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Archive for June, 2010

Ever since China unpegged the renminbi from the US dollar, it looks like people are tracking every miniscule movement in the currency.  Check out this AFP story (via the Hindu):

The People’s Bank of China said it set the central parity rate — the centre point of the currency’s allowed trading band — at 6.7890 to the dollar, a fraction stronger than Friday’s 6.7896. It was the strongest level policymakers have set since China un-pegged the currency in July 2005 and moved to a tightly managed floating exchange rate, but analysts said the move did not signify a major shift. In Monday trade, the yuan was weaker at around 6.7912 to the dollar.

Really?  I’m not an expert, maybe six ten-thousandths is more significant that I expect, but did it really need a story written on it (albeit a really short one)?  Particularly when your unnamed analysts are downplaying it?

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So, this is a bit old, took me a long time to get to it, but in addition to they’re ridiculous immigration law, Arizona has also been evaluating English teachers by their accents.  Language Log has a pretty good article about it.  For me it basically boils down to this:  These teachers already have certification of their English fluency, and English is very wide-ranging in terms of differing dialects and native accents, including having several different standards for different countries that a certain amount of foreign accent isn’t that far from the norm.  Not only that, the same teachers being targeted because of foreign accents may speak the native language of the ESL students they teach, which can benefit their learning.  They shouldn’t be discriminated against because they have not 100% internalized the phonology of some native variety of English.

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Image from Wikipedia*

So, the remake of Red Dawn has been in the news recently, and from what I’ve heard of it, I have a feeling I won’t be going to see it.   Why?  There’s several reasons floating around that might make it not such a palatable movie, especially for people interested in China:

  1. It is steeped in American nationalist mythology and propaganda
  2. It appeals to xenophobic attitudes toward China
  3. It’s a product of outdated, Cold War era “red menace” thinking.

And all of those reasons have an influence on me, but my main reason for not being so interested is this:  The major premise is so contrived and ridiculous that I would find it difficult to maintain suspension of disbelief.

Why would China invade the US, which is probably at this point it’s most important economic partner?  What possible interest would they have that would override keeping us stable?  And would they really be able to take a US city without some serious resistance from our military?  It just seems ridiculous that an event like that could occur in the current political climate.  From what I’ve picked up through searching around (warning: spoilers), there are a series of very unlikely events that lead to the attack, chief among them being a deployment of US troops to Taiwan.

Now, on a note of fairness, I have never seen the original 1984 film (it came out before I was born), so I don’t know what the source material was like.  But seeing what I see of it, I don’t think I’ll be seeing this in a theater.  If I go for it at all, I’ll wait and rent it on DVD or find it on TV.  Anyway, here are a couple places to find info on the film, including more reasons not to watch it.

  • Official Movie Site: Not much going on here, yet
  • Red Dawn 2010:  An unofficial site with some news and fan-made content
  • Daily Finance: A good overview of some of the criticisms and the plot points of the movie.
  • The Awl (via Evan Osnos):  This Article actually launches into a lot of broader topics.  Though I do feel at times the author reached a little too far in attempts to dig up more xenophobia, it’s worth clicking to see some rather bizarre little snippets of the script.
  • People’s Daily: The expected response from Chinese media.  In this case I think it’s … partly justified.  Not entirely I’m sure

*Small note:  I’m really curious as to why the star has 八一 (eight-one) inside it. EDIT: Carl on the sofa told me that August first commemorates the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (August 1, 1927 to be exact, the date of the Nanchang Uprising).

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