Take Your Rage on a Road Trip

and bring your Po Po with you

ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
Is this a female or male hyena setting off on an adventure by their bad self? We don’t know because female hyenas have fake penises. We’re celebrating this feminist creature whatever their gender identity is or preferred pronouns are. Photo credit; Marcus Löfvenberg


Last night I led a #MiseducAsian Twitter chat. I like participating in and leading these chats. After an hour of back-and-forth with like-minded Tweeters, I usually have a nice sense that the internet is not just a cesspool filled with ads for weight loss gummy bears and vomity updates on elected abusers like Matt Gaetz.

But last night’s chat was something else. Asians and allies from our education community and beyond showed up IN FORCE with so much generosity and thoughtfulness. By the end of the hour, I felt like maybe the violence of this last year (last four hundred years) is really bringing people together and inspiring some long overdue reflection and action.

As a producer with KUOW Public Radio, I was especially into the chat’s fourth question: The media has the power to amplify or erase. What's happening in your community that you wish the mainstream media would cover? I tweeted that I want more interviews with fierce Asian aunties and grandmas. More photo essays from our Asian breakdancing community. More stories on Asian rage to go with the ones on our sadness.

Like this from Joy Dong and Vivian Wang for the New York Times: A Chinese ‘Auntie’ Went on a Solo Road Trip. Now, She’s a Feminist Icon.

Come to cheer Su Min’s liberation from an abusive marriage. Stay for the 56-year-old adventurer’s clapbacks to online trolls:

“She has sometimes encountered hostility. Once, she said, a man asked how she could air her family’s private affairs and said he would beat her if they ever met in person.

She replied, ‘Good thing I haven’t met you.’”

Enjoy! And then start mapping out your summer trip.


Prom season has arrived. This means that there’s probably at least a few gay high school seniors out there thanking the pandemic for canceling the event that is supposed to be the pinnacle of their teenage experience, but in reality leaves most queer kids with two terrible options: either be So! Brave! by taking a same-sex date to the dance, or fake it till you make it (out of your parents’ house and far away from the suburb that suffocated you for eighteen years).

For Phill Branch, he (like most of us before today’s rainbow revolution) chose the latter route. Here’s his charming and hilarious 12-minute tale of pink satin and a Salt-N-Pepa haircut for The Moth: If the Suit Fits.

If you still have your prom pics and they’re wonderfully weird, please share them so we can celebrate your shellacked up-dos and awkward posing. If you’re a ROCK PAPER RADIO subscriber, you can reply to this email. You can also tag us on Instagram so we can send you the social media love your teen choices deserve.


Speaking of independent ladies and refusing to conform to gender-based restrictions, I’d like to leave you with female hyenas as our something to hold on to this week.

Did you know? Hyena daughters inherit their mothers’ social rank and rule the species’ complex power order. These majestic matriarchal mammals are, according to this ode by Katherine J. Wu for Vox, “a lineage of queens.” Also inspiring: female hyenas have pesudo-penises with which they give birth through to 3-pound cubs. Happy early Mother’s Day to all! And shout out to polite male hyenas too:

“In spotted hyena clans, male stalking, harassment, and aggression toward females are taboo. These tactics simply don’t work. If a guy wants to woo a girl, he waits patiently and earns her respect through deference and altruism — because he knows he is not entitled to her affection or anatomy simply by virtue of being male. When it comes to hyena sex, it’s the considerate guys who get the ladies. Human males, take note.”


That’s it for issue 36, friends. Thanks for reading, listening, holding on.

If you’re not already following us on Instagram, you should join us! We have an UNSTOPPABLE lineup of artists and writers on board for #AZNxBLM and we’ll be introducing you all to them there over the next few weeks.

As my favorite tween keeps yelling out at random intervals while staring at a screen at our dining room table, smash that ‘like’ button fam.

See you next Thursday.


You can find ROCK PAPER RADIO on Instagram and Twitter @RockPaperRadio. You can help spread the word about our community of misfits and unlikely optimists by sharing this issue on the social medias with a comment that says I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO PROM. Or something like that.