Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors. They are the oldest civilized people on earth. Their civilization passes through phases but its basic characteristics remain the same. They yield, they bend to the wind, but they never break.
Pearl S. Buck

If you bow at all, bow low.
Chinese Proverb

Entropy Gradient Reversals

RageBoy recently received an invitation from China. The circumstances surrounding how this came about are rich and complex (he tells us) and he is currently engaged in a great work (he says) compiling and detailing all the particulars. However, he has stipulated in his will that these documents not be given to the world until after his death, and even then, there is a strange clause -- we have seen his will -- about how they can only be "released by immolation" atop Mt. Pulog in the Cordillera Central of Luzon. He appears to be hugely enthused by this project and there is a new glow about him, but he refuses to say anything on the subject except that the Ministry of Culture has invited him to speak about the Internet at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

How he accomplished this we will never know. The lad has resources that continue to amaze us. However, while he's being very cagey about the invitation itself, he has agreed to allow EGR to publish the surprisingly brief talk he plans to give, and we therefore reproduce the current draft in its entirety below. Certain parts of it make us think RB wrote this with no prior knowledge of China, its history, its present government or its people. It certainly would not be the first time he has refused to allow deep ignorance to prevent him from making sweeping proclamations and predictions. So, for what it's worth, we present:

China Rising

People of China...

Your country holds a great and priceless treasure, a jewel of immense worth and unspeakable beauty. But in the manner of your ancient sages, that is not what I have come here to talk to you about today.

At the very beginning, I want to say that there are many similarities between our governments:

For this we should all be grateful.

Now I understand you poor sods have been laboring under the delusions of Communist ideology for quite some time. I also understand that it is part of this secular philosophy -- about which we also get an earful in the West, I can assure you -- to insist that human beings should be able to eat here on earth before we worry about how they will be attired in the way of harps and halos in the afterlife, or whether, as we say in English, they are headed "the other way." However, as we know from the more advanced religions -- developed, of course, since your own -- God loves all the people all the time without exception. And therefore, according to our more advanced political economies, God can sort em out.

But let us not dwell on politics and religion, which subjects never fail to get everybody's nighties in a knot -- and I see many of you are wearing nighties here today...

Instead, let us speak about the Internet, that immense reticulation of new technologies that is uniting the people of Earth in ways never before possible. The Internet is relatively new to China, so for those of you who do not know what it is, let me explain. The Internet is a vast global network developed by our friends in the US Military and based on the TCP/IP packet-switching protocol that enables little surprise packages of information -- also called "spamettes" -- to be shot all over the place via telephone wires and optic fibers and these weird things called routers (which nobody knows what they really do), then randomly reassembled so that they appear to have been written by lower primates. These incredible capabilities wrought mostly by guys who cannot get dates are taking our civilization to a whole new level.

This puts me in mind of your great poet, Li Po, who in his latter years would get falling-down drunk and feed all his writings to the fish. Some, of course, thought him mad.

Riding atop this basic networking infrastructure are other, more complex standards, such as HTTP (Hard To Type Properly), which enables the World Wide Web. The web differs from the Internet per se in that it adds banner advertising and animated gifs -- little wiggly pictures put there to remind us we are no longer in control of the situation.

If I may draw an analogy from your own culture, the Taoist mage Chuang-tzu once said he was unsure whether he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man. In the West, we have a great many young people who would have no difficulty relating to this (an idiom). However, in their case, the confusion is nearly always the result of ingesting large quantities of powerful animal tranquilizers or sniffing airplane glue.

The Internet and the World Wide Web have made it possible for the first time in the history of the world to bring network news shows, amazing multilevel marketing programs, and important information about getting out those difficult stains not just to Americans -- which would be selfish and inconsiderate -- but to all the people of our rapidly shrinking planet.

However, just as certain Third World countries have been able, in this century, to learn from Western mistakes made during the period of our great Industrial Revolution, so it may be possible for China to avoid following in the footsteps of the morons who now control the Internet. (These are easily identifiable as those individuals and institutions most vocal in proclaiming that no one owns the Internet.) Instead of using the net exclusively for profiteering and pornography as we have done, China -- especially since there are so fucking many of you people -- could use this unparalleled communication resource to do what we in the West have for the most part entirely forgotten how to do: tell stories.

I don't want to keep you long, as it sure is colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra here in Beijing today, so I will leave you with a very partial list of subjects and qualities your stories might include. Feel free to think up more of your own.

heaven, earth, man, woman, mountains, rivers, oceans, fire, the creative, rice, sheep, the receptive, sky, monkeys, summer, difficulty at the beginning, poetry, roosters, youthful folly, children, dogs, waiting, sun, boars, birds, conflict, rats, holding together, insects, oxen, the taming power of the small, colors, tigers, tears, sadness, treading, death, rabbits, peace, dragons, moon, trees, wind, standstill, snakes, fellowship with men, horses, possession in great measure, modesty, pride, enthusiasm, earthworms, following, sparrows, decay, trains, approach, water, contemplation, mirrors, biting through, combs, grace, hats, shoes, splitting apart, smoke, return, the usual, the unexpected, the bakery, the taming power of the great, the cat's still out, the corners of the mouth, the smell of feet, the preponderance of the great, autumn, forgetfulness, the abysmal, the barking, the clinging, wooing, pitchforks, duration, lightbulbs, retreat, breakfast, the power of the great, lunch, progress, stars, the darkening of the light, gardenias, the family, chairs, opposition, picture frames, obstruction, pearls, deliverance, winter, silver, decrease, tenderness, increase, bicycles, breakthrough, travelers, coming to meet, handkerchiefs, gathering together, toothbrushes, pushing upward, laughter, oppression, empty beds, the well, yellow roses, revolution, rock and roll, the caldron, wash basins, thunder, toilets, mountains, development, marrying maidens, holy fools, wanderers, magicians, wind, lakes, lovers, dispersion, birthdays, limitation, letters, inner truth, kites, the preponderance of the small, the morning after, wood, stone, sunset, night, loss, time, joy, oranges, music, perfume, song, dirt, spring, sex, food, breath...
...and all those useless things, which, innumerable IBM Internet advertising campaigns notwithstanding, are what make life worth living.

Thank you.

[thunderous applause]

I'll give you television
I'll give you eyes of blue
I'll give you men who want to rule the world

And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby just you shut your mouth
She says ... sh-sh-shhh...

China Girl - David Bowie

Entropy Gradient Reversals
All Noise - All the Time


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Entropy Gradient Reversals
CopyLeft Christopher Locke

"reality leaves a lot to the imagination..."
John Lennon

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