As my longtime readers may have noted, something has been wrong with the Yan Xishan Blog lately. Earthquakes, Tang dynasty magistrates, and dumbass laowai have been distracting me from my primary goal for the year. Well, I suppose my primary goals for 1941 should be wiping out the wife-sharing ideologues and convincing the 小日本儿’s to return the panties of our good Shanxi women and get the hell back to their little island chain. But beyond that, I have been attempting to educate my soldiers (and by extension the uneducated masses of the so-called “internet”) about the wonders of Chinese imperial history. I fear a future where people learn about our past from pasty-faced intellectuals who can never understand that killing peasants is not only essential in the state-building process, but fun as well! Why just last week… wait, I am getting off track again. You can see how this could happen so easily with a Great Man such as myself. Speaking of which, I am thinking that once the war is over, I will put my visage on every single monetary denomination. But for the fiver, I am thinking about this for the image: me, giving Zhou Enlai a noogie. Shit, I am getting off track again. I need to stop holding special 8:00 AM happy hours.
But this conception of myself as a Great Man is relevant to today’s topic. As I explained to my JPA troops in my most recent lecture, a truly great dynasty is defined by great men. And there were many great men in the #5 Most Impressive Chinese Dynasty, the Han. First, let’s take a look at the map:
Not bad. I have seen better, but compared to the Sui, that is nothing to sneeze at. Now, who were these great men of the Han? The first in my estimation is Liu Bang, the founder of the Han. He was of peasant origin, which is rather problematic in my estimation. As a social climber, I can dig his rise to power, but as someone who is currently the ruler of millions of peasants, I do not want them getting any big ideas. Liu Bang became the ruler of the realm by putting the beat down on the great general Xiang Yu. During the critical battle, he duped Xiang Yu into thinking that his own men had turned on him. Liu Bang did this by having his own men sing the songs of Chu, where Xiang Yu hailed from. Interesting, huh? I should note that I have some long term plans that require my JPA troops to learn Carmen Miranda songs. Just in case, you know.
My other favorite Great Man of the Han was Wudi, a later Han emperor. He was a man of action, and a great role model for powerful Chinese men everywhere. Here is a man who would never be seen holding a clutch purse. Instead, he expanded the Chinese state to the largest it ever had been, at least up to that point. What a stupendous feeling that must be… unfortunately for me to have that feeling, I think that after I unify China, I would need to then go ahead and annex Sibera. Besides being a conqueror, Wudi also knew how to get up in people’s faces. This was no distant Laozi-style ruler, but one that got right up in a peasant’s grill and said: Hey little buddy, instead of letting the market tell you how much grain costs, how about I just tell you instead?
Now, there are many other great men of the Han, espeically if we consider the warlords that emerged at the end of the period. I am talking, of course, about men such as Cao Cao (holy shit Cao Cao just showed up at my Taiyuan palace). But let me tell you, dear reader, no matter what radical revisionists such as Kenny Pomeranz might say, Wang Mang was no great man. He was a punk usurper, plain and simple. And anyone who mentions land reform, as he often did, was obviously a Commie Pinko. I would have had him quickly introduced to my famous hay chopper. If it was good enough for Liu Hulan…
Well, there you have it kids–a few great men of the great Han dynasty. I am pretty sure there were some pretty groovy chicks during the Han–I hear there was this one chick Ban Zhao who could teach other chicks to be good wives, that sounds pretty cool. Overall, what a fucking great dynasty. But still not the greatest. I mean, Wang Mang pretty much screwed up the second half of the thing, plus there was this whole Confucian emphasis that threatened to limit the power of the emperor. Don’t worry folks, the best is yet to come. Stay tuned for my future post on the #4 most impressive dynasty.