China is Icky

David Sedaris doesn't like things that David Sedaris doesn't like.


Disclaimer: The following attempt at humor should not, under any circumstances, be taken seriously.

Editor’s Note: This article is the second of three responses to David Sedaris’ piece on Chinese food in The Guardian. The other two are a rebuttal and a defense.

China is Icky
by David Sedaris

Before I went to China, I made sure to know nothing about it. No books, no movies, not even the lottery numbers inside fortune cookies. The only thing I knew about China was that my rosewood end table and Zen-chic Roman shades were manufactured there. It was a conscious decision, because I wanted to hate the country and the people as much as possible, and I was afraid that if I weren’t completely ignorant going in, I might accidentally gain perspective and unwittingly feel empathy, which, let me tell you, isn’t very funny. So it was for humor that I endeavored to be as prejudiced and anal retentive as possible during my trip, to see how much of a spoiled dandy I could be if I really worked hard at it.

The first thing you notice about China is the people. All the people, people here, people there, people just walking, walking on the street like cavemen waiting for the wheel to be invented. It certainly didn’t help that I had just come from Japan where no one walks—a civilized country where people take cabs or feel each other up in crowded trains instead of lumbering around like ambulatory automatons.

Come to think of it, Japan is better than China in every conceivable way. I lost track of how many times I wished, standing amidst a herd of sweaty Chinamen, that the Japanese had finished taking over the country when they had the chance because I am sick and tired of having no place to hang my umbrella when I go to the bathroom. In addition to the lack of umbrella hangers, there was not a bidet in sight. In Japan, my hand never got within a foot of my own rectum but in China, not only is there no toilet paper in the stall, but you have to wipe your ass… by yourself. I’m sorry, I’m a clean freak so the only time I touch my own asshole is when I’m enjoying a lazy Saturday night in bed with Amelie and an anal bleaching kit.

Don't believe Chinese people eat shit? Then why are dumplings so popular?

What’s more, In Japan, no one looks like a peasant. I was at dinner one night and this beast of a woman whom I was pretending to enjoy the company of took the liberty of ordering for me. When the food came, I asked the question no else dared: “How are you supposed to eat these rabbit heads?” She looked at me as if I were some uptight twat and said, “Use your hands.” My hands? But I just moisturized.

Anyway, it was one of these “authentic” countryside restaurants, which basically meant that it was in the middle of nowhere and inhabited by dark-skinned, wrinkly animals, I mean poor people. In Japan, there are no poor people. Everyone is well-dressed and professional. But in this restaurant there were so many mismatched outfits—Mao suit with sneakers, hello?—it was almost as if 15.9% of the population were living on less than a dollar a half a day.

The food was so terrible I didn’t eat anything. Literally. I didn’t have a single bite but I know the food was terrible because it looked terrible. And luckily I write books about my own myopic opinions and shallow experiences so I don’t have to justify them in any rational or factual way. It’s also fun being a famous writer because I can make fun of anyone and they can’t fight back unless they have a book deal. But I doubt that fat whore who ordered the rabbit’s head knows anyone at Random House. By the way, if you’re reading this: you’re fat, stop pretending it’s a thyroid problem.

Some of you might find this offensive but remember: this is all just my witty and incisive opinion. I take no responsibility for anything I write or say because I am a caricature of myself. I shield myself from criticism by hiding behind nonchalance and self-deprecation.

The next morning, with a different group—people kept making excuses to get away from me for some reason—I fed my masochism and ventured into another restaurant. But here our tour guides—two harpies from England whom I fantasized about decapitating with my scrapbooking scissors—insisted that we use chopsticks, which are like the official Chinese utensil or something. Did the fork never make it over here? If I had a time machine, I’d go back and hand Marco Polo a set of cutlery before he set off for the Orient.

I don’t get why Chinese people can’t act like civilized people, like Westerners. I don’t mean to be racist here, but what are they, retarded or something? They spit on the street and don’t use diapers and piss in sinks. I mean, I might be able to accept that if their per capita GDP were six times less than America’s. Or if their traditional culture and beliefs had been beaten out of them by 30 years of deleterious class struggle, but—and I haven’t read any books or anything—I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen.

I guess what I don’t like about China is that the people there are poor and dirty. But that’s just between you and me LiveJournal.