Monday, May 16, 2016

Cultural Revolution, Then & Now

CNN has an article written by a former Red Guard in Mao's Cultural Revolution.

I read this, and I went back to Charlie Mitchell's article from a week or so ago.  Remember I said I had more thoughts?

As Red Guards, we subjected anyone perceived as "bourgeois" or "revisionist" to brutal mental and physical attacks.
.... Others accused her of being a Christian because the character "Ji" in her name could refer to Christianity.
.... Not long after, she was sent to the cowshed -- a makeshift prison for intellectuals and other "bourgeois elements" -- and suffered all kinds of humiliation and abuse.
 ...Nobody was safe and the fear of being reported by others -- in many cases our closest friends and family members -- haunted us.
... When I saw a student pour a bucket of rotten paste over our school principal in 1966, I sensed something wasn't right.
...My generation grew up drinking wolf's milk: we were born with hatred, and taught to struggle and hate everyone.  Some of my fellow Red Guards argue that we were just innocent children led astray. But we were wrong.

If any of this sounds familiar, it's because scenes like this are taking place all over colleges across the US. I don't know if Mr. Mitchell has missed this, but the rest of us haven't.  Little Cultural Revolutions have gone from school to school, demanding apologies for slights real and imagined (many imagined).  Many have thrown temper tantrums in restaurants and malls. They have forced university presidents to resign, speakers to leave campus, and generally made fools of themselves by demanding "Safe Spaces" that resemble Daycare Centers more than anything else.

(Lest you think I'm kidding, one school's safe space had coloring books.  COLORING BOOKS.  I guess wombs were unavailable.)

So when people demand protection, these are the types we're thinking of.  They're one encouraging word from President Obama or Senator Sanders from trying to carry it out here.  Why do I say that?
Fifty years on, however, I am worried by the increasing leader-worship we see in state media, similar to the ideological fervor that surrounded Mao. 
I'd add to that "Victim Worship," which is the quest that so many take to top each other's victimhood, and is aided and abetted by the media.  I saw that the Whole Foods in Austin was accused of making a cake with a...less than tactful message regarding the gentleman's orientation.  It turned out that the gentleman had added the message himself.  Had it not been for a video of him checking the cake at the checkout line, that company would likely already be deluged by protesters. It's not like an outlet like Gannett would hesitate to run the story with a minimal amount of fact checking, since it feels true.

CNN's article can be found here.  The protesters can be found...pretty much anywhere in America, sadly.

No comments: