Circenses of the 21st century

Monday, October 07 2013 @ 11:11 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto



[The Roman populace] now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: panem (bread) and circenses (circuses.)
- Juvenal, Roman poet

The Olympic symbol caricatured by
"Diogenes of Arkansas"

Make no mistake; this is THE ISSUE ABOUT THE GAMES, not A GAME ABOUT AN ISSUE.

On September 7 in Buenos Aires, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his final presentation to International Olympic Committee members. In his pitch he famously said: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control. There are no health-related problems until now, nor will there be in the future.”

At best this is a postdated check that becomes due seven years from now, which in fact means abesolutely nothing. But the IOC members with voting rights accepted Abe's offer. Which should mean what? Simply that means they had already received a little more trustworthy financial instruments - promissory notes underwritten by the BOJ, Japan's central bank.

You may ask if I can substantiate my allegation about the under-the-table deal. Don't be silly. I'm not running a criminology forum over here. But it's a matter of commonsense that where there are dupes, there always are swindlers.

This was the moment of truth for the Japanese, and the Americans as well. As I've pointed out many times before, Abe's maternal grandfather is Nobusuke Kishi, a Class-A war criminal who played the pivotal role in helping the U.S. government establish an eternal dominance over Japan, first as the main architect of the 1955 System, and then as an undercover agent of CIA. Without his collaboration, the U.S. couldn't have made Japan the sole showcase for its "success" in nation-building.

Later in the month Abe was invited by Washington, D.C.-based "think" tank Hudson Institute to receive the year's Herman Kahn Award. Kahn is the very person who coined the phrase "the Japanese Century." Six years after the first Tokyo Olympics, he wrote: "It would not be surprising if the 21st century turned out to be the Japanese century." Fortunately for him, the fat white swine, that he actually was, died seven years before the Japanese economy went into pieces. I think Jacques Rogge, whose term as the President of IOC expired soon after receiving the banknotes, should pray for his death before 2020.

Obviously Herman Kahn should be given credit for finding a lucrative business opportunity in Japan. The vultures such as Joseph Nye, Bill Emmott and Gordon G. Chang are just reusing the business model developed by the founder of Hudson Institute. Three years ago, when China was about to catch up with Japan, GDP-wise, Chang the Prophet wrote on that the Chinese Century would be even shorter than the Japanese Century because Japan would overtake China again by 2013.

Such a baloney still works with the learning-disabled Japanese who follow the same path over and over again while expecting a different outcome each time. And now the late comer Jacques Rogge jumped on the same bandwagon. Certainly he knew he would still find some leftovers in the backyard of the debt-ridden country.

It's against this backdrop that I uploaded this particular post. Here I just wanted to discuss the insanity of the idea to have Tokyo host the 2020 Summer Olympics in the wake of the deepening of the nuclear crisis and the strengthening of convictions among independent seismologists that another gigantic earthquake is imminent.


Wasting no time, the anti-hatred gentleman I talked about in my previous post started to entangle the thread with his unparalleled skills of selectively hearing what he had wanted to hear from me, and mixing up what I'd said and what I hadn't. I replied like this. But now the special type of troller has revealed what he really is.

The hater disguised as an anti-hatred advocate always looks around for a conflict to reconcile; he even creates one where there are none; he does all this only to gloss over the real issue. Even worse, while an avowed hater hates his enemy seriously, the disguised hater takes nothing seriously. When he realizes his tactic won't work, he falls silent as if he hasn't said a word about the issue at hand. Once again he did it. I don't know if he remains silent for good or until the weather changes here.

Fortunately, though, there still are a handful of clear-headed people regularly visiting this unpopular website. "Diogenes of Arkansas" is one of them.

In the last couple of weeks he provided us with interesting materials such as this article, the video embedded at the bottom of this post, and the caricatured Olympic symbol shown above. (The circle in the center is the internationally-accepted sign of radioactive hazard.)

I do know his way of viewing the fallout of the Fukushima disaster is miles apart from mine. But if we were in agreement from the beginning, what good would it do to discuss the issue? The only thing that really matters is that we are basically on the same page

And what exactly is on the page? Of course it's contamination.

Since the challenge from the nuclear disaster is multifaceted, it involves a variety of questions to be addressed. They include:

Contamination of what? The body or the soul or both?
Is it just a careless mistake or gross negligence or willful act that caused it?
Exactly how far has the effect reached?
Is the situation still remediable?
If it is, exactly how?
If not, exactly why?

Just set aside 15 minutes to watch the video embedded below. The good news is that Hiroaki Koide, Assistant Professor at Kyoto University's Research Institute for Nuclear Waste Management and Safety, is not alone. There still are some, if not many, level-headed scientists who have, with an admirable perseverance, delved into the effects of atmospheric, oceanic and other pollutions caused by nuclear waste in the last six decades since the crew members of Japan's fishing boat Daigo Fukuryumaru were seriously exposed to radiation from a hydrogen bomb tested on Bikini Atoll.

The bad news is that not a few cultist-minded people are quickly flocking around these scientists as if they could share the same conviction with these experts in nuclear engineering, oceanology or seismology. To these super-gullible and highly-suggestible guys the only important thing is that the outcome of scientific studies is usable to promote their cheap ideologies.

A week or so ago, Tatsuru Uchida, a fringe critic and martial art instructor, was quoted by a tabloid as saying the ongoing Olympic craze reminded him of the famous phrase "bread and circuses," better known as "bread and games" in the U.S. The words "panem" (bread) and "circenses" (circuses) were first used in combination by Roman poet and satirist Juvenal almost two millenniums ago. Certainly Uchida has a good point.

I am reasonably sure that now post-Fukushima panem is so tainted that the more you eat it, the more it eats into your body. But what about circenses?

You may think the Greco-Roman traditions of the Olympics and other sporting events are more or less kept intact, except that now they are even more tainted with performance-enhancing drugs, commercialism and nationalism. You may also say entertainment remains essentially the same thing as it was to the Roman populace, except that now we can't tell art from crap.

But you are wrong.

Guess what, in the last decade or so, we are flooded with circuses much more poisonous than the Olympics. These games, which thousands and thousands of crisis mongers, doomsayers and conspiracy theorists are untiringly churning out, are eating deep into your soul. Without exception, the battle between a villain and a justice doer, or between an unscrupulous criminal and an innocent victim is what these games are all about. The player can instantly identify himself with his favorite avatar without becoming really committed to it.

And what happens if the player loses? Absolutely nothing, because after all it's nothing but a game. This is the beauty of the circuses of the 21st century.

Of course it's all up to you whether or not you remain hooked on the virtual adventure in search of empty truth and justice. It's your life; that's none of my business.

The other day I found in my bookcase a novel titled The Touch. It was first published in 1968 but I bought its 2003 edition some nine years ago because the story of the "fiction" had been updated to incorporate knowledge newly acquired from the nuclear accidents in Pennsylvania (1997,) Mexico (2002,) and Canada (2002.)

The author Daniel Keyes has long been one of my favorite writers because he has a profound insight in humanity. But for some forgotten reason, I had stopped in the middle of the book. Perhaps I was just too busy. Now I'm half-blind. I can't read or write without enlarging letters at least to this size or using a magnifier. So it's an excruciating task to read a book. But now I felt an urge to finish with the reading.

Am I going to identify myself with the protagonist? Not at all. To me a good book is not a game. Then am I going to write a review piece? Neither is it what I want to do with the book. Whenever I read what the publisher wrongly calls a "fiction," I never try to find a "message" in it. If a writer wants to convey an idea that all boils down to yet another moral lesson or ideology, he doesn't have to, or even shouldn't, write a fiction, or nonfiction for that matter.

Take Kurt Vonnegut for example. His Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle are indisputable masterpieces. But if you want to hear an anti-war or anti-nuke propaganda from Vonnegut, my suggestion would be that you should economize on time by taking a quick glimpse at a short piece or two he wrote after he became senile, pick any phrase you like and pass it around as your "thought" endorsed by a great writer.

Unlike you, I am not suffering what I call "WE-THEY Syndrome." So my way of reading a book is quite different from yours. I never look for a moral lesson or an ideology. Instead I just want to see exactly how each character, in the face of a specific situation, whether it's fictitious or real, individualizes, personalizes or internalizes things, rather than generalizing or externalizing them as if it were someone else's problem. That's the only way I can broaden or deepen my perception of things based on the limited knowledge and experience.

All I can say about The Touch at this moment is that it's a real page-turner and it's worth your time to read it. For one thing it's more than just informative and thought-provoking to see how an engineer with whom the protagonist shares the same carpool reacts to the mishap that occurs in the R&D laboratory of the automaker they are working at. When a tracing machine that uses isotopes of Iridium-192 somehow fails, he quickly acts to prevent the radioactive dust from spreading around. And as soon as the dust seems to have settled down, the laboratory engineer says exactly what Abe and his predecessors have been saying: "We had the things under control, and no one got a bad dose."

This rings a bell. At the same time this makes me think about things we normally don't give a thought. For one thing, Tokyo Electric Power Company is NOT an automaker. That is basically why I'm neither pro- nor anti-nuclear energy.

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