Spoof Videos: Entertainment and Alternative Memory in China
This chapter discusses the political value of networked spoof videos (e gao) as a form of entertainment in China, arguing that spoof online videos function as a repository of unofficial memory in the PRC, and are therefore politically dissident. The chapter starts with a review on the relationship between memory and power, and the changes that Internet as a mnemonic system has brought to their configuration before turning to memory policy in contemporary China and the challenges posed to this policy by active users on the Internet. The chapter argues that the control of memory in China is realized through the monopoly of the media and the language system. To borrow the term of Michael McGee (1980) the latter is called ‘ideographs’. Through an analysis of two videos two models are proposed on how dissidence works in this online form. The chapter concludes that these playful models of political participation may lead to networked forms of collective identity and social action.
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