16 March 2007

There is chaos under heaven

Priceless cartoon this week of Richard Nixon and Mao Tse-tung dancing cheek to cheek under a hammer-and-sickle moon, to the strains of an accordian waltz squeezed out by a hip-height Henry Kissinger.

The drawing accompanies Louis Menand's review of "Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World," a blow-by-blow of Tricky Dick's 1972 trip to Beijing.

Four highlights of the trip:
Mao takes Kissinger's measure: "Just a funny little man. He is shuddering with nerves all over every time he comes to see me."

Pat Nixon prevails over her handlers and arrives in Beijing in red, a colour worn only by prostitutes.

Nixon, prodded for his thoughts on the Great Wall, provides them: "This is a great wall."

A collective (not to say Communistic) whoosh of anxiety moves north from Taipei—the official capital of China for just seven years more.
Bloggers are not doing backflips over this article. The two I found are yawning and making meta-points, like you do in a pizzeria when you're coming down.

Pater Familias asks, 'What if Nixon hadn't gone to China?' (Someone else would have, apparently.) And Momentary Language wonders, not wrongly, about Menand's description of Nixon and Kissinger together:
"The couple was odd in many dimensions. Kissinger was a ladies' man (or cultivated the reputation); Nixon had trouble opening a bottle of aspirin."
I just found this question in the GRE practice questions.
27) Being a ladies' man : opening aspirin bottles ::

a) wolf : hound
b) soap : tallow
c) root : shrub
d) blazon : efface
What's your vote?

(Illustration: Edward Sorel.)

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