Patterico's Pontifications

10/9/2021

Constitutional Vanguard: A Survivor of the Chinese Cultural Revolution Falls Victim to the Cancel Cultural Revolution

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:39 pm



Today’s entry is a depressing story about a Chinese composer and college professor who managed to survive the Chinese Cultural Revolution only to get caught up in American cancel culture — or, as I call it, the Cancel Cultural Revolution. His offense? Showing his class Laurence Olivier playing Othello. It was denounced as blackface and the professor denounced as racist.

In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the people were told that they must adhere to a particular set of beliefs, which emphasized the newly elevated nature of a formerly oppressed group. Meanwhile, the citizenry was told to despise all members of the former ruling class—including many who were hardly elites, but who could be argued to have some distant relative who might tenuously be labeled elite in some way. The belief system was in many ways bizarre and at odds with common sense, but that didn’t matter. The citizens were told to believe it, or else. Children were told to report to the authorities any adults failing to conform. Suspected offenders were hauled before secret tribunals and harangued until they were forced to confess to offenses that in many cases they had not committed. They were told that the confessions would save them from ruin, but in most cases the confessions actually cemented their removal from society. The atmosphere in the air was thick and oppressive—filled with the paranoia of those who never know when their own time will come.

Does any of that sound . . . familiar?

The whole episode is disgraceful.

Read about it here.

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30 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard: A Survivor of the Chinese Cultural Revolution Falls Victim to the Cancel Cultural Revolution”

  1. This is aggravating. Cook should be given 30 lashes for not understanding Sheng’s courageous story and that her little vapors act will fail her miserably in the real world. Leaping to offense…instead of digging in and taking advantage of a learning opportunity as intended….is tediously brittle. The college is failing to prepare its students for life outside of the bubble….shame on them.

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  2. There are many similarities, including the ignorant virulence of the student mob. No one wants to be caught missing the two-minute hate.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. The students should consider what happened when those who were sent to camps finally returned as Mao fell.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  4. Is it OK to blacklist Olivia Cook, even though she’s white?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. Big difference which you try to make small. Cancel culture, woke social justice warriors do not have the power of the state to enforce their will on others. The pandemic is not social justice. Larry elder and clarence thomas are not being put in star chambers tribunals for being well paid uncle toms. Dave chappell is making money not being forced to where a dunce cap. This is why the attacks on joe biden are silly. He is holding back the wolves ( AOC& the squad ) The corporate establishment democrats are keeping the young maoists of the democrat party base at bey. Biden does not represent the democrat party base as the 16 dwarfs who ran against trump did not represent the republican base. Be careful what you wish for is an old chinese course.

    asset (d89ad9)

  6. As usual, the leader of the POC posse is an angry white girl.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. asset (d89ad9) — 10/9/2021 @ 11:40 pm

    Oh, stop. You’re ass is showing

    Hatari Somewhere on Ventura Highway (522b81)

  8. I read the whole article. And looked up a fuller bio of Bright Sheng. I suspect that the real Iagos are in the academic woodpile. Is Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition a Visiting Professor position? Did the endowment expire? He’s not bringing in grant money? And no question that there are up and coming professional academics in the graduate department looking to create a vacancy, and a guy who made his bones making music would be a soft target for guys best at a making course syllabuses and schmoozing at seminars.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. Perhaps this was an experiment, like Sokal’s and his successors’ (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/new-sokal-hoax/572212/), and he did not stop to think he would be collateral damage. Or maybe, after all he has been through, the collateral damage did not seem so extreme.

    Marco (7bed92)

  10. They are repeating the cultural revolution here. We must stop it now before it’s too late.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  11. This story is full of people lacking in perspective and common sense. The students who were offended should have accepted his apology and moved on. Their obsession with the minor violation of norms is silly. In modern culture what he did was inappropriate, but no one is seriously making the case that this is part a desire of movement to demean black people or normalize their status as second class citizens.

    The students are fortunate to have a professor this accomplished and should toughen up a slight amount. I have no idea if he was aware of how this would be received and didn’t care. Or if he was unaware and this was an honest mistake. Either way, his apology should end the matter.

    The people asserting that this is in some meaningful way similar to Mao’s cultural revolution are equally deserving of scorn.They ways in which this differs from the cultural revolution so out number it’s similarities that that seriously making that comparison undercuts their credibility and robs force from the reasonable parts of their argument.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  12. In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the people were told that they must adhere to a particular set of beliefs, which emphasized the newly elevated nature of a formerly oppressed group. Meanwhile, the citizenry was told to despise all members of the former ruling class—including many who were hardly elites, but who could be argued to have some distant relative who might tenuously be labeled elite in some way.

    N o this happened in 1949, and in the years immediately afterward, and in areas the Communists controlled after 1944, but in the Cultural Revolution, (starting August 12, 1966) it was used against other people.

    I think mostly it did not involve being “landlords” or coming from a rich family, but false accusations, or things that had been previously tolerated.

    Anybody could be accused of what amounted to high crimes. Wanting to preserve old things was a high crime. Being friendly with the wrong people also was. People were purged and sent to work humbly in the countryside..

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  13. I did not know, until about two weeks ago, the etymology of “Jim Crow” as in the “Jim Crow laws”. Jim Crow was a blackface character created around 1830 by a comedian/singer/actor whom you can look up yourselves (like I had to because nobody tells me anything).* The original minstrel show, if you will. As the 19th century progressed, “Jim Crow” became a general term, to describe more than the laws, a caricature of black people sure, but also such things as a hard, narrow-brimmed hat (derby/coachman) being called a Jim Crow hat because that’s what the character wore.

    So … Bright Sheng aside, I grant no artistic license to playactors and mountebanks to put on blackface, no matter how long ago or how many “Sirs”, “Dames”, Tonys, Oscars, Obies, Grammies, and whatever the call the International Opera Awards, they have. They maybe didn’t start this sh!t, but as sure as fried grits at a Klan picnic they perpetuated it and popularized it.

    *And, coincidentally (?), it was not too long after an American-born black actor had played Othello in London. (You can look him up yourselves too.)

    nk (1d9030)

  14. “her little vapors act will fail her miserably in the real world.”

    If it’s not punished physically or at least socially by recognized authorities or people acting on behalf of recognized authorities, it’s not a failure, it’s a tactic. One that ‘libertarians’ and ‘moderates’ encourage.

    “Cancel culture, woke social justice warriors do not have the power of the state to enforce their will on others.”

    ‘You’re not being oppressed by the STATE, you’re being oppressed by state-educated auxiliaries in state-funded institutions in state-enforced monopolies complying with state-administrative mandates and position papers, it’s COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

    “This is why the attacks on joe biden are silly. He is holding back the wolves ( AOC& the squad ) The corporate establishment democrats are keeping the young maoists of the democrat party base at bey. Biden does not represent the democrat party base as the 16 dwarfs who ran against trump did not represent the republican base.”

    Very obvious lefty Qanon, disinformation, the nullity known as Joe Biden isn’t holding back anything, and the Democrats were corporate stooges operating on threadbare leftist justifications both before and after the election.

    YOU MUST BURN DOWN THESE SMALL AND MIDSIZED BUSINESSES TO STOP RACISM(and free up prime real estate for Amazon fulfillment centers) and YOU MUST STOP TRUMP TO STOP RACISM AND THE RUSSIAN MENACE (from keeping our cheap Chinese product and Central American laborer pipelines from operating)

    Maxor Appreciator (b8b2c2)

  15. At first nk was like:

    “I suspect that the real Iagos are in the academic woodpile. Is Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition a Visiting Professor position? Did the endowment expire? He’s not bringing in grant money? And no question that there are up and coming professional academics in the graduate department looking to create a vacancy, and a guy who made his bones making music would be a soft target for guys best at a making course syllabuses and schmoozing at seminars.”

    But then he was like:

    “Bright Sheng aside, I grant no artistic license to playactors and mountebanks to put on blackface, no matter how long ago or how many “Sirs”, “Dames”, Tonys, Oscars, Obies, Grammies, and whatever the call the International Opera Awards, they have. They maybe didn’t start this sh!t, but as sure as fried grits at a Klan picnic they perpetuated it and popularized it.”

    Normal people: “This suspiciously entitled behavior is common enough to possibly have a suspiciously organized conspiracy behind it, so we should generally avoid stating lefty false-friend positions that contain their own legal submission-admissions like “In modern culture what he did was inappropriate” or “The people asserting that this is in some meaningful way similar to Mao’s cultural revolution are equally deserving of scorn.” or “I have no idea if he was aware of how this would be received and didn’t care. Or if he was unaware and this was an honest mistake.” Keeping to strong principled positions of free speech, free expression, and the long-accepted traditions of actors and playwrights for generations should be the strategy.

    Fake concern trolls for the other side: “Yeah, the students are PROBABLY overreacting and PROBABLY paid agents to create casus belli for amoral mediocrities in university administration to clear out actual talent from the pool and turn the university into a full-fledged lefty traning center, but RACISM IS SO TERRIBLE I JUST CAN’T TOLERATE IT MAN, CAN YOU?

    This is why nk is absolutely useless as an advocate, friend, or ally, as he doesn’t actually have any principles he’s willing to stand for even if uncool people take them, just tactics and a desire to seem cool that will lead him to abandon a principled position and paint you as a KLAN MEMBER as soon as the opportunity to do so presents itself. Never, ever, ever, ever accept the ‘I’m a conservative because I’m a liberal’ position.

    Maxor Appreciator (79b892)

  16. Dana or Patterico,
    Is Maxor another Steppe Nomad sock puppet?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  17. “Is Maxor another Steppe Nomad sock puppet?”

    Is Time123 a leftist who reflexively appeals to authority rather than responding to well-supported arguments when called out?

    Maxor Appreciator (37b536)

  18. @17, nothing you wrote is worth responding to.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  19. “Larry elder and clarence thomas are not being put in star chambers tribunals for being well paid uncle toms.”

    Racism is with us every day and it’s usually coming from people who think they are on the right side of history.

    Obudman (5e9fda)

  20. A very fine article from a black ex-felon on cancel culture.

    https://www.newsweek.com/im-black-ex-felon-i-have-message-about-cancel-culture-opinion-1604846

    Obudman (5e9fda)

  21. @19, I missed that. It is a pretty racist thing to say.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  22. The mentally ill always make their problems other people’s problems. Thankfully, drive-by gibberish on a comment thread does not even rise to the level of minor nuisance if you just ignore it.

    nk (1d9030)

  23. “The teachers unions secured $190 Billion in taxpayer funds last year.

    There are 3.5 million teachers.

    We could have given each teacher a $54,000 bonus.

    But teachers saw none of it.

    It wasn’t used for upgraded ventilation in schools.

    Where did the money go?”

    Related:

    7/28/2021 – Teachers unions rewards Gavin Newsom with $2 million for its yearlong paid vacation

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/teachers-unions-rewards-gavin-newsom-with-2-million-for-its-yearlong-paid-vacation/ar-AAMFV8V

    Obudman (5e9fda)

  24. Racism is with us every day and it’s usually coming from people who think they are on the right side of history.

    We’ve reached the point in all this nonsense that whenever a black conservative is called an “Uncle Tom,” there’s something like a 90% probability that the slur comes from a white progressive. It’s just another sign of how completely immune to irony they truly are.

    JVW (86242b)

  25. “It’s just another sign of how completely immune to irony they truly are.”

    They’re not immune to irony, they’re immune to punishment, and every time they get away with it while conservatives are crucified for far less they’re waving their impunity in our faces.

    Maxor Appreciator (7a4235)

  26. @25 So, what kind of punishment do you have in mind, and do you have a plan for how that can be achieved?

    norcal (b9a35f)

  27. @26, You’re focusing on the wrong part…it’s about the resentment.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  28. Time leads with the classic ‘I don’t want to deal with this’ line:

    “it’s about the resentment.”

    Anger over actual injustice can look a lot like resentment to those profiting from it, yes. Nevertheless, there is an answer!

    “So, what kind of punishment do you have in mind, and do you have a plan for how that can be achieved?”

    How do lefties punish conservatives who dissent from their particular discourse? Go and do likewise, or better yet, go and do worse, because leftists are usually not only disruptive and self-focused, but hypocrites with ulterior motives being funded by nefarious and even foreign elements, and their intention is ever and always to normalize and extend the bad behavior in their fields.

    Doing this effectively, of course, requires ORGANIZING via POPULAR and POPULIST positions to isolate and eliminate the snotty young upper-class agitators for drugged-up liberal corporate fever dreams from any position of power or influence.

    Step one is not being an individual or having an ideology that can be easily described as above.

    Step two is recognizing who you need to rally behind. Stop trying to be “cool”. Many of you are not populists. Populism isn’t doing stuff that you think is the GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER as though all lifeways are equally valid, it’s prioritizing the well-being of the lower and middle classes over and above the well-being of the upper class(they can afford their own security.)

    Anti-CRT activism is populism because it rejects an upper class ideology being used to disintegrate the middle class. Anti-globalism is populism because it rejects an economic system that pillages the middle class in favor of the upper class. Anti-immigration is populism, because immigration is RIGHT NOW almost exclusively being used as an economic bioweapon against the middle and lower class to dilute and destroy any wage/salary bargaining power they currently have, or even any previous expectation of ‘this is America, there are minimum fair wage and labor standards that I can fall back on.’

    Trying to find an alternative to Trump is not populism, because he is the most popular antagonist of the ruling class. The common man loves him, the rich man hates him, and you don’t like him because liking him isn’t “cool” enough. The left and their corporate masters, naturally, know Marketing 101, and will hammer the BACKWOODS REDNECK IGNORANT TRUMP SUPPORTER HOW DARE YOU ASSOCIATE WITH THOSE UNTOUCHABLES line to anyone suggesting anything even remotely populist on their side. That you fall for it is an indication of your own moral and emotional corruption and compliance with the status quo.

    Maxxerson Payne (973149)

  29. I never want to hear another person whining about the Hollywood Blacklist.

    Bad: Blacklisting people who were agents of influence for Josef Stalin
    Good: Blacklisting people who showed Olivier’s Othello

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. Racism is with us every day and it’s usually coming from people who think they are on the right side of history.

    And why is this white girl’s attack on a Chinese man OK? If the instructor had been Black, would her reaction have been the same.

    And really, she shouldn’t be in college since she has no willingness to be exposed to ideas. Why saddle her with huge student loans before she goes to work at Starbucks?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

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