China's Kafka

China's Kafka is miffed that nobody appreciates her novels, so she posted the following essay at Tianya forum.

(Tianya)  Daiqin (黛秦) - China's Kafka - Sexiness and Cruelty.  April 28, 2006.

(in translation)

"China's Kafka."  I'm different from Kafka in that I keep trying to run away.  I keep taking unsteady steps to walk over all the things that we might lose.  I keep looking for my own kind, I try to dissolve the pain that came by birth; in the end, I find that I am similar to Kafka in so many ways.  We are good at burrowing ourselves in the "ground cave of the soul" to avoid sorrow and disappointment; we are determined to say outside the "fortress of happiness" in order to use the pens of our soul to write about human alienation, pain, sorrow and despair; and we use the "cruel judgment" to describe the origins of human society and the ultimate outcome, possibly only for our own selves.

Someday, perhaps all written culture will vanish.  One may realize suddenly that even though nothing much happens in a brief life, but the loneliness and pain are so long-lasting that one cannot see any hope.  Faced with the living people and myself, what is the meaning of these words?  As in my novels "Fragrance City," "Vermicelli Beauty" and "Fireworks," people have nowhere to go in the huge global organization; they cannot enter the world that they really long for.  But life must continue in some fashion, for all eternity; even if we don't know what tomorrow will bring, we don't have anywhere to stop.

In my life, I only want to write some very simple words.  I only want to describe the freedom and happiness that I long so much for.  Nothing can stop us to love without reservations and nothing can stop the free steps towards a free world.

You read the above, and you shake your head because this is just trite.  Technically true, except the author attached a photograph of herself.

The photograph below is not that of China's Kafka.  This is the real Franz Kafka of Prague.

Here is the photograph of Daiqin (黛秦), the self-proclaimed Franz Kafka of China.  This photo was attached to the aforementioned Tianya post.

Now all of a sudden there is a great (and very great) deal of interest.  Eventually, even the mainstream media took notice.

(Information Times)  Female Blogger Shows Her Back and Butt For Popularity; Self-proclaimed China's Kafka.  June 7, 2006.

[in translation]

... Yesterday, the reporter went on the Tianya True Self forum and saw that in the post "China's Kafka - Sexuality and Cruelty," the poster Daiqin not only posted sections of her novel "Fireworks" but also posted many photographs of herself with only underwear, and even "butt naked" photographs.  This has caused netizens to comment: On what basis is Daiqin the Kafka of China?  Is "showing your butt" an expressive gesture, or is it just propaganda for your novels?

At the same time, more netizens were paying attention to her physique than "whether she can write some pure literature in her life."  One netizen asked: "Why are you posting these nude photographs?  It is likely that you can't write well, and you can only use these photographs to attract eyeballs."

Another netizen wrote: "If you want to take your clothes off, you need some kind of acceptable reason.  Among all the acceptable reasons, the easiest one is literature.  To dare to write and be able to write are important assets to show off, just like daring to strip and being able to strip!"

... As to why she chose to go to this extreme, she wrote: "I am a woman.  Why can't I write something and become part of society?  If other people can publish photographs about their beauty, why don't I have the right too?  Is this just sensationalism or misdirection?  You are better off believing in existentialism -- the world is absurd."

Because she "showed her butt," the personal blog of Daiqin began to receive attention too.  On her blog, she began to publish Fireworks and other essays, plus a personal photograph album.  Although Daiqin keeps promoting her novels, there is not much interest.  More people attack her for her "butt naked" photographs.  One netizen wrote: "Your literary skills are passable, but I don't understand why a woman would like Kafka.  Why don't you like Françoise Sagan, Eileen Chang and that kind of writer, or even romantic novelists like Qiong Yao?"  Even more netizens think that Daiqin ought to be sorry about what she did.

Then Daiqin published "I posted 'naked butt photographs' -- who should be sorry to whom?" on the Tianya True Self forum in reply.  In that essay, she said that her novels are unrelated to the "naked butt photographs."  She said that she is just someone who likes to use language to express her ideas to the world.  The reason why she described herself as China's Kafka is because she predicts that China will be in a "Kafka-esque era -- the struggle between old and new ideas" -- that is, the anxiety, uneasiness, puzzlement, sorrow, despair and hysteria.

But this explanation only drew further criticisms.  The netizen Annie Rose wrote the Internet essay "You posted 'naked butt photographs' -- you ought to apologize to your butt!"  In that essay, she wrote: On the Internet, in order to showcase your writings and garner attention, you showed your tits and ass.  What kind of woman is this?  A beauty or a pile of Internet dogshit?  You posted the 'naked butt photographs' and you don't know whom to apologize to?  Let everybody tell each other so that we can tell her altogether: You ought to apologize to your butt and to your parents!"

Although Annie Rose's essay created another climax in the wave of criticisms, Daiqin did not seem to mind.  She posted an reply: "21st century: bare your breast and write!": This is 21st century and shall strong alternative female writers write?  The self-proclaimed Chinese Kafka Daiqin bares her breast and lead the troops to "break through the traditional taboo on Chinese feminine sexuality and openness to challenge the thousands of years of Chinese feudal customs!"

This post generated another wave of discussions.  The opposition represented by Annie Rose counter-attacked: "We don't have the habit of seeing a body first and then reading the words; we don't have the habit of reading the words first and then wanting to see the body.  We like to read what Kafka wrote, but we really don't want to Kafka's naked body.  We like to eat eggs, but we don't want to go to the chicken coop to watch the hen that lays the eggs, especially if it is a fat hen that is shedding its feathers (following what Mr. Qian Zhongshu said)."

... But Daiqin felt that the netizens are ignoring the existence of performance art in China and distorting the motive of the author.  Faced with the blanket of negative comments from netizens, Daiqin did not know whether to laugh or cry.  She said that she could not understand why she can't publish her own performance art photographs, or who has China's Kafka irritated.

Here are some more photographs of China's Kafka taken from her blog.