Ill with the future

I came back home last week, and after taking a couple of runs through town everything seems to still be more or less where it was before. Apparently my running like a maniac back and forth in front of the trees and statues all last summer didn’t make any converts. I noticed signs of more gradual slide though; I’m glad that I’m not going to elementary school in these times, since I ran past my old elementary school and saw that the marquee in front said: “An Evening of Sharing.” A night of sharing…what? Venereal diseases? Vicious rumors?

I think I left China just in time though. I suspect imminent economic dissolution as the entire structure collapses into the vortex of its own lies and made-up employment statistics. And of course it still faces the near-annual Christmastime tradition of the recall of millions of Chinese-made toys containing dangerous toxins, unless the manufacturers try to take advantage of the ever-present popularity of exoticism among Western customers and the growing brand nationalism of Chinese buyers by promoting toys containing lead paint as Childhood Fun With Chinese Characteristics.

Also, my body had reached saturation in many different ways. For example, before I went to Shanghai in August I hadn’t even heard that it was hosting the World Expo next year, and actually, after two months of relentless advertising bombardment, I’ve almost returned to a state of being unaware of it, as I think my brain has begun expelling undigested chunks of Expo-related propaganda, just like my intestine has stir-fried food. Many people seem to fear swine flu mutating to create some kind of super-pathogen, but I worry more that the Chinese government will seek a more efficient means to infiltrate its passive subjects’ brains by weaponizing Expo propaganda, combining it with the flu to create what could then quite literally be called Expo fever. I will know to be afraid if I hear people coughing and expressing enthusiasm for magnetic tramways and ecologically responsible sidewalks.

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