It was noted in the comments on the Cyrus post that the teen star is from Nashville; hipster comedy goddess Sedaris is from Raleigh, North Carolina (by way of upstate New York), if you're into judging people by geography. Above is an image taken from a book signed by Sedaris on behalf of a Chinese American man's sister in Pennsylvania.
There's also a video from a blogging conference, sent in tonight by a tipster, where Sedaris calls a fellow panelist "Ching Chong over there."
ALSO Sedaris listed her "turn-offs" in The Believer as ""The beach, having to pay for things, racist people, Orientals."
But does anyone honestly believe Sedaris called people "Ching Chong" (twice) because she hates or stereotypes Asian people? It's as clearly comedic — in intent at least — as the New Yorker's Obama cover, or Sarah Silverman "Chink" joke on Conan O'Brien's Late Night (on trying to avoid jury duty: "My friend is like, why don't you write something inappropriate on the form, like 'I hate chinks.' ") The worst that can honestly be said is that it's in bad taste, and what the hell is left of Amy Sedaris' comedy if you take away her well-deployed bad taste?
Anyway the Cyrus thing offends people because it seems so utterly simple and brainless, like all these sorts of pictures do. The implied punch line is along the lines of, "ha ha isn't it hilarious we can look like these strange exotic stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb Orientals."
Or at least that's what many of us assume; a 16-year-old with a father in country music and a show for pre-teens on the Disney Channel is granted less irony credit than a bestselling humorist with a Comedy Central series under her belt and an apartment in Greenwich Village.
In other words, if Cyrus had posted the above photo to her Tumblr with the caption "Here's our Chinese friend Wilfred doing his highly offensive white people impression; we had to fight back, No Justice No Peace" she would have been pretty much fine.
But, come on, Cyrus and her buddies are, like, redneck tobacco-chewing squirrel-eating Southerners who probably went to Wilfred's house and lit a cross on his lawn right after this was taken, YOU KNOW HOW THOSE PEOPLE ARE AMIRIGHT?