Sunday, January 20, 2008

Disposable Heroes

The PBS special on Yao Ming is an inspiring tale of a Chinese man who became a legend in American Basketball. The "dramamentary" follows him from a young boy living in a world where celebrity culture has yet to become the norm, and international sport stars are paid the same as everyone else. In Ming's rise to fame in the United States, he appeared in commercials for a variety of corporations, at times, selling laptops with the aid of a midget who barely made up it to his knees. In the end, it was Yao's translator who shed the most tears as the US watched one of their brothers return to China, the land of the Communists.

So captured by the story, I searched the web for any information to learn more about the plight of this wonderful icon. The top of the search results led me directly to the NBA, where I found a wall of statistics beside another brick of advertising, but nothing about his current situation in life. So I narrowed by search to include PBS, and found an old article from The Journal Editorial Report which preceded a second article on Star Wars entitled Excessive Use of the Force. (This is a funny coincidence as the CW showed a legal drama featuring Mark Hamill directly after the Yao Ming story. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.)

The brief article on repeated many of the same points from the show, but ended on a different note: "I'd also like to give [an award] to the reformers in the Chinese economy who, like Yao Ming, are standing for individual efforts and, even in Communist China, the free market." Who better to serve as a poster boy for the free market than a Chinese basketball star -- the antithesis of the Communist worker who could never dream of earning $14 Million dollars a year. It's that very dream which drives the heart of this economy (even though it is an absolute lie to inspire the 80% who own 1% of their country).

It is wonderful to see the promise of Mark Hamill directly afterwards, showing us that fame indeed lasts but 15 minutes -- or five minutes should you rise to Internet stardom without a representative to keep you in the know. And in the meantime, the rest of us starve for temporary iconography extolling the battle of Good vs. Evil in the stars with massive wars against the Fascist regimes such as Soviet Russia and Socialist China. We see a better promise in the man who sells his soul to the Devil of temporary fortune and elusive fame -- at the low, low cost of $19.95 a month!

Bread and Circus indeed. We're paying for Products and Circuses this time around without realizing our contribution. Instead we sit on our asses in front of the television which was crafted by these terrible Socialists for ten pennies an hour (less for the jeans we're sitting in). We would challenge ourselves to find something created in the United States that we can actually afford -- apart from the images from the NBA which earns billions of dollars annually from our Free Market economy. Tell me this Democracy works anywhere else and I'll show you the modern definition of slavery in South America, in China -- everywhere that produces the American Dream.

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