Date of this Version
November 18, 2010 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
Remember those jailbirds who know all of each others’ jokes? They don’t tell the whole joke, just shout out the number from the jokebook. Our public discourse on China has something of the same quality. Instead of shouting out a number, however, somebody “shouts out” a word or an image which evokes a whole China story. These stories can be persuasive, poetic, or insightful, but when we only “shout out” the number, then we don’t have the chance to examine the whole story. Painful facts or challenges to venerable beliefs can be papered over when the story is a misleading relic.