Things Consumed

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The mystery of the missing dead

  There are images in the news media of Haiti that have no correlation here, though there were images that came close during Katrina. I'm not speaking of the devastation: I'm speaking of who may be shown as victims, whose bodies are acceptable to display as news.

We live in a country that has banned all manner of images of our own war dead, even draped in our flag; where controversy remains over the depiction of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks in art, fiction, literature, and news; where the victims of even the daily automobile accidents that claim so many lives are draped before any image is taken.

There are rules: the rules are strict. But they do not pertain to all of us in the same way.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)11:17 PM

Monday, October 12, 2009

Go west, young lady

  Did you ever see Xiu Xiu, the Sent Down Girl? I have film festivals for myself, and during my Asian Women in Bad Situations mini-festival, I watched this drama about an idealistic Communist girl who was eager to share her ideals with the undeveloped western regions of China, only to find herself trapped and hopeless. The film alluded to the "sending down" and "down to the countryside" programs in China, in which the government managed urban youth and political dissidents by sending them far away on supposedly short term rural development projects... and never allowing them to return.

Art can be so educational: you read about things you wouldn't have heard of otherwise.

Now the BBC has an upbeat article about urban youth being sent to the countryside to share their ideals with the undeveloped western regions. Which sounds so... familiar. BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China's reverse migration (10/11/09) is ostensibly about having the government organize a little time in the country for the heavily-educated.
Since 2003 more than 1,400 young people from Shanghai have been sent by the Communist Youth League to the interior of China.
In the media we should have, there would be a nice comment in this article noting that this is nothing like those other, creepy, earlier projects, and that no one even worries about that sort of thing anymore. Or, otherwise, if the case is otherwise. Anything but pretending that sending urban youth to the countryside to share their ideals with the undeveloped western regions is a completely new idea.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)7:11 AM

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