Sat, Feb 28, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

Postcolonial Logic 101

Dear Johnny,

In Thursday’s front page lead story, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was responsible as a leader for the bloody crackdown of 228, but that he should not be judged by a single event (“Ma promises to seek truth of 228,” Feb. 26).

Isn’t this the same as saying that Chiang is a murderer but should not be judged just because he murdered people? I’m not sure where the logic in this is.

Megan from Kaohsiung

Johnny replies: The logic is actually quite straightforward.

Proposition 1: President Ma is more or less a decent chap who doesn’t approve of violence, past or present.

Proposition 2: President Ma belongs to a political party that continues to enjoy the financial and political clout that follows a half-century of colonial rule, theft and oppression.

Proposition 3: President Ma wants to stay president.

Therefore, President Ma must criticize or praise Chiang Kai-shek according to immediate need, and not according to the historical record, moral considerations or logic.

Incidentally, I will be teaching a brand new course in Postcolonial Logic this semester at National Taiwan Amnesia University.

Won’t you sign up?

Mr Lai, tear down this text

Dear Johnny,

After seeing a kick-ass interview on CNN with Jimmy Lai (黎智英), I have once again been inspired to write.

This man, who is now rich and powerful, started poor and worked as a child laborer. This man ran away from China.

It should seem obvious to anyone that when a media mogul says “stay away,” we should stay away. However, the Ma government wants to get closer to China.

Excuse me if I’m wrong, but if rich, powerful Chinese people say “get away from China,” why do so many idiots here want to get closer? It’s like shooting yourself in the foot. CECA? No, thank you! FTA? Uh ... maybe ...

Furthermore, Mr Lai said he wants to do TV in Taiwan. Sounds great! He said the broadcast media lack creativity. Right on!

My idea: Start a news channel similar to CNN and Al-Arabiya as a sort of local media hub with great and innovative (provocative) reporting.

Moreover, hire sure-fire shit disturbers. I was thinking of special correspondents such as Chthonic singer Freddy Lim, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Shih Ming-teh (施明德) ... what if, eh?

And others: Bring in some shit disturbers from the KMT and holy hell you’ll be turning heads in Asia as well as other parts of the world.

Mr Lai, congratulations and all the best in your future endeavors. And Johnny, have a field day with the way the Chen case has been going!

T. Harry

Jhonghe, Taipei County

Johnny replies: Ah, yes, Jimmy Lai. Mr Lai is a self-made man, and like almost all self-made men, he walks a fine line that sways between championing and subverting systems of wealth and power.

The destination of this perilous journey is called Profit in Excelsis, and for my money, this place can have a playing-field-leveling influence on all involved.

So I am looking forward to what Mr Lai can offer our over-stretched cable TV market.

I hope he can start by transmitting news bulletins that are not plastered with two dozen headlines and lines of screen text scrolling up and to the left at any given time.

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