China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

CRIMES AGAINST POSTERITY: Exhibit E


Such a darling setup – and magnified, of course, to domineering proportions. Life-size, it seems, was not impressive enough, not quite as instructive. These are the days of magnitude over quantity, or quality, for that matter- the time of things that make your chin raise.

And what a message! What an image! The light falls so delicately upon the joining of two unlikely hands – one, the rigid stone of an ancient warrior; the other, the soft and dainty flesh of a shy schoolgirl. Most likely the display bears a wholly inspirational title – ‘The Harmony of Past and Present,’ or something similar.

But what is really happening? Which hand reached to which? (Not to cast a pall of perversion on such a clearly tender, innocuous meeting). The first interpretation, naturally, would be that the girl, with her unbearable cuteness (in that demon-possessed doll sort of way), was the only force able to shatter the cold militancy of the ancient guardian. Love, love, sweet love. The flip-side, however, has the giant clay man as the instigator – he awakens from his dusty slumber, sets aside his spear, and gently takes the hand of the lost, frightened child.

Obviously, both scenarios are ludicrous. This joining, not simply an example of unlikely kindness, is a monument to UNIFICATION. The present and past, old and young, ancient and modern, are in agreement. They have a pact (Most likely that big girl is a token gift from now to then, but that is beside the point).

Modern China, in its mire of rhetoric, has found a branch to pull on. The old adage about learning history so we do not repeat the same mistakes has been slightly adjusted: learn history so you may be proud and ignore the present. The past, having passed, is beyond judgment – at least the really Chinese parts of it. Each exchange of power, from the Xia to the Qing, however violent, was nothing more than the unification of China (never mind that it was different each time). In other words, history, far from being a great teacher, is one hell of a distraction. And by reaching back to the days when a ruler could mobilize thousands of hands to work for pittance to construct monuments to the glory of rulers and states (whatever happened to those days?), and embracing the notion that anything is justified that brings about a unified (and, ostensibly, harmonious) China, one can’t help but look around today and, like the giant and the child, join hands in consent.

2 Responses to “CRIMES AGAINST POSTERITY: Exhibit E”

  1. JadeDragon says:

    You pretty much nailed modern China in your last paragraph. “learn history so you may be proud and ignore the present.” Constant effort to get the masses lined up and doing what the rulers want. Imperial China and Modern China have so much in common on so many levels.

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