Stories from the New China (and beyond)

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Beigel politics

leave a comment »

I don’t much care for identity politics, particularly when I am a guest in another country, a country I respect and admire. But the fact remains that I am an American Jew (half-Jewish anyway, but that’s enough for some people), living in London with my family.

I send my kid to a British school, I eat British food, I have a couple of favorite pubs and I have two bona-fide British friends (OK, I cheated, one’s actually a Scotsman). I like London and I think the English have plenty to be proud of and I tell my son that the English are beloved cousins…And yes, the New Republic article [update: the link has vanished] is a coherent and accurate description of British culture today especially, let’s face it, among the left. You can say anything you want about Jews as long as you call them Israelis. It’s cowardly, it’s sanctified, it’s racism, and I feel it in the marrow of my bones.

But riddle me this: Should I take some comfort in the fact that native English people don’t just tend to dislike Jews, but Muslims too–and the French, and the Russians and yes, themselves a great part of the time? Or should this place–the left-wing aspects of this place to be precise–just give me the frigging creeps? These are not rhetorical questions by the way. They are real.

Written by eastofethan

April 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Family, Global

Why eastofethan?

About six years ago, when I was in the middle of writing “Losing the New China,” my friend Terry Halsey called me and asked how I was doing. “Slow” I said. “I’m a slow writer. And when I’m done, no one will care. It’s about China, Terry. Americans like to read books about themselves.”

In fact, Terry doesn’t really like to read about China either. He’s a typical trendy New Yorker (with an atypically large brain, one that is always chafing against the conventional cage that he has erected for himself—which his large brain tells him it is futile to resist). Anyway, Terry had a high-tech promotion idea. We would place webcam cameras all over my house, in the backwoods mountains of Vermont—and the video would stream into a website called “THE MAKING OF Losing the New China.”

I told Terry that all it would capture was me padding around in a bathrobe, scratching myself, smoking, and then going into the badly lit kitchen to make myself a snack. What a freaking stupid idea.

This blog is an admission that Terry was, in some way, right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by eastofethan

March 14, 2009 at 1:05 am