Sunday, May 9, 2010

Censored in China: Now I'm somebody

I've just received perhaps the most interesting personal news in the 368-day history of this blog.

I'm blacklisted in Beijing.

Ann Ferland, traveling with her husband, informs me this evening that she'll have to wait until she gets home to check up on my most recent reflections.

"The Great Firewall of China seems to think your blog is too dangerous for people in this country to access," she writes.

In the next few days, this blog will have topped 20,000 visitors in slightly more than a year online. (I'd hoped to make that figure by its anniversary and fell short. And it was soooo in reach.) ... Imagine how many visitors I might have had if nearly 1.4 billion potential Chinese admirers weren't barred from reading? (I kid.)

I'm pretty sure that I know how this happened. In ranting about those who complain about the dark side of horse racing (drugs, etc.) and thus feed information to reporters anonymously rather than putting their names, reputations and credentials on the line to solidify their claims, I cited the Tiananmen Square "Tank Man" as a person of courage who changed the course of world history by putting himself at risk.

I suspect the Chinese communists would prefer the whole world would forget about Tiananmen Square. Fat chance. But, being a dictatorship, the Beijing government does have the power to blind its citizens to what those of us on the outside think of such totalitarianism.

At least I'm still not banned in Boston. Although wouldn't it make me darkly intriguing if I were?


  1. Banned in Boston.

    One of my favorite groups of the 70's.

  2. I love Boston, both the band and the city. Must get to Suffolk! So far have only been there to visit my son at college in Waltham (Brandeis) and overnight -- yep, just overnight -- for New Year's Eve with Amanda Palmer and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall.

    It would be great if they could get the MassCap back to being an every-year event. It gets scrubbed as often as run in this era, it seems.

    Back to the band, I'm trying to remember who the author or critic was, but somewhere ("Rolling Stone" maybe?) I'm sure that I once read a description of Boston as the most technically proficient group the writer had ever heard in concert. Rehearsed to perfection. Nary a bum note.

    A great sound, and a signature sound that is impossible to mistake for any other group.

  3. Imo, being banned in China is a good thing. It means somewhere along the line, you've mentioned something important--something with enough controversy to capture someone's attention. Now, I realize the bar on controversy in China is pretty low, but nevertheless, one should never overlook such achievements.

  4. Well I think a lot of people like to compare Boston to Kansas but I think that's a stretch. The guys in Kansas didn't attend M.I.T.

    That was a unique sound which has never been replicated. Def Leppard comes close on a few but Boston were the trendsetters.

    I'd love to go to Beantown for a visit. I was there as a kid. I loved the place, the history and now as an adult, I'll have to pay respects to those at Sufferin' Downs. Hoping one day soon. ;-)

  5. I wouldn't really have thought to compare Boston to Kansas. Cities or bands. Kansas had a tendency to throw in a lot of additional instrumentation; violins, saxophones, flutes and such.

    Kansas drummer Phil Ehart, by the way, born in one of my hometowns, Coffeyville, Kan., where I attended high school and college, and worked at the paper for seven years. Almost 20 years ago, when the paper wanted to do a profile on Phil as part of a yearlong series of feature stories on local residents who "made good," he actually parted company with the tour bus somewhere in Missouri, rented a car, and drove to the newspaper office -- signing autographs in the lobby and bringing back-stage passes to a show few hours away for the editor, his wife, and the photographer -- rather than doing the interview by phone.

    Just a wonderful guy.

  6. Anybody who's banned in China is alright with me! And you were right: the Tank Man was a person of unbelieveable courage and conviction, a person who could change the world if they didn't stomp on him. So you can see how they would ban you for mentioning him, even 20 years later.


I welcome comments, including criticism and debate. But jerks and the vulgar will not be tolerated.