Everyone lives in the Republic of Desire

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Everyone lives in the Republic of Desire

2019-01-31 10:25:19 93 ℃


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>> This article was first published in the 886 issue of China News Weekly <<<<<<<<><<<<<>>< p>

> she sings live for 3 to 4 hours every day, and can earn more than 200,000 yuan a month by collecting gifts, which frightened me. (Later, when she earned the highest income, it seemed that she could earn more than 1 million yuan a month). I asked her how the anchor got so much money, and she explained that it was a triangular relationship: when the anchor attracted many fans through talent or hype, the local hero would spend money to brush gifts to attract the attention of the anchor and the anchor and find a sense of existence.

For a long time, I told you that I was working on a real-life version of Black Mirror, because everyone in the live world of seems to be trapped in a virtual world, in a "hunger game" where money and desire are getting more and more intense . They give all they have, and in the end they get nothing but loss.

Until one day I was chatting with Mr. Li, another 25-year-old popular anchorman of the film. He said that he was actually very tired of live broadcasting, watching the computer after the live broadcasting is the same as watching enemies, but he could not help, because the income from live broadcasting is supporting his wife and children and the whole family in his old village in Hebei. Have you ever thought about Mr. Wu that you are selfish to quit your high-paying job to do this unprofitable documentary? Your parents have trained you for so many years that you could have made a lot of money to make your parents live a good life. They must be worried about you now. Have you ever thought about how they feel? I was puzzled by Lao Li's remarks. Our relationship has been very good. He never hides it in front of my camera, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how to "understand" the grass-roots culture he represents, how to find a way to tell the story I want to tell through their lives. Many times I see them as objects of observation because they are different from me.

But are we really so different? If Lao Li did live broadcast because of fans'attention and money, why did I make documentaries? Parents have always opposed me to make documentaries. When they were young, they wanted me to be a scientist, and the times changed. They wanted me to make money. Up to now, every time I tell them that "Virtual Your Life" has won another award, their first reaction is: "How much is the bonus?" Or, "When can you go back to work and make good money?" I couldn't stand the nagging, so I just turned on the camera and took pictures of them. Mother cried directly at the camera and said, "Why are you making a documentary? Even if you make some achievements, because you are a documentary, there is no future. For parents, it's a great sadness to bring up a son like me. In fact, for many years I did not let them worry at all. It seems that my life trajectory should end on the symbol of "social elite". My undergraduate course is biology at the Chinese University of Science, and molecular biology is also the subject of my study in the United States. Later, I didn't want to do research. I read an MBA in the United States, went to Silicon Valley to do Internet management work, and then returned to work in Alibaba. My last job before working full-time as a documentary was the general manager of TripAdvisor, an American travel website.

To be honest, I really like doing Internet management, like its frontier, there are many opportunities for innovation. But even then, it still feels like there is something missing in life. For a long time and at intervals, I would ask myself: "Is this what I should do in my life?"

According to my family, I am a "restless" person. People who grew up in the 1980s should remember the enthusiastic embrace of foreign cultures when the mainland was just opening up. In high school, I was admitted to Chengdu No. 7 Middle School, which is the best middle school in Chengdu. I learned that there are not only textbooks in life, but also Freud, Sartre, Nietzsche, Li Zehou, Liu Zaifu, disco, break dancing and A Fire in Winter, as well as creation, and a group of like-minded friends who can point out Jiangshan smugly together.

That three years of infatuation ended abruptly in the 1990s, and I also went to the United States with the upsurge of studying abroad . Slowly see friends settle down one by one, do research, switch to law or MBA, fall in love, get married. As the first generation of new immigrants with a good education background, you can easily enter the middle class of the United States, but your choice is mostly confined to being the middle class of the United States. < p > < p > < strong > and what I wanted to do most at that time was to drive a broken car and wander around the United States like Jack Kerouac in On the Road.

Maybe it was China in the 1980s that made my heart completely wild. Maybe I'm different from most people: I'm not interested in talking about girlfriends getting married and having children, and I'm not interested in being a stable American middle class. Maybe it's my unwillingness to be an outsider in the United States forever, a model new immigrant who can only work hard and speak English.

But I can't go wandering in America. I don't have a green card. I have to stay at school on a student visa and work illegally at Chinese restaurants on weekends to earn extra money so that I can go to bars, travel and live an American life. For a long time, I refused to read Chinese, to communicate with my Chinese friends, and after studying and working, I went crazy to study American history and culture. Until I gradually forgot the Tigers and Ang Tong, thinking that I had grown up listening to Queens and Jonny Michelle.

I started working in Silicon Valley and had the first stable relationship in my life. At that time, I thought that such an "American Dream" was acceptable to me, because it was created by myself, and it was a rare alternative like me. The American Dream was finally shattered. The lover says that you often get angry, that you want to be an American and hate the fact that you want to be an American, and that you don't really know what you want.

One night I was drunk with vodka and called my family in China blindly in the dark. I said Mom, I can't live in America anymore. Mother cried when she heard me crying. She cried when her sister cried on the phone. Mother said, "Come back, son. This is your home." A month later, I quit my job and came back. After 12 years in the United States, I came back with a little savings, not much different from when I went abroad. The only difference is that I don't have to worry about visas, language or identity. The first thing I did after I came back was to go wandering by train and car, from Xi'an along the ancient Silk Road to the border between China and Pakistan, wandering slowly in the northwest. Along the way, I saw many sceneries, met many people, visited their homes, and followed them on backpack hiking in the mountains of Yili, Xinjiang. The trip was not as crazy as Jack Kerouac's repeated trips to the United States, but it was the best trip of my life. Although the car broke down several times in the desert and there was a sandstorm outside, I had to stay in the car with diarrhea. That trip taught me that what I wanted most in my life was the freedom to experience and hear new stories. After settling down in Beijing, I began to try to make documentaries and record the stories that touched me. I also tried to make plot films, but the industry needed too much money to promote, so that I was not free. Later, I was kindly advised to return to the Internet industry to make honest money. So I started to do management work again, but I still secretly took pictures when I had time.

At the end of 2011, I left Owl Road and was going to start a business with my friends in the Internet circle. Suddenly, I remembered that a film had been filmed long ago but had not been cut, so I simply put myself six months of fake clips. To reassure me, I temporarily moved back to New York from Beijing for fear that you would be invited to dinner all day to discuss how to make money by starting a business.

But it is not so easy to make a long film when we really begin to cut it according to the standards of American documentary industry. Six months turned into a year, and then a year and a half. After the completion of The Way to Fame, I asked myself: Do I go back to make money?

There was always anxiety in those years --- if you don't go back, you really can't go back. In the Internet circle, I can be the boss, the specific affairs have subordinates to do, travel to five-star hotels, at home parents can rest assured to spend your money; Documentary is often carried heavy equipment, dragging a big box around a person to follow the shooting, everything needs to worry about themselves, the object of filming is not happy will not let the shoot, story development and shooting cycle. You can't control it.

And to be honest, how many people watch documentaries? After the completion of

, you need to deal with the media, interview and explain the purpose of creation over and over again when you go abroad for film festivals and distribute. In the past year or two, the mainstream media in the West began to reflect on the Internet, and more and more criticisms were made on the Internet culture, especially social media: the ubiquitous Internet made modern people more and more lonely, more and more confined to the small circle of values convergence, and more and more like to find satisfaction in the virtual world. Those journalists think that Chinese live culture is more advanced, extreme and terrible than American cyber culture. When I was interviewed by a famous journalist from Silicon Valley, I kept reminding me to criticize the characters in the movie. I asked her, Aren't the desires of these characters real? Aren't their pursuits of fame and wealth, emotions and social identity shared by everyone? What's the difference between Lao Li and Shen Man's hatred and love for the Internet and those on Wall Street who are tired of doing investment banking but can't afford to give up their money and status? And what qualifications do I have to judge them? Without this live broadcasting platform, Lao Li and Shen Man would surely remain at the bottom of society. Live broadcasting did give them the chance to "fight back". In the film, Lao Li's Tie Fan Xiaoyong, an 18-year-old orphan, works alone in Guangzhou, has no friends, and no girl can see him falling in love with him. Wouldn't he be more lonely without this network?

The Internet is just a mirror, reflecting our desires in real life.