Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From around the interwebs...

Cool things I've read recently when I should have been studying:

Bali is Paradise Lost for middle-class white people (at The Punch)
This is a brilliant f*cking article, taking the piss out of a not-so-brilliant travel article. (See also this excellent response: It's Bali, Not Paris.)
Now it’s all sell, sell, sell as Webb so brutally discovered. It’s as if Asians – or the Balinese in this case – seem to think that they can exploit innocent western travelers by slowly and steadfastly chipping away at the integrity of white cultural traditions like bargain hunting and getting-away-from-it-all.
What was once a beautiful cultural experience for westerners has been consumed by the voracious greed of the locals who have the audacity to try and make a quick buck at the expense of package tourists. Now you can’t even enjoy a $3 cocktail in peace without some grabby little Balinese person trying to get you to help them put food on their family’s table.

Tiny martyr for Chinese freedom (at The Drum)
Analyzes the social context surrounding the infamous hit-and-run incident in Foshan where a toddler was hit twice by trucks, and drivers and onlookers did nothing to help.
The Chinese people have been forced by almost 60 years of communist rule into survival mode, trusting only themselves and their chosen circle. They have re-erected their metaphoric family compound walls against an arbitrary state and a ferociously competitive economy. With minimal security and trust, there is minimal capacity to take a leap of altruism.

“I Really Want You To Do My Vice-America President.”
Jon Huntsman claims he’s fluent in Chinese. Is he?
 (at Slate)
Interesting article about the way we tend to overstate the ability of English speakers who have learned another language, especially in comparison to non-English speakers who learn English.
Considering Huntsman’s moderate Chinese speaking ability, the better question may be why American media have been so eager to gush praise upon a skill it cannot evaluate. NPR says that Huntsman’s appearance on the Colbert Report (where he asked Colbert to “do my vice-America president”) “did win some points for fluency”; Colbert pronounced it “terrifying.” New York magazine calls the seven-second clip of Huntsman at the Faith and Freedom Conference “a brief but impressive reminder of his fluency in two languages, or two more than Sarah Palin.”

GOP Nominee For KY-GOV Slams Dem For Participating In Hindu ‘Idolatry’ (at TMG)
Democratic Governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear catches heat for hanging out with Indians and not lecturing them about how Jesus is more awesome than Vishnu.
“He’s there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony,” Williams said. “They can say what they want to. He’s sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don’t know what the man was thinking.”
Williams further told reports: “If I’m a Christian, I don’t participate in Jewish prayers. I’m glad they do that. I don’t participate in Hindu prayers. I don’t participate in Muslim prayers. I don’t do that. To get down and get involved and participate in prayers to these polytheistic situations, where you have these Hindu gods that they are praying to, doesn’t appear to me to be in line with what a governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky ought to be doing.”

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