Thursday, July 12, 2007
People seem to prefer to decontextualize this image. Dropping the context makes sense: you know immediately what the picture means anyway.
Nevertheless, the decontexutalization bothers me. My difficulty isn't just that no one knows who this guy was or what happened to him. I know that the anonymity contributes to the symbolisism and can live with that. The thing that bothers me is that you rarely even see the end of the video. Some people hustle this man away. First there is a guy on a bike, then a man in a blue shirt, and then a man in a black shirt with his hands in the air. Finally two guys in white shirts come out, but they don't even need to run all the way to Tank Man because the others are pushing him off.
As far as I can tell, no one has posted this video unedited to the web. You can watch it on Frontline, interspersed with commentary. There are plenty of versions of it on Youtube with the end missing, generally overdubbed with protest music. The video should just be put out there to speak for itself, though.
Tank man did not fight against the people who dragged him off. Why?
In a better world, Chang'an avenue would be blocked off for keeps, and they'd put up a statue of a man with a couple shopping bags standing in front of a column of tanks.
In the Frontline video, a professor at Pepperdine comments that Tank Man did not bring down the CCP, but he did help down the Soviet Union. Before the Berlin wall fell, activists in eastern Europe said, "if that kid in China stood in front of those tanks, we can do what we're doing."
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The two examples I've heard about of times that were good for women, gays and porn, are the six dynasties period and the late Ming/early Qing. The latter, being more recent is better documented. It saw a flowering of writing by women and the novel The Golden Lotus, which is listed with Journey to the West and Dream of the Western Chamber as one of the great novels of late imperial China, and is also full of weird sex. Not all of it seems to be happy sex. Apparently towards the end [SPOILER]the main character is fucked to death by one of his concubines. I can't find a free version of the whole thing on line, but here's a sample of a scene where the lead character is trying to ingratiate himself with one of his wives, Yüeh-niang, whom he has been fighting with:
"Whether you go there or not is no concern of mine," said Yüeh-niang. "I wouldn't presume to tell such a simpleton what to do. But as long as you're shelling out the hard cash to maintain her as your mistress, if you don't even bother to visit her, you can be sure she'll manage to take on someone else. Where people in that profession are concerned:The subsequent sex scene seems consensual, but the emotional tension is serious. The whole thing seems like a nice combination of eroticism, humor and emotional tension.You can tie up their bodies, butDo you really think you can put your seal on her and make it stick?" "What you say is true enough," said Hsi-men Ch'ing.
You can't tie up their hearts.
Thereupon, he started to undress, sent the maids out of the room, and proposed to go to bed with Yüeh-niang and seek his pleasure with her."If I let you into the kitchen,said Yüeh-niang. "It's concession enough if I allow you into my bed tonight. If you've got anything else in mind, forget it."
You'll only make a pig of yourself,"
Hsi-men Ch'ing responded by exposing his organ to Yüeh-niang.
"It's all your doing," he joked. "You've made him so angry he's having a dumbstruck fit."
"What do you mean 'he's having a dumbstruck fit'?" demanded Yüeh-niang.
"If he's not having a dumbstruck fit," said Hsi-men Ch'ing, "how come his eye is bulging so wide, but he can't get a word out?"
"You must be delirious," responded Yüeh-niang. "What makes you think I've got even half an eye for the likes of you?" At this point Hsi-men Ch'ing:Without permitting any further explanation,lifted Yüeh-niang's two fresh white legs onto his shoulders, inserted his organ into her vagina,13 and gave free rein to:The oriole's abandon and the butterfly's pursuit.
Entranced by the clouds and intoxicated by the rain,
They are not yet willing to call a halt.14
Also reported to be good: The Prayer Mat of Flesh, which features a monk getting a tool transplant from some animal (I don't remember which). John Berthrong said the book begins with a warning to the reader "A real monk who reads this will not be aroused" and ends with a similar reminder "If you are a true monk, you will not have been aroused by this." I can't find any content from it online, though.
The benefits accorded to women, homos, and porn during periods like these all come from a loosening of traditional sex roles. It is not clear, though, that a general loosening actually counts as being good for women. By the late Qing, footbinding became a serious problem. The woman who has written the most about the flowering of women's writing in the early Qing is also, weirdly, an apologist for late Qing footbinding. As far as gays go, I have nothing but the assurance of the institute leaders to go on that this was a better time. This is something I'd like to read more on.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In any case, this ripped my face off.
Monday, July 09, 2007
I swear I know just enough about computers to get myself in trouble. Molly never has these problems. [Update: Molly says she is not shielded by some special ignorance, but merely the fact that she is willing to ask for help.]
Fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck.
Update: Fixed. Sorta, I think. After three hours. I downloaded a bunch of updates from Lenovo, which made the "display mode" menu behave differently. There still was no function that said "switch to landscape mode." But when I switched to projector mode, instead of saying "this function is incompatible with portrait mode." It just gave me a new screen that faces the right way. I think it is also now thinks there is a projector attached to the computer. Ok, whatever.
Now if only I can fix this crick in my neck.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Here is the day my brother was born.
Peyton James Loftis, 6 LB, 13 oz. It looks like he never got to "9 Ck 7/11 final plans" that day.
I took that day planner with me, and I'm sure I still have it. I think it is in the clutter of my office somewhere. I asked mom not to throw out any of the day planners, but I'm pretty sure all the receipts have gone away.
By the way, this is what Sam Pepys was up to this day in 1664
(Lord’s day). Up and ready, and all the morning in my chamber looking over and settling some Brampton businesses. At noon to dinner, where the remains of yesterday’s venison and a couple of brave green geese, which we are fain to eat alone, because they will not keepe, which troubled us. After dinner I close to my business, and before the evening did end it with great content, and my mind eased by it. Then up and spent the evening walking with my wife talking, and it thundering and lightning all the evening, and this yeare have had the most of thunder and lightning they say of any in man’s memory, and so it is, it seems, in France and everywhere else. So to prayers and to bed.
Monday, July 02, 2007
In the [Constitutional] convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself" or, before indictment or conviction, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection." James Madison responded:via, via, via,
[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds [to] believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty...