As the Chinese Party-state ramps up the revivification of chuantong wenhua, or traditional culture, really « Confucianism» as an ethical formation, I consider several structuring forms across temporalities (Model Person, filiality, and above all hosting) through a Tv talk show called All Fathers and Mothers Under Heaven. In classic ancestral ritual, it is always the Son who « hosts», standing as the zhuren in the center, even as the ideology of imperial patriarchy holds the Father as dominant. The Tv talk show reverses this structure: the filial son is the guest, while the state’s surrogate hosts the show. Yet the Party-state’s entire current project hopes to empower its « Sons» (and daughters, its « children») as individually strong, entrepreneurial citizens of the xxist century new China. Hence the dilemma of the government: empowering its citizenry just enough, while not giving away too much of its own clout. How different is Chinese hosting’s machinery for inferring inclusion and obligation different from Mediterranean stranger-hospitality ? And the final question of this essay: is the media empire of which this show is an example not the closest heir to the functioning of the imperium’s old ritual cult of making the realm visible ?
- Elder care
- Tv talk show
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)