I Liked the 'Chinese Professor' Ad, but This Is Stupid and Offensive

By James Fallows
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(See update below.) Unlike many people, I admired the panache and artistry of the "Chinese Professor" ad used during last fall's campaign to warn about the self- destructive tendencies of America's borrow-and-spend era.

But the similar ad being run by Mark Amodei -- at right, with his mother -- a Republican candidate for Congress in Nevada's special election, is like a lobotomized version of the Chinese Professor. It loses the wit and holds onto only the xenophobia. You can judge for yourself, but the beauty part is his connection between "raising the debt limit" (which he promises never to do) and PLA troops goose-stepping across the plaza in front of the U.S. Capitol. It's tedious to have to point this out, but: refusal to raise the debt ceiling is the move most likely to touch off a panicky dumping of U.S. securities and increase doubt about America's status as a power that knows what it is doing.

Also, as anyone familiar with DC realizes, the only goose-stepping and heavily armed forces around the Capitol belong to the US Capitol Police Force. (No, no, just kidding -- since I'll have to be cleared by them again some day.)

Here's his ad. Watch and ponder. Then vote early and often! And as a benchmark, the original Chinese Professor ad is below it. For a previous stupid use of the Chinese menace, in this case by Democrats, see a Pennsylvania ad from 2010.




The Chinese Professor ad, which was actually filmed in northern Virginia with a cast mainly of Asian-American college students who didn't know what the ad's tone would be:
 


UPDATE: Bonus points for stupidity. As I should have mentioned the first time around, this ad, with the purported narration by the all-conquering Chinese empire, is written with "traditional" Chinese characters, which are used in Taiwan and some other places but not in mainland China. Ie, you would not see a screenshot like the one below on a "real" triumphalist broadcast out of Beijing. For instance, the logo below means "Empire News" (or "Imperial News"). But in a Beijing broadcast the two big characters on the right would be written as 国 and , not 國 and 聞. This is like having a mock BBC News programme read by someone with an accent out of Cheech & Chong. If I know this, a billion other people know it too. The ad producers couldn't find one of them to vet the ad?

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/i-liked-the-chinese-professor-ad-but-this-is-stupid-and-offensive/240898/