I’ve written/griped about rock in Afghanistan before (my gripe not with the music there but the coverage thereof), but I couldn’t resist revisiting the topic when I discovered that China Central Television has deemed the subject worthy of inclusion on their spine-tinglingly amazing program Culture Express. People talk about hurling things at the television, but I’d never felt that urge until I tuned in to CCTV-9, the Central broadcaster’s English channel, home to such amazingness as Yang Rui, who achieved recent noteriaty for his anti-foreigner/Semitic rantings on air and -microblog but who, throughout his time as host of Dialogue, never ceased to amaze me with his smarmy, clueless and downright patronizing-despite-a-lack-of-knowledge-on-any-subject-upon-which-he-was-interviewing-on ways.
(Note, please, the completely objective use of the word “amazing” above: “Amazing,” in this context, refers to the astonishment that this stuff is on the air; not ‘good,’ necessarily, but astounding in the way that only Chinglish and slick-TV-with-Chinese-characteristics can be. CCTV-9 has the amazing capacity to simultaneously inspire [you couldn’t make this stuff up, it’s so amazing!] and inflame [this crap has to stop!] that part of me wonders if it’d be better for the network to go off air or to be beamed into more homes across the globe.)
What had me inspired to hurl sharp and heavy objects at my screen while living where CCTV-9 was part of the local cable package was the way in which hosts, whether native-English-speakers or not, presented stories. Shudders were not what ventured up and down my spine; it was a feeling of complete blech. Thus it is with a mixture of pleasure, excitement, disgust and dismay that I present to you CCTV’s look at Afghan rock.