Monday, March 20, 2006

Beijing Journo

I finally read the Rolling Stone China cover story on Cui Jian on the plane from Kunming to Beijing yesterday, and the way they totally elided the man's political importance was pure sophistry genius. The article totally focused on his song Yi Wu Suo You (δΈ€ζ— ζ‰€ζœ‰) - translated sometimes as Having Nothing, Less than Nothing, etc. - which has a great, great deal of its fame wrapped up in its becoming an anthem for student protestors in Tienanmen Square in the weeks leading up to the June 4 massacre. So Rolling Stone writes the whole story about the song's first performance in 1986 with this aura of divine provenance about how the song was destined for fame because it was just so awesome from the get go, eg. it was only rehearsed once before its TV performance debut and all kinds of stuff like this. Then from 1986 they jump straight to 2006, leaving out all the important history, with one major excuse being that Cui Jian himself isn't willing to talk about it. What a hoot! Of course Cui won't talk about it, my impression being that he's ridden the line for so long and still believes he can do more good on the inside, plus he's famous and revered now so why give that up? The article had one quote in support of the totally naive idea that Yi Wu Suo You was nothing more than a "love song." Interesting to note, when I was recently talking to Hunter Hai - a rocker in his 20s - about this song and the politics of that era, he said the same thing, "Personally, I think it's just a love song." The thing is, there's no "personally" about it. Echoes of the official line - which now seems to be in the hands of rock critics - are a little scary, mainly because they're everywhere.

...OK, OK, I promise to get back to touring with the vegan Swedes soon. Still more to tell.


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