scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Li and Zhou: Song of the Mud-Grass Horse (草泥马)

Li

So have you seen it yet?

Zhou

Seen what?

Li

Song of the Mud-Grass Horse.

[There is a strange pause. If we were to put “Mud-Grass Horse” into Mandarin it would be 草泥马, cǎo ní mǎ, which sounds far too much like 操你妈, cào nǐ mā, a classic curse meaning “F*&% your mother.”]

Zhou

Excuse me!?!

Li

Song of the Mud-Grass Horse.

Zhou

Oh, song of the Mud-Grass Horse. I thought you were saying…

Li

You thought I was saying, well, you know, what it sounded like. You thought I was saying that, didn’t you?

Zhou

Yes. And no I haven’t heard the song of the… that song.

Li

It’s pretty funny. Some young people made a video of it. Hold on, let me show it to you.

Zhou

[curious, but cautious, looking around strangely as he goes over to Li‘s desk.]

Okay.

[Li attempts to log on to www.youtube.com, but finds himself thwarted.]

Li

Looks like Youtube is blocked.

Zhou

Why?

Li

I don’t know. Let’s give Censor Wang a call. [Li picks up the phone and dials Censor Wang.] Wang, it’s Print Advertising Censor Li… You know, I handle advertising censoring for Shanghai with Censor Zhou. We met one time last summer… Your wife knows my wife through her cousin’s husband’s brother… Yes! Yes, his surname is Kang… Well, I don’t know how your wife knows my wife’s cousin’s husband’s brother, but… Oh… Oh, really? I didn’t know that. I’m sorry to hear that… No… No, please believe me… No, as far as I know my wife didn’t introduce your wife to her cousin’s husband’s brother… Yes, I’ll be careful, Censor Wang… Really, I’m very sorry Censor Wang… No that’s not why I’m calling… I realize you must be having a bad day…  Well, I had a question about youtube.com… Oh it is?… Why?… Hey, wait a minute! Listen, I know you are having a bad day, but please don’t curse at me… Haha! Oh, right, you mean it’s because of the Mud-Grass Horse?… But it’s still okay for print media to mention it… Oh no?… Oh, you are putting it back up soon?… Oh, okay… I’m sorry to hear that… I am… Okay… Okay… Okay… Okay…

Zhou

Wow. So this must be a pretty kinky video.

Li

Not really it’s just a horse that dances to a song that sounds like… well, you know.

Zhou

Yeah. Well, it’s good that they did that.

Li

Man, I wish I could show it to you.

Zhou

All for the better. We don’t need everyone watching a video where they say that.

Li

Is it all that important?

Zhou

Look, if we didn’t block that video, you’d have little kids everywhere saying that to each other, to their parents, to their grandparents. There’s no way we can allow that to happen.

Li

I’m not so sure. Children are smart. They’ll find out about those words anyway. Why do we have to protect them? Besdies even if they knew those words, they still shouldn’t say them, nor would most of them. You and I know these words, but we don’t say them. Do we?

Zhou

Yes, but we’re grown. Children aren’t.

Li

Yeah, but how old were you when you first heard those words?

Zhou

I was a child. I was walking home from school, and there were two men who got into a fight outside of a snack shop. They were both drunkards, and smelled of beer and piss. They’d been drinking all day. I don’t know what they were fighting about, but I remember them screaming things like that at each other.

Li

And did you know what they meant?

Zhou

Not exactly, but I asked my friends. Someone knew.

Li

And did you go around saying those things to your parents or your grandparents?

Zhou

No.

Li

So what’s the problem?

Zhou

But it’s so readily available now. A kid could look at that video 10 times a day if he wanted. Plus it’s a song! If the melody is nice, he’ll want to sing it to himself, and where will that put us? Karaoke song for the mud-grass horse! It’s abominable!

Li

Hmm…

Zhou

Deep down, you know you agree with me.

Li

Maybe I do. There’s a reason why I’m a censor, and it’s more than just because it’s my rice bowl. But there’s still something I think about.

Zhou

What is it?

Li

I think there’s a proper way to enjoy things like that. It doesn’t harm anyone in itself, but it certainly has the potential to. In addition, if the argument comes down to us trying to influence the development of children, won’t they have to be exposed to those things at some point? Otherwise, the idea of them acting properly or not acting properly has no relevance.

Zhou

So we need to figure out how to expose them to these things properly?

Li

Yeah.

Zhou

But people do that on their own already.

Li

Exactly my point.

[There’s an awkward pause.]

Zhou

Be careful, Li. You may soon find yourself out of a rice bowl.

posted by ferret at 2:05 pm  

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