China Beat Archive



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April 1, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright April 1, 2009. Used by permission.


Several weeks ago, we announced a brand new quiz for readers to name “The Prettiest” (photo of China), “The Wittiest” (title of a China-related piece of writing), and “The Grittiest” (best muckraking journalist to work the China beat). The award: A copy of China in 2008, signed by as many authors as we could get hold of (which, as one of us went to AAS, turned out to be a lot).

Our winner is Charles Hayford who, in typically fine style, gave us not just answers but a lot of good solid prose to back it up (and added three of his own categories to the mix). Hope you enjoy his answers as much as we did.

1. The Prettiest (photo of China you can find on the web)

Any of the views from outer space: they not only inspire awe but since we can see the “state of nature” from which “China” was made, they remind us of Mark Elvin’s old question “why is China so big?” The NASA site has hundreds of views, all for free!

2. The Wittiest (title of a China book, article or blog post)

I rather fancy my own efforts, for instance, my study of the influence of radical Hindu music on Mao: “Red Sitar Over China” (which somehow remains unpublished) or “Snow, White, and The Seven … China Revolution Classics” (Asia Media, December 1, 2006). Shameless puffery aside, Jim Hevia’s recent English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism (Duke UP, 2005) neatly captures his thesis.