Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Watching Wushu

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Apparently aka Jackie Chan’s Wushu. So far, so good. Propagandistic overtones are simply patriotic overtones as viewed by an outsider: certainly some US movies are pretty heavy-handed in heaping praise on the US. The approach taken in Wushu is appropriate to a kid’s movie: making everything of an unlikely niceness.

One interesting convention: friends come in ratios (male to female) of 2:1 up to 4:1. I suspect this is simply to reflect facts on the ground in a nation that so long had a one-child per family policy combined with amniocentesis (to determine sex of fetus) and abortion and a veneration for males: way too many males on hand. (I don’t actually have figures: that’s just a deduction from the policy and the procedures and the clue in the movie’s depiction of a good match of friends. Can you imagine Friends as comprising four men and one woman? That is, I suspect, the situation in China.

Perhaps that is why the incessant mass synchronized physical drills and songs. As William H. McNeill observes in his admirable book The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000, a happy discovery in the development of military power was how having troops march in step and do other synchronized group movements (“close-order drill”) built a kind of esprit de corps that was never previously achieved: it built a loyalty of individual to group. I supposed it brought into being a meme entity built from the consensual awareness of all within the group. Once the individual is quite ready to sacrifice his life for his group, you have the modern army. And the group synchronized movements seem essential.

At any rate, the movie has quite a few. Maybe in part it’s to sop up all the extra energy from the unattached males. McNeill points how this has historically been a fraught situation. Napoleon solved it by sending excess French males off to invade other countries and thus (in effect) be supported by them. England sent its excess sons out to Empire, as officers and soldiers. India alone must have sopped up quite a few.

This should not be construed as disapproval: just observation. Indeed, I see a lot of value in wushu, and both grandsons are students.

UPDATE: According to Wikipedia:

According to a report by the State Population and Family Planning Commission, there will be 30 million more men than women [in China] in 2020, potentially leading to social instability, and courtship-motivated emigration.[71] The correlation between the increase of sex ratio disparity on birth and the deployment of one child policy would appear to have been caused by the one-child policy.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 March 2012 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

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