If you can't read books or watch movies, why is your "cultural physical strength" insufficient? Editorial office chat
Episode 111 Moderator | Xu Luqing
After work, I only have the energy to watch small videos, and I don't have the strength to read books and watch long movies, which seems to have become the norm for people.
In "Bouquet of Love", after the protagonist went to work for a few years, he changed from a literary man who played "Zelda" to a social animal who could only play "Wisdom Dragon Maze", and he could no longer read books. Recently, the second creation adaptation of the popular Internet, the male and female protagonists in major cities have traveled all over the literary landmarks, and finally they all broke up because they were too tired from work and their interests gradually drifted apart. In addition to jokes, there will also be feelings in the comment area, such as "I am also the male protagonist" and "cultural physical strength" is exhausted. "Cultural physical strength" corresponds to physical physical strength, which refers to the lack of physical strength to participate in more in-depth cultural, artistic and other activities. Just like in the play, the male protagonist sees a wall of books and says that he "can't read it" anymore. What is it that keeps us from reading books?
Observing the friends around me, many people began to give up the full movie, just watch the commentary, and watch four or five blockbusters in one hour of eating. Since many years ago, I've also been used to watching dramas at 1.5x speed, fast-forwarding and jumping to the finale. The recent popularity of micro-short dramas may also be related to the cultural physical strength of contemporary people, and the length of one minute episode just pinched our patience.
A man reading the "Chinese Character Simplification Scheme" in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, December 1977.
On the other hand, citizen night schools and universities for the elderly seem to be on the rise, and classes that were originally dominated by the elderly are now flooded with young people who are tired after working part-time jobs, and some media see citizen night schools as a place to awaken people's cultural and physical strength. What are the young people who are crazy about signing up for night school? As a cultural journalist, your daily job is to deal with books, do you have a time when your cultural physical strength is insufficient? How do you feel about the anxiety of insufficient cultural physical strength?
Readers are also welcome to leave us a message and share their opinions.
01 Watching bad movies can also be cured, and saliva songs also have a doorway
Xu Luqing: After a day of work, I don't have the cultural strength to do in-depth thinking, so I can only go home and watch short plays, how do you understand this state?
Pan Wenjie: Maybe I didn't eat enough. I forgot which best-selling book said that people's lack of willpower is often due to low blood sugar in the hungry stomach, and after eating, it is not easy to buy crazy in the supermarket, it is not easy to quarrel with people, and it may be more powerful to read Heidegger.
Lin Ziren: Actually, "Bouquet of Love" was highly recommended by my family to watch it, he once watched this film on the plane on a business trip, and was shocked, and when he got home, he took me to watch it again. After watching it, I kind of understand why the family is deeply impressed by this film, he is actually concerned about the situation of the male protagonist in the film: overtime, business trips and entertainment continue to drain his energy, and when he goes home, he really just wants to lie down and brush Douyin (but it is also thanks to Douyin, the family has a much higher understanding of the latest film and television works than me). I also have a wall full of books, and he can count the books he reads from beginning to end on two hands.
Xu Luqing: Sometimes watching bad movies gives me a sense of healing, especially when I am emotionally fragile and my energy is exhausted. It's easy to question the meaning of things when you're tired, but small video entertainment can stop me from facing these problems. Watching a "vulgar" bad movie, everyone lives a lively and lively life, and I think it's good, what else can't I get by.
Pan Wenjie: If happiness is the sum of pleasure, then the secret to a happy life is to take drugs. Although substances such as methamphetamine cannot appear in our lives, why are some cultural consumption particularly addictive? I especially like to watch the plot of big bad movies and bloody dramas, one is the exaggeration of the plot itself, and the other is that the language of the commentary up master is funny and makes people stand on the commanding heights.
If you think about it, it's also a great skill, isn't it? Adorno criticized the industrialization of pop music, and now everyone is not listening to the great classical music, but listening to songs every few minutes. But pop music can make so many songs with the same 4536251, and it has produced many masterpieces, which is somewhat amazing.
When we talk about cultural physical strength, we often talk about consumption, if we think about it from the end of production, not any saliva song with the same chord can become popular, and not any short drama is so popular, and there are many doorways.
Dong Ziqi: Reading really needs a threshold. Watching movies seems to be much better, and when I can't read books recently, I will watch movies, watch old movies, new movies, and unknown movies, and find a little bit of the past, and there are also some more subtle observations - for example, many popular movies will arrange the heroes and heroines to read, like Sandra Bullock has been reading Jane Austen's "Persuasion" in "Untouchable Lovers", and Kate Beckinsale and Jon Cusec in "Fate is Destined" because of "Love in the Time of the Plague". These texts form an intertextual relationship with the film itself, and also become a meaningful footnote. Does this mean that there is an inherent possibility of transformation and flow between pop culture and serious classics?
Written by Jane Austen, translated by Join
Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 2021-10
life, hope and
Xu Luqing: What is your situation as a cultural journalist, and is there a time when your cultural strength is not enough?
Lin Ziren: Thanks to our work, we cultural journalists have many opportunities to engage in literary and artistic activities, but this absolutely does not mean that we can always maintain our cultural physical strength! As far as I am concerned, when cultural physical strength is consumed, it is precisely when we are asked to experience various cultural scenes: exhibitions, performances and lectures, new books, movies and TV series, we are required to maintain a sensitive cultural radar at all times, and introduce the latest hot events to readers, but the attention and time of journalists are limited, and we cannot be present all the time.
This year, in order to protect my cultural strength, I made more time to read books, greatly reduced the time I spent watching movies and TV series, and stayed away from most variety shows. I have to think about any video that lasts more than an hour, and it's great to be able to watch a video in the fragment of time spent eating alone. So I found myself watching cartoons lately, and now I'm chasing "Spy Playing Home 2" and "Buried Frilian".
It is true that cultural journalists can participate in all kinds of cultural activities, but can we complain about the burnout caused by the so-called abundant cultural physical strength? Peterson is also a culture journalist, and she mentions a phenomenon in her book that I can relate to: she believes that social media platforms are most responsible for burnout, which further blurs the lines between work and play, and that in the age of social media, every moment is an opportunity to produce content, and your social media account is a well-crafted personal brand, which is even more important for knowledge workers, because their job is to output content and express themselves. She writes:
"Moments that could have offset or alleviate burnout have been torn apart by social media. Social media makes us obsessed with documenting events as they happen and alienating ourselves from the actual experience of them. It also molds us into needless multitaskers. It also erodes what people once called leisure time. And perhaps the most devastating of these is that it destroys the possibility of solitude: Cal Newport draws on definitions from Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin to describe 'solitude' as 'a subjective state of one's mind that is not affected by input from other minds'. In other words, be in the company of your own heart, with all those emotions and thoughts that experience reveals and excavates. ”
Millennials Lying Down
Anne Helen Peterson Translated by Yang Wenzhan
Gezhi Publishing House, Shanghai People's Publishing House, 2023-10
Xu Luqing: "Millennials Who Can't Lie Down" describes that the "millennials" in the United States (those born between 1981 and 1996) are deeply suffering from chronic occupational burnout, and the state of exhaustion continues, and their leisure time is constantly squeezed and encroached upon by work, and the little rest left is spent on mobile phones. I liked what the American journalist Ezra Klein wrote about the book: "We thought capitalism was a way of organizing the economy. But if it is long enough, its effects will not stop there: capitalism will organize our lives, our hopes, our relationships. ”
Not only the relationship with people, but also with the world, our sense of pleasure has been reshaped, but isn't pleasure one of the most important parts of life? It seems that this system will not end at the end of the day, and it will not only affect our bank income, it will imperceptibly sneak into all aspects of life.
Yin Qinglu: I agree with Lu Qing's statement that capitalism will reconstruct our lives, hopes and relationships. I think it's very appropriate to use "Bouquet of Love" to illustrate this point - when life is squeezed to exhaustion, you don't even have the strength to read books, and you can't expect to be in love seriously? Last time, I talked to my colleagues about so many sorrows and complaints about marriage and love, and I was afraid of the phoenix man after I was afraid of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), as if love is more about how the two kill each other rather than heal each other, but this is not to blame the people themselves, but we are not in a position where people have more room to "be good to others" environment. Far away, what I want to say is that first of all, you must understand that it is not your fault that you can't read most of the tomes and you don't need to blame yourself, when you are helpless and tired, guilty pleasure can also be a life-saving straw light of life.
Ziren said that I have watched a lot of cartoons recently, but when I am tired, even if it is animation, I can only watch bubble noodles or nonsensical secondary works, especially works that don't have much to do with reality, such as "Miss Kaguya wants me to confess" that I love to watch recently, which tells the story of the president and vice president of an elite school who love each other but don't confess - because it's too far away from reality, and you will feel relaxed when you watch it. A few days ago, I opened the long-awaited "Hades PLUTO" by Naoki Urasawa with great interest, and the references to the Middle East war and AI are so depressing that it is difficult to see it as an entertainment work when the cultural physical strength is insufficient. I still vaguely remember that when I was in college, I was very obsessed with the magical and grand narratives of Mr. Urazawa, so it seems that I can empathize with the experience of the male protagonist of "Bouquet" very much.
Cultural physical strength is even more unable to face the depth of life
Xu Luqing: Although many people feel that the cultural and physical strength is not enough, the night school is very popular now, and people will go to a few music and drama tea art classes after completion, as if it was not a phenomenon a few years ago. Outside of work, "I want to learn a craft" is also a phrase that I have often heard over the years. Craftsmanship seems to be different from the "elegant literary and artistic activities" referred to by cultural physical strength, and it has some practicality, but it does not consume more cultural physical strength.
Pan Wenjie: In my opinion, the happiness of the citizen's night school is not only the joy of picking wool, the joy of socializing, but also the happiness of really learning something.
Dong Ziqi: The literary night school looks very interesting. I had the idea of learning a craft, and I longed for the courses at the University for the Elderly, and I always felt that there was some kind of poetry brewing in them, just like in the Hirokazu Kore-eda movie, where old ladies are asked to learn classical music, which should have meaning beyond training.
In fact, there are many training programs in Shanghai, which are not expensive, and there are subsidies and subsidies. I've also read about it, and I think it's worth noting that young people want to find another space outside of their workplace and home life, an occasion where they can connect with others and discover themselves. This means an imaginary of the plurality of individual identities, because people are usually fixed in some family roles and positions, and such occasions can give people a little breather.
In Luoyang, Henan Province, citizens participate in art night classes and learn to shoot with mobile phones
Writer Paul Soroux recalled the night school in Beijing in the 80s of the last century, and he was always bitter and mean, but he became very gentle to young people who worked hard to learn foreign languages. He could understand the eagerness of the students who were studying at night school at that time, and encouraged them that everyone knew that night school was a good thing, but it was the hardest thing in the world to insist on going to night school, because they had to work all during the day, "I can only say that they are worth it, and they are doing everything they can to find their way out of the Chinese public." ”
But on the other hand, do young people believe in training too much? I participated in an event before, sharing the topic of "young people don't want to go to work", and the reaction of the young readers present was also very interesting: one reader said that she didn't want to go to work in the gap year, in fact, she didn't really get a break, because she always wanted to enrich herself, so she always had to sign up for a few classes and learn a few foreign languages. This is also quite common. Is this a manifestation of cultural exuberance, or is it the inability to face the deep boredom of life?