other: January 2009 Archives

dracula loves pussy
It's time for an 'other' post. That's all I have to say about that.

I was just reading an article in the Guardian's science page about Victorian literature. It seems that some scientists in the states, apparently oblivious to sociology and literary criticism, decided to study the relationship between those novels and the society of the time. Because, no one has ever done that before, obviously. They concluded that literature is not only shaped by society but it influences it too (paying attention to GCSE English could have saved some grant money there) and that ... wait for it ... the values in the novels helped 'us' develop altruistic genes.

Altruistic from dictionary.com

Here's the article I'm about to quote: Victorian novels helped us evolve into better people

From the article:

The despicable acts of Count Dracula, the unending selflessness of Dorothea in Middlemarch and Mr Darcy's personal transformation in Pride and Prejudice helped to uphold social order and encouraged altruistic genes to spread through Victorian society, according to an analysis by evolutionary psychologists.

 

Their research suggests that classic British novels from the 19th century not only reflect the values of Victorian society, they also shaped them. Archetypal novels from the period extolled the virtues of an egalitarian society and pitted cooperation and affability against individuals' hunger for power and dominance. For example in George Eliot's Middlemarch, Dorothea Brooke turns her back on wealth to help the poor, while Bram Stoker's nocturnal menace, Count Dracula, comes to represent the worst excesses of aristocratic dominance.

So. I'm going to go right ahead and mark this science project: fail

How do I know this? Well, it's a combination of many factors that were nicely tied up by degree level study of this literature and society thing. There's spending time in the real world, a passing knowledge of history, having actually read the books they mention, basic research on the authors and their background ... to name a few. Obviously, there's no way to do a detailed study in a blog post so here's a taster.

Let's do Dracula 101, as the study hilariously thinks it's about the excesses of the aristocracy. Oh. That first sentence has brought something up. We better include it. You see, if you, for example, happen to think that male rule of females in society is normal and just fine and dandy, then you're not going to think it's bad are you? If those ideas are internalized completely, you might not even notice them in a piece of literature.You might even look at a whole genre of literature shot through with the values of empire, race, class, nationalism, subservience and chauvinism and call it altruistic

The meaning might even be dependent on the reader and only exist at the moment of interaction between the two. Well, we can take a fucking guess. I'm just illustrating what a tricky thing it is.

So Dracula. I like that book and have read it a bunch of times. We have the classic vampire legends woven into a narrative with characters. There are the elements: vampire, castle, wolves, gaseous form, crypts, minions (Renfield). And then we have the story and ideologies woven into it by Bram Stoker. 

Outside of the vampire elements it is a story about two young women and their passage into married life. That's not my reading of it - that's the basic events in the book. If you don't agree then I might respectfully suggest that you haven't read the original novel in full, certainly not recently.

Looking at the characters, their actions and their relationships and outcomes the central theme of the book is clearly that women should know their place. There's Lucy, carefree, flirtatious and sexual. Killed and turned, then killed again. There's Mina, polite, restrained, loyal to her man - lives. The women in the book are utterly useless victims. Again no room in a shortish blog post but read it yourself to find a gold mine of examples.

And let's not forget the obvious. The late Victorians and next generations went on to expand the brutal racist Empire to legendary proportions and kicked off two world wars, the butcher's slab of history. How altruistic was that? 

And now my suggestions for next time: the concept of scientific method is sound so the test results suggests many problems. Let's pick just one. I'll go with the involvement, at all levels of the study, of sociopaths with little concept of what altruism actually means in a practical sense. Don't give up hope, chaps. There are courses in this kind of thing you can take.

Mylaowai responds over 'Bus Dialogues'

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chinalyst
I recently called out Mylaowai.com over his racist poem page 'Bus Dialogues', the whole blog is much the same. 

Better start off by reading why again if you're not sure:

And now he has responded, and so has blogger Sinosceptic in the comments. This is great as healthy debate from differing points of view is what makes the world go round. Sorry about the he, Mylaowai, your blog doesn't indicate your real name.

Seriously, this is what it's all about. So let's begin. And in case any of you tried to read 'The Bus Dialogues' to see what the fuss was about and found it gone or edited for phrases such as 'slit-eyes', I have a stored and dated version you can request. Here's an example:

A Prayer:
Our Father who art in Heaven,
Chinese be thy shame!
Those filthy scum,
Cowards that run,
What the Hell were you thinking?
Give them this day
In any possible way
A toothbrush and knowledge to use it.
This Celstial Kingdom,
Some power, no glory
Not clever for ever
Amen

And another:

A Haiku:
If you had no balls,
And your slit-eyes saw laowai,
How would you feel lah?

Here's  part of what I said:

This is Chinalyst's top blog of 2008. A continuous stream of hate and insults with zero analysis on the subjects it claims to care about. The owners of Chinalyst seem to have no problem with this and don't even add a disclaimer to the announcement congratulating Mylaowai on the win.You've got to assume that's because they have no personal problem with the content. But even if they pull the we-just-collect-the-feeds or free-speech defense - it was voted the best by a large margin: Shame on us.

Here's the counterpoint from Sinosceptic:

Dear all, I seem to have lost my bowling ball. Could you please insert a (dry) finger and check up your assholes to see if it's up there? It might be hiding just inside your sphincter, somewhere close to your sense of humour that you lost a long fkn time ago.
Best regards, Fkn NOT,
Sinosceptic.

And here's part of the response from Mylaowai, please read his full statement here, in which he likens calling out racism to a decline of hard fought Western values affected by failed artists:

In Hong Kong, there is a name for people like him: FILTH. Failed In London, Try Hong Kong. China has more of these losers than one can shake a stick at, and they love it here. They love it because here they can pretend they are important, here they don't have to be productive, here they can sit with their friends late at night in dimly lit apartments smoking weed and congratulating each other on not taking orders from The Man, and complaining about how the West is so bad. In a previous age, these people would have attempted to defect to the Soviet Union, although to be fair, the Russians were smart enough to see these useless idiots for what they were.
If this is what your average Chinese sees when he sees a foreigner, it's no wonder they hate us so much.

Actually, the rights and freedoms issue is a good one to bring up, why not? So, I rejoin and allow me to quote the hard fought for but vastly ignored Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, which was linked in the comments over at Mylaowai's post by Justrecently.

    Article One.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Perhaps Mylaowai, or Sinosceptic, would like to explain the connection between the perceived decline of Western values, the speculations about my lifestyle and him referring to all ethnic Chinese as dirty and 'slit-eyed' ... not to mention saying that god made a mistake creating them and it wouldn't bother him if all of them were killed?

China Blogosphere: Shame on us

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chinalystI have been inspired to write one of my 'other' category posts. Not, as some might imagine, by the continued hijacking of progressive ideals by pretenders or by ongoing global abuses but by the English language China blogosphere. 

I first came across Chinalyst via Ispyshanghai. It aggregates feeds from English language China blogs and makes them available in one string of posts. You can also get info on the individual sites/feeds. It's not half bad and I added my blog's feed in there. 

So, Chinalyst run an award whereby everyone can vote for their favourite blog on the site in several categories. Of course, this system reflects the readers/voters more than it does Chinalyst. It's not quite that simple mind you, as we'll see.

The winner this year by a large margin, picking up over 500 votes, is Wo Shi Laowai, Wo Pa Shui by Mylaowai. Now it's not unusual to see blogs where people rant on for 90% of the posts about how annoyed they are with China or how funny/weird they find it. But it has to be stated clearly: there is a gulf of difference between highlighting important issues in China (like a politics or rights blog), a humour blog that is good natured in it's ribbing (the same as you would about your own country) and outright racism/chauvinism

As is the norm for hateful diatribes, the author prefers to use an alias (mylaowai). Here's an excerpt from the poetry page The Bus Dialogues, which Mylaowai brushes off as venting on bus rides:

Dirty bodies stink of must
Hair is covered with scaly dust
Ugly xiaojies with fuck all bust
Peeps as useful as iron rust...
Kill 'em all: I'm not fussed.
Go to the page and read the lot. And why not check out a recent post highlighting Mylaowai's general attitude to women Kappa Slut, here's an excerpt:

There's this Shanghainese (presumably) whore with a face like a box of frogs who has all the warmth and charm of a lemon that lost a fight with a mangle. She runs naked into the room, and proceeds to suck off a very young boy - judging by the size of his cocktail stick, he's probably a kindergärtner. I've seen bigger dicks in J-Porn, honestly. It's pathetic.
This is Chinalyst's top blog of 2008. A continuous stream of hate and insults with zero analysis on the subjects it claims to care about. The owners of Chinalyst seem to have no problem with this and don't even add a disclaimer to the announcement congratulating Mylaowai on the win.You've got to assume that's because they have no personal problem with the content. But even if they pull the we-just-collect-the-feeds or free-speech defense - it was voted the best by a large margin: Shame on us.

In Pleasure To Be Here (Boys Climbing Ropes), Shanghai based Indie vocalist Jordan Small sings "out here we don't have to believe in anything" and he couldn't be more right. When we see clear-cut extreme hate like this it's not enough to think it's harmless and to ignore it. I'd like to think that the people I read in the blogging community would never accept talk like the above quotes if it was said out at the dinner table and it's even less acceptable in a published form. 

Of course we don't have to ban it outright or mete out punishment so spare me the faux-logical defenses of bigotry. But surely when hateful trash like that blog gets an 'award' it is our moral duty to at least pass comment on it. In the eyes of observers, silence is surely acceptance. 

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the other category from January 2009.

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