There were plenty of incongruities in last week’s 60th anniversary bash in Beijing, but the following image really caused me to do a double take: from left to right, John Dewey Charles Darwin, Voltaire Sir Isaac Newton, Charlie Chaplin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, V.I. Lenin, Josef Stalin and Seattle’s own Bill Gates.
If the parade had really been as “retro” as the New York Times asserted, we would have seen big portraits of each of these men, along with Mao and the Fourth Generation of leaders (including of course the Jiang Zemin deathmask) walked down Chang’an Dajie in sequence. And note the nice Great Wall in the background…this is the “mash-up” aesthetic at its best and most bewildering. One wonders how the conversation went in the editorial board or web design meetings. “Yeah! Yeah! Put Gates at the end!”
So now we have seen it all: Marx/Engels –> Lenin –> Stalin –> Bill Gates, with Gates filling in where “Chairman Mao Thought 毛主席思想” is normally placed. Perhaps this is the progression the CCP intends for itself? Thank heavens they didn’t put in a picture of Barack Obama as some kind of bizarre reward for putting off the Dalai Lama visit to Washington. Imagine the fun FOX News, or their only slightly less reactionary kin on the Lou Dobbs set at CNN, would have with that.