The Ostentatious KickoffAn intellectual journey to the East.
Since the genesis of this blog I have lurked in the shadows, returning day after day, wanting to say something. But every time I opened my mouth to speak, the clarion echoes of my inner monologue overwhelmed my voice with a single, simple question: “Caitlin, what the %#$@ do you know about China?”
A valid point. Indeed, my knowledge of China is dubious at best and, frankly, derives mostly from films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Big Bird in China. But suddenly, it came to me—a vision of light in the darkness! Even if I didn’t know anything about China, I could learn about China. Seized by the impetuosity borne only of inspiration, I set out to steal fire from the gods (i.e. buy some books).
So, here I am. My quest is to learn about China. In this column I intend to record my reactions to what I learn, my thoughts, and my uninformed opinions. My hope is that it will foster some kind of discussion. Please to not hesitate to correct, clarify, elaborate, confirm, deny, question, or otherwise respond to my musings. I am here to learn.
A bit about myself: being a Navy brat, I grew up in 5 different states, 6 different cities, and 7 different houses in the US. The DC-Metropolitan area of Virginia is as close to being home as I’ve ever come. My heritages are many and almost entirely European, but the only two that have had any impact on my life are Italian and Irish; which is to say I’m as American as romanticized depictions of organized crime and lapsed Catholicism. I’ve been as far west as California and as far east as the Baltic Sea. I’m only good at things when they’re related to the arts.
Remember this when I start approaching Chinese socio-economic theory with all the proficiency of a gorilla.
To assist me in my quest I have J. A. G. Roberts’ A History of China; Understanding China: A Guide to China’s Economy, History, and Political Culture by John Bryan Starr; and National Book Award Finalist Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler.
I will read, react, recount, and await your riposte.
The Orientation is a new column by Caitlin Cashin.