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Brendan Fraser: China cultural interpreter extraordinaire

Posted by Scott LaPierre  August 4, 2008 10:57 PM

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I love Brendan Fraser's dumbed-down cultural abbreviation for China in the above clip (which is a snippet from an interesting BBC piece on how the Olympics may have helped the latest installment of the 'Mummy' movie series get made). I can just see the producer shouting, "Ok, Fraser, 30 seconds on the clock, the topic is China, give us everything you've got!"

Fraser's cultural abbreviation reminds me of a story my friend Keith told me from when he was doing Peace Corps in Central Asia a few years ago. He was at the train station in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, without a ticket, trying to bum a ride on the next train out, when he was stopped by three young police officers who asked to see some identification. When they saw his American passport they lit up. The first one said, "Ohhh, America? Bill Clinton!" The next one added, "Michael Jackson!" And the third jumped in with "Batman!" A strangely great (and in some bizarre way accurate) snapshot of America circa 1998, no?

Our own snapshot of China just before the start of the Beijing Olympics might look something like this:

"Ohh, China? Smog!"

"Tibet!"

"Yao Ming!"

With so much international media firepower packed into Beijing for the Olympics, it'll be interesting to see how these bulleted points change and develop -- or don't -- over the next few weeks.

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