Whitman vs. Brown with special lightning effects

The Taiwanese animators are ready for the midterms. Just don't try out-doing them on the red-baiting front

Published October 29, 2010 6:16PM (EDT)

Those extraordinary satirical Taiwanese animators may be some 6500 miles away from Berkeley, but they're paying attention to whoever is paying attention to them. This morning I received a couple of e-mails directly from Next Media Animation, and after following all the links in both of them, I'm feeling a little bit more down-the-rabbit-hole than usual for a Friday morning.

The first e-mail alerted me that Next Media Animation (NMA) will be producing "a series of fun animated clips for the US midterm elections that can help you convey some of the key results to your readers/viewers."

As a sample, NMA provided a link to short clip on California's governor's race. The most expensive state election in U.S. history is reduced to a 30 second snapshot including cameos by Meg Whitman's Latina housekeeper and the Jerry Brown assistant who suggested calling Whitman a "whore." Also, red and blue lighting bursts crackle out of both candidate's mouths during a debate.

I could try to argue that this kind of surreal, abbreviated capsule summary of the fight for the highest office in California does a disservice to the political process, but upon reflection, I have to concede that it is a fairly accurate representation of how politics is conducted in the U.S. today. For what it's worth, the most recent Field Poll in California gives Brown a ten point lead.

But all this is prelude to much wackier stuff. The second e-mail included a link to a video made by the conservative American group Citizens Against Governmental Waste that NMA called "one of the finest pieces of 'yellow peril' propaganda since Sax Rohmer began publishing Fu Manchu novels."

And this is not an incorrect categorization. Titled "Chinese Professor," the video depicts a lecture hall somewhere in China in the year 2030, with a professor discussing the reasons for American decline. Government spending, of course, is the prime culprit. The big finish:

"Of course" -- evil chuckle -- "we own most of their debt. So now" -- evil smile -- "They work for us." And the Chinese audience erupts in a mass cackle of delight.

Understandably, the demonization of the evil Chinese made the Next Media animators mad. In the e-mail accompanying their parody of the Chinese Professor ad, they wrote:

"Wow! They really nailed us! Yes, we'll laugh at your demise -- we'll chortle and cluck with glee when it comes time to work off your slave debt."

But the funny thing is, Jimmy Lai's Next Media hates the Chinese Communists even more than latter-day U.S. yellow peril mongering cold warriors. So the Taiwanese animators seem to take most offense at the notion that the mainland Chinese will triumph in the end.

"We are so delighted that you are so confident in China's ascendancy. Lack of democracy or human rights -- A creaking financial system -- riots and social instability -- We're sure all those problems will be worked out by 2030 when it's time to assume the leasehold on America!! But until then, all you really need to know about the US-China relationship can be understood in our evil, Fu Manchu-stache-twisting laugh.

So Next Media's parody of The Chinese Professor rips into both China and the U.S. with a vengeance. And explains the real reason for Chinese dominance. Motherf----g talking pandas!

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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2010 Elections California China How The World Works