All Hail Hall Monitor

I realize that I’m missing the point of Harold Meyerson’s column on authoritarian China, but this is seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

Its masterstroke, however, wasn’t its brilliant design but the decision, during the parade of the athletes, to have Chinese flag-bearer Yao Ming accompanied by an adorable 9-year-old boy who survived the recent catastrophic earthquake that killed many of his classmates, and who returned, after he had extricated himself from the rubble, to save two of his classmates. When asked why he went back, the NBC broadcaster told us, the boy said that he was a hall monitor and that it was his job to take care of his schoolmates.

Yes, this reflects the sensibilities of China’s anxiety-ridden regime, but it could also be an answer from a hilariously earnest, and insanely brave, kid. It occurs to me that the other 9-year-olds could think of this one as a wet noodle. “Oh man, we’re never going to hear the end of it from that guy. ‘I saved your life, suckers!’ I’d rather die in the rubble than listen to that bozo.” “Yeah man, that’s guy needs a chopstick in the eye. Let’s punch him in the kidney and steal his goat.” I mean, this is how we used to talk in the 4th grade.