Chapter 312: Zhang Ye’s Response—Let the world laugh about me
It immediately became a war zone!
“Zhang Ye, can you not speak nonsense?”
“Don’t insult my ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’!”
“How can the 120 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ be continued on by someone else?”
“Zhang Ye, I can ignore what you had previously said. I can treat it as funny musings. I also acknowledge your literary standard, but don’t you mess with ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’! This is a classic in my heart. This is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of our country. How can you doubt it?”
“Peking University is really blind to invite such a lecturer!”
“I already said that Zhang Ye wouldn’t do. As a host, how is he to teach!?”
“Let Zhang Ye get lost. Don’t lead our children astray! What is he teaching!?”
The army that denounced Zhang Ye drummed up their war gongs. Many parents of Peking University students appeared and collectively protested on Weibo, requesting Peking University to fire Zhang Ye!
However, there were people who supported Zhang Ye.
“Have you seriously watched what Teacher Zhang Ye taught in his class? Don’t just boo along with others, alright? Just a look at the news on the newspapers and you came here to scold? Just a scan of the opening parts of the video, and you came here to shout? I implore you to watch it carefully once more. See if what Teacher Zhang Ye said was reasonable for yourself! If you don’t think it’s right, you can step forward to scold him, but you don’t even know anything before coming here to boo. What sort of people are you!?”
“That’s right. I really suggest everyone to watches it carefully. What Teacher Zhang Ye says is reasonable. The evidence he produced was very strong!”
“Supporting Zhang Ye!”
“Unconditional support for Teacher Zhang!”
“Although I don’t believe that the last 40 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was not written by Cao Xueqin, I still brainlessly support Zhang Ye! So what if I’m a braindead fan, are you biting me?”
“Don’t scold anymore. Teacher Zhang really has the ability to teach. Are there any doubts after watching what he covered in the lecture? Literature has always been like that. It allows for controversy. You can’t just insist everyone thinks the same way that you do because you think it so, right? Just because they think differently from you, you begin to insult them? What sort of logic is that!? Don’t be fooled by those so-called experts!”
“’Dream of the Red Chamber’ really has something fishy going behind the scenes?”
“I don’t know. Compare to those so-called literary experts, I believe Teacher Zhang Ye more!”
“I am a person who especially likes ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. I have read it four or five times. Although everyone is scolding Zhang Ye, I think what Teacher Zhang Ye says is not without reason. What if it’s true? What if ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was really continued on by someone else? Wouldn’t all the logical errors in the book be explained? The only thing I have on my mind is listening to Zhang Ye’s next lecture!”
“I want to listen to it too!”
“Regardless if Teacher Zhang Ye’s opinion is right or wrong, this lecture is too interesting. Even those old professors can’t teach a class of this standard! Everything is linked, and full of suspense. It’s really great. Watching Teacher Zhang Ye’s programs or listening to his lectures are sometimes a form of enjoyment!”
“The country needs someone like Zhang Ye who dares to raise opposite viewpoints. This is a good thing. Besides, there is no problem with the evidence provided by Teacher Zhang. Not only are there no problems, but it is also an important discovery in Redology. It has allowed Redology research to take a big step forward! Just this discovery from Zhang Ye and the contributions of those documents should make him impervious to criticism. In my opinion, Teacher Zhang Ye is a real scholar and Redologist. He knows his point of view will be attacked, but he still insisted on talking about. This is something worthy of our respect!”
However, the people who supported Zhang Ye were just a small minority. Furthermore, there were people amongst this small minority who did not fully believe Zhang Ye’s point of view. They were all reserved in their beliefs. They were very interested in the evidence brought forward by Zhang Ye, but that was all. Hence, their voices were slowly bombarded by others!
The people who opposed this viewpoint were all heavyweight opponents!
Renmin University’s Professor Ma Hengyuan came out. “I already had a hunch that chaos would ensue before Zhang Ye took on his teaching responsibilities. I never expected to be right. Peking University, the best school in the country, a benchmark in the education sector, actually dared to take in a layman like Zhang Ye. What were you thinking? And indeed, the outcome is out. Peking University will have to pay the price for this mistake. From the attitudes of the students and their parents, everyone has feelings of mistrust towards Peking University because of rat sh*t like Zhang Ye. If we let Zhang Ye carry on his nonsense, the consequences will be disastrous!” Back then for “Analysis of the Three Kingdoms”, Zhang Ye had confronted Ma Hengyuan during the recording and smacked his face. Hence, Ma Hengyuan did not hold back this time by adding insult to injury. He was an old foe.
Following that, another old foe appeared.
Beijing Writer’s Association’s Vice President Meng Dongguo criticized, “I watched the entire public lecture. I am now very angry and consumed with rage. How dare Zhang Ye question the Four Great Classical Novels? The evidence you provide might seem reasonable and logical, but if you analyze is carefully, these evidence is not authoritative. It is all from people of no importance. Is this considered a contribution to literature? Even this can be considered as informational records?”
Someone from the Beijing Writer’s Association also said, “Zhang Ye? What a joke. What a joke!”
Yao Jiancai said on Weibo, “Hahaha, supporting Zhang Ye’s viewpoint!”
The person Beijing Writer’s Association said with disdain, “As an actor in the entertainment industry, what do you know of literature?”
“I do not know, but I know Zhang Ye knows.” Yao Jiancai retorted, “As a small author with sales of ten thousand, you dare to compete with Zhang Ye’s literacy? Nice, if you are indignant about it, why don’t you compete with him to let me see!? Don’t you also know a lot? Then show me how much you know!”
That person immediately stopped speaking.
Zhang Ye was invincible in this area!
Elder Qian, the judge who Zhang Ye got to know at the Beijing Couplet Competition, and also the country’s Writers’ Association veteran suddenly stood forward to support Zhang Ye. “The information Little Zhang provided is very important in the study of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. This is undeniable. All of you think it doesn’t make sense? You think the information isn’t reliable? I’m actually taking the opposite view from you. I am now beginning to doubt the author of the last 40 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. Little Zhang’s explanation is completely sound and supported by evidence and logic. It can definitely stand. Those who criticize Zhang Ye, you can always take out your own evidence to refute him. If you can’t refute him, don’t shoot your mouth and incur the ridicule of others. Besides, I understand Little Zhang as a person. He would not say something without evidence. We have to carry on listening to what he has to say later.”
However, the criticism remained unabated.
“Get Zhang Ye to get lost!”
“Don’t let him pollute the campus!”
“What is Peking University doing, they are not looking into this matter?”
Finally, Peking University’s official Weibo was forced to make a statement. It openly supported him by saying, “Peking University’s trust in Teacher Zhang Ye’s literary attainments have never wavered. It is impossible to eliminate controversy in academia. This is an important part of the process to advance academic research. We welcome external bodies and industry insiders to scrutinize this process. We also welcome academic experts and scholars to listen in. Teacher Zhang Ye’s second lesson of ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ has been decided to be held tomorrow at noon. It will still be a public lecture. The venue will be Peking University’s Grand Auditorium that can hold 5000 people.”
Peking University’s attitude surprised many industry insiders. Some industry insiders, who had good relations with Peking University, also stopped speaking. They never expected Peking University to support Zhang Ye that much. Peking University actually still tolerated him despite saying such “treason and heresy”?
However, there were even more who remained unconvinced!
A few publicly-recognized Redologists could not stand hearing this!
“Alright, since you welcome us. Then we will attend the lecture tomorrow. I want to broaden my horizons. I want to see how Zhang Ye will lecture!”
“I’m going too!”
“Young people these days really do not know the immensity of heaven and earth.”
“It’s pointless to keep talking here. Let’s meet tomorrow at Peking University. We will make Zhang Ye take back his words that insult Mr Cao Xueqin!”
Many Redologists and industry insiders expressed their intentions to attend the lecture!
It could be predicted that there would be a fierce struggle between two equally matched forces tomorrow at Peking University!
However as one of the involved parties, Zhang Ye, who had caused such an uproar, did not appear online. He did not watch any news either. By the time he finished arranging his information, it was already past two in the afternoon. He was planning on returning home. His contract with Peking University was as an external hire, so he did not need to sit in the office all day. Once he finished his lecture and whatever business he needed to do, he held no other responsibilities. Even the class time was up to him to choose. The class at noon tomorrow was naturally suggested by Zhang Ye. The reason why he did not arrange for the class to be in the morning was to leave some time for society and the industry to digest the content he lectured. This time, Zhang Ye was not trying to fight them, nor was he challenging those who doubted him. Zhang Ye really wanted to reveal the truth of “Dream of the Red Chamber”. He did not want everyone to carry on being left in the dark. This was his responsibility, the responsibility of a person who had crossed universes. He had to contribute to this world after all. And he was also up to the task.
“I’ll be leaving first.” Zhang Ye got up.
Su Na, who did not have a class to teach in the afternoon, looked at him. “You are leaving, Teacher Zhang?”
Zhang Ye smiled. “I need to go home to prepare for class tomorrow. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“I was planning on going downstairs to get a drink. Let us go together.” Su Na accompanied him out. “I also wanted to ask you some things regarding ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. There are still a few questions I haven’t figured out.”
However, just as they went downstairs, an unexpected scene happened!
It was unknown when numerous journalists had arrived, nor was it known how long they had waited. The moment they saw Zhang Ye, they charged forward with their cameras and zoom lenses, surrounding him!
“I’m from Jinshi television station!”
“I’m from Beihe province daily news! Please hold on!”
Jinshi? Beihe province? Why did the media from those places come?
It was not surprising. These member of the media were stationed in Beijing. As the video released this afternoon caused such a huge stir, everyone had come here without thinking. Back when Zhang Ye made his Talk Show, it had only attracted the attention of youngsters, but this time, it was the garnered the attention of the entire society. There was no other way about it as ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was too influential in China. Too many had seen this famous piece of work, and with Zhang Ye openly shelling “Dream of the Red Chamber”, this not only caused unrest to the literary and historical world, but had also attracted eyes from the whole society!
Su Na was also dumbfounded seeing this.
In a blink of an eye, she and Zhang Ye were already surrounded by three or four rows of reporters!
With the commotion over here, many Peking University Chinese department students also came over to join in the bustle!
Yao Mi, Li Ying, and Li Li, who had just finished classes, also ran over to take a look upon seeing this situation!
Today’s Zhang Ye was no doubt the center of attention at the Peking University. The students were staring at him, his teacher colleagues were staring at him, as well as the entire society!
Zhang Ye apologized, “Sorry, I’m not accepting interviews!”
“Please say a word or two!” A female Beijing Times reporter said loudly.
Another reporter, who held a microphone, said, “We just received news that your public lecture tomorrow will be held in Peking University’s largest auditorium. This is now the focus of all attention, and there has been more than one academic or Redologist who has expressed intentions to cause trouble for you. What are your thoughts on this matter?”
Another reporter stirred the pot, “Now that society is scolding you for leading people astray, saying that you don’t understand ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, and are speaking nonsense. Do you have anything to say?”
“Teacher Zhang, we have been waiting for three hours. If you don’t say a word or two, we really can’t answer to our superiors!” A young female author tried soft methods after noticing that hard tactics had failed.
The reporters refused to leave as they surrounded him.
Professor Zeng was still having class, but he could see Zhang Ye from the window. He only had a wry smile on his face.
The other Chinese department teachers also glanced down from the teacher’s office windows. They also wanted to hear what Zhang Ye had to say in response to the criticism. As Zhang Ye’s hot temper and hooligan nature of scolding people was known by everyone, they wanted to know what surprising words he had to say this time.
There were more and more people gathered on the field!
Dean Chang Kaige noticed that the commotion here was too great. It was already affecting the lectures in many classrooms. He could not help but turn gloomy. “Hurry up and disperse! Please disperse!” However, his words were useless.
Su Na leaned her head to the side and whispered, “Say a few words? Or we won’t be able to leave.”
From the eyes of these reporters, one could tell they were willing to grab onto Zhang Ye’s legs, in order to not let him leave.
“Many parents of students are requesting that you be fired!”
“I heard there are students who doubt the contents of your lecture!”
“Now the entire education sector towards you is filled with veiled criticism. What are your thoughts on that?”
The reporters were full of energy. Regardless if Zhang Ye answered, they just kept throwing questions at him.
When he realized that he would not be able to leave if he did not say anything, Zhang Ye calmed his expression and said, “I don’t really think much of it, nor have any thoughts about it.”
The female reporter from Beijing Times said, “How can that be? Almost everyone is doubting you. If it were me, I would also be infuriated!”
“I have nothing to be angry about.” Zhang Ye looked at those reporters and calmly used a very famous Buddhist gatha from his world, as he said softly, “Let the world slander me, cheat me, humiliate me, laugh about me, belittle me, despise me, dislike me, and swindle me.” With a slight pause, he then narrowed his eyes and said, “Only to endure it, let it be, let it have its way, avoid it, beat it, be reverent towards it, and not care for it… Wait for a few years and then have a look at it again!’
With the gatha out, the entire field tuned silent!
Su Na suddenly stared at Zhang Ye’s face!
Chang Kaige and the surrounding reporters were filled with looks of astonishment!
The female reporter from Beijing Times, who was closest to Zhang Ye, gave a look of pleasant surprise. She hurriedly confirmed that the voice recorder had done its job in excitement. It was recorded! She had a feeling that these two lines would definitely become hot! She was not wrong. Zhang Ye was a person who gave polished impromptu speeches the moment he spoke! Every line and poem of his were poetic!
“Is this a poem?”
“No! It’s a Buddhist phrase!”
“It’s a gatha! A Buddhist gatha!”
The students on the field were also stirred up!
Yao Mi shouted, “This saying is so f**king relieving!”
“So empowering! Teacher Zhang Ye is indeed superior to others! He is a person with great spirit!” Li Ying exclaimed, “This is the style of a literary master!”
Zhang Ye smiled. “Reporters, can I leave? I still need to go home to prepare for my class.”
“Ah, alright. Thank you for this interview.” A television station reporter said subconsciously.
The other reporters did not want to let Zhang Ye go, but they had all been stunned by Zhang Ye’s gatha. In their daze, no one dared to stop him.
Zhang Ye drove off.
A group of people were left behind as they reminisced the two lines!