Arthur Chu: The Kanye West of Jeopardy

Posted by Asha Kaur & filed under Film, People to Watch.

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From a superficial point of view, Arthur Chu is the physical embodiment of nerdiness. He’s unstylish, overweight, seemingly insipid, and Asian. Some might even venture to say, an invisible man.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same man that inspires hashtags of #GOODBYEGOOK.

Before his fame on Jeopardy, Arthur was an insurance analyst from Cleveland. Since then, he’s gone on to win almost $300 000 as the fourth best player in history.

Chu has a loyal legion of enemies. Although Jeopardy contestants are usually society’s traditional definition of geeky, the level of backlash Chu has received far exceeds normal bullying. There’s an undeniable sinister undertone in the response Albert has received from internet culture. Chu makes no illusion of being a contestant, and his aggressive game technique reflects this. His online haters thirst for his failure and antagonize his success.

Not exactly what you’d expect from an Ohio office worker.

Why exactly is Arthur Chu so offensive? If anything, his attributes are those traditionally admired in champions: intelligence, creativity, resolve, ambition, and practicality.

Chu is controversial for the mere reason that he refuses to subscribe to the conservative expectations demanded of him. Though his portrait may deceive us, Arthur Chu is anything but a quiet, delicate, passive victor.

The expectation of humility and passivity tie directly into racial expectations of being an Asian man. By associating with traditional masculinity rather than brainy introversion, he rebels from these harmful stereotypes. It’s this rebellion that is so offensive to his foes. Instead of absorbing the ridicule, Chu simply shrugs off criticism and continued winning, effectively subverting the clichéd perception of Asian masculinity.

To state it bluntly, he’s antagonized because he’s nerdy, Asian, and acts like exactly how a champion is entitled to act.

Currently, a documentary Who is Arthur Chu is being funded about the Jeopardy winner’s experience during and after his appearance on the show. After having garnered international attention, Chu turned his attention to blogging as a cultural pundit. He critiques racism in America, misogyny in the gaming community, and even explores his complicated relationship to his ethnic roots. Who is Arthur Chu is still currently in stages of production. To contribute to the documentary, donations are accepted through its indiegogo campaign.

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