Kellyanne Conway, announced the discovery of an entirely new reality recently. Conway, or Con for short, was browsing her Webflix when she came to the “because you watched Family Guy” section, and was promptly transported to an “alt-reality.” In a press release, Con described this new reality as one where “Paul Ryan wiped his brown nose, Donald Drumpf was People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, and the silent majority was actually silent.” Most notable of all, though, was that liberals finally saw the white light, and enjoyed the Alt-Asian show Iron Fist.
Iron Fist has gotten a lot of flack from progressive types since its release, who claim all sorts of things like “cultural appropriation,” “Orientalism,” and, “Wing isn’t even a last name—it’s just an order at your local Chinese place.” The last statement is a reference to the Asian love interest in Iron Fist, Colleen Wing; these critics, however, fail to address the reality that Alt-Asian identity is constructed in the local Chinese restaurant. Rather, these are the same people who have been recorded openly discriminating against Alt-Asian icons like General Tao, claiming the esteemed war hero is “not really Asian.” Who should be defining the Asian experience in North America, though—Asians, or white dudes, like Roy Thomas, the creator of the Iron Fist character?
Thomas responded to criticism by wondering, “Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that [Iron Fist] isn’t Oriental, or whatever word?” (That quote wasn’t even satire, this article is writing itself—thanks Roy!) Roy Thomas is right, though, that those nerds don’t have anything better to do than fight for representation in media, and that Danny Rand, or the Iron Fist, isn’t “Oriental;” he is, proudly, Alt-Asian.
Certainly, Iron Fist/Danny Rand is not Asian-Asian: his creator was white (most Asians are created by Asian parents) and he is not ethnically Asian. Instead, he displays all the characteristics of alt-Asianness: he does kung fu, he has yellow fever (prognosis: threatening), and he takes up more space than any [more buff, more qualified, goes by the name Lewis Tan] Asian-Asian dude ever could.
But the Iron Fist does uphold one long, extremely important, cultural heritage: white people’s faithfulness to racism. Indeed, many white commenters have voiced that because the original Iron Fist was Orientalist, the remake is rightfully adhering to those roots. These advocates are finding allies in other movements as well: one of these groups is the “Make Vehicular Death Great Again” movement, which argues that because passenger vehicles did not have air bags at their inception, they should be removed from modern vehicles as well. Another is the “Put Diapers on Again” movement, which stipulates that because we can’t control our bowels in infancy, we should all wade through a quagmire of our own shit in adulthood. And indeed, watching Iron Fist is very closely aligned with wading through a quagmire of one’s own shit. As such, this writer is giving Iron Fist one iron finger up!