Jeffrey Wasserstrom: The Yellow Peril of Fu ManchuRoundup: Talking About History
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is a history professor at the University of California, Irvine and co-editor of "Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land."
Fear of China is back. But it's a nebulous fear, and this creates both an opportunity and an obstacle for the male and female anti-heroes of Christopher Buckley's latest look at the surreal world of lobbyist, the uneven but occasionally hilarious "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?" Both characters are eager to whip up anxiety about the Chinese military threat in hopes that Congress will fund development of a costly new weapon. They quickly realize, though, that China is different from radical Islam when it comes to generating dread.
There is no obvious panic-inducing face for this phobia, no counterpart to Osama bin Laden. Yes, there is clear evidence of China's leaders treating opponents brutally at home and bullying neighbors in territorial spats, but this alone can't transform Beijing's bland technocrats into terrifying bogeymen. When lined up for group photos, Mr. Buckley notes, they still just look "like a delegation of identical, overpaid dentists." No one in the book actually says it, but you can almost hear the protagonists crying out: "Where is Fu-Manchu when you need him?"...
comments powered by Disqus
- Obama May Create Monument to Gay Rights Movement
- China to release last prisoner jailed over Tiananmen Square protests
- Marine Corps investigating photo of iconic flag-raising on Iwo Jima
- Scholars Blast New Study Tracing Ashkenazi Jews to Khazars of Ancient Turkey
- Legendary Explorer’s Long-Lost Ship May Have Been Found Off Rhode Island
- The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past
- Andrew Roberts wins $250,000 prize from the conservative Bradley Foundation
- Daniel Aaron, Critic and Historian Who Pioneered American Studies, Dies at 103
- Liz Covart's amazingly popular podcast helps her audience understand early American history
- Justus Rosenberg is still teaching at age 95