This incident was recorded by a young professor born in 1980, who was perplexed by the robust “cultural remembrance” of his seniors when compared to the complete nihilism of his generation in China, which has no history and believes in nothing. Getting lost in a highway system caught perpetually in the postindustrial infrastructural loops and darkness, these two senior professors quickly resorted to their common musical memories to form a common bond and provide an emotional anchor. The author reflects that although the members of this Cultural Revolution generation were deprived in their own ways, their cultural and communal adherence is the envy of the younger generation. We must admit that this sturdy cultural embeddedness is foreign not only to the younger generation in China but also to most people in Western liberal societies. This sense of assurance— that there are people around them sharing the same aesthetic bonds and cultural memories—cannot be replicated easily in today’s consumer society.
KeywordsCultural Revolution Popular Music Cultural Memory Musical Style Instrumental Music
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- 1.Yang Qingxiang, “Bashi hou, zenmeban?” 80,? (Post-1980 Generation: What Are We Going to Do with Them?)” Jintian (Today) 102 (Autumn 2013): 7.Google Scholar
- 2.See Yang Jian’s pioneering Wen-bun dageming zhong de dixia wenxue (Underground Literatures of the Cultural Revolution) (Beijing: Zhaohua chubanshe, 1993)Google Scholar
- Paul Clark The Chinese Cultural Revolution: A History (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008)Google Scholar
- Barbara Mittler, A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2012).Google Scholar
- 3.A notable set of recent publications in this regard are the two volumes of chronicles put together by Li Song, titled “Tangbanxi” biannian shi (A Chronicle of Model Opera of the Chinese Cultural Revolution) (Taipei: Xiuwei, 2011–2012). Dai Jiafang, Zouxiang huimie: Tu Huiyong defuchenlu (Walking towards Destruction: The Ups and Downs of Yu Huiyong) (Beijing: Guangming ribao chubanshe, 1994)Google Scholar
- 4.See Rosemary Roberts, Maoist Model Theatre: The Semiotics of Gender and Sexuality in the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) (Boston: Brill, 2010).Google Scholar