- By Jerome ChenJerome Chen is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
The editors at MaxPlanckForschung, flagship journal of Germany’s Max Planck Institute, got a little more than they bargained for with an example of “classical” Chinese calligraphy they used on the cover of their latest issue. The idea was to evoke an image of China, which was the focus of the issue. But instead of arousing interest in cutting-edge science, Chinese readers discovered the calligraphy was titillating in other ways. A translation:
With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées
KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,
Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,
Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;
Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.
Despite having consulted a “German sinologist” about the text, no one seems to have caught the two glaring letter K’s – I would think a dead give-away things aren’t so “classical,” even if you fail to comprehend the other characters. Maybe that’s just in hindsight, though.
If only the content in science journals was so exciting.