The other notable television I watched recently was Saturday night's finale of 中国新说唱/Rap of China. After my comments on the conspicuousness of the Xinjiang contingent this season, the finale turned out to be Xinjiang Urumqi vs Xinjiang Kashgar.
那吾克热 aka LIL-EM, the rapper i think should have taken the whole thing, came in runner-up because he failed to win the votes of his peers. The buzz was that he was a faker and an Eminem rip-off. I don't really get that. Chinese flow is so different you can't really bite an English rapper's style, and you obviously can't bite their rhymes. I think the real reason the scene dissed him is because he wasn't seen as underground enough - he seemed fine just being a regular guy who could rap extremely well. Whatever. Hip-hop beefs are stupid.
What was more interesting was jumping onto Weibo after the episode aired. It was a shitshow, because a huge chunk of the teenybopper audience who love Kris Wu (a former k-pop idol, and one of the judges) were behind the same guy as me. No one resents that 艾热 aka Air won, because he was also a great performer, but they just felt upset that the audience voted 那吾 first, the judges voted 那吾 first, and then he didn't win because the other contestants voted 75-to-25 against him. It felt petty. For the kids on social media who are already slammed for being Kris Wu fans instead of "real" hip-hop fans, a result like this probably hit especially close to home.
I'm not sure if it will continue next year. This year the heavy hand of the censors was everywhere, clumsily pushing themes of national pride and other "core socialist values". People's tattoos were blurred and so was one of the judge's T-shirts, presumably for including the word "Taipei" on it. Plus, as i mentioned in a previous post, a lot of the performers spent more time singing than they did rapping, which kind of defeats the point of a rap competition. So, with the purists already annoyed at the lack of serious rap, and a finish that annoyed the casual fans, what's left?
Here's another laowai's take: https://radiichina.com/xinjiang-born-uyghur-rapper-wins-the-rap-of-china-2018-as-kris-wu-calls-out-haters/
The amusing thing about that article is i can't fucking see any of the videos because Great Firewall. God forbid a foreign journalist in China actually writes an article that includes media people inside China can view.
Good thing obedient proles like me can still access high-quality media like the second season of 社会主义有点潮/Socialism Is a Bit Cool, which started as an incredibly not-hip panel show about socialism with Chinese characteristics. Last season it just bemused party skeptics. This season it's worrying them, because it's morphed into a gameshow about Xi Jinping trivia.
Speaking of propaganda, i also watched 战狼2/Wolf Warrior 2 over the National Day golden week. It was actually... pretty rad. Anyone who likes cheesy 80s action movies would probably enjoy it. You don't need to understand much Chinese. Basically the story is about a special ops guy, booted from the military for punching a greedy property developer in the nose, now works as a private security guard in a no-name African country. He gets caught up in a revolution and then single-handedly saves a whole bunch of African civilians and Chinese expats by using machine guns, kung fu and the awesome power of the 五星红旗. Great fun.
I also attempted to watch an anime called 凸变英雄/To Be Hero. Dear lord, i think i've been scarred forever by that one, and it was only the first episode. Something about naked babies, and they're naked because their clothes turn into warriors who fight one another, but when they lose their last piece of clothing they die. It's fucking weird. I might give it another try if i bounce off the Xi Jinping trivia show.
When's the next episode of Doctor Who?