April 26, 2014

"@Voxdotcom… has no idea of what Japanese popular culture is like, does it? Somebody needs to start calling this Vox-shaming, or something."

Says Moe Lane, linking to my post "Avril Lavigne picked a bad week to go all racist" and something David said in the comments: "If examined closely Japanese popular culture would explode the brain of the average political correctness warrior in the USA."

"If Vox wants to criticize cultural appropriation [then] it should find writers who are a little less provincial and a little more experienced with the culture in question," says Moe Lane, embedding "a not entirely atypical example... chosen partially because the artist (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) is both popular and known for her adoption of Western styles and themes – but mostly because it is, by our standards, highly insane," and I have watched this astounding video, which had me alternately laughing and saying "Oh, no!"



That was truly mindbending... a great escape from the dreary, daily American chidings about what is and is not appropriate.

ADDED: In the comments yesterday Mary Beth also pointed to the "PonPonPon" which she said was "pretty popular on the internet despite its racism." ("Skip to the 34 second mark to see what I mean.")

65 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

"I have watched this astounding video, which had me alternately laughing and saying "Oh, no!""

About what? It's J-Pop. Where's the shocking surprise?

"That was truly mindbending... a great escape from the dreary, daily American chidings about what is and is not appropriate."

Again - based on what? People dancing with raspberry's on their heads?

The Crack Emcee said...

And, let's say those were blacks, what makes their placement "a great escape from the dreary, daily American chidings about what is and is not appropriate"? Should continuing to pick on blacks be encouraged?

Would it be "a great escape" if you were black?

Would it be "a great escape" if she were filling her videos with "insane" depictions of whites?

And why the need for "escape" from doing the right thing? What is that about? Does anyone else get an "escape"?

William said...

The singer is not afraid to take a strong stand against teen age littering, but maybe the lyrics are not meant to be taken literally but are meant litter orally. It's a protest against bukkake. Pon pon is the porn version of pom poms.In the Japanese vernacular, pon pon refers to the confetti version of sperm, ie bukkake, which is such a prominent part of Japanese courtship rituals. The song reflects the girl's mixed feelings about pon pon.

Steve Uhr said...

Cheesehead at 1:31. Go Pack.

Ann Althouse said...

"Would it be "a great escape" if you were black?"

Political correctness demands that I consider myself disqualified from answering that question, so why don't you answer it?

If you didn't find that video highly amusing and liberating, please say why. Don't ask me to pretend to be you. I'll just pretend to be you long enough to say that if I did pretend to be you, you would criticize me for imagining that I could.

Ann Althouse said...

"Would it be "a great escape" if she were filling her videos with "insane" depictions of whites?"

I think white people tend to find it especially easy to enjoy to insane depictions of white people. It's kind of the norm in the field of pop culture insane depictions.

tim in vermont said...

That was fun to watch, as J-Pop almost always is, finger wagging liberals notwithstanding.

NitneLiun said...

Whatever message was conveyed in this video, intentional or not, it was mild by Japanese standards.

Spend a few weeks or even days in Tokyo or Seoul. You don't know what mindbending is.

Saint Croix said...

I appreciate the shout out to one Althouse hillbilly, but Moe Lane should have also mentioned Mary Beth's contribution. She linked to that same video on yesterday's thread (at 3:34).

B said...

I'll just pretend to be you long enough to say that if I did pretend to be you, you would criticize me for imagining that I could.

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

tim in vermont said...

Ali G used to have a funny show in England that made fun of white people pretty mercilessly.

Eugene said...

Here's what Japan's premier pop culture ironists have to say about the general subject matter: World Order's "Have a Nice Day" (in Akihabara).

Char Char Binks said...

Crack Pot, this video does have insane depictions of whites. What else can we make of the wavy fair hair and the blond wig? The difference is, whites don't weep and wail like a bunch of sissies about this "cultural misappropriation", unlike some other people.

Jupiter said...

"chiding"? You mean, the kind of "chiding" where you lose your job, like the gal who tweeted about not getting AIDS in Africa 'cause she's not black?

Althouse, as a liberal in good standing, you are expected, nay, required, to regard all this chiding as worthwhile and liberating. This ongoing hatefest is the necessary cleansing of the body politic, in preparation for the day when -- well, some wonderful thing or other.

And Crackster, you need to spend less time here and more time at your new job if you want to get anywhere. But who am I to talk?

Jupiter said...

"I think white people tend to find it especially easy to enjoy to insane depictions of white people. It's kind of the norm in the field of pop culture insane depictions."

In that case, it's racist.

Dave said...

Toni Basil never stops giving. It’s truly amazing how much of pop video culture is at least somewhat derivative of Mickey.

Patrick O said...

"I think white people tend to find it especially easy to enjoy to insane depictions of white people."

Doesn't this basically define 80s pop? MTV was built on the enjoyment people had for insane depictions of white people (before branching out to insane depictions of others sorts of people)

befinne said...

Please don't engage in stereotyping. So distasteful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo&list=RDTym0MObFpTI

Illuninati said...

Perhaps because I'm not so attuned to political correctness I didn't see all the transgressions in the video.

I'm exposed to Japanese entertainment a fair amount since my kids love Japanese music and Japanese books.

n.n said...

I prefer to avoid depictions of people denying human dignity, including their own.

It has been my observation that an aversion to deprecating depictions of individual human beings varies marginally by ethnicity and culture. The people who recognize a universal human dignity and intrinsic value are particularly offended by unrepentant displays of base or depraved behaviors. The Japanese are no different in this regard. There is a traditional culture which resists progressive/regressive morality.

Rick67 said...

I'm not sure but I think I have a sudden desire to commit violence.

Lem said...

If you guys are going to go back and forth the comment moderation should taken down, at least for this thread.

Which if my calculation is correct appears to have hit a snag.

Maybe I should look up snag before using it so liberally.

holdfast said...

Is YoYo Ma a racist for appropriating White Culture (tm)?

As a friend said recently, Australia got all the criminals, and America got all the Puritans. Sucks for America. And yes, Canada got all the beaver.

It's like the new "moral majority" is the left, and they are even more humorless than the old righties. Time to get a government grant to put an Obama statuette in a urine-filled jar and see how the left reacts.

Ann Althouse said...

"… but Moe Lane should have also mentioned Mary Beth's contribution. She linked to that same video on yesterday's thread (at 3:34)."

Oh! I'm sorry I hadn't seen that. Thanks, Mary Beth.

Ann Althouse said...

"Which if my calculation is correct appears to have hit a snag."

Yeah, it did. The snag called going out for a walk.

As for comment moderation: It's permanent, and longtime readers who care about this subject already know the reason.

NitneLiun said...

The difference is, whites don't weep and wail like a bunch of sissies about this "cultural misappropriation", unlike some other people.

Our indifference to the misappropriation of white culture is rooted in our white privilege. It is our privilege to be above all that common identity politics.

Derek Gwinn said...

"As a friend said recently, Australia got all the criminals, and America got all the Puritans. Sucks for America."

What's wrong with Puritans? The Puritans believed in education for all, purity of worship on Sundays, and the necessity of female orgasm for procreation. Works for me!

It was the Victorians who really got sheepish about sex.

SOJO said...

I take/took J-pop on a case by case basis.

I went through a Shiina Ringo / Tokyo Jihen phase back when. Still love some of my favorites, which have become very hard to find online:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwedbj_shiina-ringo-tsumiki-asobi_music

and

http://www.jukebo.com/tokyo-jihen/music-clip,gunjou-biyori,lsflp.html


But I want nothing. to. do. with the creepy AKB48:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/04/world/asia/japan-akb48/

(refering to the notorious situation in which one of the members shaved her head in shame because she was caught "dating"... this from a group that peddles munchkin virginity to creepy older guys in that special Japan way.

What can I say?

Japan, I love you, but get some therapy.

n.n said...

re: Political correctness demands...

The sound of knuckles crackling.

If you didn't... please say why

The gauntlet is thrown.

pretend to... pretend

A scintillating conversation ensues.

David said...

Crack,

As a male I'm pretty familiar with insane descriptions of male foibles in popular culture. Generally the goofballs have been white males. The idiot white male is a staple of commercials and comedies.

I find much of this stupid, tasteless and not very funny. (Two and a Half Men is an example of an exception. It is merely tasteless.) But I've found that any outrage I might feel is generally a bandwagon of one. Race does change the perspective, and white males have felt little need to protect themselves from attack coming from this particular direction.

No we should not encourage picking on blacks. But does it depend on who is doing the picking? Is the film "Barbershop" in the same category as Amos and Andy? I assume that it is not, but you may feel differently.

Race is simple. And complicated.

Drago said...

NitneLiun: "Our indifference to the misappropriation of white culture is rooted in our white privilege. It is our privilege to be above all that common identity politics."

Noblesse Oblige.

Drago said...

Ann Althouse: "Don't ask me to pretend to be you. I'll just pretend to be you long enough to say that if I did pretend to be you, you would criticize me for imagining that I could."

"It's a trap!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4qzPbcFiA

CStanley said...

We used to have a cable channel that showed some of the fun, insane Japanese competition shows. My favorite though was one I've only seen on YouTube- a competition of cats to see which can lift the heaviest fish.

geokstr said...

If you look closely in full screen, that's not performers wearing "blackface", their faces are covered by a dark checkerboard pattern. The purpose of that is as clear as all the rest of the weird stuff in the video, i.e., not at all, but I doubt it's racist. They probably don't even know what "blackface" is in Japan, nor how evil it is now considered here. Maybe they had too much pink, green, blue and purple in this kaleidoscopic video already and needed some contrast.

Just more leftling ability to see racism behind every tree, more faux "dog whistles" only they can hear for them to beat anyone on the right over the head with.

Anthony said...

As an Italian American I demand you bobos quit appropriating my arugula.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Spend a few weeks or even days in Tokyo or Seoul. You don't know what mindbending is."

I lived in Okinawa for 4 years and change in the early/mid eighties and did a year in Seoul in 92/93.

You quickly learn just how provincial your cultural assumptions are.

TMink said...

Yeah Crack, black folk never do anything like that video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWju37TZfo0

What white racist made them do this? Poor negroes.

Trey

Ali said...

I've lived in Japan for almost a decade. This is nothing, Ann. Vox hadn't the slightest clue of anything remotely Japanese pop culture and its genre. It's truly mind-bending.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Lordy Lordy! I was going to say that looked like skit from Benny Hill on LSD played at 4X speed.

Then I walked into the exercise room, where the wife had "The Avengers" playing on Amazon Prime video. It was just as bad and many times longer.

Drago said...

Crack: "The Crack Emcee said...
And, let's say those were blacks,..."

No.

Let's stick with reality.

Those were not blacks.

Shorter Crack (in a whispered voice): I see black people......

Wendi C. said...

geokstr says: " They probably don't even know what "blackface" is in Japan, nor how evil it is now considered here."

Obligatory disclaimer- I think vox.com was ridiculous, and I am in favor of cultural appropriation wherever it occurs, and Avril's video wasn't racist, it was homage.

But I lived in Japan for five years, and they do indeed know what blackface is. They think it's funny. I could buy horrific black caricature dolls and knick knacks at the most popular department store in town, if I had wanted them. I could buy mammy dolls, and kitchen items with mammy images just like the one in that video. That wasn't an accident.

I don't know that they understand that it's offensive in America, but then, they aren't in America, are they?

Scott said...

Serious question: Why is a video of a dancing, presumably black fat woman in a frilly pink dress "racist"? What line was crossed?

To me, it's like saying that requiring a government-issued ID to vote is "racist". The people who make the claim are incapable of explaining why it is so, in terms that sentient beings can understand.

(I bet that Jeff Bezos, in his nightly prayers, gives thanks that he didn't fund vox.com. Now he will never have to go on Charlie Rose to defend the latest boner pulled by closet fascist Matty Yglesias.)

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I think the Avril video is homage not racism. I think Vox.com's write is clueless about Asian culture in general and J-Pop in particular. I like cultural appropriation.

But geokstr, they definitely know what blackface is in Japan, and they think it's quaint and/or funny.

I lived there for five years in the late 80s and I could buy mammy dolls and all kinds of knick knacks, do dads, and kitchen items decorated in blackface and mammy images that were very jarring to an American, had I wanted them.

Whether they understand that it's racist in American or not, I do not know. They aren't Americans, are they?

FWIW, I could also go to parks that were clearly marked in English "This park for Japanese only."



AJ Lynch said...

Whatever happened to Vox's big plan to explain the news to us?

rcocean said...

So, I guess I'm supposed to think deep thoughts about RACISM about a women, dressed as a little girl, with a candy-canes and toys, singing in Japanese.

Okey dokey.

rcocean said...

BTW, I was a restaurant today having lunch. Next to me were two young Japanese girls having a conversation about whatever.

What attractive voices and what an attractive language! Even better was that I couldn't understand a word they said - Thank God.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Well n.n. I am sad to see us in such wide disagreement.

Steel Panther is a benefit, a positive, to our society, especially the 18-21 year olds.

Lessons learned on one's own by oneself inside the brain remain.

Instead of idols, these guys make all artists look like the shitfaced, hopped-up fools they are.

Except the Lady GaGa video for "Papparazi."

That was really good.

This is a link to an advertisement then a song. This doesn't benefit Althouse in any way but aesthetically.

rhhardin said...

Amazon is recommending for me Yoshikazu Mera Sings Bach and 20-pack Emery Board Wheels, possibly a comment on Japanese countertenors.

wildswan said...

Well that was all very interesting. I always liked Japanese simplicity and purity of line. Those videos are about as far as you can get from that simplicity but maybe the video refers to that simplicity as its opposite. Or maybe the Japanese are thinking - "no, not Mount Fuji and a cherry tree again". Or maybe they have hidden shrines at secret locations and these videos are meant to throw us off the track. Or maybe those videos are seen by Japanese as stinging satire. I mean that whole Japanese tradition - netsuke, flower arrangement, gardens - it couldn't just disappear!! Could it?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

rhhardin,

Amazon is recommending for me Yoshikazu Mera Sings Bach and 20-pack Emery Board Wheels, possibly a comment on Japanese countertenors.

Oh, don't say that about Mera. He's excellent. Not someone to practice your Dremel tool nail-reduction strategies on.

Of course, most countertenors are now excellent -- most you hear of, anyway. It's not the Deller-and-Bowman-and-Rene-Jacobs era any more.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Seems like a lot of people want to piss on Hannity now.

Well I don't listen to him and haven't for years, but I was appalled when, many years ago, he made some Philistinistic quote about Led Zeppelin being important when he was younger and not mattering anymore.

Now I understand.

Sure I like to get the Led out, but for Christ's sake I don't get my philosophy from people who promote the idea women were created by Satan.

It's too easy, too sweet.

n.n said...

NotquiteunBuckley:

I'm quite Greek in my methods. I prefer to use reason, rather than observation, to characterize the darker side of humanity.

I don't think they offer sufficient value to merit normalization. However, I'm not sufficiently familiar with their works to suggest they should be rejected. As with the majority of human culture, it can probably be tolerated.

Paul Golba said...

If Salvador Dali was alive and saw that video, he would switch to realistic still life as there was no way he could ever top it. Either that or become a J-Pop singer. I wouldn't put the latter past him.

As for me, I didn't think the video could get any weirder after the birds flew out of her mouth. But then she farted in checkerboard patterns and it became apparent that my weirdness standard were way too low. It is beyond parody. If you tried to parody it her video crew would be watching and complaining how you stole their ideas.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Paul Golba,

As for me, I didn't think the video could get any weirder after the birds flew out of her mouth. But then she farted in checkerboard patterns and it became apparent that my weirdness standard were way too low. It is beyond parody. If you tried to parody it her video crew would be watching and complaining how you stole their ideas.

Hey, you haven't even gotten to the orange-and-yellow tartan shark, or the eyeballs rolling out of her mouth.

It looks to me like the top entry in a "who can stuff the most imagery into four minutes?" contest.

rcommal said...

Flashing images: truly that which unites cross-culturally.

Jason said...

I'll see your Pon Pon and raise you Baby Metal!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIKqgE4BwAY

Clyde said...

Tyler Perry's been moonlighting, I see!

Anglelyne said...

"If Vox wants to criticize cultural appropriation [then] it should find writers who are a little less provincial and a little more experienced with the culture in question," says Moe Lane..

That's the pc "multiculturalist" in a nutshell, ain't it? Nothing more provincial and lacking in culture than a devotee of the multi-cult.

Oso Negro said...

It is surprising to me that we have gone this far in the comments without anyone noting that when the girl is wearing her blonde wig, she evokes the image of someone we all know. This notion hit a crescendo with the scene in which the young lady is wearing a variety of fruit on her head and gazing wide-eyed at the manifold images spinning around her.

John Reece said...

"Cultural appropriation" is just multiculturalism being a two-way street.

Unknown said...

My response to the video was, This is where American Culture of the late 60's would have gone if it had not been derailed by the Vietnam protests. There is so much Yello Submarine in it.

icepilot said...

I think it is safe to say that, by American standards, Japan/Korea/China societies are racist.

But then, by American standards, everything is racist.

Oddie said...

I don't get it. Any of it. At all.

The Crack Emcee said...

rcocean,

"So, I guess I'm supposed to think deep thoughts about RACISM about a women, dressed as a little girl, with a candy-canes and toys, singing in Japanese.

Okey dokey."

Exactly. It's ridiculous,...

oleh said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIXUgtNC4Kc&feature=kp

Another foreign video that is refreshingly inappropriate. Or something.