“The War from Poolside” / Memorable Fancies #1819

[“like a war viewed from poolside” – Michael Palmer] We sat by the pool, calmly watching the far-away war on a small TV propped up on a chair. Reporters were breathlessly brave but ducked when a shell hit near them, when the news image shook. And then we heard the sirens of dread, our own news. Our TV shook, fell off its chair hissing dead into the water And all the images drowned. >  [Click Random Post above – re-astonish yourself] … [Read more...]

“The Peasants Sing” / Memorable Fancies #1456

[In ancient China, “song was how the government found out what the people were thinking.” – Eliot Weinberger] What the peasants are singing – listen ... is it happy? Do they praise the husbandman and the harvest? Do they rejoice in their wives and children? Do they express profound gratitude to the Emperor and bless the order of things? Or – or are the songs just too happy – sung all too often? Is there a hint of irony here, a subtle discontent with our rule? Should we take … [Read more...]

“Unknown in China” / Memorable Fancies #1320

[“…unknown as I am even to the people next door, and how very unknown then in China.” – Franz Kafka] Walking on the Nanjing Road in the evening, east toward the river, I have a sudden comforting realization: no one in this evening’s throng will assume I know Chinese. No one will come up to me and offer trinkets, or ask if I need a taxi, or quote a favorable exchange rate for the yuan. No one will ask directions, or brag to the American outsider that there are twenty-three Starbucks in … [Read more...]