All this is by way of saying that actually paying money to get into a Shen Yun show would be a pretty weird thing to do.

If you say much of this on WIkipedia, you'll get into a revert war. Falun Gong has extensively inserted their mythology onto the site, using an array of circular sources that ultimately all point back to Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is unquestionably persecuted in China. But claims that millions have been sent to gulags and tens of thousands murdered and their organs harvested are backed by no evidence.

The show itself is a faked-up, orientalist, kitchy version of Chinese culture, with commercials every few minutes for Falun Gong. It's not just a fundraiser, it's a propaganda tool for their bubblegum view of Chinese history and their nonsense metaphysical beliefs.

The organization (and there is one, a big one, no matter what they say: they have a college, a newspaper, and the supposedly independent local orgs all pay tribute to the central one) is secretive and, if you criticize them, litigious.

Shen Yun is Falun Gong. Falun Gong is racist, sexist and homophobic. They teach that evolution is false, that modern medicine is wrong, that aliens exist, that all kinds of extradimensional 'energies' control us, and that their uber-guru is a supernatural being. They are also right-wing: pro-Trump, pro-nationalist, and against the welfare state.

Oh hey, according to the US government I now have a "nationality" and it's Jew and not "American" or whatever. So that's cool. I'm officially recognized as International Jew by my own government.

It may just be difficult for me, as both a man and a human being, to accept that it's right and proper to view myself as, morally, an unperson.

That's a lot to ask of anyone. No matter who they are.

This doesn't strike me as a particularly feminist point, either. It's so unthinking; it's not a social critique at all. It's the refusal of one, and the substitution of a simple inversion of categories. This isn't "decentering" the dominant ideology, which I would think would be to broaden and subtilize the analysis, to clear away blind spots and falsehoods. It's to keep the thing intact, just upside-down.

Can it really be a morally sensible point of view about gender relations that men, in view of their role in (a now eroding) patriarchy, have forfeited their humanity? To the degree that even moral critique of their current fate - whatever we may conclude about it, good or bad - is pointless, indeed immoral?

And in fact the article doesn't take this point to heart. It's a long consideration of the fate of men. (In many ways a disparaging one, but that's not the point. The point is, the consideration was made - but with a sting in the tail, to let us know the author thought it was a burden for anyone to have to do such a thing. The authors of the books under review clearly didn't agree, and one of the odd implications of the review is tha no matter their point of view, these books should not exist.)

I think, then, that to see the consideration of the fate of men as morally unworthy is a dire sort of reification. That this reification is seen as morally "commonsensical" is revealing of an ideological commitment, and that commitment is not very humanitarian. It is frankly cruel.

When speaking systematically of oppressive social systems, "men" can be the signifier of a putative agency, and that is clarifying, but it's essential to remember that this is an abstraction. Its application to the empirical specificity of individual people is limited.

But that happens to be a moral view I don't think is very useful. Maleness, or masculinity even, is not one thing. Men are not one thing. It's important to remember that when speaking as though they are, one is adopting a hugely abstracted shorthand. (it can be perfectly valid to do so in certain contexts, but it's not the whole truth.)

And that's equally true even if we adopt the perspective that it's valid to divide the question into a simple binary moral system of oppressor and victim; punitively to write off the fate of the oppressor during the process of social change is a recipe for later violent reaction; this is in nobody's interest.

Show more

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!