Chairman Mao Cigarette Lighter
This is the second most important thing that Ellen brought back from China this year. Not only does this cigarette lighter feature a picture of Chairman Mao, but when you open it, an electronic melody plays.
With the assistance of the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, I learned that the tune was once popular during the Cultural Revolution. Here's a sample of the lyrics:
The East is red, the sun has risen.
There's a certain irony in the capitalist motivation of this sort of souvenir that would probably provoke the Chairman, were he alive. And of course a strong sense of irony is a key element of a tacky treasure.
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