Archive for January, 2012

Coffee Table Books

January 28, 2012

Coffee table books are guilty pleasures, and here in tubbyland citizens tithe a percentage of their earning for their purchase and circulation in public libraries.

Where to begin?

Deborah Harry and Blondie Picture This by Mick Rock (Palazzo 2010).
Hollywood has a long and promiscuous relationship with dyed peroxided blonde femme fatales beginning with Mae West. Deborah Harry, the Queen of Power Pop who is 67 this year, changed the equation somewhat by avoiding the direct sexual come-on dimension, and established a new relationship between the lens and subject. A mix of alternative blonde glamour, fun and pop art. Anyway, Rock’s photos are fab as instanced below.

However, we must go west to California for the real beginning of this post, and the construction of The Garden of Allah apartments on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in 1927 by the multi-skilled silent movie actress Alla Nazimova.

This was the abode for you if you were a rich, talented amoralist with an appetite for alcohol, Bolivian marching dust, brawling and promiscuity. This truly degenerate home-away-from-home for literary and acting luminaries of the day, including that arch-skunk from Tasmania Errol Flynn.(1)

Like yours truly, Flynn had an enviable school record. “In 1926, he attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore School)[11] where he was the classmate of future Australian Prime Minister, John Gorton.[12] He was expelled for fighting and, allegedly, having sex with a school laundress.[13] He was also expelled from several other schools he had attended in Tasmania”.

Celebrated in song by Joni Mitchell and Don Henley

And this brings me to Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon by Harvey Kubernich, lushly produced by Sterling Publications in 2009, and chockfull of luscious photos and reminiscences by the musical progeny of this section of the Hollywood Hills.

My favourite has to be the snap of Jackie De Shannon, brilliant songwriter, escapee from the Brill Building and all round mistress of her own destiny. (Why she is not lauded by feminist scribblers today is totally beyond me.) When You Walk in the Room still resonates today as does Don’t Doubt Yourself Babe.

Perfect 360 degree singles.

Jackie De Shannon and Ford Mainline

A full review of Canyon of Dreams by Holly Cara Price (what is it with Americans and their names) in the Huffington Post can be read HERE.

While this is a fabulous read about an epoch saturated in innocence and possibility in The Promised Land before smack etc dampened the party, I have serious retrospective concerns about the musical product turned out by The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby Stills @ Nash and The Doors to mention but a few.

The list is bloody endless, since the LA sound dominated much of the sixties and all of the seventies. In fact, I cringe when I think of all the lunch money spent buying vinyl on the above. However, Tim Buckley gets a free pass with Sweet Surrender from his Greetings from LA.

Sexy stuff with a serpentine rhythm section.

Maybe a few other things survive in 2012, namely Cruising with Ruben and the Jets, Zappa’s homage to Doo Woop and the first incarnation of the Byrds with their warm jangly Rickenbacker sound combined with visual style. And no prize for the reader who can provide the Peter Fonda joke about the Byrds. The massive wiki entry HERE should provide the clue.

If I were to highlight the LA sounds which still grace my fond memory bank, I would opt for the year 1966 before the City of Angels sound-zeitgeist adopted the country-lite sound of the Eagles et al. This was the year of the Sunset Strip riots when long haired pot smoking youth rebelled against the heavy- handed street clearance tactics used by the para-military LAPD, which is brilliantly described by Mike Davis and who is America’s greatest living social historian HERE. My previous references to Mike Davis in the backpost: Manifest Destiny Meets the Pacific.

1966 saw guitar-based psychedelia reach its peak with bands like Love, The Seeds, Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five, Shadows of Knight and numerous lesser lights, who had parents able to afford fuzz boxs and farfisa organs. As far as the recommendation department goes, I suggest some of the lesser lights and this Volume 20 compilation in particular, which is in turn part of a 26 disc series of garage compilations.

Volumes 1, 2,and 3 also cover the LA scene circa '66 and '67.

Lets conclude with some sound illustrations. The Third Eye by The Dovers. Guys, lets emulate the Byrd’s, make millions, buy a Mustang and meets lots of chicks.

And another favourite. The Trip by Kim Fowley who is a whole other post in HIMSELF.

I’m done and didn’t mention China once.

Oh yes, Footnote 1. Errol gets a mention since I’m ebaying a copy of Showdown his second novel. First ed, Invincible Press, 1946 with half a dust cover. Very good condition. No foxing.
The cost of all the hired help employed around tubbyland is killing me.

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Offline..Content Purge and New Directions.

January 18, 2012

Leave you with a back post on the Sport of Kings.
Fine Cotton Races in Wuhan.

Sayonara Sino content.

This site is presently being reoriented content-wise towards musicology, cinema and reading materials (plus some of my truly lousy photography) as time permits, since I’m also in the process relocating residences.

Hopefully, this shift will result in a new reader demographic which hopefully includes some female representation, but only time will tell. Whatever, blogs are first and foremost platforms for self-expression.

In line with this full paradigm shift content purge, China henceforth will be little more than a reference to crockery. And the blood-letting begins with my Blog Roll and the insertion of two new and highly recommended entries.

Fittingly, lets start with a quick obit on one of the Queens of the Chitlin’ Circuit Etta James. While Etta isn’t one of my favourites, she nonetheless does a killer version of I’d Rather Go Blind with equally killer brass lines.

Informed musical comment/suggestion most welcome, but I have to say that most discussion of this nature already takes place on Mike’s site (the Beatles notwithstanding).

Riders on the Sino-Storm

January 16, 2012

This is an unpleasant subject, but dire times call for integrity, a strong stomach and a modicum of google research. Some context. The Telegraph recently reported that:

13,000 officers and two force helicopters have been deployed in the blanket search for Zeng Kaigui, a former People’s Liberation Army policeman, after he shot dead his latest victim in a £20,500 bank heist in the eastern city of Nanjing over the weekend.

Zeng is also suspected of killing six people and injuring two others during separate armed robberies in major cities in the south west of the country since 2004, stealing an estimated £50,000.

We learn that Nanjing is in total lockdown, and that Zeng, the really bad element in question, is highly skilled in avoiding surveillance, a master of disguise and weapons expert who only communicates with body language when ordering his daily noodles. Furthermore, this murder and heist artist has been into this gig since 2004.

{For fans of Japanese cinema, the apt movie reference is Vengeance is Mine made by the director Shohei Inamura in 1979. Great review by Midnight Eye.
Always a brilliant site.]

The Peoples Daily and numerous other tabloids come up with virtually the same information, so I will spare you more links and provide some musical background for the rest of the read.

Now Danwei, a Shaun Rein-type site, resurrects itself in one fell swoop with a long must-read piece, although it took a guest writer – Robert Foyle Hunwick – to perform this christian miracle with his reportage on Chinese Serial Killers.

Now, China is always playing the victimhood game, must-catch-up- with-the-West card, but when it comes to mass murderers with a truly gruesome bent, this drivel does not apply. It is producing serial killers at an exponential rate, and they are right up there with the competition in terms of ingenuity and strange fixations: necrophiliacs, hammer murderers, vivisectionists, child murderers, devotees of dungeon incarceration, cannibals, etc.

In brief, we are talking about really sick creatures who prey on the weak and transient: children from dirt poor villages to sex workers and mobile migrant workers. And these are just some of the instances which have come to public attention. Hunwich’s bibliography provides further reading in the same vein HERE, and I can add HERE and HERE.

And it is within this context that Henan province is getting more than its fair share of attention, such that there is now a backlash by the citizens of that grubby backwater HERE. Now, given the general characterisation of the Uighurs as shiftless, criminal layabouts, all I can say is good luck, suckers.

This brings us the East-West literary conundrum. Popular western fiction is so overloaded with novels featuring CSI/profiler detectives-types matching wits with high IQ mass murderers, that one almost risks one’s sanity when perusing the shelves of any lending library or bookshop. Yet, we find no equivalent popular literature in Sino-land. Or, for that matter, straight biographical accounts of mass murderers and the man hunts which bought them to justice and the bullet.

And the reasons are obvious. Such a popular literature would point to total police indifference to the fate of those of its citizens lacking guanzi, money or political connections, not to mention the non-existence of modern forensic investigation techniques. Finally, the bleeding obvious, being the lack of a free press. At best, if you are a Chinese reporter investigating this type of criminal malfeasance, restrict yourself to mass murderers in adjacent provinces and keep you job. All taking place in a social formation which now spends more on domestic public order personnel than it does on its military forces.

This is in stark contrast to that very popular form of fiction writing in China known as Officialdom Fiction. OF is both a fiction of public cynicism and also a civil-ethical pedagogy. It realistically represents public expectations of Sino-bureacracy, and is also a learning tool for bureacrats-to-be, teaching them an array of tried-and-true techniques to climb the greasy pole of government employment. If you are not acquainted with this genre, try HERE, HERE, and this website HERE.

It is high time China’s mass murders demanded their five minutes of sunshine and a Truman Capote of choice, so they could have their exploits recorded for posterity. They would be dark, gruesome narratives of blood rage, greed, cruelity and social rootlessness, told within a context of official apathy and investigative ineptitude. Officialdom Fiction is a literary form which is positively seductive in contrast.

The Decline of the West

January 12, 2012

Its time to clear the deck with some faux philosophical cogitations beginning with Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, Volume One being published in 1918. As the wiki entry notes, Spengler’s investigation into the origins and trajectory of Western civilisation, consisted of a rearvision review of the eight High Cultures in World History. And such big picture stuff greatly exercised the chatterati of the day.

Apparently, we are all participants in a Faustian culture… where the populace constantly strives for the unattainable—making Western Man a proud but tragic figure, for, while he strives and creates, he secretly knows the actual goal will never be reached.”

Now there may be a grain of truth in his observation, since we are basically acquisitive creatures never satisfied with our ownership of stuff and coffee shop conversation points. Lord knows, I have a heavy wish list at the moment eg. new Ray Bans, an expensive timepiece plus holiday in Jamaica.

However, Spengler was way off in his Romanticist ruminations, since he timed the beginning of Western decline in the early twentieth century, primarily because he took a dim view of democratic processes and money politics. And for Sino pertinence, Spengler characterised China as the third High Civilisation coming in a close third after Egypt and Babylon. Not bad associations, when we think about 1) the construction frenzy taking place in China today and 2) the wealth divide and the Hurun list.

Hegel: Preemminent Idealist Philosopher @ snuff user


Hegel, another big picture dude, claimed that China had no history. It simply ‘vegetated in the teeth of time’, as a cyclical political entity, with its repetitious rise and fall of Monarchs/Dynasties, but no actual political progress, as instanced by the West in its long shift from feudalism to the modern democratic state.

Pls note, I’m not talking about China’s recent ability to manufacture stuff for both domestic consumers and the global market. The idea of Monarch or Sovereign must be viewed within the classical philosophical context, as both a system of autocratic government and a popular consciousness or Sino mentalite of passive acceptance, Charter 08 notwithstanding.

In googling this line of though, I came across Metaresearch on Hegel and these paragraphs caught my attention:

“The Chinese regard themselves as belonging to their family, and at the same time as children of the State. In the Family itself they are not personalities, for the consolidated unity in which they exist as members of it is consanguinity and natural obligation. In the ‘State they have as little independent personality; for there the patriarchal relation is predominant, and the government is based on the paternal management of the Emperor, who keeps all departments of the State in order. .. The duties of the Family are absolutely binding, and established and regulated by law.

This family basis is also the basis of the Constitution, if we can speak of such. For although the Emperor has the right of a Monarch, standing at the summit of a political edifice, he exercises it paternally. He is the Patriarch, and everything in the State that can make any claim to reverence is attached to him.

The next thing to be considered is the administration of the Empire. We cannot speak, in reference to China, of a Constitution; for this would imply that individuals and corporations have independent rights — partly in respect of their particular interests, partly in respect of the entire State”.

(The self-described ‘Prussian patriot’ who runs this site, and who direct quotes Hegel above is onto something. However, I would not recommend his conclusions found at the bottom of his Hegel quote. Hit his About button HERE. He looks like a Rastafarian and espouses a variant of Anarchism and anti-Semitism, surely a weird mix. No, that is too mild. The dude is barking mad.)

While Hegel also had made some acute observations about the first wife and concubines in the Sino-household (cf Metaresearch), I’m going with the main thrust of his argument. Substitute the CCP for the Emperor, Monarch or the Head Honcho of the Patriarchal Household, and it’s hop step to the argument that Chinese political discourse is one of Autocratic Absolutism. Dynasties establish themselves, collapse and succeeded by a variant of the same. Calendrical time is of little consequence. All you have is the discursive time of a Sino-Absolutism, and that is time perpetually suspended.

Okay, lets lighten up here and return to Spengler and his claim that the West began its decline in the early twentieth century. Now, if you think of this decline in terms of military capacity, and with the US in mind, forget it. The US has a lock on the military world domination button till about around 2040. And given what I have said above, the PRC will again be a civilisation of much lesser consequence by then.

If we turn to the social decline of the West, what would be the seminal markers leading to this u-turn onto the Perdition/Decline Highway?
The Tate-LaBianca murders?
Altamont?

Not even close.

This was a two-step process, which began with the advent of MTV in 1987 which well and truly broke the Faustian Western attachment to creativity and imagination. The second step in this dumbing down of popular culture has to be the 4 hours of Asian Pops broadcast every Saturday morning on tubbyland’s multicultural broadcaster SBS.

Way Cool on Hainan Island……Part 2

January 9, 2012

Just so you know we are both on the same page, here is your calligraphy lesson on writing Surfing in Mandarin:Ehow video

The history of surfing on Hainan Island began in 1986 when Australian surfer Peter Drouyn sought to establish a surfing academy on said island.

Peter Drouyn then

After a decade long career in professional surfing – a career that included top-tier victories and contributions such as of man-on-man surfing – Drouyn retired without any tangible rewards for his efforts. In November 1985 he told Tracks, ” Look, I’ve got nothing to show for all this achievement, skill and creativity. I could go and be a tyre fitter or I could stick myself back into something different and see where it goes.”

So Drouyn did a course in Asian Studies at Griffith University, and whilst there got the idea of introducing surfing to China. After finishing the course he spent many months ploughing through the red tape that would allow him permission to do so.

Drouyn’s ambition to enter a Chinese team in the 1988 ISA came to nought, and God it must have been a stressful gig, as he went on to out himself as a transgender reassignment candidate with the new name Westerly Windina.

Westerly today, plus vintage board

The next loawai surfing entrepreneur on Hainan was Brendan Sheridan who pioneered the Hainan Open in 2008, China’s one and only surfing competition.

Tremendous visual of pure wave concentration - Hainan

Another excellent account of attempts to open China to surfing culture courtesy of ESPN can be found HERE,
pro surfer Holly Beck discusses Sino-surfing HERE, and we are now in the middle of the Hainan Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival presented by Quiksilver January 6 to 14, 2012 HERE.

Former ballerina, pro long board super hot pin-up Darci Liu. San Diego

While Hainan has serious surfer unfriendly pollution issues (eg broken glass), and women fear that farmers daughter tan, Sino-surfers are also acquiring an enviro-conscious mindset.

HERE is my favorite link and quote: One afternoon, when Mr. Sheridan took two young Chinese couples out for a surf lesson in Sanya, he got an unusual request from one of the women. “Can I take this umbrella with me onto the surfboard?” she asked.

Lets leave it here for now, but I give you a major league prediction. Young Chinese urbanites will adopt surfing attire in a big way too soon in the future, and I shall address that cool style claim in another post.

Hainan Open official website:

http://hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/china-cup/

Glossy and clunky, and a corporate group grope to put it mildly, with the stodgy Agricultural Bank of China getting in on the act.
A couple of nice photos though.

Second day results naturally sees Australia leading the Team events with the French coming a close second.

Below two way cool women long board riders.

Yuko Shimajiru heading for a Formosan sunset. Also ranked 17 ASP

Hatsumi Ui. Ranked 17 ASP
Yoko Shimajiru heading into a Formosan sunset. Also ranked 17 ASP

Want to build your own hot list, well THIS is where you go.

Finito. Promise.

Way Cool on Hainan Island….Maybe. Part 1

January 9, 2012

Despite its extensive coastline, East and South-East Asia is not exactly noted for its beaches, sun, sand and surfing activities. China Beach (some 30 kilometres long and south of Da Nang) has a website which provides a 48 hour wave forecast. Relatively small waves depending on open water access. Given the extent of Vietnam’s coastline, surf tourism is relatively undeveloped, and there is always the unwelcome possibility of UXOs (unexploded ordnance).

No Apocalypse Now war porn references.

.

There are some identified surf spots around Hong Kong and along the Guangdong coastline , but I just can’t see it for obvious water quality reasons. Ditto for Zhujianjin Island off Ningbo. To view this information, go to www.magicseaweed.com

The east coast of Formosa (formerly known as Taiwan) offers small waves and what appears to be a pleasant tourist experience, while Japan has a serious surf culture as illustrated by this website, but I recommend that you purchase a good wet suit before venturing forth. However, no sharks it seems.

Water Babe in Peril

And this brings us to surfing in China and Hainan Island in particular. Hainan is variously discussed in superlatives by its spruikers as the Chinese Riviera, China’s Gold Coast, etc. Its claim to fame thus far relates to its being the home of the PLA-N nuclear submarine base (close to Sanya), boom and bust real estate market and massive sex industry.

It is also a major golfing entrepot (Mission Hills, no doubt spruiked by that odious Greg Norman), the host of the politically correct Miss World Contest and its yacht showrooms catering for PRCs mega-wealthy and clueless. In short, a rich source of critical commentary on much that is wrong with social wealth relations in China today.

To be continued.

DEFCON2….Reds Invade the Waves

January 5, 2012

I was supposed to be taking a break, but the daily news feed has moved the TDF (tubbyland Defense Forces) onto the second highest state of military alert, and you called it correctly. Once again the PRC is the bad element in the global woodpile. I shall attempt to deal with this situation in visual terms, but that does not lessen the fear.

The Great Southern Land is noted for thongs (flip flops to you aliens), casual sex, weapons grade ganga, cricket, rapid uptake of digital technologies and gormless politicians, but most of all for its Endless Summer surfing culture.


Margaret River WA

And, as you would expect, this culture supports a healthy artisanal industry of board designers, shapers, manufacturers and boutique surf shops.

Personal preferred board

Today Bloomberg reported that Paradise Lost for Aussie Surfboard Makers Amid China Imports

From Bells Beach to Brisbane, Australia’s board builders are facing a choice: close down, or try to preserve local designs and branding by applying them to products made abroad.

“Surfing is almost our national pastime,” Blauw (Spokesdude for the Oz Surfboard Manufacturers) said of the birthplace of the three-finned “thruster” surfboard in 1981, which changed maneuverability and revolutionized the sport. “But small manufacturers like ourselves are shutting down left, right and center.”

And this is the culprit. Sedition surfboards, retailing for $A230, in part due to an unfavourable exchange rate

Okay, lets give the xenophobia a rest and look at a positive development on the beachscape. Is surfing still the preserve of white dudes and dudesses (I worry about the latter), but we are experiencing a national emergency here.

Brief answer, no.

IQ Test. Which Asian nation is making a major imprint on the Oz surf scene: DPROK, Formosa, Cambodia or Japan.

And no holiday to the Caribbean if you selected Japan.

Japanese tourists and long-stays are now a commonplace in the waves and rapidly gaining a presence in competitions. Fearless on big waves and deft in the pipeline, and probably successful with Oz beach babes to boot.

Sixteen year old Hiroto Arai

And the really hot dude to watch is 16 year old Hiroto Arai, originally from Chiba Japan, who still retains his Japanese good manners – “I’m so happy to win here in Queensland. All surfers are fantastic here and I feel honoured to take out the event,” he said – after winning the Rip Curl Grom Search at Coolum Beach reported Surfing NSW.

HERE is a link to the best surf websites around incl French (Teahupoo) and Japanese sites.

You will note that I linked the the seminal Oz surf movie Endless Summer above. Well, here is a bit of Japanese reverse engineering.

No caption required, and you can google for more information.

And how better to finish this piece. Aliens, eat your hearts out.

Back Link on more Surf Culture:
Nov 20 2011
Manifest Destiny meets the Pacific.

KTs Juvenile Thoughts on the Soft Power Discussion

January 5, 2012

The non-virtual version with accompanying peanut gallery

As you are aware, Dear Reader, the chatterati are presently involved in a drag-em-down full-on Texas Cage Death Match. As I previously noted, Justrecently defined the PRCs new conceptual parameters in no uncertain terms. Chinageeks has successfully ditched most of its old school comment base of trolls (incl myself), and reinvented itself with a new generation of interesting posters. Peking Duck, is as you would expect, steady at the helm. Seeing Red in China goes for the long historical sweep, but ignores the role played by the Mongols in developing and systematizing the Old Silk Road(s). Note: There was more than one trade conduit to Medieval Europe. Adam Cathcart’s main site piles on, and the following comes out of exchanges which took place there.

To cite from wiki:

The primary currencies of soft power are an actor’s values, culture, policies and institutions—and the extent to which these “primary currencies”, as Nye calls them, are able to attract or repel other actors to “want what you want.”

Now, I’m going out on a limb and arguing that Nye’s concept of soft power primarily appeals to Western scribblers as it gives them a free kick when it comes to China and how it is presently governed by the CCP. If anything, contemporary China suffers from an excess/a full spectrum of negative charisma outside its borders, and that in part includes it contiguous East Asian neighbours.

Second point. It is an all-encompassing globalising concept, appealing in its simplicity with its attraction/repulsion continuum.
Many may be attracted to aspects of Chinese culture, yet loathe and detest CCP policies and some of its government institution. Forget about bending other global actors/nation states to your will, and think about these lesser issues.

In fact, Nye may have had a passing interest in S @ M, what with his coupling of dominant/subordinate instances of cultural soft power, bending and being bent to the will of others national interests.

One.
Do Japan and South Korea exercise soft power on the global stage, and forget about various US military relationships with these two countries? That is all about pragmatic self-interest. The answer is that they don’t need to worry about their soft power global ratings, since any power they exercise is acquired though the technological excellence of their brands. Western consumers have already voted with their wallets, and are relatively indifferent to these cultures and their institutions of government. That neither repel or attract, while fully satisfying Western materialist wants and desires.

Two
Lady Ga Ga’s massive imprint on Chinese popular youth culture. Okay, Hu would have us believe that this is a low moral instance of US cultural imperialism. A deformation of true/authentic Han culture, of which the CCP is the arbiter. Well, this is hogswash.

All Ms Ga Ga does is provide is a toolkit for outrageous dress sensibilities, plus a most welcome take on sexual identity/identification which is at odds with dominant Sino heterosexual patriarchy. (Not to forget her most welcome AIDS awareness bit.)

She (and I couldn’t name one of her songs if my life depended on it) simply provides a window of personal possibility, kitsch though it is, for young folk. Lowbrow instance of western cultural imperialism/slaves of the West. You have to be joking. Chinese youth simply appropriate aspects of her style to suit their own personal needs and desires. If anything, China is well and truly ready for its own healthy sexual revolution.

To be sure, what I have written above is co-joined with the trash money orientated Super Girl-type TV culture, which I jeer at and which also pisses off Mr Hu, but that can be taken up at a later date.

Three
To recycle, music is one of the perfect conveyor or transmission belts on how we feel about cultures Other than our own. And here I am not talking about, for example, how Korean pop is embraced by diaspora Korean communities outside Seoul. That’s a given.

Despite the fact they have broken, totally crap systems and institutions of governance, think about the disproportionate musical influence exercised by countries like Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal and poor land-locked Mali. (Even a snake pit like Somalia produces killer sounds.) These countries sell records by the ton thru independent distributorships to honkies like myself.

Uncounted in terms of sales, but majorly influential in the world of popular musical culture. Here in tubbyland I can count on about 30 hours per week of “roots’ music on govt funded radio stations per week, and could spend a year on the road trucking from one global music festival to another. To be sure, Nye’s definition of soft power need not concern itself with the nation state minnows I’ve mentioned, but these small fish punch above their weight in the cultural export department. Unlike China.

Rant over. And don’t ask for a discography. Talk to your personal trainer.

Hu Plays His Last Card

January 4, 2012

New Year messages by Maximum Leaders were a mixed bag this year. Gillard rabbited on about the value of family and the troops in Afghanistan, Sarkozy and Merkel promised another animus horribulus, Cameron tried to puff up the Bulldog Spirit, and heaven knows what was said in Greece.

Hu Jintai’s speech to compatriots everywhere in the world consisted of so many hackneyed concepts and dot points dancing across the page, and apologies for my recycling a turn of phrase.

“In the new year, we will unswervingly adhere to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidelines of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, and further carry out the Scientific Outlook on Development. We will continue to properly deal with the relationship among maintaining a stable and relatively fast economic growth, adjusting economic structure and managing inflation expectations. We will accelerate the change of economic development mode and structural adjustment, focus on ensuring and improving people’s livelihood and work hard to consolidate the healthy momentum of economic and social development.”

He then mentioned global win-win situations and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries, which I take to include the PRCs ventures in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular HERE: Workers claim abuse as China adds Zimbabwe to its scramble for Africa. Workers on Robert Mugabe’s pet construction project say they suffer regular beatings and miserable pay and conditions

Recently, Justrecently posted a timely piece on a Beijing academic’s He Zenghe‘s attempt to reverse engineer a Sino version of Joseph Nye’s soft power suitable to the needs and interests of the CCP. This is a forensic translation effort which I recommend to the Dear Reader.

With this background in place, I say Hu speaks with forked tongue, when we consider his October essay published in Seeking Truth

“We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration.”
…….
“We should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle, always sound the alarms and remain vigilant, and take forceful measures to be on guard and respond.”

NYT above, but any half-baked news search with provide an abundance of reportage on Hu’s fear of divisive Western soft power.

NOTE. I had better scribble like a fury as everybody is piling on this story.

Hu’s ambition to see the production of indigenous cultural offerings likely to attract a Western audience is all but dead before the ink dried in Seeking Truth. Western themed pure trash dating/reality programs dominate domestic rating much to the chagrin of the CCP ideologists. Adding a Party Granny to the panel of If You Were The One is a sure sign of desperation.

If Jim Morrison said The West is the Best, young, well-heeled urban Chinese folk have embraced this line in a very restricted manner. Of their political dreams and desires, your guess is as good as mine, and here I look forward to reading The End of the Chinese Dream by Gerard Lemos HERE.

One thing is certain, Chinese urbanites have embraced the (very restricted) soft power attraction of western luxury goods with a vengeance beyond parallel in human history: clothes, watches and cars. The list is endless and not worth a link. If you buy into the whole program, there is also the Thames Village and Jackson Hole real estate retreats.

Okay, as I’ve played fast and loose with the concept of soft power, lets finish on a cinematic note. According to Other Lisa on PD, Zhang Yimou who made Namjing (a movie I will avoid like the pox), also made a flick called A Simple Noodle Story which was based on the Coen Brother’s first outing Blood Simple., one of my favourite noirish movies set in deep, dusty, footloose Texas. (Peking Duck #99 Han Han and the democracy debate.)

Rather than slavishly aping Western plots and narratives, Zhang would do well to look to domestic materials upon which to develop a Sino-noir cinema, and here I refer him to this delight from Malcolm Moore:
Chinese official arrested after ‘poisonous cat stew plot. A government official in south China has been arrested for murder, after he allegedly used a bowl of poisoned pork rib and cat meat stew to kill a local businessman.

Update. The great character actor M. Emmet Walsh, who played the gross/tres creepy detective in Blood Simple, would have been a shoe in to play recent government official/cat stew poisoner.

Okay, its a fish and not a moggie

Finally, thanks to Lisa for mentioning the documentary Blind Shaft. Here is an overview from The Guardian.

The 21st Century Reincarnation of the Manson Family… Sino Style

January 4, 2012

Some years ago when wandering through the local Sunday market next to Westlake in Fuzhou, I came across a much abridged version of Mein Kamph written in Mandarin. Just another artefact for sale alongside pewter vases, old coins, nature studies (girls minus their clothes), flick knives and old watches. Sort of wondered at the time if anybody took the time to read such an item.

Well, Hidden Harmonies answered my question with a couple of recent threads, in particular The 74th Anniversary of Nanjing Massacre. This thread begins with a reasonable op piece by one of the site lords, and then descends into an uber racialist wet dream: race hate based on skin colour, fears of miscegenation, diaspora Lebensraum breeding programs (Australia in this instance) and just about everything else which would have appealed to the Mad Paper Hanger fron Linz, George Rosenberg, Houston Stewart Chamberlain et al.

# Is China heading for another Cultural Revolution?

(Naturally, a number of regular posters got pretty exercised about this Xmas offering to the blogosphere, but they were given a short shift.)

Nothing harmonic here, more like a case of True Colours. And I thought Charlie Mansion was the only one with really weird ideas about women and race relations.

No Mansion links, but two reads which make my point.

The Family: The Whole Charlie Mansion Horror Show Ed Sanders 1972

Charles Manson: Music, Mayhem, Murder Tommy Udo

The Family who croaked the '60s