Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yardley's Article

I've enjoyed Jim Yardley's writing in the past, especially his pieces on environmental degradation. Yardley's articles, with their emphasis on economics and everyday people's lives, are often a refreshing counterpoint to the elite, stuffy, "final stamp of importance courtesy of the NY Times"-style scoops by Joseph Kahn.

But what to make of the article today Dead Bachelors in China Still Find Wives? What does this article add?

I'm not exactly against cultural, pseudo-anthropological stuff. Public excitement for all things China has the benefit of allowing a wider range of reporting from the P.R.C.--from pop culture to family life to political intrigue to class tensions-- than the American media will support from almost any other part of the world, save perhaps Iraq.

Yet I cringe when an obscure practice in Shanxi and Shaanxi gets splashed across the front pages of the Times, when there are so many other trends to pay attention to. Why barge in on these farmers practices, which clearly harm no one? Why not focus on aspects of China's tradition and change that lend themselves more to fruitful, comparative analysis?

Should I cringe? Am I just being defensive? But again, what does this article exactly add?

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