Thursday, August 14, 2008

This is what they call controversy?!

At my job, the cafeteria has two TVs showing cable news all day. It is our misfortune that we employees don't get to choose the channel, and so we get the godawful CNN Headline News full of Nancy Grace and freaking Glenn Beck.

So yesterday, I was watching the news and they were reporting about pictures of Spain's basketball team using their hands to slant their eyes, like Chinese, and people were talking about the outrage from a Chinese American group. The host/news person was on the phone with some Spanish official and trying to goad him into saying that now that he'd heard of the outrage, now he could look at the picture and realize that it must in fact be offensive. The Spanish official merely repeated that the picture had caused no controversy in his own country and he did not see the offense. Fine. I'm an Asian American myself, and while I find the idea of the photo dumb, and wonder what the Asian population of Spain is, I'm not going to say that we are in a position to judge what another country finds offensive, as I'm aware that our own innocent gestures can be taken as insults in other countries.

But really, my point is, this slant-eyes photo, and the lip-synching Chinese girl are played up in the media as "controversies", instead of real controversies, like China's human rights abuse. Like Tibet or Darfur, or even all the lead toys from China. If they need debate, why not talk instead about the Chinese revoking Joey Cheek's visa, and the American athletes choosing Lopez Lomong as the flag bearer? So for some reason they don't want to talk politics, but they still want to make some kind of mild, watered down version of controversy? Stupid news media.

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