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A failed attempt to leverage the virtue of anger


In my previous post, I briefly portrayed one of the small number of regulars to this unpopular website as a typical anti-hatred advocate in the U.S. But I'm extremely reluctant to elaborate on the modus operandi this particular gentleman (hereinafter referred to as "AHA") has used as if it's his favorite pastime to derail our serious discussions over serious issues.

Since we are constantly swayed into off-the-topic issues, now it looks like my destiny always to return to the point where I started the last time every time I go on to the next issue. Nothing is more counterproductive and demotivating.

In the last nine years we've got almost six million hits to this website. But I suspect the abnormally high "exit rate" and "bounce rate," which are still on the rise, are attributable at least in part to my unusual writing style resulting from my effort to disentangle past threads. At any rate, I can no longer afford to waste too much time for anything that is not my primary concern at this moment.

Another reason I'm so reluctant to talk about AHA's attitude is that it runs counter to my principle to openly attack a specific personality. After all he may have just stumbled on the wrong website to promote his pointless cause. And admittedly I think an irrelevant response to my post is a little better than no response at all. Galileo is often quoted as having said: "I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him."

Especially I don't like to criticize this particular gentleman because not once he has done me a favor since we got to know each other on an unlikely website - YouTube - some five years ago. We found out our areas of interest partly overlapped each other. Among other things, AHA is a self-styled writer who has privately published a book titled Tales of Our Germans. Based on his experience with the U.S. publishing industry, he gave me a lot of tips when I was still thinking about reviving my aborted book about the terminally-ill Japanese people.

He kept saying my "great idea" should be worth an exposure to the American audience. Certainly I felt flattered. But at the same time I felt there was something fishy about his lavish praise of my writing because he didn't give me a single specific reason for that. I still didn't know what looked like big-heartedness was yet another trick an anti-hatred activist habitually uses when he spreads around empty lip service so harmony prevails everywhere.

I wanted to publish it outside Japan simply because no one had ever attempted to reveal the truth about the foundation of my home country based on his experience living there for three-quarter century and working in Japan Inc. for a half century.

As I always say, Japan is the country where the East met the West in the weirdest and most unfortunate way. In plainer words, it shouldn't have modernized, industrialized or Westernized itself at all - or at least in the way it actually did in the last 1.5 centuries. As a result Japan has long been the "Orphan of Asia" and there's no way back anymore. I know the American people are so determined not to accept anything but all that myth they have created about their Far-Eastern fiefdom that they can't really visualize what I'm talking about.

For one thing, I love the Uzbek embroideries (above photo) very much because although you can see the influence of the West there, their artifacts remain genuinely Uzbek. Not that the Japanese don't have traditional artifacts of their own, such as the sophisticated bamboo craft you can see in some areas such as Oita Prefecture of Kyushu island. But the fact of the matter remains that aside from modest commercial values these artifacts carry, Japanese craftsmen are primarily seeking the recognition of their "artistic values" by the UNESCO, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, or the like. That is where lies the fundamental difference between this cultural wasteland and Uzbekistan.

This is what AHA has failed to understand or even hasn't tried to understand. I was really taken aback when I learned actually he didn't give a damn about my arguments at all. Every second time we talked about Japan, he didn't fail to automatically repeat his unconditional admiration toward these "terminally-ill" people.

At one time, he wrote in his mail:

"Years ago, my wife and I hosted several Japanese travelers and students. I particularly remember a young air conditioning repairman who sat with us in a park playing his guitar. He thought his voice was 'dirty.' Nonetheless, all the Americans were absolutely delighted. He deserved a big career in music with one exception; He was singing Kingston Trio songs and when he came to Tom Dooley, it came out 'Tom Doorey.' For the same reason that nobody could think to help him in music, nobody thought to help him with his pronunciation of the letter L. We were too shy to help."

Surprisingly enough, AHA thought his impression of a young Japanese repairman invalidated my arguments based on firsthand experience with thousands and thousands of fellow countrymen in the last seven decades. To him the only problem facing Japan is its people's inability to pronounce the L-sound correctly.

Increasingly at a loss over what's going on in his brain, I uploaded a post last month about Tokyo's bid to host 2020 Olympics in which I deliberately called the Japanese the only people uglier than the Hottentots. Needless to say I'm not blogging to communicate with AHA alone, but I wanted to see, more than anything else, how he would respond to my provocation. His comment went like this:

"You said that you, '... disrespect the Americans at large.' With your high IQ, a certain amount of disrespect for everything is justified. Nonetheless, rest assured that we respect everything and everyone Japanese."

As always AHA didn't think he had to give me a specific reason he respects the Japanese while at the same time respecting this blogger for his contempt for the same people.

More recently I uploaded a post in which I raised the same old question about the Emperor from a fresh angle. In the piece I concluded the enigmatic figure is nothing but the double of a phantom because historically it has proved neither a tyrant nor a puppet. You may disagree to my unusual way of describing the Emperor, but without precisely defining it in one way or the other, you will never really understand this country. It's no accident that Japan has followed the weird trajectory in the past and still stays there.

And what did AHA write in response to my post?

"You said, 'In Japan you are not allowed to possess a firearm unless you are a soldier, cop or yakuza gangster.' That is funny, of course, but valid. Though any US citizen can own a firearm, our leaders make a point of arming and training officers of our ostensibly gentle government organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency," and blah, blah, blah.

Most recently I wrote that I'm increasingly turning to the virtue of serious anger because when you are mad at me, at least you are taking me seriously.

And what did AHA said? He wrote:

"You said, 'I see an unmistakable sign that you take me seriously.' That is the understatement of the year! We definitely take you seriously. I think that it is fair to say that our responses are not always logical because you present so very many competing polemics with each post. I imagine that each of your readers focuses on something different." (Emphasis mine.)

Obviously AHA must doublecheck the meaning of the English word "serious."

Some two years ago he gave me an offline comment on my piece titled "Fecal truth behind the burst of the bubble." The gentleman with good taste thought it was impermissibly vulgar. He wrote:

"The things you like are things you like immensely. The things you don't like are things you hate. Like a schizophrenic, you seem to always be at one pole or the other."

I said to myself, "Maybe he is right; I'm more or less schizophrenic." But I thought it was totally unacceptable to give such a diagnosis without a single specific reason, and without a license for practicing psychiatry. I replied:

"DSM-IV says one is diagnosed as a case of schizophrenia when 2 or more of the following symptoms are observed: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, negative symptoms, i.e. affective flattening, alogia, avolition, social/occupational dysfunction, continuous signs of disturbance. To be honest with you I will appreciate it very much if you specify the two or more symptoms you think I’m showing."

Then AHA got back saying:

"No! The concept of schizophrenia is a cloudy idea at best. As originally posed, Dr. Freud saw the the people of interest as being of two minds. That is born out in a number of my friends who are schizophrenic manic-depressive. Unlike you, they have the real disease and are happy/capable one day and almost non-functional the next. Real schizophrenia is extreme. You are not extreme. The great Stephen Foster, a distant relative of my third wife was schizophrenic. Sometimes he was a genius capable of great wonders and at other times he was angry and spent his time hiding from his peers. I am definitely not diagnosing you as schizophrenic. Each person has a little of everyone else in him or her. That is what I meant."

I refrained from striking back simply because I couldn't afford to make a battlefield for plain idiots and half- or full-blown schizophrenics out of my blog, which is the only thing this poverty-stricken man owns on this side of the Styx.

The anti-hatred gentleman always thinks that there is no reason for a serf in America's Far-Eastern fiefdom to feel insulted by his ill-defined words and muddled statements. In order to stay uncommitted to any idea but "harmony," he seldom uses singular pronouns. It's always WE and THEY. (I call it "WE-THEY Syndrome.") And like most other Americans, he is a personality that is very easy to get hurt and unable to notice it when he is hurting others. (I'm inclined to call it "Infantilism.")

In the last couple of weeks two silent visitors decided to unsubscribe from my website. One of the two is a typical Japanese who lives in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of this archipelago. He explicitly said although he had to admit I have an "unparalleled intelligence," he was getting increasingly sick and tired of my "self-righteousness." The other lurker, an American who has comfortably settled down in Yokohama, the second largest city of the Far-Eastern colony of his home country, sneakily left us presumably for the same reason. I'm totally at a loss over how to understand their logic, or complete absence thereof, that essentially says an intelligent person can be self-righteous, or a self-righteous person can be intelligent.

Now that I have lost the two regulars at a time, AHA looks all the more irreplaceable here despite his trolling habit. I wouldn't have thought about writing this long had it not been for the fact that he is an ideal specimen to represent the average American and his Japanese counterpart at the same time.

The timing the two locals unsubscribed from my blog suggests that they can't wait to see the Tokyo Olympics 2020 which they believe will mark the beginning of another Japanese Century. If you didn't know it, the first Japanese Century began in 1964, the year of the first Tokyo Olympics, but was aborted in a matter of 26 years when the bubble economy burst. All this makes it an open issue for me. I'll continue seriously discussing it in the next post.


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A failed attempt to leverage the virtue of anger
Authored by: Diogenes on Thursday, October 03 2013 @ 07:11 AM JST