It Takes A Nation of Millions
Last night I slept for fourteen hours, and woke up feeling much better, thank you. I also woke up feeling the urge to do some politico-blogging. Now I realize that this is not exactly my idiom, so feel free to skip this one. I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on who would win in a fight between Daniel Larusso and Bruce Leroy, but for now I'm filled with NPR-induced rage.
I found out on the Connection this morning that today was the last day for Chinese citizens to register their blogs with the government or risk being thrown in jail for writing things on the internet.
I don't exactly fall into the demographic that the media refers to as "the Bloggers." I've never broken a story about a gay porn star who asked softball questions to the President at a press conference, and I don't generally inform anyone about anything beyond the wide world of the Punisher. And as such, I wasn't going to write about this because the comedic potential of throwing people in prison to rot for the rest of their lives is fairly low. But as my friend Brandon pointed out, I can write about it without being locked up, so why not?
The whole thing strikes me as infuriating. I'm always aware intellectually, somewhere in the back of my mind, that the words "China" and "Human rights violations" will always be inextricably linked, but--like a lot of people, I suppose--I tend to forget about it.
The same thing has happened in Iran, where there's a guy who's been locked up for years for blogging. And I'm pretty sure that prisons in the Middle East are probably all in the running for the coveted "Worst Place in the World" title.
But in China, there's already dozens--dozens!--of people locked up for the simple act of going online and disagreeing with the government, which employs thirty- to fifty-thousand people for the sole purpose of going online and tracking these "cyber-dissidents" (as Dick Gordon called them) down so that they can be arrested.
That's what turns my stomach the most. I mean, I realize that these are people just doing their jobs and trying to get along in the world, but still: When it's your job to rat out your fellow citizens for what should be basic human rights, that's a bastard thing to do, and it makes me sick to think about it.
As you might've noticed, I write things on the Internet. And by no coincidence, I'm also a pretty big fan of free speech, so the whole situation is especially worrisome for me. Not that it would particularly matter in my case. I mean, unless the government got the idea that I was using "Ghost Rider" as a codeword for "democracy," I doubt I'd get in too much trouble.
Which all comes back to make me wonder about my own writing. It's not perfect here--there's the story about the Secret Service giving Seanbaby a hard time and I'm always worried that my feelings about Wolverine are going to land me on some watch list--but by and large, I can write about whatever the heck I want to.
Having an audience of sixteen (half of whom are looking for pictures of Marla Sokoloff) helps, too.
And yet, while I could be doing something meaningful, like those cats on the other side of the world are risking their lives to do, I spend all my time talking about Count Dante. So I have to wonder, am I wasting the opportunity to write something worth a damn?
Here ends the obligatory political blog. Tomorrow: Count Dante!