• Leftover Women

    Leftover Women

    Chinese women and burden of marriage.

    Posted by on Sunday, July 15, 2012

    Only after many late night conversations with female friends have I slowly begun to grasp the heavy and consuming burden that young women must face in metropolitan cities throughout China.

    The concept of a shengnü or “leftover woman” is a fairly recent phenomenon in Chinese society. The term refers to single women, over thirty, who live in large cities and are often highly educated and well salaried.
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  • The Rape of Europa

    Don’t Be A Dick

    Fenwick Smith's foreign policy.

    Posted by on Monday, June 4, 2012

    Last week, when my doorbell rang at the optimum moment between my boyfriend leaving for work and me leaving for work—a thirty minute gap that seems to be the only time my local police station does any work—I knew who would be waiting even before I wrenched the reinforced steel door open.

    I had my passport, foreign expert certificate and residence permit all primed and ready in a nearby drawer.
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  • Photo © Rian Dundon


    Images from the provincial capital.

    Posted by on Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Rian Dundon, an American photographer who lived in China for 6 years, is trying to fund a new book of photography called Changsha.

    He is currently fundraising through Emphas.is, which is like Kickstarter for photojournalism. There's a month left to support the project. We talked over e-mail about his upcoming book.
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  • Manufacturing #10A (detail) by Edward Burtynsky

    Yet Another Mike Daisey Piece

    A few words on Daisey, truth, beauty, and bitterness.

    Posted by on Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Daisey creating a situation where he shares a real human moment with his interpreter and he touches her hand seems not that problematic—that’s drama. But Daisey claiming to speak to Chinese workers who suffered hexane poisoning, or claiming to have met with secret union workers in clandestine Starbucks meetings seems far more problematic. Why?
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  • Photo © This American Life

    Glass Houses

    On the hypocrisy of This American Life.

    Posted by on Monday, April 2, 2012

    I also found it extremely difficult to listen to the "Retraction" episode of This American Life. I could not even listen to the whole episode—I had to read the transcript. The only way I could have relieved the fury building up inside me, as I listened to that podcast, would have been to slap Ira Glass across the face. I have never heard such sanctimonious, self-serving hypocrisy in my life—not from someone I respect.

    I am going to tell you some things that may shock you.
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Photo © like, totally from Flickr

Everything is Dangerous

It’s amazing how many near-death experiences can be squeezed into a two-hour stint within the confines of an elementary school in China.
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Photo © Ash-rly from Flickr

Chaos Talk

The first time to my knowledge that I hurt a girl was an experience I was not quite ready to take responsibility for.
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Photo © Globaljuggler from Wikipedia Commons

South of the Border

"The North Koreans are not a reasonable people," Ms. Lee said at the beginning of our trip. It was less a warning than a statement of fact.
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Restrepo and the Aesthetics of War

Restrepo is not a film about war—it is war. The moments captured on camera are only a fraction of all the conflict in the world, but for 93 minutes it is all that matters.
Photo © Chris_J from Flickr

The Psychology of the London Riots

I think that the London riots can be explained without recourse to moral explanations involving anarchism or consumerism.
Photo © Emma LB from Flickr

Material Worlds

In reading Zoe Williams’ excellent Guardian piece on the psychology of looting, I was reminded of a vaguely analogous story in China, of a 17-year-old boy who sold his kidney to buy an iPad 2.
Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yongping

Humor Me

Recently, jokes about the Wenzhou train collision have transcended Internet forums and crossed over into reality.