Learn to cross the divide into the gray wonderland where the Yin and Yang come apart.
American essayist and novelist based in China since 1994. Writing philosophy: downmarket, big concept, provocative, discriminating, outrageous. Ballard, Beckett, Borges, Dick, Kafka, Hesse, Melville, Mishima, Sade are influences.
The Taiwan massage scene
A Taipei masseuse’s rare combination of expert technique and open-mindedness makes for the most intense of massages.
Yangtze River cargo ship, bats, Agricultural Bank of China (video)
Hypnotic video of cargo ship passing down the Yangtze River in Wuhan at night.
The ventriloquist’s dilemma: Asexual Anglo travelogues of China
The jostling voices and fraught sexual ambivalence of Anglo-Americans writing about China.
Philip Glass and Tan Dun
The two most prominent American composers of our time have more in common than it would seem.
The Chinese art of noise
Putting a song on repeat is as logical to the Chinese as decorating the walls of a room with the same wallpaper.
How to have fun in China’s disposable cities
Chinese cities happily gut their historical districts to rebuild them into cheesy simulacra which in turn will soon see the bulldozer.
Lust & Philosophy. A novel
Debut autobiographical novel will appeal to fans of Hermann Hesse, Philip K. Dick, J. G. Ballard and other novelists of the uncanny.
The Chinese university: A primer for prospective foreign teachers
When I asked students what they learned in their politics classes, they couldn’t even remember the names of the courses.
The poverty of the institutional imagination: The case of Beijing’s moats and canals
If it reclaimed its water system, Beijing could become a great city of canals.
Multiply, cascade, explode: A theory of literary fiction
“Monsters cannot be announced. One cannot say: ‘Here are our monsters,’ without immediately turning the monsters into pets” — Derrida
Questioning China’s “5,000 years” master trope
When measured against other ancient civilizations, China is not 5,000 years old but more like 3,000-3,500 years old.
A modest proposal regarding sex work: Why all sex should be paid for
The sexual fees levied on hubby would compensate working wives for the housework they do on top of their day job.
A Shakespeare sex-and-violence starter kit
It was not just Shakespeare’s obsession; we can assume virtually the entire audience attending his plays was syphilitic.
On harpsichords and white pianos: The challenge of music in China
Our distaste for the white piano stems from certain associated stars of the Easy Listening school (Liberace, Clayderman, etc.): music for people who don’t like music.