Thursday, August 29, 2013

欢迎美国博客的好运气欢乐与和谐关系的中国读者 (Welcome Chinese Readers to the Joyous American Blog of Good Luck and Harmonious Relations)

      Blogger breaks down your audience into all sorts of statistics -- how many people are looking at your blog over the past day, week, month, what specifically they've looked at and even where they're from. It's sort of cool to email a pal in Paris about a post and then see the readership from France click upward by one.
     Last month, I noticed a sudden surge in readership in China—maybe 50 in a day. It seemed inexplicable, and I tweeted about it. "It means you're about to be hacked," said a tech-savvy co-worker. If so, it must have been a hack so subtle I haven't noticed it. Since then, I get a regular daily readership in China. Not many -- Wednesday it was 16—and I imagine those are homesick Chicagoans nursing their hangovers in Beijing and Shanghai, trolling the web, looking for something familiar.
      And while I fervently believe that one shouldn't skew one's writing toward any particular individuals or groups, nor flatter trying to appeal to a certain audience, I couldn't help assume there must be some Chinese citizens who somehow crack through their government's Great Wall of Cyber Security and read this, and wonder what they must think of it. 
     I also sense opportunity. Lots of people in China. One point three billion, last time I checked. It might be worth one day's post to throw a bone their way. Not by resorting to toadying, of course. No surge in readership is worth that! Maybe just a slight moderation of my actual opinions, in the hope they'll share this with their multitudinous friends. Maybe I could become one of those international anomalies, the obscure American well-known abroad, like that singer who for a couple of decades was the Elvis of France, though unknown here. It's worth a try (one of the advantages of writing a blog every single day is that just about anything is worth a try). So here goes:

问候中国人!感谢您抽出时间从繁忙的工作日程,抬起你的国家,出身卑微,成为21世纪的经济和政治强国,为了读此消息来自芝加哥市的放荡和著名暴力。尽管我们有非常不同的价值体系 - 你正确地强调和谐,尊重,艰苦的工作和自我牺牲精神,而我们美国人喜欢不和谐,粗鲁,懒惰和自私的路径,但当然,我们称其为自由,自由,舒适性和个性。
      我的大儿子,但是,谁在学校学习普通话(他的小兄弟一样,美国学生通常学习中文,更好地服务于我们的最终霸主)访问了您的伟大民族,在今年夏天,和其庞大的故事回来难怪,以及高品质的商品,如$ 3腕表在各方面都好,西方耗资一千倍以上的原稿,虽然一些不太重要的手画上。实际上他们无法保持时间,而是转达了空的状态,我们渴望代替有一个和谐的道德哲学在西方。
     你都在忙,所以我不会占用更多的时间,除了感谢您阅读这篇博客,希望您与您的朋友分享,让他们更好地了解这个伟大的城市生活是什么样子。这个博客的名字,“每一个该死的一天,”可能是一个有点令人费解 - 这意味着,“面带微笑迎接每天早晨幸福的生产力,它是一个美国的成语。”我希望你能这样做,并欢迎您来到我的世界高品质的美国新闻业。

     Oh, okay. For our non-Chinese readers, a translation:

     Greetings Chinese persons! Thank you for taking time away from your busy work schedules of lifting your nation out of its humble origins to become the economic and political powerhouse of the 21st century in order to read this message from the debauched and famously violent city of Chicago. Even though we have very different value systems — you rightly emphasize harmony, respect, hard work and self-sacrifice, while we Americans prefer the path of discord, rudeness, sloth and selfishness, though of course we refer to it as freedom, liberty, comfort and individuality. 
    While I have never visited China, I actually have seen it, during my visit to the renegade province of Taiwan. Trying to curry favor with the decadent West in a futile attempt to postpone its inevitable reconciliation with Mother China, the Taiwanese clique invited me to meet with their rebellious gang of traitors. Being a fan of the Nixon-Kennedy debates, I asked to see Quemoy, now known as Kinman, an island 2,000 yards off the coast of mainland China, so was able to stare longingly through binoculars at your lovely land. 
      My oldest son, however, who studies Mandarin in school (as does his little brother; American students commonly learn Chinese, the better to serve our eventual overlords) has visited your great nation, over the summer, and came back with tales of its vast wonder, as well as high quality merchandise such as $3 wrist watches that were in every way as good as the Western originals costing a thousand times more, though some of the less important hands were painted on.  They could not actually keep time, but rather conveyed the empty status that we in the West crave in lieu of having a harmonious moral philosophy.
     You are busy, so I will not take up any more of your time, except to thank you for reading this blog, and hope that you share it with your friends so that they may better understand what life is like in this great city.  This blog's name, "Every goddamn day," might be a bit puzzling — it is an American idiom that means, "Greet each morning with a smile of happy productivity." I hope you will do so, and welcome you to my world of high quality American journalism.

Photos by Ross Steinberg




  1. Neil,

    The current leaders of China have never shown much appreciation for satire. If your son has any aspirations to do anything in China, that door may have closed for him after this column.

  2. David --

    The cow has sort of escaped the barn on that one, David. When I was on the editorial board I was so relentlessly critical of the Chinese that the local consulate had us over for dinner, and a strange dinner it was. If my opinions are going to hold the bean back, being thwarted in China is the least of his concerns. . .

  3. The person known as "the Elvis of France" isn't an American. He's Johnny Hallyday, he's a Frenchman whose real name is "Jean-Philippe Smet" & stays in Los Angeles occasionally & apparently leaves when he isn't recognized by one & all!
    I see the occasional photo taken by a paparazzi who is himself European & thus knows who he is.

  4. Neil,

    As usual, you're right.

  5. @Becca -- Right you are. I'm not sure whether I should correct the post or leave the error in. Is it like Twitter, where corrections are seen as duplicitous?

  6. Great post! I m surely sharing this with my friends! 


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