The Problem with Cultural Relations…

…is fairly described by the New York Times in Beijing, where a post-performance discussion of an American-company-led drama about the Pentagon Papers and government secrecy was cancelled.

Next up with this topic is for us to here take up Ezra Vogel’s treatment (in a text which, in its overall voluminousness, exemplifies the notion of writing as a kind of maintained physique whose restless forward motion only occasionally bypasses a topics so plainly and potentially consequential — such as that of John Denver performing a song ‘Rocky Mountain High’ for Deng Xiaoping at the Kennedy Center in January 1979) of the same topic.   Vogel, perhaps to his credit, is not particularly interested in the history of popular reception in China toward the music of John Denver, but his painting of the story of US-China relations and the liberation culture of the 1980s in China so rudely brought to an end on June 4, 1989 is also embedded in his immense new biography of Deng Xiaoping.

I had a chance to perform with Mister John Denver himself as part of a small children’s choir that accompanied him on a tour he was making in order to promote sustainable rural, solar-powered houses in the United States in 1990, and in 1993 Denver took his music to China, where it has remained popular.  Who knows if the 1979 performance for Deng opened the door, but John Denver seemed to walk freely through the aperture:

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