“Of Chinese Propaganda and Clean Underwear” by Ron K. Unz
Unpublished, October 1983
It is a matter of public record that over this last summer the UPI wire service carried an account of a thirty-foot-high unmanned balloon which had landed in Israel filled with nationalist Chinese political propaganda and clean underwear. The balloon had been launched from Taiwan, missed its target in mainland China, and drifted half-way around the world before landing in the Middle East.
It is not a matter of public record that one week after the story appeared, this correspondent, whose curiosity had been aroused by the contradictory nature of the balloon’s contents, arranged a private interview with the Taiwanese Minister of Political Propaganda and Overseas Advertising, Herbert Hoover Hu. The following is a text of the interview, translated from the Mandarin:
Q: Mr. Minister, what was the nature of your government’s motive in launching this balloon, filled as it was with anti-Communist political propaganda and fresh underwear?
A: Over the last thirty-four years, our government has received hundreds of thousands of fully-corroborated eye-witness accounts concerning the inhumanly monstrous atrocities committed against our beloved Chinese citizens of the mainland by the fiendish Communist bandits who temporarily control the Occupied Territories. Old men have been cut into pieces and fed to animals, women have been raped to death, and children have been tortured and eaten. All of these stories are undeniable fact. Furthermore, we have recently heard rumors that there is a shortage of clean underwear among the citizens of the People’s Republic of China.
Q: But what exactly was the purpose behind your balloon launching?
A: If our balloon had landed in the Occupied Territories as intended, we are firmly convinced that the inspiring words contained in our leaflets would have persuaded our beloved Chinese citizenry to spontaneously rise up and crush the decaying parasitic worm of corrupt Communist banditry which so gnaws at its vitals. Our invincible military support would have ensured that every last Communist was driven into the sea. If our propaganda failed to bring about such an uprising, we had hoped that our advertising samples would encourage our mainland brothers of all political persuasions to buy our underwear, which is of very good quality and competitively priced.
Q: Mr. Minister, as you know, your effort miscarried and your balloon came to earth in Kfar Gonot, Israel instead of Fukien, China. What is your reaction to this setback?
A: (Sad-faced) Naturally, we are very disappointed. Even though our Truth Pamphlets are very honest, very clever, and very inspiring, we doubt that they will have much impact on the Israeli public since they are written in Chinese characters. (Brightening) But there is a silver lining to this empty purse. Recently, our arch-enemies the South Koreans, who are very sly and ruthless, have captured 14.6% of our Israeli underwear market by means of a deceitful advertising campaign, and a cheaper, much inferior product. Perhaps the attention gained by our balloon, and the excellent underwear samples which it contains will cause our beloved Israeli allies to return to the better brand. After all, political loyalty counts for much, and our government has always firmly supported the survival of a free and independent Zionist homeland for all of the Palestinian phalangists. Furthermore…
Q: Thank you, Mr. Minister.