January 23, 2008

All the news that’s fit to print

Filed under: China,culture,politics — Kim @ 6:45 pm

When studying literary criticism (litcrit) back in Uni. in the eighties, I can remember how some of our seminars would introduce sexy Frenchmen such as Derrida and Foucault into our analysis of the canon.

It was pretty exciting stuff at the time, I remember, because these guys were “philosophers” and their concepts such as “deconstructionism” and “episteme” sounded chic and sophisticated and radical.

And one of the tools of Derrida’s deconstruction that we were introduced to was the “lacuna” which (if I understood correctly and I probably didn’t) basically means a revealing little hole in a text that gives you a peek into the constructions of an ideological edifice that is trying to appear solid, coherent, and all-explaining. Or, as one of my lecturers explained, it is like a loose thread in the discourse that you can pull at until the whole garment unravels…and reveals the naked body of ideology beneath. Yes, you have to mention “ideology” all the time if you’re doing French-tinged litcrit.

Well, these little buggers are everywhere – if you know how/where to look – but the trick is to find funny ones and show them to your friends with a knowing look so you can feel all superior and clued up.

So, that said, here is a nice example from a New York Times article about the recent brutal beating to death of Wei Wenhua by so called “parapolice” or “chengguan” (aka thugs/goons). The article notes that many bloggers and local citizens were outraged and disgusted enough by this murder to kick up a big fuss and embarrass the local government who hires these bully boys. But, fret not, the government has got it covered, and here’s the quote that made me remember what a lacuna is…

“We’ve already solved the problem,” the director of publicity in Tianmen said Thursday by telephone. “You can read Xinhua’s articles. There’s no more news about it.”

Did that dude really say that with a straight face? Can you pull at that thread until you get some bare-faced Zhongnanhai?

1 Comment

  1. 1,000,000 to 1 he said it with a straight face and 10,000 to 1, he actually believed it. And that’s the really scary part.

    Comment by China Law Blog — February 4, 2008 @ 5:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.