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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Everything is under control

As you all probably know and don't give a shit about, the Bejing Olympics ended last night, in as big a specticle as the Opening Ceremonies about two weeks back. (The only difference is it looks like they switched from Sony Imageworks to ILM for their CGI fireworks, and it didn't look like Jackie Chan was lipsyncing his performance from vocals provided by Jet Li.) The press has been labeling this as a success, with MSNBC calling it, "a display of tightly scripted merriment and lavish fireworks, a final burst of pomp ending 17 days of sports and celebration that Chinese authorities organized with flawless precision and an unbending security clampdown".

So American tourists getting stabbed is an example of "unbending security"? If you believe that, then I'm sure you'd also believe that the admission of switching little girls for the performance of "Ode to the Motherland" was truly for "the national interest". Now that we've gotten the delusions out of the way, let's focus on some truths, the ultimate one being this: this was not as big of a success for China as they'd like to let on.

In fact, I'd say it was a bit of a bungle. China didn't win the Olympics, they merely had the most Gold Medals. That's pretty impressive, but the US won the medal count, which last time I checked (I could be wrong) was the way we judged success in the Olympics. Not to mention, we had a pretty good swimmer in our corner, and we did pretty well in Basketball. I could be wrong, my father watched more of the Olympics than I did. But you'll still hear China under the delulsion that they were the best, as usual. Why is that? Because China has always had its delusions that it was the greatest nation in the world. Not only that, it's been one of the most successful nations when it comes to duping its populace into sharing those delusions, and keeping them engrained in the culture for several decades, if not centuries.

Don't believe me? Here's a quote from MSNBC's story, "Olympic success may empower China's leaders":

"We won 51 gold medals," exulted Cheng Xue, a 25-year-old Beijing woman who attended the Closing Ceremonies. "It is a total breakthrough. We did a perfect job on security and provided good services to all the athletes."

"Perfect job on security"? Tell that to Hugh McCutcheon, who lost his father in law to a random stabbing towards the beginning of the Olympics. Naomi Klein ran a piece on The Huffington Post's website, "The Olympics: Unveiling Police State 2.0", that raised the point I'm backing in this post:

"...[China] is betting on this: when the opening ceremonies begin friday, you will instantly forget all that unpleasantness as your brain is zapped by the cultural/athletic/political extravaganza that is the Beijing Olympics. Like it or not, you are about to be awed by China's sheer awesomeness."
To be honest, what host nation wouldn't want to put their best foot forward in making sure the Olympics turned out as perfect as they could be? It could be said that there's probably been more attempts at Olympic sized deceptions during the games than there have been attempts on Jack Bauer's life during the complete run of 24. Still, no deception was as great or as strangely admitted to as China's. It's scary that a nation who's become an economic powerhouse wouldn't try to hide things a little more. C'mon, they still have a ministry for Propaganda, and they censor the Internet. You mean to tell me they couldn't lock this situation down a little better?

Awed we were indeed...at least until the admissions came out that the opening cerimonies were half faked. Not to mention, there's still controversy over the ages of the gymnasts involved in the games; which will most likely persist for about a week longer, then fade into nothing more than a historical footnote. Whatever the outcome, China did all of this because they knew what the rest of the world knew...they needed to knock this one out of the park, and provide enough pretty lights and colors to distract the world from not only their failure to act on bettering the situation of Darfur's population, but also to distract from their own checkered history of human rights violations.

So how does a nation who wants to be seen as perfect go about warming the public up to them? Admit to some small faults, so that way their "perfect" record is "tarnished". They admitted to deception because they want to be seen as a human nation, not just an austere empire of strict regulation and oppression. These faults may have been easily admitted to because A.) they were early on, B.) they were two small instances and C.) China wants to look as harmless as your Uncle Larry. It's as if they're saying, "Hey, we make mistakes too. We admit them readily, and we're just as falable as you....only we won 51 Gold Medals, so we're still more perfect than you, even if we're flawed." They will admit deceit, but only if it's in a series of controlled, singular instances that do not damage China's reputation in the long term. Everyone knows it's big news when China admits something like coloring the mass media's outlook on them, so why not admit to a couple little things and let everyone chew on that while you do the really bad stuff in the background. It's like if Clinton admited to his affair with Monica Lewinsky, while massive bombing campaigns ruined the infrastructure of Kosovo.
Not to be xenophobic or anything, but I'm scared of any nation that openly admits to deceiving the world in such cosmetic matters...because if they admit to the small stuff, what type of stuff aren't they admitting to that's undoubtedly bigger and more damaging to the world. Still, it's good to know that at least here in America, we don't succumb to similarly grand flights of fantasy that ignore the cold, hard facts within our own admittedly democratic processes...
...OK, maybe after Tuesday that statement will be true. If ever.


Dave B. said...

Wong Fei Hung led a Shao-lin rebellion in the late 1800's, so at the most it's been a century of brainwashing.

Sadly, and I think made this comment before, at Deus Ex, but China has had many heroes which fought for the common good and who are celebrated by the people, yet they are led by the corrupt.

Sounds familiar.

Mr. Controversy said...

Nope. Not at all. Unless...no...NO! You're suggesting that our dear America would be lead by corrupt leadership? Not on the Constitution's watch! (:end sarcasm:)

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