mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Of Chinese emperors, lj privacy, and British Thanksgiving

1.'Blind or semi-literate' I said about viewing Chinese drama with Chinese subtitles on. An ep and a half into 大汉天子 and my money's on 'blind.' Oh my eyes, my eyes, my poor poor eyes that I've had ever since I was a little girl.

OTOH, as reading Japanese taught me, there's profit to be had from looking at hanzi even if you don't know them. The mind-- my mind-- must be trained in pattern recognition and remembrance (and trained and trained and trained) because it sooo does not do it naturally. Equally I'm seeing hanzi in grammatical constructuions I know from my grammar textbook, even if they go too fast for me to know what they're saying even when I know the hanzi. Pattern reinforcement again. And as a minor plus, for my purposes, I begin to associate sounds with individual characters: even if the sounds of let-us-say 姑娘 are less than euphonious to my ear. Or possibly it's that 姑娘 sounds too much like the Japanese sexual onomatopeia gu-nya gu-nya, whose meaning I've managed to blot from memory.

And it's bearded Uncle Ming and his lovely voice, which is an incentive to keep watching. How lucky I don't have English subtitles to tempt me.

As anyone but a westerner would know, the Prince of Han in the title turns out to be Han Wu Da Di who looks to me like the last person to be impressed by Taoist diviners whose predictions always come true. But maybe that was an older Emperor Wu. Mind, if he became emperor at 15, how old is he supposed to be in this thing, where he's frequenting pleasure houses and wandering about the city at will in a very unEmperor fashion. (Seems to me too that half his same-age buddies address him as Ninth Brother, though I see no suggestion that they're younger princes.) Ah well. Problems for further literacy/ paleaswater getting a chance to view the thing.)

2.takumashii talks about her recent reading of Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody."
...what's interesting to me is that he gets right, in a way almost no one does, the privateness of livejournal posts. How often have I seen livejournal slapfights where someone says, "If you make a public post you're opening yourself up for criticism and you shouldn't whine about it"? And it is true that if you make a public post you're opening yourself up for criticism, but I still can't help but feel igry* when a crowd piles on to a post that would normally have been read by less than a dozen people.

Shirky says that livejournal posts are more like having a conversation in a mall food court than publishing a newspaper. Even though it's taking place in public, even though you acknowledge that anyone can hear what you're saying, you have some expectation of privacy; it's against the social rules for a complete stranger to walk up to you and start criticizing the life choices that you are discussing within the conversation. And no one expects you to move the conversation to a private room in order to avoid criticism! (Furthermore, Shirky says, this is why all the snark about LJ posts that are just about what you had for lunch or what you did that weekend is beside the point. These posts aren't a failure of blogging, or a failure of the poster to think of something interesting to say; they're just an instance of blogging-as-conversation rather than blogging-as-publication.)
As the tinies say, this.

3. Moonwise. OK. Moonwise uses vocabulary that's pure English countryside. Suggestion to me, with its mountains and remoteness and people having Nans and all, is that some of the characters at least are Welsh. Maybe, maybe not. When a characer says 'It's been there since Thanksgiving' I'm seriously disoriented.

The reason it reminds me of my youth is that in my teens I had a friend or two like the women in this book, who kept odd things in the pockets of their unlikely second-hand coats-- fat paisley notebooks, coloured pens, obscure Tarot card sets-- whose apartments were full of odd photographs they'd taken themselves and obscure varieties of tea, whose rooms smelled of scented candles or incense or sealing wax, and who did odd things like going out to dance the sun in on the first of May. In the 60s this was all new, OK? I know it's old hat to all y'all 'cause you grew up with it, like we did with tinker toys and mini-bricks. (Ahh mini-bricks. So much better than Lego, if only because you could chew on them.) That's because your *parents* grew up in the 60s.

Now my friends carry laptop cases and BlackBerries and it's not quite the same as before technology.

4. I bought A Swarm in May on sale, a little surprised to find any William Mayne still in print, more surprised to find a Cathedral choir book. I liked them a lot when I first read them some time in the 70s-- certainly more than any of his later more obscure works. And started to read, and... was overcome by oogies. I dunno. Separating artist and work is all very well, and normally I can do it. I can read Pound's poetry even though he was a vituperous anti-semite, and Ann Perry's mysteries even though she murdered her mother-- largely because Pound was batshit and Perry was, at least, batshit when she did it. (Perry's lack of historicity bothers me more than her adolescent homicide.) Mayne however was a cold-blooded child abuser, who told his victims that he was giving them what they wanted. The ick factor may be unovercomable.
Tags: china, chinese, fandom, lj, reading_09
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