Monday, March 20, 2006

Warning! This Post Contain Sexually Explicity Language

There, that should get your attention (and, Hi Mom! Consider yourself warned.)

I've developed a new theory on why racism exists. It's rather simple, and I'm almost positive that it can be applied to almost any situation you care to name.

Here it is: (drum roll, please)

Racism is All About Sex

Specifically, it's about male sexual jealousy. Seriously. How many racist women do you know? Not many. Racist guys? Way more.

Enough with the empty theorising. On to the case studies:

Case Study 1:

Take North American racism. The biggest divide there is between white men and black men (notice I say 'men', not 'people': this is important.) Usually it's the white guys who hate the black guys ... when it's the other way around, it's usually because you're not likely to be too fond of someone who hates you. And why? Well, black men are widely reputed to have bigger, erm, organs than their caucasian counterparts. Whether this is true I don't know, but it's certainly the perception. So, white guys - all insecure about their endowments relative to black guys - find a bunch of reasons, mostly bullshit, about why black people are bad. But what it comes down to is that they're worried that their women will leave them, because 'once you go black, you never go back.'

Am I saying all white males are racist asshole? No. But the ones who are, are racist because they're insecure about their own sexual access to women.

Case Study 2:

Not that all situations are simply a case of penis envy. Take another example of racism in the world: the Muslim hatred of anyone who Isn't Them. Now, I'm not aware that there's any substantial difference between arabs, persians, etc and other ethnicities. But in this case, I don't think that's important. What I think matters is that, by and large, Muslims treat their women like dog-poo. Especially the Arabs (who, coincidentally, are also the most violently prejudiced.) Now, whatever culture you're raised in, you're unlikely to like this state of affairs if you're, y'know, female. Especially when you hop on the net and hear all these rumors about western women getting treated to romantic dinners, getting foot massages, being blessed with partners who actually think it's important to go to all the effort needed to give them multiple orgasms, etc and ad naseum. Hell, it's gotten to the point for a lot of these sorry cultures that the only way the men can keep their women from running away for someone, anyone, so long as it isn't them, is on threat of death.

So I would posit that Arab men feel just the teensiest bit envious of the way women everywhere seem to actually like Western guys, and as a consequence go around blowing stuff up if said stuff happens to belong to Western guys. Not that they'll ever admit that. Nope, jihad's all about destroying decadent evil Great Satan western culture ... hey wait, all that decadence seems to have a lot to do with the fact that WE'RE NOT SCARED OF SEX! My theory's testable prediction is thus that Arabs won't stop making jackasses of themselves on the great stage of History until they start treating their women like human beings.

Case Study 3

Let's bring this rant around to something I have a little personal experience of: namely, Japan. Now, anyone who tells you that Japan isn't a racist country has either never been here or is taking the piss. The Japanese people are openly, innocently, and uncomplicatingly prejudiced against anyone who isn't them. Political correctness has no toe-hold here, which is one of the things I love about this country.

Anyhow, I noticed people staring at me very soon after I got here. Most of the time, it's just curiosity, which is understandable. It's not like this island is crawling with non-Japanese, after all. But, sometimes, I get stared at with something more than just frank, 'wow, look at the gaijin!' Something more along the lines of, 'if I thought I could get away with it I would disembowel you.'

Such stares very rarely issue from women. In fact, they almost come from Oji-san (that's Japanese for 'old man'.) And at first I thought, hey, so what? A lot of these codgers spent their youth trying to kill people who looked like me. So a bit of residual hostility is only to be expected.

But I noticed something recently (which is what got me to thinking about the origins of racism in the first place.) Whenever I'm walking around with my girlfriend, the hostile stares - once again, mostly Oji-san, though I already knew he didn't like me, but also sometimes from younger guys - multiply about 10-fold. From which I drew the conclusion that, alone, I'm just a dirty foreigner, but as the uglier half of a couple, I'm a dirty foreigner who's taking a woman that rightfully belongs to some random Japanese guy and, what's worse, potentially polluting the gene pool.

Evidentally, then, there is - at least among a subset of the older, male Japanese population - a certain degree of anxiety and insecurity regarding us gaijin. Why, then? Well, two reasons spring to mind, and it's kind of a combination of 1 and 2. First, the standard Japanese is endowment is reputed be somewhat less than the Caucasian allotment (and trust me, I haven't been at pains to investigate, which is why I say 'reputed'.) And second, Japan remains more traditional in many ways than Western culture (okay, so everyone's more traditional than us, but still) and Japanese women supposedly don't get quite the same level of doting affection from their boyfriends and husbands that their Western counterparts are accustomed to.

Now, how much truth is there to this? To be honest, I can't say from direct experience, but I can infer at least one conclusion, based solely on the fact that the hostility emanates almost exclusively from Oji-san: which is to say, that the sexual and romantic practices of the current generation is far more similar to Western norms than is the case for the older generation; that younger Japanese women are more satisfied with their partners as a result; and that, consequently, younger Japanese men are not nearly as threatened by Westerners as older ones are.

The wider lesson in all this? Well, the theory I would essentially make is that, of the two subsets of racism (that due to penis envy, and that due to men treating women like dog-poo), it's the second that is far more serious. After all, while the first still applies in Japan, the second largely doesn't, and as a result racism - at least of the I-hate-you-because-you're-not-me variety - has largely disappeared.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

V for Vendetta

As the movie is coming out in Japan shortly, I decided to read the graphic novel. I just finished the first book. For those of you who don't follow comics, V for Vendetta is a graphic novel by Alan Moore, one of the greats of the field. The book involves a future (when it was written; now, a past) Britain in which a fascist government has taken over.

In the introduction, Moore makes it pretty clear that he considers Thatcher's tenure to be a protofascist regime.

Very early in the book, there's a panel showing a video camera mounted on a street-light, a sign under it saying 'For Your Protection'. The sinister implications are too obvious to go into, but one thing that struck me is that the modern Britain is, in fact, saturated with CCTV cameras, ostensibly erected to protect against crime ... and that those cameras were not put up by some evil bogeyman Conservative rightwing junta, but by New Labour.

Isn't it interesting that, throughout the 20th century, the Left has consistently used the slur of 'fascist' or 'nazi' against the Right, when in fact most of the century's worst crimes have been committed by ideologues from the Left. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and even Hitler (the leader, don't forget, of the National Socialist party.)

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Movies in Japan

Went to the movies today, and saw Narnia. Nothing too special, really: a story I already knew from childhood, prettied up with nice special effects (hey Hollywood, would an original story kill you?) Anyhow, two things I'll say:

First, the beginning, by which I mean the ads. Yes, it's the same as back home: before you get to see the main feature, you have to sit through five minutes of 'be polite' animations, ten minutes of ads, another five minutes of movie trailers, and then a doleful message asking the audience to please, don't download movies (cuz, yah, that makes sense: implore the people who already paid not to steal. Yep, brilliant strategy. That and making 'em watch 20 minutes of ads - when, I repeat, they've paid for the tickets! - that's really gonna convince 'em not to rip you off. Chuckleheads.) What kills me, though, is that in Japan the seats are almost always reserved. This means that you can, if you buy a ticket early enough, still show up late and get a good seat. This immediately raises the - to me - obvious question of "Why not show up late and not watch the ads?" Apparently people don't think that way here.

And second, the end, by which I mean, the credits. And this was weird: everyone stayed in their seats. Well, almost everyone: me and a few others snuck out. But about 90% of the audience remained in their seats, watching the credits roll, showing no signs of leaving (contrast with a western audience, who upon the beginning of credits suffer a universal and instinctive urge to pile out of the dark box as soon as is compatible with basic dignity.) I asked why, and my girlfriend said, "They want to listen to the music." Strange, huh?

Update: My girlfriend says that Japanese people want to bask in the afterglow of the movie. Which makes a little more sense, I guess ... though it's still very strange to me.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

More Than Meets the Eye

Those crazy Japanese engineers. Not content to build cars and robot people, now they've built a toy robot car that turns into a toy robot humanoid. I know what I want for my birthday; it tickles my nostalgia bone like you wouldn't believe.