Obama’s Comedy Not Routine for Chinese Audience

At China Real Time, Josh Chin looks at Chinese netizens’ mixed reactions to president Obama’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday.

To be sure, some of Mr. Obama’s jokes managed to cross the culture barrier just fine. Photoshopped images of the president sporting a set of bangs to mask his receding hairline required little in the way of translation in a country where leaders are renowned for adulterating their comb-overs with the liberal quantities of black hair dye.

But for most Chinese commenters, more noteworthy than the individual one-liners was the general air of self-assuredness Mr. Obama displayed in making fun of his own foibles and failures—a self-assuredness many said they wished was more evident in their own leaders.

[…] Interestingly, quite a few Chinese viewers focused their attention on the end of Mr. Obama’s speech, when he dispensed with the jokes to argue that public officials and the media “can do better” in living up to standards set by the first responders and others who helped in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and other recent challenges.

“In the end Obama also said ‘serve the people,’” one Sina Weibo user observed. “It sounded so natural coming from him.”

Obama’s speech can be viewed at WhiteHouse.gov.


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