Thursday, October 21, 2004

More on the Comments

It's good to know that his labelling as a member of the black gang in my blogroll makes John feel dangerous. However, I thought I should explain the Maoist kitsch behind the names. I can't remember the sources for all of them; I think most of them come from Red China Blues, an account of life as a zealous Canadian-born Chinese (or "CBC") Red Guard during the cultural revolution by journalist Jan Wong. The book also describes the turbulent and difficult life of the modern Chinese and the Tiananmen massacre.

I was very surprised to come across a copy in a bookshop in Shanghai earlier this year. Perhaps censorship is less strict for foreign-language books or just gets ignored in cosmopolitan Shanghai: The mountains are high, the Emperor is far away, as the old saying has it. I'm not sure Wong has confessed everything she may have done in the book. Certainly she comes across as someone who would have easily thrown babies into ovens for the sake of the revolution.

This symbolism may be amusing irony for us, but this was perhaps the nadir of China's bloody history, when some even went so far as to offer the flesh of dead class enemies in workplace canteens.

Anyway, the blogs are divided, in a classic Marxist analysis, into classes.

The Cow Demon Counter-Revolutionaries are individuals whose ideas I find agreeable.

Black Hands are the think-tank blogs in the same vein.

The Old Stinking Ninth, the term for academics and the educated, is made up of the academic bloggers I like.

Foreign Devils are the China specialists, not all of whom have sound views, but who provide useful and interesting information about the Middle Kingdom.

Coming in at the bottom are those bloggers that I read but will usually disagree with, hobbled in their intellectual journeys by their faulty logic. Back Seat Drivers seem to have the back seat of a Dublin bus, so sound views of Jon Ihle are ever-more diluted amoung a growing number of incorrect opinions.

Sometime soon, I spend a few minutes to dig the proper characters out of the dictionary for the labels. Can everybody actually read the Chinese characters I've inserted?