Opinion / From the Press

Cross-talk should focus on real issues

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-09 07:58

Cross-talk, a traditional and popular form of satire, has lost its charm because artists today cannot satirize current social issues, film director Guo Baochang said on the 100th anniversary of Ma Sanli, a pre-eminent cross-talk artist. Now that people are encountering many new problems and conflicts as the country undergoes profound reforms, cross-talk artists should reflect the opinion of the majority instead of being reduced to a tool for singing praises of officials, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

Cross-talk is a traditional form of talk show where two people have a conversation, which satirizes incompetent officials or social problems. The subjects are usually exaggerated stories based on social problems and full of irony. It has been popular because of two precise reasons: humor and sarcasm.

These days, however, many cross-talk artists only think about how to make the audience laugh without daring to satirize sensitive issues. The subjects are too trivial to prompt the audience to think about the social problems they encounter in their daily lives. Therefore, the art form seems to be a shadow of its real self.

There are many classic cross-talk pieces known for their pungent sarcasm against incompetent and insincere government officials, corruption, extravagant lifestyle and hypocrisy. People used to love them because they were hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time.

China today is facing many social problems, which cross-talk artists could draw inspiration from. For instance, the anti-corruption campaign is a treasure trove for cross-talk artists to exploit and let people know the intricacies of the bureaucracy and officialdom. So, it is high time cross-talk artists stopped using trivial issues in their vain attempt to please people and took up some real problems to fulfill their social responsibility.


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