Anthony Lane, usually the film critic at the New Yorker with David Denby, made me literally laugh out loud with his dispatch from the first week in Beijing.
“It was the same at Beijing Airport: the first thing I saw on arrival was a sniffer dog, but instead of some lunging German shepherd, with streaks of Baskerville-style foam along its jaws, there was a beagle. Now, beagles have been sniffing around U.S. airports for years, but this one was chasing a rubber ball. Running behind, at the end of its tether, was the dog’s keeper, laughing gaily, and behind him, somewhere in the seven years since Beijing won the Olympic bid, was a committee dedicated solely to canine propaganda. As long as one mutt-fancier from the tenderhearted West caught sight of the romping beagle and exclaimed to her husband, “Oh, look at little Snu Pi! See, they don’t eat them, they play with them!,” the committee’s job was done.”
Letter from Beijing: The Only Games in Town: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker.