Word(s) of the Week: “Kong Yiji Literature” (孔乙己文学, Kǒng Yǐjǐ Wénxué)

“Kong Yiji literature” emerged as a self-deprecating meme among young Chinese netizens who joke that their academic credentials have made them “unemployable,” too overeducated or overqualified for the jobs currently available. They liken themselves to the titular protagonist of Lu Xun’s 1918 short story “Kong Yiji,” an impoverished scholar whose pedantic airs are mocked by the denizens of the tavern he frequents. After Kong Yiji’s legs are broken as punishment for stealing books, he drags himself into the tavern for one last drink, disappears, and is presumed dead—not that anyone around him...

Me, coming out of the closet: 'Mom, Dad, there’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you: my lifestyle is, er, Westernized...'”

— Comment from an anonymous netizen in response to Chinese state media's use of the phrase "has a westernized lifestyle" to describe the fictional character of daughter Joy, who is a lesbian, from the Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once