Lost in Place

Lost in Place

Well, it’s a late night post. Things to do related to global warming – like taking in all the cold hardy plants we have that can’t handle this sort of Arctic Weather – kept me from writing earlier. And in protecting those that are just too big, I sacrificed a bed sheet or two to wrap them up like mummies. There I was working in the chilly rain trying to do what I could. Oh well, Spring will tell.

So then it was back to reading the paper. And encountering mush at every page. Aggravatingly so.

First, some mind-blind, but intrepid bicyclers from Louisiana are off in China, to see what they can see. Good for them. While they were out and about they called Baton Rouge – to our very Advocate. And amazingly, guess what surprised Ed Cullen, our Advocate writer? That the telephone calls were clear! Why, imagine that – in a country with 50 to 100 story buildings ringing the coast the phones worked. And Cullen is surprised! Apparently he was unaware of China’s joining the modern world, to some degree. How odd though, to think that a major daily’s writer should be so surprised that the country which fills our stores with trinkets, and from which all the metals for many a green-thing comes from actually has a working phone service. What did Cullen think was there? Frightening, really

And so this savant Villarrubbia – the traveler – marvels that 70% of the Chinese still live out on the farm. It seems to come as a complete surprise, which sounds odd for a man who planned such an arduous trip. Any plain Lonely Planet guide, or a quick look at the internet on Facts on China would have informed Mr. V. about that. Then he says several of the typical left-minded mush-headed things that passes for thought among the illuminati of our times:

  1. he informs us that Laobaixing – or lbx, as he abbrieviates it – are “a poor, low-class, undeducated in the Western sense, subsection of Chinese society.” What? Low class in the classless Communist paradise lauded by a few of Obama’s advisers? How odd. And what subsection? It is – as he himself says – 70% of the population – how on earth is 70% a subsection? Does the man know what “subsection” mean? Like a small part. Like my blog is a Subsection of the blogosphere? What a mush-head.
  1. “A horrible many of them are of late engaged in manufacturing. Been to Walmart lately.” This savant laments that people are getting off the uneducated, low class farms and heading for the 50 to 100 story skyscrapers to – horrors – Make Money! Oh my, what a waste of life. What a horrible thing to happen — as he wheels his several thousands of dollars of gear on his modern bike and communicates by all manner of modern means and takes a year off to travel the land – and to him this is a horror. And even more amazing – look at that sentence “a horrible many…” When was the last time anyone wrote like that? “are of late… “ and that too is of late. I know I write a bit flowery, I’m on a sarcastic tear, and trying to keep a straight face – but all this guy needed was a pith helmet and the Royal Gurka Guards to speak the King’s Enlish of about 1900. I know he didn’t learn such langauge art skills in Baton Rouge – (about which how I know that in a second.)

He’s going to go where the “real China still exists,” he says. Yes, I suppose, all those towers along the coast in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhou are not real China – after all, only 200,000,000 Chinese live there making all those things and getting in on the modern world like telephones to the United States. How sad for them to live in – what? Fake China? How dumb, Mr. V. — how about “old decrepit” versus “modern world” China – not real v. fake.

And “a hotel where the cyclists stayed had its license revoked because Villarrubbia and friends weren’t property registered.” “The country was in crackdown mode because it was Chinese National Day, Oct. 1st.” And we are worried that this country of 70% farmers, with hotels closed for having accepted the incorrect guests, or having a bit of translation trouble perhaps, and not to mention that on their July 4th the country was in “crackdown mode.” What a charming place. Don’t worry, China isn’t taking us over any time soon, they’ll have to let the hotels stay open and not crackdown on holidays if they want to do that.

On and on the dribble from the savant travelers come in yet another story that can be pulled apart line by line for the utter mush it is. A total lack of comprehension about the place they were in – as a bunch of spoiled Westerners wanting to keep the “real” people poor and decrepit “under 18 layers of clothing in winter” and where some poor dude got a 10,000 yuan (roughly $7,000 in a country where the average salary is about $1,500 a year) for – dastardly trying to fly a private little gyrocopter that one of those uneducated farmers in real China built from mere pictures in magazines – because private flight is outlawed. How the uneducated low class farmer was smart enough to do that was not mentioned. Surely a story to be explored. Perhaps the local crackdown prevented it. But, still, can’t be having no birds up in the sky done by imaginative and creative and resourceful people! Can you imagine? And this is the nation that is just as exceptional as us, per our president? And this is the mush from our erstwhile tourist in China? He even said that he had to go to a police station for a password to get on to the internet to make the call. How wonderful. What a country!

Meanwhile, back at home, in a bit of puffery-mush – The East Baton Rouge school system is going to spend $425,000 (admitted, no doubt not counting staff time and other stuff, just the bill from the Ad Agency,) for a “mutlimedia market campaign” — to tout that students should think in schools. How charming. As we Race to the Top we scrape the bottom of the barrel for ideas to spend money we don’t have to do what we should be doing already.

Then, over in Lafayette, some 50 miles westward, they are rushing to get their application in for their own money that is coming back from Washington, if they write the butt kissing supplication well enough, in the Race to the Top program – which will unfairly take money from some states and districts and give it to other states and districts – if the grant proposal writers are supplicating enough – and if the recipients agree to give up a little more independence and wiggle room for local needs, ideas and conditions and adhere to the federal bureaucrats up yonder way. Egads.

Ah, bah humbug tonight. The news is astoundingly mush filled, and it’s just too cold to deal anymore with it. Warm up folks, it’s getting even colder as I write.

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