Formerly, during the latter generations of the Han house, strong men began to carve up the empire. The mighty encroached upon the weak, and the people became deceitful and shrewd. Male and female lightly engaged in erotic excess. The government could not relieve the situation and families did not impose prohibitions. Cities were plundered and the common people were victims of injustice, even to the extent of being made slaves. The people were being devoured )ust as mulberry leaves are consumed by silkworms, and because of their grievances they began to consider revolt. The pneumas [emanating from) their resistance blocked the heavens. This caused the five planets to depart from their measured movements, aphelial and parhelial comets to sweep the skies, and the fire star to depart from its position as adjunct. Then powerful ministers began to fight among themselves and hosts of treacherous people led one another [in rebellion]. After more than a hundred years, the Wei house received the mandate of Heaven and eradicated all of these evils. Calendrical signs showed that this was so. Their ascension was-recorded in the River [Chart} and the Luo [River Writings} and in other portents suspended in the heavens. Conforming to the celestial dispensation and the propitious times, I received the mandate to be Master of the Kingdom. The Martial Thearch [Cao Cao] launched the empire.If anyone is wondering, the reason I keep posting all these little quotes and stuff for use in class is so that future teachers of Chinese history will know where to find them. The main future person I want to be able to find them is me, since the web seems a better place to keep ones notes than a hard drive.
 And perhaps even more devastating, my personal research blog is no longer available.
Bai Juyi, On the Cabinet for My Literary Collection I broke up cypress to make a book cabinet, the cabinet sturdy and the cypress strong. Whose collection is stored there?- the heading says "Bai Ledan." My lifetime's capital is in writing from childhood on to old age. Seventy scrolls from beginning to end, in size, three thousand pieces. I know well that at last they will be scattered, but I cannot bear to rashly throw them away. I open it up, I lock it tight, placing it by my study curtain. I am childless Deng You, and there is no Wang Can in this age. ((Deng You was a famous litereratus who gave all this books to the young Wang Can)) I can only entrust it to my daughter to keep and pass on to my grandchild. ((From Owen The Late Tang: Chinese Poetry of the Mid-Ninth Century p.55 Not exactly the same problem as mine, but pretty close))
As I was flipping through the People's Daily from the 1950s recently, something completely unrelated to my research caught my attention: political cartoons regarding foreign policy. Ironically, unlike most American political cartoons, People's Daily cartoons (at least from this time period) are almost exclusively about foreign policy, specifically the West's interference in the non-Western world.
I've reproduced a few of my favorites below. I think what I find most striking about these cartoons is how incredibly astute they are. I guess reading through the People's Daily, one would expect to find nothing but propaganda, and while these views are a bit biased, they are not really incorrect, or even necessarily unbalanced.
- It's one of the most difficult periods of modern history to teach, and I love using primary sources for the tough times, so I'm always glad to see new oral histories of the Maoist era. In some ways, the flaws the reviewer cites -- wandering in particular -- could be really useful for students.
- A new revisionist history of Chiang Kaishek raises the possiblity of teaching 20th century China in a much more balanced and complete way. I'm not entirely convinced, though: the portrait of Chiang as a political visionary is still in great tension with his heavy-handed methods and questionable associates and administrative skills; the idea that Taiwan's development was charted by Chiang has to contend with both the Japanese legacies and the favorable international environment for Taiwan's economic development during the Cold War. I want to see some real academic reviews.
- The NYT "Room for Debate" about Chinese Character Simplification would be a lot more interesting if they discussed anything other than the first-wave simplification carried out by the Communists -- the association of language control with early empire, the natural evolution of languages (i.e. the instability of "traditional" characters), the realities of technology and language. I've read a couple of their "Room for Debate" pieces, and I don't see the point.