Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"You commie homo-loving sons of guns"

So, this is a bit late to count as Oscars coverage, but CCTV's translation of Sean Penn's acceptance rant was quite funny. "You commie homo-loving sons of guns" went through the Chinese Room (take that Searle) to become a "You guys are TOOOO generous!"

One blogger imagines the sad plight of the employee charged with the task of translation: 
It’s quite possible that the subtitler didn’t understand what Sean Penn had said and didn’t have time to find out. But supposing he/she did understand. Imagine you’re this poor CCTV employee and your ultimate boss is a senior member of the politburo. You’ve got very little time to decide what to do with a phrase that links communism with “homo-loving.” Your decision may not be appreciated by the leaders. OK, just make something up. [via Black and White Cat]
Left is a picture from a gay pride parade on Qianmen Ave. in Beijing this last Valentines Day, covered in (surprisingly, the WSJ). As far as I've read (which is admittedly very little), public attitudes have been a mingling of passive distaste and active neutrality, with few hate crimes reported, and with sodomy decriminalized in 1997 and homosexuality removed from the rolls of "psychological disorders" in 2001. The media censuring would likely be cited not as active homophobia, but processed merely an attempt to "not encourage" gayness (a tangled cognitive position I've heard echoed by one a many Asian parent too). I haven't read much at all on how gay rights movements are progressing in HK/Taiwan, or even Japan and Korea - is the coalition building at all analogous to US movements? Are they part of a new "left" (though left and right are fairly useless in the Chinese context) harboring purportedly cosmopolitan values, including democratization and visions of ethnic pluralism? (These somewhat asinine thoughts emerged when I was about to title the post something like "Human Rights Incursion/Hilarity", but realized I hadn't a single clue whether the rights movements there situated themselves in a human rights discourse at all.)

In any case,  HuffPo and Shanghaiist describe some other censured caesuras in previous Oscar runs. Obviously, previous news bulletin titles have failed to hit the screen, eg: "Homosexual film fest to open in Beijing" (Xinhua covering PKU's Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2005)?

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