• They don’t know either . . .

A Tribune story Monday datelined Beijing gets off to an intriguing start:

“A large swath of China has been gripped for days by what is being called an ‘airpocalypse,’ a prolonged spell of the worst air pollution on record in Beijing.”

Called by whom?

Is this what the locals have dubbed it? In that case there’s a bigger story here—the rise of English as the universal language of grass-roots sarcasm.

No one’s quoted in the story but Zhao Zhangyuan of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences. If the quip’s his, don’t you think he deserves credit for his ability to get off a good one in a second language?