Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 27th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 27th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 27, 2018.

The Inscrutable Charlie Chan

Whenever I hear the word “inscrutable,” which means not easily understood, mysterious, or unfathomable, it harkens me back to when I was a wee lad. My mother would sit me in front of the TV, turn on a random channel, and let me be entertained while she went about doing whatever motherly chores and deeds she set about doing.

And that was how I was introduced to the Asian detective, Charlie Chan. Charlie Chan was a fictional character created by author Earl Derr Biggers. Chan was loosely based on Honolulu detective Chang Apana. Chan was the hero of six detective novels by Biggers and 47 Hollywood movies between 1926 and 1949.

As a kid, I enjoyed watching Charlie Chan do his thing. I was fascinated at his ability to solve the most difficult of crimes with relative ease and plenty of aplomb. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what the word “aplomb” meant. Nor did I know the word “inscrutable.” But I did end up watching a number of Charlie Chan movies.

It turns out that the Charlie Chan character has been the subject of considerable controversy. Some find the character to be a positive role model, while others argue that Chan is an offensive stereotype.

To many Asian-Americans, Charlie Chan is another sort of Uncle Tom-like character. Chan was pudgy, slant-eyed, and inscrutable, and spoke in singsong, fortune-cookie-like English, saying things (or aphorisms) like, “If befriend donkey, expect to be kicked.” There’s a whole website dedicate to his hundreds of aphorisms.

Of course, the fact that the Charlie Chan character in the movies was played mostly by non-Asian actors may have contributed to the controversy.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “inscrutable.”

11 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 27th

  1. writerravenclaw January 27, 2023 / 10:22 am

    I remember watching Charlie Chan when I was a kid, although at the time it was never thought of stereotypical. Now, thankfully, we know better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marilyn Armstrong January 27, 2023 / 9:02 pm

    I imagine Charlie is both admired and disliked, possibly by the same people. Because while he was a total stereotype, he was also a very smart stereotype and although he never figure out the use of a pronoun — nor did Tonto, come to think of it — it was a great detective.

    What is it about pronouns anyway? Has ANYONE ever really talked like that?

    Liked by 1 person

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