I wrote this programme note for a festival of Chinese music at the Carnegie Hall, about the plot of a Hokkien opera:
Zhong Kui is a famous classical scholar, but he is extremely ugly. The Tang emperor, judging him by his appearance, rejects him for an official post. Feeling humiliated, Zhong Kui commits suicide, whereupon the God of the Underworld gives him a job as God of Exorcism. With innumerable demons to quell, Zhong Kui is troubled. The more he drinks, the worse his problems become, but he can only focus on the endless war against demons and evil spirits.
What is the moral here? That ugliness, depression, and substance-abuse must not detract from the ongoing war on terrorism?! Discuss.
OK, that last bit got judiciously cut, but still.