Stanley Bing & Huffington Post, WTF Is This Nonsense?

Gil Schwartz aka Stanley Bing.

Gil Schwartz aka Stanley Bing.

Last week, Stan and I both harshly criticized a pair of articles that were recently published on the Huffington Post. Both were about Google, though before Google had made its move to Hong Kong. One I felt argued unfairly while Stan felt the other was both shocking and appalling (and maybe flabbergasting).

Today, I’m writing this note to share yet another mind-boggling piece of writing that the Huffington Post sees fit to publish. Mind you, HuffPo is a fairly influential online news source that receives ~22 million visits a month. Twenty-two million. Ready your funny bone:

China and Google: Two Nations At War

by Fortune’s Stanley Bing

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in Google than in China. That’s why, as the armies line up today to begin what could very well be a protracted war between these two great nations, my home will be flying the flag of the guys from Mountain View, not Bejing.

First of all, people who live in Google have 20% of their time to do whatever they want. That’s a really nice thing for all those citizens of Google to enjoy, since it’s my understanding that citizens of China have less than 1% of their time to do what they want, unless what they want involves riding a bicycle, in which case they have almost 100% of their time to do that.

People in Google can dress as they desire, pretty much, as long as they don’t wear a tie or uncomfortable shoes. Most citizens of China, on the other hand, don’t have that range of options. They can either wear pyjamas or, on special occasions, business suits with constricting neckwear. I have seen pictures of people in China dressed rather informally, in slacks and tee shirts, but it’s my suspicion that those people probably work for Google there, or wish they did.

Citizens of Google, also, don’t live under onerous censorship, unless you count the residents of YouTube, which is so clean it practically squeaks. Those who live in China, on the other hand, never get to see anything the government doesn’t want them to see. This can get boring, as anybody who has been forced to view a local access government-run cable channel can tell you. Imagine long city council meetings on every TV channel, and the results on those meetings the predominant form of information on the web. Pretty dreary, huh?

While the average Google person makes about as much as his or her Chinese counterpart, those with more senior titles and positions can do better. Most of us like there to be some upside, at least conceptually, and the citizens of Google enjoy that aspirational dimension in their everyday lives, while your Chinese worker does not.

Of course, the Chinese have Chinese food everywhere, readily accessible 24/7/365. It’s almost impossible to get good Chinese food in Mountain View, and those serious about the effort have to travel almost 90 minutes to San Francisco to enjoy anything comparable.

I realize that I’m rooting for the underdog here, at least in terms of military might. The Chinese have millions of soldiers, with guns and rockets and bombs and everything. Google has nothing but Sergey, Larry, Eric and a cadre of some 10,000 souls in uniform and ready for the coming engagement. China has clever weapons, like poisoned toothpaste. Google doesn’t. So time will tell who will prevail in the end. One thing is for sure. Nobody’s ever made any money betting against Google.

I’m sorry, but…what the fuck is this bullshit?

No, it isn’t funny. Granted, I’m not familiar with Gil Schwartz‘s work, who is apparently a “humorist”, and I’m willing to entertain that those familiar with his work might find this funny. However, I’m trying really damn hard not to take him seriously…and I’m failing horribly repeatedly.

No, I just can’t see how this is supposed to be obviously funny enough to avoid being categorically offensive and in poor taste to the 22 million readers on HuffPo. How did this even get published? Is all of that grossly inaccurate caricaturing of Chinese people and life in China simply building up to the the final point that people make money betting on Google instead of against it? Does that make it okay? If he’s not being serious, is he seriously expecting HuffPo readers to know that?

Honestly, what the hell?



37 Comments

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  1. asdf

    This is indicative of how skewed the values and morals of Americans and their media are. A “free press” in the US really means the freedom to say anything that will incite attention to sell more papers or subscriptions- which often means intentionally leveraging xenophobic tendencies of Americans against foreign targets.

    Sad, as not only the victims are unfairly targeted (witness how Toyota’s 40 years of brand building was destroyed overnight over a problem that the big three usually have every year – and this a company from a country that is an close ally of the US). But the ridiculous media also drives out discussion on matters really need to be discussed in the US.

    • anon

      I disagree. With the right of speaking the truth, you still have those that are really just idiots and don’t know what they are saying.

      I think America’s biggest issue has always been the fear of the loss of democracy. Communism was a big thing back in the old days and so it’s continued through to today. Why America sold weapons to the Afghans when the USSR attacked it, why we fought against China in the Korean War, why we had McCarthyism and why we had movies such as Red Dawn and Rocky 4 where we would fight the communist dogs.

      Sadly, if you have lived in China, you’d see communism is a joke and socialism is dying due to the capitalism being created in it. So while China becomes more open and free (while the government tries to contain it) Americans can only stay in the old mindset that China is evil. Stories of lead paint in toys and bad milk just helps add to that fire.

      • lolz

        The anti-China sentiments in the US today go beyond the cold war mentality. Much of the current American anger revolves around China’s dominance in the manufacturing industry and their belief that China is taking away American’s jobs. The other major complaint is China’s manipulation of its currency. You see people like Paul Krugman of MIT (Nobel economist) talking about this issue week after week. Japan-American relations went through a similar phase in the late 80s. Back then the US press was full of criticism of Japan.Inc and the idea that the government should not back up private industries. At the time Japanese products in the electronic and auto industry put a lot of American companies out of business. You hear the same complaints about unfair competition. Fast forward to present day American is doing exactly what it accused Japan of doing, having government to bail out companies which should otherwise fold.

        Ultimately politicians need other people to blame for their incompetence and rally support. Chinese politicians like to pick on Japan because it’s an easy target. American politicians like to pick on China. Talking about how bad China get American people’s mind off their own problems.

        • anon

          I have to agree with you as well. With the issues on Toyota and the backlash of it remenicent of that time, I think they use China as a scapegoat instead of finding a solution.

          Any way to make ourselves feel good instead of actually fixing the issue so we feel good on our own is what America will do. As an American, I know that people in my country have become complacent and don’t want to take responsibility to make things right. Hopefully we turn around or China will become a better country to live in then America. I really fear for that day. Hopefully they can stand as equals.

  2. lolz

    Sorry but I find the article to be pretty funny, especially the part of bicycles and the lack of good Chinese food near Mountain View.

    Like most good liberals I like huffpo, especially the right most column where often you get to read about various gossips and see nakked celebrities. But reading it also made me realize that when it comes to China the American liberals are just as clueless and prejudiced as conservatives on Muslim nations.

  3. required

    Lighten up, bro! I ride my bike everyday and I don’t find it offensive.

    Yes, you’ll be clueless about any foreign country even if you lived there for a while.

  4. Yeah I couldn’t even finish reading that, what the fuck??? This Google thing has really brought out all the morons who think their opinions matter because they’ve used Google before and they saw a PBS special about the Great Leap Forward sometime back in the 80’s.

  5. xian

    Huffington is liberal nonsense anyways. I can’t even tell if this is satire or not.

  6. Sorry gents and ladies, but every online publication needs a bit of filler. Schwartz needs a mealticket. Everybody’s happy. Let’s sing a song.

  7. Josh

    This particular bit is rather ironic.

    “They can either wear pyjamas or, on special occasions, business suits with constricting neckwear.”

    Haha, those silly Chinese people have to wear suits with button up shirts with neckties!

    Now let’s scroll up for a moment to picture Kai provided of Gil… OH MY GOD!!!

  8. Teacher in C

    WHat a dumbass. He’s obviously so proud of himself and his “witty” observations, when in fact none of them are even remotely funny, nor do they make any sense at all. Yeesh, American political commentators…

  9. King Tubby

    S… If that represents contemporary american political satire, I’m glad I hung onto my Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl vinyl.

    • required

      I think you should try WTF with Marc Maron @ http://wtfpod.com/

      He’s brilliant and not that political.

      • King Tubby

        Many thanks but I never watch net clips and don’t have a TV. Print text rules (gives one more time to cogitate), but appreciate your good intentions. Cheers

        • required

          What the Fuck with Marc Maron is just a personal(individual, or independent) audio podcast and not affiliated with any company. It gives me high twice a week when I bike home from work. I don’t watch TV that much except waiting for Cornell vs Kentucky tomorrow night.

          • King Tubby

            Required. Not making a political statement here, just stating personal preference. I live in Oz. Cable never did a bean here: you only sign up if you are really into sport or reruns of Gilligans Insland. People resent paying subscriptions. Extremely good and well attended council libraries, and believe it or not, public radio (both english and multicultural) is a major source of sustenance for members of the chattering class like myself. Our media is probably a lot different than yours, even if we have the same celebrity type junk culture that you do. And yes, shock jocks, but they sometimes get hauled into court and fined or taken off the air, due to hate speech legislation.

  10. required

    各位看官, what do you think about today’s post by Han Han, @ http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4701280b0100hjvm.html

    Sorry for posting some part of it here. So you can have it after being harmonized later.

    3:对于谷歌退出中国,你有什么要说的?

    我没什么要说的,谷歌是一个很好的公司,我的手机用的都是谷歌的系统。但是关于这件事情,你只要有一些新闻和政治敏感度,你就知道你说什么都没用,下场都不会很好,删了你的文章还算是小事。谷歌不玩了,他退去了香港,甚至可以回美国,但是作为中国的作者或者媒体从业者,如果说了一些人话,他被迫不能玩了,他能退到哪里去呢?
    事实上,无论谷歌是做这个决定的真正原因是什么,在展现给公众的说法上,谷歌有一个失策,谷歌说,他不想再接受敏感内容的审核了。注意,这里说的敏感内容其实不是指情色内容,官方对情色内容从来都不敏感,不光不敏感,估计官员们都已经搞到龟头麻木了。这里所谓的敏感内容只是指不利于政府利益的内容。但是所谓的开放所有审查结果,现实的中国人有多少人在乎呢?这些在正常的国家可以感动国人的理由,在中国看似不太管用。
    中国有两亿网民,谷歌如果问大家是不是想看到不被审核以后的搜索内容,我想应该有两亿减去网络评论员人数都会答应,当然,这就像买菜,你多给人家一点人家总是乐意的。但是如果百度给每个网民十块钱人民币,说只要下载了百度新开发的屏蔽谷歌搜索的浏览器,并且使用我的不光完全遵守而且超额遵守中国“法律法规”的搜索引擎作为唯一指定搜索引擎,你们就可以得到这个钱,估计得有一大半人变节。中国人追求那些危险的普世价值么?中国人追求的,但中国人是顺便追求,追求那些东西在很多人心中的价值未必有追求新开盘的一个楼盘或者追求一点网络游戏中的装备那么高,因为大家的生活压力都这么大,理想都没有,混口饭吃就行了,你跪着吃和站这吃有什么区别呢。谷歌可能高估了自由,真相,公正,叉叉等东西在中国很大一部分网民心目中的价值,这些都没有路上捡到一百块钱实在。
    真的,谷歌还不如说自己老是被中央电视台陷害所以退出更实在一点。谷歌所说的那些理由,无法让这个民族的大部分人民认同和共鸣。一个能吃转基因粮,地沟油菜,三聚氰胺奶,打劣质疫苗针的民族,他们的忍耐力是你所不能想象的高,他们的需求是你所不能想象的低。

    You can all read Chinese, right? Just one question, is the “wang min” (netizen) Han talked about here matches what the netizen you are worried about if google.cn quit China?

    For me, I agree with Han Han that google.cn is irrelevant to Chinese wang min (netizen).

    • zball

      It looks that Chinese network comments are damn free now. Unfortunately, that is the progress that Google cannot see.

      • required

        What do you think you know about China, you think google is that dumb that she won’t see this:

        “很抱歉,该文章已经被加密!

        您可以通过左侧的推荐博文组件浏览其它文章。”

        when you click the link I provided. And there is only one Han Han in China. Do you how many 网络评论员
        Han Han mentioned are there?

        Internet search is not real issue here, it’s the content. Google tried to eat shit @ http://rconversation.blogs.com/.a/6a00d8341c609853ef0120a975cf2f970b-pi there. But google has no chance to put YouTube on the map of China.

    • Wow, required, you dramatically failed to understand my post. There’s very little that Han Han said that I didn’t say, which is why I generally agree with him. Han Han here is simultaneously criticizing and praising both Google and Chinese netizens (or people as a whole). That’s a tactic he uses all the time. He doesn’t just say that google.cn is irrelevant to Chinese netizens. He explains how it is one way but, in doing so, to illustrate the disconnect between what many people are professing Google to be doing (human rights) and what the actual effect will be.

      • required

        I think you are much like a 美国愤青。Just relax, can’t you see the humorist (satirical?) side of Han Han in his post. You cannot reason with the CCP and Chinese Government, they are not legitimate anyway. That’s why I escaped from China. Now you are in China, I just hope you are not a collaborator of TG or ZF. Make your money and run. I just have a feeling that you 国际友人 of China helped propped CCP for that much longer.

        I like the Google story for its human side. I think Sergey is nervous and cannot sleep tight before 3/23/2010 because he was born in Soviet Russia. While Eric is an American born and bred. I really doubt his judgement after his stints at two now failed companies (Sun and Novell). Yes, Sergey was not keen to enter China market while Eric insisted. I’m just glad that Sergey finally won.

        • Lolz

          不知道他人的想法是什么,不过本人就最看不起那些老骂别人五毛愤青什么的。如果人家听了你讲话然后听了真正五毛讲话后,而还是相信五毛的话,那不是别人笨,而是你自己无能无法改变别人的想法。如果你讲的真有道理的话也不需要骂人家五毛愤青了了,别人自然会听你的。

          • required

            我以为愤青没什么不好的,起码跟五毛不同。大概是热血青年的意思吧。土共不一定要大家都成五毛,你只要不说她的坏话就结了。

            共产党罪恶滔天,就是不想让人知道。其实何人不知呢。谷歌在不在中国都一样。这是我的看法,我没想改变谁。只是楼主太年青,把精力放在这上面太可惜了。

  11. AndyR

    You need to change this blog’s name to “Anti-Huffpo”…with all the great material out there to write on, why would Huffpo be your target?

    Oh yeah 22 million visits a month…begging for one of their pundits to actually mention your rebuttal in order to get a piece of those hits perhaps? How about an ORIGINAL opinion piece instead of just riffing off of someone else’s (admittedly bad) work? Nah, it’s much easier to try and milk attention from blogs that actually have readers…

    Still waiting for the day when this blog actually starts writing about China…

  12. Dan

    I think you’re overreacting. Everything about it reads to me as a satirical joke. The “facts” are so over-exaggerated, the stereotypes picked off such an old list of generalizations, even the tone is absurd and self-mocking.

    I would probably agree with you that it’s not very funny, clever, or really worth reading. But then again, if you replaced China with the US–and I’m thinking of some awesome candidates, like Blago–I could see it getting a laugh or two.

    It sounds like the kind of thing that would fit with the HuffPo audience.

  13. required

    @King Tubby
    Don’t know why can’t I just follow up your comment but have to post this here. Anyway, I thought everyone here are Obama bashing, CCP hugging Yankees. Me bad. Just hope you country will not be taken over by Chinese. Sorry if I hurt the feelings of Chinese people.

    Do you have FTA (free to air) TV in your country? Here in the US, you don’t have to subscribe to cable to watch most popular sporting events. The game I’m going to watch tonight is one of the most hyped one (as far as I cared about NCAA), because it’s Ivy related. It’s the ultimate geek vs jock game.

    Anyway, I don’t have “Cable” cable sub here. I got on Internet via cable, but I can’t watch CNN. Talking about CNN, you might want to check this one out, http://podcasts.cnn.net/cnn/big/podcasts/amanpour/video/2010/03/16/amanpour.podcast.03.16.cnn.m4v
    This is Amanpour talking with Ai Weiwei 艾未未. If you are interested in current situation, you must follow Ai.

    I do watch some chinese tv online through PPLive and the like. There I can see most of the Premier League games I’m interested in. You should watch some Chinese soap like 蜗居 if you understand Chinese and want to know China better. I got most of my news from BBC, especially their top notch potcasts (you can only listen to the World Service here in the US on air). I read NYTimes, Guardian and the Independent papers online. And read the Economist and the Atlantic magazine and New York Times on real paper, sorry trees. And sorry I don’t know any Australian outlets.

    Peace

    • King Tubby

      Many thanks. Sundry response. I cherry pick thru most of the online papers you mention. Like the Independents obituaries, and despite my class war orientation, dislike the Guardian, wishy washy with really crap book reviews. For a conspiracy fix and John Ross’s stuff on Mexico, I hit counterpunch.org.

      Don’t have Mandarin, so am limited there. But pick up on news items below the radar of this site: Narrow Houses (if I have the title correct), the recent sex swingers case, Tibetan mastiffs, the Politburo Standing Committee shopping event, Bo Xilai the celebrity pol, syringe stabbling in Namping (I made a bundle teaching the little emperors in that burg-redecorated our apartment), the rape/net protest court case in Mawei, the school grooming case in a nearby country, but am probably more interested in water and environmental reports. Also HIV and sexual orientation stuff (past employment.)

      Trying to pick up the temperature at the local level is as equally important as the big picture stuff.

      You can drown in the detail of the contemporaneous which, much as I appreciate our hosts on this site, is often the case. I prefer the longer historians view and dont feel the need to parade my credentials. The slip shod use of sociological terminology by some/many posters on this site really p……s me off. But then reflect. If they think a quick view of wiki is going to create instant experts, all power to them. Some of my back posts have registered this annoyance, but Kai and colleagues have provided a mission statement, and if I want to dwell on the historical every time I see something which I consider superficial, well, I had better set up my own blog.

      Changing the subject, quite enjoyed reading Ha Jin’s War Trash recently. Enjoy your day, man.

      Already mentioned my extremely negative views on CNN previous post.

      • required

        So Cornell lost, as expected, but they fought a good fight.

        I have to admit, you know more about China than I do. But the only advantage I have probably is that I really don’t trust the translated stuff that much and especially for stuff out of China, I don’t go to MSM here in the US. I don’t have much opinion on CNN because I don’t use TV as my news source in general. The link I mentioned just happen to be with Ai Weiwei, to whom I have great respect and we are from the same generation, and he’s like my big brother. I know it’s not easy to do what he’s doing in China nowadays.

        I gave up on China more than 20 years ago. I dug more stuff on Tibet and India over the years and think those countries and peoples represent some hope for humanity. The earthquake a few years ago kind woke me up and that rekindle my interest in my home country because the intersection of earthquake, Tibet and Ai. It reminded me of Tangshan of 1976, a special year in Chinese history. The year I first participated in any political activities. In 1989 my hope crushed and I left the country. I thought maybe in 20 some years, China can be little bit better, but no. Look at the farce around the Beijing Olympics and this year’s SB (If you know pinyin and Chinese, you’ll get the joke here and it’s not my invention). And all the disasters, the fate of Tibetans, the suffering of the ordinary people. There is no hope unless CCP gives up, and I don’t think it’ll happen in my life time.

        Maybe it’s kind of racism, but I post here because Kai is a Chinese (hope I’m right). And I just pour some water on his fire. I really don’t care about any other people’s post and I don’t write anything beside glance the headline from the RSS reader. I don’t think they can understand China even if they live there. (Maybe I underestimated them, maybe it’s me who is incompetent. I lived here for 20 years but I hardly understand politics here, how come we let the clown lived in the White House for 8 years and no one around me voted him).

        I don’t know which side of the class war you are at, I only read somewhat high brow stuff on the newspaper, like art, theatre, books, non-hollywood film (but I like bollywood), music (classical and jazz). Maybe you don’t like it, there is a profile of Ai Weiwei on Guardian recently. If you really like obituaries, I suggest you read the Economist, it has one every week, and over the years, you almost see the history of the latter half of last century from the deeds they did.

        If you are into the water issue, currently the hot topic in China is the drought in Yunnan, you probably already know. But I don’t know if anyone mentioned this to you, the Yingdi (影帝, the best actor) had a pretty good performance in declining a cup of tea offered by villagers in order to alleviate water shortage of the area.

        I don’t know the situation is so bad. Maybe I should, remembering I studied environmental law in China 25 years ago.

        Sorry to use someone else’s place to dribble all these. Just one more plug for WTF with Marc Maron, I always think of him when anyone mentioned the name Lenny Bruce.

        • King Tubby

          Required. Nice reading and thanks. Its all pretty civil and Im sure that Kai will moderate if he disapproves of this conversation.

          • Other than laughing about required fashioning his responses as water to fire, I’m fine with this conversation. Of course, ideally, we shouldn’t stray too far off-topic so if you guys plan to continue recommend stuff to each other at length, might be better to get in touch personally via e-mail or something.

          • required

            Appreciated. And thanks Kai, for understanding. I’m kind old fashioned. Much prefer mailing lists. Otherwise, one on one communication makes more sense for me. Though I like to read blogs and forums, it’s hard to participate because the sprawling nature of the web.

            Have a nice weekend.