but my Asian friends loved the stuff about her mother.

  15. darkymac

    Cho, Air America, Bob Mould, Patty Hearst?
    US cultural references overwhelm me here.

    However, the depth of field in the Twisty reading table snap allows me to note that Brit Culture Hour non-aversion continues. Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time is unregenerate stylised Britishery complete with a nurse called “The Amazon”. It is yet a ripping yarn, unique in detective fiction, being a well-researched historical reconstruction.
    And done by a spinster aunt no less.

    This ad was brought to you by the readers of the world. Back to your main program.

  16. rose

    Twisty, youAREtheadorableone. I have learned the hard way not to have fluids near the computer when I get my Twisty fix. You really are the best spit take provider on the internets.

  17. TeenageCatgirl

    If I knew nothing else about her, the fact she appeared on Sex and the City is enough to put me off.

  18. kate.d.

    sorry to fixate on the weight loss issue (oh, the cliched femininity! it burns!), but i just have to say this:

    to those of you for whom the “fuck it” diet works, kudos to you and may my envy keep you warm at night. because, though it may work for you, that does not translate into universal effectiveness for the rest of us! and that’s why i have to doubt cho’s claim (if she is indeed making it) that she lost ALL that weight without the slightest alteration to her diet – unless she has a new penchant for marathon running or something that she hasn’t told us yet.

    ok, back to your regularly scheduled patriarchy-blaming!

  19. LC

    Who cares about the weightloss, maybe she just took up boxing thyroid iddue or something. At least she isn’t waiving it in peoples faces like fucking Oprah

  20. LC

    sorry should read “has a thyroid issue or something”

  21. Aaron

    Air America is generally pretty mainstream, if on the left edge of the center-left. Well, except for the Mike Malloy Show and maybe Randi Rhodes’ show, too. I don’t think Malloy is about to get invited onto CNN or MSNBC to provide a “from the left” commentary anytime soon. Though I think it would rock to have a guy who called Cheney a “demon from the furthest reaches of hell” on mainstream TV/radio. And calls Bush the “giggling killer” and compares Republicans to Nazis.

Comments have been disabled.