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

Friday, January 21 2011 @ 09:56 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

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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