The Chinese government has declared a War on Divas. The country's Culture Ministry announced this week that Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry comprise a "threat to state culture." A newly released forbidden playlist includes 100 songs that download sites must remove within two weeks or face unspecified punishment. From the standpoint of a paranoid bureaucrat, I can understand banning Gaga's Judas for the Satanic themes and whatnot. But Hair? Edge of Glory? Seems strange. And it doesn't look like Government Hooker made the cut.
But the most surprising revelation is the ban on the Backstreet Boys – specifically, their hit song from 12 years ago, I Want It That Way. Who knew that the Backstreet Boys are still relevant?
For all the fretting about China as a rising superpower, the regime's abject fear of a 12-year-old Backstreet Boys ballad should indicate to us that the country is – to borrow a phrase from Mao – a paper tiger.
(For another example of the Chinese government's absurdity, check out the Culture Ministry's page dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. It would be funny if it weren't terrifying.)