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China

What China’s Culture Ministry Really Thinks Of Lady Gaga

Commentary: The “stiffs” in the government have banned songs from an array of popular singers, though the reasons for the are anything but clear. The only thing we know is that the black list is a nice round number.

Lady Gaga at the Monster Ball 2011 (Tiggerlane)
Lady Gaga at the Monster Ball 2011 (Tiggerlane)
Wang Jun

BEIJING - Lady Gaga, the goddess of oddness, super sexy Beyonce, Taiwanese singer Lin Yu Jia, hot American band Owl City, evergreen Japanese R&B singer Ken Hirai, not to mention the Backstreet Boys who haven't been seen in awhile…this would have made up a fantastic lineup for an all-star concert in China, even the "Bird's Nest" (the National Stadium that held the 2008 Olympic) would have sold out its 100,000 seats in no time. Seeing Gaga strut and Beyonce" sway, that alone would have guaranteed three months of conversation material for China's trendy set.

Unfortunately, it's the Ministry of Culture, not famous for its imagination, that came up with such a creative list – but with a very different purpose in mind .

These singers were cited for their "undeclared" songs, and music downloading websites were ordered to purge the playlist. It is already the third list of this kind issued this year by the Ministry, which announced that "the content of this Internet music has not been examined or recorded... (and) it should be cleaned up and treated according to the law." If you are Chinese, you understand right away what this means.

The consequences of non-declaration are considered serious, and can mean "interfering with the order of the online music market, and endangering national cultural security." The question is why such a serious accusation is not explained clearly? Does it mean some poison is hidden in these songs so that they will truly jeopardize the well-being of our national culture? Besides, there are lots of English songs on these three lists, so which country's security in the end are we talking about?

Are these undeclared songs pornographic, violent, or proclaiming independence in some politically incorrect way? I had a close listen to Lin Yu Jia's Good Night, Chang Huei Mei's My Dearest, both from Taiwan, and several of Lady Gaga's songs. They are so "healthy" that one can't even find a word like "kiss." Moreover, they are the epitome of purity if you compare them to those TV advertisements selling bras late in the night.

Gaga v. Bjork

In Gaga's Marry the Night, she sings "I'm gonna marry the dark, gonna make love to the stars…" Is that pornographic? Only if you have a pornographic mind! In my opinion, it is poetry. What is intriguing is that the singer Bjork, who yelled "Tibet! Tibet!" when she sang Declare Independence in her Shanghai concert, is not on this list.

The list also includes the song, I Want It That Way, by the Backstreet Boys, who the post-1990 generation doesn't even know. There are also singers like Wawa who has disappeared totally from the scene, or unheard of singers like Tata and Lin Zi Xi. In fact, the list turns out to be so much like a large publicity campaign that it intrigues the audience's rebellious psychology, and now they are all going on the net to check out these artists.

Viewing the list, I pity the poor comrade who had to work so hard to come up with a lineup that is so painfully balanced in its content. From golden oldies to 90's kitsch to the latest hits, singers of all horizons and all ages are all included.

And the most interesting and most important of all, each of the three lists contains exactly 100 songs. Since it is well demonstrated that the stiffs in the Ministry of Culture love round numbers, it was considerate of these undeclared artists to match their output with the working habits of the Ministry.

I can't help wonder how Lady Gaga would react if she ever learns how things work here. Perhaps, she'd hand over her reputation as the modern master of parody to China's Ministry of Culture?

Read the original article in Chinese

Photo - Tiggerlane

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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