other: March 2009 Archives

Once more unto the breach ...

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racismRegular reviews resume tomorrow as i'm 99% over my recent bout with tonsillitis. But first I'm going to throw in another 'other' post on the Chinese blogosphere. Considering this is 99% a music blog, let's not have any more laughable claims that I post these to draw attention to my blog. If anything I'm alienating readers.

There's a debate going down over the picture that is displayed here. The debate was kicked off by a blogger pointing out the racism in this China net meme.

Original post:

Follow up by the same blogger:

C. Custer pointed out that this blatantly racist picture was on some major and respected China blogs without them passing comment on the racism. He then framed it as a discussion about racial awareness in China which touched the nerve, so to speak.

I would like to just go back to basics without making it China specific. The following applies to everyone.

The Africa line stops at the gorilla. The American one shows a dark monkey in clothes. This picture is disgusting in it's outright racism which goes beyond words and jokes and draws on the weight of our fucked up history. But what does it mean if anyone reposts it without framing it as racist? 

Yes, if you don't notice that racism or don't think it's a big deal then you basically agree with the sentiment, you don't see anything wrong with it. 

I think Custer made a mistake in framing it as 'about China' as these issues are global but at the same time was brave and exposed, for me, the fact that a lot of this stuff just gets explained away or ignored here by people who know better under the excuse of realpotik or being apolitical. Read the comments there.

This is most clearly shown by the initial replies by famed and oft quoted blogger Hecaitou, "but, black people do look like monkeys," whose various responses have shown him to be just plain racist. Non-racists with professional and personal relationships with Hecaitou need to be challenging him on this or at the very least registering their own feelings with him. Just like we all should to each other generally on clear cut cases like this meme.

And, no, it doesn't ingratiate you to anyone to refer to yourself as 'Laowai' either. Snap!
Further Update: Salil in the comments has pushed me about specifics on BP so here is a clarification. BP is a nasty company and their rebranding by Ogilvy PR is greenwash, and they were involved in Nigerian abuses.

However, the company directly implicated in the arms scandal were Shell. Shell appear on Edelman's site, not Ogilvys.

Update:  "T" says in the comments: 
"I'm actually only a former PR company employee, and not nearly one as accomplished of as Messers Imagethief and Kuo above, however, 100% of the work I did, oversaw and even saw/heard about in the almost 2 years I was in the business was about trying to get people - whether consumers or other businesses - to buy services or products."

Same issue of trust, be it 'crisis control' or Greenwashing ... or trying to sell us stuff.

Original post:

Among the most read 'experts' in the China English language blogosphere is journalist Thomas Crampton. And his latest post is announcing that he will join PR firm Ogilvy which also happens to be the home of another oft quoted blogger Kaiser Kuo.

The way in which they are linked and quoted without qualifying statements makes me wonder if half the people out there getting excited over them know exactly what an international corporate and governmental PR firm actually does?

Two helpful words: spin, evil.

Oglivy PR have many case studies and clients for browsing at their flashy website. It's all there in public. How about the rebranding of British Petroleum as a green friendly company? Yes, the oil company. Yes, the same one that responded to international actions against Nigeria military dictatorship following the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa by gifting them arms sales. That's called greenwash. What about their work with drug giant Pfizer and their work against HIV. Is that Pfizer who, along with others, tried to sue the government of South Africa when they tried to buy affordable medicine for poor AIDS sufferers? Pfizer one of many companies whose cynical policies hold the sick to ransom for modern drugs that should be easily affordable while getting all their r&d paid for by the state?

These people are not grassroots sources or trustable experts - they work in international PR and what's worse - their focus is how to manipulate social media. They may occasional have insights or something worthwhile to report, sure, but let's please keep it in perspective.

My Interview at China Travel

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me doing kung fu training
Ah, the ups and downs of blog stardom. Blog stardom is perhaps somewhere between B-list stardom and reality TV (in terms of respect). Anyhow, I get a bit of it behind the scenes and lately I decided to agree to some.

So, I have an interview up at China Travel Net. It's mainly about China and Kung Fu, but its a little bit funny too. Well, I like to think so. 

And here's a quote:

And speaking of kung fu comedy: Kung Fu Panda. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs down. One big long sentimental stereotype. Just like what Disney does to traditional world stories. Disneyland should be carpet bombed with the worst kind of banned weapons mankind has to offer. Then we have to find Walt's cryogenically frozen head and thaw it.
jim groom
Jim Groom is a legend in the blogging and ed-tech worlds. He is a champion of shared and open source technology and his stand against Blackboard led to his eventual coining of the term Edupunk.

His Bava Tuesdays blog is amazing and it covers a wide range of topics, including some of the greatest movies ever. This quote is from his latest post about 'online branding'.

Jim sez:

If we are using the term online branding to frame our conversations about institutions, personal blogs, or digital identities, then the apotheosis of people as product has been realized, and we might as well tattoo a bar code on our necks and get scan-inventoried at the local Wal-Mart.

Read the amazing full post here:

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This page is a archive of entries in the other category from March 2009.

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