A Random Conversation with Myself on the 2008 Beijing Olympics

August 18, 2008

Me: So you just wanted me to agree with you because you’re hungry?

BK Me:
Well I’d hoped so, but since you seem to be getting a little

Me: Fine. I agree with you. The games have been wonderful and I
absolutely love them and now you can go on your merry little way and eat
yourself into a Value Menu Heart Arrhythmia.

BK Me: Well…geez....no reason to
get like that about it. I mean what did the Junior Whopper ever do to you?
Since, it's not like it doesn't have vegetables.

Me: *Sigh*

BK Me:
Obviously we won't be able to go anywhere until we've had this conversation, so
let's just talk about it. Why are you so angry?

Me: I'm not

BK Me: Okay then. What's "bothering you"? Is it the chinky

Me: Obviously it's the chinky eyes. I think everyone agrees on the
chinky eyes.

BK Me: And?

Me: Like the fireworks. Who in their
right mind actually thought those fireworks were real anyway? Have you ever seen
fireworks created in the shape of a footprint set off in the sky where it looked
like they were actually walking in real-time without the help of some computer
graphics? I mean it was a stage show. It was theatrical. But instead of everyone
saying how great they were, everyone's just focusing on the fact that they were
computer generated. The whole tone that some of these articles take when
reporting on the fireworks "issue" can just be boiled down to "Look at how they
lied to us", even though no one ever lied about it.

BK Me:

Me: And then there's the lip syncing.

BK Me: You're
defending the lip syncing?

Me: I'm not defending the lip syncing itself,

BK Me: I mean sure, the one flying was a little cuter.

First of all, that's just wrong, and second--

BK Me: What? You're going
to tell me that one wasn't cuter than the other one? Like all Asian babies are
created equal? Please. Even places that reported about what a travesty it was
didn't put up a picture of the singing "still adorable" one. They put up the
flying "chosen" one.

Me: Well, both were adorable and both were talented,
and yes, both got the shaft, and while I'm not defending the lip

BK Me: Because you can't say anything bad about our Asian

Me: Can you stop interrupting me?

BK Me:

Me: What I was trying to say was that while I don't condone
it, I can understand it a little bit because it was meant as a stage show and I
don't think they realized how some other communities, even in China, would look
down upon it. I mean look at other places like in Vietnam. Lip syncing is still
kind of O.K. when doing a stage show.

BK Me: Yeah. With their
own voice.

Me: Like I said, I'm not condoning that part of it,
I'm saying that I think it got blown out of proportion and people are using it
just so they can say "Look at what those Asian people did. How can we ever trust
them on anything?"

BK Me: Well...

Me: And now people are even
reporting on how the kids who represented the different ethnic groups in the
opening ceremony were all from the same ethnic group dressed up as kids from
different ethnic groups and that somehow this is more of that Chinese
"trickery". I mean, c'mon. It was symbolism. It was a representation. What's
next? Are people going to start complaining about how the stadium isn't really a
bird's nest?

BK Me: Sure, but what about the gymnastic team and their
ages? Isn't that legitimate?

Me: Well first of all, some of us look
young. That's just the way it goes. And you can't tell me that Shawn Johnson
doesn't look young either. But the bottom line here is that no one is going to
be satisfied until someone is proven to actually be underage because everyone
already believes that there's no way in hell they could be telling the truth
anyway because of this Yellow Peril attitude.

BK Me: What about the
reports from the official Chinese newspaper that seemed to have disappeared with
information stating ages from other events? You're denying those?

What? Like newspapers and other media outlets don't have corrections?
Organizations don't get things wrong? Didn't The New York Times just
cop to a dozen years of reporting errors on McCain and his status as a fighter
pilot? Didn't The Washington Post just incorrectly call Jin a Korean
American rapper? I mean Bloomberg even told me that the Cavaliers won
in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals and that Kevin Garnett's scoring
average during the playoffs was 13.2 when it was really 21.3 which is an eight
point swing. Is it that hard to believe that a newspaper or the organization
handling some paperwork that they used as verification can get things wrong? No.
They get it wrong all the time.

BK Me: Wow. I didn't know you hated
newspapers so much.

Me: That's not the point, and I don't hate
newspapers. They've been great free speech advocates, we've known some good
folks who've taken that track, and the press in that sense has broken some great
stories. But the fact still remains that they make mistakes. Just because they
have a gazillion editors and fact-checkers doesn't mean they can't get it wrong
here and abroad.

BK Me: But it was the Associated

Me: So what? Like I'm supposed to take everything the AP says
at face value? Please. Since, this story smacks of Yellow Journalism, and when
you make an accusation like that, because that's what it is no matter how you
try and dress it, I think you should have more than, I don't know, two sources,
especially when one dries up and you already have an official with the Chinese
gymnastic's team who said the reports which AP used as a source were never
verified by them anyway.

BK Me: Maybe. But what happens if the
allegations are true?

Me: If that's the case, medals should be stripped.
I mean that goes without saying. But that's not the point and you know it. I
mean if this was an all white Canadian team do you think people would really be
pushing as hard they are to uncover the "real truth" demanding that the IOC get
to the bottom of it all. No way in hell.

BK Me: Well, I don't know about
that, but--

Me: And look at how places are reporting on Liu Yan, the
dancer that was paralyzed during opening ceremony rehearsals. Even though after
the opening ceremony in a press conference Zhang Yimou said there were some
serious injuries, people are still calling it a cover up because he didn't
specifically mention her name.

BK Me: Yeah, but some places have reported
that they did ask that it not be mentioned before the games and that some
information may have been censored from Internet forums.

Me: But how's
that any different from a film company not wanting to talk about a stunt person
getting injured during the filming of a movie, especially when the stars are out
and about on the red carpet during the premiere? I don't remember Jerry
Bruckheimer having a press conference about Tony Angelotti and his hospital
landing injuries during "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and that
because he didn't, the media said he was covering it up, insinuating the
cover-up was because he was worried it might affect the bottom line of the
movie, do you?

BK Me: I get what you're saying, but I'm not sure I agree
with you on that one.

Me: Well, we're allowed to disagree, but to me it's
just another way for people to gravitate to the "sneaky Chinese" mentality that
unfortunately is going to make its way back here to the U.S.

BK Me: I
don't know. I think you might be a little off on that one.

Me: Are you
kidding me? Listen. You and I both know that there's going to be people all
across America who use this Olympics as another way to explain away their racial
and ethnic bias against us. I mean it's a forgone conclusion because of the
"Every Asian person is a part of the collective" mentality that we can't seem to
get away from, and I can't even believe you're questioning that. Do we really
have to share the same body? Isn't there some procedure we can get?

Me: Well you can try and get rid of me if you want, but I don't think that's
going to happen anytime soon especially without some serious medication, and
even then I think you're still stuck with me so you need to deal with it just
like I do.


Me: Yeah. I guess you're right.

BK Me:
I know.




mad props. that was well done. brilliant all around. microscopic vs. macroscopic view of things and the oversensititivy/undersensitivity of it all.
Amusing, but it strikes me as blind defense of a country who is clearly not completely on the up-and-up.And yes, I think if this were another country, the allegations would be just as harsh and serious.
I disagree. If this were, let's say, the U.S.A., then the allegations would be pretty muted (especially true if we leave it to the right-wingers to defend the Bush administration). Unless it's an allegation about how Hilary is gay or how Obama is a long lost cousin of Osama, I doubt we will hear anything but the glory of this fine republic and the preserverence of the American people. We won't hear how the Americans have not been torturing war prisoners, or how the Americans have not been wiretapping their own citizens.Let's face it guys, all the commentaries from everyone so far has been, "China has put on a great show, BUT they screwed up on this, and they screwed up on that." It sounds like someone is being a little bitter. "How's the movie?" "It's good, but I've seen better." "How's the olympics?" "It's okay, but I am still upset with Darfur."
The criticism of China is indeed orientalist and racially-charged and comes from the U.S.'s acute sense of waning hegemony. It's no coincidence that their criticism comes with more overtly calls of "Chinaman, get out of this race!" that I often hear among the White people in my very "liberal" town. One of my friends asked "did I think it was fucked up that China isn't allowing Hong Kong or Tawian to play with their national colors"--I pointed out a) Hong Kong is only separate from China because it was colonized by the British, b) Tawain was a US-funded neocolony supported to delegitimize the communist regime and was briefly even accepted into the UN instead of China, and c) we don't allow Peurto Rico or Hawaii to play in separate colors (who each have independence movements.) By point c my friend was gone.