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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 69 Comments

Ivan, you mad young whippersnapper, you are not the only one who recalls Watergate. While you were in sixth grade learning about cigarettes, I was in Catholic high school learning about reefers. 🙂

I clearly recall Nixon’s resignation. I was standing in my best friend’s front yard, his mother burst out the front door with the news, and my pal’s dad exclaimed, “God bless America!”

Who knows, maybe I’ll get to hear that again? Couldn’t happen to a more deserving leader.

October 29, 2005 @ 5:00 am | Comment

Richard, I don’t see whats so bad about Tierney’s article. He seems to spend most of his time grudgingly admitting, in his own way, that Fitz was right when he said “that talking point won’t fly”. It looks like Tierney carefully warning people not to pull a Kay Bailey.

And the fact is that the investigation has not turned up any charges outside the investigation itself. A great deal of damaging information that makes you wonder how the Bush White House can possibly continue to function the way it has for 3 more years? Yes. Grist for federal prosecution? No.

October 29, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

I think I know why Philip asked about typepad today. The thing is, it has been blocked for as long as I can remember, but….last week I forgot and clicked on a link without using a proxy and discovered that it was working. For about five days, up until 3am this morning in fact, I could get typepad unblocked. But Phil’s right, it’s gone again now.

Sigh. They just like playing with us, don’t they?

October 29, 2005 @ 5:28 am | Comment

What bugs me about it is Tierney’s returning to the old argument about journalists and their sources, and how this is so bad for journalists. I don;t think it’s true.He also prortrays it simply as Libby telling a lie, while ignoring the fact that there are huge implications to his lie – implications that I believe will keep this investigation alive. Tierney makes it sound open and shut, or at least that’s hw I read it. About the investigation turning up no charges outside the investigation itself – that really remains to be seen. Did you check the Andrew Sullivan links? He and many others disagree think this is the beginning, the place where Fitz can start, with Libby. Just as Watergate started with the relatively smaller fish.

October 29, 2005 @ 5:39 am | Comment

Dishuiguanyin, didn’t hear about Typepad being liberated. As usual, it was apparently short-lived, a sadistic game of cat and mouse.

October 29, 2005 @ 5:40 am | Comment

Sam, that’s the exact phrase InstaPuppet uses today! He must read the comments here. 🙂

He gets a lot of his best material from me! I guess I’m just burnt out enough on political topics, that I can’t get excited, scared, or even more disgusted than usual.

I was a (so-called) adult during Watergate, and remember those times fairly well. Terrible times, really, for 2-3 years in a row, what with other global events at the time. We have some similar echoes now, but from what I remember, this is about half as intense. And I NEVER thought Nixon was any kind of patriot, actually, until some years later.

And yes, Nixon was brought down by the coverup, not the crime. I don’t mean it’s “nothing” going on now, because there’s dirty business going on. I just haven’t managed to put Scootergate into the “very important” slot, in the context of all the other stuff happening in the world.

October 29, 2005 @ 6:31 am | Comment

Bottom line: They tricked the people into supporting a war of immeasurable cost, human and financial. That’s what Scootergate is all about. Forget abot Plame and the espionage act. It’s all about Iraq. Their “evidence” was rotten to the core, and they would destroy anyone who might risk exposing them. So Scooter’s actions were just a symptom of a deeper and uglier disease of deception that had engulfed this administration. Outing Plame was a small thing, a tiny part of a much more serious thing, i.e., mass deception leading to thousands of deaths. It’s just that Plame is where they foolishly left themselves vulnerable. Nixon’s thugs were doing all kinds of bad stuff, but it was at Watergate that they got caught, and that opened the colossal can of worms.

October 29, 2005 @ 6:52 am | Comment

Actually, Typepad was working in Beijing just fine this past week. Its only today that I haven’t been able to get on..

October 29, 2005 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Just to elaborate on the Typepad issue, I’ve been checking Bill Bishop’s blog (www.bbb.typepad.com/billsdue) regularly for almost a year and never had a problem until today.. So I was quite surprised that folks are saying that its been blocked for quite a while..

October 29, 2005 @ 7:03 am | Comment

I don’t know if it’s the problem, but Typepad has been having serious problems recently – they’re in the process of moving servers (growing too fast!) and had all sorts of technical foul-ups plaguing them. See:

Maybe it’s not the great firewall this time …

October 29, 2005 @ 7:20 am | Comment

Guess what? It’s that time again!!!

“The Strongest Weapon of the Terrorists is In the Hands of Americans”

The strongest weapon of the terrorists is actually in the hands of Americans. Perhaps terrorists saw that American weapon and used it against its owner.

Now you may ask, what is the weapon? Is the Boeing plane that was crashed into the WTC? No it’s not. The strongest weapon is the modern day media, which is based on high technological communication and computers, particularly America’s media, or the so-called “free media”. Terrorists can triumph using America’s media.

The death of 9/11 was about 2000-3000, it is a miniscule percentage of America’s population. If you look at this from the perspective of warfare, the terrorists only touched a piece of their enemy’s hair. During the World War 2, or the Chinese Civil War, a battle with 2000 casualties was considered a small battle, and has no effect on the outcome of the war.

Car accidents, cancer, murders, all these things amount to much much more deaths in America than the 9/11. Yet none of those things could seriously hurt a country. But 911 has the potential to seriously hurt America. Why? Because of the power of the media.

The public of America has a “spiritual need” for strange and exciting news. If a newstation only broadcasts peaceful news, it will go bankrupt very soon. Under the competition, the mission of a newsstation is to tell what the viewers want to see or hear, and viewers want excitement and stimulation. News need to make people feel very very happy or very very sad. And actually, being very very happy or very very sad is just a form of spiritual entertainment in life.

In an ancient society, if there’s a terrroist that has killed 1000 people. It probably would take a lot of time for this news to spread across the country. And in the process rumors will be injected. And at the end, it is nothing but a legend to the people and will have no effect on the direction of the country.

But today’s society is different. A piece of powerful news can very quickly spread to every home, and greatly affect a country’s policy, the public’s psychology, the direction of the society, it can even affect the GDP!. I believe this type of “chain-reaction of news” can lead to the destruction of society.

In socialist countries like China, it has a mechanism to control stimulating and distracting news. Even if the news is all true, it can still control its intensity and effect, and limit its effect to a small area. In other words, it can prevent “hyping”. Therefore, terrorism will not be effective against socialist countries.

Another way to look at this is that: if America is a person, then the terrorism is like a virus.

We know that in the SARS outbreak, children and seniors are less likely to die from it. Most deaths occured amongst middle-aged adults. Why? Because middle-aged adults have the strongest immune system: whenever a little bit of disturbance is present in the body, the immune system acts like crazy, it starts a fever, produces white blood cells, etc etc. But sometimes its not necessary to react like that. So in many cases, its the over-reaction of the immune system damaged the body, not the virus itself.

So America’s excessively-strong immune system, paradoxically, actually hurts America. In other words, the damage done to America is not from the terrorist act, but from the reaction of the security mechanism of the society. The terrorists need not even plan any attacks, they only need to make frequent fake declarations that they’ll attack, and that’ll put America in constant alert and tension, and if a human body’s immune system is on constant alert, then the person will only eventually die from it. No society can be stable and peaceful if it is made to be on constant tension and alert.

So how should America deal with terrorism? Well, it should not act so strongly and quickly to it, it’s actually good sometimes to act slower and more sluggishly. Mao used to say “No matter how strong the storm is, we ignore it and keep our leisurely pace.”. That quote I believe, should be the guiding hand for America in dealing with terrorism.

October 29, 2005 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Ivan, for Halloween are you going to dress up as Fleegle, or Snorky? 😉

October 29, 2005 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

Yeah, that’s right Maths Fan. If we all censor the news and lie, we will all be better off. If we ignore problems they will go away. Just like the Qing dynasty did when the British warships turned up. China learns so much from its history, we should all take note

Richard, how are you getting on with the Mao book? any further comments? i will be interested by your take on it.

October 29, 2005 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

Richard: I didn’t mention anything because I thought I’d gone even more doolally than usual!
When I discovered that I could get in without a proxy, I decided that I must have forgotten which sites were being blocked and which weren’t, especially as nobody else said anything. But phil’s right, it’s definitely blocked now.
David: No, I don’t think it’s typepad’s problem. I can get in with a proxy, but not without. That’s a surefire sign of the Great Firewall.
Phil: It was available for a year in Beijing? Wish I’d clicked the link without a proxy earlier and found out when it started being available here.

October 30, 2005 @ 12:42 am | Comment

Math’s fan, it’s realy entertaining how you ridicule yourself. SARS is the best argument for a free press.
What about starting your own blog to publish your crude ideas and allegories that don’t work.

October 30, 2005 @ 1:35 am | Comment

S. Slim,

Neither. Every Halloween I dress up like Boris Badenough and I make beeg trouble for Squirrel and Moose!

October 30, 2005 @ 8:55 am | Comment


Did anyone seen this article from 15 June 2005, about Japanese rightists and police stopping Taiwanese aborigines from holding a ceremony to call back the spirits of their ancestors from Yasukuni?

It really is quite ugly when people try and pretend Yasukuni is somehow ‘innocuous’. It suggests that Yasukuni is not simply a memorial to the dead, it is a ‘prison of souls’.


October 30, 2005 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

I dress up like Boris Badenough and I make beeg trouble for Squirrel and Moose!

Ivan, that cracked me up, because yesterday for the first time I had a RUSSIAN woman in one of my English classes. Previously I have had Korean and Japanese students in Shanghai, but this was a first.

Anyway, during class the term “secret agent” popped up, and I gave the question to her. All the while I was thinking of Boris and Natasha. 😀

Can anyone tell me (hello, Chinese posters): if a Russian is born in China to Russian parents who were also born in China (grandparents immigrated here), is this person a “zhongguoren” or a “waiguoren”???

October 31, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Closing it up; Shanghai, you may want to repeat the question in the new thread.

October 31, 2005 @ 1:47 am | Comment

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