Confucius Comes Home

Victo Ngai

This image ran in the New Yorker Dec 23 issue, all the holiday food went to my head and I forgot to post about it.

This article by Evan Osnos talks about a sudden enthusiasm of Confucius in China possibly due to a “moral and spiritual vacancy”.

Universities had unveiled high-prices courses for entrepreneurs who sought “commercial wisdom” in the classics. “International Confucius Festival” is launched. In which thousands of people fill a local stadium in his hometown; giant balloons floated overhead bearing the names of ancient scholars, and a Korean pop star in abbreviated outfit, delivers a rock performance. Even the Chinese government, which has condemned Confucius for decades, took a sharp turn and embraced the scholar by opening “Confucius Institute” around the globe, preaching the government’s angle on sensitive political issues.  An “official”, “standardized” and “modernized” portrait of the scholar has also been established.

Many Chinese intellects express their disappointment in the current manufactured Confucius, criticizing how meaning and ideologies have been forced out of his writing to better suit the current social and political purposes. 

I highly recommend this article, it’s a very fun read and it addresses the problems China is facing in great depth and dimension with such insight that is not often found in writings by Western authors. 

Big thanks to AD Chris Curry for entrusting me this challenging piece. 

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