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Pt 2: Redneck Games - While the best athletes in the world gather in Beijing, there's a very different kind of competition taking place today in Minto, a small, rural town in southern Ontario. The town is all set to launch the third annual Canadian Redneck Games, a three-day bonanza featuring events such as "bobbing for pigs feet" and the "Mud Pit Belly Flop."
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It's Friday, August 8th.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will meet with his top strategists next week to try to figure out how to respond to the fact that Stephen Harper's has dared them to force an election.
Currently, Apparently there's some confusion about the precise legal ramifications of "triple-dog daring" him to call one himself.
This is The Current.
China's Culture of Humiliation
Just in time for the Olympics in China, the world's largest airport is complete. Brand-new skyscrapers dot the landscape. And thanks to a government sponsored "civility campaign" Beijing residents have been instructed in the finer points of interacting with people from other countries.
For the Chinese Government, the games are a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show off a carefully polished, modern image of the country one it hopes will persuade the rest of the world to start treating China with the respect the leadership feels it deserves. Many Chinese citizens have taken up the cause. But not many are as dedicated to it as Chen Giaming. He rode a tricycle 65-thousand kilometres across China to "propagate the Olympics." Then he took a break to tell the CBC's David Gutnik about it.
But despite the dedication of people like Chen Giaming to the cause of selling China's image to the world there's also a lingering sense of resentment throughout the country about having to do just that a sense that China shouldn't have to explain itself to countries that many Chinese believe are woefully ignorant about their own culture and history.
So as thousands of athletes, journalists and spectators from every continent prepare to spend the next 17 days rubbing elbows with 16 million Beijing residents, we've gathered three people for their thoughts on the cross-cultural tensions the Beijing games have laid bare.
Jan Wong is a journalist and the author of Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found. She joined us in Toronto. Simon Li is a Lecturer at the Yew Chung Community College of International Studies in Hong Kong. He also joined us Toronto.
And Daniel Bell is the author of China's New Confucianism. He teaches political philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Listen to Part One:
While the best athletes in the world gather in Beijing, there's a very different kind of competition taking place today in Minto, a small, rural town in southern Ontario. The town is all set to launch the third annual Canadian Redneck Games, a three-day bonanza featuring events such as "bobbing for pigs feet" and the "Mud Pit Belly Flop."
The competitors take great pride in their athletic prowess. And many of them are proud to call themselves rednecks. Now, not too long ago, the term redneck had almost universally negative connotations. So clearly something is changing. So much so that comedian Scott Harris is having a tough time figuring out how to prepare for his gig at the Redneck Games.
What to wear, and how to prepare. Perhaps Belinda Wick-Graham can offer up some advice. She's the Business and Economic Manager for the town of Minto, Ontario and the organizer of the Canadian Redneck Games.
Okay, so lets recap. Nascar, beer and gunracks are the hallmarks of the 'true' redneck -- in the United States or Canada. And the celebration of Red Neck culture is growing, from redneck games to redneck comics to redneck country music. Jim Cobb has given a lot of thought to why that is. He teaches history at the University of Georgia in Athens. He's also the author of Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity and he joined us from Athens, Georgia.
Song: Redneck Woman
Artist: Gretchen Wilson
Album: Redneck Woman
Label: Sony, 2004
Listen to Part Two: