Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who runs this planet, anyway? And a peppy tour guide.

(If you ignore everything else, please see the Chinese/Spanish/English tou
rist video at the bottom. This is a Youtube clip you aren't going to see anywhere else (maybe for good reason). Imported from a middle of the night Chinese satellite transmission, it's more than another dancing cat (I have no beefs with dancing cats:) ).

I at least partially take the view that America is different than other countries, like say Norway, and that we have a larger responsibility to the world as a country that has prospered in an outsized way. (See wikipedia for how this idea makes everyone from leftists to the Pope mad). However, our role in the world is changing, and China is certainly a candidate for future top global dog.
And they want us to know that. So CCTV-9 exists to tell us what China wants us to know about the world. Kuoyong, our resident expert with roots to China, Vietnam, Japan, and African-American parts of Dallas, agrees with me that CCTV is propaganda.
Do a search on CCTV for Tiananmen 1989 and nothing much happened - no twenty year anniversaries or any such event. Now a Google search says a massacre of around 500 people happened 20 years ago, with pictures of tanks. Scarily, a google.cn search also does not show the tanks. Sure, America has Voice of America, but it will actually acknowledge embarrassing stuff like the recent ease of entry to the White House for an uninvited couple (on this story, cut the guys some slack, it wasn't very difficult for a good looking girl to get into the Clinton White House either). NPR is funded with a lot of government money, and it feels free to mock the government,

There are broad global communication goals for China - also CCTVE for Spanish speakers (also on Dish Network) and new channels for Arabic and Russian speakers this year. Portuguese is in the works. Portuguese? They want to give everyone the news, the way the Chinese want it to be given.

But not to worry, the battle for our hearts and minds is not won yet.

USA production values win out, hands down. The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and even the old MTV News with Kurt Loder knew how to produce a news show better than CCTV (Global DanPark lawyers advise that this critique actually comes from John Smith, Anytown, KS 66505 - launch sequence code 3239-323-2121-ABFUI-图片可能 for your missile convenience). The clips don't roll together correctly, and the anchor is often left uncomfortably smiling. There are many many perfectly bilingual English/Chinese speakers. There are also those who sound like Mr. Spell. CCTV-9 prefers the latter. Subject/Verb agreement is not a valid treaty on the air. If you are trying to assimilate us, try not to sound like a 4-N-R. Durham has a Doppler 5000 XP Supreme With Expletive radar, but not CCTV weather. The level of charisma on air implies that a censor, armed with a rifle pointed at the head of the anchor, lurks behind the camera. You can almost see the dot from the laser site on her forehead, or so I hear if you have HD TV. Or maybe they have just chained the anchor to the desk.

If you want to bring the effects, they best be special, or we will cancel you like a poorly-conceived OJ book.

You have thousands of years of history and literature, are closing in on 2 billion people, loaned the US over a trillion dollars, possess H-bombs, and have an authoritarian grasp on power that includes the ability to erase even the recent past. And WRAZ Fox channel 50 in Raleigh can do a more professional newscast? Spend a little less on the H-bombs, please? There's a Chinese Ryan Seacrest or two scattered amongst them millions. Find him. Or maybe even that Slater guy from Saved By the Bell. He's actually into NewsISH things right now. You don't have to find a Chinese version of him - you can actually have him, we just might need him back occasionally for court-ordered SBTB reunion movies. Or maybe buy one of those iMac computer thingies that come with movie maker software. They probably make those in China. Take one off the line, play around with it, and see if you can produce a video.

And yet, Kuoyong and I watch, hypnotized by the quaintness of the technical aspects and the aims that are behind the news being delivered. Why aren't the Swedes delivering us news in English?

Years back, Sarah H and I even became hypnotized by CCTV-E. We watched a segment in English with Spanish subtitles featuring Chinese tourism. The Chinese speaker spoke English perfectly, with a Valley Girl sensibility. Well, just watch:

So I guess you can't spell propaganda without F-U-N. And USA USA USA USA!

And one last fun international fact. A-Ha is the Abba of Norway. I saw this in a guidebook Reading is good - kids, stay in school! USA USA USA!


Andysbethy said...

I didn't realize you were still blogging after your Europe trip - I hadn't been over here to check it out in awhile. Hilarious! I have missed your sense of humor Daniel. The Chinese video in Spanish was great. Canaan was highly confused, which is exactly what I aim for in my homeschooling day.

Lara said...

I find it a little frightening that Daniel's blog is being used to educate the next generation. Can you imagine the Freeman energy combined with Chase irony? I actually got a chill.

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