Editor’s Note: We are proud to present the second and final part of our interview with Terry Park, instructor and PhD candidate at UC Davis and the authority on all things Jeremy Lin. Part two continues our discussion about Lin and focuses on Terry’s excellent Lin-centric show ”The Joy Dunk Club”. Give Terry a follow on Twitter, check out his website, and “like” the Joy Dunk Club on Facebook. Do it all. Now.
Two questions about Jeremy Lin. What do you think Jeremy Lin’s best skill is as a player? Does he do anything distinctively different than any other NBA player out there?
I think he does a couple of things really well. One of those things is why I would love to see him traded to the Jazz. He is a great North-South player, which I think is an increasingly lost art in the point guard position. I just love the way he plays the pick-and-roll, especially with Asik. He just really finds him with bounce passes. He is a master at the hit ahead pass, with those fast breaks that get the team going. And, his patience when he drives and maybe doesn’t find the right opening right away. In a very Nash kind of way, he will wait and pause for a few seconds and look for openings, which he usually finds, and I think that is admirable for such a young point guard to have that kind of patience which, for a lot of players, they have to learn that skill. You are young, and you want to make the ESPN SportsCenter play, but for him he is not concerned about how he looks, which is amazing considering he is a very hyper-visible player, and yet his play is not SportsCenter-friendly, and he doesn’t care. His North-South style of play and the patience he exhibits.
Along those lines, we have seen Jeremy Lin in three distinctively different systems, as long as he has been a starter. We had Mike d’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less, which moved to Mike Woodson’s slow-it-down and grind it out with Melo system, and now he is in Kevin McHale’s, which is almost a hybrid of the two. Which one do you think he fits the best in? Is there any system you preferred seeing Jeremy as a starter in?
That’s a really great question. There is a lot of nostalgia for Linsanity for many reasons, and I think one of those reasons for basketball purists is the system that he was in with Mike D’Antoni, and he’s not the only one to flourish in D’Antoni’s system. I mean Steve Nash, so many players would love…
A lot of that was us missing those Phoenix Suns teams. That’s why we loved Jeremy Lin because they looked a lot like those Suns teams we adored.
I didn’t think about that, but there is a reason why the Suns were on national TV for a good number of seasons with Steve Nash, Marion, Stoudemire, Joe Johnson when he was there for a couple of years, and we had that. The Knicks were amazing…
…Steve Novocaine hitting the threes, of course Tyson Chandler was loving the lob passes.
Landry Fields was looking good next to him. Landry Fields was putting up, in the way that Seven Seconds or Less elevated these lesser players into people who were far greater than the sum of their stats, there was something about Linsanity that brought us back to those Phoenix teams which were just so much fun.
So much fun to watch, and I think during Linsanity, Lin was a hybrid of Steve Nash, because of the system, and Chris Paul with the North-South, lobs to Chandler. I’m sure Chandler was reliving his Hornets days with the perfectly timed lob passes. In terms of excitement, and some success, they had a great winning streak going on. Maybe D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less was the best system for him. I think he is doing well in Houston. I had some doubts at the beginning of the season as to whether this was the right system for him, and I think he can still improve. I mean, really I would just love him to be on the Jazz where you have a long legacy of pick and rolling and giving the point guard the ball and letting him run the flex system and the pick and roll. I think that would be a great system for Jeremy Lin.
Along those lines, let’s play some role playing here. You are Jeremy Lin’s agent. Imagine you are his agent, what advice are you giving him right now? Are you saying let’s see what is going to happen in Houston, or are you starting to pressure Daryl Morey to try to see what sort of options are out there? Are you feeling that your client is in the best situation possible, not just for his career as a player but his marketing potential and the work he was doing last year to create, really, a global brand that will provide paychecks and financial security long after he stops playing basketball?
That’s a good question. A big reason why the Joy Dunk Club started was because of an argument I had with Leonard Shek with Dat Winning, an API [Asian-Pacific Islander] sports podcast. We were arguing, like a lot of people were arguing at the time, about the compatibility with Harden and Lin, whether it could work. At that point I was pretty adamant that it wasn’t working. James Harden, again, demands a lot of attention, the ball, and as we saw during Linsanity, Lin flourished when he had the ball in his hands the majority of the time, so I had my doubts. But, it seems like they have kind of worked it out, again with staggering the minutes. But still, they have invested so much money in Harden, and Harden is a great player. He is a proven commodity. He has proven his worth with the Rockets as a leading man, and Jeremy Lin has been reduced a lot of the time to an outside spot-up shooter. That’s not his strength. He can definitely improve his outside game, and I hope to see him improve, but if it continues to be the case where Harden has the ball most of the time and the only time Jeremy Lin sees the ball while Harden is on the court is in the last seven seconds when they haven’t found anything in the first fifteen seconds, I don’t know if that is the right situation. In terms of marketing potential too, maybe the Clippers if they lose Chris Paul, and they might lose Eric Bledsoe, might be a good situation for him. You have Lob City. Jeremy Lin would be giving it up left and right to Jordan and Blake Griffin, and kind of occupy the position Chris Paul occupies too. A floor general, somebody who distributes the ball. You don’t have the outside shooters that you do with Houston, but you have, who do they have that are outside shooters?
No with the Clippers.
Matt Barnes can put in threes, Chris Paul can shoot, Jamal Crawford is their gunner off the bench. Caron Butler can step out and hit the three. They have some shooters.
And I think Jeremy Lin needs the shooters because of his style of play, and that’s why the Rockets team is assembled in a way that compliments his talent.
Most people assume that Eric Bledsoe will be paid a lot of money to become a starter elsewhere.
And he deserves it. It sounds like Chris Paul wants him to have that job.
Do you think it would be a failure if Jeremy Lin eventually became Chris Paul’s backup?
My first reaction is yeah.
I want him to shine. I want Linsanity to happen forever. I want it to just keep on going. This is why I talk about the tension between Jeremy Lin fans and NBA fans, because it doesn’t always seem…it seems like his marketing future and potential is sometimes different than his playing potential and future. I mean I think the marketing can happen in almost any city he performs in. Of course there are certain media friendly cities like New York.
People asserted that Linsanity couldn’t have happened in Milwaukee. Do you remember that line?
[Laughs] Well, yeah, it’s true. I think that is partly why Yu Chan, Yi Jianlian’s agent, wasn’t happy that Milwaukee was drafting him, and there was that big controversy as to whether he would actually play. He held out for a while.
Yes he did, I totally forgot about that, and the reason was the community there, or that was one of the reasons.
Yeah, right. So, I think that is something that I’m sure his agent is concerned about. But I almost feel like I want him to play in a place like Utah where he is not going to get a lot of attention. He could just be a good player and could continue to improve and show his doubters that they were wrong. Not to mention, I believe in the power of the Utah Jazz as much as any, but I just don’t think Randy Foye, Mo Williams and Jamaal Tinsley is going to get it done. Call me a cynic, but that’s just not the guard corps you want going into the playoffs.
No, nobody thinks that, wants that.
Oh I mean Gordon Hayward is a nice player, I forgot about him.
Yeah, Hayward is actually I would say the best, not ball handler, but playmaker that Jazz have. Tinsley, he’s on his way out. Watson is on his way out. Foye is not really a point guard. So here’s your chance. Give me the reason Jeremy Lin would be great on the Jazz.
So, again, the Jazz are a team that is known for great point guards, pick and rolls and the flex system, which presents plenty of options. So I have some issues with the way the Jazz are using, or not using, the flex system.
They have gone away from it.
They have gone away and are dumping the ball in to Al Jefferson and it is painful. I would say it is very hard for me to devise a flex system when you have four big men that present such different skill sets with Kanter, Favors, Millsap, Jefferson. The flex worked because you could substitute the same plays with John Stockton and Karl Malone for Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and you could basically run them to the same success. You couldn’t go to the championship level because you didn’t have top 50 players of all time running that system, but it seemed…this is not that team anymore. Utah has made a strange sort of organizational shift away from the pick-and-roll and the flex. And, I don’t know if it is my nostalgia talking, but I would love to kind of see a return, at least to some of the elements that made those Jazz teams a success, like the pick-and-roll. Mo Williams isn’t a traditional point guard.
They haven’t worked out for him the way I thought he would. I thought that would be a nice move for them, but he can’t stay on the court and…
He is injured right now so, he’s not even on the court. I think there are certain pieces on the Jazz team now that are definitely part of the future that could work well with Jeremy Lin, most notably Derek Favors, who is very much a cornerstone of the Jazz team. He is a big body who moves very well. He has a raw offensive game, but there are some glimmers of a solid ten-foot jump shot. I think Jeremy Lin and Favors could turn into a mean tandem where you would see some Chandler-Lin lob type passes happening, and they have some good outside shooters. I actually like Foye as just a pure gunner off the bench. He gets too many minutes, but…
They paid him way too much money for the player than he had been, or did they trade for Foye? No he signed as a free agent.
But it is just for the year, it is a year contract. The Jazz right now, it is an intelligently crafted team with a lot of one-year contracts and cornerstone players who are still developing like Hayward, Alec Burks, Favors and Kanter.
In many ways they are like the Houston Rockets. They are a team that seems to be playing better than I had them projected to be playing, a little ahead of schedule. I just don’t know what that schedule is. Is that schedule a big kind of front court clearing trade or big franchise reboot? I mean, I don’t even know.
You can’t have both Big Al and Paul Millsap. They are both going to be free agents at the end of the season. They are going to go, it’s just a matter if they are going to trade one or both of them before the season is over to get something in return, and if I were Dennis Lindsey I would trade Big Al because…he is a great offensive player, not so great defensive player, and I think he can get something quality in return. It just kills me to see the momentum, the ball-sharing stop when Big Al gets the ball. It is just, and a pure aesthetic level, it is just ugly to watch. Granted, he does have a good…he’s successful in the post. He has wonderful footwork.
Just wonderful footwork. I love the way he shows and goes, I really like watching him work.
I do too, but I think you have more potential with Derek Favors and Kanter and Hayward, and I think Jeremy Lin can improve those players, just like he is helping Parsons and Patterson and Morris and Delfino to improve, so I think it could work. Certain players have to go and the system has to be tweaked.
We talked about Lin, okay! The Joy Dunk Club. First, how did you conceive of the Joy Dunk Club? Did it come to you in a dream, was there a particular moment that happened where you said there is a vacuum here that can be filled and I can fill it? Talk a little about that moment.
I had the idea kind of burning in the back of my head ever since Linsanity happened, and all of these discussions, really smart discussions, where happening in different places and I thought it would be great if all of them could be in one place, and that people could access, and you would have rotating speakers. Kind of along the lines of The View but basketball oriented, and you have a core set of panelists with some guests coming in. And then, I had that kind of running argument with Leonard Shek on my Facebook about Jeremy Lin, James Harden. Then a friend of mine Judy Lei, who works for Asian Cinevision, which is an Asian-American media organization based in New York City, they organize the New York Asian-American Film Festival. She saw the argument and said, “oh this would be great if people could read this”. And I said, “actually I have had this idea of a show”. She said I’m sure Asian Cinevision would love to host it, because they had some idea of having a Jeremy Lin themed show, so it was a matter of assembling people, panelists. I reached out to some folks. Didn’t really get much of a reaction. I mean, you know, it is a new idea, it is different. I think people were a little cautious or confused, but Judy did a great job of finding some great people like Greg Kim, who is sort of our resident Kenny Smith, nerdy basketball.
I like Greg Kim. His analysis is smart. He knows the game really well.
I mean, leagues beyond anything I know. So Greg is great.
Who is the Bulls blogger you have on? She is excellent.
Joyce Yin. She is a huge Bulls fan and started a Bull-centric blog Hard Hat, Lunch Pail, and I wanted to have at least one woman on the show. Not just in a quota filling kind of way, but to show that women were a huge part, and have always been fans of NBA basketball, and during Linsanity I knew lots of…yeah…right…you know…
Explain it, because I noticed it to, but there is, not to tokenize female participation within Linsanity or within the NBA, but there was a huge population…there was an influx that came with Linsanity.
Yes. I think of both Asian-American women fans who had never followed basketball, and people like Joyce Yin, people like Symbol Lai, who have always followed basketball and…
On the Joy Dunk Club, you discuss the way people, and places to an extent, claim Jeremy lin. Unpack this for us a little bit. Why do people feel the need to claim Jeremy Lin and his exploits more than other players? And this I think extends far beyond the Asian-American or Asian community. You just listed women, the queer community. Lots of people claim this guy. Unpack that a bit.
I feel sorry for Jeremy, he is the great hope, the great blank hope, and you can fill in that blank with so many different communities, nationalities, this issue of the burden of representation that Jeremy Lin, in some ways unfairly, has. And I’m sure he is well aware of it. That’s a topic we talked about I think on the second episode of the show.
This can just be talked about for hours and hours. I think it goes again to the invisibility of certain communities and their desire, their longing for national or international recognition, and how that desire for recognition is tied up in the global marketing of Jeremy Lin, that these desires for visibility and recognition don’t exist in a vacuum, and can reinforce the expansion of neoliberal capitalist ones. That is…whatever.
Yes, you are absolutely right.
That should be unpacked.
It’s just so big to unpack through the medium of basketball.
It is. It is. It would take several episodes to really unpack in-depth the different ways in which the longing for recognition, which is expressed in all of these handmade billboards saying, “Taiwan is Proud of Jeremy Lin”, ‘China is proud of Jeremy Lin”. These speak to sort of the different stakes that nation states, that immigrant communities, have in claiming Jeremy Lin for their own, and then what about Jeremy Lin? What does he identify himself? How does he claim himself? That kind of gets lost in the discussion. It almost doesn’t matter how Jeremy Lin sees himself.
Do we know?
I think he identifies as…
I have an assertion but…
I think he identifies as Taiwanese and Chinese because he can trace his lineage to both China and Taiwan. I think he sees himself as Asian-American as well. I mean, he was a guest host for Collaboration, which is a very Asian-American centric venue. And Christianity is a huge part of his identity
That was my argument, that I feel like there has been a certain reluctance with him to identify with his nationalistic side and he finds more comfort in emphasizing and identifying with his religious identity, his particularly Christian identity.
That is a particularly great point to make because Christianity, in and of itself, is a universal, universalizing identity. And an identity that increasing numbers of young Asian-Americans are identifying with. Just look at college campuses. If you look at any Christian group it is a lot of Asian-Americans, especially on the coasts. I think Jeremy Lin is acutely aware of how the ways in which he identifies himself isn’t made in a vacuum and is caught up with marketing potential and how other nations want to claim him for their own marketing, financial purposes. And, you know, China and Taiwan are embittered rivals, enemies. But one thing I haven’t noticed, and is very interesting, is that you don’t see any signs of people saying “Americans are proud of Jeremy Lin”. No one has really claimed him as an American. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just think that’s interesting.
But there is something telling about that, absolutely.
Yeah, and I think it is telling how the Asian-American community itself is increasingly internationalized, that you have a lot of international students. I teach at UC-Davis and I see that a lot of my Asian-American studies classes are full of international students from China and Taiwan who have a very different, or don’t even have a conception of what is Asian-American identity, so when they see Jeremy Lin they are not proud of him in the ways that a second generation Korean-American from Utah is, they are proud of him because to them, he is an import. He is an Asian import, just like they’re Asian imports, and it is almost incidental or not important that he is born and raised in California, grew up in Palo Alto.
Is it too clunky of a comparison to compare this to Kenyans celebrating Obama’s re-election as Obama as Kenyan, even though Obama has no Kenyan citizenship, his time there was minimal? I don’t know a lot, but people claim him, folks in Kenya claim him as a national hero.
Right. I think that’s a really interesting comparison to make, and I think this speaks to the global flows of capital and bodies and knowledge, that kind of disrupt and complicate how we view identity. And that to think about Asian-American identity in the sort of 1960s, 1970s cultural nationalist lens doesn’t quite appreciate the complexity of contemporary Asian-American identity today, which is really diverse. People, even within the Asian-American community, there are differences in how Jeremy Lin is seen and claimed, and to have those discussions and to talk about those discomforts and tensions is productive, and that’s what I hope the Joy Dunk Club will speak to. I remember when he was selected for the USA practice team for the actual Olympic team, I remember seeing almost surprise, like “oh right, oh yeah he is American”.
What is the significance of the show’s title, the Joy Dunk Club?
I was just playing around with the Joy Luck Club, the famous classic novel by Amy Tan and made into a movie. I just thought it would be kind of cute to twist the words around and turn it into the Joy Dunk Club. You know, dunk invoking basketball, and when he dunked the ball against the Wizards during Linsanity was this sort of wakeup call that “oh, whoa, this guy, he flew by John Wall and just dunked it”, and that it’s a club. Different people, coming together to talk about their love of basketball and Jeremy Lin and Linsanity. So I envisioned it as we are all a bunch of aunties, sort of like the Joy Luck Club, with all these aunties playing with their mahjong and dissecting and ripping apart the children and how disappointed they are, yet proud of them. It is sort of like self-deprecating gesture to say we are a bunch of aunties, and we are picking apart and dissecting Jeremy Lin, but we do it because we love him, and we do it because we want him to be better, and maybe we should actually hold off a bit and remember this is just one person, he is 24-years old, he is young, but that it’s an ongoing conversation, and it is not just about Jeremy Lin, but what he represents.
With that conversation, talk about moderating the discussion a bit. Your panel is not exclusively NBA fans, and your audience may or may not watch basketball regularly, which is really unique. Seeing who sponsors your show, and the audience that it is being promoted to, I think it is fascinating that probably the vast majority of your audience are not the basketball nerds that you and I are where we buy League Pass and analyze the player stats and know a lot about their histories and the different teams they played for and can contextualize the games we see with a larger narrative. I don’t think that your audience is always exclusively NBA fans. How do you make this work? How do you make sure every one can contribute to this really varied and informative discussion? Is it a challenge to do so as the moderator of the Joy Dunk Club?
Yeah, cause I don’t even know if it is working. We have only done three episodes. I am glad that at least one person is watching it. From the very start I envisioned the show as not just a basketball nerd show, but that we could translate, and I guess that’s part of my job as the moderator, to translate these basketball-centric terms and language to a non-basketball audience. I think it is incumbent on us and me to do that because Linsanity spoke to so many different people, people who never watch basketball, and so I want the show to speak to them. Whether it is doing that successfully or not I don’t know, but I think it is important to juggle these different audiences and we will continue to massage that as we go forward, so that we are not just talking about plus minus ratings and pick-and-rolls, but we are also talking about the larger cultural phenomenon of Linsanity, which I see as a great anchor or opening to talk about these larger issues of power, of race, of trans-nationalism and gender that, from the sense that I get from some friends, that’s what they’re more interested in, and they could care less about how he did against the Bobcats last night, and that is totally fine. I don’t want to lose the basketball purists either who tune in specifically to get a recap of how Jeremy Lin did, and an analysis.
I don’t know if we are doing it right, I don’t know if we can successfully maintain that juggling, but I feel like we have to. It’s not just me, but the panelists are great, and I feel lucky that I have these people who can speak to different audiences and sometimes as the moderator I need to move them if they are getting a little bit too caught up in the basketball playing aspect, to push them. And I try to do it with humor. I like to make fun of things and I feel like that kind of lightens the mood, and for me to remind people, because basketball can be a passionate thing to talk about, that we’re here just to have fun. That’s what Linsanity was. People were having fun talking about it. It is important to have some of these guests who love to talk about Linsanity, but I see the show as also, and I think this is something that will evolve as we go forward, to use the show to spotlight Asian-American artists, Asian-American cultural producers, who are doing great work on their own. They may and probably have the love of Linsanity and Jeremy Lin, but I kind of want to do what Jeremy Lin did, which was spotlight Asian America. I want to use that spotlight to look at emerging, ignored, underdog Asian-American artists, to talk about there work. There is a lot of really good work happening on various courts, various playing fields, and there isn’t really, there is Angry Asian Man, and I want to continue…
And Hyphen Magazine…
Hyphen Magazine is another great example, and the Asian-American Writers Workshop. I want to continue that work in the space of the Internet, which is emerging and actually that’s kind of the most popular medium or tool for a lot of Asian-American artists because they cant get access to the mainstream networks. That’s why you have KevJumba and Ryan Higa, these youtube stars who have managed to create really interesting material, with thousands of fans and showing the marketing potential of the Asian-American and transnational-Asian audience, and so that’s what I want to tap into with the specific medium of a Google Hangout, hosted on a youtube channel that is distributed by a more traditional Asian-American media organization.
So let’s talk a little bit about audiences and participants. Thinking about who sponsors your show, and additionally where your show is going – I mean, you’re being used as an assignment on a class syllabus! – this show is going to places that basketball media does not traditionally go; it’s sort of a pioneering experiment in that way.
Would you say your intended audience is a API folks? Would you say that whether that is true or false, that’s even a question worth asking? Is there an intended audience for the Joy Dunk Club? Or is it supposed to speak to one group more than another? Is this really something we all need to consider?
Like, messaging, intended audiences and stuff; how are you conceptualizing the Joy Dunk Club?
I mean…can’t help but see the faces that are on the Joy Dunk Club, which are so-called, “recognizably Asian faces”, that’s sponsored by Asian Cinevision, and focused on an Asian-American basketball player, so the way that the show is set up, it seems like it’s speaking for a specific API audience and probably when I envisioned the show…yeah, I did want the show to speak to API folks in a language that…and not just a generalized API folks, but people who maybe took an Asian-American Studies class or two, and we don’t have to define the model minority myth, but we can just talk about it in the flow of conversation and go in interesting, different directions, so it’s great. It really flattering and an honor to be on a syllabus for an Asian American Studies class at Wellesley.
It’s totally rad! Especially being a grad student, a PhD student, I’m used to writing and talking about other peoples’ work. I was an actor before I came to grad school, so I kind of missed producing work, and there was a part of me that wished that my stuff could be written about, talked about. And it is! That’s like a dream come true and I feel really fortunate to be in this position. That said, I want this conversation to not be trapped or to just stay in one audience or place but the conversation to flow to as many audiences as possible to show that, just as Jeremy Lin showed that Asian-Americans can play basketball and perform well on the court in a harsh media spotlight, but that Asian-Americans are viewers. Asian-Americans are, you know, smart commentators and critics of basketball.
And that we can tie in Jeremy Lin’s performance with larger issues of race and gender and class and trans-nationalism. So if that appeals to different people outside of the demarcated notion of an API committee, awesome. Great. I mean, Linsanity was a global phenomenon that touched people in lots of different ways and reached different audiences and I want to continue that momentum without losing sight of the specific material relationship’s power that very much defined the Asian-American experience and the ways in which Jeremy Lin is seen. I don’t want to, like, water that down for a broad, perhaps white, audience, who may not be politicized.
I want that conversation to happen but I don’t want to lose the integrity or the complexity of that conversation. I feel like it’s upon us, and me – and I see myself…or, I want to be a public intellectual, in sort of the Gramscian sense. I see the Joy Dunk Club as a platform to perform this guise of a public intellectual through the discourse of Linsanity. That means that it’s a process of translation.
Forgive me as I get a little bit…it comes off of that idea of crafting yourself — and to extend myself – into a public intellectual. For me, this is the one year anniversary of my blog’s sort of “arrival” in the sense that we made a “Linsanity Nickname Bracket” that made the rounds on the Internet.
Yeah. Got linked up on SI.com, a few other blogs. It was from the creation of that nickname bracket that the The Diss sort of moved up into a different tier, where it had increased eyes, people were starting to read our work a little bit more. And we never really lost that readership, and building on that over the last 12 months since Linsanity happened, but over the course of the entire blog. Similarly, you and the Joy Dunk Club are raising your profiles…
Well yeah! I’m watching it, and you get viewers, you’re raising your profiles and attracting attention from other places, because of your labor of course, but also because of the labor and the efforts of Jeremy Lin. How do we deal with this? How do you and I legitimize our labor without drifting into a realm where maybe we ourselves are somewhat exploiting Jeremy Lin’s labor to raise our own profiles?
That’s a great question. I think there is that danger in having an entire show about one person and I mean, the Joy Dunk Club isn’t called “The Jeremy Lin Show” or “The Jeremy Lin Club”, because that would just add pressure…I mean, he doesn’t know it exists, but this notion that all of this is the depended on one person. And again, he could be an injury away from Jay Williams and never playing professional basketball again. Who knows.
True. True. Which is why that knee injury is something that is so problematic and sort of underanalyzed. Knee injuries can go a number of different ways. It’s lucky that his has gone the way that it has, where it looks like it wont’ produce any lasting impacts on his career.
And I hope that he takes care of himself and not put more pressure on himself. But yeah, getting back to that question…this is why I want the show to be more like an Asian-American culture show because who knows how long Linsanity will last, or how long people will remain interested, but Asian-America, and Asian-American culture will forever evolve and change and there will always be people producing great work.
I don’t know, who knows, next year the show may have little to do with basketball. I love basketball and I love watching Jeremy Lin play, but I often wonder is there a limit to this? Like, how many times can we ask people about Linsanity and can they hear the same sort of nostalgic responses? That’s why it’s important for me to have guests who have interesting perspectives on Linsanity. For example, I want to brings friends who own a vintage-style clothing form called Retrofit Republic, and I want to ask them about Jeremy Lin’s fashion choices and his GQ cover. So thank God that Linsanity itself has lended itself to so many different conversations about fashion, about race and that these conversations can continue but hopefully not be solely dependent on Jeremy Lin, that they have their own momentum, their own dynamism. So going forward, I would like to keep…so the tagline now…
Did you decide on one?
Yeah. Sophia Chang, who lives here in Oakland, came up with the winning tagline…the only tagline…called: “To Linfinity and Beyond!”
I think that’s perfect. Because I think Linsanity itself, in a way, already has this perpetual movement as long as we frame it a certain way. Not in a way that these Bleacher Report types call him a “one hit wonder”, but that the issues that undergird Linsanity, that can go on and on and on to infinity. And to include as many folks with different perspectives and investments in all senses of the word in Linsanity. I had a great conversation with director of Asian Cinevision John Woo (not the director).
A different John Woo.
No pigeons. No churches.
I don’t know, maybe it is that John Woo. Who knows. That’d be awesome.
Joy Dunk Club is about to take a wonderful cinematic turn.
We’ll have Chow Yun Fat on the next show, flying across the screens. But yeah, he’s excited about the show and loves what we’re doing, and he has some big plans. I don’t know if I should talk about them…not like BIG plans, but he wants the show to keep going and we’ll see what happens.
Which is a perfect transition to the final question: what are your goals? What do you think the future of the Joy Dunk Club is?
[Laughing]. It’s kind of…I feel like we just started, we’re still figuring out, like, the technical aspects of the show, which have been an issue. Using Google Hangout…I’m thankful it exists. I don’t know if the show would exist without it. It’s given the ability to produce these shows and have these conversations. That’s especially powerful for Asian-Americans who don’t usually have access to these sort of dominant media organizations. So it’s great and we’re still figuring out how to best maximize Google Hangout and all its features. Hopefully with enough viewers and sponsors to take this show to another level in terms of the technical set up…I mean, it’s fun right now, and I kind of like the sort of…I don’t want to say “amateur”, but you know, I think people are used to watching shows now on YouTube that aren’t professionally produced, that you can kind of see the flaws and I think that’s fine. A lot of the panelists have actually said, “it’s okay to have these blemishes.”
It is. It really is.
It kind of shows we’re regular folks who want to talk about Jeremy Lin. We’re trying to figure out how to best deliver the product, and of course, we want to continue to improve the product. But yeah, with more viewers and sponsors maybe we’ll have more resources to make a really high-quality show. Right now we’re doing everything.
I know how that goes.
Yeah. It’s kind of hard.
But it’s a labor of love.
I’m so glad and thankful that I have this opportunity to pursue this project. Its not a dissertation that no one’s going to read. I mean, I was just thinking the other day that probably just one of the Joy Dunk Episodes alone has garnered a bigger audience than the one article I got published last year. Don’t know how many read that, but I’m guessing more people have watched the Joy Dunk Club.
Isn’t that something? I had the exact same feelings with my blog. Always thought that more people would be able to (1) read it, but also (2) understand and identify with what I’m talking about, than I’d ever be able to do with a journal article about x, y or z. I never got in academia, why we decried and abhorred anything was written to a “popular audience”; like knowledge had to be maintained and controlled by academics. That things need to be as confusing as possible for them to be considered “smart”. That’s not true. That’s not why The Diss exists. It seems like the Joy Dunk Club in many ways is trying to be a voice and a tool for everybody to use, to understand the particular parts of society through a particular lens. The lens of Jeremy Lin, the lens of professional basketball.
Yeah. And in that way I’m…whatever happens with the PhD, I’m glad that…I mean, it’s still useful, even outside of the space of academia because we can have these conversations with a certain sophistication, and a lot of that is due to my grad school training. Not that you have to go to grad school to have a level of sophistication, but I’ve been able to harness it and utilize it, and show that knowledge can be created in multiple spaces, in multiple sites, with different audiences. For me, this is, again, a kind of dream come true, because it allows me to balance and be a part of an academic space and a popular space. Going back to that, when I first applied to grad school, on my application essays, I said that I want to be a public intellectual, however that could happen. And I sort of lost sight of that during school, due to the ways in which we’re professionalized; we’re trained to only take one path, to be a professor, and not just any professor, but in a research institution, not a teaching institution, at an R1. At I’m glad that I’ve been given this opportunity to sort of revisit that earlier impulse to be a public intellectual, while at the same time, use the seven years of my grad school experience to inform this work that I’m doing.
Anything else, Terry? A closing thought?
I’m excited for all the upcoming episodes, especially in March when Jacob Greenberg is going to be a guest panelist from The Diss. I’m just glad to have this opportunity to talk to you. I haven’t really thought about a lot of these things. I hope that The Diss can keep going and keep being awesome and to have these difficult, complex conversations about power that often get ignored or lost. I’m looking forward to your guest appearance.
I believe that this is the beginning of a wonderful professional and personal relationship between two similarly minded people. Terry Park, thank you very much.