It doesn't feel safe. O.o Yes, you needed to know that.
There was a picture of a little Chinese girl. Apparently she was what the camera focused on when the Chinese Olympic team entered the stadium at the opening ceremony, while the song "Ode to the Motherland" boomed over the PA. Only, she was lip-syncing.
Was it because she was nervous? Was it because the officials were nervous? Well, kinda.
They were nervous that the girl who was actually singing wasn't pretty enough, so they got a prettier girl and made her lip sync to a recording.
So here we have two little girls, at the biggest event of their lives. One doesn't sing well enough, the other isn't pretty enough.
Yes, I repeated myself. Grr. I just keep thinking about what that kind of judgement at that age could do to someone's self-esteem, and how it comes out later.
The other thing that is in my mind about this, and that is probably about to drop me in CulturalIncorrectnessLand, is that do the Chinese Olympic officials just not get it? Sure, I can understand them wanting everything to be perfect, to portray an image of organised wonderfulness to the world. It's not exactly World Breaking News that China is wanting to use this Olympics as a sort of debutante 'coming out' event to the rest of the world. But, when things like that happen, it's doing more to reinforce their reputation for a total lack of humanitarianism than any amount of pretty girls lip-syncing would have done for their image of perfection.
If the little girl who wasn't so pretty had got up there and sung, I'd be willing to bet that there'd be no headline news about it. "Oh look, little girl singing - what an amazing voice!" And that'd be it. But because of the fakery, it's big time news.
Well done, Chinese officials. Messing with the heads of little girls and reinforcing your reputation as callous bastards with no compassion, all at the same time. But yes, the ceremony was pretty. And nobody really cares.
OK, so sociology tells me to try and be a neutral observer, that by making the judgement I've just made, I'm projecting the values of my culture onto another culture, and measuring it by a yardstick that should only really be applied in my own backyard.
So. Do I throw away my yardstick and go study Chinese culture in an attempt to understand?
It raises something for me. I reckon there's a point at which understanding, openmindedness and the like stop being useful, and one has to form an opinion. I guess forming an informed opinion is a good plan - but I run across the occasional person who does nothing but gather information and ask questions, and never actually gives an opinion, and find myself wondering what use all that information is if you don't use it.
Oh look I digressed. OK, I'll stop now.
Tonight there will be pizza, oh yes. And documentaries! In celebration of handing my essay in three days early. As usual, I predict a B.