On the intersection of technology, culture, and everyday life: My semi-updated space to collect and link my thoughts about interesting things I spot.
To Simon’s credit, American Idol may go down in history as having influenced something bigger than Kelly Clarkson’s stardom. Who would have thought that a reality show and cell phones could bring democracy to China? Well… that is an exaggeration, what happened was far short from a political revolution. However, it was perhaps one of the largest expressions of Chinese public choice for a public figure in recent history. More than 400 million viewers watched the final episode of "Supergirl" (offically named for its sponsor "The
Mongolian Cow Sour Yoghurt Supergirl Concert") this past August. And more than 3.5 million, out of some 8 million, "text messages of support" were paid at 2 cents a piece in favor of the finalist. The winner, Li Yuchun, described as a "tomboy", definitely sports an eccentric look that defies conventional Chinese beauty. Some have proclaimed the popularity of the show and Li Yuchun as a reflection of a new youth voice and taste that is a break from the past. She throws over old submissive stereotypes, and introduces a new rebellious, assertive and confident female. Other optimists look forward to future political reform. However, for now, the appeal of popular votes is spreading faster in the commerical space than in government.
Like the reality shows in America, "Supergirl" has inspired copycats. A new show "Chinese Kung Fu Star Search," looking to kick the frontrunner off the top of the ratings board, will let viewers vote by text message for their favorite martial arts master. It may be premature to project where cell phone votes can otherwise be applied, but popular culture is one place to start.