It’s a very modern world

1 Jun

will smith men in blackI studied a bit of critical theory at university. Didn’t much like it at the time although since have found it a great way of sounding intelligent at parties and intellectualising blog posts about Hollywood movies (I’m getting there…). To that end, did you hear the one about the Chinese censors who chopped chunks out of Men In Black 3 deemed unsuitable for the local cinema-going audience?

Yeah, it’s not all about online censorship you know? Sometimes Chinese citizens are also cheated out of literally minutes of priceless movie because of a few over-zealous snippers.  In said film, the censors’ gripe was primarily with the scenes in which the strong, effortlessly cool and assured American heroes subdue some angry looking Chinese alien baddies. Apparently it makes the People’s Republic look bad so it had to go.

The Party has decide to act, as usual, in that half-patronising, half-sinister manner we’ve come to know  and love – like Tony Blair but he knows where you live – whilst wrongly assuming that a film like Men In Black is likely to inspire social disorder. It hasn’t stopped the government before, though, cutting Chow Yun-fat’s nasty pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean and even finding offence with some of the Karate Kid. A call to arms for society these pics are not…

It’s not quite on the same scale of mass social harm meted out via the Great Firewall, of course, but you get the picture.

Oh yeah, my particular favourite story in all this is the scene that was cut which depicts Will Smith’s character ‘neuralyzing’ a street full of gawping Chinese passers-by to wipe their memories. Too redolent of the Chinese government’s own more subtle attempts to control the thoughts of its citizens, apparently. If there’s one thing the Party hates it’s when people draw attention to the fact that it’s censoring content – I can imagine how emasculating that must be for an authoritarian regime.

Chinese censors censoring a film because it might tip off the public that it is involved in mass censorship? This is definitely post post-postmodernism….

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