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America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different

Yesterday I received this mail from Facebook. Its title read like this: Reminder - John Carmichael invited you to join Facebook.

John is one of my American buddies currently living in Kanagawa, the prefecture where I live. Over the yearend he has been saying, "Why don't you sign up to Facebook? It's fun." I was just temporizing.

When I was going to delete the mail, I gave it a final glance and realized six pictures were embedded there under the text that went: "Other people you may know on Facebook:"

And yes, I know five faces out of the six. They included Jack, my close American friend living in Montana, Benjamin Fulford, not-too-close Canadian friend living in Tokyo, and the wife of my estranged brother living in Chicago. This made me feel uneasy because none of them can have mentioned my name, let alone my mail address, on their Facebook pages.

I asked Jack where he thought Facebook got the idea that I "may know" these faces. In response, the Montanan told me that Facebook is doing "a large-scale analysis of e-mail traffic" all over the world and around the clock. He added that I should not worry too much because this is an "automatic process." He wanted to say although there have been technologies enabling web traffic analysis for quite some time now, no one in Facebook is abusing them. Despite his valuable tips, I couldn't totally wipe out my sense of uneasiness. There's something which is fundamentally wrong with the reminder of John's casual invitation.

Not that I'm eager to make sure my privacy is fully secured.

By now I have become so used to living a life like East Germans' before the Berlin Wall was torn down, that I don't give a damn about the idea that someone at a Stasi-like organization in the U.S. such as CIA, a vendor of firewall products or a social networking service provider may put my web behavior under 24-hour surveillance. As a poverty-stricken pensioner on the brink of going homeless, I have nothing to lose by being subjected to their analysis unless someone skims my credit card numbers and passwords associated with them. Besides, my intellectual property has proved worthless in the communist country named the United States of America because it's nothing more than an undistorted truth that the American people do not want to know.

What really worries me about the mail from "the Facebook Team" is the fact that Mark Zuckerberg, TIME's Person of the Year 2010, who was just one of those empty-headed punks at the Harvard campus, has now successfully mesmerized more than 100 million American adults into accepting the absurd idea that there should always be a common denominator among the people in the U.S. and its "docile satellites" such as Japan.

Based on this false assumption, Facebook, Inc. thought I might want to reestablish contact on its website with my estranged brother and sister-in-law or my Canadian friend with whom I've been divided over his fraudulent conspiracy theories.

Facebook is not alone in assuming anyone can share his idea with anyone else only by joining the network. Twitter, Inc. also thinks it is facilitating communication among different groups of people. This holds true only where ideas to be shared among millions of participants are something that can be expressed in insipid and shallow ideological notions. But what if you want to communicate more intricate thoughts with others?

The Twitter website always reminds me of the Haiku mentality that dominates the Japanese culture in every nook and cranny. Once again, the basic premise on which the Japanese interact with each other is that there always is a homogenized and standardized understanding of things between the sender and the receiver of a message. If that assumption is false, you can never share an idea or feeling in a 17-syllable format. By the same token, the twitterers have to assume that from the beginning, they share the identical frame of mind with the readers of their "microblogs" so they can tweet within the limit of 140 characters.


In short, the social background against which hundreds of millions of American Netizens are exchanging their views is something very similar to that of a totalitarian regime. And in that respect, you can see a striking resemblance between America and Japan.

You may not know it, but America was once a nation that valued differences more than anything else because only a fundamental difference can serve as change agent. But now its people don't tolerate anything more than racial diversity and the false contentions between liberals and conservatives.

In my opinion, the worst possible totalitarian regime is one where people think they are exercising an unfettered freedom of speech despite the fact that in reality, a lot of taboos are subtly gagging them.

As I always say, China's Great Firewall pales before the Glass Firewalls facing the Americans and the Japanese simply because they don't see what actually hinders their progress. Unlike the East Germans or the Chinese, they have grown too complacent to think about tearing down the Glass Firewalls.
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America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different | 5 comments | Create New Account
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America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different
Authored by: samwidge on Friday, January 21 2011 @ 01:48 PM JST

You, Mr. Yamamoto, are a grumpy old man.

Welcome to the club.

You mention that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was made a TIME Magazine "Person of the Year." I presume that came about because of the magazine's incorrect definition of charity and the presumption that gifts given in this young man's name are kindhearted.

Real charity is given without the recipient knowing the giver's name. In that way, recipients are able to retain their self respect and pride. It works best that way.

Joe Stalin was also a young man once and he also made ig gifts after bumping off loads of his people.

Each made profit on the suffering backs of others. Zuckerberg and Stalin are both well known.

I achieved a certain fame, myself, by writing the following lines:

We Humans are supremely smug,
Superior to any bug.

Or so we teach our little brats.
How come the lowly spider that's,

At evolution's bottom rung,
Has sense enough to eat her young?

Hopefully, there is a lesson in that.
America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 02:09 AM JST


samwidge,

You are right when you call me an old man because that's what I am. But believe me, I'm not grumpy because I don't complain about anything.

A growing number of American "intellectuals" are looking eastward these days as if they have something at home that they don't want to look at. By now most of them have shifted their interest to China, but still there are quite a few Japanologists who try hard to assure the Japanese that they are mentally healthy, and thus, viable people.

According to these Japanophiles, their subject people are diligent, innovative, clean, polite, group-oriented, compassionate and philanthropic. So I just thought I should reciprocate their kind words.

Actually I wanted to say I find all these attributes, perhaps except cleanliness, in Zuckerberg and his fellow countrymen. I don't know, though, if "Digital Maoism" is the right words to describe their trait.

By the way, I found your skills to compose rhymes really superb. I suspect that you may have posted this particular one on the Twitter website, but it sounds very witty and profound.

Yu Yamamoto
America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different
Authored by: samwidge on Sunday, January 23 2011 @ 07:58 AM JST

Grumpy. Belligerent. Grouchy.

Doesn't matter what it is. We still want you in our club.

Your observation that, 'American "intellectuals" are looking eastward these days... ' reminds how fickle human sentiment can be.

You will recall that as late as the 1970s we considered all Orientals to be weak-minded people who made and sold the poorest possible products.

Now we communicate via LG, drive our Toyotas to work and build with our Komatsus. American brain surgery is done with Japanese invention and Chinese equipment .

You and I both suppose that next America will be just another Somalia.
America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different
Authored by: Diogenes on Wednesday, April 27 2011 @ 04:57 PM JST
I read once that the Internet was released to the general public from the military/industrial complex because it was sold by Geeks as the ultimate tool to track and monitor people. If you think about it, Google and Yahoo, for example, log your searches. Both search engines have had their price lists for data posted on the web, which bothered them to no end. Even Google logs data so they can see trends in searches in a particular region or neighborhood. During the swine flu hysteria, Google notified the National Institute of Health or some other government organ about pockets of searches that were looking up swine flu treatments. This gave the government actual neighborhoods and the ability to force inoculations into people just for looking up preventative measures. Some states have enacted legislation that, in a declared emergency by the governor, citizens can be inoculated against their will.

Cell phones have been exposed as tracking devices, even with the phone turned off, and lately the sophisticated ones actually log your moves through GPS tracking. OK, so what? Then, there are bank debit and credit cards that list your sales. In this country, we even have grocery store "loyalty" cards that you can use to get a discount when you go to pay for you goods. So your shopping habits are logged and available to be sold to anyone that can pay. All personal checks must pass through one of the Federal Reserve Banks, again, if they so desired, could see who received your payments.

So, here we have a massive Orwellian surveillance monster that now has an electronic image of you based on these and other invisible surveillance methods. And worse, you not only can't know what that image is that has been created, rightly or wrongly, you can't gain access to change it. Where would you even begin? If some pencil-necked clerk decides that Mr. Yamamoto is a dangerous person that needs to be removed from the streets for "public safety," then suddenly here comes the "evidence." In this country, secret evidence that is likely totally wrong has put innocent people on no fly lists. The late Ted Kennedy was even put on this list and was not allowed to board a plane. So even a Senator could not find out why he was put on this list, which has been reported as growing at something like 10,000 persons a month (from a report dated last year).

Here's a classic case. A Seattle, Washington fireman had some work done on his house by a contractor. There was some dispute, and the angry contractor went to a local grocery store and bought two cans of barbecue lighter fluid. The clerk asked him for his "loyalty" card. He said he didn't have it, but as is the practice, he gave her the fireman's phone number, which is a common practice. The clerk entered the phone number and rang up the sale as if the fireman had bought the lighter fluid.

The contractor went to the fireman's house, put one can between two wall studs and ignited the rest of the structure with the other can's fluid. An arson investigation was started. The police went to the grocery store, illegally obtained the shopping history of the fireman because they needed to have a warrant, and saw that "he" had bought the accelerant. So the fireman was charged with arson. He was exonerated only because the contractor, under pressure from the police and because the police and firemen have mutual respect because they frequently work together, confessed to starting the fire. Otherwise, the fireman would be another innocent person in prison in this country.

Facebook. Well, I seriously doubt that this kid started this service. It is more likely that he was given the golden handshake to take credit for it, but it was just another intelligence gathering tool for the state. Think of it: isn't it a perfect tool? Instead of having to work at getting your personal information, you get suckers to volunteer it, including pictures and other dangerous personal data. There are women that have been raped by talking too much on Facebook. Houses have been robbed by fools that post that they are going on a holiday, naming the dates.

I was in the U.S. Navy for six years. There were posters all over the different bases I was stationed at that had warnings such as: “Loose lips sink ships.” You are right to not engage with Facebook. It's just another sugar-coated trap.
America's Japanization in Its Final Stage - PART 2: The Prevailing Fear of Being Different
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Wednesday, April 27 2011 @ 07:14 PM JST


Diogenes:

I appreciate your online, or offline, input very much primarily because it almost always has more than 140 characters in it.

Especially, I found your story about the Seattle fireman very interesting. To me, the lesson to be learned there is that you've got to have a friendly relationship with the police if you don't want to spend the rest of your life in prison.

I think there are gray areas, however.

From 2000 to 2005, I spent my post-retirement years at the Japanese subsidiary of SAP AG. The German software giant has a wide variety of web-based business applications. Among other things, what it names CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) really impressed me. Even today, I don't always feel offended when Amazon gives me tips on books I "may want to buy." Even so, I think the Internet retailer is overdoing it when it notifies me of other customers' buying behavior, such as: some other people who bought this book also ordered for that book at the same time.

Yu Yamamoto