This Could Just Possibly Complicate My Life Here in China

By James Fallows

By James Fallows

From the Atlantic's home page right now, as I see it on coming back to the apartment in Beijing after an interview.
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The title, produced by an algorithm showing the most recent post in each of the channels, is drawn from another (very nice) guest post from another (wonderful) guest blogger, former judge and one-time CIA contractor Glenna Hall. And because the guest posts are appearing in a space I normally occupy, their headlines show up under my name and benevolent gaze.

But in case this refinement escapes any officials now checking our site from China or elsewhere -- including the guy I interviewed two days ago at a government office in Beijing who leafed through reams of print-outs from the Atlantic's site as we talked -- this does not mean that I have ever in any way had any connection with America's intelligence agencies. Because I haven't! Just for the record. 

In my cover story* long article about Learning to Love Infotainment, in the current issue (订阅!**), I quote Nick Denton's axiom that web headlines need to be as literal as possible: "The public is not very forgiving of wit in headlines." This principle has new meaning for me now! I'm putting up this post so it will appear in the next batch of print-outs -- and so it will push the preceding article out of the "most recent headline" spot in the queue...
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* Ooops! On reflection, "cover story" is not the mot juste here.

** Sorry, was being cutesy with the Chinese characters for "subscribe!", but on some browsers they seem not to survive the journey.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/03/this-could-just-possibly-complicate-my-life-here-in-china/72909/