Chief of Police: One man cannot move a mountain.
Charlie Chan: No, but two men can start digging.
- Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935) calling a spade a spade
Fifty years ago, Capitalists Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger initiated their rapprochement with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after 25 years of total silence between the world's two leading economic ideologies. America was in a Cold War with the 'SPECTRE' Soviets, but it was a Cold Shoulder they shared with the Chinese. A wall had come up between them. Through backchannels and diplomatic alleyways, the Commie-hating Nixon was invited to come play some ping-pong and shoot the sh*t with Chairman Mao Zedong. Nixon's sudden announcement that he'd be going to China in 1972 was a shocker, election year or not. (What's next, some of us thought, will Tricky be inviting Timothy Leary over at the White House for Quaaludes and cubes?) Fear and Loathing had begun.
Many folks agreed (but not Peter Seeger) that when Nixon went electric with Mao and Chou in February 1972 it was as monumentally meaningful as Mr. Jones's chatfest with Napoleon in rags at the end of Orwell's Animal Farm. Look Left, look Right, tell me what you see. Mao snarked about the American Left-Right in his conversation, calling the Left-Left disingenuous reactionaries (i.e., the pampered middle class). Nixon and Mao and Kissinger and Chou chowed down with bonhomme and good humor, the world was their oyster, on the half shell.
At one point, Mao shot down Nixon's passive aggressive attempt at flattery:
Nixon: I read your book [The Little Red Book]. You moved a nation and changed the world. [Mao looks at Chou, who laughs]
Mao: Oh, I don't know about that. Maybe one neighborhood in Beijing. [Chou laughs so hard, Kissinger manoeuvres das Heimliche]
And soon tiring of Nixon, Mao called it a day:
Mao: I don't feel so well. [the translator almost said, "You make me sick.]
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