Friday, November 24, 2006

A tale of two countries

By serendipity, tonight I read this article and this article one after the other.

They offset one another pretty sharply:
The group is everything there [in Japan]. There is no room for the maverick rebel, the determined non-conformist, the rugged individual. Here in the west, we cherish that quality. To us, the individual is sacred. To them? Anathema. There's just no space for that in their society. And the social sanctioning is fierce and swift.

This is why Japan has no significant women's movement. In fact, the word for an unmarried woman over 30 in Japanese who keeps her money and doesn't have kids? "Parasite" woman. Not because she counts on anyone for a living or a meal ticket, but because she's not using her womb for the good of the nation, not contributing to the economy by buying refrigerators or diapers or a mini-van.

We don’t have hero teachers and RNs here [in the US]. I profoundly wish we did, but we don’t. We have “Wall Street” heroes. We have rock star pro athletes and CEOs who are paid like pashas for what are basically culturally irrelevant skills, and then celebrated for their salaries.

We honor privilege and bling, not service.


Chuck Butcher said...

And the folks that daily get up and go to physically demanding low paying jobs are just ciphers, deserving if not contempt, then disregard, as they wait to be traded off for a cheaper worker.

Nothstine said...

Hey, Chuck--

Good point. The built-in disinterest in [or hostility toward] people who actually work for a living in our country is astonishing. Just as astonishing is how many people have become so used to it, like canned music, that they no longer are aware of it even when it's happening to them.

Which makes accomplishments like the recent successful janitors' strike in Houston all the more noteworthy.