Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Open Letter To China

Dear China,

Stop trying to kill me. 

It seems like
every day, I read a new story about how you're pumping up my food,
medicines and hygiene products with antifreeze. First, you have me
frantically reading the ingredients on my dog's pet food to make sure
I'm not feeding her tainted wheat gluten. Then, you target my

And recently, I had to rummage through all of Zev's
toys to make sure my toddler's favorite choo-choo trains weren't
covered in lead paint. Next, I hear you've slipped unsafe food color
into my juice. 

What gives, China?

Sure, it's possible
that the dissemination of toxic substances is the result of lax
government oversight in the face of cutthroat global economic
realities. But, I prefer to think of this as you trying, very
specifically, to kill me.

After all, the recent recall of
Thomas the Train cars went into effect the very same day I bought my
son a huge train set for his birthday. Coincidence? I think not. And
when did all those Panamanians keel over dead from poisoned cough syrup
manufactured in China? The same week I developed a respiratory
infection! Case closed: You're trying to kill me. Now, stop.

have no reason to target me. I'm not a terribly powerful person
(despite the affirmations I tell my mirror each morning), and once you
get to know me, I'm actually kinda nice. I'm certain that if you and I
enjoyed a few beers together, you'd realize you don't really want to
fill my mouth with kerosene.   

You'd know that all I want to do
is to be able to buy ridiculously cheap cough medicine produced through
the toil of impoverished laborers in your country without having to
feel bad … about what might be lurking in the syrup.

I harbor no ill will, China. Can't we just be friends? 

considered the possibility that it's not just me you're after, that
these toxic products are part of a larger plot to bring all Americans
to their knees. But there are two things wrong with this idea: 1. It
takes the focus away from me, and 2. It would never work.

month in Alabama, 11-year-old Jamison Stone unloaded eight shots from a
.50-caliber revolver into a 1,060-pound pig, then chased it for three
hours in the woods, before walking right up to the hulking
9-foot-4-inch beast and shooting it dead with a point-blank shot.   

You think your little red choo-choo trains are going to take down a nation of Jamison Stones? No. Clearly, it's me you're after.

think I know why, too: It's because I'm on to you. When the history
books about modern American culture are finally written (in Mandarin,
no doubt), it will be clear that terrorist attacks and diethylene
glycol didn't topple our nation. Britney Spears did. 

I was at
an improv comedy class the other night where actors had to riff on
different celebrities. When given the suggestion "Barack Obama," half
the actors stared at each other blankly.

"Barack Obama is a presidential candidate," the instructor had to explain. 

Another suggestion came in from the audience: "Paris Hilton."

"Yeah, OK," the actors said. "Let's just go with Paris Hilton." 

we do bother to pay attention to current events, it's only for the
purposes of exploitation and personal profit. Have you seen Maxim's
July issue featuring Women of the Israeli Defense Forces?

course you have. I have your number, China. Now that I hang out with
stay-at-home moms I have a better grasp of how pervasive – and toxic –
celebrity culture is in America.   

It seems we gobble up more
gossip than cola, cookies and candy combined. There is no way that
anything we consume this much of could possibly be made in America – we
couldn't afford it if it were. So that means, somehow, celebrity
obsession is made in China.

I'm not entirely sure how it all
works, but I'm certain that you want to snuff me out before I get close
enough to Lindsay Lohan to check for a "Made in China" label on the
back of her neck. 

Let me assure you, China, that I have no
intention of foiling your plot. I have completely succumbed –
surrendered – to your mass-produced celebrity obsessions. I'm even
planning on TiVoing Paris Hilton's first post-jailhouse interview.

put down the toothpaste, and let's declare a truce: Grab a seat on my
couch, China, click on the tube, and we'll watch what they say about
Rosie on "The View." You can bring the popcorn.   

On second thought, I'll handle the snacks.

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious, and just a bit more truthful than I care to contemplate.