I thought so! Actually when I first heard of the giant duck hauled into Hong Kong bay I too rolled my eyes. I have little patience for opaque performance art that means nothing beyond the (rather delightful) fact that artists are always challenging our sense of reality. But then I heard the rest of the story...
Many folks don't know that the famous photo of the Tiananmen Sq. Tank Man whose powerful image became the icon of freedom for our times is banned in China. Few Chinese citizens have any knowledge of the Tiananmen Sq. massacre of June 4, 1989 since any reference to it is censored. But here is where artists are more powerful than whole regimes.
The Tank Man (view the astonishing raw footage) is an anonymous Chinese citizen, who, fed up with the Chinese military crackdown on unarmed citizens, faced down a line of tanks and would not budge from their oncoming roar, stopping the entire line. Some clever visionary took the banned photo of the incident (that is now one of the most reproduced images in history) and made it safe for publication in China. Here is the new photo:
portrayed in the media.
This is the brilliant move of freedom advocates that power simply cannot defeat (and is proof of why artists are so feared by authoritarian regimes). There is no way for power to object to rubber ducks. And even if they did, they cannot escape the compelling question: why would you ban an image of something so innocuous as a rubber duck? The only answer acknowledges the very symbol that Chinese rulers wish to kill! Check-mate!