NYT: For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big

like “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

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63 Responses to NYT: For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big

  1. As my grandmother used to say “It was all a dream”.

  2. Ursiform says:

    Can’t wait to see where this discussion goes …

  3. AppSoc Res says:

    I thought Walter Duranty was dead.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder how many female babies have been aborted or abandoned after birth since the communists took over.

      • st says:

        I can give you the numbers for Eastern European bloc right away (except Poland). Abandoned babies – 0%. (It was a totalitarian state, nothing would stay hidden for long – Big Brother is everywhere, so why breaking the law when getting caught is inevitable?And big brother says thou shall not abandon a baby but marry the father. The father does not want to marry? No problem, I will soften his heart. You do not want to marry the father? How about I pay you a visit instead? No?)
        Abortions – 50% of all conceptions, no prob, we do not like babies anyhow… (official data from 1987..)
        Of course, it could have been different in China…but I doubt it.

  4. Frau Katze says:

    Comment from the article

    I speak and read Chinese and have lived in east Asia for years, visiting both China and Taiwan. This article would be much stronger if it compared the condition of women in the Chinese cultural world outside the P.R.C. to that of those in China. The best summation of Communist rule in China is that it was mostly disastrous for man, woman, and child.

    • ivvenalis says:

      Yeah but it sounds like this chump spent all his time traipsing around with a bunch of wogs and speaking gibberish instead of getting himself a proper gentleman’s education at a respectable school so who cares what he thinks?

  5. Jerome says:

    The Communist Revolution had flaws?

  6. Art Mooney says:

    Can’t beat your wife if you don’t have one.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      “The more you beat your wife the tastier the soup.”
      A quote from the good old days in a nation of serfs in dear old Russia. Life in China was far worse. Funny you don’t read many articles about why asian women choose to not marry or have kids. Not truthful ones anyway. Men are predictably assholes to their wives. They expect them to work full time and raise the kids without their help. Men get to hang out together after work and get drunk. Women ain’t having it.

      • Deckin says:

        Not sure if you’ve ever spent much time there, but if you’ve ever spent much time in the typical Chinese multi-unit building (in which virtually all Chinese live), you’ve heard (through poorly insulated walls) Chinese wives screaming bloody murder at their husbands (and child). Whether they had it coming is anyone’s guess. I doubt there are many Chinese, of either sex, who ‘choose’ not to marry.

      • danielchieh says:

        That’s nonsense. For the traditionalists, the women’s sphere is the home. This means that while they save face for their husbands outside, they have rule the domestic sphere. Often this means control of the money as well.

        Its amazing the kind of ridiculous bullshit that gets peddled.

        • dave chamberlin says:

          I talked very simply about a very complex subject and I will except critisism for that.

          What isn’t ridiculous bullshit is the folowing. I am quoting from an Economist article titled Asian Demography: The flight from marriage. “What is unusual about Asia is women seem to bear an unusually large share of the burden of marriage, reducing the attractiveness of married life as compared with work.”

          • danielchieh says:

            The Economist is as reliable as Salon for its grasp on reality, which is not at all.

            • Frau Katze says:

              I’m not defending The Economist, but I think they’re talking about moderns not traditionals.

              Likely working women, who have to do all the housework too. Note: I have zero personal information on the subject.

              I think I might have even read that article: they were trying to determine the low birth rate in the Far East. It’s even lower than for Euros and their descendants, which is pretty low itself.

              But I don’t see how they could judge by China, with the one child policy. In fact, I think they were talking about Japan. They’re not even getting married (or living together). Presumably they had some stats. But my knowledge of the subject is so slight I can’t say much else.

  7. Mark F. says:

    Despite his flaws, Hitler really liked dogs.

  8. pyrrhus says:

    Despite his flaws, Mao surrounded himself with nubile teenage girls and regarded himself as a traditional Chinese Emperor….

  9. RCB says:

    I don’t get it. Explain?

    In other news, Testosterone Rex is the Royal Society science book of the year. Is all lost?

    • Space Ghost says:

      The guy in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” had a wonderful dream of escape, but it was just a hallucination that occurred moments before his death by hanging.

      Similarly women in China must have “dreamed big” after the Communist revolution, but afterwards due to the one-child policy they were subjected to forced abortions or sterilizations; baby girls subjected to infanticide or abandonment, etc. It seems rather gauche of the NYT to not even mention this when discussing all of Communism’s benefits for Chinese women.

    • ziel says:

      I’m well familiar with ‘Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ having first seen it on Twilight Zone in the 60’s, but when I clicked on the link in Greg’s tweet yesterday on my phone I didn’t get it either. Then just when now when I saw it on my desktop I immediately cracked up – something about the mobile presentation just didn’t flow right.

  10. Irate eye rater says:

    Oh, so now women need to be “taught” how to have dreams? They weren’t capable of dreaming before the communists came along to impart that knowledge?

    This is what misogyny looks like!

  11. Cantman says:

    It’s almost like big-c Communism and whatever we are allowed to call the NYT’s ideology differ more by the means of implementation at their disposal than actual belief.

  12. Frau Katze says:

    The WSJ has an article on this NYT piece. The author quotes another NYT article from 2010.

    In all, the records I studied suggest that the Great Leap Forward was responsible for at least 45 million deaths.

    Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed, often for the slightest infraction. People accused of not working hard enough were hung and beaten; sometimes they were bound and thrown into ponds. Punishments for the least violations included mutilation and forcing people to eat excrement.

    One report dated Nov. 30, 1960, and circulated to the top leadership — most likely including Mao — tells how a man named Wang Ziyou had one of his ears chopped off, his legs tied up with iron wire and a 10-kilogram stone dropped on his back before he was branded with a sizzling tool. His crime: digging up a potato.

    When a boy stole a handful of grain in a Hunan village, the local boss, Xiong Dechang, forced his father to bury his son alive on the spot.

    I knew there was reason I never read a full book length history of Communist. I had read about the Russian case in detail. It was pretty depressing. But China seemed even worse. I bought a book but couldn’t finish it.

    • Bob says:

      Keep in mind that 45 million would have been about 6~7% of China’s population at the time. A greater percentage of Ireland’s population died during the Irish Potato Famine.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Your point is? Chinese Communism was OK?

      • Frau Katze says:

        The Black Death also killed more people. Is that relevant?

      • NobodyExpectsThe.... says:

        Cause of the Irish Famine: Potato Blight

        Cause of the Great Leap “Forward”: Brain Blight

        • Toddy Cat says:

          Funny how no one ever brings up the Potato Famine when the Holocaust is mentioned. All part of the attempt of the Left to minimize the crimes of Communism when they can’t actually deny them, along with the pathological attempt of the Irish to portray themselves as the Most Oppressed People Ever.

          • Toddy Cat says:

            Don’t get me wrong, the Irish are a great people who have accomplished some great things. But if self-pity were rocket fuel, the Irish would have made it to Mars by now (followed closely by the Koreans…)

        • Bob says:

          Ireland was exporting food to England and elsewhere during the famine. Just as China was exporting food to its capitals as well as to places like Cuba and Africa during the Great Leap Forward. The cause in both cases was bad political economy, with some important similarities despite the obvious ideological difference. Both economies were highly centralized, with most of the land in Ireland owned by Anglo-Irish lords who were often absentee landlords residing in England, and the land in China owned by the State and run by functionaries in the capital. This highly centralized distribution of ownership meant that all the agricultural production was appropriated as rent by the lords and by the State. The Irish peasants were governed by oppressive laws that prevented them from accumulating property and capital.

          • Toddy Cat says:

            Or maybe Pluto…

          • Frau Katze says:

            I haven’t studied the potato famine but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the big property owners ignored the peasants. Those were bad times. A more humanitarian outlook was slow in arriving.

            But the land owners didn’t actually cause the famine. In China, the famine was allowed to continue to protect ideology. In Russia, an incipient famine was stopped by Lenin temporarily backtracking on Communist economics. This wasn’t necessarily humanitarian. He may have been worried that the Communists wouldn’t hang on to power.

            In the Ukraine, it seems Stalin made an already bad thing much worse by refusing to ship food in.

            The Irish famine was exacerbated by old fashioned greed. A very old human trait.

            The famines under Communism were worse in the sense that Communism was supposed to counteract that greed factor and no longer ignore the starving if food was available. It failed to do this.

            • Ursiform says:

              In Ukraine, Stalin shipped out food.

              • Frau Katze says:

                To the Ukraine? Or out of the country? I haven’t read up on it for several years. There are also seems to be disagreements among authors about the fine details.

                But everyone agreed Stalin didn’t help the Ukraine. Whether this was punishment for some infraction (Ukrainian nationalism) or if he needed cash from exports I’m not sure. Likely both. I do remember that he was completely unmoved by stories of the famine.

                He was a really cruel man.

              • Ursiform says:

                Out of Ukraine. Then didn’t allow any in as people starved.

            • Bob says:

              The Irish famine was also allowed to continue to protect ideology, an ideology of English and Protestant ascendancy. This ideology demanded that English and Anglo-Irish lords in remote estates and in England appropriate most of the agricultural product as rent, while the producers, the Irish peasants, were deprived of rights and in a insecure tenant position. This arrangement was responsible for the Irish dependency on the potato.

              • Frau Katze says:

                Maybe so. It’s odd that England’s relationship with Ireland was so much worse than with Scotland. (Where three of my grandparents came from, with no apparent hatred of England). Yet they should have been similar: both places became English-speaking through what must have a coercive policy. Was religion the big difference?

              • Ursiform says:

                England and Scotland had interrelated royal and aristocratic families. Ireland was just overrun.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @ursiform Cromwell annexed Scotland and Ireland. There was fighting in both places. But in Scotland it was just your standard battle. Apparently in Ireland, the English soldiers were allowed to go on a rape/pillage spree. Why the difference? The Scottish were Presbyterians, not too different from Cromwell’s religious views.

                Antonia Fraser’s history of Cromwell blames the bad behaviour in Ireland on the different religion. It’s the only account I’ve read.

              • Frau Katze says:

                @ursiform It’s true the royal families were related. Plus they were on the same island so there was already mixing along the border. People likely went back and forth.

      • Ursiform says:

        The Holodomor killed ~10% of Ukraine’s population.

    • Jim says:

      Yes, I’ve had the same reaction when trying to read about these times in history. I couldn’t stomach it. I had the same reaction when trying to read the Iliad. I stopped because I didn’t want to read any more gory stuff.

  13. Jeff R. says:

    I’d like to think this the Times’ idea of clickbait.

  14. ziel says:

    The German people were dreaming pretty damn big, too until sometime in late 1942..

  15. TWS says:

    The thing that spooked me was how quickly and easily they went cannibal. There was one guy on a documentary who said he accused somebody because he hasn’t had barbeque in a while.

  16. another fred says:

    Trivia: IIRC two of Bierce’s short stories were made into Twilight Zone episodes. Can anyone remember the other (besides Owl Creek Bridge)?

  17. Collimator says:

    For anyone interested, Solzhenitsyns MARCH 1917 will be published in English translation this November (finally!). I mention it as seems to be telegraphing the Tambov rebellion in NOVEMBER 1916, the previous knot.

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