L ooking for a beautiful, exotic graphic of Chinese text to adorn the cover of your science journal? A stalwart and universally respected journal, with a cover that proclaims the fortitude of your publication that features
Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on
When I lived in
Now, in a world that is looking with increasing reverence to the East for its cues on what's cool, Westerners see more and more token snippets of Japanese or Chinese adorning our goods. Until recently, you could walk in any Trader Joe's grocery store and buy a package of Japanese rice crackers with a giant character for the word "woman" on the front. I even went so far as to point out that the package contained nothing to do with women and that surely the word for woman was unrelated to snack crackers, but the clerk I spoke with only gave a shrug as if to say, "We don't care. It's Asian. As long as it sells." In other words, we are culturally superior and therefore need not worry ourselves with sensitivity or respect. Much less homework.
After the Max Planck Institute debacle, though, I hope this cultural myopia will finally go away. At least get text checked by a native before sending a product off to a wide audience, or as Confucius say, "Egg on face will be your own."