Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Chinoiserie

If I had time I would read all the contemporary Chinese novels discussed in the August 4/11 Nation. If you read the articles and then do a search on the book titles, you will see how famous each one is. I am interested in them because they sound interesting, but also because I kept hearing, in Peru, about the need to emulate China.

Peru is already very Chinese, by Bering Strait heritage and also because there has been so much immigration (to use a partial euphemism) since Abolition. But so much open, sanguine speech about further ecological depredation and general disregard for human life makes me wonder: how far down the path of destruction is Peru really willing to go, and how much further IS there to go? In other words, how truly bad do things get before death? In China, it appears, they get quite bad and death comes late. Yet it may be that these things are already happening in Peru and I have been shielded from them, and that the dark future I imagine for this country is with us now.

And yet other countries have gone much further, I know. And in Peru it is still possible to eat, and this is important, I know.


The planet, in any case, is so close to seriously morphing that I really wonder: is the Chinese fiesta of dollars and yuan just an attempt to enjoy the last few decades we have to the fullest extent capitalism will permit? Or am I merely too unimaginative? Are we riding blindly on to thermal death, or do we actually know already how to create a sustainable postapocalyptic technoculture? I have heard that the industry in “climate ready” seeds (seeds which grow without water, in nutrient poor earth, and so on) is booming, and that patents are being taken out on these.

In any case I am very interested in these Chinese novels. Perhaps I should read just one, even though I “do not have time.” Reading for Pleasure Wednesdays are designed, after all, to cause me to read for pleasure. When this post comes up I shall choose at least one.


Also available for stimulating and pleasurable reading is Ginmar’s post, via Jennifer, which raises various important topics. Among them: 1. Obama/Biden should point out that McCain owns more houses than he can count. 2 [and this really is the focus of the post]. A serious and complex discussion of hate speech and its ramifications. 3. A clear discussion of why feminism matters. 4. An explanation of the very important distinction between power and privilege. 5. A discussion of hate speech, xenophobia, and racism.

The post ends with an observation I’ve made, too, that English-only advocates are so often deficient in language and literacy skills themselves, and a question I am not sure how to answer. “So, what do we do? How do we talk about this?”


3 thoughts on “Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Chinoiserie

  1. On my blog I’m exploring a conceptual or metaphysical link between knowledge and morality. It seems to me that the current populist ideal is to hold that people are born fully knowing everything they need to know, as if they had each been pulled out of the head of Zeus. So, those morans or maroons, who want to teach others how to speak English real proper, seem to be the ultimate upholders as well as victims of this view that implicitly links moral value with the quality of seeming to already know something (or believing that you already know something — which is more often the position most easily obtained.)

    Misogyny and racism are, of course, generally products of not wishing or wanting to know how the other person really experiences the world. (It might turn out that they experience it much like “us” only with more hostility surrounding them.) It seems to me that those who do not wish to know tend to take the superior position that it is because they already know all that there is to know (ie. because they are “noble”) that they do not care to know what is happening to somebody else.

  2. And now, observe Christian Parenti’s article on the class struggle in the new China. Consider possible Peruvian parallels … which of the things have already happened there, which could happen again? The two countries seem to be in the same general mood as per the last sentences of the piece, though.

    Discuss – I am very interested.

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