Wednesday, February 21, 2007

China photo op

I listened to Ted Koppel on National Public Radio this morning talk about Nixon's visit to China.

Koppel recalled how the media entourage was taken to a city park, where a group of young people frolicked in the sunshine took pictures, and listened to transistor radios. Koppel instructed his crew to wait after the photo op, and witnessed a fleet of open-air trucks pull up, soldiers take the radios and cameras, and cart the young hipsters away. Koppel said this manufactured vision of Chinese society was accurate, just a little early.

Koppel called the photo op a "Potemkin Village."

Check out this Straight Dope article about Potemkin Villages. It seems ironic, almost as ironic as Nixon, who made his political career as a hard-liner against Communism, shaking hands with Mao, that the origin of Potemkin Village is an untrue legend:

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