Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Dynamics of Persuasion

My trip to China (Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai) inspired thoughts of outlandish essay topics fit for just about any MIT class you could dream of. The Chinese conduct themselves with such grace and I commend them for living in such close quarters (though it is all they know). It became apparent after approximately 45 minutes in the country (still in Beijing airport) that modern-day Chinese smoke like truckers, spit like sailor and drive like maniacs, but there is something so beautiful, profound and mysterious about the history and their culture.

Let me explain the photos I have posted, because I know they are not blatantly advertising.
Everyone smokes in China. OK, that's not true. A lot of people smoke in China. Let me start by saying, unlike Canada, cigarettes are visible, accessible and inexpensive just about anywhere you go. Statistics tell me smoking in China has drastically increased in the last 30 years, ultimately leading to the death of about 2,000 people per day. By 2050, they expect this number could rise to 8,000 a day- some 3 million people a year. Click for the full article

Personally, I no longer soberly enjoy the ease of sucking approx. 42 thousands toxic chemicals into my peachy lungs. My conscious is simply too loud, and my gag reflex is too strong. However, the appeal still remains. I still somehow understand it.

These are images of a vibrant light show on a sky scraper outside of our hotel in Shanghai. I regret not recording it, but I assure you, the movement up and down, from white to golden was like the burning of a cigarette. Slowly the white disappeared towards the golden yellow filter and then was replaced by a new white line- as if to promote chain smoking. This idea taunted me for 3 nights while I was repeatedly told it was all in my head. Did it make my want a cigarette? Kind of. I told our tour guide it was subliminal messaging. She quickly dismissed me with little more than a giggle. This is a typical response from Chinese women when they do not want to hurt your feelings by declaring that they think you're wrong. Perhaps MIT ingrained in me the idea that everything I have ever been told is a dirty, fabricated, ideology infused, economically motivated lie...

China seems a bit disillusioned with respect to what is perceived to be real and what is fake, or replicated. No, just flat out fake. 15 percent real and 85 percent perception, I say. They are living breathing people, who make decisions, work, love, communicate, spit like sailors (I still can`t get over that). Yes. But they live in a fabricated, highly populated, highly polluted bubble. I realize this as our tour guide pulls out her "Gucci" wallet and explains that this mornings "fog" is due to the massive amount of fireworks lit 3 nights ago. I begin to wonder if the 200 foot cylindrical structure flying past my window is really a "fog"stack...

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