China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Rabbits and Cabbages

After seeing the picture above, you most likely experienced one of a few limited responses. If you’re one of those people who spend their leisure time hopping about the interweb via searches such as “Cute animal pics” or “Bunnywunnies,” you probably thought, “Oh, poor little darling thing,” or something along those lines, before unwittingly beginning to read this text or scan further down the archives. If, however, you are a frequent, or at least familiar, reader of this bubbling spring of bloggery, you may have found yourself thinking, “Aha! I see what they’re up to. So obvious! Here they take an innocent animal photo and shamelessly twist it into some sort of statement about people being stuck in cages! How clever…”

But we would take issue with that, for have we really become so predictably cynical that we would lunge at any opportunity to mock our countrymen’s ignorance and complacency, most of all when there is a poor, darling creature to serve as our metaphorical center? Of course people are helpless, and – with the election so near and the propaganda on full blast – the image of feeding on mush through a tube is just so perfect. But it is also too easy. Sorry to disappoint, but we have different things in mind for our cuddly friend. So whatever clever analogies you decide to conjure up are all yours. Have fun.

In fact, our first response to the rabbit suckling a tube (which we realize is water, not mush) did not involve its exploitation – it was one of admiration, though not of its cuteness. Look at the accommodations this little creature has secured for itself: water delivered right to its door; a spacious area to laze about; good lighting; limited responsibility (it is more or less for show, after all); and the miraculous disappearance of its own waste. Of course, it is in a cage, but that is not always so bad – from within that enclosure it can watch, from afar, the never-ending bustle of presentation and judgment, all leading up to the grand ritual of electing the best and biggest cabbage.

We are, of course, referring to the state fair, a truly bizarre American institution, and surprisingly well-orchestrated event, where ordinary people toss heaping amounts of hard-earned money into obvious cons, all with the uncanny ability to rationalize that waste as an annual (probably quad-annual for most) necessity. Nothing but the power of hope, we suppose; there is always that chance that you will leave with something truly special – a life-sized stuffed dolphin, perhaps, or a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.

Then come the cabbages. All the rest leads up to this. After a period of open display and careful, tedious weighing, the people – well, a committee of judges – will choose the best, and place upon them either a red or blue ribbon. But, as always happens, after those top contending cabbages (no matter which wins) sit a day or two and begin to wither, the fairgoers will all forget what was so impressive, and sick from hotdogs, funnel cake, and shaved ice, wondering where their money went, they will want nothing at all to do with cabbages, big or small.

Leaving the patient rabbit to nibble contentedly on the shreds.

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