• 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.
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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?
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More


Photo © JanneM from Flickr

On Charity

Before this year, I didn't get philanthropy. I knew it was important but it rarely felt better to give than to receive.
Read More
Photo © meehanf from Flickr

Handsome Boy Modeling School

“In the United States, when you are in public, you are actually in a private space around other people in their own private space. In China,” my professor said, “you are always in public.”
Read More
Photo © AP

The Kim is Dead, Long Live the Kim

As a China watcher, the most remarkable aspect about the recent death of North Korea's hereditary Dear Leader is the level to which it has exposed the Chinese media's divorce from reality.
Read More


Netflix and Apple TV

The State of American and Chinese New Media

New media companies are taking over Internet distribution but China's Youku has done what no American company has managed yet: create a original homegrown hit.
Attack the Block

81: Attack the Block (2011)

Joe Cornish envisions the marginalized urban periphery as a literal war zone where authorities are content to let both their homegrown poor and intruding illegal alien invaders eat themselves alive.
Brit Marling in Another Earth

80: Another Earth (2011)

Mike Cahill deploys astronomical imagery in order to provoke what the Catholic Church used to call the "fear of the Lord" but which now goes by the slightly more mundane "wonder and awe."
Ryan Gosling in Drive

79: Drive (LAFF 2011)

Like a samurai film, Drive proceeds for long stretches of reflective calm before exploding with pent-up, embattled fury, its bloody and passionate moments crystallized and suspended in time.