Saturday, April 29, 2017
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The flogging will continue until morale improves

Alexander Chee Archive

Alexander Chee

Why Must the Novel Be Boring?

September 11th, 2009
by Alexander Chee


Yesterday, in my Fiction II class, as the students introduced themselves I asked them to speak about what they’d been reading over the summer. One student impressively admitted to reading both Underworld and Infinite Jest. Another, though, shyly said she was reading YA novels.

“I suspect they’re more fun,” she said.

“To read or to write,” I asked.

“Both,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “I think it has something to do with what Doris Lessing said once about 20th century literature, that it was a long cry of pain.” (more…)

Alexander Chee

Learning to Love Long Duk Dong

August 28th, 2009
by Alexander Chee


When Long Duk Dong appears for the first time during Sixteen Candles, a gong rings, and if you’re of East Asian descent, as you see his face swing down over the bunk bed and the halo of black hair appear around his head (and Samantha screams) you experience a moment of PTSD, remembering every time anyone ever followed you on the street softly muttering “ching-chong-ching-chong-ching-chong”.

The experience I have of Sixteen Candles is a complicated one. The pleasure for me is being in love with Jake Ryan right alongside Samantha, her story an allegory for my own awkwardness and desires as a gay teen back then. Being overlooked on your birthday because your perfect sister is getting married—even if she’s marrying someone no one likes—is a metaphor for being gay in America in the 80s. There’s a reason Molly Ringwald became a gay icon for life after this film, in other words. (more…)

Alexander Chee

Happy 88th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage: The Do-Over

August 27th, 2008
by Alexander Chee


Last night I took down a number of what I think of as “internet angry guy” posts on my blog that I’d put up over a few weeks, posts that are the equivalent of me being like my mom and shouting at the television–something that worries me about her only because she never had high blood pressure until, well, the last 7 years. I took these down because I realized in the most recent one I hadn’t really done what I wanted to on the topic of the anniversary of women’s suffrage, which happened on the same day as the Democratic National Convention kickoff and the beautiful speech Michelle Obama gave.


Alexander Chee

Number One Regret

January 8th, 2008
by Alexander Chee


Create a background for one of your characters by filling out this list:

Full Name: Alexander Suk Hyun Chee

Birthday: August __, 1967

Birthplace: Rhode Island. Or rather, a hospital near the campus of the University of Rhode Island, the Ocean State. Photos from that time show my parents living in a small graduate student apartment.

Current Location: Amherst, MA, in a small faculty apartment overlooking a football field. Tall old trees line the streets. All the houses I can see are white with black shutters.

Heritage: Korean/Chinese/Mongolian/Scotch-Irish.

Eye Color/Hair Color: Hazel/Brown.

Right or Left Handed: Right, for most things.

Major Strength: Students and friends believe he has X-Ray vision. (more…)

Alexander Chee

WWTCS (What Would Tom Cruise Say): Some WGA Strike Conversations

November 15th, 2007
by Alexander Chee



A few weeks ago I checked out a copy of “Happy Together” at my Hollywood Video store, and then when I went to return, found a shut store, with a notice announcing a close-out DVD sale.

I went to my Netflix and found that they now offer streaming video over the internet.

Around the same time, I found that I couldn’t buy The Office on iTunes anymore, as I had all last year. It was on the website, like most of ABC’s content is, though ABC both sells ads and makes its shows available on iTunes, at 1.99 a pop. It’s a tough call whose making more money there.

And then the WGA announced it was going on strike, and it all came together for me. (more…)

Alexander Chee

Rebel I Love You

June 3rd, 2007
by Alexander Chee



This is about doomed love, psychic powers, and poems. Most of what I write is about this.

Here is a page from my notebook 19 years ago this week, notes written while I was in class at the Bennington Summer Writers’ Workshop.

That boy
is watching
me what does
he want what
does he expect or is he

about my tan
the cord
at my throat (more…)