I'm grateful for, and engrossed by, the various guest dispatches filling this space this week. Tony Comstock with his ongoing chronicles of the concept of the "adult" and the "indecent" in film making; Ella Chou on what it is like to be the only Chinese citizen in a Harvard class about the Chinese cyber-threat; Lizzy Bennett on a manufacturing comeback in San Francisco; and Brian Glucroft on the parts of China most tourists never see.
In a world of limitless time, I'd steer you to all of their posts -- but, hey, that is what the "previous" button is for. Grateful for them all, I have reasons for additional mention of two.
One is this video from Holland, posted by Tony Comstock and unrelated to his main theme. Of it Joshua Green said simply, "the coolest thing you'll see this week. Guaranteed." Seriously, if you don't see this you will have a less rich idea of life's possibilities.
The other is one of the many pictures Brian Glucroft has posted from non-Beijing, non-Shanghai China. I truly love this photo (click for larger), not simply for its own composition and Bruegelesque detail -- the little girls in mid-jump! -- but also because it captures something I have tried so often to convey in words. When you hear people saying, "Yeah, there are those big cities with their skyscrapers and their bullet trains, but so much of China doesn't look like that," or "If you spend time in China, you take it seriously but you're not so scared of it," or "it's a country of a billion individuals all trying to make their way," it's vistas like this they have in mind. At least that's what I've had in mind when writing or saying such things.
Sure, on occasion the "face of China" can be the Triumph of the Will-style opening of the Olympic Games, or some new 30-lane freeway that appeared overnight. But so very much of it looks just like this.