Yiwu Market, Christmas In Auschwitz

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Christmas In Yiwu

Dan W | 19th November 2014

Notes from Yiwu Market near Shanghai, a "vast permanent trade fair" of fancy goods for dollar stores, market stalls, souvenir shops. Twenty miles of Union Jack mugs, fridge magnets, passport covers, vuvuzelas, folding scooters, and seemingly half the world's Christmas decorations. "It felt like Yiwu contained every possible product, a physical analog to Alibaba. As if someone had inflated the Argos catalog to the scale of a city" (2,850 words)

Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’

Mark Steyn | Spectator | 24th December 2012

A hit song is popular for a few weeks, a standard for a few decades; White Christmas is in a class of its own. "Before radio, before a real record industry, the sheet-music business couldn’t see the point of working a song that would be dead on 26 December. The notion that it might be a seasonal insurance policy, returning year after year for decade after decade, never occurred to them. But it occurred to Irving Berlin" (1,100 words)

Is Christmas Efficient?

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 23rd December 2013

You can argue both ways, of course. For example: The seasonal surge is bad for workers already in jobs, who would doubtless prefer to smooth their supply of labour. But it's good for would-be workers in long-term unemployment who get hired because stores need extra retail help — and whose prospects improve beyond that because they get used to having a job again, and have something on their resumé (580 words)

Santa’s Privacy Policy

Laurence Hughes | McSweeney's | 23rd December 2010

"Sharing is one of the joys of Christmas. For this reason, we share your personal information with our affiliates, non-affiliated third parties, and anyone else who has a legitimate financial stake in a successful holiday season. Your information is also used in connection with delivering the kinds of goods and services you’ve come to expect from Santa, including but not limited to toys, games, good cheer, and holly jollyness" (980 words)

Last Christmas Of The War

Primo Levi | New York Review of Books | 30th January 1986

December 1944 in Auschwitz. "A package did finally find its way to me, through a chain of friends, sent by my sister and my mother, who were hidden in Italy. In the Camp, the terms eating, food, hunger had meanings totally different from their usual ones. That unexpected, improbable, impossible package was like a meteorite, a heavenly object, charged with symbols, immensely precious, and with an enormous momentum" (3,000 words)

Video of the day: Haneda Airport

What to expect: Tilt-shift time-lapse. An airport as as if it were a toy (3'49")

Thought for the day

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them
Paul Valéry (http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Diplomat-Dispatches-Unaccountable-Politics/dp/0801445574)

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