10 Dec 2008

Chinese ‘classical poem’ was brothel ad

Posted by jofr

The respected German research society MPG (“Max Planck Gesellschaft” – the society of the Max Planck Institutes), wanted beautiful and elegant Chinese classical texts to cover its journal “MaxPlanckForschung” in order to illustrate a special report on China. Instead, the editors got a racy flyer extolling the lusty details of stripping housewives in a brothel. The message on the red cover of the journal is an ad for a brothel, and reads something like:

“Hot-as-jade housewives performing for the daytime visitor”

Apparently the editors thought the text was a classical poem, when actually it was from a flyer for a strip club in Macau, promising burlesque acts by pretty-as-jade housewives with hot bodies for the daytime visitor.

But the mistake got noticed, and now more people than ever have heard of the journal. The journal with a new cover can be found here. When someone pointed the error out, there were some red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany’s top scientific institutions, and the Institute put out a statement. The apology read:

“To our sincere regret … it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning … by publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers.”

The incident was covered in the news here and here

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