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Australian Prime Minister's Spoof "Apocalypse" Speech Goes Viral In China 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the believe-it-or-not dept.
brindafella writes "Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, recorded a spoof speech about the Mayan calendar apocalypse several days ago, for radio station "Triple J". Gillard said in part, 'Whether the final blow comes from flesh eating zombies, demonic hell beasts or from the total triumph of K-pop, if you know one thing about me it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end.' The speech has been picked up in China on Sina Weibo (China's Twitter) and has achieved well over 23,000 repeats, without anyone picking up the irony." This comes on the heels of the online version of China's Communist Party newspaper picking up an Onion story about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un being named the "Sexiest Man Alive."
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Australian Prime Minister's Spoof "Apocalypse" Speech Goes Viral In China

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  • by pbjones (315127) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:23AM (#42285283)

    it was also play on a different date, 7-12-12.

  • K-pop? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Platinumrat (1166135) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:25AM (#42285291) Journal
    Then the apocalypse is already upon us and I for one welcome our Korean overloads.
  • Stupid People (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:47AM (#42285345) Journal

    will believe anything on the interwebs.

  • Shit (Score:5, Funny)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:51AM (#42285365)

    Why did nobody tell me demonic hell beasts were an option. Why am I always last to get the memo? I'm all geared up for zombies, vampires, ice ages, meteorite strikes, pandemics and alien invasions. Now I have to go study Alice Cooper videos for vulnerabilities. Is salt good or is that just ghosts? Damn!

    • Re:Shit (Score:5, Informative)

      by ciderbrew (1860166) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:09AM (#42285423)
      Too much salt will make you a ghost and or zombie. High blood pressure is a killer!
    • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:43AM (#42285591)
      Don't worry. Demonic hell beasts are handled like fast zombies. Firepower is key. Just don't rely on your anti-zombie shotguns. You want armor piercing capability. Minor upgrade to your gear, no big thing. Wait, don't you have at least one M82 for anti-alien action?? I thought you were prepared...
      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

        by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:51AM (#42285641)

        Wait, don't you have at least one M82 for anti-alien action?? I thought you were prepared...

        Please, my shit is next gen. I've got a powerbook running windows 95 on a virtual PC that I left exposed to the internet for a couple of days.

        Welcome to earth!

      • Indeed. Shotguns vs. demons, shotguns win.

      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

        by gman003 (1693318) on Friday December 14, 2012 @11:12AM (#42286879)

        But you're completely ignoring the variety of special strengths and weaknesses demons have. You can't just treat them like a subtype of zombie.

        For instance, zombies are generally flammable, and can be dispatched en masse with a flamethrower. Demonic hellbeasts, however, regularly withstand immense temperatures (theologians agree that Hell normally maintains a temperature of 666 degrees, although there is disagreement as to whether this is Celsius or Fahrenheit). Likewise, you should avoid incendiary ammunition, WP grenades, napalm, etc. for similar reasons.

        However, they also have certain vulnerabilities. Like vampires, they are vulnerable to religious symbols and holy water (although contrary to popular belief, demons have a non-denominational hatred of religion - even your Pastafarian symbols should work). And like lawyers, they can be bound by contracts, although (like lawyers) they generally get the better end of the deal.

    • by azalin (67640)
      Id Software released several training simulations with this topic quite a while ago. I guess them to be at the very least as enlightening as Mr. Cooper.
    • Salt is good for setting up a barrier against evil spirits.

      However, I have found a BFG 9000 a better offensive weapon.

    • *Salt*?? Everyone knows you destroy ghosts with root beer.

    • I have it on good authority that the preferred way of dealing with the Devil is to run him down. Getting a car might be a good idea.

      Of course when dealing with the minions of hell in general I wouldn't have a healthier or more deeply-felt respect for any object in the universe than a shotgun. Or I'd just use a chaingun, the hell with respect! Whatever your approach is, you should have a good chance as long as your cause is just, your will is strong and your gun is very, very large.
  • Sarcasm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:53AM (#42285375)
    Just like a sufficiently advanced parody can't be distinguished from a zealot, sarcasm doesn't translate. I'm sure they thought it funny and entertaining, but for completely different reasons than intended.
    • Re:Sarcasm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:54AM (#42285661)

      From my experience working with Chinese people, and I don't mean people of Chinese decent, but actually born, raised and lived in China most of their lives; they don't get sarcasm. Most of them, anyway. They don't.

      My boss is Chinese, and will stare blankly when I make a sarcastic remark about something, and most of the Chinese people around me are the same. They just have a different sense of humor, I guess it's a cultural thing. ...and it's not like I can write [SARCASM] on a notebook and hold it up like a sign. They won't get the reference either.

      • by saihung (19097)

        Yeah, the usual sense of humor revolves around stuff like slapstick and wordplay. Sarcasm and satire aren't understood.

      • by mjr167 (2477430)

        Humor in general doesn't translate very well. Even between Americans and Brits and we speak the same language (more or less) and have similar cultural roots. Yes, we have a lot of common humor, but we still find different things funny. Simply look at how British TV shows are modified when ported to the US.

        Asians and Americans have entirely different cultural roots and languages that aren't related in the slightest. I'm sure there are tons of stuff they think is hysterical and we just don't get it.

      • Not so sure about that. Perhaps they just weren't sufficiently comfortable with English. I met a girl from Hong Kong once, that was essentially the master of sarcasm. She had lived a few years in the US though. Another one living all her life Guangzhou also understood it well.

        But in my experience people with an intermediate English level mostly seems to reacts they way you mentioned. Not just sarcasm but with most humour.

      • by mikael (484)

        I've worked with people like that, and some of my relatives don't understand satire. They can understand something like "given how crowded our trains already are, introduction of third class tickets could only involve passengers hanging off the sides or sitting on the roof". But something like, "One day, Alice was walking back through the forest with a picnic basket full of sugar cubes for Dougal, when she met a couple of soldiers standing guard by the bridge. He said 'The king had instructed us to stand gu

    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      Apparently backlinks don't translate either. The link to the sexiest man alive article at huffpost doesn't even include a linkback to the original onion spoof.
    • Just like a sufficiently advanced parody can't be distinguished from a zealot, sarcasm doesn't translate. I'm sure they thought it funny and entertaining, but for completely different reasons than intended.

      Yes, much like a sufficiently advanced ploy to discredit the intelect of the western world can't be distinguished from clueless Chinese reporters...

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      >sarcasm doesn't translate

      In this case there was nothing to translate. TIL that you can be goofy without being funny.

    • when they assume a certain level of stupidity for their non-asian counterparts...sarcasm is not the their first conclusion.

  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:58AM (#42285391)

    This is on a different level from the Onion spoofs of world leaders like Obama or Kim Jung'Un. This is the real Australian Prime Minister doing the spoof. US presidents have been known to pardon Thanksgiving turkeys and part of running for public office in any democratic country is to show your "lighter side" in front of the media, but Gillard's "speech" goes beyond the realm of a simple practical joke. That or the producers of the show have done some nifty CGI work worthy of a Hollywood disaster movie.

    • by dwywit (1109409) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:14AM (#42285461)

      No - it was definitely her. I mean, "Brave" was pretty good, but I've yet to see a female ranga with a broad Aussie accent successfully rendered on a computer.
       
      And Gillard's got enough of a sense of humour to do this. Actually, some of our other PMs have said/done some funny things - Hawke's "bum" comment when we won the America's Cup, Howard's ability to take "The Chaser" on the chin - whatever else you thought of him, he kept on going for his morning jog, knowing they'd be waiting for him.

    • by Teancum (67324)

      I take it that you've never seen an episode of Saturday Night Live? They've had several prominent politicians on that show including several presidential candidates and I believe a sitting U.S. President.

      That doesn't even get into movies like Contact that featured Bill Clinton announcing the discovery of an extra-terrestrial radio signal coming from the Vega star system. Yes, I do know what the press conference that Bill Clinton was responding to was actually about (and just as nuts) but that doesn't stop

    • by mjwx (966435)

      This is on a different level from the Onion spoofs of world leaders like Obama or Kim Jung'Un. This is the real Australian Prime Minister doing the spoof. US presidents have been known to pardon Thanksgiving turkeys and part of running for public office in any democratic country is to show your "lighter side" in front of the media, but Gillard's "speech" goes beyond the realm of a simple practical joke. That or the producers of the show have done some nifty CGI work worthy of a Hollywood disaster movie.

      Not in Australia.

      Gillard has something of a public image problem and in the election comming up next year she was trying to show her "larrikin" side to win hearts and minds. People in Australia have seen this as nothing more than a joke but that does require _some_ understanding of Gillards character (typically very dry) and a sense of humour... arguably something many nations lack.

  • Humour and irony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gagol (583737) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:12AM (#42285453)
    Is it something lacking in Asia, or just in dictatorship?
    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      Is it something lacking in Asia, or just in dictatorship?

      This was on the Chinese version of Twitter. Do you think the western version is any less credulous and ready to fall for hoaxes and rumours?

      Also, China isn't really a dictatorship any more, though it's also along way from democracy.

  • by Balinares (316703) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:13AM (#42285457)

    What I would like to know is how often we mistakenly take foreign news at face value.

    It can be so hard to read the cues from a different culture.I wonder if that has been studied?

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:22AM (#42285493) Homepage Journal

      Hmm.. could be that all that stuff about the Great Firewall is just a practical joke. And North Korea is actually a real paradise with real unicorns. They just pretend to be a horrible, insane dictatorship to keep us out..

      • by peragrin (659227)

        So the mine field and walls are to prevent poachers from getting to the unicorns? Like jurassic park should have been defended?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by abies (607076)

      What I would like to know is how often we mistakenly take foreign news at face value.

      I know plenty of people who are still treating thousands years old news in Aramaic at face value.

    • by invid (163714)
      We do it with the Iranians all the time. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is really just a popular comedian in Iran. Calling the United States the Great Satan and all this talk about nuclear bombs is just wry humor. Just listen to what he says about Israel and about homosexuality. The Iranians are really confused about the lack of laughter when he comes to America for his comedy tours.
  • Erm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by philmarcracken (1412453) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:14AM (#42285463)
    As an aussie. This was not funny the first time. And not funny the second on /.

    Im just glad she listened to the right people when it comes to fiber.
  • ...this isn't even remotely the craziest thing the witch has managed to convince people of as fact.
  • 23,000 repeats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucmove (757341) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:50AM (#42285635) Journal

    23,000 repeats shouldn't mean much in China.

  • by etash (1907284) on Friday December 14, 2012 @08:37AM (#42285801)
    medvedev also recently trolled a bit, in a seemingly "i don't know i'm off camera" moment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHCSpm2kepo [youtube.com]
    • by pinfall (2430412)
      I bet what happened is some aussie DJs calledd the country that Kim Jong was staying at and after learning of the spoof the whole country committed suicide.
      • by alphatel (1450715) *

        I bet what happened is some aussie DJs calledd the country that Kim Jong was staying at and after learning of the spoof the whole country committed suicide.

        I bet that's what you wanted to happen.

  • Luckily this is something that happens only with news stories.
  • So basically, when it comes to the internet, China is like my nan?

  • by guanxi (216397) on Friday December 14, 2012 @09:32AM (#42286077)

    Humor can be hard to translate. Maybe instead of the Chinese speakers missing the Aussie's sarcasm, it's visa-versa.

  • Don't make fun of China, 'cuz Fox depends on people making the exact same assumption to get away with their bovine scat: "If it wasn't true, they wouldn't be allowed to say it."

    When your government lets you down, you're a prime candidate to join the march of the lemmings.
    • Useful to China, by the way - when the news spreads that it was just a spoof, it in turn spreads "Western journalism is all lies, and only Chinese journalism is trustworthy.". Between China's superior manipulations at home and their ally in News Corp abroad, they're winning on the propaganda front.

      Quite obviously they've honed playing the greed of the West's few to a fine art, and so are far, far ahead on the industrial infrastructure/defense arsenal and financial fronts.

      It's been sad to watch, really...
  • by assertation (1255714) on Friday December 14, 2012 @10:40AM (#42286543)

    When I was a kid there were many articles about how the increased number of UFO sightings was due in part to the anxiety of the Cold War and the bomb.

    These days it isn't enough to have a simple apocalyptic movie/show with almost everyone dead. It isn't enough to have survivors battling mutants. Now, the survivors have escape walking corpses.

    It would be interesting to read something about the unconscious hook zombie apocalypses have on us.

  • I had a Chinese friend, but she never understood my satire. While traveling on business I commented on how nice the pillows were. She agreed they were nice. Then I told her that's why I packed one into my luggage to take home. She really thought I was serious. I had to explain I was joking.

    Culture plays a big role in how people react to things. For instance, don't pull a prank on a total stranger, like a random nurse in a hospital. Depending on their cultural background you might prompt them to kill

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