Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On China (With No Research Whatsoever)

  • Simply enormous.
  • Unbelievable amount of history.
  • Much like the Dead, China built a wall so impressive it gets capitalized.
  • Pandas are vaguely sacred (in a legal/nationalistic sense, much like the bald eagle.)
  • Every other animal goes right in the wok.
  • I simply don’t know how to say this in a non-racist/Orientalist/xenophobic way, so I’ll just be blunt: those sumbitches’ll eat anything.
  • Chinese monks have little in common with European monks, except for silly haircuts.
  • Chinese monkeys are similar to European monkeys, though.
  • Monkeys are monkeys.
  • There is no language of “Chinese” – there’s Mandarin and Cantonese and some other stuff I’m sure you get thrown in prison for speaking.
  • There’s also no Chinese food: there’s a whole bunch of them.
  • And what we think of as Chinese food would be unrecognizable to actual Chinese folks.
  • Not literally unrecognizable: they have beef, and they have broccoli.
  • Just no Beef&Broccoli…$7.99 w/ egg roll.
  • It’s not that our “Chinese food” is a bastardization of the form: it was always this third-way, syncretic cuisine.
  • Smart Chinese immigrants in the 19th century opened restaurants, intuiting that Americans would pay dearly to be surrounded in genuine authentic Asian bullshit.
  • But, you know: Johnny Steakandpotatoes ain’t going for the eels and chicken feet.
  • Throw some chicken and shrimp in a wok-ful of noodles, though, and he’s tucking in.
  • Boom: chow mein.
  • And fortune cookies, which were invented in San Francisco.
  • All of China is on Beijing time, so the sun rises around noon in the farthest west provinces. (That is true. Swear.)
  • Not too fond of Japan.
  • America’s best frenemy.
  • Had an emperor for at least ten years.
  • Probably much longer than that, but: no research.
  • The emperor mainly indulged in pleasures of the flesh within the walls of the Forbidden City.
  • Peter O’Toole was involved.
  • Almost entirely sandwich-free culture.
  • They do buns and dumplings; no sandwiches.
  • Just saying.
  • I do not believe they use the Euro.
  • They must have sports in China. Soccer? Water polo?
  • Ping-Pong! They love that shit for some reason.
  • I will extend a guess that American Football is not a big draw in the People’s Republic of China.
  • In China’s defense, no one wants our football.
  • In the early part of the 20th century, Shanghai was the Paris of the Far East and had a sizable Jewish population.
  • The middle part of the 20th century was not good for Shanghai’s cosmopolitan air.
  • Now, Shanghai looks like Coruscant.
  • Speaking of cities, Beijing used to be called Peking.
  • Peking duck maintains the name, but you have to call ahead because it takes an hour.
  • People from Hong Kong and Tibet do not consider themselves to be Chinese.
  • The people who matter in Beijing don’t give a flying fuck what any of those people think.
  • Aforementioned people in Beijing will, however, look the other way on Macau.
  • Macau, like Hong Kong, is a small island off the coast of the Chinese mainland.
  • Also like Hong Kong, Macau was a possession of a European nation. (Portugal, to HK’s Great Britain.)
  • White folks wanted to trade with China, but they needed a place to stay that was more like home. Away from the heathens, dontcha know.
  • Meanwhile, the heathens were just as happy to have the white devils stay on their island, as they didn’t want their culture infected with the Europeans’ hairiness.
  • (I don’t know the exact story in China–no research, and I’m sticking to it–but in Japan, it was illegal for the gaijin to even step foot on Japanese soil. All trade with the white man was done on small islands off the coast.)
  • Anyway, the white guys got their own islands they could have what they called tea on, not that weird green stuff Johnny Chopsticks kept offering him.
  • The Chinese got people to trade with and, more importantly, kept their foreign ideas and stenches right where they could keep an eye on them.
  • And thus were signed leases of 200-years and other ridiculous lengths that might as well have been “forever.”
  • Time marched on, however.
  • So, now: Hong Kong is the financial hub of Asia (which means the world, I guess) but with the Sword of Damocles over its head.
  • Macau, on the other hand, has entered an “anything-goes” phase.
  • When Portugal gave it back, something weird happened. Perhaps someone signed where he was supposed to initial. Anyway, Macau is now a Chinese possession, but not part of China? Something along those lines.
  • I have a feeling that if you want to make something ambiguous and impenetrable, translating it from Portugese into Mandarin would be a sure bet.
  • Long story short: gambling in China is subject to the death penalty. On Macua, not only may you gamble, but women in skimpy outfits will bring you free drinks while you do it.
  • Macau has a casino or two.
  • It’s what Vegas wants to be when it grows up.
  • Seriously: they have a Venetian over there. It’s just like the one in Nevada, except it’s three times the size.
  • On the topic of luck: in the Chinese culture, four is an unlucky number; eight is lucky.
  • Which is just wrong, as everyone knows thirteen is unlucky, and seven is the lucky number.
  • You’re so dumb, China.


  1. This is what passes for music journalism in Canada. Love the post on China ToTD.

  2. I walked into our lunch room at the office one day and saw this woman who was a visiting colleague from China gnawing on a chicken foot like a raccoon on a frog. I’ve never forgotten it – stopped me in my tracks. She smelled like moth balls, too. She could manage a database like a mofo, though.

  3. occidentalpoppy

    May 25, 2015 at 12:15 am

    River of Smoke by Amitav Gosh. But read Sea of Poppies first. I have not read the third yet, but loved the first two.

  4. BingosBrothet

    May 25, 2015 at 12:27 am

    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is up there with the best books ever. It made me like learning some eastern shit. I do not like to learn eastern shit.

    • This is the book I learned the thing about Japan and the trading islands about!

      (I did not actually read the book, but listened to a long NPR interview with the author.)

      That good?

  5. Sir Luther Van Baconson

    May 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    i dig a mess of chickenfeet every now & then. been trying to get the cook at the Sun Ya to do ’em Anchor Bar-style.

  6. Man, as an Enthusiast working in China I seriously dug this post. Last night I walked into an Irish bar in Nanjing with a Bertha shirt on, the dude behind the bar cops it and sticks a Johnny B Goode from ’78 on the playlist. I tried to guess the show but was way wrong, being seriously in my cups.

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