Tokyo Damage Report


Modern times brought us a lot of good shit , including: jazz, rock, rap, movies with rad special effects, Minesweeperseparation of church and state, Nina Hagen , the Simpsons, medicine besides leeches, feminism and civil rights, heavy metal, and comic books.
But there are a lot of bad things about it: pollution, atomic bombs, materialism that tells you “you are what you buy,” the idea that everything goes back to normal after a 30 minute episode, shallowness, the homogenization of local cultures, a mentality that everything is a plastic throw-away, the idea that training hard and spending years to achieve a goal is dumb (you should just buy the goal now and charge it to your card! Anything you can’t buy with a click is worthless!!!!), that Ronald MacDonald is more well-known than Jesus or Mohammed, the commodification of every single thing (turning everything into a product, the market is the only valid way of measuring worth), the fact that no one knows who the people in their community are, but we know details of celebrities’ sex lives or that Emma Stone has a wrinkle, the fact that we pay millions to guys that throw a ball or sing a shitty tune, but pay no attention and give no support to hometown heroes who help the homeless or volunteer at the old folks’ home. Oh, and 12 year old girls dressing like hookers and 10 year old boys spending all day killing things on the tv.
And underlying all these: that people under 90 years old can't even conceive of things being any other way. The older, more community-oriented or spiritual, non-market forms of thinking have been erased more effectively than the word for "freedom" was from the newspeak society of 1984. People don't even know what they are missing, they just feel fragmented inside and try to fill the void with plastic crap and internet porn.
That  laundry list of complaints is nothing new. Here is what is new:
The above critique of Modern Culture is actually shared by hippies and radical left people, AND radical right people ALL OVER THE WORLD (even racists and crazy Japanese nationalists = “Our young people are losing the traditional ways and all they are getting in return is Macdonalds and heart disease!”), and  what’s more, this critique is also shared by muslims (who are hated by both the left AND right) . . . .
 .. . and yet. . .
 There is NO ONE who is even trying to unify these groups to make a  counter-attack on Modern Times. There is NO ONE who is even interested in brinigng together the left, right, and muslims on this issue that they all totally agree on.
WTF man.

4 Comments so far

  1. def April 13th, 2012 4:36 am

    I'm not trying to make light of the issue, but are you saying you don't watch internet porn?

  2. Whatever April 13th, 2012 5:45 am

    Because, what right-wingers hate more than modern times are Muslims?

  3. bob April 21st, 2012 4:38 am

    A social theorist called Slavoj Zizek (he's popular with the radical kids these days) actually pointed this out when he was talking about the failure of the radical left.
    Made me think of recent radical right-wing trends in my country (UK) – a while ago a bunch of radical right wing groups became popular, like the British National Party and English Defence League. Basically your usual "foreigners an' muslims be stealin' our jobs!" thug parties. The supporters of these parties are usually working class, uneducated and white. Their popularity was met with everyone else condeming them and acting shocked – which made them more popular.
    At the core of their ideologies, if you strip away all the racist shit, they're often pro-public services, pro-welfare and basically rallying against social inequality and unemployment. Which is EXACTLY what radical left parties used to do. The only difference is that these radical right parties are holding immigrants responsible for the lack of jobs (an easy target), whereas the traditional left held employers, the ruling class and capitalism responisble.
    The sad thing is, there are no longer any legitimate left wing parties to support, so the only parties that are standing up for the working class are these radical right parties.

  4. cantata rubicundior May 6th, 2012 11:43 pm

    Maybe it's because we're basically in postmodern times? This is the place where people could choose what news they read, what media they consume, and basically construct their own reality to match what they think reality looks like. The sad thing is, most people don't even realise they're doing it (it's the same with bias–how many people admit that they do have a bias against or for one thing or another?). 
    The current society is a lot more fragmented now than it has been in any other point in history, thanks to technology. Now, we're very specialised in what we do, and thus efficient in it. The downside is that overspecialisation aggravates myopia (cultural myopia, but I'm not sure it's just restricted to that).
    So, if you're asking why no one's trying to see the big picture, I'm afraid I don't really have an answer either except for those guesses. Maybe it's because they don't? Maybe people stopped noticing that there is a bigger picture beyond the hubbub of hyperreal advertising and glossy reality presented through television screen (and computer monitors)? Maybe it's so easy to satisfy our needs in this era (entertainment at the touch of a button! Everything delivered to your front door) that we don't really need to look farther, to think deeper?
    I enjoyed reading your piece, though. No matter how fringe we are, I think we need to keep talking about it and trying to get people to notice.

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