more evidence that china and the usa really are the same country

Back in the day — and a good fifteen years ago it was — Shenzhen University gave me toilet paper and toothpaste,  economy sized bottles of shampoo and other necessities as part of my new year’s bonus. This year, they gave an impressively health conscious and self-consciously environmental package of whole grains, legumes, and two bottles of Spanish olive oil. In addition, they included a shopping cart that has a map of the university campus printed on its sack and two coffee cups. I used to think, “What the f—?” upon receiving a sleeve of 10 rolls of toilet paper. But now I’m happy to receive such plenty, especially because neither organic grains nor imported olive oil come cheap. Thus, it is perhaps worth noting that the economic conditions of the imagined university community have shifted into familiar territory. Shenzhen University teachers and staff imagine themselves to be and engage society as full on members of an enlightened, cosmopolitan middle class. And that’s point du jour:  our paths cross in the fantasy land of neoliberal desire because as a child of the Jersey suburbs, I still live there, no matter where my body might physically be located.

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