BEIJING – We are already in Orwellian hell and suffer under the Tyranny of a mass media, and it is not the Chinese one: The world’s leading toy maker, LEGO, has been hijacked in a nasty Western ‘shame the Dane’ campaign [LEGO is from Denmark] initiated by Chinese ‘regime critic’ Ai Weiwei and his clever PR team. The ‘Master’ is so full of himself, he decided to strike on Christmas, just about when LEGO is most popular, to get the greatest possible attention. LEGO said ‘no politics, please’. And we all know what happens if a spoiled superstar doesn’t get things done his way.
Of course Ai Weiwei accused LEGO immediately of “censorship.” Bam! Guilty as charged. Dragged to the Court of public opinion. If the Danes don’t give Ai Weiwei what he wants, that must be because they have issues with democracy. Or freedom of expression. Or LEGO collaborates secretly with the Chinese government, who knows.
We recall how the Master treated the British government earlier this year when officers (allegedly) refused to issue him the exact visa dates he wanted. Even the German media called the British a bunch of idiots. So, in the end the Master got his UK visa -no problem.
Denying the Master his LEGO bricks to build his next political statement, especially during the Christmas season, is considered high treason to ‘Western values’. Whether LEGO wants to or not, Mr. Ai is getting his bricks anyway, in form of donations from fans all over the world (Most people don’t realize he’s a multi-million dollar brand and business). The question is, how much will this ugly, xenophobic Western smear campaign against LEGO last, and will there be boycott?
To be fair, Ai Weiwei is a beneficiary of Washington’s foreign policy to find and promote Chinese dissidents. Even if the Master chooses to appear ‘neutral’, there are ten thousand journalists, bloggers, spin doctors, and fan boys out there who will politicize his each and every step. It is a blessing, but also a curse.
In fact, every Western press soldier dispatched to the Middle Kingdom must dutifully report about Ai’s struggle against the evil Chinese government. Abroad, Ai Weiwei is venerated like a demigod. As with most personality cults, debunking his wisdom, criticizing his work, or denying him authority are considered harassment and prosecution: The Master is automatically right.
Since the Master personifies the freedom of expression, naturally, the USA and Europe must now fulfill his every wish or else they could be exposed of double-standard and hypocrisy.
LEGO, it needs be said, is experienced in stonewalling against the vainglory, the greedy, and the social justice warriors -so far. The toy-maker has been accused of sexism, misogyny, and racism before (there are no blacks in its City toy line, oops). The business is family-owned, thus vulnerable to personal attacks and shaming campaigns. Its headquarter lies in the tiny kingdom of Denmark, a country of no importance. LEGO is really all the Danish have going for them. Still, the US cannot invade the country easily. It is part of the EU.
Technically, Chinese Ai Weiwei is not legally entitled to political LEGO of course; but it should be possible to persuade the other 5.6 million or so Danish via global media humiliation to increase the pressure on the company: Sent Ai Weiwei the damn LEGO bricks already!
You know, Denmark, this is serious. We are living in an age in which entire countries can be disenfranchised and trashed any time, thanks to ‘the Internet’ -which really is just US companies dressed as global public services (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, Tumblr, etc.) Your US licenses from Disney -the LEGO princess line and the Star Wars line- could be easily evoked based on gross human rights violations. Master Ai said you are censoring his voice. What would Cinderella and Han Solo say?
It is true that LEGO is making tens of millions of children and adults happy, retailing at about the same price everywhere and without discrimination. But this Ai Weiwei is special; you must treat the Master preferentially. The Master wants to win another art prize in Berlin, London, or Washington DC. Could you be sending him the damn LEGO bricks already?
Besides, where is LEGO’s loyalty and commitment tot he Western cause? Without European imperialism and colonialism, we would now all be playing Le-guo bricks with ‘Monkey King’ or ‘Romance of Three Kingdoms’ themes. So perhaps the Danish house should show a little bit respect for the Western mission and supply this most distinguished of all pro-Western Chinese dissidents with enough LEGO quality bricks to build himself a harem if he so wishes to.
Do not get all this the wrong way. Ai Weiwei makes China-sized art. Criticizing art is pointless. Art always wins. But this calculated political propaganda and the sensation press – this all stinks. Now it’s Western Toys and Chinese Christmas and the Clash of Civilizations. Western media transformed this former nude artist into a living Buddha. Naturally, as would most spiritual leaders do, he invites himself to every table.
Accordingly, the Master may build with LEGO bricks whatever political statement he likes. But LEGO just should not yield to our agenda-driven media corporations, nor should it endorse or legitimize the Master’s political activism. #nolegosforweiwei