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China: Thoughts and debates on the name-calling professor

The start was in fact very simple. In 2007, Professor Zhong Hua at Sichuan Normal University issued an article entitled Cultural Studies and the Lost of Literary Theory in the 11th issue of “Literature and Art Studies”, one of the core academic journals in China, criticizing an academic work entitled Perspective of Ideological Transformation and Literary Discourse of Modern Concepts Evolution written by a Beijing Normal University professor Ji Guangmao. In this article, Professor Zhong Hua pointed out that the book failed to well analyse and demonstrate the concept of its topic. Zhong Hua said the lack of creativity and preciseness in Ji Guangmao’s book reflects the slovenly academic attitude of the author. However, feeling his authority had been challenged, Ji Guangmao fired back in his blog . Since December 5, 2007, he had written a series of entries and most of them contained personal attacks and dirty language. All these articles soon led to great concern from the academic experts and Netizen. Faced with all divergent argument, each professor got some supporters and opponents in the blogosphere.

Sina blogger Jinchengyou wrote in his blog on Feb 25, arguing that academic discussion should be confined only in the area of academy and advised Prof. Ji to regain his sanity and stop name-calling.

读完季广茂教授的博文《驳钟华:(2)且看他如何泼粪》,竟有了不忍之心。文中写的一些东西,非亲身经历者不能体会。我以为,开展学术批评是正常的,也是必要的。同为学界中人,批评者应注意把握好尺度,有些话似不当说得过满,应给对方、也给自己留有余地(批评者的意见未必就完全正确)。须知,一部论著反映的是作者在某一阶段对某些问题的认识,由于种种原因,难免会出现一些疏漏乃至失误。批评者在开展批评时,似应就事论事,不必涉及其他。

After reading Professor Ji Guangmao’s article “Refuting Zhong Hua: (2) Look how he smears others’ reputation” I even feel much as a reluctant heart. You cannot understand some content written in it without personal experience in the circle of academy. I think the academic criticism is normal and necessary. Being the academic members, critics should pay attention to the good yardstick of language. It seems wrong that some are too harsh, and they should establish the respect of each other on the basis of good manners (not necessarily the views of critics are completely correct). One should know that, due to various reasons, the reflection in a book is in a certain stage of the awareness of some issues and is inevitable to make careless omissions and errors. Critics in the conduct of criticism should only concern about the academic topic, excluding other issues.

作为被批评者,应有足够的学术自信,不必对批评意见耿耿于怀。我相信,45岁的季广茂教授之所以成为“名校教授、博导”,是二十多年来辛苦打拼的结果,其学术地位是毋庸置疑的。如今因其独著《意识形态视域中的现代话语转型与文学观念嬗变》被钟华教授批评,就丧失理智,出口伤人,是很不明智的。希望季教授爱惜羽毛,不要再陷入其中难以自拔了。

As the academician being criticized, one should have sufficient academic self-confidence and it is unnecessary to be so mean to the criticism. I believe it is his more than 20 years of hard work that makes the 45-year-old professor an “elite scholar and doctorate tutor”, and his academic status is beyond doubt. Now that his work “Perspective of Ideological Transformation and Literary Discourse of Modern Concepts Evolution” is under criticism, it is quite unreasonable and unwise for Prof. Ji to lose his sanity and vituperate the critics. I cherish the hope that Prof. Ji can treasure his plume and extricate himself from the bog.

In Baidu Tieba (Baidu Post Bar), the discussion is also going impetuously and an anonymous author recently posted some words describing the loss of social morality reflected by this incident.

凭心而论,一位学者,当自己的论著意外遭受到严厉批评,难免心中不平,甚至一时愤激而发表过激言论,也是可以理解的。但是,既然是生存在文明的当代中国,而且身为教授学者,就应当遵守公共道德、并且把自己的回应约束在学术界限内。然而,季广茂对钟文的“回应”令人根本看不到真心回应学术批评的态度,而是恶意侮辱钟华,其肆意谩骂的污言秽语,从钟华的文章污及钟华本人、再从钟华本人污及其家人,用词之肮脏、态度之恶劣,不仅丧失了一位学者应有的操守,而且违背了基本的社会公德!

To be honest, as a famous scholar, when the academic work of his own is suddenly going under severe criticism it is inevitable for him to feel disaffected and even say some extreme words as responses. But, now that we live in a civilized nation, as a university professor one should obey the public morality and confine the discussion in the academe. From the ‘responses’ made by Ji Guangmao, however, we can see nothing appropriate and academic except for all the insulting vituperation and bawdry on Zhong Hua and his family. The words and manner are so dirty and vulgar that it indicated that he not only lost the morality discipline a scholar should possess but also disobeyed the basic social morality!

Wang Shichuan, a professional observer and freelance, who thought the ‘criticism gate’ incident indicated some moral problems in Chinese universities and academic circles, wrote the following words in his Tencent blog on Feb 24.

这是一场典型的批评,引发的却是非典型的愤怒。我们当然应为当今高校的师德现状发一浩叹,甚至可以哀叹“学高为师、德高为范”在逐渐沉沦。但我们不能舞动着道德大棒挥向季先生,不宜把该事件简单地置于师德沦丧的漩涡。我们应追问:一场原本可以良性互动的学术批评,何以被异化?我们该探问,季先生在被批评之后何以气急败坏?我们更需明晰:如何构建成熟的学术批评,又如何祛除学术利益化?

This is a typical criticism, but caused atypical anger. Of course, we should sigh for the moral status quo in today's colleges and universities and even feel from the lament that the logion “lofty scholarship as tutor; high morality as quintessence” is in the progress of degradation. However, we can not throw a big moral stick to Mr. Ji, attributing it simply to the whirlpool of moral loss. We should ask: how could the benign interaction of academic criticism become alienated? We should inquire why Prof. Ji was utterly discomfited after the criticism. We need more clarity: How to build a mature academic criticism, and wipe out the academic egoism?

如何对待学术批评?在批评中,无论是批评者还是被批评者,都要出于引导学术进步,促进国家、民族的进步和发展的基本立场,容忍对方的批评,哪怕是尖刻的批评。中国人民大学法学院杨立新教授这段见解深得我心。我们注意到,钟华对季广茂的学术批评并非完美无暇,也有漏洞,这些钟华已坦承——在个别问题的处理,或者分寸的把握上,今天看来可能还是存在一些不适当的地方。作为回应,季广茂接受记者采访时表示,钟华除了指出的两处硬伤、两处笔误之外,其余的都站不住脚,有的是断章取义,有的是子虚乌有……此时,季先生如果针锋相对、基于学术范畴内的回应,应该让人喜闻乐见。问题是,季先生的愤怒如滔滔江水,种种污言秽语绵延不绝,这就使正常的学术批评被扭曲。

How to deal with the academic criticism? In it, both critics or the criticized must ,in the purpose of guide for academic progress, the promotion of national and ethical progress as well as the development of the academics, tolerate each other's saying, even some sarcastic words. Yang Lixin, Law Professor at People's University, speaks out his opinion and it won my heart. We note that the Zhong Hua’s academic criticism towards Ji Guangmao is not immaculate, and there are some loopholes. Zhong Hua has admitted that – in dealing with individual issues and the limits for speech or action, there is still something inappropriate. In response, when interviewed by a reporter, Ji Guangmao said that except the two spots of academic carelessness and clerical error which was pointed out by Zhong Hua, the rest is indefensible, and some are quoted out of context or even fictitious…… At this point, if Mr. Ji responded tit-for-tat on the basis of academic context, the whole thing should be loved by the people. But the question is that the anger Ji is just like the surging river and all the obscene word and bawdry has never been stopped, which makes the normal academic criticism distorted.

一言以蔽之,在正常的学术批评日渐稀缺时,批评容易陷入“一捧就笑、一骂就跳”的困局;在当前的学术品质、学术道德和学术研究泥沙俱下之际,在重大课题的申报与重大利益挂钩时,当事人就很难心平气和地接受批评,当然也很难潜心做学问、搞研究。在师德之外,这两点尤需关注。

In a nutshell, the normal academic criticism is becoming increasingly scarce. So vulnerable is criticism that any argument can easily stir anger. The current dilemma of the current academic quality, academic ethics and academic research makes it impossible for critics to give and receive criticism with heartsease and therefore it is difficult for them to devote themselves to academic research. Besides academic morality, we should pay our attention to these two points.

Still, there’re some supporters of Prof. Ji Guangmao. Blogger Chenyuansheng, who had some personal contact with Ji Guangmao, posted the supportive words in his weblog showing sympathetic feelings and arguing that the criticism from Zhong Hua is totally unequal.

假如我不曾偶然对季广茂有所了解,我多半会相信钟华的评价,起码会大大受他的影响。但是,由于我对季广茂有这么一点了解,我就绝对不相信钟华的评价。季广茂再笨蛋,也笨蛋不到那个程度。

If I knew nothing about Ji Guangmao, I think I will possibly trust what Zhong Hua said or at least be greatly influenced by his article. But as someone who knows Ji Guangmao a little, I never trust the criticism made by Zhong Hua. Whatever a fool Ji Guagmao is, he can’t be as foolish as that.

钟华的文章,对季广茂的那本书的批评,连一句勉强的、礼节性的表扬都没有。如果季广茂果真是那么个笨伯,而且那么不道德,那么我也不反对他大刀阔斧——然而,我就是不相信季广茂是那副样子。一个挺聪明的人,不可能突然变成呆瓜,正如一个呆瓜也不可能突然变得聪明

In his article, Zhong Hua didn’t say anything positive, not even some striped-pants praise. Had Ji Guangmao been a real idiot and that immoral, then I will say nothing about his bold and resolute words. But, I will never believe Ji Guangmao is such a kind of person. A witty guy will never instantly become a retard; as such, a retard can never turn to be clever all of a sudden.

In his up-to-date blog entry on Feb 25, Prof. Ji Guangmao said he is misunderstood by others.

总是有朋友问:为什么不能有话好好说?是呀,我也很想有话好好说,但是,凭空被人泼了一身的大粪,难免激愤;激愤之人,难免有义愤之辞;这个时候,即使想“好好说”,谈何容易?八十天过去了,始终无法真正释怀。此痛此感,非当事人,焉能理解?

My friends always ask: why can’t you say it calmly. Yes, I myself also want to express my feelings in good manners. But, it is unavoidable not to stay calm when somebody smears you so dirtily. While getting angry, one will surely say some angry words. At this point, even if I wanted to say it ‘in good manners’, it is not easy to do so. 80 days had passed, but still I can’t feel relieved. You will never understand my feelings without putting your foot in my shoes.

Without writing a weblog, Zhong Hua none the less spoke out his mind to the public when receiving an interview on Feb 24.

钟华告诉记者,学术讨论闹到今天这种局面自己非常遗憾和无奈,“平心而论他谈到学术内的问题,有些还是有一定参考价值的。当然有些我肯定有不同意见,不过鉴于现在这种状况,与他进行学术讨论显然时机还不够成熟。至于他文中学术之外的言辞,那就是另外一个问题了。”

Zhong Hua told the journalist that he was very regretful and hopeless to see the academic discussion being eroded to such an extent. He said: “If we give the devil his due, I have to say his academic insight is still valuable in some sense. Though I’m holding some different opinions, now it is still immature for me to have a thorough discussion with him. As to those insulting words of him, I think, that’s another issue.

Here are some titles of entries from the weblog of Prof. Ji Guangmao concerning with this ‘academic’ incident.

做回畜生(送某屁眼教授及某鸡眼教授)
屁眼教授再现眼
不折不扣的屁眼教授
“痔疮教授”乎?“屁眼教授”乎?
教授与痔疮
患上脑便秘,难免满纸都是屁
哦的神啊,救救我们吧

Turn back to Beast (To a certain ‘asshole professor’ and ‘helosis professor’)
‘Asshole Professor’ loses face again
One hundred percent ‘Asshole Professor’
‘Hemorrhoids Professor’ or ‘Asshole Professor’?
Professor and Hemorrhoids
Suffering from Brain Constipation: There is Fart everywhere
Oh my God, please save us!

1 comment

  • Chee Than Shwe

    Chinese is called in Myanmar (Burmese) Ta Yote
    Yote mean bully.
    Yes China bully Myanmar (Burma).
    China said they will not interferior other country’s internal affairs. But China support, send, thousands of military truck cars for murderer Myanmar junta to kill more Myanmar people.

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