I gather that Americans are in a snit about Rudy Giuliani's cell-phone manners.
From Shanghai I say: what's the big deal?
At restaurants here, everyone's mobile phone is out on the table, next to the chopsticks. (except for the ones being yelled into between bites). There's perfect coverage in subways and elevators, so the (yelling) conversations need never stop. Also at business meetings and in museums. And during lectures, when -- four times now in my presence -- the speaker stops to take a call mid-speech. The first two times I rolled my eyes, then noticed I was the only one doing so. Now, like everyone else in the crowd, I make a quick call myself.
Come, Rudy! Come home! I've said it before, and more than once: forget this campaign nonsense. Come to where you really belong! They'd appreciate you here.
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is a staff writer for 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 Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,
which has been a New York Times
best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.