July Mailbag: Media, Monsters, Weird Searches

Since it’s almost August, it’s time for another mailbag.  As always, these are actual emails from actual readers.  We do love feedback so send your best comments, counter-arguments, complaints, or conspiracy theories via our comment page.  We’ll publish our next mailbag in August.  Until then, keep the letters coming.


Hey guys, Just discovered your blog, and it’s truly awesome. Have you thought about using a twitter feed to alert readers to new posts? It’s the only way I can keep up with the various blogs I read, since I rarely remember to manually check for new stuff.



We have one! (“rectified” was taken). You can also find us on Facebook.


In your June mailbag post, under the search terms you described thusly: “All of which make some sense, unlike these search terms which somehow led the strange, the needy, and the possibly mentally ill to our site over the past two months:” you included the search term: “china cannibalism blood medicinal” That’s not strange, needy, or mentally ill. That’s a combo of Lu Xun and a Chinese literature student. In Lu Xun’s story “Diary of a Madman” there is one sentence in which the Madman recounts hearing of a case of cannibalism in his town. “Medicine” is all about a desperate couple’s rush to get a piece of mantou soaked in the blood of a just executed convict with which to cure their son of TB. Both stories appear in “Call to Arms”.


You are absolutely right.  Between Brendan and Jeremiah, you’d think we would have caught that.  Nice spot, Chris!


re: 10 Ways to Make the World Love Chinese Media

Thanks. That is funny stuff. However bad Chinese movies are generally, I find them far easier to watch that Korean films.



Att. Dave Lyons The “google card trick” is very useable, but to see it you have to know a little about how the Great Firewall works when it comes to google searches: It bans _all_ searches from your IP address for 2 minutes if you happen to enter a query with a sensible word. This is not a big problem for an individual user on his own internet connection, but because workers in companies often share the same external IP address, the mechanics of the Great Firewall effectively bans the whole company. I was working in China for a month last year, and google was often “down” at our site because of that. As an IT professional that lives and breathes through google, I certainly understand and welcome this feature.


Dave Replies: While the new feature is not totally useless, my point was that Chinese users aren’t going to switch to Google because of the banned keyword alert feature. They’ll continue to use Baidu, or maybe Bing. If you ran an organization in China, which is easier and more effective: simply avoiding Google altogether, or training your entire staff to use the keyword warning system? And if you’re “an IT professional that live and breathes through Google,” then you should do what all the IT professionals (foreign and Chinese) do here: set up a VPN or an SSH tunnel, if not in the office, then on your personal devices. This isn’t going to increase Google’s search market share in China, but it plays well overseas since it sticks a thumb in the State Council Internet Information Office’s eye.


Lots of responses to Will’s piece on Godzilla and the SARFT Monster…as well as a few suggestions for fans of Kaiju.

This was a lovely article. Thank you. I’ve learned a lot about Japan by working with Toho on Godzilla-related projects, and it was really interesting to think about how China’s political system could create such a difference between China and Japan in this respect. If William Moss is still interested in Kaiju, may I humbly suggest he back my Kickstarter project on the subject?


Humble suggestion noted. 


Loved the post about Godzilla vs. SARFT. Mr. Moss’ conception of how a SARFT-approved monster movie plot would go is spot-on. I thought of another program that could never air in China today: “The Price Is Right.” It would incite too much commentary about inflation.



Reader Gil Grundy (AKA @foarp) sent the following after reading Will’s post on the strange lack of Chinese monster movies. In that post, Will pointed out that Beijing has never been monstered. Gil notes that other Chinese cities have been:

Tell Moss to get himself a copy of Godzilla: Final Wars. A Chinese city does get pwned on-screen by monsters, but it’s Shanghai – obvious choice really. A radiation-crazed Godzilla also trashes Hong Kong in one of the later films. Basically, Beijing just isn’t a prestigious enough destination for the big guy to bother with. Sorry.

Will replies: As it happens, Moss has a copy of “Final Wars.” Produced in 2004, it’s the only one of the eight films I bought that I hadn’t watched when I wrote that post. I watched it last Friday and was treated to Anguirus –the second oldest monster in the Godzilla pantheon– trashing Shanghai. According to the IMDB entry, “Final Wars” had some very modest location shooting in Shanghai, so on that front I owe SARFT an apology. It seems at least in 2004 you could get shooting permission for panic scenes for a film featuring a giant monster in a Chinese city (albeit not the capital). However, “Final Wars” never officially exhibited in China, though no doubt it’s floating around out there in the gray channels.

The attack on Hong Kong is from “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah,” which I actually saw fourteen or fifteen years ago and clearly must put back on my list. It was produced in 1995, pre-handover, although I assume that, thanks to the “one country, two systems” formulation that keeps Hong Kong cinema livelier than mainland cinema, Hong Kong is still fair game.

I respect the attractiveness of both Shanghai and Hong Kong as kaiju destinations, given that they both have something that Beijing lacks: a skyline (also, treaty ports and the SAR seem somehow politically safer for monstering, especially with the Shanghai faction out of power). However, those are still Japanese productions, and the question remains: Where are the Chinese monster movies? There were rumors of a Chinese remake of the excellent Korean film “The Host” back in 2009, but I don’t know that they ever came to anything. If anyone has spotted a Chinese giant monster film that I’ve missed, drop us a line.

Heading for Kowloon. Typical.


And in case you’re interested….

The most popular posts from June on

The Soft Power Own Goal: China, Leeds, and Mad Men by Jeremiah Jenne

Six Points on Social Insurance for Foreigners by Matthew Stinson

I’ll be the Judge of the Air Quality in These Parts by Will Moss

10 Ways to Make the World Love Chinese Media by Dave Lyons

A Bite of Food, A Whole Lotta Love by YJ


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