Thursday, April 20, 2006

Memo to President Hu: Police States Suck

A recent comment on Jack Bogdanski’s site got me thinking. It was the day the Oregonian won the Pulitzer and the commenter wrote to say that there were those who achieved – like the newspaper - and those who whined – like the commenters on Jack’s Blog. Although I wanted to respond, you can’t get irritated with every snide remark that comes at you. Certainly, this commenter had no way of knowing what any of us do for a living, so it was presumptuous, lame, and obnoxious.
This incident today where the person disrupts the visit by the Chinese President reminded me of another time the leader of China came through. That time, there were protests when the man visited Harvard, etc…My joke on the Tonight Show was that I didn’t think the President of China really cared about the protests. “Have you seen the new cologne he just came out with?”
The bottle of cologne had the Chinese leader’s face on the label under the word “Oppression.” It was a little take-off on colognes named Obsession, etc… That image was broadcast in 70 countries to millions of people. I thought to myself, “That must have helped more than standing around in Cambridge with a poster – unless it got on TV.” Some of these jokes really bounce around, folks. They are on international news websites, and in lots of newspapers including the Oregonian.
Not all of them have a political point – hell, not all of them are funny. But you throw those numbers in with the radio network I also write for, and my stuff probably has more global reach than any other source from Portland. So for this commenter to suggest the Oregonian achieves and the rest of us don’t, is crazy. If I had their circulation numbers, I’d be driven out of business.
So what’s the point? I’m not irritated, but it got me thinking. I also have a trickle of international visitors here, so I want to make the Portland Freelancer position on China known: Police States suck. I hated it when you detained my brother Daoud, when he worked for Reuters in Beijing, by the way. And you can tell the 2008 Olympics are in a police state like China: One of the new events is Synchronized Thinking.


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