Best Of The Web
“Last week, Patriot Act host and The Daily Show alum Hasan Minhaj gave voice to a frustration that’s shared by millions but rarely discussed in public. Sitting on Ellen DeGeneres’ couch, he gave an honest answer to her question about whether she was pronouncing his name correctly. “People always mispronounce it,” he told DeGeneres in a moment that quickly went viral, racking up millions of views on Twitter and YouTube. “They’re always like, ‘Haseen Minaja! Hussein!’ ” Recalling the early days of his career, when he was advised to change his name to make it more showbiz-friendly, Minhaj was defiant: “If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj.”
It’s worth dwelling on both the significant cultural work that Minhaj does in this brief, two-minute clip, as well as how he does it. First, the Netflix host dared to request that DeGeneres, and the public at large, pronounce his name in a non-Anglophone way: not “ha-SAHN mi-NHAJ,” as he himself has said it for years, but “HA-sun MIN-haj.” (For the Asian American viewers keeping track at home, the fact that he made such a pronouncement on his mom’s favorite talk show means that, yes, he won this month’s round of the Best Asian Child contest.) And for those in the audience who might ask what difference the alternate emphases make, he observed, “the real way you pronounce it” is “a big deal because my parents are here.” Minhaj insists on a less assimilationist way to pronounce his name without ever framing it as such.
No less remarkably, he’s doing this mid-career, a half-decade after entering the spotlight via The Daily Show. For most of the first season of Patriot Act, the comedian called himself “ha-SAHN mi-NHAJ,” then changed it up in the finale to “HA-sun MIN-haj.” He didn’t dwell on the shift in that episode, but as a longtime fan I definitely noticed: Minhaj was finally comfortable enough in his success to insist that people call him the way he prefers, even if it meant people outside of his culture would be slightly (like really, the tiniest possible bit) more uncomfortable doing so.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."
"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."
"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."
"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."
"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."
"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."
"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."
"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."
"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."
"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."
"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."
"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."