The God of Literary Trends

Old Blog Import

The Importance of Being Exotic

What is it that makes a certain ethnic genre hot? If I could nail that one down for sure, I’d be rolling around in a room filled with nothing but money. But one can hazard some guesses.

Many of the Asian-American and Latina books had lots of incense and spirits — "ancient Asian wisdom" and religious tidbits, or mystical realism in the form of pissed-off ghosts and fantastic visions. They also featured nearly pornographic discussions of food; Isabel Allende’s "Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses" even had recipes. The mystical stuff and the food seem to reflect the reasons why some white people are drawn to different cultures — either in search of religious or spiritual enlightenment, or to exhibit their open-minded adventuresome selves by eating our food. Our cultures are tagged as "better" somehow — closer to the earth, purer, more attuned to sensory pleasure — but in nice, non-threatening ways, wrapped up neatly in fortune-cookie wisdom or duck tamales.”

AlterNet — The God of Literary Trends