Friday, November 25, 2022
HomeTaoism“Making a mistake” in Foreign

“Making a mistake” in Foreign


Blue kite stillFrom Blue kite (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1993).

With “mistakes” (carefully adopted by denials—notably Brexit) having turn into routine underneath this evil Tory regime, I’m reminded that I’ve at all times been keen on the Italian sbaglio (verb sbagliare), with the appealingly economical unfavourable prefix s- creating an expressive diphthong. Admittedly in this case a optimistic model baglio/bagliare is elusive, nevertheless it jogs my memory of different phrases equal to English dis-, equivalent to

  • svantaggio drawback
  • sfiducia distrust
  • scontento discontent
  • sfigato loser
  • scaricare unburden
  • sfiorire wither
  • staccato indifferent
  • sforzando “with excessive force”—Beethoven’s speciality.

Like I’d know… An appropriate aperitivo right here is the negroni sbagliato (cf. the Lumumba and cubalibre).

Returning to “mistakes”: in British politics, “misjudgements” which have appalling social and financial penalties can now be casually brushed apart with a patrician air of disdain. In China,  nevertheless (as all through the socialist bloc), “making a mistake” (fan cuowu 犯错误), a catch-all for political, sexual, and certainly clerical misdemeanours, is now used humorously—regardless of (or due to) its Maoist heritage, with the disastrous private and familial penalties that might ensue from harmless infringements in opposition to the fluctuating political orthodoxy of the day, or fully innocuous informal remarks—cf. Goulash deviationism, China: commemorating trauma, and films equivalent to Blue kite and Living. In paperwork from the Maoist period the time period is a sparse trace of such fake pas, as underneath The Houshan Daoists, requiring us to learn between the traces (see my evaluate of the Anthology of the people music of the Chinese peoples).

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