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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Raising the Dead

As time passes, I trust the media less and less. If my trust gets much lower, I'll end up assuming the opposite of what I read. During the latest mideast conflict between Lebanon and Israel, the main stream media was caught manipulating photographs and photographic sequences numerous times (here and here, for example). Indeed, the new term fauxtography has been coined to cover all these frauds.

So, when I read about the police crack down on striptease funerals in China, I immediately assumed that it was just a joke. While I suppose that striptease is one way to put the "fun" in "fun-eral", I figured some gullible reporter was hoodwinked by some Asian prankster, and it didn't actually happen. But I've now waited a week for Snopes to discredit the story and there's still no mention of it.

It's not just the general concept that's unbelievable. The world's a big place and there are a lot of cultural viewpoints, so the striptease funeral concept sounds (barely) plausible to me. What's even more unlikely to me is the name of the place in which the striptease happened: Donghai (pronounced Dong High). I mean really, what are the odds of that?

But it gets worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). According to Wikipedia:
In Chinese mythology, Donghai is the domain of the Donghai Longwang (东海龍王), or "the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea"
Donghai Longwang? So let me get this straight. They were using striptease to raise [support for] the dead in Donghai which is the center of Donghai Longwang. A remarkable convergence of names and places for this story, don't you think?

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