lørdag 16. september 2017

A Drag Queen for the Dearly Departed

In the good old days, about three thousand years ago, people really knew how to mourn the dead. That was back in the Zhou dynasty, when there was no laughing in the dead person’s house, no sighing while eating, and no singing while walking down a country lane.

By Confucius’ time, about five hundred years later, all of those bad practices were common enough for the sage to feel he had to rail against them in the Book of Rites, adding a slew of other admonishments: avoid a happy expression at a mourning rite; don’t laugh when holding the rope slung under the coffin; don’t play on the graves. You might want to do those things but at least try to control yourself: “Hence the superior man is careful to maintain the proper expression of his countenance before others.”