A Blog of One’s Own

The Power is Yours!: Internet access and Chinese Censorship

April 5th, 2009 by areed · 1 Comment

I had a thought in response to the posts on internet censorship in China right now. Perhaps the Chinese government is prohibiting access to sites, but how hard is it to get around these restrictions? In the use it is not legal to upload videos without copyright permission and it is not legal to watch downloaded or streamed videos that are on these illegal sites (legal sites being itunes, hulu, or tv network webstites), yet people are still very easily able to watch anyway. Even if censors put more effort into disabling sites or blocking access, there would still be a lot of savvy people capable of finding their way around it. In fact, a lot of the sites I watch videos on are Chinese hosted streaming sites, where there are not only english language videos but also a lot of Chinese videos, news clips, video blogs, etc. I can;’t imagine these will all go away,  or that all Chinese will be unable to access them or similar sites. And while these sites exist, people will be able to view all kinds of information and even political and social commentary- whether serious or humorous (like the video we watched in class with the lamas!)

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Bei Mir Bist du Schoen, means that your grand!

March 17th, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on Bei Mir Bist du Schoen, means that your grand!

I’ll be sure to talk more in depth in class about the song I chose to analyze but here’s some extra tidbits to whet your appetites! 

The song “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen” (sometimes spelled “Bei Mir Bist du Shein” and “Bei Mir Bistu Schon”) is literally translated “To me you are beautiful” Written in 1932 by Shalom Secunda, a Jewish immigrant, it was popularized by the Andrew Sisters and many other Swing Era artists.

Original Lyrics

Bei mir bist du shein,
Bei mir host du chein,
Bei mir bist du alles oif di velt.Oi was zu sheine meidlach,
Hob ich doch zehn fon dir?
Un oisgekliben fun zi alle.
Hob ich nor dir, dir, dir, dir.

Bei mir bist du shein,
Bei mir host du chein,
Bei mir bist du alles oif di velt.

La, la, la, la, la, la.

To me you are beautiful,
To me you have grace,
To me you are everything in the world.

How many beautiful girls,
Have I seen besides you?
I chose one from them all.
I have only you, you, you, you.

To me you are beautiful.
To me you have grace.
To me you are everything in the world.

La, la, la, la, la, la.

Sammy Cahn Version

Of all the boys I’ve known, and I’ve known some

Until I first met you I was lonesome
And when you came in sight, dear, my heart grew light 
And this old world seemed new to me

You’re really swell, I have to admit, you 
Deserve expressions that really fit you 
And so I’ve wracked my brain, hoping to explain 
All the things that you do to me 

Bei mir bist du schoen, please let me explain 
Bei mir bist du schoen means you’re grand 
Bei mir bist du schoen, again I’ll explain 
It means you’re the fairest in the land 

I could say bella, bella, even say wunderbar 
Each language only helps me tell you how grand you are 
I’ve tried to explain, bei mir bist du schoen 
So kiss me, and say you understand 

The song has been done and redone in many creative ways (just listen to 2 wildly different versions with the links below). And it means a great many different things to different people, but above all it is a classic love song!

Comments Off on Bei Mir Bist du Schoen, means that your grand!Tags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

Blood, Guts and Glory Didn’t Do Jack-

February 23rd, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on Blood, Guts and Glory Didn’t Do Jack-

In response to “Commander-in-Chief Cop-Out,” I was just about to write this same thing! I wish the documentary had gone further in investigating Chai Li and her motives. Although I felt like some of the students and workers interviewed did really spoke up about the foils of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Movement’s participants getting caught up in their own self-righteousness, which led to more revolution qualities than reform qualities. One guy who revitalized the hunger strike said he later saw how he was easily misguided and lost sight of his purpose once the spotlight got shown on him.

But I wish I had heard more criticism or commentary on Chai Li from the other interviewed students. At first she seemed very emotionally stirring but as the film went on I felt more and more that she was driven by her own hubris and came across power-hungry. Maybe she really was willing to be a martyr and maybe she wasn’t, but I got pissed when she said that she wanted blood to be spilt so that change could occur. This notion of a big, cinematic-like tragedy being the only thing that will force the government’s hand is a little typical but completely stupid, selfish, scheming, and very often ineffective (as history gives us numerous examples- look at the chaos of the French Revolution). When the government did push back and there was blood spilt, the movement did not catapult, it crumbled. The intensity of those months (which the film made feel like years to me, oy!) may forever live strong in the minds of the people involved and is remebered as tragic triumph of the evil, oppressive Chinese government for those in the West, but within China the movement was cleaned up and cleared away by the government faster than you can say “civil liberties violations” and is hardly on the radar of many young Chinese today.

So again, I stress, as I think the film does, that a big dramatic explosion is not the thing that will bring social change to China, nor will the loss of young lives, though it may have helped gain sympathies. Rather, it is the willingness of everyone (not just the youth) to demand small changes of mentality and reality within China, by working with the system that will bring about the reform sought in the 1989 Tiananman Square Movement.

Comments Off on Blood, Guts and Glory Didn’t Do Jack-Tags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

A Telling Image: PRC Propaganda during the Cultural Revolution

February 2nd, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on A Telling Image: PRC Propaganda during the Cultural Revolution

Chairman Mao Inspectes the Guangdong Countryside

毛主席視察廣東農村 Mao Zhuxi shicha Guangdong nongcun
Chen Yanning 

1972, Beijing

I chose this poster, which is one of many in the Picturing Power gallery (http://kaladarshan.arts.ohio-state.edu/exhib/poster/exhibintro.html) that are reminiscent, for Western viewers, of Norman Rockwell images. Though the poster was printed in 1972, it still employs the almost cartoon-like, bright style found in children’s book illustrations or seen often in advertising in the 1950s and early 1960s in the US. For all these purposes (Rockwell, Kids’ books, advertising etc.) the illustration, instead of an actual photograph,serves to present a generality or an ideal, not reality. Though a photograph in 1972 could have produced a color image like this one, very life-like illustration is employed instead of the even more accurate photograph so as to better promote abstract ideals like “hope” by, in a sense, drawing them into the picture. A photo would never have captured the impossible ideal and serenity being expressed through the artists’ drawing; neither in the idolizing expressions on the peasant’s faces nor in the thriving countryside and blue skies.

Even Mao looks young, tall and strong in this poster, though a photograph might have shown a more tiredM Mao, as he was very old and would die within the next two years. Mao, as the trustworthy, friend-of-the-peasant, leads the diverse, joyous, exuberant group down a road that might symbolize a road to the future. This road is one familiar to the peasant: a rural road that requires the peasants to contribute to its success. It is built by the peasant and for the peasant. Still, the juxtaposition of Mao, in his plain, yet, still clean suit clothes and shoes, with the peasants, barefooted and worn-down work clothes, is a bit odd. He is carrying a field hat along with some of the others, but this picture clearly separates the leader with the ordinary people. That leaves me with a few questions about the image’s message. Is the leader, even as humble and down-to-earth as he may be, still in a different station (dare I say, “class”?) than the rest of China? Or was this a mistake on the part of the artist, who was merely trying to present Mao as a strong leader? 

Comments Off on A Telling Image: PRC Propaganda during the Cultural RevolutionTags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

Two Project Proposals: Social Change for Women and PRC Film Propaganda

January 27th, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on Two Project Proposals: Social Change for Women and PRC Film Propaganda

              1). In 1950, the People’s Republic of China passed the Marriage Law which gave the women of China the right to seek divorce, choose to choose and marry a man of their own free will, and … This social reform   was more extremely radical given the long enduring suppression and domination of women of which China had grown accustom. My paper would look at the direct effects of the government initiated 1950s era policies concerning the changes in the way of life for Chinese women. I will look at both primary and secondary sources, such as translations of the laws themselves as well as gather other sources on available to better understand public reactions to the laws and find statistics on marriage and work tendencies amongst women in the 1950s and onward. I believe further research may lead to conclude that the unique circumstances of China during this time lead to unique social change.


              2). The film industry in the People’s Republic of China has become increasingly freer as it has expanded over the last few decades. But since the formation of the communist government, Chinese film has been regulated and influenced, and sometimes directly controlled by the PRC to promote PRC doctrine, morals, and other propaganda. I would like to investigate, through primary sources of film, government documents, memos and correspondence of filmmakers, the history of film propaganda in the PRC from 1949 to the present. I believe the findings will show a change over time but may also prove to be prevalent as seen with Olympic opening ceremonies performance as evidence. 

Comments Off on Two Project Proposals: Social Change for Women and PRC Film PropagandaTags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

So Far, Not Too Different…

January 19th, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on So Far, Not Too Different…

I ran across this on the China in the Red website. First I noticed that the tagline for this tv show used the words “young” and “restless” in the same phrase… like the American soap title. And then I noticed that the first song listed under the soundtrack is a rap song with both American and Chinese artists called “Get Money”


The show’s themes are probably similar to those in the American reality show “The Real World.” The sense of “gettin’ the money” and “pay’n the bills” are familiar to these people in a semi-communist state and to us in a capitalist state.

Comments Off on So Far, Not Too Different…Tags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

Beginning the Dialogue!

January 13th, 2009 by areed · Comments Off on Beginning the Dialogue!

How awesome are the Back Dorm Boys? I’d say about a 7 on the arbitrary awesome scale. Although, I think they should consider changing the spelling of their group name so that Boys is spell with a Z- As in “Boyz ‘n the Hood” with Cuba Gooding Jr. 

I am excited about this class and the different media we will be looking at!

Comments Off on Beginning the Dialogue!Tags: Hist 471: Chinese Culture in 20th Century

“Matewan” and Reagan

November 11th, 2008 by areed · 1 Comment

Again… really liked the movie and enjoyed the side movie debate. 

But I thought I would share this. Link.



It is about Reagan and the air-traffic controllers’ strike in 1981. Fairly new in office, Reagan was seen as an American cowboy, because of his Hollywood persona. This intimidation worked not only with foreign diplomats who sometimes didn’t separate the image of Reagan in his movies and in real life, but it also proved to be true domestically when a showdown took place with the strikers. All the air-traffic strikers’ jobs were terminated. Reagan the villain or this story? Unions certainly thought so. 


I bring up the Cowboy Showdown Allegory because someone had pointed out that Matewan had sort of the Western Movie archetype. In terms of the time, Matewan certainly would be suggesting a comparison between Reagan and the ruthless Detectives against the poor, hard-laboring workers.–Jackie Reed

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U.S. History in Film

September 4th, 2008 by areed · Comments Off on U.S. History in Film

This is my test blurb! Hope this tagging business works!

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Welcome to my First Weblog!

September 3rd, 2008 by areed · 3 Comments

That’s right! I am a blogging newby, and I will not claim maven status for a very long time, that is certain! 

I hope you (those who have somehow stumbled onto this page and are probably, therefore, very confused) enjoy what you read or are perhaps even moved to respond!  

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