Augh! Gack! Snarl! Over the last several months this blog has reported extensively on the Shih Ming-teh Red Ant anti-Chen campaign. Anyone who has read it is comprehensively familiar with the facts of the case, as well as a broad set of interpretations, both pro- and anti-Shih (see my archives page, where it has its own section).

The information that I have presented is all available from public sources. Anyone can get hold of it. It is not difficult to find either. There is thus no excuse……

Macca alerted me to the fact that the European Association of Taiwan studies conference concluded recently and many of the papers are online. I glanced through several of the papers and they are all interesting and well constructed. I especially liked the useful presentation on partisan voting patterns in Taiwan. Also good was an analysis of Taiwan’s economic situation by a Russian academic, an interesting paper attempting to show that the custom of “doing the month” has a sound material basis, and many other good things.

There is, however, one gigantic exception: the paper by Shih Fang-long on the Red Ant demonstrations, which totally buys into the media myths about it, and even uses Caroline Gluck’s awful BBC articles as a source. It makes all the classic errors, such as citing Emile Sheng without mentioning that he was the international spokesman for the movement, not mentioning Shih’s connections to corrupt embezzlers, his crazed remarks, his switching sides in 2001, that his followers were all Blues, and so on. At this late date, with all that information out there in public, there is no excuse for not incorporating this information into the paper. It’s not the errors that peeve, but the knowledge that we’re going to be looking at this nonsense of “Landmark Non-Partisan Demonstrations!” for years to come. I can’t wait until it finds it way into the literature.

Does anyone know a Taiwan-oriented media conference or upcoming Taiwan studies conference I can submit a paper on Shih and the media to?