June 14, 2010
Fresh from the Crazy-Enough-To-Be-True Department is a piece about white men (who are not business executives) being hired to pose as American business executives for social meet-and-greets in China. The story, running in The Atlantic, is one of those rare pieces that is honestly, genuinely stranger than it sounds—particularly if you spend any spare time during the off-work hours pondering the notion of white privilege. Mitch Moxley’s intro goes like this:
“Not Long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.”
As straightforward as it reads, the details that Moxley expands upon in the piece begin to tickle the nagging, guilty questions a white man such as myself might ask themselves. A prime example being: “Would this be greatest job ever, or a silent stealth curse which would quietly poison foreign trade for years to come?”
I’ll go ahead and say it’s probably both. The only other people I know who get paid to watch movies all day still have the obligation of writing about them later.
Art direction by (the patient) Melissa Bluey.