During the initial years of the National Government in Nanking there grew up, therefore, a group of writers headed by the pre-American Lin Yutang and rallying around a literary fortnightly named, somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion, after the Confucian classic The Analects. They popularized a new Chinese word, yumeh (humor), to convey the exact flavor of their writing, and it was their self-appointed job to play the jester to the new Kuomintang rule. There should be a place for such a magazine and such a group under any government, because the targets of their good-natured attack are nothing so much as cocksureness and hypocrisy.
THE ANALECTS’ CREDO
1. Don’t oppose the Revolution.
2. Don’t criticize those whom we don’t think much of; but do criticize those whom we love and esteem (for instance, our Mother Country, contemporary militarists, promising writers, and revolutionists who are not absolutely hopeless.
3. Don’t curse people right off the mouth. (Try to have a sense of humor without harm. There is no reason to call a national thief father, nor is there any need to call him a turtle’s egg.)
4. Don’t take somebody else’s money; don’t talk somebody else’s talk. (We will not accept paid propaganda from any quarter, but we might, if we like, do free propaganda, or even counter-propaganda.)
5. Don’t follow any elegant fad; even more, don’t follow any powers that be. (Refuse to be a fan to opera stars, movie stars, society stars, literary stars, political stars, or stars of any other kind.
6. Don’t shout slogans for each other; oppose “goose-pimpleism.” (Avoid all such terms as “scholar,” “poet,”, and “my friend Dr. Hu Shih.”)
7. Don’t compose stuffy verses or sweet songs.
8. Don’t uphold public justice and righteousness, only spout your frank private views.
9. Don’t get rid of your bad habits (such as smoking, tea drinking, looking at plum blossoms, or reading); and don’t advise your friend to quit smoking.
10. Don’t say your own writing is no good.
— from the “Humor of Protest” section of Chinese Wit & Humor by George Kao, 1946, a thoroughly fascinating book made all the more poignant by the impending ravages of the Cultural Revolution & the subsequent practices of the CCP
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