China Cat Sunflower is a Grateful Dead  song from the LSD  heyday written by Robert Hunter, about obscure and random observations while on an acid trip.”Look for a while at the China cat sunflower/Proud walking jingle in the midnight sun/Copperdome bodhi drip a silver kimono/…in the eagle winged palace of the Queen Chinee…. ” China is a mystery and is also a terrifying Patriarchal totalitarian state now flexing the muscles of its propaganda arm. Perhaps, its leaders would do well to” turn on, tune in and drop out”,as advocated by Timothy Leary.

Does current President Hu Jintao and his closed circuit, short fused, and frayed wired, gang of golf foursomes  all hate their mothers? The male only ruling club of China as world class ambassadors of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Are they angry at their mothers, and by extension, mad at all women? They never appear to love. Love seems to them to be a laughable pathology equated with weakness. ”…, heterosexual narcissists are attracted to women, but  simultaneously repelled, horrified, bewitched and provoked by them. They seek to frustrate and humiliate them. Psychodynamically, the Narcissist probably visits upon them his mother’s sins – but such an instant explanation does the subject great injustice.

Most narcissists are misogynists. Their sexual and emotional lives are perturbed and chaotic. They are unable to love in any true sense of the word – nor are they capable of developing any measure of intimacy.  Lacking empathy, they are unable to offer to the partner emotional sustenance.”   The narcissist hates women virulently, passionately and uncompromisingly. His hate is primal, irrational, the progeny of mortal fear and sustained abuse, even though they learn how to suppress, disguise, even repress these  feelings. But their hatred cannot be contained and occasionally erupts. It is a terrifying, paralyzing sight – the true face of the narcissist, and a likely precondition to fascism and totalitarianism. China is the world leader in public execution, including two last week for their role in the tainted milk scandal.

Flying Horse of Gansu, Han Dynasty

Flying Horse of Gansu, Han Dynasty

”China’s two-year National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010) works so well that it seems likely to reach its goal on schedule, according to an announcement on Thursday in Beijing. Its purpose is an improvement of human rights in every part of life, by the end of next year.Sounds like good news. On the other hand, Liu Xiaobo has been in prison for a year, without being indicted. He’s the writer who has been harassed by police since 1989, when he supported the Tiananmen protest.” ( Robert Fulford, National Post )

Red Cliff, John Woo, 2009

Red Cliff, John Woo, 2009

Propaganda, is China. Whether in the $100 million dollar film China bankrolled called ”Red Cliffs” by John Woo or its high profile prime time T.V. advertising campaign on CNN for its ”Made in China, Made with the World” spots. The former is marked by almost stupefying brutality,   and cruelty to humans and particularly to horses, perhaps an effort to make extinct the legendary ”fire horse” and curtail the unbridled passions of this animal in Chinese mythology. The film is also replete with thousands of disposable and non-recyclable extras of whom at least seven died during the filming. The television messages are designed to counter the damage done by lead contaminated toys, melamine laced pet food, poisoned dairy products,  spontaneous combustion DVD players, and dumping and subsidization complaints, in addition to deflecting attention from public executions by gunfire or hanging.

”There is no point to raising civil rights, other than that their relative absence in China diminishes the moral respect China would otherwise receive. About 10 years ago, an associate of mine, in conversation with the Chinese ambassador in London, recited Voltaire’s famous formula that it is better for 10 guilty men to go free than for one innocent one to be condemned. The ambassador stared quizzically and said: ‘Better for whom?’ ‘,…Nearly one billion Chinese peasants live largely as they did 2,000 or 3,000 years ago.(Conrad Black, National Post )

Voltaire’s comment was likely meaningless to the Chinese ambassador because individual rights to him are a vague abstract idea.Perhaps it had to be put in context of the no.10 special for one person to be more coherent.In China, the sacrifice of millions of individuals is irrelevant in the pursuit of tribal achievements and aspirations.The yearning for belonging seems to pass through repressive top-down regimes. The road to China’s prosperity is paved with bad intentions. While the West has trickle- down economics, China has trickle-down human rights.

Han Dynasty, 2</p><!-- Either there are no banners, they are disabled or none qualified for this location! -->-9 AD

Han Dynasty, 206BC-9 AD

Red Cliff, the new film written and directed by John Woo, shows the re-enactment  of tumultuous and epic battles that marked the end of the Han Dynasty. The 400 year period from 200 BCE to 200AD is regarded as the golden age of  Chinese history, economically, as exemplified by the Silk Road stretching to the Meditereanean, as well as artistically and philosophically. The end, brought on by infighting and  feuding warlords, led to other great era’s such as the Tang Dynasty in the seventh and eighth century with each dynasty staging their own versions of Tiananmen Square.

Red Cliff is a historical war movie with  some sweep, facile characterizations and idiosyncratic flourishes that create a mood of delirious raptures amidst fluid movement which saves it from the lack of plot and storytelling. As shown in China,  its a man’s movie on the meditations of honour with the director choreographing violence as dance. And the women are all submissive, crushed, sad, and lovely… but they inspire heroism. Its an attempt by the state to replicate a brawling big scene spectacle, like Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, where the Samurai lust after young farm women, the Red Cliff’s warriors inspire a lock up you daughters mentality. Cliffs has a similar mobility, with hundreds of horsemen riding back and forth trailing flags and meting out death like horsemen of the apocalypse;  a practice run for the invasion of Taiwan. However, John Woo is considerably less of a dramatist than Kurosawa.

It also reflects an attempt to arrive at a comparable achievement to ”Alexander Nevsky” by Sergei Eisenstein. Like Red Cliffs aspires, Nevsky was a masterpiece of propaganda that recounted the invasion of Novgorod by Teutonic Kinghts in the 13th Century and their subsequent defeat by Prince Alexander Nevsky. It was folk narrative welded to Disney and then duct taped to the classic theme of Russian resiliance; and it allowed Eisenstein to ingratiate himself to Stalin,or at least prolonging the inevitable misfortunes that befell  his peers.

Alexander Nevsky, Eisenstein, 1938

Alexander Nevsky, Eisenstein, 1938

Red Cliff is about the legendary battle of Red Cliffs, on the banks of the Yangtze River, in AD208. This was between a large northern army led by the warlord Cao Cao and the much smaller combined forces of two southern warlords. It’s one of the key events in Chinese history and far removed from current politics, although one can imagine a corollary if one tries hard. Even so, a story of plucky southerners repelling  a northern takeover bid would seem ironic: the movie is clear evidence that Beijing and Hong Kong are now in firm embrace, and a message that the current waves of rioting and rumblings of the peasantry in the hinterland will be dealt with in similar ”take no prisoners” fashion. In China, individual rights come in one size, XXX small and its always out of stock.

Red Cliff, John Woo

Red Cliff, John Woo

”There are few ways to die in battle that are not used here: chopping, stabbing, burning, falling, impaling, beheading, trampling, even drowning. There are arrows by the millions, piercing every part of the body. No one dies in bed in Red Cliff unless they catch typhoid, which thousands do. Overall, it’s a coarse movie, despite all the skill. No emotion runs deeper than an average comic book, all action goes further than is strictly necessary. One stuntman died and six others were severely injured. The final shot has a man leading a foal into the sunset, an image of peace and hope that made me gag. I hope the horse kicked him.” ( Paul Byrnes )

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