Are you familiar with John Cena?
If not, good for you; he’s not really worth knowing about.
For the uninitiated, John Cena is a former professional wrestler. According to the World Wrestling Entertainment website, he’s a 16-time WWE champion, author and ‘actor’ (quotes are mine).
To quote directly from the website: “After gaining the respect of his peers by stepping to The Olympic Hero, Cena went supernova as the fire-spitting Doctor of Thuganomics, eventually reaching the peak by upending JBL for his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21.”
If you don’t understand any of that, don’t worry. It’s all nonsense.
The bottom line is that Cena is a freakishly muscled wrestler/actor in the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson mode. He is also a snivelling, simpering coward. Yes, I said it. Come and get me, John, he said, knowing full well John Cena will never read this.
Cena last week issued a grovelling apology for an alleged insult. Now, grovelling apologies are routine amongst the celebrity classes. There isn’t a week where a celebrity doesn’t say something instantly labelled racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic or a combination of all four, who then issues a clearly-not-written-by-them apology to the Twitter mob.
Cena found himself in one of those situation recently. His crime?
He angered China. No, not Chyna, the former WWE wrestler (who is dead, anyway). And not china from your grandmother’s curio cabinet. The real China.
Here’s the story. Cena is starring in a new film called F9, the latest instalment in the bafflingly popular Fast and the Furious movie franchise. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Fast and the Furious franchise, essentially it is about a bunch of good guys and bad guys find an excuse to race around the world in fast cars. That’s basically it.)
Cena was promoting the movie in Taiwan, where he made the following unpardonable statement: “Taiwan is the first country that can watch” the film.
Did you catch the offending term? Maybe Taiwan isn’t the first country to see the film?
No, Cena’s crime was calling Taiwan a country.
Now, you and I may think Taiwan is a country, because it is. Twenty-three million people live there. They have their own passports. It’s the 22nd largest economy in the world. Sounds like pretty good bona fides to claim nationhood.
But China says Taiwan is part of China, and the Chinese Communist Party – the most powerful organization in the world – takes these matters very seriously. The world has tiptoed around this issue, not wanting to irritate China, particularly in light of the fact that, according to reports, China has 2,000 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan.
John Cena doesn’t want to irritate China, either. He really, really, really doesn’t want to irritate China.
After his supposed blunder in calling Taiwan a nation, Cena posted a video apology. To make sure it got to the right people, he released it on Weibo, a Chinese social media network. And he spoke in Mandarin.
“I made a mistake,” Cena snivelled. “Now I have to say one thing which is very, very, very important: I love and respect China and Chinese people.
“I’m very sorry for my mistakes. Sorry. Sorry. I’m really sorry. You have to understand that I love and respect China and Chinese people.”
The only thing that would have made that more obsequious is if he was bowing humbly.
But why would John Cena care if China doesn’t like him? Could it have anything to do with $$$$$? Or maybe ¥¥¥¥¥?
China is a massive market for Hollywood slop. In 2020, China took over as the world’s biggest movie box office. If the producers of F9 want to recoup the film’s $200-million budget (movies have to make a least double their budget to make a profit), they’re going to need that sweet, sweet yuan.
And if that means the heroic, hyper-muscled star of the film has to grovel to the communist rulers of the most oppressive, most dangerous country on Earth, then get down on your knees, John, and say you’re sorry.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Maurice Tougas’s wry sense of humour has been amusing readers for years. He was twice named best columnist in Canada by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association and was a finalist for the Golden Quill award from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. He served one term as a Liberal MLA in the Alberta legislature. For interview requests, click here.
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