Friday, May 19, 2006



Free speech gives you Herpes

Chaff has done it again. Last year, they did a fantastic cover of Don Brash with Moko. This week, for their annual satire issue, they've gone for taking the piss out of the world's greatest mass-murderer (and the man who dragged China kicking and screaming into the twentieth century, over a pile of 40 million corpses), Mao Zedong:

This has upset local Chinese students, who held a protest at Massey yesterday. And their protest is almost as funny as the cover:

UCOL student Xing Tang said Chaff staff are ignorant of Chinese culture.

"Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us," he said on the verge of tears.

But he's like Jesus to Chaff as well - a target for shameless mocking and satire.

But the funniest bit is that by protesting, they're exercising the very free speech rights which Mao sought to suppress with imprisonment, re-education camps, self-criticism sessions, torture and murder. Don't they know that free speech gives you herpes?

11 comments:

As far as I know, most Chinese follow Confucianism and/or Buddhism (or are atheists), so I guess Jesus isn't much to them at all?

I suppose Mao is a key figure to the Chinese Government because he gives them that link back to when they were Communist. A bit like Blair and Keir Hardie, or Bush and Jefferson.

Posted by Rich : 5/19/2006 10:20:00 AM

Don't underestimate the level of brainwashing that goes on in China. For a bunch of capitalists they still hold Marxism & Maoism & the cult of Mao in high terms.

An example of a Capitalist Dictatorship indoctrinating its youth.

Posted by PabloR : 5/19/2006 11:27:00 AM

What's less amusing is watching Massey University turn into Fawlty Ivory Towers: Instead of "don't mention the war" it's "please don't offend the profit center".

I can only hope that academics haven't been warned to avoid course content, or assigned readings (which should not be held by the university library or campus bookstore), that offend the sensibilities - and chequebooks - of Mao cultists.

And folks should actually take a look at Chinese culture - which is a little more robust, and far from culturally sensitive to minorities, than you might think.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/19/2006 12:08:00 PM

1. "Last year, they did a fantastic cover of Don Brash with Moko." - I did that in 2004 as a cover.

2. "Xing Tang said Chaff staff are ignorant of Chinese culture. " - Wasn't it Mao's "Cultural Revolution" that destroyed much of Chinese cultural artefacts? Ignorant?

Posted by t selwyn : 5/19/2006 12:31:00 PM

Tim: their one was photoshopped, and made the papers. I'll see if I can find a copy anywhere.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/19/2006 12:38:00 PM

I suspect there's also an issue with the fact that so many Chinese students are only children, and used to being pampered and indulged and are unused to any form of criticism or teasing that having a few siblings around tends to produce.

But I hope that Chaff isn't forced into some sort of stupid apology over this - they have nothing to apologise for.
mikeybill

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2006 12:42:00 PM

But the funniest bit is that by protesting, they're exercising the very free speech rights which Mao sought to suppress with imprisonment, re-education camps, self-criticism sessions, torture and murder.

Chinese aren't strangers to any of these things. It's perfectly OK to conduct mass demonstrations, speak out and denounce, throw rocks etc at legitimate targets- the Japanese Embassy, for example. Which is odd. While nobody will ever know the ratio of Chinese killed by Japanese vs Chinese killed by Mao, it appears to be at least 2:1.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2006 03:27:00 PM

While nobody will ever know the ratio of Chinese killed by Japanese vs Chinese killed by Mao, it appears to be at least 2:1.

Correction: That should be at least 2 (maybe 3 or 4) Chinese killed for every 1 killed by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2006 03:28:00 PM

"I can only hope that academics haven't been warned to avoid course content, or assigned readings (which should not be held by the university library or campus bookstore), that offend the sensibilities - and chequebooks - of Mao cultists."

I can't speak for the academics, but can for the Library staff (with the proviso that you're capable of figuring out, someone called "Psycho Milt" is not likely to be speaking in any official capacity).

While it's possible to imagine the University administration coming up with the concept of censoring Library content to please paying Chinese customers (and given that those customers are paying a substantial chunk of my wages, far be it from me to fail to understand the motivation of any such attempt), it's not possible to imagine the Library staff sucking it up without setting the Association of University Teachers onto it, which would definitely make the papers.

And if Chaff does apologise, student rags have gone a hell of a long way downhill since I was a student...

Posted by Psycho Milt : 5/19/2006 08:01:00 PM

The funniest objection was that Mao is no more a murderer than Bush or Washington. Which is of course true, as all three have asked that murder be committed in their name or ordered people to murder. Sorry, I mean "defend the state by lawfully killing its enemies".

Moz

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2006 08:16:00 PM

Ah. So when can we expect to see George W. Inbred, butchering bad drag?

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 01:12:00 PM