My nation of internet shut-ins, today our great Land in the Cloud was used for a heinous act. As we all know, this place known as the Internet, the haven invented for us basement-dwelling folk, is filled only with love, honesty, and compassion for our fellow man. But there are those that attempt to ruin this perfect haven. Men like Michael Derrick Hudson who burden this locale with their lies and deception.
On September 9, 2015, an article was posted on The Blaze marking the destruction of our great sanctuary. Unable to submit his poem “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” under his name, Michael decided that he would try submitting it with a pen name: Yi-Fen Chou. Surprisingly, people began to pay more attention to the poem! I know, it sounds racist, but it is not, and here is why. The title of the poem requires an Asian author. If it was not Yi-Fen Chou, then other acceptable names would be Noodle Mein Foo, Chi Chong Pai, or Nonoyo Dam Business.
But Alyssa Wong opened my eyes with her self-chain self-discussion. She feels,
“very, very strongly that Michael Derrick Hudson’s poem should be pulled from 2015 Best American Poetry bc it’s dishonest & racist.”
She is appropriately upset and for good reason! Look what he has done. Michael submitted a poem with Asian persuasion under a false name (like some kind of ninja). And when he saw that people were more willing to accept the poem under his new name, he used a classic marketing maneuver: Repeating what works. This is a clear misuse of the pure and honest marketing techniques that everyone recognizes and purports (pretty sure that means ‘portrays honestly’). People never pretend to be of another race on any television show, in commercials, in movies, and especially not on the Internet. So why should we allow this man to get away with it in literature? No one has ever used a false name to publish novels, poetry, works of fiction, or any other writing form that uses recognized forms of communication. Even the earliest caveman made sure to watermark his creation on the cave wall with his true initials.
What Michael has done is very not okay, in my eyes, and I feel strongly that something should be said only about him doing this. Racial jokes by comedians or well-known actors is one thing, but a poet who attempts to deal with modern issues? That is taking it too far. No more ‘poetic license’ excuses! No more, “it’s a statement about the state of publishing today.” No more, “This says more about the editors reading the piece than my decision.” We must end pen name-racism, because if we cannot be honest about who is writing the piece, how will we show our faces to Mrs. Silence Dogood, Erin Hunter, or the greatest of them all, Woody Allen? All of these people are true to their word and true to their name. And they never strayed from their birth-born title.
Your honest-to-lie storyteller,