Read a poem, talk about it, read it again.

Episode 141 Shitty Kitty - Don Mee Choi


Connor and Jack discuss Don Mee Choi's "Shitty Kitty" from her 2016 book "Hardly War." They enmesh themselves in the tangled histories the poem explores - racial violence on US Navy ships in the 1970s, massacres committed by South Korean troops in Vietnam - talk about how the poem fits into the wider project of the book, and explore how the poem engages with the theories of Roland Barthes.

Read the poem, here.

Get a copy of Hardly War, here.

Learn more about Don Mee Choi, here:

Shitty Kitty
By: Don Mee Choi

Here comes Shitty Kitty en route to the Gulf of Tonkin or en route to a race riot? That
is the question and meanwhile discipline is the keystone and meanwhile did you
see on TV helicopters being ditched into the sea? That is also my film and meanwhile
all refugees must be treated as suspects. Looking for your husband? Looking for
your son? That is the question and meanwhile she was the mother of the boy or that
is what the translator said or Shitty Kitty or shall we adhere to traditional concepts
of military discipline tempered with humanitarianism? That is the question and
meanwhile South Korea exports military labor left over from the war. That is also my
history or is that your history? That is the question and meanwhile

(CHORUS: Dictator Park Chung Hee and his soldiers in Ray-Bans)

How much?
$7.5 million=per division
or Binh Tai massacre=$7.5 million
or Binh Hoa massacre=$7.5 million
or Dien Nien—Phuoc Binh massacre=$7.5 million
or Go Dai massacre=$7.5 milion
or Ha My massacre=$7.5 million
or Phong Nhi & Phong Nhat massacre=$15 million
or Tay Vinh massacre=$7.5 million
or Vinh Xuan massacre=$7.5 million
or Mighty History?

That is the question and meanwhile a riot began over a grilled cheese sandwich at
Subic Bay. Discrimination or perception? That is the question and meanwhile the
sailor refused to make a statement or translate? That is the question and meanwhile
twenty-six men all black were charged with assault and rioting and meanwhile did
you translate? That is my question and meanwhile lard or Crisco? Aye, aye, sir!

(Anti-CHORUS: kittens in frilly white bonnets, bibs, and mittens)


I, aye-aye-sir!
I, crazy-daisy-sir!
I, export-quality-sir!
I, grill-grill-sir!
I, meow-meow-sir!
I, kitty-litter-sir!
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