And then there was Lei Feng. He was a completely unremarkable soldier who died in an unremarkable fashion after getting hit by a telephone pole. But Mao arbitrarily decided to declare him the nation's greatest hero. Various staged photos supposedly depicted him doing good deeds, and stories of his heroics were inserted into textbooks in every school. A diary belonging to him was "found," and it contained nothing but flowery praises for Mao.
Doves and submachine guns. China gets it.
Then Mao recruited high school students to his cause, calling them the Red Guards. Mao tasked these teenagers with correcting the bourgeois elements in society and effectively gave them a legal blank check to do it by whatever means they chose. This went exactly how you'd expect -- they started ransacking people's houses and beating them if they were found to own anything even remotely Western, such as ties.
What happened to him?
As he got older, Mao started worrying about his own mortality and subscribing to the Taoist belief that having sex with virgins lengthens one's lifespan. Young girls were brought from all over the country to help him on this monumental task. Mao often had fivesomes or sixsomes and watched nude underwater ballet shows.
Even Enver Hoxha bows to Mao's monumental crazy.
He still died in 1976. We have to be honest, we're kind of surprised that didn't work.
Ethan Lou is a freelance writer. He blogs at ethanethan.tumblr.com, his Twitter is twitter.com/Ethan_Lou, and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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