Monday, May 26, 2008

DC Train of Thought: The Official Beijing 2008 Olympics Celebration Station, Part Two!

It’s been over a month since I nominated one of the eleventh Panchen Lamas (specifically the one endorsed by Tibetan Buddhist religious figures, not the one endorsed by the officially atheist Communist Party of China) for the spot of Beijing 2008 Poster Child. I figured one month would be more than long enough for him to get back to me, but apparently His Missingness places higher priority on being abducted by authoritarians than he does on ensuring the success of the 2008 Summer Games. Children these days, right?

In the meantime, the Chinese have continued to promote “The Friendlies.” These mascots are no replacement for a proper poster child, and it should be noted that some of them are probably bad influences on anyone who sees them: one, for example, is made of fire. I can hardly wait for when children across the world start burning and/or exploding things to emulate this kid-friendly Friendly. Another one resembles a panda, an animal known for embracing sloth, gluttony, and excessively loud sneezing.

All of this brings me to my second suggestion: the Yangtze River Dolphin, or baiji!

This uniquely Chinese dolphin lived in the Yangtze River, which stretches from deep inside mainland China to the East China Sea near Shanghai. For the purposes of navigating this river the dolphins had invented or evolved sonar, proving that dolphins are truly incredibly smart. When you add this to the other typical examples of dolphin intelligence (high-pitched squeaking, an unstoppable compulsion to jump through hoops) it really does leave one in awe of them.

Visitors to the Olympics may be hard put to find one, however. One of the many benefits of the Cultural Revolution was that the Yangtze River, which had previously been teeming with unspeakable hordes of baiji, was left with very few of them. If you are wondering what killing piles of dolphins has to do with advancing revolutionary class struggle, consider this: dolphins are undeniably bourgeois oppressors. Freeing the proletariat from these capitalist landlord dolphins was a vital step in advancing the class interests of poor Chinese peasants.

Today baiji are classified as critically endangered, and possibly extinct. Aside from one possible sighting last summer, it has been years since any have been found. All of this makes the baiji a great example of the skill with which the Communist Party of China has taken care of the environment and species within their country. Set your calendars, river dolphins: you have one month to accept the role of Beijing 2008 Poster Child, or I’m passing it on to someone else.


  1. So in addition to being massively creepy and made fire (one of them at least), the friendlies starred in a 100 episode "olympic themed" cartoon series!

    If there's a better use of someone's time, I want to see it.

  2. holy crap.

    the opening theme of the show. chinese song is just 'beijing welcomes you' over and over again. need to find a full episode.