Culture Slide

I decided to make use of slow bus rides to learn American history.

It’s embarrassing that my Chinese friends know more about American  history than I do, and to make it worse, that I also know almost   nothing about Chinese history.  Indeed, I didn’t know who Mao was  until I was well into college, and just learned since being here that   Japan actually occupied China substantially last century.  I really  don’t know how I missed that, but geez there’s a lot of history that’s   pretty darn relevant for what’s going on nowadays that I still don’t  know.    

But I’m not alone:  Americans tend to have a really short attention   span and a crappy sense of history. (Read Neil Postman’s Amusing  Ourselves to Death, seriously good book. And it’s short, in case your   attention span is also short.)  China seems to have a really long  attention span and they care a lot about their history.  But now the paradigm is changing, it seems.  Where stability and   continuity mattered before, progress and evolution seems to be  mattering now.  

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