Andrew, great piece. I just watched the opening ceremonies and it was, with out a doubt, an incredible vision of world harmony done with artistic charisma, I'm sure rivaling future celebrations of it's kind. Not to mention it's technological discipline and international awe. It was absolutely a mask. You are right.
The stage is set, the players in position and the directors poised. So the show begins. But when a country that has so much to hide gets a shot at entertaining the world, they had better make it spectacular, right? The lights and the dance and the pure character of China's people are indeed powerful tools in the hands of this current government. I would say, they nailed it. That is, they succeeded in interpreting what the rest of the world deems as important or truthful, and they did it better than most.
The themes presented were so harmonious to the "doing good" conscience. So targeted to the thoughtful melting pot of what's relevant now. So, the marketing was done, the demographic chosen, and the budget ramped up to an uncompromising sum, then executed to evoke emotion and sympathy.
In today's world, if you are semi-intelligent, it should be easy to see this obvious equation. Communicate want they want to hear, in a way that entertains and beckons.
What should scare us about China? Not only what you've mentioned, but maybe that they are echoing western societies values and methods to mask pain, doubt, and fear. Entertain to the marketable, in a way that they understand. The goal was never to expose or empathize.
China is interpreting the world through their eyes, even if they are not remotely authentic, we should understand that some of our western ideas and values are so inconsistent with our actions, we should be cautious in our critique. And be watchful to pick up on the "imitation of the empty."
If the opening ceremony had been an imitation of what western culture should really be about, we would have seen a whole different interpretation of ourselves. But honestly, human rights takes a back seat to global warming, sustainable futures and slow design. The Chinese government has done their home work. The sap and unfathomable goal of global sustainability won-out over the real need to relate "one on one" to human need, freedom and relationship. So we saw us, not them, and we're surprised.
At least the people of China are not fooled by their government. They know exactly where the line is drawn. Human rights is all they want, and that is a tall order, but I don't think the west likes to make that the cool flag to wave.
So is human rights what we want? Look at how the world sees us, and you'll know the truth about western priorities.
Thanks for your insight Andrew, you make us think.