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:

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 four years of material (2,000 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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Goofus and Gallant Teach History and Ethnography—Frightened Wildlife

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.
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On this date on Round and Square's History 
7 July 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 07-07
7 July 2013—Felicitous Felinity: Contumely
7 July 2012—Asian Ethnicities: The Han Majority in China
7 July 2011—Middles: T.S. Eliot's "Marina"
[a] Highlights Magazine August 1963
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. 
[b] Howdy, Gallant! RF

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 aspired to be Gallant. I'm proof that you can be didactic with some of the children, some of the time (for better or worse).

Goofus and Gallant are at it again.

Saint Francis of Gallantry is up against Attila the Goofus, and the ants don't stand a chance.

Gallant is a particular kind of snot-nosed little jerk—the worst kind (the kind who hurts animals). Those kinds of little pukes often grow up to occupy the lowest rungs of humanity. 
[c] It's Goofus! Flee! RF

And you know what, you need to be relatively smart to be that cruel. 

This reminds me of Confucius's distinction between the junzi (sometimes translated as "the gentleman," and I guess that sort of works here) and the xiaoren, the petty person. 

Oh, and Goofus is all sorts of petty (thief and tyrant). The problem is that he is smart. Smart and mean is a worrisome combination.

Can Gallant meet this with his other cheek? This gentle squirrel-feeder and ant-watcher sets a beautiful example (heck, and entire Testament is devoted to it). But can he match the little ant-stopper?

Only human history will tell.
[c] St. Gallant of Highlights RF

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