Date: Thu, 9 Oct 97 17:44:08 GMT
Findout="Just surfed on in!"
How is life treating you?="I thought Heaven was somewhere in the bowels of the passions of Western urges to power until I found where it really resides -- in Beijing!!"
comments="I think I admire the catholicity of your Catholicness most of all. Like Joyce, it turned you outward to others rather than inward into a foetus-counting rosary-twirller. Congratulations on making it out!! I do hope that you learn more about the dynamics and true "liberation" which took place in China over the past 70 years and that you don't keep on the "narrow track" of swallowing the myths of a frightened capitalism and an intimidated fallible democracy. China is "more real" than you can imagine and more exciting as it crawls up the ladder of statistics toward one (if not the first) world power. I admire, love and respect the Chinese and the Party for what it has done for this benighted nation during the rapacious days of willy-nilly western searches for a weak and pliable lackey. China has made it! We should all be a bit more humble in our estimations of the miracles which have been wrought by a nation which was just a few decades ago the "sick man of Asia". Watch out, Southern California, you may well one day slide into the sea and come up in the nets of the invidious??? but powerful lion of the East which is only waiting to pick up the detrius of your terribly juvenile-saturated culture. You're on the Net, baby. We read it here. We laugh a lot about your Freudian agonies, we sympathize withh your real nighmares and terrors of rapacious capital ""flows", but we don't fear you in the least. Napoleon's lion is wakening. She is strong, she is confident, she is "full of passionate intensity", gentleness, patience, defenisive love, and will never let "it" happen again. I really did enjoy your FAQ. I think you are as sensitive as some Chinese; I think you are intelligent (but seriously mal-informed on certain issues which only makes a wry smile come to my lips). Don't forget you are on the Net and we, in our hide-away, are watching you as you wriggle out from under the burdens of your "cause" to save the world and once more try to "make it safe for raping". Read more Lao Zi, read Marx - AGAIN, and study Deng Xiao Ping to see how far you have to go to catch up with us. Best wishes from Beijing. I will keep checking into your site periodically to see if you have learned anything new since Aristotle and Kierkegaard."
Thank you for the nice words about my Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) page. It is deliciously ironic to read in your e-mail the words of an American expert in "modern Western business practices" who works in Beijing painting himself as a born-again Chinese neo-nationalist, echoing the old "from the Red East rises the sun; / there appears in China a Mao Tse-tung!"-like chant. O brave new world you have discovered, that has such people in't!
I was well aware of the handful of Web surfers trickling into my webpages with .cn addresses through government-provided phone lines and the specially-designed gateways in Beijing and Shanghai, even as I fully understood they often did so across firewall security and only after registering with the police and signing a pledge not to "harm" China's national interests. In a country where the government strictly manages and limits access to information, I concluded (rightly, it appears) that these visitors to my webpages were trusted company/party hacks looking to do business abroad.
The crass commercialization and mindless emphasis on economic growth in the United States is part of what I have harshly criticized in many places in my webpages. Yet this destructive "urge to power" seems unfortunately to have been aped by many modern Chinese companies and politicians who would pursue unbridled economic growth in an orgy of "development." I have nothing against capitalism and economic growth per se, but when taken to an extreme and raised up on the alter of mammon it is ineluctably dangerous and corrupting (while Marxism is simply populism arrayed in ideological/theological nonsense, and less and less relevant everyday in a China "socialist" in name only). It is in this light that I would fight against arrogant mandarins of industry/government in China, as well as their business partners here in the United States who would do a profitable business with an odious regime no matter what the cost. I built my website partly as my own small blow against such brain coma-inducing tendentious corporate sites such as that, this, or even that of your employer, in a postmodern world of powerful and impersonal corporations with transnational reaches.
Edward Abbey claimed it is not right that writers should take the side of the "powers that be" in the ancient and inevitable conflict between the State/Corporation and the independent individual. "This is wrong; that is not the natural place for the writer," Abbey concluded, and I am reminded of this in reading your e-mail. Talent and intelligence always bring with them the risk of sycophancy, as is evidenced well in the authoritarian figure of that propagandist Saint Ignatius Loyola, if we must resort to Catholicism as a metaphor. Attitude, intention, and independence are everything! "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say," poignantly claimed Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is why the honest and heartfelt words of a solitary and impecunious writer have a staying power that no corporate marketing executive could ever buy.
Businessmen have always preferred to deal with dictators that could guarantee stability. Armand Hammer, for example, was often seen at the side of V.I. Lenin in newly-Bolshevik Soviet Russia. Today, Henry Kissinger is the hired lobbyist and mouthpiece of choice for the present "communist" Chinese leadership resistant to an open society or end to its monopoly on political power. Businessmen like Hong Kong's Tung Chee-hwa and Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew are all too often in bed with Western conservatives in exactly the same way as were Leftists back in the day of Lenin and Stalin. "I have been over into the future - and it works!" breathlessly exclaimed radical American writer Lincoln Steffens in the Soviet Union of 1919. Your comments sound hauntingly similar to those of Mr. Steffens.
I hope this e-mail finds you well both personally and professionally in Beijing.
Very Truly Yours,
P.S. I have always been more Protestant than Catholic by temperament; I hold no commandment more sacred than "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do sin."