Winnie The Pooh And Bieber, Too


I’ve seen some hardcore people in my time, but for the record, Justin Bieber isn’t one of them.  Except — oops! — apparently, he is.  Last week, the powers-that-be in the People’s Republic of China banned Bieber for — uh — “bad behaviour.”  (So, play nice, children — or China spank.)  Actually, with lyrics like “Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby” I can see China’s point, but just how subversive can a punk kid from Canada be?  Canada is, after all, the Land of the Bland.  We say “Sorry” as a greeting.  Of course, this comes hard on the heels of China’s banning that other badass, Winnie the Pooh*.  I’m still laughin’ about that one.  Bieber now joins a pretty select group of notorious troublemakers.  They include Harrison Ford (who, as Han Solo, was indeed, a member of the Rebel Alliance) Brad Pitt (who once made a movie called Seven Years in Tibet, a place China says doesn’t exist) and Richard Gere because — well — Richard Gere.  They’ve also banned Sharon Stone, but it’s just her movies that are unwelcome in the Middle kingdom. She can show up anytime (assuming she keeps her legs crossed.)

Over the years, along with Iran and North Korea, China has been in the forefront of state-sponsored censorship.  They’ve banned — or thrown in prison — all the usual suspects: poets, painters, writers, Nobel Prize winners, and generally anybody with an opinion who doesn’t keep their head down.  They’ve also banned Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and all the other stalwarts of Western social media — plus a myriad of Western movies and television programs — including, oddly enough, The Big Bang Theory. (I guess Sheldon is a jackass in any language.)  Of course, like all dictatorships, China has also bans books — thousands and thousands of books — and I suppose this is where things get serious.  However, I have a lot of trouble not laughing at a regime that feels the need to ban Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.  I can just hear the proclamation:
Will you ban Green Eggs and Ham?
Yes, I’ll ban it, if I can
I will ban it in Beijing
I will ban it in Nanjing
I will ban it here and there
I will ban it everywhere
Yes, I’ll ban Green Eggs and Ham
In Hong Kong, Szechuan and Hunan

*BTW, Winnie the Pooh’s offence was that people were using him as a caricature of President Xi Jinping, the guy who’s currently sitting on the Dragon Throne and running the show on the Yangtze.  Clearly, dictators don’t like people laughing at them.

Happy New Year?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor as long as I can remember, yesterday, Labour Day, has always been New Year’s.  The dog hot days of summer are over, and real life can begin again.  It’s not just that I hate sand in my underwear and bugs in my burgers (which I do) it’s the attitude that goes with stinkin’ hot /no cloud afternoons that I object to.  Honestly, can anyone take baggy shorts and dirty feet seriously?  Point of fact: our society already celebrates the trivial as if it were holy writ, so when the sun is permanently set on Brainbake 5.5, it’s no wonder we collectively get media sunstroke sometime in June and stay that way for three months.  Let me elaborate.

Last week, the media buzz was Justin (Jason?) Bieber lost a necklace in a bar fight.  I can’t imagine who he was fighting; about the only thing in his weight class is a Care Bear.  Besides, on the non-threatening boy scale of One to Justin Timberlake, he’s about as bland as they come.  Even Justin– not Bieber, the other one— made a running grab for Janet Jackson’s 38-year-old boob on national TV.  Something Selena Gomez (Barney’s old playmate, nudge/nudge, wink/wink) would never have put up with when she and the Bieb were an item.  Predictably, nobody knows how the necklace got torn from his person, but the media certainly seems to be worried about it, even if Bieber isn’t.  Remember, this is the guy who left his monkey in Germany without even a backward glance or a jacket.  Unlike that woman in Toronto who styled out her primate in what looks like a GapKids winter coat before abandoning it in an Ikea parking lot.  But I digress.  The only thing anybody can discern from these two unrelated events is that Canadians hate monkeys.  However, back on topic: I’m certain that there’s less to this Bieber incident than meets the eye.

Either way, this was passing for major news until E.L. James spilled the Twitter beans that Dakota Johnson has been cast as Anastasia Steele, the “object” of Christian Grey’s affections in Fifty Shades of Grey.  The book, a WalMart rewrite of The Story of O, is about to be made into a major motion picture with a guaranteed box office that might reach into the billions — that is, until the first person actually sees this faux porn yawner and blows the whistle on the whole thing.  I have no idea how bad an actress Ms. Johnson is, but I do know there’s a whole lot of difference between reading hot prose in the privacy of your own mind and seeing it publically portrayed from the waist up.  Like it or not, Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, will be about Dakota’s breasts and not much else.  Otherwise, The Motion Picture Association’s film rating system will step in and tear up half the receipts Focus Features are hoping to cash in on – notably, teenage couples with a hidden agenda.

And speaking of faux porn, the media is still bubble gumming over the latest Disney chick to go wacko on national TV — Miley Cyrus.   At this point, it looks like Britney Spears has been defrocked as the high priestess of … but hey, wait a minute, it’s Tuesday.  Regardless of what the calendar says, summer’s over.  Miley, Biebs and that whole crowd can pack their crop tops and bikini bottoms and take a hike.  It’s time to haul out the scarves and gloves and start acting like we’re adults again.