Kids with edge. Both images represent patriotic historical fables involving young warriors. Top: artist Grant Wood’s 1939 painting Parson Weems’ Fable, depicts a scene from Weem’s nineteenth century Life of Washington with a young George Washington, hatchet in hand, famously exclaiming “I cannot tell a lie pa.” The future patriot soldier ‘fessing up to cutting his father’s cherry tree. Below: promotional scene from Disney’s Mulan (2020), the reimagining of a folk tale featuring a young girl’s patriotic defense of her Chinese homeland from barbarian invaders. In Episode 23 we discuss how ‘patriotic histories’ often intended for children take significant liberties with fact in order to legitimize claims of national sovereignty.
Was Mulan even Chinese? Has Tr**p ever read a book? Does the Apocalypse got ya down? Never fear, the saucy boys are back and we’re throwing haymakers straight to the jaw of every history zombie. Josh has got his groove in a synchronous fall semester season, and he’s asking students to question every premise. Howard Zinn drops by with a plea for the people, as we pull back the curtain on the boogeyman of patriotic history, from the U.S.A. to the P.R.C. And that includes you Walt Disney: Leave those kids alone! Rest assured, here on HAG, we ain’t rooting for the emperor.
To hear episode 23 Doomscrolling with Mulan, click on the link below:
Sources Referenced and Items of Interest
Dennis E. Yi, “Why Chinese Viewers Hate Mulan,” SUPChina (Sept. 11, 2020)
Anna Fifield, “China thinks ‘patriotic education’ built a loyal generation. But in Hong Kong? Not so fast.:” Washington Post (Nov. 29, 2019)
Alana Wise, “Trump Announces ‘Patriotic Education’ Commission, A Largely Political Move” NPR (Sept. 17, 2020)
Mason Weems’ The Life of Washington (Mt. Vernon.org)
The creation of American History: MR. BANCROFT’S LAST VOLUME.; HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, FROM THE DISCOVERY OF THE AMERICAN CONTINENT. Vol. VIII, New York Times (July 14, 1860)
“I can’t think of anything more important we can do in education than to get students to challenge these fundamental premises which keep us inside a certain box.”Howard Zinn