Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PR as Viagra

 As elsewhere, propaganda in Japan comes in various forms. There is the corporate kind – put out by companies – in the form of  pamphlets, brochures, videos and TV commercials –all that stuff known as “branding”,  with its  suggestion of red hot irons applied to the sensitive pink forebrains of 12 year olds.   And then there is the governmental kind of propaganda such as Abe’s current “Soft Power” initiative, which wants the world not just to respect the Japanese-- but like them, too – as if Hello Kitty and idol singers who can’t sing, virginal in garter belts and stockings could accomplish these two purposes. 

Putting aside “branding”, let’s look at Japanese “soft power”—such a wonderful term in the equally wonderful brave new world of Viagra.

Prime Minister Abe is a right-winger, born into a right-wing family, which has its roots in the 30s fascism of the last century.  He’s big on AKB48, the sexy girl band who excel at, well, nothing other than untouchable sluttiness.    Japan is coolest in black lace.


The meme?  All show --and no go – which is also Japanese politics in a nutshell.
Of course, like any pimply 27-year-old-live-at-home-never-got-laid-masturbate-to-manga guy,  Abe dreams phalllicly of a resurgent Japan with guns and missiles and Hard Men   if not BJs from prepubescent 25-year-olds in school uniforms,.  This more studly Japan would restore respect to the Empire.  It's a new Japan, a new Japanese guy.

The Japan that can say "No".  (Also, "Maybe", "Perhaps", "Almost", "Probably").


Just imagine.....

The Chinese  give up their claim to the Diaoyou Islands; the Russians   hand back the Northern Islands, and the Koreans, Dokhto Island.  The Americans  stop making movies and TV programs that show Japanese men as lobotomized “salary men” in boring suits with shiny pates or shiny hair all greased down and shiny glasses, geekishly in lockstep.  A Japanese Rambo or Terminator in our restores Nipponese honor.   And the Emperor leads the nation back to glory.

This new Japan aint going to take it anymore!


Sound adolescent?  It is.  The reality is different.

Because all politics is defined in high school, if not junior high school


Young men want two things:  to get laid – and be number one –which are connected..  Getting laid means love from the girls. 


It's hard to be popular with the girls without also been dominant and popular with the boys.  These challenges are  the impetus for attaining personal power  physically through achievement in sports or maybe violence –   mentally through study – socially through the force-multiplier of belonging to, if not leading a group.  But the real driver is testosterone


Politics in “patrist” or male-focused societies – which are most cultures today – are all about hormones.  Tea bagger?  You need the Swagger. As in Chuck Norris, Sly’ and Arnold.  

Abe, as an old fashioned patriarchal kinda guy, wants to be as Top Dog, as any jock in the 11th grade.


Be a badass.    International politics is like team sports  -- there are competitors – Russians, Chinese, Koreans – and Abe has to beat them down.   To that he needs a quarterback –the US – who’s big & bad& mean.   

Everybody is a little afraid of them because they do crazy shit on the field and are not at all reluctant to leave other players maimed , if not dead.  


With US help, Abe can be Big&Bad without turning off the girls in the stands?   Respect AND love, right?   Uniforms help, of course. And you want girls in uniforms, too....

Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms... That's Japan.  

And Cheerleaders ....The tame Japanese Press clubs and NHK do the rah, rah stuff.


So Abe must push "soft power".  (Why do I keep on thinking of limp dicks when I hear that phrase?).  We are Good guys, Abe says, as well as strong, virile, and undefeatable.   We have a warm, huggable side, like a Pitbull with a kitten. (Apologies to pitbulls that most unfairly maligned of dogs).

At the same time, Abe will push to change the anti-war constitution, spend lots on the military, invest in nuclear power (is there an H-bomb in your dreams, Not-So-Honest Abe?), and taunt the Chinese with tacit American support for the Japanese annexation of the Diaoyu Islands. 
The American gang is pretty small – just the US, the UK, and Israel – with Japan tagging along. But Japan wants to be a full-fledged member as honkey as the rest. But worthy of Love, too. 

That’s Soft Power made simple. Hello Kitty – another slogan for cultural ED?  Or a way of hiding a social hard-on?

You choose.