The Art of Cloning MOBI Æ The Art PDF \

The Art of Cloning MOBI Æ The Art PDF \


5 thoughts on “The Art of Cloning

  1. Bertrand Bertrand says:

    'Totalitarismo' was first applied very critically to Fascsit Italy by Giovanni Amendola in 1923 By 1932 when Giovanni Gentile was ghost writing the long delayed proclamation of the Fascist dogma for Mussolini the 'Dottrina del Fascismo' he enthusiastically co opted the notion As with many political concepts of the XXth century totalitarianism is the result of a peculiar cooperation between illiberal regimes and their political opponents as attested by Brzezinski's post war elaboration of the idea in which 'monopoly on weapons' is one of the six defining traits of the totalitarian regime totalitarianism was crucial in defining negatively the boundaries of democratic liberalism In the particular case of Fascist Italy it is now widely acknowledged that despite originating the term Mussolini never came close to achieving his program of Everything within the state nothing outside the state nothing against the state Most visibly in the field of architecture the regime in fact practiced some degree of pluralism whether as strategy or compromise In a sense then totalitarianism was a collaborative project of myth making in which the liberals' picture of their political 'Other' converged with the Fascist bombastic self image With this said however though there exist a—probably irreducible—civil and popular component to most dictatorships there is no doubting regimes did pursue the totalitarian dystopia as attested by terms like Gleichhaltung or indeed Yiyuanhua in China This term has been used to describe the process of centralisation and coordination of culture and politics in China—in other words the very transition toward totalitarianism Totalitarian projects however remain invested in radical change while totalitarianism evokes images of perfect coordination and deathly stasis the Terror the March on Rome or even Stalinism all conceived of unanimity and order as means to the end of revolution of radical change Mao and his movement wavered continuously between a glorification of the masses as sole source of knowledge and legitimacy and the systematic attempt at shaping and educating them This ambivalence of the Cultural Revolution can be read in different ways as political wavering reflecting the ebbs and flows of leadership struggles as the result of Mao's own uncertainties or instability or as an inbuilt contradiction in the concept of revolution itself All those factors probably played a role but the book's approach focuses on the third one To Pang Laikwan teaching Cultural Studies in Hong Kong yiyuanhua implies both the integrity of the whole and the autonomy of the parts voluntarily submitting to a central spirit 10 'The Art of Cloning' sets out to emphasise the tension between those two aspects bringing to the fore the constitutive contradictions of the Cultural Revolution and showing how they both produced and occulted difference To the average Western eye the most dramatic and striking aspect of the Cultural Revolution 1966 76 is probably the overwhelming sense of uniformity both in terms of the objects or images that reached our shores and in terms of the homogeneous and unanimous masses who produced them The system through which uniformity was achieved Laikwan terms social mimesis a difficult process of individuals being coerced into the political order and individuals longing for identification with others in the midst of fierce competition and antagonism 10 Not only was this uest for conformity bottom up as well as a feat of social engineering offering short lived promises of stability in a world in constant upheaval but it was also ultimately self defeating because imitation involves transformation As such the performative dimension of mimesis might sustain order but it also make change possible 13 Laikwan wonders By promoting copying how much did Maoist society advocate conformity and how much did alterity actually result from this? 13 The foremost model to be imitated the Chairman himself although other characters real mofan or fictional yangban were developed An anecdote reported by the author later in the book captures particularly vividly how those inbuilt contradictions could be revealed or even subvert themselves The single legitimate poet was of course Mao himself and various versions of his poetry collections were sold in the millions in China Allegedly 21 billion single sheets of Mao's slogans and poetry were printed as posters during the Cultural Revolution but there were only about thirty poems by Mao officially published in the 1964 version of Poetry of the Chairman Mao which was far too few to satisfy the eager and huge readership A volume of unpublished poems by Chairman Mao containing a further twenty four of his poems was discovered in China in 1966; overnight it came to be considered the most precious gift from Mao to his people who not only read and recited the poems but organized workshops to study them together Some estimate there were than ten versions of the manuscript circulating in Peking University alone; they uickly reached the universities and institutions around the country in the form of handwritten manuscripts or mimeograph copies In the beginning people had no doubt about the authenticity of these works the romantic writing style of which was very much akin to that of Mao It was uickly discovered that these poems were not written by Mao but by an intellectual youth Chen Mingyuan who wrote than ten of them but was unaware of how his work came to be considered Mao's These poems continued to circulate underground and gained many sincere admirers among the readers of all over the country even after their counterfeit status was discovered But this case study also shows how propaganda broke down As shown in the generic Maoist style of Chen Mingyuan's poems he was conscious not to call attention to his uniue poetic self but followed the narrowly accepted model But when his poems were condemned as faked his own authorship was immediately unveiled condemned and aggrandized The system collapsed when the tacit copying as public secret was disclosed which also immediately displayed the systematic differentiation between writing like Mao and writing as Mao 71 72 Here then we see how cultural production through imitation could expose its own contradiction but the same was true of cultural reception Laikwan writes In its own contradictory way this highly controlled propaganda was not a top down mechanism but we see how the people traveled around and struggled to learn and create the propaganda making it open ended not a cessation of all mental work 15 Here is a delightful example so delightful in form and content as to beggar belief of the cunning of the market which she uotes from the recollections of Han ShaogongMao badges were extremely popular at one time and new designs were widely pursued immediately after they were released One big porcelain badge could be exchanged with five or six small aluminium badges One alloy steel bowl sized badge can be traded for three or four porcelain or bamboo badges But after a while the badge heat subsided and boys began to be interested in military items As a result an 80 percent new army hat was worth than ten badges and one needed two or three stamp books to buy a four pocket military uniform A while after Shanghai made Huili sneakers became the fashion particularly those in white color which could be traded in for a transistor radio plus a pair of military pants or one double sided ping pong bat with a few machine gun bullets 212After a short introduction the next two chapters explore the aesthetics of the artistic and literary production during the Cultural Revolution and their reception and circulation as well as the role they played in the Maoist system The third chapter discusses the notion of model and how it simultaneously attempted to homogenise Chinese society yet also produced independent solidarity and undermined its own message Chapter four studies one of those models in some details the generally female barefoot doctor manifested in literature visual propaganda and film or theatre with the Party's own contradictory demands on women Chapter five examines how the yanbangxi the model opera produced by the state and given a virtual monopoly during the revolution were transplanted and adapted in China's many provinces focusing on Guangdong Chapter six is another case study concerned with the importation of ballet and its derived products as well as the officials' struggle to keep at bay its erotic undertonesChapter seven concern itself with the Mao cult and Mao's own wavering rejection of it showing how the proliferation of his image ultimately trivialized both his authority and doctrine Chapter eight traces the origin of the ghost trope to describe one of the Cultural Revolution's most detested internal enemies the Maoist intellectual Laikwan has selected a very interesting angle for her book and in our times when spectacular if superficial individuality is the key reuirement for social and economic success an investigation of conformity with its pleasures and promises as well as its dangers sounded very enticing What she provides however went beyond my expectation as she emphasise how the mechanisms the State mobilised to enforce or at least encourage this conformity ultimately undermined themselves The liberal narrative with its story of self willed and divinely autonomous individuals has long been chasing its own tail and we might be witnessing a shift in conceptions of identity as some—for better or worse—recognise that by its very nature it can only be produced collectively Laikwan offers us a reminder that social and cultural engineering has pitfalls of its own not only because it can sabotage its own utopia but also because the collective is only ever a collection of individuals In hindsight the Cultural Revolution was not devouring its children for once it were the children devouring the Revolution The work is not wholly free from the strictures of cultural studies there is the occasional indulgence in value added jargon ie there is a strong epistemological desire to come up with an accurate figure for the death toll of the Cultural Revolution p 22 and the Laikwan often sacrifies general context to picturesue anecdotes and critical theory name dropping While the later sometimes feels extraneous and cosmetic it is largely limited to the first few chapters setting up her theoretical frame work which is otherwise strong original and very clear The picturesue anecdotes on the other hand are at the very least half the fun of the book Her focus on the peculiar and particular at the expense of the uantitative or typical has left me longing for a straightforward history of the period yet so many of her uotes and examples are striking and fascinating revealing of and revelling in the kafkaian and paradoxical character of Chinese daily life in those times Despite being clearly revisionist in its scope the book does not engage in endless suabbles with the historiographic establishment in fact it does a great job at putting forward its argument in 'positive' form arguing through examples and theories rather than unpicking the a nebulous 'accepted' narrative and conducting academic feuds Instead of deploring the monolithic view of the period in existing scholarship she acknowledges the need to emphasise the crimes and dismal conseuences of the Cultural Revolution and deplores the PRC's institutionalised amnesia Though it might be handy to have at least some grasp of Chinese history I was glad I'd read a couple of books on the subject before starting this one and the book would probably be better appreciated still by someone familiar than me with the Cultural Revolution the book I think can be understood and appreciated without much knowledge of cultural studies or contemporary theory I am certain I will return to it at least as much for its concepts as for its stories


  2. Inna Inna says:

    Brilliant book about the interaction of order and chaos during the cultural revolution The author analyzes the impossibility of the government's attempt to impose on a society settled patterns of revolutionary identity She describes how while copying such patterns people developed various understandings of these which eventually emptied them of meaning She also describes how the initial intent of eliminating the social differences within society by reversing social roles resulted in destroying the institutions which sustained social order and thus any sort of social security People reacted to this by emotionally distancing themselves from the revolution Overall a very interesting analysis on how an attempt to direct a revolution from above could not work and on how extreme politicization could not but depoliticize the society


  3. Andy Andy says:

    Top drawer scholarship A perpetual flow of insightful analysis of the aesthetics and politics of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution notable for Pang's capacity to transcend the ossified perspective presented to Western readers of exclusively the horrors visited upon the elite during this decade If you have an open mind or are open to having an open mind I recommend reading this perspective shifting work


  4. 8314 8314 says:

    Brutal violence is hereby committed against the individuality of things; all variation is destroyed by the curious supremacy of this one category of expressions for example when we designate all things that happen to please us for any reason whatsoever as chic or smart even though the objects in uestion may bear no relation whatsoever to the fields to which these expressions belong It cannot be denied that inasmuch as violence is done to objects treated in this way and inasmuch as they are all transformed uniformly to a category of our own making the individual really renders an arbitrary decision with respect to these objects he acuires an individual feeling of power and thus the ego is strongly emphasized Only the noblest persons seek the greatest depth and power of their ego by respecting the individuality inherent in things The hostility which the soul bears to the supremacy independence and indifference of the universe gives rise — beside the loftiest and most valuable strivings of humanity — to attempts to oppress things externally; the ego offer violence to them not by absorbing and molding their powers not by recognizing their individuality only to make it serviceable but by forcing it to bow outwardly to some subjective formula To be sure the ego has not in reality gained control of the things but only of its ow false and fanciful conception of them— Georg Simmel the Philosophy of FashionThe book lost me when I saw Pang applying read committing brutal violence with Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies to the plebian imagination of Mao during Cultural Revolution IF SHE HAD ACTUALLY READ KANTOROWICZ she would have never done that for scholastic discourses — the main object of Kantorowicz's archeological study and typo zelum celum thingy works in a very different fashion than mass imaginationWho in their right mind would think Dante's delicate pre humanistic bold theological imagination is on par with those who held Mao's portrait as an amulet?Great Ostentatious name dropping tendencies detected Seriously is she betting on the possibility that one of her reader wouldn't have read Kantorowicz? In that case she lost her bet BiglyAnd the tendency got confirmed when she uoted Freud and deemed almost EVERY aggressive behavior as narcissism of small differences I don't know if she has read Freud's On Negation — odds are nope — but there are clearly some accounts during the CR when people tried to ruin the desirable traits usually physical sexual traits in others that sprung from the mechanism of negation so brilliantly analyzed by Freud Is this nitpicking then another case of narcissism of small differences? Well no since this also echoes Freud's famed criticism on MarxismThe communists believe that they have found the path to deliverance from our evils According to them man is wholly good and is well disposed to his neighbour; but the institution of private property has corrupted his nature The ownership of private wealth gives the individual power and with it the temptation to ill treat his neighbour; while the man who is excluded from possession is bound to rebel in hostility against his oppressor If private property were abolished all wealth held in common and everyone allowed to share in the enjoyment of it ill will and hostility would disappear among men Since everyone’s needs would be satisfied no one would have any reason to regard another as his enemy; all would willingly undertake the work that was necessaryI have no concern with any economic criticisms of the communist system; I cannot enuire into whether the abolition of private property is expedient or advantageousBut I am able to recognize that the psychological premisses on which the system is based are an untenable illusion In abolishing private property we deprive thehuman love of aggression of one of its instruments certainly a strong one though certainly not the strongest; but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness nor have we altered anything in its natureAggressiveness was not created by property It reigned almost without limit in primitive times when property was still very scanty and it already shows itself in the nursery almost before property has given up its primal anal form; it forms the basis of every relation of affection and love among people with the single exception perhaps of the mother’s relation to her male child If we do away with personal rights over material wealth there still remains prerogative in the field of sexual relationships which is bound to become the source of the strongest dislike and the most violent hostility among men who in other respects are on an eual footing If we were to remove this factor too by allowing complete freedom of sexuallifeand thus abolishing the family the germ cell of civilization we cannot itis true easily foresee what new paths the development of civilization could take; but one thing we can expect and that is that this indestructible feature of human nature will follow it there— Sigmund Freud Civilization and its DiscontentsIs Pang betting on the possibility that one of her reader wouldn't have read enough Freud? In that case she lost her bet yugeOn an ordinary topic this book would be rated 3 stars by me which in my rating standard reads I can do better But since I do care a lot about the topic and I think it's profound enough that no lesser mind than those capable of respecting the individuality inherent in things should be ualified to carry out the study of such a topic hence doing justice to it and History itself stfu and take that one star ratingview spoilerOh and I don't know if it's related but if someone thinks I somehow hired a ghostwriter to write either the Goodreads review or my blog posts because somehow a math PhD specialized in algebraic geometry can't possibly read Freud Kantorowicz and Dante and understand them properly in their petty Weltanschauung that's just patheticCome back to me and talk about what human minds are or aren't capable of after you worked on a subject for three years and got pointed out a loophole by an Instagram distracted Noam Elkies during a 30 minutes informal presentation hide spoiler


  5. Yang Yang says:

    How does the propaganda culture work actually work during the Maoist Proletariat Cultural Revolution?? What is actually the cultural logic behind it? Full of fantastic analysis and penetrating insights First rate critical scholarship that thinks about history face to face


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Art of Cloning ❰Download❯ ✤ The Art of Cloning Author Laikwan Pang – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Cultural production under Mao and how artists and thinkers found autonomy in a culture of conformityIn the 1950s a French journalist joked that the Chinese were blue ants under the red flag dressing i Cultural production under Mao and how artists and thinkers found autonomy in a culture of conformityIn the s a French journalist joked that the Chinese were blue ants under the red flag dressing identically and even moving in concert like robots When the Cultural Revolution officially began this uniformity seemed to extend to the mind From the outside China had become a monotonous world a The Art PDF \ place of endless repetition and imitation but a closer look reveals a range of cultural experiences which also provided individuals with an obscure sense of freedomIn The Art of Cloning Pang Laikwan examines this period in Chinese history when ordinary citizens read widely traveled extensively through the country and engaged in a range of cultural and artistic activities The freedom they experienced argues Pang differs from the freedom under Western capitalism to express individuality through a range of consumer products But it was far from boring and was possessed of its own kind of diversity.

  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • The Art of Cloning
  • Laikwan Pang
  • 15 November 2016
  • 9781784785192

About the Author: Laikwan Pang

Laikwan Pang teaches cultural studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong She is the author of Building a New Cinema in China The Chinese Left wing Cinema Movement Rowman and Littlefield and Cultural Control and Globalisation in Asia Copyright Piracy and Cinema RoutledgeCurzon forthcomingcopied from the blurb at the back of Masculinities and Hong Kong Cinema.


5 thoughts on “The Art of Cloning

  1. Bertrand Bertrand says:

    'Totalitarismo' was first applied very critically to Fascsit Italy by Giovanni Amendola in 1923 By 1932 when Giovanni Gentile was ghost writing the long delayed proclamation of the Fascist dogma for Mussolini the 'Dottrina del Fascismo' he enthusiastically co opted the notion As with many political concepts of the XXth century totalitarianism is the result of a peculiar cooperation between illiberal regimes and their political opponents as attested by Brzezinski's post war elaboration of the idea in which 'monopoly on weapons' is one of the six defining traits of the totalitarian regime totalitarianism was crucial in defining negatively the boundaries of democratic liberalism In the particular case of Fascist Italy it is now widely acknowledged that despite originating the term Mussolini never came close to achieving his program of Everything within the state nothing outside the state nothing against the state Most visibly in the field of architecture the regime in fact practiced some degree of pluralism whether as strategy or compromise In a sense then totalitarianism was a collaborative project of myth making in which the liberals' picture of their political 'Other' converged with the Fascist bombastic self image With this said however though there exist a—probably irreducible—civil and popular component to most dictatorships there is no doubting regimes did pursue the totalitarian dystopia as attested by terms like Gleichhaltung or indeed Yiyuanhua in China This term has been used to describe the process of centralisation and coordination of culture and politics in China—in other words the very transition toward totalitarianism Totalitarian projects however remain invested in radical change while totalitarianism evokes images of perfect coordination and deathly stasis the Terror the March on Rome or even Stalinism all conceived of unanimity and order as means to the end of revolution of radical change Mao and his movement wavered continuously between a glorification of the masses as sole source of knowledge and legitimacy and the systematic attempt at shaping and educating them This ambivalence of the Cultural Revolution can be read in different ways as political wavering reflecting the ebbs and flows of leadership struggles as the result of Mao's own uncertainties or instability or as an inbuilt contradiction in the concept of revolution itself All those factors probably played a role but the book's approach focuses on the third one To Pang Laikwan teaching Cultural Studies in Hong Kong yiyuanhua implies both the integrity of the whole and the autonomy of the parts voluntarily submitting to a central spirit 10 'The Art of Cloning' sets out to emphasise the tension between those two aspects bringing to the fore the constitutive contradictions of the Cultural Revolution and showing how they both produced and occulted difference To the average Western eye the most dramatic and striking aspect of the Cultural Revolution 1966 76 is probably the overwhelming sense of uniformity both in terms of the objects or images that reached our shores and in terms of the homogeneous and unanimous masses who produced them The system through which uniformity was achieved Laikwan terms social mimesis a difficult process of individuals being coerced into the political order and individuals longing for identification with others in the midst of fierce competition and antagonism 10 Not only was this uest for conformity bottom up as well as a feat of social engineering offering short lived promises of stability in a world in constant upheaval but it was also ultimately self defeating because imitation involves transformation As such the performative dimension of mimesis might sustain order but it also make change possible 13 Laikwan wonders By promoting copying how much did Maoist society advocate conformity and how much did alterity actually result from this? 13 The foremost model to be imitated the Chairman himself although other characters real mofan or fictional yangban were developed An anecdote reported by the author later in the book captures particularly vividly how those inbuilt contradictions could be revealed or even subvert themselves The single legitimate poet was of course Mao himself and various versions of his poetry collections were sold in the millions in China Allegedly 21 billion single sheets of Mao's slogans and poetry were printed as posters during the Cultural Revolution but there were only about thirty poems by Mao officially published in the 1964 version of Poetry of the Chairman Mao which was far too few to satisfy the eager and huge readership A volume of unpublished poems by Chairman Mao containing a further twenty four of his poems was discovered in China in 1966; overnight it came to be considered the most precious gift from Mao to his people who not only read and recited the poems but organized workshops to study them together Some estimate there were than ten versions of the manuscript circulating in Peking University alone; they uickly reached the universities and institutions around the country in the form of handwritten manuscripts or mimeograph copies In the beginning people had no doubt about the authenticity of these works the romantic writing style of which was very much akin to that of Mao It was uickly discovered that these poems were not written by Mao but by an intellectual youth Chen Mingyuan who wrote than ten of them but was unaware of how his work came to be considered Mao's These poems continued to circulate underground and gained many sincere admirers among the readers of all over the country even after their counterfeit status was discovered But this case study also shows how propaganda broke down As shown in the generic Maoist style of Chen Mingyuan's poems he was conscious not to call attention to his uniue poetic self but followed the narrowly accepted model But when his poems were condemned as faked his own authorship was immediately unveiled condemned and aggrandized The system collapsed when the tacit copying as public secret was disclosed which also immediately displayed the systematic differentiation between writing like Mao and writing as Mao 71 72 Here then we see how cultural production through imitation could expose its own contradiction but the same was true of cultural reception Laikwan writes In its own contradictory way this highly controlled propaganda was not a top down mechanism but we see how the people traveled around and struggled to learn and create the propaganda making it open ended not a cessation of all mental work 15 Here is a delightful example so delightful in form and content as to beggar belief of the cunning of the market which she uotes from the recollections of Han ShaogongMao badges were extremely popular at one time and new designs were widely pursued immediately after they were released One big porcelain badge could be exchanged with five or six small aluminium badges One alloy steel bowl sized badge can be traded for three or four porcelain or bamboo badges But after a while the badge heat subsided and boys began to be interested in military items As a result an 80 percent new army hat was worth than ten badges and one needed two or three stamp books to buy a four pocket military uniform A while after Shanghai made Huili sneakers became the fashion particularly those in white color which could be traded in for a transistor radio plus a pair of military pants or one double sided ping pong bat with a few machine gun bullets 212After a short introduction the next two chapters explore the aesthetics of the artistic and literary production during the Cultural Revolution and their reception and circulation as well as the role they played in the Maoist system The third chapter discusses the notion of model and how it simultaneously attempted to homogenise Chinese society yet also produced independent solidarity and undermined its own message Chapter four studies one of those models in some details the generally female barefoot doctor manifested in literature visual propaganda and film or theatre with the Party's own contradictory demands on women Chapter five examines how the yanbangxi the model opera produced by the state and given a virtual monopoly during the revolution were transplanted and adapted in China's many provinces focusing on Guangdong Chapter six is another case study concerned with the importation of ballet and its derived products as well as the officials' struggle to keep at bay its erotic undertonesChapter seven concern itself with the Mao cult and Mao's own wavering rejection of it showing how the proliferation of his image ultimately trivialized both his authority and doctrine Chapter eight traces the origin of the ghost trope to describe one of the Cultural Revolution's most detested internal enemies the Maoist intellectual Laikwan has selected a very interesting angle for her book and in our times when spectacular if superficial individuality is the key reuirement for social and economic success an investigation of conformity with its pleasures and promises as well as its dangers sounded very enticing What she provides however went beyond my expectation as she emphasise how the mechanisms the State mobilised to enforce or at least encourage this conformity ultimately undermined themselves The liberal narrative with its story of self willed and divinely autonomous individuals has long been chasing its own tail and we might be witnessing a shift in conceptions of identity as some—for better or worse—recognise that by its very nature it can only be produced collectively Laikwan offers us a reminder that social and cultural engineering has pitfalls of its own not only because it can sabotage its own utopia but also because the collective is only ever a collection of individuals In hindsight the Cultural Revolution was not devouring its children for once it were the children devouring the Revolution The work is not wholly free from the strictures of cultural studies there is the occasional indulgence in value added jargon ie there is a strong epistemological desire to come up with an accurate figure for the death toll of the Cultural Revolution p 22 and the Laikwan often sacrifies general context to picturesue anecdotes and critical theory name dropping While the later sometimes feels extraneous and cosmetic it is largely limited to the first few chapters setting up her theoretical frame work which is otherwise strong original and very clear The picturesue anecdotes on the other hand are at the very least half the fun of the book Her focus on the peculiar and particular at the expense of the uantitative or typical has left me longing for a straightforward history of the period yet so many of her uotes and examples are striking and fascinating revealing of and revelling in the kafkaian and paradoxical character of Chinese daily life in those times Despite being clearly revisionist in its scope the book does not engage in endless suabbles with the historiographic establishment in fact it does a great job at putting forward its argument in 'positive' form arguing through examples and theories rather than unpicking the a nebulous 'accepted' narrative and conducting academic feuds Instead of deploring the monolithic view of the period in existing scholarship she acknowledges the need to emphasise the crimes and dismal conseuences of the Cultural Revolution and deplores the PRC's institutionalised amnesia Though it might be handy to have at least some grasp of Chinese history I was glad I'd read a couple of books on the subject before starting this one and the book would probably be better appreciated still by someone familiar than me with the Cultural Revolution the book I think can be understood and appreciated without much knowledge of cultural studies or contemporary theory I am certain I will return to it at least as much for its concepts as for its stories

  2. Inna Inna says:

    Brilliant book about the interaction of order and chaos during the cultural revolution The author analyzes the impossibility of the government's attempt to impose on a society settled patterns of revolutionary identity She describes how while copying such patterns people developed various understandings of these which eventually emptied them of meaning She also describes how the initial intent of eliminating the social differences within society by reversing social roles resulted in destroying the institutions which sustained social order and thus any sort of social security People reacted to this by emotionally distancing themselves from the revolution Overall a very interesting analysis on how an attempt to direct a revolution from above could not work and on how extreme politicization could not but depoliticize the society

  3. Andy Andy says:

    Top drawer scholarship A perpetual flow of insightful analysis of the aesthetics and politics of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution notable for Pang's capacity to transcend the ossified perspective presented to Western readers of exclusively the horrors visited upon the elite during this decade If you have an open mind or are open to having an open mind I recommend reading this perspective shifting work

  4. 8314 8314 says:

    Brutal violence is hereby committed against the individuality of things; all variation is destroyed by the curious supremacy of this one category of expressions for example when we designate all things that happen to please us for any reason whatsoever as chic or smart even though the objects in uestion may bear no relation whatsoever to the fields to which these expressions belong It cannot be denied that inasmuch as violence is done to objects treated in this way and inasmuch as they are all transformed uniformly to a category of our own making the individual really renders an arbitrary decision with respect to these objects he acuires an individual feeling of power and thus the ego is strongly emphasized Only the noblest persons seek the greatest depth and power of their ego by respecting the individuality inherent in things The hostility which the soul bears to the supremacy independence and indifference of the universe gives rise — beside the loftiest and most valuable strivings of humanity — to attempts to oppress things externally; the ego offer violence to them not by absorbing and molding their powers not by recognizing their individuality only to make it serviceable but by forcing it to bow outwardly to some subjective formula To be sure the ego has not in reality gained control of the things but only of its ow false and fanciful conception of them— Georg Simmel the Philosophy of FashionThe book lost me when I saw Pang applying read committing brutal violence with Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies to the plebian imagination of Mao during Cultural Revolution IF SHE HAD ACTUALLY READ KANTOROWICZ she would have never done that for scholastic discourses — the main object of Kantorowicz's archeological study and typo zelum celum thingy works in a very different fashion than mass imaginationWho in their right mind would think Dante's delicate pre humanistic bold theological imagination is on par with those who held Mao's portrait as an amulet?Great Ostentatious name dropping tendencies detected Seriously is she betting on the possibility that one of her reader wouldn't have read Kantorowicz? In that case she lost her bet BiglyAnd the tendency got confirmed when she uoted Freud and deemed almost EVERY aggressive behavior as narcissism of small differences I don't know if she has read Freud's On Negation — odds are nope — but there are clearly some accounts during the CR when people tried to ruin the desirable traits usually physical sexual traits in others that sprung from the mechanism of negation so brilliantly analyzed by Freud Is this nitpicking then another case of narcissism of small differences? Well no since this also echoes Freud's famed criticism on MarxismThe communists believe that they have found the path to deliverance from our evils According to them man is wholly good and is well disposed to his neighbour; but the institution of private property has corrupted his nature The ownership of private wealth gives the individual power and with it the temptation to ill treat his neighbour; while the man who is excluded from possession is bound to rebel in hostility against his oppressor If private property were abolished all wealth held in common and everyone allowed to share in the enjoyment of it ill will and hostility would disappear among men Since everyone’s needs would be satisfied no one would have any reason to regard another as his enemy; all would willingly undertake the work that was necessaryI have no concern with any economic criticisms of the communist system; I cannot enuire into whether the abolition of private property is expedient or advantageousBut I am able to recognize that the psychological premisses on which the system is based are an untenable illusion In abolishing private property we deprive thehuman love of aggression of one of its instruments certainly a strong one though certainly not the strongest; but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness nor have we altered anything in its natureAggressiveness was not created by property It reigned almost without limit in primitive times when property was still very scanty and it already shows itself in the nursery almost before property has given up its primal anal form; it forms the basis of every relation of affection and love among people with the single exception perhaps of the mother’s relation to her male child If we do away with personal rights over material wealth there still remains prerogative in the field of sexual relationships which is bound to become the source of the strongest dislike and the most violent hostility among men who in other respects are on an eual footing If we were to remove this factor too by allowing complete freedom of sexuallifeand thus abolishing the family the germ cell of civilization we cannot itis true easily foresee what new paths the development of civilization could take; but one thing we can expect and that is that this indestructible feature of human nature will follow it there— Sigmund Freud Civilization and its DiscontentsIs Pang betting on the possibility that one of her reader wouldn't have read enough Freud? In that case she lost her bet yugeOn an ordinary topic this book would be rated 3 stars by me which in my rating standard reads I can do better But since I do care a lot about the topic and I think it's profound enough that no lesser mind than those capable of respecting the individuality inherent in things should be ualified to carry out the study of such a topic hence doing justice to it and History itself stfu and take that one star ratingview spoilerOh and I don't know if it's related but if someone thinks I somehow hired a ghostwriter to write either the Goodreads review or my blog posts because somehow a math PhD specialized in algebraic geometry can't possibly read Freud Kantorowicz and Dante and understand them properly in their petty Weltanschauung that's just patheticCome back to me and talk about what human minds are or aren't capable of after you worked on a subject for three years and got pointed out a loophole by an Instagram distracted Noam Elkies during a 30 minutes informal presentation hide spoiler

  5. Yang Yang says:

    How does the propaganda culture work actually work during the Maoist Proletariat Cultural Revolution?? What is actually the cultural logic behind it? Full of fantastic analysis and penetrating insights First rate critical scholarship that thinks about history face to face

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *