UPDATE: And the galvanizing fear of terror attacks! In cuter news, meet the Jiaos. They're quintuplets. What one-child policy, right? Anyway, these are some of China's youngest "Olympics ambassadors," although they are not the "sweetest" as chosen by preeminent lecherous horndog filmmaker Zhang Yimou, no, his picks for 10 Olympic Sweethearts are on another page of this state-sponsored site, but anyway, the Olympics is still not yet happening, though it is only a matter of 17.92 days, which on a slow news day means lots of China-related stories to read, namely the New Yorker story about the nationalistic rage of China's internerd youth, reared on science fiction, Fox News clips and years of 10% annual GDP growth attained making consumer goods for a bunch of pathologically clueless West. They seem like nice enough kids, but they tried to beat up this one Chinese Duke student for trying to make friends with Tibetans and the worst thing about brainwashed people is how they hear "brainwashed" the first time and think it describes everyone else. So that and Chandra, Chuck Hagel and the election after the jump.
MOE: Hi everytime I wake up early I have a coffee maker explosion
MEGAN: Well, presumably you're familiar with Murphy and his motherfucking Law.
MOE: It's like shitty kitchen appliances' way of telling me it's not meant to be.
MEGAN: I think coffee is always meant to be. I think shitty coffee makers are a conspiracy by Starbucks to drive us to their stores and save their profit margins.
MEGAN: Like a failsafe device installed under a secret agreement with Krups and Mr. Coffee, that benefits both parties.
MOE: Who was Murphy anyway? The supreme court justice who signed the eighteenth amendment?
MEGAN: I believe he was just another unlikely Irishman or something.
MOE: or who signed the NINETEENTH? Anyway, what happened while I was away? Obama went to Afghanistan, the Washington Post got to the middle of a ninety-part series on Who Killed Chandra Levy? (It seems like a more easily answered question, no?) and something crazy about Barack Obama's birth certificate. I've got the dial turned to Fox and Friends so I can hear the details on that one.
MEGAN: Wait, do you mean McCain's birth certificate? I know a legal analysis has shown that the Panama issue isn't just a feint by the right wing of the Republican party but gosh I'll bet they're pissed they brought it up now. Guess who his VP is really might turn out to be relevant.
I have decided to leave out the low level technicalities and the how-to section of this report due to a lack of time and more importantly I want to get the facts out as quickly as possible. As some of you may or may not know some asshat decided to track me down and vandalize my car and hang a dead mutilated rabbit from my front door in a lame attempt to intimidate me from proceeding with releasing any details of my analysis. They did succeed in delaying the report by a few days but instead of deterring me they just really pissed me off.
MEGAN: I never really thought Gary Condit killed her. That he was a fracking idiot, sure, but he was a Congressman, so same diff. Personally, his kids seems so far divorced from reality by the time they started speaking out I started to wonder about Chad, but that was just me being suspicious.
MOE: Oh Megan what is this "fracking" business? Tell me they didn't outlaw swear words while I was gone…
MEGAN: Oh, for Chrissakes, don't right-wingers remember that all liberals are PETA-supporting, anti-hunting, cuddly-animal lovers?
MEGAN: I just felt like throwing it in there. I was at a party this weekend with one of my friends who not only doesn't swear but gets really embarrassed when I curse and then I met a cute guy and he was like, wow, you curse a lot. And then he hit on someone else. So I'm trying it out. Fucking Washington D.C.. FUCK I can't stop, never mind. Experiment over.
MOE: I just loved that. Like fascinating threat Pamela! Should we take this to mean Patti Solis Doyle has brought over Hillary's animal cruelty-based threats team to the Obama camp? Whoever will be next??? And yeah, I didn't realize Gary Condit was seeing a flight attendant at the same time he was seeing Chandra. I am so glad I have that information, yay.
MEGAN: Or that he took he wife to dinner at Tryst the night Chandra was killed? Like, who the fuck takes anyone to dinner at Tryst? That used to be the place Congressmen took their mistresses or the women they wanted to be their mistresses back in the day.
MEGAN: I ate there once for lunch, ordered a sandwich with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, got non-fresh mozzarella deli slices and never went back.
MOE: I blogged from Tryst one day I think. They wouldn't let me use a credit card or something even though my bill was like $35. My brother had to come bail me out. (Not Tryst's fault.) Um, it was not as bad as I was thinking when I heard that dumb name. Wait, coffee! I guess we should discuss how communities are organizing to Save Their Starbucks. Robert Putnam's heart is warmed. Are there any class cleavages or ethnic tensions a shared mission to save a premier purveyor of caffeinated beverages could not overcome? Okay, now I'm going to try and read something.
MEGAN: Do you want to stop for a moment as we drive by shoot the news and talk about James Dobson's flip-flop on John Mcain? Because, I do love a good shoe.
MEGAN: Also, on Saturday at said party I predicted to a friend that James Dobson would endorse McCain because James Dobson is interested in James Dobson's own power and James Dobson won't let himself be marginalized in James Dobson's party by not backing the candidate.
MEGAN: (Robert, I'll take that drink whenever)
MOE: Oh James Dobson. Here is my question: hasn't James Dobson already marginalized himself to an extent? I mean, Focus on the Family, when was the last time their support of a candidate really shifted an election? Fuck James Dobson.
MEGAN: Um, I'd prefer not to fuck James Dobson. You know he wouldn't be any good in bed. He'd either want to be peed on and freaky shit like that or he'd have to pop a Viagra and wait 30 minutes for a boner which he would not spend eating me out and then subsequently bonk for 2 minutes missionary.
MEGAN: (Sorry, Dad, I suppose the preceding sentence is why you told me you have gotten careful about reading Crappy Hour.)
MOE: Yeah, that's why you don't always try to visualize this shit, MC. I'm reading John Cassidy on how the economy's fucked by the way. Nothing much to report, worst crisis since Great Depression etc. etc., we need a new Resolution Trust Corporation to parse the bad debts from good ones because banks are too busy laying people off to figure out what the fuck they've got on their books, when this happened in Japan they waited too long to figure it out and that's why they suffered a decade of economic stagnation, much as the right wingers would tell you it's because they don't like laying people off in Japan and that sort of nonsense.
MEGAN: Peter Goodman also had a lovely thing in the New York Times about how maybe the one good thing about this whole economic clusterfuck is that it is exposing the weak underpinnings of Republican economic ideology and the true shallowness of Republican belief in The Market. I mean, he didn't say it like that, but that's what I took away from it. That and our rampant consumerism is a good thing because it keeps the world economy afloat but I dismissed that as part of his/our own ideological blindness due to living in such a consumerist culture.
MOE: Yeah, someone needs to do a matrix of "too big to fail." Bear Stearns was a $30 billion bailout, Freddie and Fannie involve a bunch of trillion dollars of loans, Japan once approved a $17 billion of a supermarket chain that was "too big to fail." And basically he is saying the United States itself is too big to fail, even though our balance sheet, talent base, necessity of what we sell and rampantly wasteful expenditure of the world's resources sort of makes us look like a multitrillion dollar Trump casino kept at 60 degrees year round in danger of losing its Starbucks.
MOE: That was a pretty good story, thanks.
MEGAN: Do Trump casinos have Starbucks? Because the one time I had to go to Vegas for work, I found that the Vegas has unabashedly the world's shittiest, weakest coffee bar none. Upstate NY diner coffee is better. It was like coffee-flavored water and I could never figure out exactly why they served it to us, and I couldn't find a Starbucks in any of the 3 hotels I had to work at though I did find one in the convention center I remained amazed that a 24-hour culture (ahem, market) could bear the utter lack of appropriate caffeine-delivery devices. Also, I hated Vegas. The little old ladies that worked information booths at the convention center were super-nice though.
MOE: Most casinos these days have Starbuckses.
MEGAN: Well, it's about fucking time. Where the fuck were they in 2005? I worked 12 hour days and wanted to stab myself most mornings because it would've been less painful than drinking the shit coffee at the Flamingo at 6 am.
MEGAN: Or the Hilton.
MOE: Okay, this story is sort of the one I'm getting interested in now. I would, because it's about China, specifically the creator of this video, a "decidedly unhip" philosophy student at Fudan University named Tang Jie.
MEGAN: Ok, that music is freaking me the fuck out, dude.
MEGAN: And, I have to say, I sorta like this one better.
MOE: Who is basically, like, spearheading a youthful nationalistic movement in China that is a little anti-Hollywood, a little Olympics-based, a little Club for Growth, a little Great Leap Forward? What Great Leap Forward???, a little kneejerk anti-Cafferty…it's really interesting, how this shit is basically what captures the mood in China right now the year Ma Jian's new book recalls what was and sort of might have been.
MOE: Um also if you can tell us if anything worthwhile is happening at NetRoots, and also, why the fuck you'd host a Marxist blogger convention in July in Austin of all places, I'd be stoked to learn.
MEGAN: Attackerman was there. So was Samantha Power. And I'd bet it's held in hella hot places in the summer because there's plenty of available rooms relatively inexpensively, but that's just a guess.
MEGAN: Also, it's probably good that they stopped calling it Yearly Kos.
MOE: Who is supposed to be Obama's running mate these days?
MEGAN: Oh, God, this week? Clinton's still being vetted, Evan Bayh's on the list, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Kathleen Sebelius, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, I think.
MOE: God who the fuck is Tim Kaine again?
MEGAN: Governor of Virginia. Weird eyebrows.
MEGAN: Anyway, Kaine's like the poor man's Mark Warner, who's not going to quit running for Senate, Strickland and Jim Webb took themselves out, some people are saying Chuck Hegel but that's just stupid.
MOE: Yeah, "some people" are always looking for something stupid to say. Okay, I'm going to return to China for a minute because the Olympics is happening and I just read this somewhat baffling essay about "Chinese exceptionalism" that I think tries to explain the logical underpinnings of Chinese nationalism but:
I have always admired Westerners' abilities to articulate the rationales of their actions. They know what they are doing and why. As a Chinese, even when I know in my guts what the right thing to do is, I often cannot explain my rationale. For instance, in the Chinese culture there is a stigma on Chinese who badmouth China to foreigners.
MEGAN: Why can't we just all admit that none of us is exceptional?
MOE: Hahaha then they start wondering what the fuck 5% of the world's population is doing with a quarter of the world's resources or whatever! We just have to introduce them to the 1% of our population that controls most of that! Wait, those guys are probably in China already, getting escorted around by their pretty young Olympics ambassadors to meetings with party officials. Doh.
MEGAN: No, I'm sure that's only the top 1% of the 1%.
MOE: Speaking of…Olympic face masks: a loss of "face"? Question: do face masks do anything at all? I just feel like they'd give a triathlete some nasty breakouts.
"When people come to this environment and get acclimated, they'll see they won't need" a mask, says Jeff Ruffolo, senior adviser to the Beijing Olympic Committee.
That made me chortle.
MEGAN: I mean, I guess it depends on what the super-secret bits are, but my understanding is that at least part of the pollution problem in Beijing is particulate matter, so it might help.
MEGAN: Also, the IOC has promised to postpone events if the pollution gets to bad? That can't be a good sign.
MOE: Oh man, this is the kind of quote that gets the angry Chinese internerds steamed:
Matthew Reed, a member of the U.S. triathlon team, says that seeing Olympic athletes suffering from polluted air on the world stage might not be all bad: It could embarrass China into embracing stronger environmental measures. "It's just disgusting what they've done to that part of the world," says the 32-year-old Mr. Reed, who grew up in New Zealand.
Like, um, you ever checked out the factory that makes your shoes Matty Reed? Wait I guess he is sponsored by Crocs, which makes some shoes in places with like, standards and shit. Anyway, I just checked out this guy's Photostream. He has a really cute baby. His favorite drink is a "skinny athlete." God I hate healthy people.
MEGAN: It is a cute baby. But unless the "skinny athlete" is a clever name for a vodka tonic or something, I'm bored and OH SHIT his music just loaded, people, don't click! don't click!
MOE: Oh look here an attractive audio slideshow guide to China's four major problems, perhaps Matty Reed has some ideas for fixing them. Like, maybe if everyone could complete triathlons they would not need all those cars on the road.
MEGAN: Well, I mean, would it be soooo bad if China and Brazil and India, to name a few countries, didn't keep saying that they didn't need to work on curbing pollution or reducing emissions because us and Europe didn't for more than a century so they'll get back to us in 100 years?
MOE: I don't know if you can find this, from that aforementioned New Yorker story, while I do headlines:
Because we are in such a system, we are always asking ourselves whether we are brainwashed," he said. "We are always eager to get other information from different channels." Then he added, "But when you are in a so-called free system you never think about whether you are brainwashed."
MOE: "At the time, news and opinion about Tibet was swirling on Fudan's electronic bulletin board, or B.B.S. The board was alive with criticism of foreign coverage of Tibet. Tang had seen a range of foreign press clippings deemed by Chinese Web users to be misleading or unfair. A photograph on CNN.com, for instance, had been cropped around military trucks bearing down on unarmed protesters. But an uncropped version showed a crowd of demonstrators lurking nearby, including someone with an arm cocked, hurling something at the trucks. To Tang, the cropping looked like a deliberate distortion. (CNN disputed this and said that the caption fairly describes the scene.)
MEGAN: In fact, I can! Here's the page as it originally displayed, and the full picture. That story has been retitled (but the link from Digg still works) and the picture has been re-cropped.
MOE: Lost you there! Wait, oooh, memory lane…I should just do this every day and call it120 seconds.
MOE: God that picture is so fucking small, of course they had to crop it, it's not like the Tibet protests produced a lot of great photojournalism. And um, speaking of incendiary photos, did you guys discuss this last week?
MEGAN: Um, no, we did not. If we had, I would venture to guess that I would not care whether some guy at a party thought I swore too much because, damn, that's the opposite of sexy right there. Thank you, David Remes, for killing my ladyboner. I won't make any bad boy decisions for at least a full day now.
MOE: Yo dude check it 10 Olympic Sweethearts as chosen by Zhang Yimou of all people. Like, can you imagine if we asked Woody Allen to …meh well you know. Hey, Mia Farrow knew there was something fucked up about this whole scene.
MEGAN: dog walking
MOE: Oh sure, care about the animals.