Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Website of the Month

Four or five years ago, we had Sinocidal - by general consent, the funniest blog about China (although it could be bit one-note for me: a predominantly American viewpoint, and tending to rant mostly over trivia like the difficulty of being able to get a decent hamburger anywhere, rather than what I would deem to be more 'important' stuff like... well, you know, there being no meaningful rule of law nor any effective public education about road safety).  But that abruptly vanished (I forget exactly when; some time in 2008, I suspect - possibly killed off by the massively increased Internet censorship and the difficulty of getting visas in the Olympic year?).  And since then, we haven't really had a dedicated online outlet for China-focused humour, until....  the  recent launch of the China Daily Show.

What do you get if you cross plodding state-run 'English' newspaper China Daily with Jon Stewart's iconoclastic American satirical news programme The Daily Show?  Sore ribs, that's what you get!

This site is impressive looking, very professionally put together, and has lots of really good content on it.  I'm not sure how long they'll be able to keep it up (rumour has it that it's the work of just a few guys); but it seems they've been at it 4 or 5 months now (although I only discovered it a few weeks ago, courtesy of my journo buddy, The Choirboy), and the quality of articles has been fairly consistently high.  I think it's well-written enough that even non-China-initiates would appreciate much of the humour; for those of us who live in this crazy country, it is an absolute HOOT!  [The only thing that slightly undercuts my enjoyment is an occasional pang of I wish I'd written that jealousy.]

This piece about an American family being thrown into 'bird flu' quarantine and having to suffer (a world-record setting!) 10 hours of uninterrupted exposure to China's AWFUL English-language TV channel CCTV9 was... well, almost more painful than funny; but very, very funny.

And this report that unlovable Canadian 'performing monkey' Da Shan had "stopped smiling" after being denied a visa almost had me wetting my pants.  (I hear this story was briefly picked up as a serious news item in some overseas media!  Surely not??)

[I haven't been able to find out what happened to Sinocidal; but there is one surviving fragment of - what I remember as their best post ever - The Sinocidal History of China, here.]


JES said...

Very, very funny. (Although despite the name, it does remind me of The Onion more than The Daily Show.)

In a quick run-through, I liked the feature whose title apparently changes with every issue, but is always of the form "Ask a [insert sort of person, professional, etc.] who [insert some absurd activity or defining characteristic]." Someone -- allegedly a reader rather than a staffer -- asks a question about everyday life, and then the Dear-Abby expert answers it, hilariously, from his/her perspective.

A recent one was called "Ask a foreign woman who hasn't had a date in eight months." In her answer, she mentioned her inability to find a "North American, English or even Welsh guy who isn’t knee-walking drunk." This followed an earlier piece, "Ask an English teacher with a hangover." Ha!

Froog said...

Yes, you see the sorry milieu in which I move. Thank heavens I've (more or less) given up English teaching and don't get hangovers (and,mostly, manage to stay off my knees, even when badly drunk) - otherwise the satire might cut too close to home.

It was undoubtedly the China Daily that prompted the choice of name.

Froog said...

My pal The Weeble insists that, good though China Daily Show is, it's not nearly as funny as Relevant Organs. I suspect the enthusiasm with which he boosts the latter may imply that he is involved in its production himself, or at least that "he knows the people".

Relevant Organs is a parody of plodding Chinese officialese, the warped mindset/worldview of the Communist Party here, and the bizarre 'spin' its PR apparatchiks try to put on major news stories. It is indeed pretty funny.

Alas, it exists thus far only as a twitterstream (dread word! if that even is the word - I refuse to become an expert in such matters). Weebs hints to me that RO might evolve into a full-fledged blog at some point; but for now, you have to have a Twitter account to follow it - so, I only get to see occasional highlights, shared with me by i-Phone-owning friends.

I have counter-quipped to him that perhaps my next blog should be an account of my (non-existent) sex life, called Irrelevant Organs.

But perhaps a boy can have too many blogs...