Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Morning at the Shop

The first few episodes of Ashita no Joe are interesting but I fear that once it gets into its groove it will get repetitive and boring, I remember watching the fight scenes as a kid scattered through many episodes all leaving the same impression. The animation is not bad for an old show something that I can't say for Mobile Suite Gundam or the original Battle Ship Yamato.

The other anime I watched at the same time is called Ore wo suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo which I think means "Are you the only one in love with me?" It looks like a light novel high school comedy romance based on a light novel but I don't whether it is actually based on a light novel or not.

The protagonists are both self-inserts but the latter tries to be closer to the reality of the audience whereas the ashita no joe goes for a victimised main character who is incredibly talented. Ashita feels a lot more like an old western film whereas Ore wo Suki is clearly in 100% anime otaku territory, The reason that the protagonist of ashita no joe is a self-insert is because of his age and gender: shounen.

They are both fantasies in that the audience neither is talented at boxing nor is assumed to have experienced a high school romance. The latter is more perverted but far less violent.  Joe is a bit lanky and feminine but not as much as the protagonist in Ore wo suki who is a semi-autobiographical light novel protagonist like Hikigaya Hachiman in Oregairu. Joe feels more like a melodrama trying to keep you interested with twists and turns whereas Ore wo Suki is more self-aware and plays with the trophes we have all come to love and hate while still retaining a procedural plot which is what distinguished anime from other television shows.

I would have to be dishonest to follow most of Dale Carnegie's advise in "How to win friends and influence people" because I am genuinely not interested in other people unless they offer me money or sex. One thing that I will agree with Carnegie with is that for most part it is useless to argue with other people. I used to believe otherwise but it only leads to wounded egos, resentment, confusion and people repeating their talking points while refusing to answer those of their opposition. Maybe sometimes this is the desired effect in a political debate but rarely in everyday life. This is the reason I prefer to argue with myself in these pages.

The black market is what saved Japan from starvation after the surrender. Rationing without real prices leads only to further scarcity. I am reading between the lines of some cutesy economically illiterate left-wing account of post war Japan starting from the occupation of Supreme Commander MacArthur.

I have been reading intently to see if there was something that the American forces did there which they did not do in Iraq, I have concluded that the reason that Japan is not a failure unlike Iraq is because the Americans left the power structures relatively intact and secondly Japan is a lot more culturally homogeneous so the Americans did not have to worry too much about balancing all the interests involved.

The author of Embracing Japan goes through a  great effort to glamourise the Japanese women monkey branching to their American conquerors betraying their country out of greed. He goes as far as to call these women "virtuous" and "loyal." The author refers to "wounded masculine pride" but fails to add "at a lack of feminine pride." In a double-act of equivocation he extracts respectability from the Japanese elite trying to keep things together and confers it to the "panpan" prostitutes who slept with GIs . The obvious parallel is not named of French women in Vichy France sleeping with their German conquerors. I do not blame these women for looking out for themselves but let us not pretend it is anything more than that by sugar coating sex for money and gifts by showering them with respectable terms like and virtue and loyalty. A good thing about this book is that it has many Japanese terms in romanji.

Despite all I have said I am not a conservative. Indeed if I could get my way I would let the market tear at the roots of most social institutions that conservatives value. Why? Because anything which cannot exist in the free market is not genuine no matter how good it may be - it is a lie. If I have to choose between what is good and what is true I would choose what is true every time because nothing strong can be based on a foundation of any lie - nothing lasting can be built on lies. I believe that the purpose of civilisation is to protect works of love as Rebecca West put it and this can only be in a society where we are free to make our souls - of course we are limited by whatever materials are at hand but this scarcity is only made worse by philosopher kings.

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