The Selling of Cute

At the risk of drawing your ire, let me just say this:

The little girl on the left is cuter than the little girl on the right.

Now when I say cuter, I mean conventionally prettier. The little girl on the left has a heart-shaped face, a wide smile with even teeth, sparkling eyes and long hair. The little girl on the right does not.

The little girl on the left captured millions of hearts around the world during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics when she appeared to sing Ode to the Motherland. The little girl on the right actually did the singing. And now both of them are at the centre of a media firestorm over a decision by Chinese officials to replace the original singer with a more aesthetically-pleasing ringer.

"It was for the national interest," said the ceremony's musical director. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."

Are you shocked? You shouldn't be. It was the type of decision people in North America make every day, no every hour, on your behalf, in an effort to provide you with maximum bang for your entertainment bucks.

I work in the film and television business. I work to help produce the shows that you and your family enjoy in your living room and at your neighborhood multiplex. My husband does too and he works closely with actors, both children and adults.

Oh, the stories we could tell you.

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