Mao was a horrible cock. I think that’s a fair way to describe someone who kills all sorts of people to cement his own hold on power and then using that power to kill even more.
Yesterday I read a book about The Long March and while it wasn’t as inflammatory as the Jung Chang Mao Blows Goats book I read a while back [in 2006 -JJU], it did nothing to dispel the notion that goats were animals Mao could fellate given enough hoorayishness as incentive.
When Holly was reading it she mentioned a purge of 20,000 people to Xiao Meng sort of casually but knowing the kind of reaction she’d get. That reaction was: “Mao was a perfect leader. He may have had a few flaws but there would be no China without him.” Obviously(?) I disagree.
I wonder what the country would be like if there’d been no Mao, or if he’d remained a marginalized figure in the Communist Party. A China without a cult of personality, what would it have changed? Would it have been harder to stop being communist? As it was there was a good opportunity for this gradual break to begin once he died. If it had been more of a movement and less the “will of one man” there might have been more inertia? Although I suppose the catholic church has kept going through hagiography.
But would there be the same celebration of that guy who won the 110m hurdles in 2004 if the country didn’t have this saint-making tradition? The hurdler is in a pile of ads with a young black athlete. They are accepting awards or running (in competition, not casually) or (Holly says) there’s one with the black guy sitting in a chair rubbing his chin and dreaming about the Chinese hurdler. Holly didn’t recognize the black guy and neither did I. We wondered for a while if he was the guy the hurdler beat, and if so how much he was being paid to appear in all these ads. It turns out he’s the guy who won the 100m dash that year (we think, this is taken from deciphering fine print on the ads). Since that’s traditionally the event that determines the “fastest man in the world” it makes sense for a Chinese ad to lump the two together.
Supposedly Yao Ming has a fracture in his foot or ankle and there’s a lot of fear that he won’t be able to play basketball for his country in Beijing this year. That would sure suck for him. And it would be inauspicious for Team China in general. Jo was saying that even with the recent snowstorm disaster the weather was clear and sunny on the two days it needed to be for the soothsayers to say it would be an auspicious 2008. Even if it weren’t the Olympic year Holly thinks it would be an important one. Something to do with the 8? I don’t know. What year is it in the lunar calendar? Rat but I don’t know where that sits in the cycle of years. Maybe we’re beginning a new 12-year cycle now. I mean, we’re always beginning a new 12-year sequence, tis the nature of these systems that repeat.
I started this section talking about Mao though. It’s funny how he doesn’t get taken seriously on the list of World’s Worst Dudes. I mean, not to trivialize the Japanese atrocities in China (haven’t been to the Nanjing Massacre memorial yet), but Mao’s purges and famines and such killed thousands of people for no crime too. They were meant to get rid of people who weren’t loyal to him. Ordering 20,000 people dead that way is a lot different from… okay, well. No they didn’t rape purged people with bayonets. Man, I hope Xiao Meng doesn’t read this. But no one was worse to his own people than Mao and Stalin (who, sayeth the book, learned about purges on that scale from Mao. Or at least hadn’t done them on that scale till Mao did them first).
I really don’t understand politics like that. I’m too democratically indoctrinated. All this “kill any dissident” stuff seems so primitive. Like fighting a war for territory. I felt this at the Kun Qu too. “Oh our armies have to go conquer this land.” Why? Why not just figure out a place of your own to be? Fit in somewhere life will let you instead of all the death. Trying to make a better life doesn’t cut it once you’re not hungry sick and cold. Not for me at least.advertising cult of personality hagiography holly jung chang kun ju mao nanjing massacre politics purge sports stalin the hangman yao ming