Thank You David Sedaris

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It all happened so fast. When I wrote my satire of David Sedaris three months ago, I didn’t think anyone would read it. When it comes to writing for this blog, that’s usually a safe bet.

But this time something happened. From what I can piece together, Amy, an intern at Sinica, read it and sent it to Kaiser Kuo, who, among other things, writes the back-page column of the Beijinger. Kaiser put out an APB and got my e-mail from his cousin Arvin Chen, who was my TA in film school. Small world. Kaiser, who had been looking to step down as the back-page columnist, asked if I was interested in taking over the column and I almost shat myself before saying yes. After some back and forth with Jonathan White, the managing editor of the Beijinger, I was confirmed as the new back-page columnist on September 22.

A Response to David Sedaris

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My reaction? Yawn. Although some might object to the crass manner in which Mr. Sedaris points out certain facts about China, none of them are blatantly untrue. He has cherry-picked some of the more disgusting facts about China, but many of them are the very things that the Chinese deplore about their own society. I can’t recall off-hand any Chinese person who explicitly encourages blowing snot on the street—however widely it might be accepted.

China is Icky

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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 Wankerland Diaries or: In Defense of Chinese Cuisine

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At first, I was tempted to rise above this all-too-obvious jibe at one of the world’s great cuisines, borne of one of the world’s once-great cultures. More than anything, I was bemused that anyone would be interested in David Sedaris’ views on food. It’s kind of like asking for Hemingway’s views on leather galoshes. Interesting? Maybe. Irrelevant? Most definitely.