Dicky get your gun

Woke up this morning, got a boom-boom in your eye.

The story of Dick Cheney is certainly on a roll. First he shoots a friend. Then the guy turns out to be a lawyer and 78. Now he has a heart attack. When Ayatollah Dubya wants to sack White House legal advisers, he’ll just send them to Dick to “take care of them”.

The article in The Guardian notes

Hospital officials said they were not concerned about the six to 200 other pieces of birdshot that might still be lodged in his body.

Six to two hundred?? So 194 pieces of birdshot may or may not still be in there. It’s like saying the Earth’s between six to 93 million miles away from the sun.

Only if it means the opposite.

Meanwhile, The Guardian had this article about the global spread of English. It included this rather rash statement:

In China, 60% of primary school children learn English and more people in India and China speak the language fluently than anywhere else in the world.

I can’t speak for India, of course, but “fluent” is being generous about English as she is spoke in China. Modest to competent is about as good as most of them get, and our pupils will rarely use English once they leave school unless they’re going to study it at university. [I’d say most of the students in the main school never get beyond intermediate level. In recent interviews for the final few places in my current programme, one boy told us that he’d been learning English for nine years. Sounded like he’d been sitting in English class for nine years.]

It wasn’t like that in my day.

Meanwhile, the old guard here (i.e., those over the age of 95) have called for more openness in the Chinese media. I’m sure Nanny is having palpitations, and the Internet snoops are already busy deleting references to it in online. [It has been observed time and again that the Party boys shoot themselves in the foot over this matter because people don’t trust official sources of information, which leads to rumours, etc.]

It ain’t popular till they ban it.

The ban on Memoirs of a Geisha has made it even more popular. There’s a kind of irony about this because the makers won’t see any money from the sale of DVDs here; yet the ban has given the film which is, so I hear, not particularly good, a boost.

It’s this sort of thing which makes Nanny look mentally incompetent. If she stopped trying to ban this and that, no one would give a damn. But the moment she starts cracking the whip, suddenly you want a piece of the action. While I was in Hong Kong, I was tempted to buy Beijing Doll and Shanghai Baby which are banned on the mainland. [One or both of these are now openly available on the Mainland. I have since read Shanghai Baby. Can’t remember exactly what I thought about it, but don’t remember being impressed.]

Such books are described as spiritual pollution, which sounds rather religious in a country which is officially atheist.

[04.07.13. Edited formatting and added comments and tags.]


2 thoughts on “Dicky get your gun”

  1. I can think of a few Monty Python-esque sketches involving the missing 194 bits of buckshot!
    It’s funny how once you get onto the net that just about everyone speaks English to some degree. Personally I find it fascinating how the language has become so prevalent in communications, a left over from the days of Imperialist expansion I guess, although its probably correct to say that Chinese people speak better English generally then ‘we’ (Brits) do Chinese!

  2. It’s only the English speaking part of the Net you see. China will soon have more Internet users than anyone else on the planet, but unless you’re fluent in Chinese, you’ll never go there. Same with a lot of other countries which have plenty of websites in their own language. It’s a popular myth that English is a linguistic virus online.
    But when it comes to sites with an international audience, English has ended up as the de facto language. Just look at Q3W or the Map-Center.
    You’d be right that the Chinese are better at English than we’d be at Chinese. In truth, kids ought to be learning Mandarin and Hindi at school because the demand for knowing those two languages is going to increase this century.

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