One year ago today on Round and Square (8 April 2011)—Displays of Authenticity Introduction
|[a] Historical memory RF|
|[b] Culture-beauty RF|
And here is a key point. It is NOT because such attitudes are not "nice" or (politically) "incorrect" that makes them problematic. Absolutely not. The sort of fieldnote quoted below is problematic because breeziness takes the place of analysis and precise description. If I were to write this today, I would give much (much) more description of the place itself, and then (in a series of fieldnotes, not one long one) look for analytical centers that are worth plumbing. Not the least of these is the one useful little gem amidst the dross of this note—"waxing nostalgic about a dream gone sour" attempts to be glib, but it really gets at something worth pursuing. It needs analysis, but it speaks to something palpable in my experience in Taiwan in the mid-1980s.
On the other hand, almost all of the second paragraph is an embarrassment to me today. Take your subject seriously, and don't use rhetoric to dismiss it. That is what I teach today. I am ashamed, but I think that there is a lesson here. I have certainly learned it over the years.
A few weeks ago I went on a Sunday outing with the Bear Family— the neurosurgeon I teach, his wife, and daughters. (Their surname, Hsiung 熊, means “bear” in Chinese). We toured Taipei temples, markets, and historical centers. As usual, the food was the best part of the day. With a lunch of dim sum and fresh fruit and a dinner of Peking Duck, we were nearing Nirvana. The Hsiungs began the trip with the Chinese Movie and Culture Center, which features a wax museum (not to be confused with the really excellent National Palace Museum).
This place was a little weak on "culture," but they slopped on the revolutionary nostalgia. You see, the Guomindang did not have much fun during the “People’s Revolution” of 1945-1949, so they look back to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911 as the Great Uprising. Row after row of revolutionary martyrs, cast in wax and clad in the uniforms of the Republic of China, stand proudly, causing patriotic hearts to thump with pride and patriotic minds to forget the reason why they are standing in Taipei, not Beijing or Shanghai, waxing nostalgic about a dream gone sour.
|[c] Rebuttal RF|