you will be first against the wall.
Oh, wait. That’s the lyric from Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” More on Radiohead in a moment. No, what I meant to say is, If I were king, I would indeed disinvite China, by proxy of Avery Dennison, by double proxy of the Beijing Olympics as opposed to the dictatorship of the proletariat, from entering a float in the Rose Parade next year.
The censorship, the human rights violations, the lack of religious freedom, the absence of democratic institutions — this is not a country I would select as host of the Olympics. And Monday night, when a Burmese Buddhist monk and others reminded the City Council that it’s the Chinese who supply the Burmese generals with the weaponry to oppress their citizens … well, that was pretty much a deal-sealer, what?
I am not king. Nor is Pasadena City Hall, which has no say as such in telling the private Pasadena Tournament of Roses whose entries can run in its parade.
But I have a bully pulpit, and so does City Hall, which, by the way, Aaron , doesn’t make any money on the Rose Parade, although I did otherwise dig your blog today on council chambers shenanigans, which seems unaccountably to have been replaced in the mid-afternoon by a long list of Aaron-related stuff.
So it would be futile for the Human Relations Commission to bootlessly demand that the TofR boot China from the parade. And it gets even more delicate, politically, since there is a sister-city relationship between Pasadena and a suburb of Beijing. Tim Kelly, the Fuller prof and old China hand who has been writing letters and will be writing op-eds in the Star-News about constructive engagement with the Chinese, would tell me to do just that — engage — rather than act unilaterally. If I were king, understand.
So here’s my suggestion, probably to be reiterated in a Star-News editorial later this week — or maybe I’ll get harsher, less engaging, and just say off with their heads. We’ll see.
But in a rational mood, how about the Human Relations Commission instead offers to set up a series of forums on the question of human rights in China timed to New Year’s Day, and allows everyone a say? Beijing, Falun Gong, Taiwan, the Dalai Lama — let a thousand flowers bloom.
Back to the rather lesser, Radiohead fan’s dilemma. Since the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world has announced that fans can download its new album for whatever price they want at the band’s Web site, what’s the right price? Free? $9.99, as if it were iTunes? X percent — about 10 percent, as it happens — of that price, since bands get the shaft from record companies anyway and only get a fraction of albums’ sales price?
As much as you can afford, since Radiohead is godhead, and deserves to be rewarded for their art?
It is one of the questions that shall bedevil me until “In Rainbows” is available Oct. 10 and I have to actually make the ethical and financial call.