Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Owned by The Washington Post Company

"I have an idea. Let's send an American guy to Japan. Someone who know nothing about Japan. Have him wander around a Japanese city, learning what he can about his surroundings from the signs that are in English. In order to ground him, let's have him read some books other Americans have written about the place and the events that happened there...and let us not have him interact even once with a Japanese person.

Then let's publish it."

Amaterasu, save us!

Oh, why bother getting upset, when the provincials perceive even Les Français to be feral beauteous exotic beasts.

(Hat tip to reader NP)

2 comments:

Bryce said...

Oh, this sort of thing is part of a long tradition:

http://www.publicaddress.net/default,946.sm#post

Peter Carey wrote a whole book like this. He even made up the main Japanese character and still presented "Wrong about Japan" as a factual account, at least until somebody pointed out the fact that his human subject was so stereotypically Japanese so as to probably not be real. By then Carey had won the Booker Prize for something else, so I guess it was all okay.

For more of this sort of "let's send the gaijin to Japan" malarky, you could just check out any "society" story about Japan in the NYTimes that isn't written by Norimitu Onishi. I think they still have the policy of evacuating their reporters as soon as they develop anything resembling an understanding of what's going on.

NP said...

Exoticism, orientalism, culturalism, anti-Asianism, anti-Americanism, Francophobia, ..., I don't know if those concepts have the same meaning in English than they do have in French but they are the very plague affecting our vision of the world and infecting our civilizations' understanding. Merci beaucoup for reminding us.
=The faithful French Reader=