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I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight Hardcover – October 20, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The cover photo—comedian Cho posing Patty Hearst–style before a Symbionese Liberation Army emblem—aptly conveys this messy personal manifesto's collision of in-your-face militance and little-girl-lost victimology. The author mixes rants against war, racism, misogyny, homophobia and various prominent Republicans with confessional ponderings of her identity as a Korean-American, her difficulties with her parents and her problems with her body. The political and the personal are inseparable from the celebrity preening: "I wasn't sure... which I hated more," Cho muses, "my skin color or my talent." When she manages to break from her rage, tears and ego—as in a riff on the Asian stereotypes she gets offered as movie parts—Cho writes with perception and humor. More often, though, she wallows in screeds against the white male power structure, sprinkled with gangsta-rap posturing to establish her outlaw credentials. Even so feeble a patriarch as Andy Rooney is lambasted for "his boring ass opinions on the stupid things rich white folks think about because... they are not worried about getting called a 'fag' in school, or whether or not you have the courage and stamina to press charges against your rapist." Right on, Tania would say, but readers may wish Cho would lighten up.
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Raw. Blunt. Passionate. I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight will inspire. (Fort Worth Star Telegram) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Cho's blistering, funny and articulate follow-up to her 2001 memoir "I'm the One That I Want", is a collection of essays declaring war on sexism, racism, homophobia and apathy. While many of the pieces have appeared on her prolific blog (www.margaretcho.com ), there is a distinct pleasure in hearing Cho articulate them herself.
Fans of the standup comedian's concert films (including Notorious C.H.O. and Assassin ) should be aware that this is not a series of comic riffs but thoughtful, often incendiary manifestos. Unlike many comics who read with an eye on the upcoming punch line, Cho is a relaxed narrator who takes great joy in playing with words as well as ideas. She talks about the personal (her elastic sexuality, the media's reaction to her marriage, hate mail she receives), the political (gay marriage, the White House's "war on errorism") and pop culture (defending Courtney Love, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson and even The Passion of the Christ ). Helpfully, virtually all essays begin with a new CD track.
But be forewarned: This is not a very funny book. Rather, it is a series of rants about a diverse range of topics, ranging from racism to feminism and including her sexuality, gay marriage, Martha Stewart and war.
I have seen Cho on TV and have enjoyed her. For the most part, though, I found the material here somewhat abrasive--though I agree with much of the author's politics.
And I do wish she had left certain people alone; for example, Andy Rooney. She criticizes him for "his boring ass opinions on the stupid things that white people think about." To me, the opinion she is boring there is equally boring.
As an example, her very public friendship with Damien Echols. The segment on this topic seemed contrived when she also then spoke of knowing and having friends who are criminals. I just don't think the feelings were well expressed.
This book is just one massive journal of rants that she has published. If she wants uprising from the people - I hope its better rehersed than this. I was looking for wit and biting insite. I walked away with neither.