It started with Hanzi Smatter‘s year-old piece on someone who’d got 妖 tattooed on their neck, which might mean “charming” in Japanese on occasion, but is more likely to mean something more demonic, like “goblin, devil, monster”, and is mostly seen in combination with 人, as in人妖 or 变性人妖, both of which mean transsexual. Halfway through the comments, ‘right-on-tranny’ comes in with the yawn about how 人妖 is akin to ‘shemale’, or ‘chick-with-a-dick’ and that feels quite safe to say that the ‘vast majority of transsexual and transgendered women’ find these terms ‘exceedingly offensive’, backing it up with a boring and earnest page of tranny terms explained. Personally, I like tranny coz it’s alot quicker to type, and while I appreciate not being burned at the stake or dragged behind a horse, I don’t really feel part of a movement that’s emerging from the shadows. Maybe this is an American thing…
And though it’s very out-of-date, I’m not sure how Transsexual Seeks Mate Online is news unless the meta-narrative of “see how the exotic oriental dwarfs are beginning to enjoy the same freedoms we in the enlightened English-speaking Empire do” is the true subtext. I mean for fuck’s sake, trannys and internet go hand-in-hand, even besides the debt we all owe to internet porn for such joys as password-protected sites and internet banking, places like URNotALone has the whole ecosystem of girls, M2F, admirers, chasers in China going on like a bomb.
Speaking of porn, somehow all of that lead to this: Pornographic Film and Video: Transsexual, on qlbtq, kinda worth a read about a cultural theory perspective on tranny porn, but somehow it makes it all boring and not as fun as Buck and Allanah, though I’ll settle for an Almodovar-esque tranny flick like 20 Centímetros … actually anyone who knows me might think “A narcoleptic transvestite who yearns to become a transsexual dreams up elaborate musical numbers in which she’s the star” is all about me.
Last night the ABC screened one of the most disturbing documentaries I’ve seen in a long while. Soundtrack To War is George Gittoes’ film of the tunes playing inside the tanks rolling through Baghdad, the soldiers driving them, and the people of the city still making music.
The endless banality of horror as entertainment was something I was really concerned with during making extermination, which culminated in a satanic mass to Slayer’sReign In Blood. During this film, this track and the band, more than any other was the music that accompanied the images, a disturbing irruption of the very ‘real’ for me I had tried to implant in my work.
The Age wrote a good piece on the documentary which also aired in the US on VH1 earlier in August.
“There’s a whole generation that doesn’t watch the news any more,” says Gittoes from New York on the eve of the documentary’s broadcast in the US.
A frequent visitor to war zones and political hot spots, 54-year-old Gittoes has travelled to Iraq four times since the outbreak of hostilities to make this film, in which American soldiers and Iraqis reveal themselves and their troubles through the music that they listen to and create for themselves.
His decision to tailor what would become Soundtrack to War to young audiences was cemented when he marched in a prewar protest rally in Washington. “It was all people my age and their 30-year-old children. It was like a Forrest Gump nostalgia trip and I thought there had to be a better way. If you’re going to make relevant documentaries that will get to this audience in America, you have to make it for (channel) VH1.”
Winds of Change – Regional Briefings have their regular update of things going on in China. It’s a very good overview of what’s happening in China each month, linking to a bunch of blogs and news sites written by people who make the Australian media look wilfully uninformed.
This month the main story is Tiananmen Square Massacre 15th anniversary, and associated arrests of dissidents and blocking of internet access during the months preceeding June 4th. Danwei returned, with its fantastic coverage of Chinese media with a big focus on print media and daily examinations of newspaper and magazine covers. And right down the bottom in recommendations, I get a mention for trying to make a noise about art in China/HongKong/Taiwan.
The China blogosphere widely reported that all blogs using Typepad and all blogs.com-based blogs have been blocked just as blogspot blogs were earlier last year. Six Apart ruled out technological problems on their end. The move prompted a 100-strong blackout in virtual protest, and other schemes have been initiated in response.
The controversial anti-China referendum failed on account of not making a quorum but Chen Shui-bian took the Taiwan election, but not without further controversy. See below for full coverage.
Beijing asserts superiority in all things political in Hong Kong, unilaterally interpreting the island’s mini-constitution. The central government has likely taken over the political situation there, possibly leaving Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa without any power to speak of.
Other Topics Today Include:More Taiwan election coverage; Cheney’s upcoming Beijing trip; Hepatitis B carriers are damned to be jobless; You just can’t win a Chinese lottery; and the implications of the impending death of the man who took the fall for the Tiananmen Square Massacre 15 years ago this June.
A small group of miscreants sailed to a group of tiny, resource-rich, but nationless islands called Diaoyu (Fishing Islands, or Senkaku islands in Japanese) and planted a Chinese flag only to be met by (according to them, anyway) three Japanese warships. The result is yet more anti-Japanese feelings, and Shanghai Eye points out some of the recurring players in such movements.
A BBC article dissects all the conspiracy theories associated with the assassination attempt, and systematically debunks them.
Lien’s credibility has been largely discredited as a result of his inciting the population to reject the results of the election, and other, various absurdities.
The aftermath of the election has seen various protests and light skirmishes with police. Wayne of A Better Tomorrow has a good round up of some of the more recent ones.
Cyril H. Wecht, a US forensics expert famous for debunking the “magic bullet” theory associated with JFK’s assassination, is on board to investigate the crime.
ZHAO ZIYANG’S IMPENDING DEATH
Zhao Ziyang, liberal-minded and purged communist leader who was last seen 15 years ago warning Tiananmen student leaders of the impending crackdown, is on his death bed. The PRC has been arresting Tiananmen activists for some time now and the blocking of various blog communities might have some connection. Government officials are concerned that with his death might come with renewed calls for reform, as what happened when Hu Yaobang passed away that initially sparked the student movement.
China Digital News carries a translation of a Chinese politician reflecting on Zhao Ziyang and the plight of human rights in China.
Lucent Technologies fired four of its executives in the China branch, claiming that they violated US law against offering bribes to government officials while overseas. The event reminds us that doing business in the Middle Kingdom often means getting your hands dirty.
A 17-year-old boy wins a BMW, is declared the winner, pictures are taken, and the next day he’s notified that his ticket was a fake. In anger he scaled a wall and became the hot story in the Chinese-language press for a day.