1. The “Confucius Peace Prize” award ceremony turned into such a debacle of such high unintentional comedy that the relevant propaganda organs are right now tripping over themselves to disown the whole stupid idea. In other news, the strategy of “locking a lot of people up” is — unbelievably — not taking the focus off of China’s human right’s record. Suffice it to say, MOFA spokeswoman Jiang Yu probably wishes she had decided to call in sick today. On the plus side, former spokesgeek Qin Gang would have probably started crying on the podium so…kind of a win.
2. Yajun was at the press conference for the Confucius Prize this afternoon and she told me that she actually started to feel bad for some members of the “committee” who clearly had no idea what they had signed up and that the ringleader of the whole circus,Tan Changliu, is totally fucking nuts in a kind of “check his refrigerator for human organs” kind of way.
3. It’s the end of the semester and I am 19 papers away from locking myself in closet with 50 boxes of ramen noodles and a case of Four Loko not to emerge again until I’ve written another 50 pages of dissertation.
4. It’s my students’ last night in Beijing. If you’re in the Wudaokou area tonight, you’ve been warned.
5. We’re spending Christmas in Beijing (See #3). Plastic tree, Christmas duck, and then Sanya for four days followed by a visa run to Hong Kong. Happy freaking holidays.
6. More on Confucius…a really good essay by a scholar I admire and one by somebody who seems to confuse “serious scholarship” with “being a shill for the Party.” For the record, the “Confucian Values” deployed by the Party and its hacks in today’s China has little to do with the Confucianism of the imperial era (never mind of Confucius’ time). Rather it’s a barely re-warmed pablum of authoritarian traditionalism more akin to Chiang Kai-shek’s ill-conceived New Life Movement of the 1930s.
7. Did I mention, Carl Crawford is now a member of the Red Sox? And Adrian Gonzalez? I don’t care if we had to become New York Yankees North to do it, I’m looking forward to next season.
8. Teaching 20th century China next quarter. Get ready for lots of “Mao more than ever” jokes.
9. 30 years since John Lennon was killed at the age of 40. Just saying.