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Ha Ha Ha America
January 27, 2006 10:26 PM   Subscribe

Ha Ha Ha America (embedded movie and a big WTF)... one of the films available for viewing on the Sundance Short Films web site.
posted by Manhasset (51 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why does China hate America? (good video)
posted by Balisong at 10:48 PM on January 27, 2006


We barnyard buffalo. You runt pig.
posted by slow, man at 10:50 PM on January 27, 2006


It makes no sense, and the facts are mispresented, scare mongering tactics. 2 thumbs down.
posted by highgene at 10:51 PM on January 27, 2006


yeah, well, mr chinese smartypants, if you're so intelligent, why are you lending so much money to hillbillies? ... in money that the hillbillies can control the worth of?

aren't you going to feel foolish when we screw you over?

we'll be busted and utterly hopeless ... but so will you ...

not to mention that if you ever do manage to become like us ... well ... you'll be chinese hillbillies ... chinese hillbillies with a bunch of ious that will be worth as much as confederate money

how depressing ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:59 PM on January 27, 2006


China hand america free business lesson:
Lesson #1: Sell more than you buy.
You need abacus?
Just pulling your ham.
China no use abacus.
use function graphing calculator.
plot time-value amortization curve.
American only know how plot
shortest drive to Wendy's.


Ouch.
posted by odinsdream at 11:04 PM on January 27, 2006


Whenever someone say,
"Bucket o' Heads, you suck, we rule"
It get Bucket o' Head's juices flow,
and make Bucket o' Heads want work harder.

Great vid.
posted by Bucket o' Heads at 11:08 PM on January 27, 2006


Put me in the "two thumbs up" camp. If this is propoganda, I'm sold.

Brilliant movie.
posted by sourwookie at 11:45 PM on January 27, 2006


I second third fourth the "great vid" sentiment
posted by slater at 11:46 PM on January 27, 2006


Ok, great video ... but it has left me totally depressed.

Can any of you big talking heavy duty intellectual badass metafilter guys come to the rescue and make me feel better, please?
posted by redteam at 11:50 PM on January 27, 2006


make me feel better, please?

Mr. Liu successful factory owner. Mr. Liu son dress like Eminem. Want to rap and not work at family business.
posted by well_balanced at 12:03 AM on January 28, 2006


make me feel better

It's OK to not be number 1. The best places in the world are not the most powerful, not the richest, not the scariest. America is already not in the top 10 of the best places to live. These are all, right now, better than America:
1 Ireland
2 Switzerland
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Sweden
6 Australia
7 Iceland
8 Italy
9 Denmark
10 Spain
There. Feeling better?
posted by pracowity at 12:37 AM on January 28, 2006


This is good.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:48 AM on January 28, 2006


Mr. Liu successful factory owner. Mr. Liu son dress like Eminem. Want to rap and not work at family business.
Exactly. Not to mention the fact that Mr. Liu's son thinks it's bullshit that Dad works all the time and yet is such a cheap bastard.

The Chinese people are the ones getting screwed here. They are the ones working like hell and not really seeing the fruit of their labor, since the government is devaluing their currency to maintain the status quo. There will be a lot of economic havoc when the Chinese government lets go of the rubberband, but until then, we (pretty much everyone outside of China) are the ones getting all of the cheap goodies.

It's a little scary to think about what the Chinese government could do if they wanted to screw with the U.S., but I think they're less interested in screwing with us than holding onto power and making sure the history books treat them well.

It's also a little sad what's happening with the Chinese people. They are getting their environment trashed without enjoying all of the trimmings of a gloriously excessive consumer culture. It's like getting a nasty hangover after a couple of beers.

However, the idea that the Chinese have collectively pulled the wool over our eyes is nationalistic horseshit. The turmoil from a destabilization of the China-U.S. trade relationship will hurt them as badly as it hurts us. And George Bush isn't a hillbilly, he's a hillbilly-wannabe.
posted by robla at 12:57 AM on January 28, 2006


And out of the engrish comes the little gems:

"America just rounding error"

"for comparative delta"

The monkey's butt is fragrent ...hang on one second - the only film credit is:

Director: Jon Daniel Ligon.

That doesn't sound so Chinese to me.
posted by srboisvert at 2:58 AM on January 28, 2006


My bad also Adam Lau -producing listed at the end of the film (but not on the sundance site tab for credits ). Still screenwriten by a University of Michigan creative writing grad. So maybe the clip is so crever after arr.
posted by srboisvert at 3:14 AM on January 28, 2006


The Chinese people are the ones getting screwed here. They are the ones working like hell and not really seeing the fruit of their labor, since the government is devaluing their currency to maintain the status quo.

I guess that their actual situation is much better then their past and I'm not talking about financial situation. Actually USD 1= 8.06 Yuan , quite an improvement from the 8.28 of the past decade. But even the Yuan is slowly moving forward that still doesn't change the economic fact chinese workers cost A LOT less then U.S. workers..some say up to 25 times less on average.

Also don't forget Euro is another very interesting, diversifying currency backed by a quote productive market.

Obviously the usual free market talking heads will says U.S./Europe worker must become more flexible, more competitive ! Curiously enough it's always the worker that needs to become more competitive aka ask for less money but work more and start conjuring methods to make other coworkers look bad.

Matter of fact, Chineses may still be poor , but they beat us in quantity and most probably will in quality in the next 20-30 years. They're accumulating know-how and steadly will let their youngest STUDY mechanics/science/psycology and apply them ..they're building their own internal market and that will be world largest internal market.

What will a giant like China require ? Materials to be transformed in goods and if anything they will be struck on that for all the resources they can't find at home or buy cheaply enough. Yet if the Yuan rises its buying power will also rise compensating for an artificially increased price..also if China becomes a monopsony (almost principal if not exclusive buyer) they'll MAKE the price rather then suffer it, a-la Walmart.
posted by elpapacito at 3:37 AM on January 28, 2006


that was the best thing ever.
posted by wakko at 3:51 AM on January 28, 2006


I thought it was about 12 minutes too long, but the I thought it was sweet. It reads more like the filmmaker found a forum post or other website with the rant and then just built a video around it. Kewl
posted by cavalier at 3:55 AM on January 28, 2006


you can actually find Chinese rants or rants claiming to be chinese at english.ohmynews.com it's Korean website though. I think this is fake. I don't think the communists would release something like this. I.E. this seems more like an American making one of those "crazy" commies things to ya "wake us up" and all that. On the other hand this Chinese rant while mistakingly thinking that Americans are over-joyed about the situation in the middle east still has a kernel of truth in it:

http://english.ohmynews.com/TALK_BACK/bbs_view.asp?mscssid=&ba_code=63&ba_status=&cur_page=&bb_page=1&bb_ord=N&bb_code=356264&bbsh_gb=S&bbsh_string=

peace,
A
posted by aljones15 at 5:40 AM on January 28, 2006


Just FYI, the filmmaker is not chinese. He's a caucasian American with an MFA from Brown.
posted by Manhasset at 6:34 AM on January 28, 2006


pracowity wrote "America is already not in the top 10 of the best places to live."

For whom? As someone looking to get an advanced degree in a social science, I would argue that America is indeed the best place to live... for me.

But wait, how can a top 10 list be wrong?? Have I been totally lied to by my livejournal friends? You mean sweeping generalizations blah blah blah too bored to keep up the pretense.

I love America. This is absolutely my favorite country in the world. Love your country; hate the government. Distrusting those in power is patriotic and the very fundament of the Constitution. Hating America itself is not. I see you've already left. Good riddance, sir! Me, I'm staying and taking my country back! Anyone else talking about leaving America, fleeing to Canada, etc.—don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. I don't want ass-prints on my new door!

America doesn't suck. Those who would abandon America suck. The current state of affairs in America may suck, but it's your job as patriotic Americans to shape the country, to stay and fight.</harangue>
posted by Eideteker at 6:41 AM on January 28, 2006


Call it propaganda, call it a wakeup call, it makes you think, and that's why it's great.
posted by furtive at 7:05 AM on January 28, 2006


I've always had concerns about the growing power and influence of the Chinese government and their huge capital. In the US, both parties skittishly pander to the PRC, and that really concerns me when it comes to the questions of Taiwan and Tibet. One of these will eventually come to a head, and the US will be left to watch because we've so completely tied our hands with Chinese financial influence. I'm as liberal as they come, but I've always said that our number one international political concern ought to be China. They may have abandoned Maoist communism superficially, but they are still a totalitarian regime operating with an egegious lack of busic human rights. Excellent (if too long) film.
posted by moonbird at 7:27 AM on January 28, 2006


Why do Americans pretending to be Chinese hating America hate America so much?
posted by srboisvert at 8:01 AM on January 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


IT'S FUNNY 'CAUSE IT'S TRUE.

many of those images are from shanghai, which i visited for a week or so in november: the place is ripe with construction and technology; it's frenetic and polluted and growning exponentially every second.

i swear that one night, the lot next to our hotel was empty and then two days later it was a 100 story cell antenna/ tv transmitter/ marriot hotel/ 4-stage moon rocket.

and, if you don't want to get more anxious about the oncoming chinese juggernaut, please don't listen to the amazing (but, again, somewhat nerve- wracking) series of stories that npr featured in 2004 and that "marketplace" has featured for the past two weeks.
posted by ronv at 8:01 AM on January 28, 2006


thanks for the marketplace link ronv, that's interesting
posted by elpapacito at 8:17 AM on January 28, 2006


1 Ireland
2 Switzerland
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Sweden
6 Australia
7 Iceland
8 Italy
9 Denmark
10 Spain


You forgot Poland.
posted by jimfl at 8:34 AM on January 28, 2006


That was a great film on several levels. Really, though, I think it is actually meant to serve as a wake-up call to the US, and not as some sort of "nose-thumbing on the part of China" bit of agit-prop as so many here will take it (which is more the pity, I suppose)
~slight derail~Thanks to pointing me to the small films section of Sundance. Some pretty powerful little films in there. this one, for example. If you don't start squirming as you slowly start to understand what's going on...well..more power to you, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:48 AM on January 28, 2006


I don't think the communists would release something like this.

What, do they all sit down and have a meeting before one of them makes a short film? Are "the communists" just as organized as "the gays" or "the blacks" ?
posted by odinsdream at 11:32 AM on January 28, 2006


I liked the music...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:37 AM on January 28, 2006


Wait, is part of the joke that it doesn't stream well? In that case, F-ing hilarious.
posted by cusack at 1:19 PM on January 28, 2006


I agree this was a wake-up call rather than Chinese propaganda. It does say "translated", and I can't find anything contradicting that, so I'd guess at least some of it does come from a rant or something.

You forgot Poland.

Actually, Poland isn't even in the Top 30 of that list (I signed in and checked), which goes no further than 30. According to this EU survey, it's about mid-range for Europe (compare Portugal), though that's fantastic by Eastern European standards.

On this quality-of-life index, Poland is around 30th, well behind the US. China is even farther down the list, although its score is lowered considerably by an outlier low figure for "freedom".

Can any of you big talking heavy duty intellectual badass metafilter guys come to the rescue and make me feel better, please?

China can't continue eating our lunch without our help. They need us as much as we need them. It's going to be interesting to see if China can sustain its breakneck economic growth with oil prices elevated -- people have been predicting its bubble will burst for nigh on a decade (ours broke first). Even 20 years on, the overall GDP of China will remain half of the US, and per capita ... well, they have five times as many people. There will be many Chinese billionaires by then, but still comparatively few Chinese middle-class (although perhaps more than in the US!).

If you back up a few years, you can see what happened to Korea. Korea became the "new Japan" in terms of cars and personal electronics, and for a while Seoul was beating the pants off of Tokyo, whose economy has been stagnant for so long the algae is trying to leave. But then Korea got squeezed in the middle by Japan's better quality and China's cheaper labor, and they had some economic shocks adjusting. Now China is going to be in the position of being unable to expand its economy without creating new markets, but as those markets catch up in purchasing power, they will also catch up industrially. The situation isn't all rosy for China, and even if a Chinese originally said it, which remains questionable, "ha ha ha" isn't because the Chinese are really outproducing us while we eat at Wendy's -- however true that may be, China is mainly the beneficiary of a cozy fiduciary arrangement that isn't reflected strictly by the trade deficit. The Chinese investment in the US is more than what they buy from us, and what comes back to us is buying power for the American market in the form of lower interest rates. It's vastly more complex than can be explained here, let alone in a funny little Sundance film.

It isn't really any surprise, and hasn't been for at least a decade or two, that the 21st century will be dominated by China in many ways. Barring an upset of current trends, the US and China are going to have to develop a power-sharing arrangement in terms of world political clout and economic and cultural space.
posted by dhartung at 1:39 PM on January 28, 2006


this post example why i read metafilter. ha ha ha. thank you.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:54 PM on January 28, 2006


I don't believe it's possible to predict at this point whether the 21st century will be dominated by China. They are industrializing rapidly, but their demographic situation is going to be a nightmare in 30 years. Not Japan-level nightmare, perhaps, but still pretty darn bad.
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM on January 28, 2006


Umm, surely it's just a rather clever PSEUDO-agit prop film school graduate offering, slyly using the comically mangled Chinese English we know and love as captions, and making a semi-thoughtful point about the economic competition coming this way?

I loved it.

I also second ronv (above) who wrote about Shanghai: "i swear that one night, the lot next to our hotel was empty and then two days later it was a 100 story cell antenna/ tv transmitter/ marriot hotel/ 4-stage moon rocket.

True enough. The gorgeous city is exploding with construction. Except when you stay in the gorgeous spanking newly-built hotels, it's like being in a Candid Camera gag. Electrical fittings appear to have been attached with rice water, bedside tables collapse under the weight of a paperback, towel rails fling themselves off walls and the entire bathroom could shift to the left with an accidental nudge ...it was actually extremely funny - but made me a bit leery about the actual underpinnings of the Chinese economic miracle.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2006


About the time 'W' attended Harvard business school dad was ambassador China. theory of actual underpinning.
posted by hortense at 5:26 PM on January 28, 2006


This film totally reminds of the WWII US propaganda film My Japan. Same virranous Engrish 'Ha ha ha , we raugh at you weak American, we are strong'. Just as phony, just as "racist", the only difference is that this one is anti-Bush propaganda, trying to scare the 'Publicans, and that one was pro-war propaganda, trying to scare the pacificists.
posted by dgaicun at 6:03 PM on January 28, 2006


Hmm. . . Prelinger isn't working for me, here is another website hosting it:

"My Japan, Is it too far out to imagine that its real purpose was to desensitize Americans to the horrors of the A-bomb? By citing American weaknesses and vulnerabilities and seeming to praise Japanese patriotism, strength and resolve, it challenges Americans to support a strategy of total war. Its stealthy assertion: that the Japanese military machine will not be broken without an unprecedented effort. It supports this assertion by presenting highly charged and emotional images with an bogus "insider" narration that is at once deceptive and inflammatory."

You'll note the hypocrisy the way we look at films like My Japan as a reflection of the 'racist American past', and yet this film is absolutely no different. That is not to say that I really think either one is that racist, it's just weird how we act "shocked" at older behaviors for unclear reasons.
posted by dgaicun at 6:15 PM on January 28, 2006


There are a few chinese names in the credits; I'm ambivalent about calling it racist.
posted by Tlogmer at 6:17 PM on January 28, 2006


So is something 'racist' due to discernable content, or due to the investigated race of those involved? If the latter, what's the balance: same content - 80% white, 20% Chinese = racist/ same content - 20% white, 80% Chinese = not racist?
posted by dgaicun at 6:23 PM on January 28, 2006


So is something 'racist' due to discernable content, or due to the investigated race of those involved?

I think it may have something to do with the venue. Sundance = not racist. Fox News = racist. Clearly, we can't judge how racist it is by the racial content of the authors alone. That would be racist.
posted by robla at 9:05 PM on January 28, 2006


here's the director's ad agency:
http://www.iandn.com/
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:39 PM on January 28, 2006


Sundance = not racist. Fox News = racist.

If FOX broadcast To Kill a Mockingbird, it would be racist. Try another example that is not self-selected.

I don't believe it's possible to predict at this point whether the 21st century will be dominated by China.

I said in many ways. You're absolutely right that the demographics suggest China's "miracle" may be more mirage. I didn't mention that the example of a lack of people to push buttons at amusement parks -- because sewing shoes for Africa pays better -- is evidence of a severe labor shortage, which can have localized and abrupt effects on labor costs and is thus inflationary. Additionally, China is demographically in a very untested situation. Due to the One Child policy, many parents make sure to screen their fetuses and they are having many more male children than any society has (presumably) ever had. These young men are not going to be able to find wives. What ultimate effect that will have on the economy, and the psychology of the nation, is unknown. Some of them may overwork themselves; others may become otaku, or bums, or aggressive soldiers. Others may just emigrate.

But ultimately, I wouldn't bet against the elephant in the room not taking up a lot of space.
posted by dhartung at 1:19 AM on January 29, 2006


OK, this bugged me, so I double-checked. There's a big whopper in the narrative.

First of all, Wen Zhou's city population is barely 1.5 million. (This source had it at 550K in 2001.) It's the metro area that may be in the 7-8 million range. The comparison was made with the city proper population of New York City, which is over 8 million; the metro area of New York is around 18-21 million, depending on definition.

I wondered why Wen Zhou looked like such a cow town. That's because it still barely is one.

When you look at the reported data, only Shanghai actually has more population than New York City, and its metro area is about half the size. Although NYC proper has fallen out of the world's top ten, the only cities with metro areas larger than NYC remain Tokyo and Mexico City. [A fact I knew which sparked this.]

Thus, the main difference is that China has many more metro areas of substantial size. Still, only 4 of them are in the top 30 worldwide.

Basically, if New York were a city in China, it would be 2nd largest -- and its metro area largest. The "not even top ten" line is complete bullshit.

Anyway, I wonder if this ups the odds that Ligon in fact translated a rant. In any event, one can use this to evaluate the other factual claims in the piece.
posted by dhartung at 2:36 AM on January 29, 2006


I wonder if this ups the odds that Ligon in fact translated a rant

Is there a credit for the original rant author?
posted by srboisvert at 12:09 PM on January 29, 2006


If FOX broadcast To Kill a Mockingbird, it would be racist. Try another example that is not self-selected.

I have no idea what you mean by "self-selected". Regardless, my point is that I think whoever did this is given way too long of a leash because they presented it in an artsy/lefty venue. They would have been crucified had there been a whiff of a right-wing agenda.
posted by robla at 2:31 PM on January 29, 2006


You'll note the hypocrisy the way we look at films like My Japan as a reflection of the 'racist American past', and yet this film is absolutely no different.

hm. no difference between whipping people into a war frenzy and admonishing people to get control of their corrupt leaders. i see now. thanks for the illumination.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:38 PM on January 29, 2006


robla, FOX self-selects for an audience prone to racist interpretations of things (compare a certain green blog). It doesn't take prejudice against FOX to critique something they would run -- more than any news organization, they operate on a deliberate and hierarchical propaganda model. (This in a day and age when even "mainstream" talking heads believe it's legitimate journalistic practice to question guests about the views of others with the same skin color.) Sundance may be dominated by Hollywood liberals, but at least it's an open process.

Is there a credit for the original rant author?

No, there is not, but since "translated rant" is the official description on the Sundance site, I'm assuming it has some validity. It's still odd.
posted by dhartung at 4:14 PM on January 29, 2006


No, there is not [credit for the original author rant], but since "translated rant" is the official description on the Sundance site, I'm assuming it has some validity.

Why? It has no citation and is presented at a venue where fiction is acceptable. Sans citation and an explicit claim of non-fiction status, it would be really naive to assume that there is any factual basis beyond the fact that the photos probably weren't doctored too badly. I would assume it's an "artist" with a case of the well intentioned blues.
posted by robla at 6:15 PM on January 29, 2006


hm. no difference between whipping people into a war frenzy and admonishing people to get control of their corrupt leaders. i see now. thanks for the illumination.

Right, because if there was one unjust war in history, it was our War of Aggression against Japan during WWII. Thanks for the capitalization.
posted by dgaicun at 8:18 PM on January 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


um, I just found this and I know nobody's reading it anymore, but I just wanted to say to the empty room that I saw this at Sundance and the director was there for Q&A. He wrote the dialogue in English, translated it (or had it translated) into Chinese (and Russian!?! . . .'s what he said) and then translated it from that into Engrish.
posted by Zendogg at 11:34 PM on February 10, 2006


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