Today I smoked a joint and walked around the Gulou area, and thought about many things. People everywhere, great clumps of pollen swirling in a funnel right above my head. Bright sunlight through the little olive leaves onto my face. I thought of my old professor, Moses.
He lives in Beijing and so far has been too busy to meet me each time I have sought him out. Bothers me. I thought of the dream I had last night, apocalyptic, hopeful and murderous. I wandered around the hutongs through the funnels of pollen until I pinpointed my location with Google maps, and found my little hostel. I walked in, sat down at the living room table, put on Jimi Hendrix Blues, forced the girl and the boy who were here to scurry away from the laowai, toward safer grounds. Not my intent, but I laugh at your weak heart.
I listened to a podcast on the Anabaptists, the aftermath of Martin Luther’s proclamation, the messianic madness of Europe. Today at breakfast, several tables down, an ABC yelled out, “Martin Luther would have tweeted …” I didn’t catch the rest. The latest issue of Fortune has a quote from Phillip Roth regarding culture today:
“The power in any society is with those who get to impose the fantasy. It is no longer, as it was for centuries throughout Europe, the church that imposes its fantasy on the populace, nor is it the totalitarian state, that imposes the fantasy, as it did for 12 years in Nazi Germany and for 69 years in the Soviet Union. Now the fantasy that prevails is the all-consuming, voraciously consumed popular culture, seemingly spawned by, of all things, freedom. The young especially live according to beliefs that are thought up for them by society’s most unthinking people and by the businesses least impeded by innocent ends. Ingeniously, as their parents and teachers may attempt the young from being drawn, to their detriment, into the moronic amusement park that is now universal, the preponderance of the power is not with them.”
Spengler’s condemnation of “youth culture” still bothers me. My children clamor for stories, more stories. What have I broken away from, what am I taking into me, what will follow. I told my China Story to two friends over sausage, made me think about China Hustle, China Underground, and what my true feelings are.
I gave a talk that I called Chasing your Dreams: A practical guide. I veered between bubble gum and confession throughout, and came out no clearer really about what is next.
I feel the world converging again, the board is still after the red west wind player’s intake of breath.