Watching the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (center) advise the Spanish/American chef Jose Andres (right) in the flair and nuance of creating iPhone videos, when they crossed paths this evening in Beijing. I have no larger point here -- except to say that I will try to explain later what it was like seeing two such room-filling personalities in the same place at the same time.
Forgive me if this seems self-indulgent -- hey, it's a personal blog --- but it was too typical/improbable a "this is China" moment not to make note of. High-concept elaboration, with lardons of policy-talk, coming in due course.
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is a staff writer at The Atlantic
and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows
, are the authors of the 2018 book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America
, which was a national best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.