One of the things that binds Crispin and me and my loose collective of malcontented malevolent dissidents, anarchists and engineers is our general aversion to the impact of the totalitarian mind on life, language and discourse. Particularly when afraid -- when they're afraid, they come unglued with weird explanations of events...Orwell could have had fun with that realization because it is when under pressure from the unknown that the basic spiritual bankruptcy and ontological void that is the totalitarian way becomes most obvious. Case in point, China.
Now, China has the potential to explode at any time. It's fairly obvious to anyone with a basic knowledge of Marxist thought that the victory of the Communist Party in 1948 preceded the rise of the industrial proletariat. Pretty much the way that Communism has spread everywhere, by the way, except for the countries in eastern Europe that were conquered by the Soviet Union. So, since the Party still rules the country as a vicious oligarchy, it should not be surprising that the government is terrified of anything that might blow it all up. Tibet, Western China, displaced living lives of misery in Guangzhou and Shanghai...labor unrest, the incredible imbalance between rich and middle class and middle class and poor...disease, famine, water impossible to drink, etc. etc. The place is an economic dynamo sputtering away on top of a volcano.
Which presents a fair amount of hilarity masquerading as WTF? Not unlike Rush Limbaugh confusing contraception with the adult film industry and Israeli fellow-travellers eagerly sounding the drums for a war with Iran because our last religio-WMD-"Make the world safe"-enterprises have gone so well, the Chinese government is definitely after the root cause of problems at all levels. Jezebel picked up a story from The People's Daily that really makes it obvious that fantastic explanations for things is not just a Republican plutocratic art but one shared by totalitarians univerally.
Ok, girl one loses a "remote control" to a rolling door for her home. Girl one is obviously fairly rich for China since this looks like a really bad translation of "Garage Door Opener..." although I suppose it could have been a rolling steel shutter door to a patio or perhaps a French Door with a remote to the patio but, WHAT THE HELL? The silly damn Khardasians don't have remote controlled French doors; Trump doesn't have remote controlled French doors. That makes no sense...even in China, which at some levels, times and places is really like Batman's Gotham City, on meth...So, the kid lost a garage door opener. She decides to kill herself, so she hides in a closet -- another sign that we're dealing with some level of wealth here, there's actually a closet that is not so much in use that hiding in it is possible -- until her little friend comes over. She says she's going to commit suicide, the little friend says, OK, me too and Girl 1 writes down a note saying that she's killing herself over the garage door opener and Girl 2 is doing it because, well, they're friends and it's Tuesday and there's nothing on TV and...they are planning on visiting the Qing dynansty to make a movie of the emperor -- any emperor -- and then going to outer space. Girl 1 tells her sister to "Take Care of the Parents" because it's all about the parents, and they jump in a pool and drown.
Sister? The Chinese still have their one child rule. Only the very well to do and party elites get to have multiple children. WHAT THE HELL? This passes no reality test...but, the inspiration for the suicide is ...TV shows about people travelling in time and marrying royalty.
Yeah, and comic books caused juvenile delinquency and rock and roll and teenage pregnancy and communism. Ask your great, great senile grandmother!
Imagine the dialogue in the TV movie...if you've ever listened to the dialogue in a Chinese TV show, as I did by reading subtitles while there -- you'll recognize it.
Chechette: I lost the garage door remote and have brought dishonor on myself and my family. I must kill myself!
Chongette: I am your best friend. I will also kill myself.
Cheechette:Well, if we kill ourselves, we can go back in time and make a movie of the emperor in the Qing dynasty!
Chongette:Oh, good. Then we can travel in space.
Cheechette: My parents will be so proud...let's go drown ourselves in the pool!
Both: All hail the Glorious People's Liberation Army and Chairman Mao!"
Yeah. Now, they could have blamed this on Falung Gong because everybody knows that weird calestenics and such make you crazy. They could have blamed this on the influences of capitalism. They could have blamed it on a lot of things. Hell, blame it on Guy Clark ...Time travel on the Chinese equivalent to The Gilmore Girls? Jezebel has an excellent point, by the way.
This sounds like a cautionary tale about parenting — if your kid thinks killing herself is a good response to losing the remote control, you might not be sending the right message about the value of everyday objects. But Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of China Youth and Children Research Center, has a different moral in mind:
Schoolchildren are rich in curiosity but poor in judgment, so this kind of tragedy happens in every era. I have heard of children jumping from high buildings after watching an actor flying in a magic show. This kind of imitative behavior is in the nature of young children, but it's very dangerous. So we should give some sort of warning for children on TV programs.
I'm actually not sure that killing yourself so you can travel back in time and film an emperor (where do you get the camera?) is a tragedy that "happens in every era."...
Being not so sure about the impact of TV on suicides -- childish deaths from imitating superheroes, pro- wrestlers and such in the west aside -- and being slightly alert to conspiracies and coverups, I gotta say, this looks more like a cover-up of something else. There are lots of possibilities -- a spree of mass murder of children with or without child rape, a problem with some powerful "Big Bucks" in the local or regional Party-Wealthy Complex, drug-crazed People's Liberation Army veterans of the unpleasantness in Western China which dwarfs what we are seeing in Afghanistan or saw in Iraq -- but TV is a convenient scapegoat. Always has been and always will be...Dr. Who, in Mandarin drag, seducing the young with opium and time travel.
My money is probably on some sort of Child 44 coverup but who the hell knows about these things? Totalitarian countries are weirder than weird and China's internal dissension, cultural dissonance, and Commie-Confucian-Oligarchic messiness kind of makes it all seem possible, and that's funny in a weird way...and sad.
Another possibility is that this is just some Politboro thug having a shit fit at time travel TV. Again, the oddities of totalitarianism...
I try not to abuse my guest blogger privileges over here. It's all Crispin's fault anyway...
The idea that punk rock, skepticism as a way of thinking about everything and science have some sort of relationship is pretty intriguing. And, of course, why didn't I think of this before... Although, the YouTube request to disable embedding makes me wonder about how pure the motives can remain.
so here's how to think about the universe. it's a skein, or fabric - better, tangle - if you like, consisting of rough twine tied together in a network. but the arrangement is random rather than cartesian; the underlying structure is not a grid. rather, we have many strings or ultimately a single string tied together in random patterns, forming something like a fabric at a distance, consisting of thousands of knots closer up. each knot is an individual; it has a distinct form and location and physical composition (that is, the [token] portion of material in which it consists is different from that of any other). it consists of absolutely nothing but a set of relations to other portions of the skein: it consists without remainder of string connecting it to other nodes of the skein. different points of view on the skein produce different impressions, so that at a wider angle larger structures emerge: clusters of knots etc. but nevertheless the skein itself does not depend on any point of view, interpretation, description.
we might say that you could pick out indefinitely many structures or introduce various ontological ordering principles for various purposes: taxonomies of knots, identifications of sub-knot elements to show the composition of particular knots etc. but for a given claim to be true, the skein has really to display the structure attributed to it.
then add this: the skein is continually being shaken, deformed, as though one person were holding it on each side and each was emitting a random set of up and down and side to side motions; so knots keep coming undone, tangles emerge and so on. and the whole thing is fraying, disintegrating.