China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

The Slow Process of Manufacturing Ideals


Totally Awesome Picture of the Week 22


This is White Horse Cave. Feelings provoked within its confines are less of the typical spelunking claustrophobia and more of the “searching for the bar in some sort of labyrinth style new age night club.”

Though it is obvious that the tour of this hole in the ground is meant more for Chinese tourists than foreigners, it is the perfect opportunity to experience something truly Chinese.

With a mix of conventional cave ambiance (water dripping, corners of rising vapor) accented by the unexpected (solely neon lighting, unnatural looking stalactites and stalagmites), one must disregard China’s well known affinity for plaster to truly believe it is genuine.

You see, this is how a cave should be. Here, deep within the Hubei province, it is not uncommon for the locals to remain isolated from the rest of the world, perhaps even the rest of the country. Authentic or not, when they pay their 20 kuai, Chinese tourists are looking for the ultimate experience. They want to see the glittering fantastical cave of their dreams, a cave manufactured from everything a cave can be – cartoon to glamor shoot. Tourism itself is treated with the same reverence; people wear their finest clothes, cover their faces in makeup, and take pictures with everything. A dirty, natural hole just wouldn’t do it for them.

With this understanding, perhaps their sheltering system of news and internet firewalls (we’ll avoid charged rhetoric like “propaganda”) makes more sense. The harsh white light shed from multiple world perspectives would do more damage than good. The concept of inexpensively constructed Utopian experiences is not something to treat lightly. With it’s destruction will come a flood of capitalistic urges that suit few and ostracize many. Those who can afford it have already begun to seek more of the world, while those who can’t are content and ignorant in the poorly lit corner they are given.

As for this picture, perhaps you can tell it is upside down. There is a small pool defying gravity top center. Allegorically speaking, this was done without reason, our own contribution to the White Horse Cave experience.

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