China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Dear Chinese Boy Trying to Bend a Window Screen

Dear Chinese Boy Trying to Bend a Window Screen,

Beware of the promises. No matter how wondrous they may sound, be wary. Be skeptical. Be doubtful.

Allow us to explain.

Perhaps you just devoured a candy bar, or one of those sugar packets disguised as yogurt that you kids love to suck down, and you are merely disposing of your surplus of energy in the most satisfying of methods: destruction. If so, might we recommend – assuming that self-restraint is out of the question – a quick bolt around the track instead.

But, we have a hunch that it is more than a momentary sugar high that drives you to attempt such unrealistic feats. We know what they’ve been telling you – it is written on every classroom wall; it is broadcast daily, as common as the weather forecast; and it is injected into your malleable mind by every authority figure you see:

CHINA IS STRONG.

Such a dangerous claim! Yes, you live in a dangerous world – a world full of dubious assertions and edicts disguised as recommendations. But do not despair! We are prepared to offer you a few more bits of wisdom – warnings, perhaps – to guide you away from the trappings of your environment.

1. Beware of categorical proclamations. A man once declared, “I Am the Walrus!” and still no one knows what he was talking about. Words (though I too offer only words) are so often hollow, or even downright deceptive. We recognize the power of positive reinforcement, but unfortunately, saying something does not make it true.

2. Beware of the trick of unstated relativity. Swifter, Higher, Stronger! We have seen this displayed around your school. So, we pose to you these questions: Swifter than what? Higher than what? Stronger than what? What, exactly, are the objects of comparison?

3. Beware of generalizations. Just because the nation of China may be “strong,” one may not logically conclude that every individual citizen is therefore the possessor of enormous physical strength.

4. Beware of the deceptiveness of faces. Faces often lie. People train long hours to perfect the skill of feigning emotions. Others receive injections to preserve them. And in your culture, it is common, if not expected, that the surface betrays the truth. So, remember that the outward representation of strength does not necessarily guarantee the strength within.

5. Beware of the sensational nature of media. You are probably wondering – what is strength, if not the obvious physical prowess you have learned to understand from watching your more muscularly-endowed countrymen flexing in Olympic advertisements; or from your video game avatars who were designed with so little consideration to the laws of reality or human anatomy; or from the shamelessly exaggerated visions of thew that have been exported to your country from Hollywood?

Remember, we are not here to tell you what to think. And, to be honest, we have no idea what it means for a nation to be strong, as nationhood is such an unstable concept by its nature. We just hope that you consider these few lessons before you attempt to further prove your mightiness by maiming one of your classmates, or leaping from the third floor balcony.

With great concern,

This Ridiculous World

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