From China in Ten Words, by Yu Hua (translated by Allan H. Barr):
In the Cultural Revolution era we were even more passionate about writing big-character posters than people are today about writing blogs. The difference between the two genres is this: The posters tended to be tediously alike, basically just a rehash of articles from the People’s Daily, their text riddled with revolutionary rhetoric and empty slogans, blathering endlessly on and on. Blogs, on the other hand, take a multitude of forms — self-promoting or abusive, disclosing intimate details here and carried away by righteous indignation there, striking affected poses right and left — and they dwell on every topic under the sun, from society and politics to economics and history and goodness knows what else. But in one respect the two genres are the same: writing big-character posters during the Cultural Revolution and keeping a blog today are both designed to assert the value of one’s own existence. [p.63]
I can’t tell if the author really means to make that distinction between dà zì bào (大字报) and blogs, or if he’s just being sly and in fact means that blogs are also “just a rehash of articles from the People’s Daily, their text riddled with revolutionary rhetoric and empty slogans, blathering endlessly on and on.” It’s hard to tell during an American election year. Either way, admit it, bloggers. 40-something years ago, this was you:
Long live our invincible thoughts! :)
For more about propaganda, mostly of the Chinese variety, see our Propaganda topic.