Backtalk: A Fake Asian Poet & Matt Damon on Diversity

On Backtalk, hosts Amy Lam and Sarah Mirk discuss the top pop culture stories of the week. This week's theme, apparently, is “clueless white guys.” 

First, we dig into the story of how white poet Michael Derrick Hudson used the pen name Yi-Fen Chou as a ploy to help his work get published. Sherman Alexie wound up including the poem in the newest edition of the Best American Poetry—Alexie explains his thinking here and we also cite Jenny Zhang's personal essay about being an Asian American writer. One hilarious response to the debacle: The Asian American Writers Workshop created a white pen-name generator. “Artistic legitimacy awaits!” 

After that, we explain why Matt Damon screwed up when he interrupted filmmaker Effie Brown to explain diversity in a recent episode of The Greenlight Project. His actions show how it's important to consider who's behind the camera, not just who's in front of it. 

Also on Backtalk, we recommend one thing we read, saw, and heard: 

• Saw: Sarah laughed way too hard at this satirical video starring Connie Britton. 

• Read: Amy is loving Claudia Rankine's Citizen. 

• Heard: This week's show features a clip from an interview with Bikini Kill bassist Kathi Wilcox. Check out the band's newly released demo tape

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by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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