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May 01, 2008

Biz and Travel Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Michael Wade compresses a lot of wisdom about the virtues of quick-and-dirty into this short posting.

* Did you know that the cubicle-style office was born of utopian theorizing?

* Alan Little returns from a business trip to India.

* As the Olympics approach, Welmer recalls what Beijing was like when he was there in the late '90s: here and here.

* The dollar is taking a serious dive, of course. (A guy I chatted with last night does business with China. He told me that big-box shoppers -- who have been used to bargains on China-made goods for some years now -- are in for some serious price shocks come the end of 2008.) But how secure is the Euro?



posted by Michael at May 1, 2008


Interesting comments from Alan Little, whose blog I enjoy (when he updates it!). But I must confess to feeling depressed at the ease with which westerners have capitulated to the entirely egregious renaming of various Indian cities, a capitulation both unneccessary and unesthetic.

Cases in point: Kolkata for Calcutta, Chennai for Madras, Mumbai for Bombay, and (my bete noire) Viranasi for Benares. In each case, a less evocative, less familiar and even ugly (Kolkata?) substitution has been made, even though no renaming of any city by any Indian politician requires AT ALL that westerners use those names. The same situation (details are different) applies to China, what with Beijing for Peking, Guangzhou for Canton, and others.

We have English names for all of those places, names present in our history books, films, food, music and folklore. These names have been abandoned for inferior neologisticisysmatizations, and we never had to do it.

We have never been under any obligation to use the names foisted on us by Chinese or Indian pols or anybody else.

We don't call Germany "Deutschland", and we don't ask that anybody call our cities by our own names. So why, oh why, do we allow others to dictate to us what names we use for them?

I hereafter refuse to use any of the ahistorical atrocities I've mentioned above. And any others I come across. Starting with Myanmar. From now on, Burma it is!

Posted by: PatrickH on May 1, 2008 1:10 PM

Hear, hear, Patrick! I heartily concur.

Re: cubicle-style offices being a utopian idea that didn't pan out; not surprising, is it? I experienced '70s experimentalism at its worst, in the design of my high school along "open concept" lines - basically the same thing as office cubicles, eliminating actual classrooms. It was a disaster, and slowly but surely, that school is building classrooms, replacing the open areas that were only separated by portable partitions.

Whatever happened to, if it ain't broke, don't fix it?

Posted by: Will S. on May 2, 2008 9:44 AM

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