12.7.08

Link Dump 12/07/08

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed Radio Four's Reith Lectures this year. Called Chinese Vistas, they focus on China's place in the modern world. Of particular interest to me was the second, called "English Lessons", giving a short history of British-Chinese relations, which filled a few gaps in my knowledge and recommended further reading to boot!
  • The Washington Post talks to Chinese writers Ma Jian and Xiaolu Guo about Chinese politics: "There is a tradition of artists being servants of the state, part of the propaganda machine. State-sanctioned professional writers have adapted to this situation; the way they survive is to avoid politics or write historical books, and even there, corruption will be confined to the lower echelons. They have no freedom to talk about China as it really is."
  • Spreading the Word on the Street is an article by the SF Chronicle about an almost apocryphal figure on the homeless streets of Oakland, CA: "Sometimes there are 25 people to listen to Pannizzo's sermon, sometimes 50. The moment he arrives, the drinking and crack-smoking and petty shoving halt. Even the corner drug dealers stop what they're doing and watch, respectfully, from a distance."