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Burning MoneyThe Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld$
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C. Fred Blake

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835323

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835323.001.0001

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(p.170) Chapter 8 Burlesque
Burning Money

C. Fred Blake

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the paper money custom has turned to burlesque. More specifically, it considers how online news stories from different places around China view the custom in relation to exotic offerings or “fashionable”/“faddish” items. It first discusses the ways that the proliferation of exotic objects and the shift in the forces of production from hand to machine are changing the paper money custom. It then explores how reification becomes entangled with ghost bills and other exotic offerings, as well as the ways that realism and questions of authenticity wedged into the paper money custom by ghost bills is intensified by additions to the replicas of modern commodities. It also describes new items in the galaxy of paper offerings such as sex supplies, guns, villas, limousines, and airplanes. Finally, it analyzes how paper money has become part of the modern consumer economy through commercialized marketing.

Keywords:   paper-money burning, Chinese custom, burlesque, exotic offerings, reification, ghost bills, replicas, commodities, consumer economy, marketing

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