China Likes MTV Censors
Living in Paris, I've been intrigued at the French and other European's perceptions of the US as anti-Americanism rages across the world. On the one hand, they resent what they see as a 'holier-than-thou' attitude from a hegemonious superpower much too eager to wield its massive military might with a complete lack of respect for others that inevitably must bear the brunt of those actions. On the other hand, the French are great admirers & consumers of American culture as they pack the ubiquitous 'McDoe' and eagerly await the Matrix double release or latest Sopranos episode. As a recent TV commentator remarked in a talk show on anti-Americanism: "How can I hate America? I was raised on Hollywood, Rock 'n Roll and fast food!"
In fact, I would contend that the spread of US culture through satellite, cable, the Internet has done more to promote US foreign policy goals than any military action since WWII, this latest one being no exception. Viacom's announcement that it obtained the rights to telecast a 24 hour MTV channel in China should therefore come as welcome news in these times.
Those who might be surprised by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) decision to open the country to such a pro-capitalist and immoral media outlet should not be surprised. China has long ago forsaken its 'communist' ideals while personal freedoms progressively expand. What is still unacceptable to the Party is any criticism or dissent to its policies and actions. SARFT must therefore have been reassured by Viacom's willingness to ban a whole series of videos from the music channel deemed 'offensive' to the Bush Administration, from those addressing the death penalty (Epoxy & Public Enemy) to the present war on Iraq (from George Michael to nearly any video depicted any war scenes according to InternalMemos.com).
The only question is whether MTV is actually exporting American culture or in fact importing Chinese-style censorship.
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