Among the many signs I photographed in China last week (especially those that don't quite master the use and meaning of English words and phrases), this one, though using no English, spoke volumes to me.
This outdoor wall poster in Beijing clearly advertises Pepsi. Yup, I'm sure that's what the Chinese characters spell out (not really), but we Americans all know the Pepsi logo. But I was surprised to see one of the largest US brands using the Chinese revolutionary poses so iconic in their propaganda materials of that era. Well, whatever sells, I suppose. And I learned, while in Beijing, that there is much nostalgia for that period. I cannot fathom that, given all that transpired in those years. But, then again, we love the old movies, songs and fashion styles of the 1940s, '50s, '60s, '70s and apparently even '80s (big hair and shoulder pads?!?), even though we surely don't want to relive those years for a whole lot of other reasons.
So that's China.
Today, though, back in New York, what do I see in Times Square?
As of August 1, 2011, China's government-run news agency, Xinhua, has one of the key LED billboards in Times Square, measuring 60x40 feet (right above Samsung, which is right above Coca Cola - I hope this is not symbolic of anything, but given recent global financial news, who knows?).
The US is in China speaking its language; and China is in Times Square - ditto. Both speaking the language of commerce and commercialism.