From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project: http://magazine.beloit.edu/?story_id=240813&issue_id=240610

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over two years of material (1,300 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Goofus and Gallant Teach History and Ethnography—Petulant Demands

Click here for the "Goofus and Gallant History and Ethnography Resource Center"—(all posts available)
Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Goofus and Gallant History and Ethnography"
This is a "small" (小) post—click here for an explanation of Round and Square post lengths.
 ***  ***
On this date on Round and Square's History 
21 April 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 04-21
21 April 2013—Philosophy of History: Heaven is High and the Emperor is Far Away
21 April 2012—Fieldnotes From History: Head Tales
21 April 2011—Endings: Argonauts of the Western Pacific
[a] Highlights Magazine June/July 1959
You probably didn't see this coming. Here is one of the oddest pedagogical experiments in the twentieth century, and it makes the Republic of China (on Taiwan) primary school readers look almost tame in comparison (well, sometimes). It began as early as 1936, depending on the hoary sources you investigate. By 1948, it was a part of Highlights magazine for children, and I got my copy every week (several decades after 1948, I might add) at Randall School in Madison, Wisconsin, back when the Badgers lost eighty percent of their football games. 

This series will teach us a great deal about culture, society...and history. I lived some of it. I would be lying if I said that I didn't aspire to be Gallant...even as I recognized the stupid lack of irony in all of these unreflective adults-writing-for-children-DIDACTIC posts. Still, I wanted to be Gallant. W...T...you decide.
[b] Scowl RF

Goofus and Gallant are at it again.

It seems that the Summer 1959 Goofus does not know how to ask for permission. And, if you look carefully at the drawings, you will see that mama does not look at all amused. As I once heard it, "...and if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." 

Our little Gallant has it quite otherwise in his charmed and cherubic little life. He says "please," "thank you," and "may I..." These words are not part of Goofus's vocabulary.

And mama knows it.

As we proceed with this series, we'll start to think about some of the unexamined little social dynamics in the drawings. A good place to start might be Goofus's parents. I don't want to start by blaming mom and dad, but...

Let's think about this for the week and discuss it next Monday. We'll call it "the social roots of Goofus-speak."
[c] Polite Give-and-Take RF



China's Lunar Calendar 2014 04-20

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs"  
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦
LEFT April 28 ........................................................................................................April 20 RIGHT
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar calendar, along with basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying lunar calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date
(top to bottom; right to left

期星
Fourth Month, Twentieth Day
Astral Period Sun
Sunday, April 20
———————————————— 

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
除寶六
神光合
Six Linkages
Precious Ray
Expelling Spirits
—————————————————

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
申辰子
中吉
酉己丑
中吉
戌午寅
吉吉
亥未卯
中中
23:00-01:00 Inauspicious
01:00-03:00 Auspicious
03:00-05:00 Auspicious
05:00-07:00 Inauspicious

07:00-09:00 Auspicious
09:00-11:00 In-Between
11:00-13:00 Auspicious
13:00-15:00 In-Between

15:00-17:00 In-Between
17:00-19:00 Inauspicious
19:00-21:00 Inauspicious
21:00-23:00 In-Between

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.
————————————————— 

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

動造合
土酒醬
Mixing Sauces
Making Liquor
Moving Soil
—————————————————  

 Section Five 
Cosmological Information 
廿







Twenty-First Day (Third Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: xinyou (58/60)
Phase (element): Wood
Constellation: House (4/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Grasp (6/12)
—————————————————  
Section Six
Appropriate Activities
(and Miscellaneous Information
(top-to-bottom; right to left)
雨穀
六五十
分十一     
        時

除醫理
服病髮
安捕掃
葬捉舍
生始萍
陰土咸
將符池
Corn Rain
Begins in the Wu hour; 11:56 a.m.
(the sixth of twenty-four fifteen-day solar periods on the agricultural calendar)
 
Appropriate Activities
Patterning Hair
Sweeping Rooms
Physician Visits
Seizing and Apprehending
Discarding Clothing
Positioning Graves

Floating Weeds Appear
(the sixteenth of seventy-two five-day solar micro-periods on the agricultural calendar)

Baleful Astral Influences
Widespread Pond
Earth Charm
Yin General

————
 Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars 
(right to left) 
人    
Person       
————

Section Eight
Miscellaneous Information 
(Top to bottom; right to left)

門 灶
Kitchen
Gate, Stove

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Theory Cartoons—Un Canada

Click here for the "Theory Cartoons" Resource Center (all posts available)
Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Theory Cartoons" (coming soon)
This is a "small" (小) post—click here for an explanation of Round and Square post lengths.
***  ***
On this date on Round and Square's History 
19 April 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 04-19
19 April 2013—Philosophy of History (of Philosophy)—Heaven is High and the Emperor is Far Away
19 April 2012—Fieldnotes From History: Capital Duck
19 April 2011—Endings: Tales of Ise (Early Japanese Literature)
[a] The New Yorker 2013 10-11
So what is the relationship between nationality...and emotion? If you look at this intriguing cartoon, you will realize that she is not speaking of ethnicity (there are plenty of stereotypes out there about that). And this got me to thinking. Do we
[b] Landed RF
associate various nationalities with particular emotional states? 


Yes. Emphatically yes. 

Is this problematic in all sorts of practical and (some) deeply troubling ways?

Yes, again.

Is it sloppy cultural analysis?

Yup.

And yet (and yet)...here is an insider both noting the stereotype and modifying it (slightly). 


Positively Bourdieuvian (not antediluvian).
There's ample room here for theorizing from neuroscience to linguistics.

Oh...Canada...
[c] Vancouver Days RF

China's Lunar Calendar 2014 04-19

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Calendars and Almanacs"  
⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦ From right to left: ⇦⇦⇦⇦⇦
LEFT April 19 ........................................................................................................April 12 RIGHT
This is one in a never-ending series—following the movements of the calendar—in Round and Square perpetuity. It is today's date in the Chinese lunar calendar, along with basic translation and minimal interpretation. Unless you have been studying lunar calendars (and Chinese culture) for many years, you will likely find yourself asking "what does that mean?" I would caution that "it" doesn't "mean" any one thing. There are clusters of meaning, and they require patience, reflection, careful reading, and, well, a little bit of ethnographic fieldwork. The best place to start is the introduction to "Calendars and Almanacs" on this blog. I teach a semester-long course on this topic and, trust me, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the lunar calendar. Some of the material is readily accessible; some of it is impenetrable, even after many years

As time goes on, I will link all of the sections to lengthy background essays. This will take a while. In the meantime, take a look, read the introduction, and think about all of the questions that emerge from even a quick look at the calendar.
Section One
Solar Calendar Date
(top to bottom; right to left

六期星
Fourth Month, Nineteenth Day
Astral Period Six
Saturday, April 19
———————————————— 

Section Two
Beneficent Stars 
(top to bottom, right to left)
月金歲
恩匱馬
Generational Horse
Golden Cupboard-bare
Lunar Kindness
—————————————————

Section Three
Auspicious Hours
(top to bottom, right to left
申辰子
吉吉
酉己丑
中吉吉
戌午寅
亥未卯
中吉中
23:00-01:00 Inauspicious
01:00-03:00 Auspicious
03:00-05:00 Inauspicious
05:00-07:00 In-Between

07:00-09:00 Auspicious
09:00-11:00 Auspicious
11:00-13:00 Auspicious
13:00-15:00 Auspicious

15:00-17:00 Auspicious
17:00-19:00 In-Between
19:00-21:00 Inauspicious
21:00-23:00 In-Between

The hours above are for Hong Kong. It is up to you if you want to recalibrate or to assume that the cyclicality of the calendar "covers" the rest of the world. This is a greater interpretive challenge than you might think.
————————————————— 

Section Four 
Activities to Avoid  
(top-to-bottom; right to left) 

取安結
魚牀綱
Binding Nets
Positioning Beds
Garnering Fish
—————————————————  

 Section Five 
Cosmological Information 






Twentieth Day (Third Lunar Month)
Cyclical day: gengshen (57/60)
Phase (element): Wood
Constellation: Foundation (3/28)
"Day Personality" Cycle: Fullness (5/12)
—————————————————  
Section Six
Appropriate Activities
(and Miscellaneous Information
(top-to-bottom; right to left)

移納祭
柩畜祀
成修沐
齋浴
除建掃
服醮舍
安漆安
葬棺門
厭月
地死上
火氣兀
Appropriate Activities
Venerating Ancestors
Bubbling and Bathing
Sweeping Rooms
Positioning Doors
Livestock Payments
Fasting
Performing Sacrifice
Lacquering Coffins
Moving Biers
Completing Clothing
Discarding Clothing
Positioning Graves

Lunar Repression

Baleful Astral Influences
Upper Amputee
Death Vapor
Earth Fire

————
 Section Seven
Inauspicious Stars 
(right to left) 
人    
Person       
————

Section Eight
Miscellaneous Information 
(Top to bottom; right to left)

爐 磨
Pestle
Furnace, Mortar

Friday, April 18, 2014

Newsprint Nonpareil—Sacrifice Stories

Click here for the "Newsprint Nonpareil" Resource Center—(all posts available) 
Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Newsprint Nonpareil"
This is a "small" (小) post—click here for an explanation of Round and Square post lengths.
***  *** 
18 April 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 04-18
18 April 2013—New Religion: Yin and Yang
18 April 2012—Seinfeld Ethnography: Bathroom Book
18 April 2011—Breaking the Vessel: Reviewing Plans
[a] xxx
Wer heute ein Opfer bringt—S/he who brings today an offering...

Whoa! This is serious. Very serious. And that picture. This isn't a (smiling) William Shakespeare, after all.
[b] Calendrical Spring RF

Die Zeit moves it to a new level with this week's cover story. There are twelve stories of people who sacrificed deeply for others. 

And why would that be the topic of the week?

Well, it is...Easter...after all...

And Ostern (Easter) in Germany is big stuff. When I bought today's copy of Die Zeit tonight (a day early...since everything is in the process of shutting down for the holiday...), my buddy in the newspaper/tobacco shop, who usually says "just" schönen Abend...Tscüß!, added schönen Ostern!—Have a (wonderful) Easter!"

Exactly (genau), and not much will be happening between this morning and Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Easter is a big deal here. Today's Die Zeit cover story has it all.

These stories run the gamut...of tales about giving of oneself to others.
[c] Sacrifice...heavy stuff RF