Tuesday, August 23, 2005

“Hi, I'm Ikeda Daisaku and I do not approve of this message.”

There are good jokes.
There are bad jokes.
There are MTC jokes.
And then there are Komeito jokes.

Komeito jokes are not jokes about the Koimeito. Some of those are quite funny, like:

“Two guys are walking down the street. One guy is banging on a drum and chanting. The other guy is getting his picture taken alongside has-been world leaders and senile academics. Just then the one guy turns to the other and says, ’Ya know...’

We all know how the joke ends. I must admit, I still laugh at the punchline.

No, what I am talking about are jokes made by the Komeito.

These are jokes that--as the regression outlined above indicates--are so deeply, so profoundly, so abysmally unfunny that, through a circuitous singularity event horizon black hole white hole total space inversion, end up being absolutely hilarious in how unfunny they are.

Take, for example, the new Komeito campaign commercial. It features party leader Kanzaki Takenori (ah, the cold metallic gleam of his glasses, his eyes, his hair!) staring straight into the camera just as Really Bad Things That Really Could Happen (RBTTRCH) prevent a character representing reform from entering the courtyard of a traditional home. Just as it seems all hope is lost because the RBTTRCH are too strong and reform will not be allowed to pass, Kanzaki rises up, raises his right hand in a stop gesture and cries out:

Sore wa iKAN...ZAKI!”




What can one say?

First, it makes no sense. “Sore wa ikanzaki” means nothing at all.

Second, even one accepts that “Sore wa ikan...zaki” is in some way a mildly amusing play on the name of the party leader, the association between “Kanzaki” and “Sore wa ikan” ("That is impermissible!") is probably not one one would want to draw.

Furthermore, if the audience hears “Sore wa KANZAKI!”, where the “i” get swallowed up, they would might come away with the impression that Kanzaki is taking perverse pride in halting reform. Because the exchange would then be:

“Who is going to let the RBTTRCH stop reform?”
“It will be Kanzaki!”

If, by contrast, some hear too much “i”, making the phrase “Sore wa ii Kanzaki!” ("That is the Good Kanzaki!"), the exchange becomes:

“Who is going to let the RBTTRCH stop reform?”
“It will be the Good Kanzaki!”

which plunges the listener into a Good Kanzaki-Bad Kanzaki, evil twin mirror-world dynamic, where the “ii Kanzaki”--the one who is not in the commercial because of the use of the preposition "sore" ("that one") --is in favor of the RBTTRCH stopping reform, while the “warui Kanzaki”("the bad Kanzaki") --who is in the commercial, warning us about the “ii Kanzaki”--is actually the good guy because he is against the RBTTRCH stopping reform.

Am I losing anyone?


Anyway, “Sore wa iKAN...ZAKI!” seems destined to go down as one of the greatest electoral turnoffs since Suzuki Muneo.

Suzuki Muneo...now there is a very funny man.

P.S. (much later) I am now being told that this commercial is a reprise of a 2004 election commercial with exactly the same horrible pun in it. Response to the 2004 commercial was so positive the Komeito decided to remake it.

So I guess that proves I have no comprehension of what turns some people on.

Tell me something I do not know.

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