Blog Closed

For at least two weeks, anyway. I go to America in 48 hours and won’t be back to China until July 16. I am really interested in seeing what it’s like not to have this blog chained to my ankle. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find that not running a blog is my winning formula for peace of mind, harmony and better health. (I’ve been doing poorly in all three areas lately, and the blog is definitely a factor.) Meanwhile, should any guest blogger want to contribute, feel free. But I’m out of here. Thanks for visiting.

______________

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: 102 Comments

Sorry to see you go. This summer people are bitterly fighting everywhere on every topic, at least Chinese, i.e. on mitbbs.

Anyway, good luck on your dream.

June 28, 2007 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

>>bitterly fighting everywhere on every topic, at least Chinese, i.e. on mitbbs.

When are people not bitterly fighting on mitbbs?

Hey Richard, maybe you should just turn off your comments for 3 months. Anyway, it is good to take a break from this once in a while…take it easy.

June 29, 2007 @ 12:14 am | Comment

Richard, its easy to blame the blog, but how about the pollution? When moved back from China to the US I put on 10 pounds in about 2 months and it wasn’t due to the stereotypical American diet.

On mitbbs, you can watch the mellowed out Chinese who have immigrated to the west battle it out with hypernationalist chinese students in China and western colleges (who just sit in their dorm rooms, study and play video games).

June 29, 2007 @ 12:18 am | Comment

Woohoo. With Richard gone, I run this blog!

………

….Errr, carry on………..

—-

Richard, a blog is only as good as it is fun. I’m sure the break will do you good. Even if you come back to blogging, you should take a bit more time off from it in the future.

June 29, 2007 @ 12:39 am | Comment

LET CHAOS REIGN!

June 29, 2007 @ 1:06 am | Comment

Nanhe,

Careful now. Der Kommissar Other Lisa is probably counting our keystrokes as we type. Does anyone remember the 1982 hit by Falco, “Der Kommissar”? Can you sing the chorus? Or whistle it?

Hey, just kidding. Lisa’s cool (when she stays away from politics).

*

June 29, 2007 @ 11:51 am | Comment

Or should I have said “Die Kommissarin” Other Lisa?

*

June 29, 2007 @ 11:53 am | Comment

Well, Richard, take it easy for a couple of weeks. If we see you back here, excellent. If not, best of luck.

June 29, 2007 @ 12:40 pm | Comment

Have you all heard about the contaminated fish in China?

http://www.icerocket.com/search?tab=web&q=contaminated+chinese+fish

bad, dirty, primitive, lying, little china.

June 29, 2007 @ 3:54 pm | Comment

http://the88s.blogsome.com/2007/06/27/shanghai-cheerleader-seeks-mcdonalds-dishwasher/

June 27, 2007
Shanghai Cheerleader Seeks McDonald’s Dishwasher
Filed under: Culture

I haven’t decided yet if this is a parody or not, but my wife thinks it probably isn’t. As I read the post in Chinese — the post of a cheerleader in Shanghai who wants to marry a foreigner — I found myself alternately laughing and shaking my head in disbelief. I believe this was originally posted on the Tianya BBS, but it made its way to the largest Chinese BBS in the US, MIT BBS (where I stumbled upon it today).

The post itself is an amazing collection of stereotypes of both Chinese and Western men. Anyway, as I read it, I knew I had to translate this amazing document:

Female College Student: I just want to marry a foreigner

I am a female student at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. This is my first time posting on Tianya, and I don’t write well, so please everyone, don’t laugh at me.

Everyone has their notion of the ideal life — some want to become heroes, some want to become rich, some long to become leaders. What about me? My greatest wish in life is to marry a Western man.

Some people might say I am very common, or even that I worship and fawn over foreigners, but I am a very traditional girl. In my opinion, marriage is the most important thing in life. There is a saying that is very popular now: marrying a good man is more important than excelling at your studies. After all, marrying a good man is the most important thing.

Some people will ask, “Is it possible that China has no good men?” Sorry, I never consider Chinese men as a possibility. As far as my reasons, ladies and gentlemen, be patient, take a seat — whether sofa, bench, or floor — and listen to a young girl tell you all about it.

One: China doesn’t have a suitable man for me

I am a very remarkable girl. In terms of my studies, I am studying at a famous university with excellent grades. Furthermore, I’m not at all the type of high-IQ ugly girl with thick glasses who has her head always buried in books. Whether my looks, my figure, or my conversation, I am outstanding. I am the captain of my school’s soccer cheerleading squad, and in my spare time I compete in local beauty contests. I love music, dancing, and the arts, and I also frequently publish little articles in newspapers; in sum, in every respect, I am outstanding.

But what kind of man am I able to marry? There really are a lot of men pursing me. My girlfriends are pairing off all around me, but mostly they separate right after graduation. When it comes to getting married, such issues arise as place of residence, which hometown, the burdens of family responsibility — it is all a question of integrating your interests. And as for the most important part of a marriage, feelings, on the contrary, they can be neglected.

I am a girl who really loves life and I hope to have a rich material life and a happy spiritual life. Sorry, I can’t find these things from Chinese men. I can look for a classmate to marry and become a white-collar worker. Could I afford to buy a house then? I hope to have a spacious living room, big enough to support a small salon, where I can talk with my good friends about everything under the sun and savor good wine. Even the bathroom needs to be very big, big enough for a large bathtub for two, with soft music playing, where I will spend romantic evenings with my dear lover.

Furthermore, shouldn’t the man I marry at least be able to afford a car? Would I squeeze myself onto a crowded bus to go to work everyday, which in the winter is like a freezer, in the summer like a microwave? If I did that it wouldn’t even take a few years for a pretty young girl like me to change into a hag. Furthermore, are you hardhearted enough to let a pretty white collar worker like me be jostled about by those peasant workers covered in dirt from head to toe?

Actually China doesn’t lack rich men, but take a look at what kind of men they are. How many of them have become successful through their own hard work, wisdom, and honesty? Either they are labor contractors who hire workers to deliver bricks or they are Shanxi coal bosses or they are corrupt, bribe-taking “public servants.” If you’re talking about personal quality, they don’t have it. If you’re talking about personal charm, they don’t have it. So how could we have any sort of common language? To be frank, if they can grunt out a few lines of Shaanxi opera, they could qualify as having some “artistic taste.”

When these men get rich, they lead a dissolute life, indulging themselves in food, drink, prostitutes, and gambling. It would be hard to lead a smooth and steady life with these men. Right now there are already men pursuing me who immediately give me their business cards — CEOs, chairmen of the board, bureau heads, department heads — all of them insufferably arrogant and acting like big shots. Some of them have even directly proposed to buy me off as their mistress. OH, MY GOD! Although I’m not a matchless beauty, I could be considered as pretty as flowers and jade, and one who studied so hard for ten years to get to a famous university — how could I end up just being someone’s mistress?!

Two: The living conditions in Western countries are good

Even if some dashing, charming, rich bachelor falls in love with me at first sight, pff, this girl wouldn’t want to marry him so much. To put it simply, I just want to marry someone from the West. The Western world that I’ve seen in movies and TV is just like heaven, with clean streets, unique architecture, and a pure sky. Whether a busy metropolis or a quiet little town, it all appears so warm and fragrant and harmonious. No matter their income or degree, everyone is polite and refined.

Considering all of my strengths taken together, of course in China I could become a woman who lives in a villa. So what? I could afford to buy a villa, but I can’t buy clean air. Where in this country is the sky not dusty? The countryside is a little better, but I wouldn’t think of going there either. Say when I put on a bikini and sunbathe by a pool, a group of shit-bucket peasants will come to the fence and stare right at me. Wouldn’t that be unpleasant? The air in Tibet is actually clean, though — please, this girl fears high-altitude sickness.

I am especially disgusted with the living environment in China. Every house has an anti-theft door. You live in the same building for dozens of years. Everyday you run into the same people. Many people are unwilling to take their garbage out, so in the summertime you’ve got piles of garbage in the doorways that stink to death. Sometimes I really suspect that I am living with a group of cavemen.

Of course you should love your homeland, but what is good about living in this country? The rice is poisonous, the powdered milk can give your infant a giant head, the pork is injected with water, cooking oil comes from ditches — just to think of it makes me tremble with fear. Sorry, you want me to love you? Give me a reason first. Don’t have one? Then I’ll love foreign countries. American hometowns, French vineyards, small sea-side towns in Spain, classical English farmsteads, whichever you want to pick would be fine. I have a classmate who went to Canada to study. She invited her father to stay there for half a year and when he came back he complained to whomever he met: “Ah, now that is a place where people can live.” Don’t talk to me about sacrifice and enlightenment. You want me to love this country? First give me a ballot. Is this requirement too much to ask? Is the country willing to provide that?

In China the cost of living is too high. You consume like an American with the income of an African. My parents took great pains to provide me the opportunity of going to college, so I should at least treat them well. Even if I could become a high level white collar worker, how high would my income be? My parents are old. If they get sick and are hospitalized, how would I pay the incredibly high cost of their medical treatment? In Western countries, however, there is medical care for everyone.

I especially wouldn’t dare to say anything positive about the domestic job market. I shake with fear as soon as I catch sight of those job fairs flooded with thousands of college students. My god, how could this be a job fair for talented people? It’s really like Omaha Beach in World War II! I am a gentle, frail woman — how can I get by these stinking men?

Living in our mighty motherland, the first task is survival. You study for the university entrance exams, look for work, save money to buy a house, save money for old age — which one of these doesn’t require you to work to death? Isn’t it tiring? My older classmates who have graduated have either turned into hags or married tycoons and let their husbands go out drinking, whoring, and gambling, and pretend that they don’t know. Why bother with this?

Three: Western men are all great.

Having said this much, no matter whether the environment is good, the material life is decent, the third point actually is the one I value the most: I just like Western men.

Since childhood I loved to watch foreign movies like “Roman Holiday” and “Gone With the Wind.” I just loved to see Westerners in these movies. Their clear, distinct facial features, especially their deeply colored eyes, their tall noses, and tight, thin lips. Plus most Westerners are very tall with strong, healthy builds. No matter how you look at it, they are sexy. Now let’s look at the Chinese men around me: let alone they have small eyes, but what’s more they have pimpled noses, thick lips, and black skin like Africans. Those few who have some education look like they are malnourished; I even worry whether or not they could protect me. Occasionally there is one who has good muscles, but he only has muscles and no brains.

There are a lot of college guys pursuing me and some from outside of college who frequently try to date me, but not so many that I consider suitable. Every one of them either looks like a bean sprout or like Ultra Man (??奥特曼). Every one of them is sloppy. They don’t even pay attention to their personal appearance. Many of them spit everywhere. I’m most disgusted by people who do this. Only little kids and animals relieve themselves everywhere — spitting everywhere is not any better. At most they are half-civilized men.

Most Western men are handsome and suave and behave gracefully because they have received a good education since they were young. In this city there are a couple of McDonald’s and KFC restaurants and I often eat there with friends. In those restaurants I saw Western men who all appeared to have good manners. They would hold the door for others. But Chinese men pushed their way through the door and rushed up to the counter and oftentimes bumped into people coming out of the restaurant. They looked like reincarnated ghosts who had died from starvation. Foreigners would get in line, but Chinese men all rush forward in a crowd and surround the counter yelling for food. It seemed like they hadn’t eaten in eight lifetimes. They don’t care if they act disgracefully. After eating, they throw their wrappers everywhere. But those foreigners would fold their wrappers in their plates after they eat in order to help clean up. They would throw away their leftover food into the garbage can themselves. They simply don’t belong to the same class.

There are also some Chinese men who lack independence. They just know how to follow girls around. They are just like super nursemaids. I feel like they don’t have themselves. The whole day their thoughts are only on girls. They get on a bus and they grab a seat and then busy themselves giving seats to girls, no matter if nearby there are old people or children. I would be embarrassed to take a seat they offer me. I despise this kind of man. Before marriage they follow their girlfriends around, after marriage they follow their wives around, at work they follow their bosses around, after work they live in the kitchen. They have no thoughts, they have no temper. My goodness, with this kind of man I fear the son would resemble the father. Right away you know this kind of good citizen comes from a country run by a dictatorship. What girl wouldn’t like a decisive man with character?

Western men are all brought up in an independent environment. They have the ability to think independently, unlike Chinese men, who parrot the words of others. For example, my classmates: if the central government says Japan and China have good relations, then they would like Japan. When the central government stirs up nationalism, they scream for the overthrow of Japan. None of them has brains. They are just someone else’s monkey, but think themselves so grand. They are all just a bunch of pig heads.

There are some things that are embarrassing to talk about in real life, so you can only talk about them online. I am a healthy, vivacious girl, and my sex drive is relatively strong. I wouldn’t feel shy about my normal sexual desires. I am not a slut, but I’m not conservative either. I feel like the union in which feelings come first, followed by the flesh, is normal. I don’t care if you laugh at me. I’ve had a few boyfriends, all of whom I slept with, but as far as my sex life goes I have always been dissatisfied. I don’t care if you laugh at me. This is the truth. But I can never tell them this; it would wound their pride.

According to reports of a survey done by a foreign company, American men last the longest in bed, French men take second place, and Chinese men take the shortest amount of time. Furthermore, Western men are all very considerate and romantic, are considerate of their lover’s feelings. They know that a woman’s feeling builds slowly, therefore they gently caress you, slowly leading you to orgasm. What kind of woman doesn’t want to make love to this kind of man? But what about Chinese men? In this respect they are all dictators; they all only care about feeling good themselves, they don’t care at all for their lover’s feelings. Even more annoying is that a few of the boyfriends I’ve slept with were obviously not good in bed. They sprint a very short distance to the finish like an athlete, like they are running the 100-meter dash. While I still haven’t had any feeling at all, they’ve already started snoring next to me. I know perfectly well that I am not satisfied, but I don’t dare to say it because I’m afraid they will make fun of me. I haven’t yet married but I feel like an old maid.

In short, I just want to marry a foreigner. The best would be an American, but a European wouldn’t be bad either. My requirements, um, I don’t have too many demands. I don’t mind if they have a lower degree than I do. I don’t require a certain kind of job either. Doesn’t even a dishwasher at McDonald’s make more than $1,000 per month? They could still buy a house and a car. Worse comes to worst, I would find someone who is divorced or I can even be a stepmother. Anyway Western kids are very independent — it wouldn’t be so bad that I would have to follow them around and clean up their shit. If not even that would work, I can also consider Japanese and Korean men. At worst they just don’t cook. Anyway, I just want to get out of the country and go to the West, if not for the ballot, then for the money.

I acknowledge that I am common, but I don’t think my thinking is wrong. I didn’t hurt others. I only want to live a better life, both material and spiritual. I have seen an American TV series, “Desperate Housewives,” set in a peaceful little town with clean streets, lawns everywhere, and those polite neighbors who behave gracefully — I really know that that is the kind of life that I want.

Wow.

Where to even begin? It is hard to say anything about this because the truly deafening laughter of American women everywhere is drowning out my thoughts….

I have to go now: my giant bathtub for two with the soft music in the background is calling.

June 29, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

MWHAHAHAH!!!

Love it.

Don’t turn around, uh-oh. The Kommisar’s in town, uh-oh.

And I am sooo right about politics. God knows if my opinions had been followed the last seven years, we’d all be a helluva lot better off.

June 29, 2007 @ 4:49 pm | Comment

“God knows if my opinions had been followed the last seven years, we’d all be a helluva lot better off.”

Lisa,
I ask this in the same respectful way that I would ask Richard. How are you- specifically, personally-literally- worse off now than you were seven years ago? I for one know my life is a heck of a lot better in many, many ways. I’m not being a smart ass. I’d really like to know. Thanks.

June 29, 2007 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan,

why are you posting that entire post in the comment section of every China blog in town? It’s nice that you approve of my translation, but I think you are probably just pissing a lot of blog owners off by doing that…

June 29, 2007 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

88:

My target audience is not blog owners ;-)

June 30, 2007 @ 12:40 am | Comment

88:

My target audience is not blog owners ;-)

And I have quite a collection of provincial and local level newspaper, tv and radio station email addresses.

June 30, 2007 @ 12:41 am | Comment

Canrun, how my life is personally isn’t the point. The point is that America is hated around the world, we are bankrupting the country fighting an unjust war, our health care system is in tatters, we face a global environmental crisis, our institutions are packed with political hacks, and our best principles, based on our Constitution and respect for the rule of law, are under assault.

Some people are doing better. The very rich are doing better. Most people aren’t, and I have a problem with that. I have a problem that American soldiers are being killed and maimed in a criminal war – I have a problem that tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead because of it.

If I only cared about myself, then fine, I can’t complain too much. But that isn’t the freakin’ point.

June 30, 2007 @ 2:57 am | Comment

Die Kommssarin (Other Lisa),

Don’t turn around, uh-oh. The Kommisar’s in town, uh-oh.

Excellent. Good memory.

Hey, everyone in my family is doing great. As I said before, some voted for Kerry and some voted for Bush. Surely you would agree that the economy is humming along fairly well, right?

America is not hated around the world. I travel quite a bit and I teach students from around the world and it is a myth that America is hated. I’ve never heard of anyone turning down winning the greencard lottery and saying they would prefer not to live in the US. But, at the same time, people certainly love to blame America for all kinds of nonsense. I lived in Germany for the first time back in 1985-6 and Germans complained about Americans (but still accepted the greencards when they got them). I was in Berlin last fall and, to tell the truth, the same types of prejudice against Americans was there — exactly the same level as in 1985-6. But, to be honest, not many people discussed America or Americans. They were getting on with their own lives. I rented a bike for two weeks and spent most of my days pedaling all over the place, chatting with Germans in cafes and bars. The majority of them did not think I was some evil Bushitlerite.

China may face an environmental crisis, but next week I’ll be in Iowa visiting my folks and the smell of manure is the only thing that will assault your nostrils.

Man, but you really do get worked up, don’t you? The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Hey, maybe in early 2009 suddenly everything will be magically transformed into a Leftist Paradise!

You’re still cool, Lisa, even though your political manias marr your fine sensibility. Politics always coarsen people, even the rah-rah lefties like you.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Jeffrey:

Your corporate buddies set up the world for a depression by pushing easy, no risk credit to fuel global consumption. Bear Sterns is taking on water, firing scapegoats and being hunted by the SEC, Goldman is next and the shit will really hit the fan when corporate debt hits the streets, because that debt is even shakier and much larger than the subprime mortgage market.

and lastly, BAD CHINA

June 30, 2007 @ 5:11 am | Comment

Nanhe,

Your corporate buddies set up the world for a depression by pushing easy, no risk credit to fuel global consumption. Bear Sterns is taking on water, firing scapegoats and being hunted by the SEC, Goldman is next and the shit will really hit the fan when corporate debt hits the streets, because that debt is even shakier and much larger than the subprime mortgage market.

My corporate buddies? I’m a teacher. Well, one of my brothers-in-law is an executive at American Express and one of my sisters works at Hess Oil, a mid-level oil company. And another brother works in HR for Domino’s Pizza. I don’t know if “buddy” is the correct term. So an in-law and 2 siblings in the corporate world. The others are doctors, in small business, librarians, a dental hygienist, and so on (I come from a big family). As for the rest of your comment, I could show it to my sister, if you want, and have her translate it into English.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 5:33 am | Comment

Nan, post that stupid Bad China remark one more time and I will delete it. Honestly. It’s on a level of elementary school name-calling. Why do you do it?

June 30, 2007 @ 6:28 am | Comment

Yikes! It looks like you’ve picked a bad time to go home, Richard

June 30, 2007 @ 6:41 am | Comment

Jeffrey, have you paid any attention to the news recently?

Check out this latest global opinion poll.

I think that most people can separate the actions of a government from individuals. This isn’t about how you personally were treated in Germany, or how many people would still like to come to the States. It’s about how Bush’s foreign policy of the last four years has increasing majorities throughout the world thinking that the US is a threat to global peace.

As for the environment, just because you can’t smell it through the manure doesn’t mean there isn’t a crisis.

But no, you have to name-call even at the same time that you pretend to compliment.

It’s “leftist” to believe in the Constitution? To want my country to act in a politically and economically sound manner? To want a healthcare system that works for all Americans, and not just for some? To care about the environment?

So, okay, I’m a “leftist.” Funny, I always thought of myself as a fairly mainstream Democrat.

It sure would be nice if the President who takes office in 2009 could snap his/herfingers and make this all better. Tragically that isn’t the case. We are going to be dealing with Bush’s toxic legacy for a very long time.

But as long as it doesn’t affect you individually, why should you care, right?

There’s a couple different names I could put to that political philosophy.

June 30, 2007 @ 6:44 am | Comment

Die Kommissarin (Other Lisa),

Hey, as it turns out, I’m a registered Democrat myself. Fancy that.

I just don’t agree with your “toxic waste” assessment of the last six years. I think it’s an exaggeration. It’s okay if we disagree, right? We’re both Americans and letting our opinions be heard. It’s all good.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 6:54 am | Comment

Jeffrey, I don’t have a problem with disagreement. I do have a problem with how you posed it. Maybe you were trying to be funny, but it didn’t come off that way.

And I’m genuinely curious: why do you think the Iraq War isn’t something that will have a very negative impact for a very long time?

That’s just one aspect of Bush’s “toxic” legacy.

June 30, 2007 @ 7:14 am | Comment

I don’t think there’s any doubt about it Lisa, there are few people who like Bush. He lost me awhile back *cough* and after trying to shove this amnesty crap down our throats when the majority of Americans were obviously opposed it, he only succeeded in dividing his own party and using up whatever little bit of political capital he may have had left.

The good news is, there’s little he can do now. He’s a lame duck.

June 30, 2007 @ 7:43 am | Comment

Die Kommissarin (Other Lisa),

Jeffrey, I don’t have a problem with disagreement. I do have a problem with how you posed it. Maybe you were trying to be funny, but it didn’t come off that way.

I don’t know exactly what in my several comments you’re referring to, but I imagine it could be this excerpt:

You’re still cool, Lisa, even though your political manias marr your fine sensibility. Politics always coarsen people, even the rah-rah lefties like you.

The first sentence is fairly straight-forward, I think. It is my personal belief that people who become too identified with one side or the other in politics harden their responses to other people, which is unfortunate. Anyone who voted for Bush is seen through this person’s eyes as sub-human. And that is very sad, in my eyes. Over half of the American populace voted FOR George Bush in 2004. Are you ready to castigate millions of people simply to somehow justify your political views? Just admit a difference of opinion and refrain, if at all possible, from vilifying them and creating caricatures in which “stupid” and “evil” are frequent epithets.

The second sentence repeats this idea, adding a snarky morsel, “even rah-rah lefties like you.” It is indeed sarcastic, but with a purpose. I hate conformism on both the left and the right. People on the left of the political spectrum are vulnerable to “rah-rah” conformism just as much as people on the right. Putting an “Impeach Bush” decal on one’s bumper is just another “rah-rah” moment, this one from the left.

Listen, Lisa, I’ve probably traveled to as many countries as you have — maybe more. My undergraduate degree was in Classics and I went on for a graduate degree. I’ve read Plato in Ancient Greek, Catullus in Latin, Kafka in German, and Camus in French. I voted for Al Gore in 2000 and, after 9/11 (I was teaching here in NYC that day), I made a promise to vote for George Bush only if he had the guts to send our military to topple Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime. He did, and I kept my promise.

Millions of Americans, obviously, also felt as I did. And Kerry was a very weak candidate — I think even the loyal Democrats can admit that now.

I think we agree on some issues and disagree on others. What a surprise, huh? Fine. Both of us can go to the polls again next year and vote for the candidate we think will best lead the country for the next four-year term.

If you’re going to try to demonize me, it won’t work. Judging by your blog, I think you’re an interesting person and you write pretty well. I respect whatever poltical views you hold. I only ask that you accord me the same respect — and love of humor — that I extend to you.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Jeffrey, I’m happy to do so, if you would debate in the style you demonstrate above. But I don’t appreciate being labeled, told that I have become “coarsened” due to my political views, etc. If there’s anybody doing demonizing here, it would be you by such name-calling.

And you haven’t answered my question.

As for people who voted for Bush in ’04 – it’s hard for me to fathom. He is going to go down in history as one of the worst American presidents ever – for qualities which were pretty obvious by ’04.

The more you look at what this Administration has done, the worse it gets, in so many areas beyond the war. Energy policy, the environment, the courts, the AG’s office, the list goes on and on.

And yeah, Saddam was a bad guy. But he was a bad guy who wasn’t a threat to the US. We’ve poked a hornet’s nest with a stick, and now we, and the Iraqi people are paying for it.

June 30, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

As for people who voted for Bush in ’04 – it’s hard for me to fathom.

Ah, there lies the source of your problem. A lack of imagination on your part. Sorry, but that’s the truth. If you can’t understand how or why over 50% of Americans voted for Bush, then that’s your personal shortcoming. I can understand, in contrast, why someone would NOT have voted for Bush. See? Just relax, clear your mind, and try to think from another person’s point of view. As a novice fiction writer, this shouldn’t be too terribly difficult for you, should it?

I did not call you a “name,” except indirectly by referring to “rah-rah lefties.” And my argument was of a general nature, in which I implied that you yourself might be one particular instance of that generaliization.

But, c’mon, we’re never going to agree on any of this. You’re smart enough to recognize that, aren’t you? So let’s talk about something else now that’s Richard’s off to Phoenix.

What about the 2006 Rose Bowl? Texas 41, USC 38. Did you watch that game? That is my second favorite game, after the Boise State/Sooner Fiesta Bowl. My third favorite is a sentimental favorite (as a Hawkeye fan), the 2005 Capitol One game: Iowa 30, LSU 25. Drew Tate, the Iowa quarterback, threw a Hail Mary in the final seconds:

On the game’s final play, LSU blew their coverage, allowing Tate to throw a 56 yard, game-winning touchdown pass to senior Warren Holloway as time expired.

Oh, sweet victory!

Forget politics for a night, Lisa. Let’s talk about sports or literature or philosophy or whatever you want. This blog entry has NO DESIGNATED TOPIC. We’re FREE! At least for tonight.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 10:39 am | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

Oh, I just remembered reading on your blog about your early days playing in a band. I don’t know if we’re from the same generation or not. I was a punk back in the late seventies/early eighties — albeit a rather peculiar kind of punk, with a shaved head, Doc Martens on my feet, and a copy of Gaius Sallustius Crispus’s “De coniuratione Catalinae” in my pocket.

I saw lots of great bands back then. Dead Kennedys (much tighter live than on record), Husker Du (when they were still playing as fast as they could go), Killing Joke (some serious crazies in that group), Minutemen (the San Pedro fellers), X (also from your town, LA, with Cervenka and John Doe on vocals and Billy Zoom on guitar, smiling like a loon through every number), Public Image Ltd., — those are a few just off the top of my head.

Let’s talk music, if you want.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

Would you like a good idea for a short story or novel? Martina, a German/American living in Deutschland, tells the story about her sister that is one of the strangest I’ve ever heard.

My sister

Read the whote entry. Believe me, it’s worth it.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 11:15 am | Comment

And yeah, Saddam was a bad guy. But he was a bad guy who wasn’t a threat to the US. We’ve poked a hornet’s nest with a stick, and now we, and the Iraqi people are paying for it.

I’m one of those who regret voting for Bush in 2004, it took me a long time to come around, but I did. However, I do not necessarily agree with your statement above.

If you were to say that Saddam was not a “DIRECT” threat to the United States, then I would be more inclined to agree.

Because of his hatred for Israel and his financial support for homicide bombers in Israel, he was a threat to the United States in that everyone seems to think the Middle-East is America’s problem to solve and as long as he continued to fund homicide bombers, he was contributing to the instability in the region.

That alone is one of the reasons why I supported the invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, Bush botched that all to hell given that he had no other plans made once the initial invasion was over and Saddam had been toppled.

June 30, 2007 @ 11:27 am | Comment

Jeffrey,
I would bet my bottom dollar that Lisa has never, ever, ever watched a college football game-at least in person. (Mainstream Democrat that she is.) We can’t care about the plight of the indigenous Peruvian yellow-tail marmoset if all we care about is violent dsiplays of quasi-heterosexual male aggression, ya know!

Of course, I may be wrong. ;)

Go Dawgs!

June 30, 2007 @ 11:55 am | Comment

What’s with the stupid personal attacks on Lisa?

June 30, 2007 @ 12:17 pm | Comment

Canrun,

You are indeed wrong on this one.

Die Kommissarin writes:

My not-so-secret shame…I love football. For one thing, I find football the perfect accompaniment to cleaning my house, sorting papers, doing laundry – all the mundane stuff I hate to do. There’s plenty of breaks, and if you miss something, they’ll show it again.

There’s things I don’t like about football – the violence & injuries, certain aspects of the surrounding culture – but I love the game, the athleticism, the strategy. Football is a smart game (in fact I keep meaning to buy a copy of “Football for Dummies” to help me understand it better). And it’s a drama, with its four-act structure, reversals of fortune, characters and storylines.

From “ Wow…what a game,” a blog entry where she talks about the Fiesta Bowl game.

If a punk can read enjoy reading Gaius Sallustius Crispus, I guess someone who has “Impeach Bush” on her blog can love football.

Hey, a Dawg fan?! I was in Athens a couple years ago and loved that town.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 12:29 pm | Comment

Canrun,

We can’t care about the plight of the indigenous Peruvian yellow-tail marmoset if all we care about is violent dsiplays of quasi-heterosexual male aggression, ya know!

Heh heh. Good one.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

Crap.

I didn’t italicize the entire text. Let me try that again.

Die Kommissarin writes:

My not-so-secret shame…I love football. For one thing, I find football the perfect accompaniment to cleaning my house, sorting papers, doing laundry – all the mundane stuff I hate to do. There’s plenty of breaks, and if you miss something, they’ll show it again.

There’s things I don’t like about football – the violence & injuries, certain aspects of the surrounding culture – but I love the game, the athleticism, the strategy. Football is a smart game (in fact I keep meaning to buy a copy of “Football for Dummies” to help me understand it better). And it’s a drama, with its four-act structure, reversals of fortune, characters and storylines.

There. That’s what she wrote.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

ah gee… as we would say at The Eschaton, Jeffrey, your concern is noted.

And you’re a registered Democrat like I’m a member of the Communist Party of China.

June 30, 2007 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

Tom,

What’s up, Big Fella? It’s true. I’m a registered Democrat. I grew up in a small town in northeastern Iowa that is heavily Democrat. My Mom has worked for the party during elections there for over forty years.

Name-dropping “The Eschaton,” as you have just done, marks you as a insufferable boor.

Let me repeat:

I DESPISE conformism on the left and on the right of the political spectrum.

You can tell the folks at “The Eschaton” that I said so.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

Because of his hatred for Israel and his financial support for homicide bombers in Israel, he was a threat to the United States in that everyone seems to think the Middle-East is America’s problem to solve and as long as he continued to fund homicide bombers, he was contributing to the instability in the region.

THM would you mind providing some link to this statement and show it is actually true. Even if it is true, then why we don’t invade Saudi Arabia any many Mid-East nations because organizations from many Mid-East countries fund terrorist bombers i.e. they provide money to suicide bombers’ families after the fact.

Personally, I was strongly against the war before we invaded Iraq. However, today I support the war because we have to fight till the last man standing to show the war that we are serious. Even if we ultimately will lose the war, but we need to show the world that we won’t leave until we have no troops left not due to political pressure alone. I know that people like me on this issue are extreme minority in the US. However, I think we are far better than flip-floppers from both the left and right wings.

P.S. 50% of US troops have never been rotated into Iraq. What’s going on? We can literally doubt our force if we really want. Stupid Bush.

June 30, 2007 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

Heh heh.

I love this. One commenter was for the war at first but is now against it. Another commenter was against the war in the beginning but is now for it. A mesmerizing symmetry, isn’t it?

*

June 30, 2007 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

“Over 50% of Americans” did notvote for Bush. Slightly over 50% of the electorate did. Very different numbers.

I do understand why people voted for Bush – there were a lot of different reasons. Bad ones, by and large. By 2004 it was awfully clear how incompetent, venal and downright criminal this Administration is. People who voted for him and who have now changed their minds, I salute you. It shows an ability to look at the evidence and re-evaluate one’s opinions based on facts, not sentiments.

I am not only a football fan, I love baseball.

I am not a “novice” writer.

And I’m outta here. It’s getting late, and I’ve got some work to do.

THM, I appreciate your support.

June 30, 2007 @ 2:47 pm | Comment

Dear Penthouse Letters,

I am a Registered Democrat, but I believe this bashing of George W. Bush and Iraq is mindless conformism and a sign of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I am truly a rebel. You can tell the depth of my individuality and uniqueness by my consumption of mass consumer products like big money NCAA Div 1 football.

Thank you for letting me display my intense sophistication and if you doubt that this is true, I will unleash a volley of ad hominem that will mark you as insufferable boors and humourless pricks, unlike myself and the David Broders and Ann Althouses of the world.

June 30, 2007 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

It shows an ability to look at the evidence and re-evaluate one’s opinions based on facts, not sentiments.

Are you sure your name isn’t Jo(sephine) Friday?

I am not a “novice” writer.

Well, a second opinion is always a wise move.

Heh heh heh.

Hey, and what about bands? Have you ever seen any of those bands? How about Flipper? Or Camper Van Beethoven? Back in the 80s I lived in SF three separate times and saw a lot of the local bands there too. I lived for a short time in a cold-water practice studio next to where the Fuck-Ups practiced. The Mab was just around the corner. Any of this ring a bell?

Anything to break the Vulcan mind-grip that lefty politics has on your brain. My good, do you even realize how shrill you sound most of the time with your Bushitler mantra. My god, GIVE IT A REST!

Do you want to talk about Cicero and the guys that got all lawyered up with him? Heraclitus and his lightning bolt and path going up and down the same? Protagoras the tailor who said that man is the measure? Donald Barthelme and his long tribute to the death of a father? Italo Calvino and the cosmicomical adventures of Qwfwq? Italo Svevo and Zeno’s last cigarette and how he proposed and was rejected three times in one night? W.C. Fields in the Klondike in weather not fit for man nor beast? Virginia Woolf and Mr. Ramsey pacing as he cogitates at the summer house? Flannery O’Connor and the “muv-see-vum” from Wise Blood? Doeblin’s Berlin, where Biberkopf loses his arm under the wheels of speeding car?

No? What then?

Bushitler, Bushitler, Bushitler.

Lord, please release us these pod-people! Die Kommissarin, I know, deep down you are a funny, interesting person, but you’ve been zombified by the GORACLE.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

Tom,

Neither sarcasm nor satire nor pastiche are your strengths. I’d stay with the ueber-correct Eschaton school tie and cricket on the weekend.

It’s nice that you gave it a try, though. I’d give you a “B” for effort.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

Give it up, Jeffrey. You’re coming across like a Bush Dead-ender. It’s sad.

FYI, I joined the Order of the Shrill a looong time ago. I have a membership card and everything.

June 30, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

Tom,

Hey, I just checked your website. Hey man, you’re a hippie! And with a Grateful Dead page! Okay, I saw your photo. You look like a nice guy. I can tell you’re one of those guys who wants everyone to get along and and biting humor ain’t your thing, so I’ll go easy on you. That’s why you had such trouble with your “Penthouse Letter” pastiche. It didn’t work at all.

A punk and a hippie!

It’s like an episode of “The Young Ones.”

I’m Vyvyan and you’re NEIL.

Too funny.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 3:55 pm | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

Fuck Bush.

Let’s talk MUSIC.

Have you ever seen any of those bands? Are you originally from LA? If so, then have you ever seen X or the Minutemen, for example?

*

June 30, 2007 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

Do you know anything about literature or are you just a poseur?

*

June 30, 2007 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Hm. I just finished reading this about Vyvyan from “The Young Ones”:

Despite being a homicidal maniac, Vyvyan seems quite sociable and creative; he has developed his own potion to transform a person into a homicidal axe-wielding maniac, something he intends to market as a cure (for a person not being a homicidal axe-wielding maniac). He has more friends than the others but apparently “he doesn’t like any of them”. He frequently causes havoc or damage such as wiring the doorbell to a bomb and adding a 289 CID Ford V-8 engine to the vacuum cleaner which proceeded to suck up the carpet, the floorboards, and a hippy friend of Neil’s.

Wow, it’s like they were reading my mind and living next to me at the same time.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

Oh, god, I’ve seen X more times than I can count. I’ve even hung out with Exene. My college band used to do a couple of their tunes.

The Minutemen, no. I think I was going to school when they were popular and then D. Boone died.

Camper Van Beethoven, liked them a lot. Don’t think I ever saw them. This stuff kind of blurs together. I used to go to a ton of shows. Talking Heads were my favorite. I saw them as many times as I saw X, almost.

You used to be able to spend three bucks and see four amazing bands in one night – X, the Plugz, the Alley Cats, Wall of Voodoo…

Sigh..those were the days.

Now, here’s a question for you, Jeffrey – why the unnecessary insults? Like calling me a “poseur”? I mean, is it because you think I’m ignoring you or something? I’m trying to get some work done. Before that I was at the gym. Then I was watching some baseball. Non-virtual life, you know?

It reminds me of this time after a gig in LA, which had gone well, and I went up to the bar to get a beer. This guy complimented me and then started asking me questions about my bass. Then he asked me why I played “such a big bass.” Shouldn’t I be playing a little bass, seeing as how I was a girl and all? Because that biiig bass looked like a lot for me to handle.

I finally said, look, I don’t get this – I’m just getting a beer. Why are you attacking my choice of instruments?

He said, sheepishly, because I think you’re attractive, and you’re kind of intimidating with that big bass.

June 30, 2007 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

Die Kommissarin,

Okay, “poseur” was a sabot round just to try to get you to write more than one or two sentences. Sorry about that.

It does sound like we are from the same generation. I first saw X in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1982, I think. I lost both of my shoes slam-dancing that night. I had played guitar in high-school rock bands and really enjoyed Billy Zoom’s guitar playing — silver Les Paul? His style of playing was extremely economical. He never jumped around; he just kept grinning and changing chords.

Wall of Voodoo. “Mexican Radio”?

Camper Van Beethoven were extremely witty, of course. I still get a chuckle listening to songs like “Let’s Take the Skinheads Bowling.”

Husker Du, in its first phase, was really wild live. I saw them in Chicago and I probably lost five pounds. The band was manic and tight.

Crap, wouldn’t you know it? Now I have to get some mundane stuff done myself — it’s called sleep (3:30 a.m. in NYC as I type this).

*

June 30, 2007 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Jeffrey:

So you have a hard time understanding finance-speak? Not surprising, being a big talking school marm and all. So if you were all gung ho to support Bush blaming Iraq, why didn’t you go there?
Coward.
Bush still hasn’t come up with sufficient reason to fit Iraq into 9-11, it was the Saudis, pure and simple and the Bush family is still trying to cover up for the al-Saud throne and its fear of Wahabbism.

And why wasn’t Jeb Bush voted into office? Because George is a “yes man” easily manipulated by Darth Dickhead Fucker Cheney and Fat Fucking Bastard Rove. Jeb would’ve booted those two out his first two years in office along with Rummy. BTW, did you know that the US Army has to replace all of the Hummers with an IED-proof armored car because our wonderful defense industry didn’t have the clairvoyance, foresight or intelligence to imagine that some guys with a battery, some wires, explosives and cell phones could have such a big impact.

Billions more for the Iraq war bill and still no stable country to show for it.

Everything you stand for lies in burning ruin at your feet.

June 30, 2007 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

Name-dropping “The Eschaton,” as you have just done, marks you as a insufferable boor.”
- Jeffrey

Now that’s pretty rich coming from someone who just informed us that he’s read Gaius Sallustius Crispus – and then reminded us again 90 minutes later, in case we didn’t notice.

Funny, I also grew up in rural Iowa and also lived in San Francisco (18 years). Most likely we we were at some of the same shows at the Mab. Maybe also at The Farm, Graffiti, or even Club Foot way down there on Third Street. In those days, I didn’t care much for the Meat Puppets or Camper Van (too “college radio” for me). The DK’s were great (my drummer roommate was East Bay Ray’s g/f). Black Athletes, The Dicks, and Faith No More were my local favorites from those years. Not long after that I moved on from punk … my all-time favorite SF bands include Missile Harmony, Fade to Black, Thrill of the Pull, Max’s Motorcycle Club, Romeo Void and Shiva Dancing.

But I still think you’re a weenie for implying that O’Lisa is a “poseur”. I suspect Lisa’s “cred” was already pretty firmly established while you were still “voguing” to Madonna. ;-)

June 30, 2007 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

Slim,

Very interesting. We’ve walked many of the same paths. Do you remember Bonanza Inn Book Shop on Market , just off Kearney (I stayed a few times at the Shasta Hotel on Kearney)? That’s where I worked on and off between 1983 and 1987. As I said before, I lived for a time in a practice studio right around the corner from the Mab, where I first saw Faith No More, by the way. Do you remember that Winchell’s Donut on Columbus? I used to read in there and drink coffee next to the chain-smoking old Chinese guys. The Farm? Of course, that’s where I first saw Flipper. Hey, do you remember Max Volume and the Naked Lady Wrestlers (this will test your memory of the local scene, I think)?

I lived most of the time in the Tenderloin (Polk St. and later Jackson St) and the Western Addition (1308 Hayes, to be precise). In 1985-6 I lived in southern Germany and then, after a return to SF, in 1987-8 I moved back to Germany, but to Berlin (when the wall was still up, of course). After that I’ve been back to SF to visit but not to live, although I have, like you I guess, lots of great memories from there.

Where did you grow up in Iowa? I grew up in Dyersville, where they filmed “Field of Dreams.” Did my undergraduate at University of Iowa, of course. Are you familiar with Iowa City and its punk bands? Do you remember Stiff Legged Sheep? Iowa Beef Experience? Or maybe the Chicago-area hardcore bands? How about the Effigies?

So what are you doing now? I’ve also spent a little time in Shanghai, as it turns out. Are you still there?

I admit I was a bit of “weenie” to use a cheap-shot to get Lisa to write more. I can be, sad to say, a barbed-tongue arsehole.

Were you a Classics major too? If you were at Iowa, then maybe we even had the same professors. Do you remember Prof. Hornsby? I studied Virgil, Catullus, and Sallust under him. Prof. Holtsmark? He taught a good course in mythology.

*

June 30, 2007 @ 11:31 pm | Comment

Slim,

I also admit to being a boor, on occasion — even at times a bore. In my defense, however, I would suggest that I’m a sufferable boor and bore, not an insufferable one. Of course, a second opinion is always a wise move, don’t ya think?

By the way, I loved the line about voguing to Madonna. It had a little zip to it and made me laugh.

*

July 1, 2007 @ 12:35 am | Comment

I almost miss Math right now.

July 1, 2007 @ 1:25 am | Comment

Hi Shanghai!

So I’m off to Chinese class. Have a lovely weekend, everyone. Even Math, wherever he is…

July 1, 2007 @ 2:03 am | Comment

I don’t believe it! Once, only once, the usual suspects stay away from a thread and do not turn it into the usual bad America – bad China mudslinging and what happens? A guy called Jeffrey comes along and starts jerking off.
I have to agree with 88: I almost miss Math now.
I also agree with kebab boy. Dear Jeffrey, stop wanking, take your Greek, Latin and German books, shift them up your pretentious ass and go to Iraq to support Bush the way a real man would do!

July 1, 2007 @ 6:27 am | Comment

Jeffrey comes across as a “finding himself man”.

July 1, 2007 @ 7:59 am | Comment

Mor,

I LOVE you, man! What? You don’t like music? You don’t like literature? Whaddaya like?

Bushitler, Bushitler, Bushitler.

Oh Lord, I see, Mor. You got it real bad now, do ya? Politics is yer passion, right son?

Listen, this one is for YOU, Mor.

Fuck Bush! Fuck Bush! Fuck Bush!

Happy now, fella? Aw, yer smiling again! *patting his bulbous dome* Good boy, good boy!

*

Nanhe,

Jeffrey comes across as a “finding himself man”.

Is this the result of bad text-translation software?

*

July 1, 2007 @ 11:22 am | Comment

hi, you guys!
how d’you do?

July 1, 2007 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

Um… could be better… how about you, frost_lee?

July 1, 2007 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

You want to talk about Cicero and the guys that got all lawyered up with him? Heraclitus and his lightning bolt and path going up and down the same? Protagoras the tailor who said that man is the measure? Donald Barthelme and his long tribute to the death of a father? Italo Calvino and the cosmicomical adventures of Qwfwq? Italo Svevo and Zeno’s last cigarette and how he proposed and was rejected three times in one night? W.C. Fields in the Klondike in weather not fit for man nor beast? Virginia Woolf and Mr. Ramsey pacing as he cogitates at the summer house? Flannery O’Connor and the “muv-see-vum” from Wise Blood? Doeblin’s Berlin, where Biberkopf loses his arm under the wheels of speeding car?

No? What then?

Bushitler, Bushitler, Bushitler.

Oh god, yet another preening, pretentious ass.

Hope you feel better soon, Richard. The guest bloggers are first-rate, but this site isn’t the same without you. I’ve been busy with relocating to Beijing (hence the lack of posts), but now that I’ve settled down hopefully we can meet up sometimes.

July 1, 2007 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

Blogging sure is addicting- I can understand your plight. Have some good barbeque and say hi to America for me. See ya when you’re back.

July 1, 2007 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

With personal respect and remembrance of a personal friendship, just from me to Richard, I want to offer this farewell song. Just from me to Richard, and to any and all mutual friends who have become my friends through Richard’s blog – here is a song which I used to sing at the end of all of my performances, back in my days as a wandering troubadour in the American West:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Eaipi4Snyxc

My friends, whom I have met through Richard, you know who you are. As for the rest: as the old Ulstermen of Ireland say: “Here’s to us, and f— everyone else!” ;-)

But Richard, and a few other special people who have become true friends of mine through Richard’s blog over the past few years – and also, to any of you who still remember me with any kindness and affection – this old song which I used to sing in my troubadour days, this farewell song is for you. Here it is again:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Eaipi4Snyxc

July 2, 2007 @ 4:18 am | Comment

THM would you mind providing some link to this statement and show it is actually true.

Which part of that statement did you want a link for, Arty?

July 2, 2007 @ 6:01 am | Comment

Ivan, good to see you and hope you are doing okay. You are welcome back anytime.

Is that really what they say in Ireland? :-)

July 2, 2007 @ 6:59 am | Comment

Gordon:If you were to say that Saddam was not a “DIRECT” threat to the United States, then I would be more inclined to agree.

Because of his hatred for Israel and his financial support for homicide bombers in Israel, he was a threat to the United States in that everyone seems to think the Middle-East is America’s problem to solve and as long as he continued to fund homicide bombers, he was contributing to the instability in the region.

I must take issue with you here. Not even Bush cited Saddam’s support of Palestinian terrorists as a reason to go to war. Maybe a minor supporting point, but it’s a very, very weak argument. Saddam basically sent a gift package to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, about $2,500. No one attacked Israel to get this gift box. Saddam’s gift was a thing of evil, and for that and many other things he deserved to be put out of office and imprisoned. But in terms of encouraging global terrorism, this was totally irrelevant and insignificant. Far, far more consequential was Saudi Arabi’s, Syria’s and Iran’s encouragement of terrorism, which was much more proactive and serious. These countries, like Pakistan, were and are true breeding grounds of the 911-type terrorists, those obsessed with fundamentalist Islam, the kinds for whom Saddam harbored contempt. Despicable as Sadam’s gift basked may have been, it is hardly a reason for America to go to war. Not even close. For all Saddam’s atrocities, he never supported Al Qaerda’s depraved model of global terrorism. In fact, we was terrified of it, as an Al Qaeda victory would have been a personal threat to his secularist, repressive regime.

July 2, 2007 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Richard wrote: “Is that really what they say in Ireland? :-)

My reply is: Hey, you know my way of taking poetic license…. ;-)

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed my song.

July 2, 2007 @ 9:13 am | Comment

Richard, I don’t mean to suggest that Bush cited Saddam’s support for Palestinian terrorists as a pretext for the invasion, though it might have had more substance than WMD. I was merely pointing out that Saddam’s support for the homicide bombers were an indirect threat to the US.

I also realize that the Palestinian terrorists were not blowing themselves up for the measly $2,500 that Saddam was providing to their families, but certainly it provided them with some assurances knowing that their families wouldn’t be left completely empty handed.

July 3, 2007 @ 1:38 am | Comment

I guess it’s impossible to be off-topic here, so here goes:

One of my students has just written to me that she’s discovered the ‘truth’ about Tiananmen. Apparently 1000 soldiers as well as 2000 civilians were killed at that time and, of course, the fateful night 18 years ago was instigated by crazy and irresponsible factions within the multitude. The government had no choice in order to protect the people from further madness.

The only ‘fact’ that sets her finding apart from the official line is the bit about 2000 students dying.

Can anyone give me a good link that outlines as objectively and clearly as possible the chronological events of that time? If I respond directly to her points I will necessarily, although correctly, seem anti-CCP. I suppose Wikipedia’s version of events warrants a look.

Thanks.

July 3, 2007 @ 12:29 pm | Comment

stuart -

you don’t have to – you merely have to point out that the soldiers were armed, the students only armed with what came to hand and that she is still saying the way to deal with a demo, even if violent, is to start killing. Which is frankly a disgusting and immoral attitude.

Ask her why they didn’t simply use tear gas instead of bullets, riot police with batons instead of soldiers with machine guns.

so bollocks to the body count – it is largely irrelevant.

how shallow and ignorant are chinese students? let me count the ways…….

July 3, 2007 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

@ Richard

Do your homework. Saddam needed to be removed.
………………………………….

Salaries For Suicide Bombers, Iraq Pays $25000 To Families Of …
(CBS) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has raised the amount offered to relatives of suicide bombers from $10000 per family to $25000, U.S. Defense Secretary …
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/ 2002/04/03/world/main505316.shtml
…………………………………

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Palestinians get Saddam funds
Saddam’s payments. $10000 per family. $25000 for family of a suicide bomber. $35m paid since September 2000.
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2846365.stm
…………………………………
Saddam funds fail to buy Gaza hearts | Israel and the Middle East …
Payments to families of suicide bombers and intifada victims bring only … said he was grateful for the $25000 cheque he received from Saddam Hussein, …
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,912938,00.html

July 3, 2007 @ 7:14 pm | Comment

Roger, you completely proved my point: Saddam sent a reward, a gift basket, to a handful of terrorists’ families for suicide bombings against Israel. None of them committed terrorism because of this. This was depraved action on Saddam’s part, one of many, but it had no measurable impact on global terrorism. None.

Saddam was a figure of near-zero influence when it came to global terrorism. What you are saying is akin to saying we should have declared war and sent thousands of Americas to die when the IRA was bombing England. Terrorism is pure evil. But we cannot declare war and commit American lives everywhere terrorism takes place, especially when it is a local issue, as opposed to the Al Qaeda jihadist model. And they are very different. Only the Bushies lump all organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas into the same pot as Al Qaeda and declare them all equally threatening.

But then, what you’re saying makes sense. It was worth it and we had to do it, because after taking Saddam down, all those acts of terrorism promptly came to an end. No $2500 checks from Saddam, no terror. Right.

July 3, 2007 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

“so bollocks to the body count – it is largely irrelevant…how shallow and ignorant are chinese students? let me count the ways…….”

You’re right, of course. But if I adopt an ‘in your face’ approach to issues like this they simply pull up the drawbridge and put their blinkers back on.

I’ve found that if you chip away indirectly you can, occasionally, get somewhere.

July 4, 2007 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Roger,

Do you know how much it has cost the US to take Saddam down so far, in term of dollars, American and Iraqis life?

July 4, 2007 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Stuart,

My friend, frankly speaking, your question on Tiananmen in your last post make me think that I wasted my time reading all you previous comments on Chinese government.

July 4, 2007 @ 12:06 am | Comment

stuart and si,

Do you know that the first act of violence in 1989 came from the civillians. It was an PLA soldier, who was on patrol near Changan Avenue, and became isolated and surrounded by a group of local Beijingers (unemployeed, local scoundrels, it was suspected).

That soldier’s body was hung near a city gate, below it was a banner with some intidimating words scrawled across. The soldier’s intestines were hanging out, his entire body was tarred as a result of burning.

Yes, that was the very first act of violence. The local Beijingers did to that PLA soldier what the “insurgents” in Iraq do to American everyday. Perhaps you think the “insurgents” were also just peaceful demonstrators, should I tell that to MY students here in the USA, perhaps also with a “in your face” approach?

Get out of my face, both of you.

July 4, 2007 @ 1:37 am | Comment

Choi

So if some criminals kill someone, you start attacking innocent protesters and setting up ambushes for people running away?

Nice logic you have….. Where’s it from, the era of Ghengis Khan?

July 4, 2007 @ 3:51 am | Comment

Choi:

cnd.org/June4th/massacre.html
christusrex.org/www1/sdc/p41b.jpg

PLA units had to be brought from Hebei because the Beijing PLA garrison refused to crack down on the protestors.
Beijing residents peacefully resisted and the army backed down for a while. Then the PLA tried sneaking tanks through the hutongs into TAM but the middle aged and elderly people knew the trouble that was coming (they’ve had some experiences with the “people’s army” in their past). The army retreated again, then came right down the main roads to TAM and surrounded the students.

China sucks, bad china.

July 4, 2007 @ 5:22 am | Comment

Nan, do not say that again. I’ve warned you repeatedly. You write a great post and then you spoil it by acting like a five year old having a tantrum. What the hell is wrong with you?

July 4, 2007 @ 10:24 am | Comment

“China sucks, bad china.”

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! I didn’t know 5 year olds can get online these days.

July 4, 2007 @ 11:36 am | Comment

“…your question on Tiananmen in your last post make me think that I wasted my time reading all you previous comments on Chinese government.”

There was no question in my previous post. So perhaps you didn’t waste your time after all :-)

July 4, 2007 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Choi:

In the US 5 year olds are more advanced than their counterparts in China, making internet access more achievable.

July 4, 2007 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan, unfortunately in the US, an increasing number of 5-year-olds are already suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, thanks to eating disgusting garbages like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC. I cannot wait to see how those fatty losers would grow up to become, if they are not already wasted by 18.

Are you one of those? I bet you are my boy.

July 4, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Choi,

I’ve seen plenty of obese 5-year old Chinese children stuffing their faces at KFC and McDonalds. Perhaps you could have chosen a better example.

Plus your analysis of Tiananmen Square….just doesn’t conform to reality. Why is it so difficult to admit that the 6/4 massacre was a governmental atrocity?

July 4, 2007 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

As an English teacher extraordinaire, I can without a doubt state that the word “garbage” is, indeed, non-count! There. I’m glad I’ve added something to the discussion. ;)

July 4, 2007 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

@Choi

Thank you for reminding me why I left China and proving my point.

To think I have wasted years of my life learning your language and teaching your children

Sad

July 4, 2007 @ 4:10 pm | Comment

Choi:

Seen the shanghaiist.com post about the “Shanghai Fatty”?

Another good and true impression of modern China to go along side “Shanghai Baby” when it hits US theaters.

One healthy epidemic that the US doesn’t have, the “spidermen”, those proud chinese men with their round midsections and thin limbs.

No wonder chinese women hold up half of the sky, the men all ate the other half at the glorious 5 star restaurant.

And what is it with chinese women being the majority of heroes? Soccer, gymnastics, diving, theater, music, etc, etc.
Chinese women hold up the whole darn country.

Now go watch some anime and plot your sexual revenge on japanese school girls.

July 4, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

Obesity is a problem in america. I’d be pleased to have an all around health care system, so long as smokers and obese pay full price. I shouldn’t have to subsidize irresponsible lifestyles with my tax dollars. What that has to do with this thread, I don’t know.

July 4, 2007 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

Lotta traffic for a closed blog. Ganbei!

July 5, 2007 @ 1:00 am | Comment

Sigh…I knew if this thread were open long enough, it would degenerate into a round of “Fatty, fatty, fat, fat, FAT!” name-calling.

I’m off to the gym.

July 5, 2007 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Can’t you come back Richard? As a long term reader and v rare poster I’m shocked and awed by how quickly a blog can descend into chaos when the moderator leaves.

Sort it out lads (and ladies)

July 5, 2007 @ 4:57 am | Comment

This journal will be blocked in China so I’ll post the whole article:

China ‘suppressed report on pollution deaths’
By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Published: 04 July 2007
China’s poisoned air rose higher on the political agenda yesterday after reports that it forced the World Bank to censor a study for fear that one of its findings – that 750,000 people die of pollution-related illness each year – might stoke social unrest.

The Chinese capital has also been forced to promise to remove one million cars from the streets next month in an attempt to improve the environment in time for next year’s Olympic Games.

Earlier figures conceded that 400,000 people died of pollution-related illness in China each year. However, the Financial Times quoted a World Bank report, produced in co-operation with Chinese government ministries over several years, which found that the number was more like three quarters of a million. These deaths are mainly caused by air pollution in large cities.

The World Bank said the study: Cost of Pollution in China: Economic Estimates of Physical Damages, had yet to be finalised and what had been released was a conference version.

China’s environment watchdog Sepa (the State Environment Protection Agency) and the Health Ministry reportedly asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report when a draft was finished last year.

Even the unfinished version paints a grim picture, putting the cost of deaths from diarrhoea and cancer caused by polluted water at 66bn yuan (£4.34 bn), corresponding to 66,000 premature deaths a year.

“This is a joint research project with the government and the findings on the economic costs of pollution are still under review. The final report, due out soon, will be a series of papers arising from all the research on the issue,” the bank said in a statement.

Anecdotal evidence bore out the expected full version of the World Bank report, which uses research methodology from the World Health Organisation. As eye-stinging smog shrouded the Chinese capital for another day yesterday despite rain showers in the afternoon, Beijing organisers were trying to make sure the skies are clear for the Olympics. The Games are scheduled to start at 8pm on 8 August 2008. But the city had poor air quality for 15 days last month, the highest June total since 2000, according to the Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection. City plans to clean up the skies include measures to replace about 50,000 old cars and 10,000 poorly maintained buses by the end of the year as well as to renovate 16,000 coal-burning factories.

The measures were announced by the International Olympic Committee, which has expressed fears about pollution affecting athletes’ health. And the efforts seem to be having some effect. “Concerns [over pollution] within the IOC executive board were eased. They have a plan from 7-20 August this year: one million cars will be off the road,” the IOC director of communications, Giselle Davies, was reported as saying this week after receiving a progress report.

The World Bank previously reported that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities were in China. There were 148 million cars on the road by the end of March. The number is rising by 1,000 a day.

July 5, 2007 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Stuart,

I find it hard unless you can talk about the bigger picture.

The fact is that brainwashing is the staple of the CCP’s survival, they live iff it and this is what the Chinese cannot fathom, understandable so.

They’re worldview is contrived by CCP mind control efforts. Thats not something that so easy to explain.

Have you read the Nine commentaries on the CCP? Is a good book.

Its also difficult because they cant understand the relationship betwen the CCPs intentions, the horribleness of China, unnatural deaths, terrorism, all sorts of things, so you need to be clear on that if you want to help them.

The CCP did it effectively, for some reason the people want to take their candy, they want tobelieve the fairy tales and a lot of them love the bloody cult of CCP more than they care about whats actually true, but its like they dont even know it, but some of them do, but they just love money too much and the evil party pays them to be an ass.

So my advice is to understand the big picture well, cuse an a small scale they have twisted immoral arguments for everything, Chinese CCP propaganda should be banned absolutely, ah the world is sick…Good luck ( :

July 5, 2007 @ 5:41 am | Comment

On the Concept of Creating a “Human Welfare” Monitoring System

This post wants to create the concept of a “human welfare” and a governmental mechanism to give and monitor such welfare.

We know that welfare today generally means things that are “monetary”, such as free education, health care, unemployment benefits, etc etc. But I believe there’s another aspect welfare, and let me call it “Human Welfare”.

What is Human Welfare. Well, one way to describe is it is that “people care for each other, love each other, help each other.”

In a society, people will often encounter this or that kind of difficulties. Some difficulties are predictable, such as illness, that that’s why there’s welfare like medical insurance. But many difficulties are not predictable, and there should be people to help any individual overcome his/her difficulties. Even if others cannot help him/her, they should at least let him/her feel the warmth. This is where “human welfare” comes to play.

If we see a society as a human body, then if I prick your leg with a needle, then you’ll feel a sharp pain, which means the information that “some cells have been damaged on your leg” is sent to your brain. So for a good society, if there’s any “problems” or “damages” in any region, such information should be timely sent up to the “brain” of the society.

Thus, we can divide a nation’s total population into “welfare groups”, with maybe 20 households per group. And 20 welfare groups form a “welfare region”, and 20 welfare regions form a “welfare space”, and we can keep making larger and larger groups, all the way to the central/federal government.

Even welfare group’s leader should be a very respected and mature person. The duties of the group leader is to constantly find out if any household of the group has any difficulties. If any one does, then there should be meetings attended by all households of the group, and they should find ways to help whoever overcome any difficulties (such as if a household’s husband cannot find a job, then they can help him debug his resume, give him job searching tips, keep an eye for him for any new job postings, etc etc.).

If there are difficulties that are too big to overcome, then the welfare group can send such information to their “welfare region”, and if their region can’t solve a particular problem, it can pass it to its “welfare space”, and it keeps “passing up” the problem until it’s resolved. Of course, sometimes even the highest level (federal/central government) cannot even solve a certain problem, then it can only wait in a queue, but it should tell that specific household that “we are aware of your problem, and we are working on it”, while maybe it can post the problem online and ask everyone in the nation for solutions/tips.

In fact, we can write a software program that manages the reporting and displaying of any current difficulties, and maybe create a “tree structure” for all difficulties for all levels of groups. So that, on a computer screen, it displays a map of your country, and if any welfare group has unresolved problems, that specific welfare group is denoted with a red dot. If a group has no problem, then it’s a blue dot. If a group has a problem that’s just been resolved within the last week, it’s a yellow dot. (overtime, yellow dots may turn into blue dots, signifying that that group hasnt had problems for a while). Now, every dot represents a welfare group instead of welfare regions or spaces.

If I’m a premier of the country, I can look at the map, and if it has big areas of redness, then I will be worried. I can click on that area to zoom in, and if I zoom in 3 or 4 times, I can click on each individual dot (Welfare Group) and I can bring up a detailed report on each household of the group, and what current problem does each household have, and what kind of progress is being made on their problems. Of course, as a Premier, I won’t spend 12 hours a day clicking on those dots, but maybe once a month, I can spend 1 hour examining the map.

Of course, such software does not have to be limited to Premiers, any social scientists can acquire a license for this software and examine the “human welfare circumstance” of the entire nation. Many times a nation has “gunmen” or many suicides because people lack a place to report their personal difficulties and lack such groups to help them. With my system, if I have some personal problems, I can report it to my group, and other households will give me help/information/encouragement etc, and even if they fail to resolve my problem, they’ll at least make me feel very warm, and I’ll less likely to fire a gun at random people.

July 5, 2007 @ 8:53 am | Comment

@Raj

The army did not set up ambushes to kill people, nor did it plan to drive people out of the square into killing zones. Read the Tiananmen papers, the CCP leadership was not aiming for a body count–they wanted the protestors out, and the Chinese ppl to remember that overt resistance is futile against the CCP. It kind of nullifies your message if you hit not only the protestors but also innocent civilians.

@Math

Go away please. I want Richard to have enough incentive to start his blog up again.

@Snow

The Nine Commentaries (jiu ping gong chan dang) are rather exaggerated; if you want to preserve your credibility on this site, I suggest you avoid it in the future. And somehow I don’t think the worldview of extreme practicality and utilitarianism can ever be bullshit–because it’s what a government does naturally, and because it’s what the CCP espouses.

@Lisa

I share your pain.

@Shulan

Let’s hope the traffic gets Richard to start his blog up again. GANBEI!!

July 5, 2007 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

math:

I don’t think any one else in the blogosphere has put so much effort into typing so much with so little substance.

July 5, 2007 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

t_o

You said that extreme utilitarianism cant be called bullshit because thats what a government naturally does, but I think thats a bit one sided.

In old China they used to say that the government had the duty from heaven and that the ruler was to be ousted if he was not in line with the Tao.

Even if a govnt throws money at people but they dont have air to breath because of the factories etc…. If people need organs so the CCP charges high prices and robs the rgans of others and spends all its time making people callous and cold… You dont call that bullshit?

July 6, 2007 @ 10:42 am | Comment

It’s not bullshit because the government isn’t lying about its primary purpose; the government doesn’t claim to “preserve the right to life, liberty, and happiness” by passing the PATRIOT act and extraordinary rendition.

The CCP is one of the few governments I have seen that does exactly what it says it will do: preserve stability, maintain an attractive climate for investment, and promote economic growth.

Therefore, it does not bullshit.

July 7, 2007 @ 11:54 am | Comment

T_o

Well, youre wrong on one hand at least cause yes, the CCP does say it will ensure stability but they do not deliver it. Maybe youve been reading China daily?

Anyway the BS thats hogging up China right now is way more serious than you know. Theres some “stbility for those who sell their souls. The “new middle class” who follow the party line and act as poster people for the successes of the party…

But talk to those who are suffering mercilessly behind the curtain. Those rural people who arte robbed, those persecuted people who are the vitims of the CCP psycho paranoia.

Those who enjoy the CCPs brand of “stability” are “drunk on the blood of the saints” they are willing to be blind and it will all catch up to them as it has the ones who know the truth.

July 8, 2007 @ 5:46 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.