April 16, 2004

Arrival in Hong Kong

Emergence from the Silver Tube

HONG KONG -- After 18 hours in the air and an hour on the ground in Vancouver, I emerged from the capsule to find that night had turned to day and New York had changed to Hong Kong.

On board the aircraft the world below was virtually nonexistent, but I did discover that Vanity Fair is back. Two years ago I let my subscription lapse to when the publication participated in what I perceived as hero worship of the Bush administration unjustified by the facts of 9/11. It seemed that a magazine that had previously offered at least a couple of worthwhile articles a month had dwindled to little more than a catalog of ads featuring cute girls and boys in pretentious poses.

But the April edition of Vanity Fair, which is still on the stands, has one of the best articles on the voting machine crisis and Bev Harris' uncovering of it yet to appear in a mainstream publication. The editor in chief has replaced the former picture in which he appeared in a near reclining posture to one in which he appears alert and ready to take on the issues of the day. And he has devoted his column to the voting machine crisis as well. Well done.

The issue also has a good article on the Neil Bush divorce and one on weblogs. So I'm thinking of renewing my subscription.

Though I've been lagged and running and unable to reach the site, I have seen news reports from the States, and better, heard comments from non-Americans about the news about the U.S. People are cautious when they ask my opinion on Bush but are visibly relieved when they hear me say that I loathe him.

"What do you think about the Iraq war?" one Hong Kong native asked me cautiously. Her body language signaled a major loosening when I said I thought it was completely bogus. People who are not subject to the news propaganda line of the U.S. media are baffled by what is going on in the States, but are happy to speak to Americans who don't buy the party line.

More later, but meanwhile: Why did Ashcroft stop flying commercial only weeks before 9-11? asks James Ridgeway in Village Voice

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