• 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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Two Dogs’ Opinions on Life

Every Dog Has Its Day

Two Dogs’ Opinions on Life is the picaresque saga, written and directed by Meng Jinghui, of two dogs, Wang Cai (Liu Xioaye) and Lai Fu (Han Pengyi), brothers, who leave their hometown to pursue life in the big city.
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Photo © lrargerich from Flickr

Crazy Train or: A Loco Motive

I stepped on the train ready to die. Though I knew, rationally, that an accident was unlikely, my mind still focused on the recent... malfunctions of the Chinese railway system.
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Photo © rudenoon from Flickr

Repression 101: Deterrence

While the Chinese government uses such blunt tactics as midnight arrests, curfews, and executions; overall they tend to wield their power more like a scalpel, carefully calibrated to the offender and the offense.
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Francis La Haye and Fanny Mallette in Familiar Ground

68: En Terrains Connus (Familiar Ground) (LAFF 2011)

(This review is crossposted as part of The House Next Door’s coverage of the 2011 LA Film Fest.) There’s been an incredible amount of snow in Los Angeles this week. It’s coming in from Alaska, from Wisconsin, from Latvia; it’s all up on screen, with a considerable number of movies set in bleak white snowscapes. Maybe […]

Pilar López de Ayala in Medianeras

67: Medianeras (Sidewalls) (LAFF 2011)

Gustavo Taretto's Argentinian reflection on urban loneliness.
Unfinished Spaces

66: Unfinished Spaces (LAFF 2011)

Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray trace the idealism and paranoia of Cuban society through its architectural lifeblood.
Paraiso for Sale

65: Paraiso for Sale (LAFF 2011)

Anayansi Prado's documentary is a study in ecology, where a seemingly pristine environment is altered by one wave of migration after another.