December 29, 2005


Nick's Cultural Revolution (DAVID BARBOZA, 12/29/05, NY Times)

When Nickelodeon's popular "Kids' Choice Awards" program came to China last month, the producers were forced to make some serious modifications. There would be no voting on favorite burp. Nor would children judge which movie character was the best at breaking wind.

There was, however, sliming, a highlight of the American version of the show, which involves dumping, squirting and otherwise propelling green gooey stuff at people. And adults repeatedly were whacked by children - with balloon bats, of course - just to give the Chinese a taste of the freedoms afforded to children in the United States.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the show's national television broadcast was that children in China seemed to think that even this much kinder, gentler version of the program was wonderfully, outrageously transgressive. [...]

In the cutthroat competition of contemporary Chinese society, parents invest heavily in what is often their only child. Urban children especially may attend school from 7 a.m. till 4 p.m., followed by hours of homework, music lessons and other enrichment courses. Deviating from this rigorous program is not encouraged.

"We don't allow him to watch too much TV," Qiu Yi, a 41-year-old advertising salesman in Shanghai, said of his 11-year-old son. "I'm not against cartoons. But I try to encourage him to watch documentaries on dinosaurs and the Second World War. These programs are useful to his study."

What's on television in China seems to be not all too dissimilar from what's happening in the classroom. Youth programming in China tends to be dry, conservative and pedantic. It consists mostly of quiz shows, team competitions and endless lineups of youngsters, dressed uniformly, standing at attention and answering questions like Boy and Girl Scouts. [...]

"A lot of children's programming is really bad in China," said Li Yifei, managing director of MTV Networks China and considered one of the most powerful women in Chinese television. "It's condescending and more about lecturing to children. Fun - that's what's desperately needed."

Who'd blame the kids if they Menendez their parents?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 3:43 PM

Did you say "Menendez"?

Hmmm 2nd generation children of Cuban Exiles, perhaps. Very, very interesting.

Posted by: h-man at December 29, 2005 4:05 PM

Yes, the white kids, like Klebold, kill indiscriminately. Even immigrant psychos are better than natives.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2005 4:37 PM

Good point. Americans need to become more focussed on their goals.

Posted by: h-man at December 29, 2005 5:43 PM

If they were we wouldn't need so many immigrants.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2005 5:46 PM

Thank you both for the truly hilarious exchange. Happy New Year.

Posted by: ed at December 29, 2005 5:57 PM