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The Bad of America v. The Good of Japan


A Cremation Urn for Ashes Niche-friendly. Many of our urns will fit in a standard 12-inch x 12-inch niche, offering convenient and unique options for permanent memorialization.... STAR COMPANION. 9" H x 7" W x 7 1/8" D. CAST BRONZE. Volume: 370ci. Access: Bottom. figurines not included, shown in single glass front niche, shown w/ optional engraving. shown w/ zaph chancery font. (McMahon, Lyon & Hartnett Funeral Home, Inc., White Plains, NY USA)

I was not able to find a price list, but that may be my ignorance. On the other hand, it may be telling, since, in USA God help America!, people spend money they cannot afford on funereal matters. (As for myself, please give my body to medical science or whatever would be rational in the situation. I seem to recall I have in my personal archives a cartoon from New Yorker magazine cartoonist Jack Ziegler, of his body being dumped off a Sanitation truck at the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC).

If the above image looks to be dreck, I assure you, my reader, it is not nearly the worst. "Life is completer in a Chevy." I have an image of an advertisement from The Franklin Mint, a company I, in 2006, would have indicted as: "Culture criminals since 1964", for: "The Eye of the Golden Dragon". Consider, in France, the Palace of Versailles (or, in USA, the Lincoln Versailles automobile). Can one imagine a Japanese man with an earned Doctor of Philosophy degree liking his intimates to call him: "Sluggie"[1]? [BMcC alternatives: "Doctor-san", or even: "Daddy-san". For myself (BMcC), I am experimenting recently with the nickname: dada, with reference to the honorable European art movement of the early 20th Century.] The reason R. Crumb had a "Plunge into the depths of despair" comix is likely that it was/is what was/is.[2]
A tokonoma, or simply toko, is a recessed space in a Japanese-style reception room, in which items for artistic appreciation are displayed. In English, a tokonoma could be called an alcove. (Wikipedia)

Another comparison

Americns love to mow their grass lawns.

In Japan, some Buddhist temples have "gardens" of raked white gravel. In some of these dry gardens, monks make little cone-shaped mountains of gravel. These are either sacred objects or at least objects of meditation.

In The United States of America, in autumn, home/mortgage owners rake leaves fallen off the trees on their grass lawns. They pile these leaves into little mountains. At best these mountains become compost. Nobody worships or meditates on these man (or woman) made mounds. Is there a difference between these two kinds of symbolic mountains? If yes, what is the difference? If no, why do you, my reader, not see any difference (Maybe I (BMcC) have not written clearly here?)?

Somethin not so nice from Japan

"We're actually surprised nobody had this idea before. A [South] Korean national has uploaded a photo of him -- for the squeamish let's say, um, 'micturating' -- all over Yasukuni Shrine and vowed to continue to defile the sacred landmark every time a Japanese politician makes an insensitive remark.

Given that Japanese politicians have been known to make less than sensitive remarks about as frequently as Sarah Palin says something factually incorrect, this guy might have his work cut out for him. Heck, Prime Minister Abe visits the shrine so frequently we're surprised this guy didn't accidentally hit him with his, er... stream.

This may seem like a heartless act by the Korean national, but let's not forget that the human male, like the dog, has an innate desire to urinate on everything he sees, so this guy really isn't doing anything a Rocketnews24 writer hasn't done at least once this week. Even so, keep it in your pants please, kids." ("Korean national vows to pee on Yasukuni Shrine every time a Japanese politician offends his country", SoraNews24, +2013.05.31)


Of course I could probably have found something in Japan as kitsch-banal as what I have chosen to show of America. What I have shown is representative of the America of my social surround of childhood, and much that I still see in U.S.A., in 2020. Please, my reader, search on YouTube for: "See the USA in your Chevrolet - 1953": "Life is completer, in a Chevrolet". What I have chosen from Japan is representative of the Japan I savored when I visited there in the 1980's. Selective, Yes; Unrealistic, I think, No. (Japan bad: 2011: the shame of Fukushima.)

I doubt, however, that I could find anything native to The United States of America equal to what I have selected (without having to look very far/hard...) to show of Japan, especially considering, for one item: the dereliction I once found at The Museum of Modern Art ("MOMA"), New York City. Hey, folks: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works" (Matt. 5:15)!

I think the two pictures speak for themselves and for the culture each represents. The West also produced Edmund Husserl's and Walter J. Ong's work, and I have pieces of pottery by an American craftsman, Malcolm Wright, who worked in the spirit of Japanese pottery, which are both inexpensive (e.g.: US$12 retail in 1972) and honorific. Not everything in USA is bad. Apparently Robbie's childhood was good. In New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast's fantasy of what's all under New York City streets, lost cat toys are found at the very lowest level, just above Manhattan island's bedrock.

What do you think, my reader?  

+2022.05.14 v001
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  1. What is a "Sluggie"? Urban dictionary says: (1) Term used by the Irish military to refer to members the Naval Service Reserve (formerly an Slua Muiri). (2) [Plural] The ideal woman, typically fifteen pounds overweight, middle-class, and Caucasian. Sluggies are cross-overs of "sluts" and "druggies", characterized by their frequent drug use, unappealing slutatious behavior, and excessive eye makeup.... They worship black people, drama, and the exchange of insincere hugs. (3) insulting term. (4) [Plural] abnormally dark, thick and obscuring eyebrows, approximately 2-3 finger widths in length. The name evolved from the the similar width and length of the common garden slug.
  2. When I ran The Baltimore Museum of Art's Gift Shop, I did sell kitsch from one craftsperson: Jerry Fox, and his wife, Sandy. It was a hard call. They were retired, having made money selling tourist stuff on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. They appealed to me as persons. They made three things: (1) Gold-plated necklaces. The designs were actually not bad: simple modernist. The execution was cheap. My salesclerks in The Shop urged that we needed something to sell in the price range (ca.: $10). (2) little metal trees. These were not bad. (3) little ?sculptures? of a row of row houses, in translucent plastic with metal outline. These too were not really awful. I guess I felt that if "people" were going to buy popular stuff, this was better than most else they would spend disposable income on.

BMcC signature seal stamp. Modelled on 18th century messenger's letter box in collection of Suntory Museum, Tokyo. Japanese write poems and prayers on slips of paper which they tie into knots like this shape although with longer legs. Prayers are often tied to branches of trees which can look like they are covered with snow. "Symbol of a symbol, image of an image, emerging from the destiny that is sinking into darkness...." (H. Broch, "The Sleepwalkers", p.648) Always remember. Add value. (This image created not later than 21 May 2003)Invenit et fecit

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2022-06-08 11:27:09