13 April, 2011

Dangerous television

Chinese authorities are banning an increasingly popular genre of TV.  It's time-travel drama, where th protagonist goes back in time, suffers culture shock, but eventually prevails and finds love.  So what's the problem?

The New Yorker's Richard Brody suggests that what's making censors uncomfortable, is less what these dramas say about China's history, than what they imply about its present:

What the Chinese time-travel plots, as described above, have in common is the notion of escape: leaving contemporary, Communist-dominated China for the China of another era, one where, despite mores that are, in some ways, odd and outdated, love and happiness can be found. Time travel serves here as a dream of freedom from present-day strictures—or simply as a cry for freedom, from precisely this kind of idiotic and despotic regulation.


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