October 25, 2017

"Young people in China are rejecting Communist party propaganda for Western-style movie stars and celebrity culture..."

"... that’s the lesson behind the box office flop of a series big budget propaganda films according to observers. When the movie 'Founding Fathers of the Army,' which tells the story of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, recently hit cinemas, officials hoped it would inspire an outpouring of patriotic feeling — instead it was mocked for trying to use popular film stars to lure younger viewers."

Or so Newsweek tells us. No details of this mockery appear in the linked story. I see that the movie was a "flop" in relation to its "big budget," but there are no numbers, and who knows what constitutes a "flop" or a "big budget" when the proportions are Chinese? Assuming it was a flop, how do we jump to the conclusion that the young people of China long for a Western-style culture? What's the evidence of that? Maybe the movie was boring.

This is such cheesy reporting at Newsweek, feeding Americans crap that we like. The headline is "CHINESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REJECTING COMMUNIST PARTY PROPAGANDA AND THE GOVERNMENT IS FREAKING OUT."

The government is "freaking out"? I know, I'm linking and that may be all that Newsweek wants, but how about proving that Western-style media really is better than government propaganda instead of mindlessly burbling that the Chinese want to be like us?

What annoys me the most is that I clicked through because of the word "mockery" and I thought I'd get to read something funny. But there's not one funny line in the Newsweek article. And that's the trouble with pop culture. You get us excited, like there's going to be candy, but there was no candy.

Devil Girl candy bars

Devil Girl candy bars
Althouse photos from 2007

41 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Newsweek is somewhere around the level of a Kos diary.

Oso Negro said...

I doubt seriously that 5% of the Chinese people are enthusiastic about Communism. But they have a one party state, and that's the party. Fortunately for them, they aren't in a period where effusive demonstration of enthusiasm is required.

Hagar said...

It is just difficult for Communist billionaires to make a convincing case for communism.

EDH said...

Is this an article about Geostorm?

tim in vermont said...

I saw what you did there, EDH.

LOL

William said...

I wonder if theres a casting couch phenomenon going on in China. I suspect there is. Mao's wife was an actress who always got the part she wanted.......I read Jung Chang's bio of Mao. Of all the world historical figures of the twentieth century, he was the biggest sexist pig. Much worse than Harvey.

tcrosse said...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Instapundit linked to this:
Socialist Agitprop Flop

tim in vermont said...

Chinese emperors had a tradition of sending scouts looking for beautiful girls to bring to the emperor for his delectation, why should Mao have been any different?

rehajm said...

Socialist Agitprop Flop

Agitprop is the word. Newsweek and the Trump dossier are like Broadway stage props. Functional when waved around by passionate actors but open them and discover they're filled with garbage produced by highly compensated craftsmen.

traditionalguy said...

The Chinese scientists have always laughed at loud over the AlGore/United Nations 100 billion dollar Propaganda and Bribery idiocy about CO2 being a pollutant causing global warming. And to an un-bribed scientist, it always was total idiocy carefully dressed up in Academic Fraud and distributed by Hollywood actors.

Laslo Spatula said...

"You get us excited, like there's going to be candy, but there was no candy."

Said the girl after getting into the White Van.

I am Laslo.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, man, that story is badly written and appears not to have benefited from copy-editing. First sentence: "...that’s the lesson behind the box office flop of a series big budget propaganda films according to observers." Second sentence: "...instead it was mocked..." (no actor mentioned). Third sentence: "While the Communist Party once exercised an iron grip on what it’s citizens saw..."

Newsweek was always weak and is now just a web site. They should hire a grade-school English teacher to oversee.

George M. Spencer said...

The reporter Tom Porter is British, lives in London, and appears to be about 25 years old. His LinkedIn photo shows him unshaven.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-porter-87989049/

His bio there says, "I write about politics, extremism, and conspiracy theories, and have been interviewed about my work on BBC World News, RFE/RL, and Radio New Zealand."

He is a conspiracy-theory reporter who uses his bio to say that other reporters interview him!

Wilbur said...

Maybe they hope they'll make it up in foreign screenings and DVD sales, like all of the cinematic bombs here. Look for them on a screen near you!

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

I'd watch a well-made movie about the Long March. There was some pretty crazy shit along the way. With honesty and decent production values you could make a very worthwhile Band of Brothers-style mini-series out of it. But they're Leftists, so honesty and decency are pretty much out of the question.

gspencer said...

"officials hoped it would inspire an outpouring of patriotic feeling — instead it was mocked"

Well, in a Communist/totalitarian country that problem's easily remedied.

"Punishment will continue until morale improves"

In North Korea the government punishes those who don't show sufficient sorrow when ordered to show sufficient sorrow, such as the 2011 passing of Dear Leader.

Lance said...

This is such cheesy reporting at Newsweek

Oh good grief. Newsweek has been nothing but cheese for thirty years. Newsweek is the original model for opinion-journalism-pretending-to-be-serious.

Rick Turley said...

Newsweek: Too late for news. Too early for history.

Roughcoat said...

I'd watch a well-made movie about the Long March. There was some pretty crazy shit along the way. With honesty and decent production values you could make a very worthwhile Band of Brothers-style mini-series out of it.

Yeah, maybe, but it would have an unhappy ending: the marchers survive.

Ken B said...

I find it credible: as CNN and NBC have shown repeatedly, Western media is more imaginative than even Pravda ever was.

J. Farmer said...

But then again, of the 10 highest grossing films in China, seven are Chinese productions. Two others are of the Fast and Furious franchise and the other is a Transformers movie.

n.n said...

Why not both?

They accept the communist propaganda and Western culture. The Party is happy to cede low level control if it reduces conflict with their high level ambitions. They want single or monopoly interest in major things, and with progress, are learning to optimize the distribution of their efforts.

Marty Keller said...

The distance between Newsweek, WaPo, and Pravda, I mean, the NYT, is not measurable in Newtonian terms.

Chris N said...

Clearly; we should have bailed out Newsweek! with a government loan or two.

Direct Presidential Messaging And A Permanente-Class Of The Best And Brightest Spouting Stuff-Everybody-Knows -Or-Ought-To-Know...

...is that Important

Chris N said...

Ideally! We would use a ‘journalistic class’ as keepers of the (flame) of conventional wisdom; where as writers would be the holy priests of Narrative and Idea;and teacherz would guide good grammer and such.

The facts are: this is true

Trust me

cubanbob said...

Chicom propaganda has better production values than DNC house organs production values.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"Yeah, maybe, but it would have an unhappy ending: the marchers survive"

End it with a flash-forward where 40 years later March hero Sergeant Chu Lin is being spat on and made to wear a dunce cap by teenage Red Guards. What's Mandarin for "kids today"?

William said...

I read Theodore White's memoir about his time in China working as a Time correspondent during the war years. He was very much pro-Mao and anti-Chiang. Jump cut sixty years later. Taiwan is a democracy with a standard of living higher than many Western European countries. Children na not so much. White won a Pulitzer (although not for the China book)..

William said...

Children na = China. White was not such an accurate judge of character and events, but his proofreading skills were peerless.

buwaya said...

Chinese kids most certainly are materialistic and "western" oriented, or the upscale ones one tends to see in big cities, that drive the visible shopping economy. Chinese cities today are rather interesting.

Not that this all is so new. Shanghai was the hub of westernized Chinese even in the 1930s.

cubanbob said...

Laslo that was a rather strange video you linked to. Started out mildly amusing and ends rather creepy.

buwaya said...

One interesting item in Chinese tastes is that they are indeed very into their own history and traditions. Great commie war movies are one thing, but "Journey to the West", the screwball Buddhist epic among the Chinese classics, thats something else. There has been a very successful recent movie series, which is worth seeing.

The original classic Chinese novel also is indeed fun, wild, weird, and can be very surprising to anyone with stereotypical views of the Chinese. Not at all what you would expect from a "Chinese classic".

Robert Cook said...

In the photo, underneath the "Devil Girl Chocobars" (character created and drawn by R. Crumb), there is a book by Julie Doucet, former alternative cartoonist, present printmaker.

Julie stayed in my apartment in NYC for a week 25 years ago. In her graphic novel, "My New York Diary," she tells of a relationship she wants to get out of with a guy in New York. In the end, she leaves his apartment while he's out, and she makes a comment that she will be staying with a friend's friend until she can find her own place. That was me! (The friend's friend.) She stayed in the unoccupied bedroom. I nominally had a roommate, but he essentially lived with his girlfriend downtown in the Lower East Side and was rarely at the apartment.

I did not know the guy in the story that Julie wants to leave, but I had met and been around him a few times, as he was part of a group of people I knew in the NYC cartoonist community.

Julie was very nice, very shy. She wouldn't enter my area of the apartment, but when I would go to the kitchen to make tea or wash dishes or make a meal, she would often come in there just to initiate conversation. It's so hard to believe that was so long ago.

Big Mike said...

This is such cheesy reporting at Newsweek

Breaking news for Althouse! Newsweek died decades ago, this is a merely magazine with the same name, but it's a shell of what it was. Think of a hermit crab wearing the shell of long-dead snail.

J. Farmer said...

@Robert Cook:

Have you seen the Terry Zwigoff documentary Crumb? I thought it was fantastic. I became a fan of Zwigoff's work afterwards and particularly liked his Ghost World with Steve Buscemi.

Robert Cook said...

J.Farmer:

Absolutely! I've been a fan of Crumb's work since the mid-70s. I have the documentary on dvd, though I saw it at the theater when it was first released. I even got Crumb's autograph on a book of his drawings at a gallery opening for a show of the drawings in the book. (Linda Lovelace of DEEP THROAT infamy showed up at that gallery show, in company with a writer who is a friend of friends of mine. He was working with her on her biography. It was published as THE COMPLETE LINDA LOVELACE, by Eric Danville.)

GHOST WORLD is a great movie, also based on a graphic novel (of the same name) by cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

George M. Spencer said...

Re: William's comment above about Time's 1940s China correspondent Theodore White.

Time's anti-communist publisher Henry Luce couldn't stomach White's dispatches highlighting corruption in Chaing kai-Shek's nationalist army, so he routinely had staff editor Whittaker Chambers rewrite his work, though it was still published under White's name.

Time was notorious for decades because its in-house editors routinely rewrote dispatches from its staff reporters to conform with Time's world view.

buwaya said...

China's highest grossing movies -

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/china-five-highest-grossing-movies/

sodal ye said...

The Chinese have a word for white liberal trash: baizuo.

Ann Althouse said...

@Robert Cook

Thanks for the Julie Doucet story.

I have lots of her books. Love the drawing style.

Robert Cook said...

You’re welcome. It happened during Thanksgiving. Our mutual friend brought her to my apartment the evening before Thanksgiving. The next day we went to the friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, where we had Thanksgiving dinner with the friend and her husband. Then we went back to the city and met up with my friend who lived in the Lower East Side with his girlfriend. The streets were covered in snow and I remember it being late, with few people out in the streets. We went and had some beers with my friend then went back to my place uptown. She stayed just over a week, as I said. She found an apartment share in a loft in Brooklyn. She was nice, and shy, as I said, but very self-assured in herself and her opinions. Not someone who would let herself be pushed around. At least, that was my perception.

I like her comics and drawings very much, too.