Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Holy Mega Screwups Batman! Neither we nor they all look the same...

Update: May 14, 2008 @ 4:55pm

You know I knew I should have sat on this one for a bit as I did read about it and blog it when I was exhausted in the wee hours of the morning.

It did occur to me that what if poor Alexis wrote it, turned it in and then someone else screwed it up? Without getting into details, let me say, that's already happened to me and I'm fairly new to this whole game.

Eh, I won't take it down. I'll just apologize for taking Radar's spin on it at face value and not sleeping on it. The "idiot writers" tag does not apply to you dear Alexis.

However, the "idiot writers" tag still very much applies to the second situation.

Also, I'll eat some well-done crow and say the "idiot blogger" tag applies to me this time.


You know I never bought the line that all Asians or other minorities look alike because, well, that's just ridiculously stupid. Sure, there might be dominant features that people from the same racial group have, but when people say that this or that group of people look alike they're saying they can't tell them apart.

I understand it comes from not being used to dealing with a large group of people from the same ethnic group, but I never had a big problem with this.

Maybe that makes me qualified to fact check for People magazine because someone really screwed up. However, what makes it funny is the writer's name is Alexis Chiu, which sounds like an Asian name to me. Now that's no guarantee Alexis is Asian, but still, even if he or she isn't, isn't that what fact checkers are for?

Here is the story from Radar: People Magazine Thinks All Asians Look the Same

Apparently the editors of People have a bit of a problem differentiating between Asian males. On page 38 of this week's issue, in which an interview with Korean Speed Racer actor Karl Yune is accompanied by text identifying him as Korean pop star Rain.

Still, there are two reasons why the mistake is particularly unforgivable. One: Rain, who routinely places first in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" online poll, honestly looks nothing like Yune. Two: the story was written by someone named Alexis Chiu, whom we assume is Asian and should thus totally have known better.

Luckily, it still isn't as bad as this.

Of course, I had to click and "this" one deals with a similar error with two black men.

David Patrick Columbia Thinks All of Those Fashion People Look Alike
Given the frequency with which people of color appear in the "society" pages of fancy magazines, you'd think extra attention would be paid to get their names and identities right. Not the case in this month's edition of Quest magazine, in which bozo society photographer David Patrick Columbia manages to misidentify both of the black people he features—the only two on the page, mind you.

The first one, Moises de la Renée, is actually Moises de la Renta, the 25-year-old adopted kid of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. (Making matters worse is that Columbia actually managed to ID Oscar correctly further down the page.) In the bottom row, Columbia also confuses gay Vanity Fair fashion and style director Michael Roberts with gay former Vibe editor-in-chief Emil Welbekin.

To his credit, he did get cosmetics heir Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer's name right.

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  1. Yeah. He (she?) is Asian.

    Check the Facebook:

  2. LOL...wow!

    I didn't even think of going to Facebook and searching (and God knows I'm on it enough).

    Yep, Alexis is Asian.

  3. Oh crap. In both examples, the people look nothing alike!

    Also, another U.S. magazine repeatedly identified Rain by his movie character's name.

    So, the U.S. media looks both blind and stupid.

  4. Whaddayah mean they look nothing alike?!!!

    ...same, same...

    I just have to add the guy who just dropped off my lunch also looks just like Rain and Karl Yune, too!

    They're all the same just all black people look exactly alike.

    (Excuse the heavy sarcasm...I'm sleep deprived right now.)

  5. As a former journalist I have to give benefit of the doubt to Alexis Chiu, though.

    Many times writers have nothing to do with the choice of photos for the story. Likely this is some editors screwup. She (he? haven't clicked to the Facebook site yet) probably filed the interview. Unless there is a photographer accompanying a journalist to do a profile or longer article, it's normally an editor's job to find stock photos *of the right person* to accompany it.

    I've also been screwed by an editor putting the wrong photo with a story before (not like this!) but still, it sucks to be held responsible for something you have no control over.

  6. Re:

    "Two: the story was written by someone named Alexis Chiu, whom we assume is Asian and should thus totally have known better."

    Conspiracy theory:

    Alexis Chiu knew perfectly well Rain is Korean, but if Alexis is Chinese, she may be pissed off enough at/with the Seoul torch relay incident/protests, so she willfully discredited Rain.

    Rumor-mongering ? Who, me ? Yup.

  7. Cat,

    Yeah, I was thinking that too because Alexis wrote it but I don't think it was Alexis' job to choose the photo.

    It just sucks 'cause when that happens the error is attributed to the writer and not the people behind the scenes who actually botched the job.

  8. Hahahahaha...


    I think that one is a little far fetched. Alexis probably just turned it in and figured the folks in the photo department would actually find a photo of Rain to put with what he wrote.

  9. Expat Jane and you know the sad thing is Rain was on People's Most Beautiful List(ala in the back of the book)last year so this notion they couldn't find a decent picture of him is unacceptable.

  10. No argument from me there. That's why everyone is so irritated that such a careless mistake was made. The person choosing the photo clearly had no idea who Rain was or what he looked like.


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