The Strange Beauty of the Chinese Politician Who Threw a Tantrum at the Airport
I know China is trying really hard to reinvent itself, and the people there no longer want to be seen as stiff, reserved stoics, but I feel like they’re not getting much help from their neighbors. No matter how many tiger farms they start, it’s clear they operate within a culture that lacks, say, the beads and brothels seediness of Thailand, the marauding hordes of military man-sharks that have blighted the Korean peninsula for decades, or the sense that Japan is just a country full of bagelheads going nuts inside a gigantic dystopian branch of Dixons.
What I’m trying to say here is that it seems like, by and large, the Chinese are a people who handle their shit quietly, making money and babies and slowly taking over the world in the manner of a band like Biffy Clyro. You might never meet anyone who “gets” them, but they sure are massive.
Which is why this video of a high-ranking Chinese official having a tantrum at Changshui airport is so beguiling. In essence, it’s just a video of a man having a nightmarish experience at the boarding desk (he’d had a long breakfast and missed his first flight, then not heard the call for the second flight, apparently). But watched through the lens of a state-owned CCTV camera, what at first seems like an episode of Fawlty Towers on mute starts to turn into something different, something that all the sites reporting on the story seem to have missed.
It starts to turn into something kind of beautiful.