James Clavell

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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Wed Mar 09, 2022 2:57 pm

Within fifty-odd years tea became the most popular drink of the Western world--particularly of Britain, the major trading nation on earth. In seventy years tea was the single major source of internal tax revenue for the British Government. Within a century the outpouring of wealth to China had critically depleted the British treasury and the unbalanced tea-buillon trade was a national catastrophy.

This passage made me laugh a lot.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Mar 10, 2022 5:01 am

Clavell was very taken with Sun Tsu and Chinese wisdom, and rightly so. But he should also have saved some regard for our own, for Machiavelli. If Robb Struan had read The Prince, he would not have been afraid to be Tai-Pan.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Mar 10, 2022 5:44 am

Pedro I Rengel wrote:Tai-Pan is a considerably less leisurely book to read. Set in 1841, everything is constantly on the balance, catastrophy and glory a step away, and absolute, all conquests final, all killings final, the air always fresh from God's vagina.

None of the guarantees and insurances and assurances and redundancies and quadruple-redundancies and safety nets and sanities of the modern world. No plasticity to afford refuge or give. No lies one can tell to the salt of the wind. Nothing ceremonial about a blade.


Ah, but once you settle into it, it really is a dream. The smell of the sea is somehow always present. What a lovely smell it is, by God.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Thu Mar 10, 2022 12:19 pm

And a new thought, Culum--the Chinese have had civilization for five thousand years.

So have we, Goddamme. It's just been, a little roudier on this side.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 11, 2022 10:07 am

Pedro I Rengel wrote:And a new thought, Culum--the Chinese have had civilization for five thousand years.

So have we, Goddamme. It's just been, a little roudier on this side.


The more I allow my mind to wander through the window Clavell so deftly opens, the less I believe myself.

He often depicts Dirk understanding there is something very deep there, but now knowing exactly what it is. And that is very much how Clavell manages to convey it, by not actually showing basically any of it. There are no grand sweeping depictions of Chinese grandeur. Just little things, and your mind is able to grasp the concrete reality of it, and suddenly you agree with the Chinese that everybody else is a foul barbarian. But why exactly you couldn't say.

Maybe Clavell is right, and it's just the inmensity of it.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 11, 2022 3:58 pm

Meanwhile, James Clavell and Michael Caine's forgotten masterpiece:

The Last Valley
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 11, 2022 5:35 pm

There are only two people I know of that are already dead: the Samurai and the Aztec.

Though that's not true. The Aztec is not already dead, he is born to die. The act of dying is the most significant act of existence. That is why Aztecs had human scrifice, and the Samurai did not. The Aztecs had Gods, while one imagines a refined Samurai is a strict Zen Budist. Can the Samurai mentality be held but in Budism (and Japanese Zen Budism at that)? This seems to me like an enormously important question. My thoughts used to be that to use Budism to attain it was a cop-out. Before diving further into this, I must point out, whether relatedly or not, that with time I have understood Zen to be much more like Catholicism than Budism. The more Zen koans I see, the more I detect an appreciation for a Greatness that is beyond understanding, a lot like the Catholic conception of God. I even found one parable that is almost identical in the two:

Catholic: A child is fetching sea water to put in a hole he dug. A man asks him what he is doing. The child answers he is putting the entire sea into his hole. The man says this is impossible, that the child is foolish. The child responds that he will sooner put the sea into his hole than the man understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity (how God can be one and three).

Zen: Let's see if I can remember it exactly... A zen monk is fishing. Fuck I can't remember it. But someone says something to him and he answers that understanding Zen is equally improbable. Ah yes. I believe he is trying to catch fish with his hand. Someone points out how difficult this endeavour is likely to prove. The monk replies that understanding Zen is like catching a fish with your hand.

Still, it is important what is on the other side of the mistery. With Zen it will still be in some sense or another the Budist Void. In Catholicism it will be God. Equal in mistery, but different in implications on a deep enough level.

Back into the dive, I cannot know if a man can have that mentality without Budism. The worth of it is evident, the quality, but still one does not know if it can be attained without Budism. A sort of "who gives a fuck, it's all mildew within a mildew." I believe certain things would allow it. But maybe not. It would have been intersting if a Catholic monk had been clever enough to approach conversion through Zen. But this was unlikely, as missionaries are almost by definition fanatics. It would have taken the type of Italian priest that is guaranteed never to be disposed to leave the Holy streets of Rome.

In any case, both worship death. In both it makes men 10 times braver than the next. For an Aztec, it was not only death that was holy, but his death most of all. Not its significance or the bravery it showed, but the very act. This is, in my mind, the highest degree of worship of life. One must understand that their swords were clubs with shards of obsidian glued into it. Death was by definition gruesome. The Samurai enjoys the exposition of manliness in enduring pain, but the Aztec enjoys the ragged tearing of flesh, the eating of a heart, blood through ragged gashes and broken bones seeping into dirt. The undescribability of reality.

What Nietzsche would say is probably to compare them to the old man dancing in celebration of God Zarathustra witnesses as he comes down from his mountain. "Who among us can live in the moment? Who among us has the time?"
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 11, 2022 5:40 pm

Pedro I Rengel wrote:What Nietzsche would say is probably to compare them to the old man dancing in celebration of God Zarathustra witnesses as he comes down from his mountain. "Who among us can live in the moment? Who among us has the time?"


And, if one is honest, this is probably what enabled Rome to subdue both.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Sun Mar 13, 2022 2:34 pm

Now we will make a short break for people to post their favourite US movie about China, though I think mine would rank up there even with Chinese movies:

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Re: James Clavell

Postby MagsJ » Sun Mar 13, 2022 3:18 pm

_
..a good film that. I watch it whenever it is re-aired on terrestrial TV.

I’ll have to have a think, on what China-based film I’d give props to..
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. ~MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something important at some point in time.. Huh!? ~MagsJ

You’re suggestions and I just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a very bad DJ ~MagsJ

Examine what is said, not him who speaks ~Arab proverb

aes Sanātana Dharma Pali: the eternal way ~it should not be rigid, but inclusive of the best of all knowledge for the sake of Ṛta.. which is endless.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 8:41 pm

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In the scene where May-May with the dress, Clavell understands that Struan understands that he has to give her face back. But he misunderstands monstruously how it is to be got about. If any moment, that was a moment when he should have mercilessly beat the shit out of her, and yelled at her, importantly with many obscenities, "you stupid whore, how dare you this and that without my permission," etc etc.

Then yell at her some more, order her to put on a nice Chinese dress, and ordered her to go to the ball with him, with promises of further punishments and privations.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 8:46 pm

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Fuck, now that I wrote it out like this and posted it, I don't know.

Goddamnit, fuck. Life is complicated.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 8:49 pm

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Yeas, he should have got angry and done all that, but then not gone to the ball.

He would have had to come up with an alternate thing for them both to do. Some annoying task. "We're going to the ship to" whatever, do whatever.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:46 pm

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Oh, lol, that's where the idea had entered my head, that's exactly what he ended up doing.

Motherfuckers think they smarter than the Clavell.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Wed Mar 16, 2022 8:15 pm

It's so incredible to get the opium trader's perspective from such an obscure point in history. In school it was briefly covered as "the Evil English decided to break China by flooding her with opium, and it worked. The end."
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Wed Mar 16, 2022 8:20 pm

Clavell even has the balls to be horrified by forced labour marketers. But that's the English for you.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:22 pm

Very pleased with Clavell's depiction of Catholics in the scene with the bench and the garden.

Yes, he does understand us.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:28 pm

My feelings for Anglicans as a Catholic always used to be a mixture of pity for them being basically barbarians, and respect for being loyal to their ancestry. I obviously understood they would evolve many levels if they converted, but I did not feel they were in a bad place as they were.

This was before Anglican and Catholic alike came under the sway of international communism.

But my grandmother watched the pope every time he made an appearance, read his publications, and gave her much heart. For this, I bless him him eternally. His existence is justified.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:31 pm

Figures. First South American pope and the dude's a comminist.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:33 pm

There is no need anymore for a Catholic empire, not since the Italians, and their successors the English, and their successors the gringos gave the world the free markets.

The place of the Church was to keep the magic alive, the sanctity. Sadly, they forgot this.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:39 pm

Probably comminism is just an understandable shock at the power, effectiveness and general goodness of free markets. A kind of guarded caution. Like they cain't really believe it.

In reality, at least half of high school curriculums should be about learning about markets, financial securities, banking, corporate structures, finance law.

These, and no other, were the means by which tyranny was disposed of.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Fri Mar 18, 2022 7:41 pm

Coca-Cola.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 21, 2022 3:53 pm

What's beautiful about this novel is that it is like a pirate novel without being a pirate novel. Everything that is glorious about being a pirate with none of what is disgusting.

I guess that's what merchant mariners were for most of their existence.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Mon Mar 21, 2022 3:55 pm

One step further, a stateless market, and you would have the perfect blend.
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Re: James Clavell

Postby Pedro I Rengel » Tue Mar 22, 2022 2:57 am

What was it that made the Tai-Pan so strong, and Culum so weak?

It must be said, it was university. University makes men soft.

High school is one thing, where the police can basically force you to go and your parents legally own you and it's basically a prison. It's quite another to voluntarily, with majority of age and control over your own fate, to sit there year after year letting men tell you what to think, how to think, and even work to get their approval, even slave to get their approval. Year after year of living in a fantasy world where you are over 20 but treated as a ward. Even those that have to work their way through, living in the illusion of the power of institutional position. All their perception of what power means is holding a post, and a government-protected post at that, an unproductive post at that, one where spewing convoluted gibberish earns you a house and three meals and a decent-to-luxury car and command over people.

Some are suited to it. Very few. To a rarified environment of pure and unadulterated learning. This probably makes up about 0.1% of the student population of universities, and they suffer greatly from the company of the wards and the dilluted quality of the few professors they manage to be able to squeeze some knowledge from. In this age, only in some of the science departments, and not without much of the vast corruption of the mind that all others undergo, for it is for those others that universities exist.

Some of the people that study business also end up fine, as they are aware and their parents are aware and their professors are aware that they are there to sharpen skills that are elementally of the street, to conquer the street. Most of those, too, don't escape altogether some softening of the mind.
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