Sinopathic 2013 Review: Calling the Shots

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We’ve written a lot here at Sinopathic over the past 14 months ever since we started making pithy observations upon Chinese news and culture. Before the year’s end, here is a look back at some of the nearly 300 stories we ran. Instead of being a collection of “best” stories, instead we have brought to you some of the stories we ran that didn’t get some of the attention it received the first time:

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Teacher falsely accused of extorting kisses from students: Sensationalism makes for great headlines – that’s why they’re called headlines. What doesn’t make for headlines are corrections; this is what we saw when a teacher in Gansu province was accused by an anonymous person on “teh internets”. Despite being an online rumor, it was reported as news in many publications. Since people believe everything they read, it must be true…

Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girl”: Satire has to be effective to make its hilarious poignancy resonate deep in the sinews of the funny bones of its audience. Day Above Ground made a racist video that offended many in the Asian community, but the fact remains that its song “Asian Girl” remains a work of satire that went completely misunderstood by its audience. Maybe try it again in Europe?

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China’s Most Beautiful Fatty: We often consider the significance of the Chinese internets not to lie in whether it is factual or not, but rather in the process it gets there. We wrote about “China’s most beautiful fatty” in a series of stories that revealed itself to be a viral marketing stunt; however, along the way we got to see what the Chinese press really thinks about the obese. If Chinese culture played tennis, it wouldn’t have to practice its backhand from the way it serves compliments.

Father Hires Online “Assassins” to Kill Son’s Online Character: When this Chinese news story starting making waves in the Western press, we were inspired to take a closer look but found that there are no facts to be found in the original news story, and sports a total of only 2 proper nouns; the only concrete thing about this story was our adamant gullibility that it must be true. As it was, the Western press neglected to mention the moral lesson to be learned at the end of the story for its Chinese readers. This re-purposing of “apocryphal moral news” would become a theme we reported upon many times during the last year.

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Interviewing the Crush Video Industry (with Part Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six): With China being in such a frantic state of development, there doesn’t seem any time left to make an introspective look upon the value of morals, least of all by its media. So when we heard about Chai Jing and her book about her observations in the world of journalism, we were particularly interested in the web phenomenon of 2006 in which a video of a woman stepping upon a kitten wearing high heels went viral. However, our translation of this chapter didn’t seem to impress those who are convinced that Sinopathic is making propaganda for the “crush video industry”. We were looking for recognition with this story and got something else instead.

Xiamen Court Rules Woman’s Lost Virginity Must Be Compensated to Amount of 1 RMB: Maybe the headline is too long, but this story didn’t attract any attention whatsoever; then again, we don’t know what the current going rate for hymens is costing at the moment.

Current Century Egg Food Scandal Predicted by Previous Century Egg Food Scandal: Food scandals are nothing new in China; it seems there is a new one every week. But the century egg scandal of this past fall could have been easily forecasted… if people paid attention to the previous century egg scandal that happened before. Of course, the previous scandal concerned the “hurt feelings” of millions of Chinese offended by the wry observations of a CNNGo reporter… something not relevant to the “hurt stomachs” of million of Chinese afterwards.

The Opportunity of Tragedy: Hero of China, Mister Martyr: Earthquakes: bad. Death and destruction: bad. So what’s good about a national tragedy in China? It provides the one chance that people are waiting for to finally express their benevolent nature.

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And the list goes on: Sinopathic told you why Jimmy Kimmel was wrong to apologize, but how the judge from “Holland’s Got Talent” isn’t racist. We told you why there is an endless fascination with the common sight of an excavator seen atop a tall building. We expressed our doubt in the fervent belief that a Chinese man would take his own life from being so upset at having to go shopping while we simultaneously explained how it could be true. We pointed out there’s a protest story buried in the sensationalism of a “naked laowai” who had the audacity to threaten suicide by “withholding a razor blade in his mouth”. We also explained the cultural phenomenon of China acting as a “black hole“.

We gave the personal opinion of “why I prefer tragedy” in the Chinese media. We’d like to be more optimistic, but we’d also like to know the truth. Here’s to 2014, a year of happiness from awareness and enlightenment.

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And more cultural satire involving butts and lingerie.

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