60th Anniversary Hangover

So it’s October 2nd and Beijing is waking up with a bit of hangover.  I went to a parade-viewing party yesterday morning and when I arrived, at 9:00 a.m., the assembled gathering of translators, bloggers, and professional snarkers was already searching for their second collective bottle of vodka.  It went downhill steadily from there.

But more than just a day off and excuse to start drinking at breakfast, the day was also a moment to celebrate the triumph of the CCP’s will in taking an impoverished nation and building a 21st century powerhouse.  The  message yesterday: “Hu’s the man?”  And it was delivered with the sledgehammer subtlety of Kanye West attending an awards show following three hours of blowing bong hits in the back of Jay-Z’s Maybach.

Now that the biggest event in the PRC this year is out of the way, I thought I’d try to work my way back through the celebration with this summer’s funniest movie, The Hangover, the kind of movie that is monumentally stupid-funny in a “DVD you would put on if you had spent three hours blowing bong hits in the back of your buddy’s hatchback” kind of way.  And since that really kind of sums up yesterday’s bizarre mish-mash of Communist kitsch and Freudian military wankfest…it seemed an appropriate way to go.

Alan Garner: Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It’s not gambling when you know you’re gonna win. Counting cards is a foolproof system.
Stu Price: It’s also illegal.
Alan Garner: It’s not illegal, it’s frowned upon, like… masturbating on an airplane.
Phil Wenneck: I’m pretty sure that’s illegal too.
Alan Garner: Yeah, maybe after 9/11, where everybody got so sensitive. Thanks a lot, Bin Laden!

To the dumbest decision of the last week: the banning of knife sales in stores around Beijing.  I understand the idea that even paranoids have enemies, but did the CCP really think that hordes of hash-crazed Xinjiang terrorists were going to storm the rostrum armed with butter knives?  Note to Beijing municipality: If the materials to bringing down the state can be purchased from the “Martha Stewart Home Collection” at Carrefour then you have bigger problems than single-edged butter blades.  I’m just saying.

Doug Billings: Tracy did mention we shouldn’t let him gamble. Or drink too much.
Phil: Jesus, he’s like a gremlin. Comes with instructions and shit

More signs you’re dealing with a confident and secure regime: PAP border guards came around to our bed and breakfast to photograph and catalog the dangerous squadron of American college students who were on a two-week study tour of Inner Mongolia.

I mean, how many foreigners are going to lurk the streets of China donning t-shirts with “Chiang Kai-shek 2012: Still move alive than Xi Jinping’s career!”  and “Mao was Stalin’s bitch!”?  I don’t see it.  What it does do is make my students, all relative China newbies, start to wonder about just how stable the government really feels.

Student question: Are they always this paranoid and insecure?

Teacher answer: Yeah, it might be a little bad right now.  I’d say on the insecurity scale, the boys who run the boys in the CCP are falling just about behind “Tom Cruise and Keifer Sutherland crash NBA All-Star Weekend.”

Alan: What if Doug’s dead? I can’t afford to lose somebody close to me again, it hurts too much. I was so upset when my grandpa died.
Phil: How’d he die?
Alan: World War II.
Phil: Died in battle?
Alan: No, he was skiing in Vermont, it was just during World War II.

If I go to another historical monument where the passive voice is used to describe the defeat of Japan in World War II I may have to rethink my previously firm stance against the use of intravenous drugs.  “In 1945, after Japan was defeated in the war, the CCP moved into…”  Yeah, lucky break that.

Alan: Can I ask you another question?
Lisa: Sure.
Alan: You probably get this a lot. This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace is it?
Lisa: What do you mean?
Alan: Did, umm… did Caesar live here?
Lisa: No.
Alan: I didn’t think so.

For the past 8 years, Hu Jintao has been the good guy maintaining his commitment to some kind of vague “first among equals” system in the CCP high command.   It was clear by yesterday’s performance that this was Hu’s “F–k it, I’ve got two years left and this is MY house” moment.  Mao suit.  Deng limo. “Speaking to you live from the top of Tiananmen, M—–f—–s!” Hu may have taken the Kim Jong-Il puppet from Team America as his fashion role model, but the man did stand out.  Especially after he made the rest of the boys dress in polyester business suits and red polka dot ties.  Only Zhu Rongji escaped, donning a pair of fashion shades which made him look like the stoner cousin in a wedding photo.

Alan Garner: You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack… it grew by one. So there… there were two of us in the wolf pack… I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, “Wait a second, could it be?” And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!

Anybody else think that if Zombie Mao rose from his tomb in the square and saw the “Gala celebration” he would have thought: “Pussies.”  Seriously, Mao didn’t get things done with committees, he put together a guerrilla army, man.  They were a WOLF PACK.  The fact that his wolf pack was crazier than Kate Gosselin failing an on-air pregnancy test is beside the point, Mao didn’t DO “Up with People” style galas.  After his rallies, the participants got things done, like looting priceless treasures, beating innocent academics to death in front of their families, or plunging the country into ten years of chaos and horror.  Best we move on…

Phil: Would you please put some pants on? I feel weird having to ask you twice.

Did anybody else consider the possibility that Hu Jintao was pantless during his limo ride? Mao would have been.  Count on it.

Alan: [repeatedly singing] And we’re the three best friends that anyone could have!

To the Han, the Tibetans, and the Uighurs.  Sing it.  Sing it, happy!  Sing it happier!  Sing it happier or I’ll shove a syringe so far up your ass you’ll be able to strain yak butter tea without even opening your mouth.

If you were playing the official “PRC 60th Anniversary Drinking Game” and one of your chug words was “tuanjie” then it might be time to call around and ask a few friends what you did from yesterday noon to this morning.  The CCP has become more sophisticated in so many areas, but on the issue of “borderland minorities” they remain firmly entrenched in a policy of making the happy minorities dance and sing and seem as nonthreatening as possible.  Seriously.  The Tibetans at last nights gala would have made Sammy Davis, Jr. seem like a Black Panther.  We’ve gone way past “the lady doth protest too much territory” to the point where almost everything the CCP says on the subject just comes across as unintentionally hilarious.   It’s like the CCP has entered the Glenn Beck zone where lackeys, fans, and supporters just echo increasingly bizarre rants much to the amusement of people who, you know, read and stuff.

Stu: We don’t want to call attention to ourselves!
Phil: [While driving a squad car on the sidewalk and using the loudspeaker] Attention! Attention!

CCTV-1′s coverage was much better, but CCTV 9 was a source of constant comedy.  From “Our weapons are only for offensive purposes. (long silence) Defensive” to “Mao was the founder of the country, but we won’t be talking a lot about that.”  Then there was the 15 minutes when the parade focused on the rule of law and democracy in China and the CCTV-9 international feeds reverted to Chinese.  Good thing no foreigners can understand that language, the world just isn’t ready.

In any case, the military wankfest was just too funny.  Any Psych 101 co-ed who had finished chapter 7 in her textbook could have written a paper on this little exercise in overcompensation.  And the truth is, the weapons and soldiers weren’t all that scary.  The troops still look like they were wearing their older brother’s hand-me-down military surplus, though, as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, the fembots with the uzis had a certain Tarantino-esque quality to them.

Alan Garner: Hey guys, when’s the next Haley’s comet?
Phil Wenneck: Who cares, man.
Alan Garner: Do you know Stu?
Stu Price: I don’t think it’s for like another sixty years or something.
Alan Garner: But it’s not tonight right?
Stu Price: No I don’t think so.
Alan Garner: But you don’t know for sure? I have this cousin Marcus who saw one he said it blew his mind I want to make sure I never ever miss out on a Haley’s comet.

See you in 2019.


Alan Garner: Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It’s not gambling when you know you’re gonna win. Counting cards is a foolproof system.
Stu Price: It’s also illegal.
Alan Garner: It’s not illegal, it’s frowned upon, like… masturbating on an airplane.
Phil Wenneck: I’m pretty sure that’s illegal too.
Alan Garner: Yeah, maybe after 9/11, where everybody got so sensitive. Thanks a lot, Bin Laden!