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    Over 73 million served

    Okay, Chris at Powerblogs says that the posts lost yesterday were still in the mailing list, so, even though I realize that not every word I’ve ever typed needs to be preserved for posterity, I’ll repost them. Here’s the first one.


    Since Simon went group blog, he doesn’t post as much of his own commentary, which–no offense to his co-bloggers–is a shame. A few days ago he gave a good pummeling to a piece in the South China Morning Post (presumably in the print edition, since he doesn’t provide a link). The headline is “Still an inspirational leader.”

    Guess who it’s about.

    Assuming you’ve put down your coffee–no, really, please–here’s the first paragraph:

    Almost 30 years after the death of Mao Zedong, many are still trying to define the controversial leader. But, like China, Mao defies simple classification. And his name still evokes deep respect amonst many Chinese.

    That Mao, he stayed refreshingly unhampered by attempts to pigeonhole him, he did. You gotta love him for that. Respect him, too. Assuming you’re still alive, that is. Simon says:

    The latest estimate is Mao was responsible for more than 73 million deaths. In case you’re wondering, that’s a record.

    To make an omelette, you apparently have to break a WHOLE LOT of eggs (just to bring in yet another loathsome mass murderer). The SCMP piece also quotes an ethnic studies professor at–where else?–Berkeley (Jeff, can’t you do something about these people?):

    Ling-chi Wang, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California at Berkeley, said that while Mao’s wrongdoings cannot be discounted, he “made an important contribution to Chinese history, as a leader who instilled a great sense of self-reliance and pride in the people.”

    I’ve heard some Iranians say that about Khomeini, too: “He brought in an oppressive government that made life hell for many of its citizens, but he stood up to the West and revived our pride in Persian culture.” It’s always struck me as taking the effort to make the best of adversity just a smidgen too far. The trade-off involved in giving even grudging respect to a leader who champions national pride while committing acts of world-class shamefulness is of dubitable ethical value. Anyway, “Mao sucked” is not an opinion that, in 2006, should have to be supported with all kinds of evidence as if it were controversial, but Simon does a patient, deadly job of it.

    3 Responses to “Over 73 million served”

    1. Simon says:

      Thanks Sean (and Happy New Year).

      I’m toying with the idea of switching to do more commentary style stuff, but it’s all about the time. Thankfully my wife’s addiction to reality TV and a slow night at home allows me to vent now and again. It is disgraceful these things need to be said, but it shows how effective these propaganda machines can be.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Happy New Year to you, too–you get another one in Hong Kong in a few weeks, yeah? Of course, it goes without saying that it’s up to you to decide how much time you spend blogging and what you do with it. I do miss your writing, though (even if it puts me in an ethical bind to think that enjoying more of it will be a sign that your wife is watching scads of reality TV).

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