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James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around the Carcass of Japan

With Japan's "lost 20 years" being extended into another decade, the Japanese are dying for assurances and reassurances from America that their country is not really done yet. And that's where self-proclaimed Japan experts in the U.S. swoop down one after another like a flock of starved vultures.

It takes a firstrate chutzpah to rope people into believing Japan still shows vital signs without the help of a life-support system, but actually not a few American pundits and scholars have that impudence.

James L. Huffman, professor emeritus at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio (photo) is one of them. Like many others, the professor is ready to do whatever it takes to feed on the dead meat.

The Commentary page of the January 1 edition of the Daily Yomiuri features a breathtakingly ridiculous interview piece under the title of "Incompetent leaders no hindrance to progress." The caption summarizes the comments Huffman made in response to the phony questions raised by Cameron McLauchlan, DY staff writer, on behalf of Japanese suckers.

At the beginning, McLauchlan asked: "Japanese governments over the years have often been described as weak and leaderless. So where has the energy that developed Japan into a major power come from?" So the entire interview was conducted based on the false assumption that this country still remains a major power after all these lost 20 years.

They made believe Japan's international competitiveness has not fallen from No. 1 in 1990 to No. 27 in 2010, and that the accelerated exodus of top-notch scientists and engineers to China is an imaginary thing. This was only to allow the fraudulent professor to resort to his special skills in acrobatic logic to make absurd argumentation such as this:

"The Japanese people have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. They have always been highly innovative. That spirit may spring partly from the fact that government control has been lacking, or at least highly ineffective, in some periods."

But at the end of the interview, the interviewer and interviewee betrayed their transparent sophism. McLauchlan asked: "As a historian, what advice would you give to Japanese leaders today?"

Huffman should have answered, "As I said, the ineffectiveness on the part of the government fosters, rather than hinders, the innovativeness on the part of the people. In that sense, Naoto Kan is an ideal prime minister and needs no advice from me." Instead, however, the American historian had the nerve to say matter-of-factly that Kan should learn from the early-Meiji politicians such as Hirobumi Ito or Aritomo Yamagata who were driven by national prosperity and strength.

This indicates that the old Japan expert has lost touch with the subject country. Actually, Kan has learned too much from the early days of Japan's aspiration for a modern nation-state to learn how it ended up in failure in 1945.

I wonder how the bastard emeritus from Ohio would respond if I asked him: "By the same token, do you think the ineptness and idiocy of the American people, including yourself, are primarily attributable to the fact that U.S. Presidents in recent years, such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, have all been too great?"

In any event, Huffman had better scavenge for rotten meat on his own turf.

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James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around Japan's Carcass
Authored by: samwidge on Sunday, January 02 2011 @ 08:12 AM JST
If you think this interview was, "breathtakingly ridiculous," then you would be absolutely amazed by a TV show that is among America's most popular. This is "The View."

Our program daily features five or six women in their 60s and 70s discussing things that matter to them (and that should not matter to anybody else).

Content of the show is like the women's makeup; useless, pointless and tasteless. Oh, there have been a few times when one of these old bags chose to badmouth half of our political spectrum with mindless hate but that's about it. Essentially, the program presents tripe ice-cream except when it presents battery acid gin.

Programs like this serve only to demonstrate how easily the public may be pushed about while more focused minds go about their political work without being bothered.

Not being bothered; that's an important thing. If the average Joe on the street thinks that a prime minister ought to put two chickens in every pot and a car in every garage, then the average Joe is incompetent to question taxation or asphalt replacement.

Frankly, I would like to see your Huffman article extended much further. For instance, if ordinary citizens were as smart and motivated as they ought to be, then what subjects would be in this program?

Grant that the average investigative journalist can often get a genuine news source to speak, then who ought to be asked to talk about what?

More interestingly, if you were the producer of a new TV political issues program, then how would you organize your staff? Who would you choose to contribute edited video? How far ahead would you record interviews so that you could have enough good material to keep every show meaningful?

Could your show be powerful enough to interview foreign dignitaries who despise Japan?

Could you generate the kind of material that would force current Japanese officials to watch everything you present? Those are the guys who are not bothered now and who work without input. Could your show be their source of intelligence that they are not otherwise capable of gathering?

How large would your budget need to be?

You would need non-paid interns. How would you lure them? What criteria would you use to select them.

In the ideal, who would be your host and main presenter?

These are not mere idle questions. My own career was in minor-league journalism and I worked alone. It turns out that I got the right guests and I asked the right questions. Unfortunately, I failed completely to understand that I could have multiplied my income by hundreds of times by forming a motivated team and by feeding the team's work to major broadcasters and journals.

Get serious here. We both know how to do it wrong. How should we have done it right?

James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around Japan's Carcass
Authored by: samwidge on Sunday, January 02 2011 @ 08:31 AM JST

And another thing...

You and I and, presumably your other readers, are staunch admirers of Dr. Gordon Chang. Dr. Chang is a significant mind that asks profound questions.

Unfortunately, Dr. Chang does not have the world attention he so richly deserves.

Pose this hypothetical question to everyone you know -- If a group of us could help Chang to greatness, how would we do it? Would we form a media team? Would we set Chang up as a Television host and get guests that refuse to talk with anyone else?

Would we pose Chang as an influential Conservative who works on the world stage? Or would we pose this successful writer and presenter as a purely scientific questioner of planetary events?

If you and I were young again, what helps would we need make our intelligence of value to everyone?

Could we argue key points with our viewers/readers and maintain public affection?

What kinds of help and guidance would we have required for ourselves so long ago to stay focused and commercially successful in a circumstance that (falsely) claims to care nothing for pay?

Could we have developed large enough team to turn all of our own video into text for print media?

What kinds of contacts would we need to gain time on the networks today?
James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around Japan's Carcass
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Sunday, January 02 2011 @ 09:13 AM JST


Your comments involve so many important issues that it takes me sometime to digest them. But for now let me single out your comparison between "The View" and the Huffman interview.

I haven't watched that program but obviously it deals with issues relevant to old "bags" in the U.S. whereas Huffman's oracle is totally irrelevant to anybody but Japanese newspaper publishers.

Just imagine what if a Japanese man appeared on The Views to say American hags such as Clinton look charming if you look at her with your eyes blindfolded. That's what the American professor took a long trip to Japan for. Only blindfolded Japanese felt flattered.

Yu Yamamoto