Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby TooMuchBaijiu » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:07 pm

Lady Wu wrote:That's actually my biggest problem with it. That Confucius is being used as a gimmick, a mascot. The CCP, which funds Confucius Institutes, is anything but Confucian. The pursuit of political stability and economic growth at the expense of the welfare of the people, the betrayals of public trust and the trust from allied countries, the massive arms trade and the obsession with military might, the love for flashy things rather than substantial things---all that would make old Master Kong roll in his grave.


Well, that's all business as usual, isn't it? The Chinese (well, their governments, anyway) have for many periods in their history been all about progress at all costs, and no doubt have tried to spin Confucius' ideology to suit theirs. Powers that be always want to have moral justification for even the most selfish and exploitative actions, and you can't let a pesky thing like religion get in the way. And not that they're unique in this, not by a long shot. Imperialism and other forms of brutality have been exercised for centuries, with leaders spinning all kinds of scripture to make it appear that Jesus or Allah would be totally cool with enslavement and wholesale massacres.

WeiWenDi wrote:If the worst offenders against Confucian morality in the CCP are the corrupt officials at the local level, though, I would also argue that Confucianism's best hope also lies with dedicated, idealistic and good-hearted reformers within the CCP like Bo Xilai.


Just to cut in, but aren't the local officials the only ones who are democratically elected in China?
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:08 am

Lady Wu wrote:Oh yeah, Bo Xilai, the guy who created the "Sing Red Songs" campaign! Lol. He exudes something of the Cultural Revolution that makes me squirm, but I suppose he is dedicated, idealistic, and able to get things done, which is a lot more than what you can say for most of CCP officials.


One of the more effective forces against corruption, I should think. Lots of officials pay lip service to that effect, but very rare are those who do anything about it. I guess I'm willing to tolerate quite a bit of rose-tinted nostalgia for the 文革 if it means taking down boatloads of crooks...

Lady Wu wrote:I find the whole FLG/CCP PR war quite hilarious, because both sides are right. It's true that the CCP has cracked down severely on the FLG and has treated some of its members in atrocious and inhumane ways (members of other non-sanctioned religions or religious practices are also persecuted, to put this into perspective). It's also true that the FLG is not only a nefarious cult, but one aimed at undermining political security in all sorts of ways.

(Btw, how does that reconcile with their slogan of "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance"?. How is smuggling pro-FLG messages in seemingly innocuous media "truthfulness"? How is guilt-tripping their members to forgo medical treatment "compassion"? How is belligerent publicity campaigns about their alleged treatment at the hands of the CCP "forbearance"?)


Don't look now, Lady Wu, but I think you just won the Internets for today!

TooMuchBaijiu wrote:Just to cut in, but aren't the local officials the only ones who are democratically elected in China?


Pretty much. If you happen to be in one of the villages or townships or districts lucky enough to hold elections. And if your election is one of those fortunate enough to be publicised somewhere other than on the local government BBS.

I'm not sure Bo Xilai is one of the elected sort, though. The Bos are political royalty in China because of Bo's father Yibo; I guess the closest analogue in American politics would be the Kennedys.
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:25 pm

I went to the symphony on my birthday, and saw that Shen Yun put an ad in the symphony's program. Tickets are $60 to $170. (I've never paid $60 for a regular symphony concert/opera/etc.!) And at the bottom of the ad there's a line of fine print saying "Produced by the Falun Dafa Association".

I wonder how many people realize that the Falun Dafa Association is a quasi-religious/political organization. Not very often do performances by religious groups charge admission (unless it's a fundraiser, which they normally announce), and I wonder if there's any accountability for that money if FLG is claiming any kind of tax status as a religious organization.
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Lady Wu wrote:I went to the symphony on my birthday, and saw that Shen Yun put an ad in the symphony's program. Tickets are $60 to $170. (I've never paid $60 for a regular symphony concert/opera/etc.!) And at the bottom of the ad there's a line of fine print saying "Produced by the Falun Dafa Association".

I wonder how many people realize that the Falun Dafa Association is a quasi-religious/political organization. Not very often do performances by religious groups charge admission (unless it's a fundraiser, which they normally announce), and I wonder if there's any accountability for that money if FLG is claiming any kind of tax status as a religious organization.


Ouch. That's more expensive than our Shen Yun performance here (seats starting at $55) - and isn't the Canadian Dollar still higher than the American one (last I checked)? It would be interesting to check and see if they qualify for tax-exempt status in Canada - they are here, anyway.

Just came back from the Chinese embassy in New York to get my visa for winter break, across the street from which the FLG types were just setting up shop when we left. Lots of signs saying the PRC leaders should be indicted for crimes against humanity, and the obligatory '法輪大法好' banner. No question that there are very legitimate grounds for criticism of the PRC, but it is my humble opinion that the PRC needs more credible critics...
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:42 am

That's their thing, eh? Setting up shop outside Chinese embassies? They're a permanent fixture on the sidewalk outside our Chinese embassy, too.
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:33 am

Holy crap, Shenyun is run by FLG? Good thing I turned them done I guess.

Ugh, as a free thinking politically aware Chinese person living in the west, I am so sick to death of this shadow war being fought between the PRC and anti-PRC forces. Seriously - whoever wins, the Chinese people as a whole lose.

I spend many a merry nights on the internet enlightening people to the fact that if FLG was in the West every human rights organisation + masked dudes from the internets would protest against them, and that if Liu Xiaobo was in America he'd be darling of the Fox news right and probably currently sued by the ACLU for inciting race hate or something.



PS. I'm somewhat a fan of Wen Jiabao and Bo Xilai etc. as well, but with the caveat of realising that they're massive hypocrites. Both families, for being populist reformers, are ridiculously wealthy and benefited no end from decades of corruption.
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Wen Choung » Sun May 27, 2012 10:01 pm

I bought tickets for my mother and I because she had heard some Chinese performance artists were in town and wanted to see them. Neither of us realized it was a Falun Dafa show until after it started. My mother is anti-FLG, so I thought she would hate it and storm out midway through or something. Fortunately that didn't happen. She disliked the FLG aspect of it, but did at least enjoy most of the performances, which I admit some of them were pretty cool.

The thing that I really hated about Shen Yun was that they seem to go out of their way to intentionally mislead audiences into thinking that the modern-day politics of FLG are the same or related to the Chinese classics. I can easily see how someone who is less aware could think that FLG was some millenia-old practice when it is just a couple of decades old. It is very misleading and very propagandist.

To answer the question of whether or not it is art or propaganda, I can easily say that it's both. In fact, I would say that the first half is mostly art. After the intermission, it's definitely more propaganda. They hook you in with the art, but sprinkle in bits of propaganda and then slowly increase the amount of sprinkling. I don't think it would draw merely as many people as it does if more people were aware of the politics and if Shen Yun were more forthcoming about their affiliations.

In my opinion, it's really just one big fundraising scheme, albeit a VERY GOOD one.
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu May 31, 2012 2:48 pm

That's great to hear an opinion from someone who's actually been to the show.

I agree, it's the "almost-false" advertising part that really annoys me, as well as the whole making FLG sound like it's part of Chinese traditional culture.

Do you feel that the art part of Shen Yun was worth your entrance fee?
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Re: Shen Yun - Art or Propaganda?

Unread postby Wen Choung » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:48 pm

Lady Wu wrote:Do you feel that the art part of Shen Yun was worth your entrance fee?


Short answer: No.

Long answer:
I watched the show in Chicago at the Civic Opera House - not a place I expect to see a politically-motivated performance (but it was my first time there so what do I know). I bought 2 tickets for $100 each. Not cheap, but they were great seats for the price, IMO (2nd or 3rd row, off from the center. Center seats in the same rows were ~$200.). Keep in mind that I didn't realize it was affiliated with Falun Dafa. It was also a special occasion for my mother, so I had no problem splurging for her.

If it was $100 for what I thought it was then I would say it's a great value for good seats in a fancy-schmancy venue. But half of the show was propaganda so it's only worth half my money! So now I have the feeling that I paid just $50 for the show and donated another $50 to a political organization that I disagree with.
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