As a man going on 30, I've seen my fair share of scuffles involving any manner of indecencies, be they funny, vulgar or threatening. But a recent one on TV still startled me.
During the recording of a quiz show called Bang Bang Bang (Great Great Great) by Jiangsu Education Channel on November 24, when the guest—controversial Chinese model Gan Lulu—was challenged by an audience member for how she became famous, she became enraged and unleashed a torrent of abuse, while her younger sister egged her on.
In the 10-minute video since leaked online, Gan's mother then stood up from the crowd and joined the verbal battle. Whenever the audience sought to ask a question of Gan or expressed their views, this woman in her 50s would scream out, insulting them in the filthiest language imaginable.
I was almost struck dumb with astonishment. Some of my friends said they could hardly keep watching after two minutes. Though this show wasn't aired, the TV station paid the price as the nation's watchdog punished it for an "abominable social influence," winning public applause.
Gan shot to fame after a homemade video by her mother showing her bathing was circulated online a few years back. Since then, she has regularly courted media attention by attending public occasions in provocative clothing, mainly auto shows.
But behind every great woman stands a greater one, it seems. And behind Gan's fame, stands her mother, who has spared no efforts to publicize her daughter. I spoke to her over the phone for an interview, where she depicted her daughter as being a "pure girl from the age of 5."
With Gan under massive public criticism, she claimed that Gan's actions were not illegal, but instead were the embodiment of art. It is actually unfair to heap all the blame on this controversy-obsessed family as the media who give them a platform in the blind pursuit of ratings should bear a large share of responsibility.
For an educational channel tasked with providing good content for young people, it is inexcusable for three shrews to cause a scene like this on its program. The sad fact remains that, out of all these antics, the winner is absolutely the Gan family which has successfully courted sensation and attracted public attention, while the TV station was lambasted.
Meanwhile, the general public also needs to rethink why such people become media darlings for being so unbridled. The reason is simple: lickspittles line up to shower them with compliments, hence why Gan's breasts become so prominent on news portals. This has become a vicious circle.
The intervention of the watchdog may help to curb this trend but the mass media's sense of responsibility and the public's self-discipline are also vital for its eradication. Gan's mother said she aimed to cultivate her daughters into China's Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga. I hope people with a modicum of common sense will just treat this as the biggest joke of the year.