Andrew on Medium: February 2022
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I began this year, as I have the last few years, with more than a month of solitude. It isn’t personal practice and it isn’t policy, at least not in any formal sense. It is merely the state of affairs for an outsider working in a Chinese university.
For all the fame that Japanese arcades have acquired over the years, I think that Chinese arcades are even more significant. The government banned the importation of arcade machines along with all other video game hardware in 2000, but arcade machines were welcomed back into the country years before home consoles. This made the arcade an important part of the reintroduction of video games into China, and they remain popular to this day.
Yet here we are, with the majority of the states now considering bills restricting academic speech in one way or another. Book bannings are back in vogue, while demagogues hastily scratch out bills to stop an ever-growing list of boogeymen. And what was once the domain of independent cranks whose ability to cause harm was limited to their local school districts, this new campaign is increasingly organized and well-funded. The loud little handful is getting louder, and their voices are having an impact.