Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


I was intrigued by Emily's observation a couple of weeks back that The New Yorker has been covering China so assiduously in recent months.

That got my devious little mind into gear. I looked into it, and she sure isn't making it up. There have been a bunch of articles covering China since the start of the year, and the good news is, most of them are available online.

With only about three weeks until the start of the Beijing Olympics, we provide a handy list. (I'll update this periodically.)

Evan Osnos, "The Boxing Rebellion," February 4, 2008

Peter Schjeldahl, "Gunpowder Plots," February 25, 2008

Peter Hessler, "The Wonder Years," March 31, 2008

Jonathan Franzen, "The Way of the Puffin," April 21, 2008

Paul Goldberger, "Situation Terminal," April 21, 2008

Evan Osnos, "Crazy English," April 28, 2008

Yiyun Li, "A Man Like Him," May 12, 2008

Peter Hessler, "After the Earthquake," May 19, 2008

James Surowiecki, "The Free-Trade Paradox," May 26, 2008

Paul Goldberger, "Out of the Blocks," June 2, 2008

Pankaj Mishra, "Tiananmen's Wake," June 30, 2008

Paul Goldberger, "Forbidden Cities," June 30, 2008

Alex Ross, "Symphony of Millions," July 7, 2008

Patricia Marx, "Buy Shanghai!," July 21, 2008

Evan Osnos, "Angry Youth," July 28, 2008

David Remnick, "The Olympian," August 4, 2008

Did I miss any? Be sure to let us know!


A handy list? I think the fascination with China is more than the usual Olympics-related hoopla. Could it be that we’re also looking over our shoulders at a rising, soon-to-be competing superpower?

Yes, I think that’s correct. I think the Olympics are providing an occasion for a body like The New Yorker to acknowledge China’s importance and increase coverage by whatever percent. Which is pretty much exactly the kind of thing China was hoping for when it got the Olympics.

On the other hand, a skeptic could surely point to many articles about China prior to 2008. I still say there’s a connection.

Oops. I meant there to be an exclamation point rather than question mark after “handy list.” Oh, punctuation…you raise your useful head again.

I agree: the Olympics provide an excellent excuse for extra coverage on the numerous and quite rapid changes in China today. There were numerous articles on China before but my impression is that they emphasized the opium-clouded quaintness and exotic nature of China, rather than what seems to be the case today: China’s quite modern, ambitious, and thrusting power, symbolized by the Olympic bid and the world’s largest airport, for example.

Hmmm. Yes, perhaps. But quantity also alters meaning: If you are running two stories a year on the place, your theses are likely to be tentative and inherited. If you run ten pieces in four months, it’s more likely that you are venturing a bolder view of a formidable nation at a pivotal point in its development, or the like. Almost regardless of the content, the number of stories is itself a way of saying, “Something important and complex is happening here.”


I’m working with Travel Channel’s online community team and noticed that you are blogging about China. I thought you and your readers might be interested to know that Travel Channel is doing an entire week of programming dedicated to China beginning Sunday, July 27 at 8pm (ET/PT).

Highlights of China week include:

Wild China - Four years in the making, this epic six-part mini-series event shot in HD (a la Planet Earth) will immerse viewers in the beauty of the Chinese countryside. The six-part mini-series event begins with three shows on Sunday, July 27 and ends with three shows on Sunday, Aug 3. I am personally looking forward to seeing this!

Passport to China - Samantha Brown takes viewers on a personal tour of China’s cities and attractions.

Seven Wonders of China - Viewers will see the unique features and little known history of China’s grand structures.

Encore episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern featuring their previous excursions to China will also air.

If you are interested in posting about China week on your blog and want more information, check out the e-kit at http://www.media.travelchannel.com/ekit/china/deploy/schedule.html. To see the full schedule of shows for the week click here.

On a more personal note, I hope you do not find this email offensive. I maintain my own personal blog and understand how annoying spammy email can be. If you have ideas on how Travel Channel might be able to promote your site or better contribute to your interests – please be sure to let me know.

With appreciation,

Emma Sefton
Room 214, Inc. on behalf of Travel Channel

I’m seeing this late (after the Sunday slate of shows has shown), but I, for one, am glad to hear about it.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree