Writing

a selection of quotes from longer articles, essays and posts I have written

Commentary

We learn about Ethan’s backstory and hidden struggles with being gay, too, in Love, Simon — a backstory that’s never explored for Elliot in Alex Strangelove. While we learn early that Elliot’s father threw him out because he was gay, we never hear much more of that story. That’s upsetting, particularly since LGBT youth homelessness is a serious issue: The Williams Institute at UCLA Law has found LGBT youth are significantly more at risk of experiencing homelessness, and while it’s not mentioned in Alex Strangelove, LGBT youth are also at significantly higher risk for suicide.

These are real issues, and that Alex Strangelove (and Love, Simon) barely acknowledged such problems is disturbing. These films are normalizing LGBTQ stories and celebrating the successes of equality movements, but they’re choosing to obsure the realities of being LGBTQ in today’s society. For heterosexual, cisgender audiences who have never personally dealt with these situations, films like Alex Strangelove are probably their few glimpses into these life stories, and failing to include social issues erects a facade that LGBTQ suffering is a thing of the past.

“And now, Alex Strangelove,” self-published in Leo Ji Stories, June 23, 2018

Commentary

Abstracting away the experiences of queer people of color — and instead upholding a white, masculine, normatively attractive man like Nick Robinson’s Simon Spier as representing the ideal of the gay man — contributes to a white cisgender heteronormative hegemony by moving society in a direction where only gay men performing (or overperforming) traditional masculinity are considered “acceptable.”

“Dear Simon: Who gets to be ‘Everyone?’ Love, Leo.” Asian American Sexualities, April 22, 2018

Commentary

I’m worried that this casting decision reinforces an idea that characters can only be played by Asian actors if the characters are Asian stereotypes — but as soon as a character becomes “relatable,” she can suddenly be played by an actor of any race.

“The spotlight shines on Northwestern student theater — for lack of diversity,” self-published in Leo Ji Stories, October 24, 2017

Personal

I didn’t touch upon how my life was shaped from birth by the complexities of three systems of law, immigration policy and notions of nationality and citizenship; how I spent many hours of my life in embassies and consulates and breathed the abstractness of territorality; how the colour of a tiny, 52-page booklet would determine how fast I passed through airports; how my spelling of “colour” and “recognise” would prompt unwanted responses, ranging from passive-aggressive commentary and hate-filled ridicule.

“Multiplicity,” self-published in Leo in America, Aug. 1, 2018

Personal

And yet: I don’t know how to make friends, and I don’t know how to manage when they go away. I don’t know how to love myself in a way that isn’t destructive. I don’t know to recognise when I’m hurting until it’s too late, or reach out for help until it’s almost unsalvagable. I don’t know how to live my life in a way that it’s not a struggle to convince myself to get out of bed every morning; that today will definitely be a better day than the last; that the world is a beautiful place definitely worth saving.

“The things we’re not taught,” self-published in Leo in America, July 22, 2018

Analysis

The ‘Trump bump’ for newspapers have probably provided the impetus necessary to push the industry from an advertiser-driven business model to one funded and driven by its readers.

“The future of journalism?,” North by Northwestern Year in Media 2017, Dec. 30, 2017

Analysis

Filter bubbles, editorial-reader disconnects and a lack of diversity of experience and viewpoints are issues affecting the industry that were probably made worse by technology products.

“Technology + Journalism = ?” Leo in America, Jan. 26, 2018

Opinion, Personal essay

What else can I write about her? What else can I describe about someone who had only made it to campus for a few weeks? What else can I say about a student of Northwestern who had only just started to make her own mark on campus through friends, instructors and peers?

“Remembering Chu Qiu,” North by Northwestern, Sept. 26, 2016

Opinion, Analysis

No matter what the court rules, Prime Minister Theresa May needs to have answers within the next few years…

I think the channel between England and the rest of the European continent got a little wider.

“Brexit,” North by Northwestern Year in Media 2016, Dec. 16, 2016

Reader Service Anaylsis

But, according to the report, residents of Greek-unaffiliated housing in a Neighborhood would not have access to Greek houses, since they lack sufficient space for Neighborhood-wide facilities.

The report does not describe how the relationship between Greek organizations and Neighborhoods would work.

“Everything you need to know from the new report on the undergraduate residential experience,” North by Northwestern, Jan. 18 2018

Enterprise Reporting
Art by Leo Ji using public domain photography

Easy access to transport links is another consideration for Amazon. The company said access to highways and an international airport were “critically important” factors for proposals… That indicates Amazon is considering both how employees will commute to and from work and how people at the new headquarters would be able to reach places such as Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“Would Amazon come to Chicago?” Leo Ji Stories/Business Reporting, March 14, 2018