[Name] - (v) the act of writing an article for a major English-language publication wherein one disingenuously argues that what a shameless self-promoter is doing is a key to understanding the true essence of Japan, giving the self-promoter free publicity and the publication a black eye.
"Wow. Have you seen what Hannah Beech, TIME magazine's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief has written about Japanese design for the Asia edition? I mean she totally [Name]d it...and what's worse, it's this week's cover article!"I can think of a present participle describing Beech's self-delusion and self-admiration - "appalling." How can a journalist not know that anyone claiming to be drawing upon the essential spirit of (insert country name) in defiance of what his/her peers are doing -- is offering up a steaming pile of either nonsense or propaganda -- or both?
That that someone is trying to play on the journalist's desire to be the member of a knowing elite, to be "in" with the culturally more sophisticated and aware crowd?
Few artists and thinkers consider themselves avatars of national purpose or essence. Instead, most admit themselves to be hodgepodges of past and present, of national, international, regional and local habits and messages, bound by the technology of the present, caught in and not the spinners of a web of influences. Real talents express admiration for the past, lament the inadequacy of own meagre work but insist upon the undesirability of a return to the way things were.
What compels journalists to write essentialist junk on Japan? Is it because in order to maintain one's station in Mediaville one must present an illusion of knowing? Or is it just "Narita, bar, bing, bam, there I am, I'll be damned, the real Japan, Narita and home again" unseriousness?
Were there any justice, the below sentence from Ms. Beech's opus would be cast in brass and hung on the wall of the Foreign Correspondent's Club in Uchisaiwaichō with the caption, "When Stupid Met Insulting."
"For a country that has assimilated foreign concepts so successfully — today few Japanese think much of the overseas origins of baseball or curry — the idea of exporting true Japanese craftsmanship is, indeed, revolutionary."
What would be revolutionary would be for TIME magazine to revive the position of Editor.
And yes, I was not done reeling from this.