Friday Follies: The Case for Censorship in China

By December 2, 2005Friday Follies

Friday FolliesYou might remember about six months ago there was a flap over China’s efforts to censor some Internet content. At the time, Lou Dobbs jumped all over the US companies involved, but we rushed to their defense, pointing out that fostering the spread of the Internet in China was ultimately a good thing for freedom, openness and democracy.

But that was before somebody send us this video. Frankly, it’s made us re-think this whole openness and democracy thing. Don’t get us wrong — the First Amendment is a nice piece of work, but the Founding Fathers never saw stuff like this when they were doing their homework in Philadelphia lo those many years ago.

A final point as you view it: The playwright Anton Chekhov was known for many things, but among them was a rule of thumb that became known as “Chekhov’s Dictum” or “Chekhov’s Gun”. It goes something like this:

If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”

The reason we bring it up is because we kept waiting for the guy in the background to turn around and join in — we thought for sure he’d chime in — maybe to sing the last line, but he never does. So much for Chekhov. Guess he’s not reached China yet.

So here it is, two Chinese guys lip-synching a BackStreet Boys tune, together doing what Mao Tse-Tung and his successors have yet to achieve: making the global case for censorship in China.

And, don’t let us hear you say, “I want it that way.”

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