Noah and Miriam were talking about how Jews and Asian men have been desexed by US media. I can think of 2 US-Asian tv characters who are basically treated as girls: Alex Baldwin’s flunky in 30 Rock and Jeremy Piven’s flunky in Entourage. Right now I’m watching old dvds of Bonanza, the 60s western, and the Chinese character wears an apron and cooks. So three’s a trend, I guess.
Jewish men were desexed by being treated as nerds and pasty little neurosis victims, but they never got the final indignity of being girl-ized. Then Woody Allen came along and Jewish men could tell themselves that being Jewish was in itself attractive, at least in men.
I guess you could say that, because they started from so far outside the European tribe, Jews and Asians had to give up more dignity in return for assimilation.
Or possibly that Jewish/Asian men have assimilated into the US by means of high-skilled/high-income professions, and that newcomers who get high-paying jobs have to give up some manly dignity so that everyone else can feel better. So, by this theory, Italians could keep their virility because their incomes wouldn’t be remarkably high. And of course virility was turned into a marker of their lower status, a brute trait. I remember an ancient Bennett Cerf joke about Mike and Tony and how Mike was consoling Tony after the death of his young wife. “In-na year, you meeta nice girl. In-na year half, you engaged. Two years, you marry and –” Tony (indignant): “Two-a years! Two-a years! Whadda I do tonight?“