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The argument is a trojan horse actually. BTW arguments basically give leeway to the slippery slope of race hygiene style eugenics. The same slope that the activist branch of the race realist industry is currently sliding down on.
Theres nothing elitist about it. Some folks would call it "Keeping it real."
Does Asia - South and Far East provide an exception to your thesis?
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2011 on Too Much Democracy Too Soon at Foreign Dispatches
Kel Kelly at the Mises Institute seems to mirror your own position most perfectly: E. Fingleton from the Atlantic however, gets closer to what I am particularly interested in: a certain kind of economic reporting about Japan that insinuates that the Japanese deliberately lie about their economic health, as part of trade policy, and in order to mislead the rest of the world. This type of talk was very common among East Asia area studies types in the 1980s - that the Japanese had woven some sort of cultural imperative into their economic policy that necessitated deception, oriental inscrutability and good old corporate samurai sword-work (complete with harakiri and all). Talk such as this is still very much around, as the underlying tone in The Atlantic article suggests. Check out the excerpts: [...Preposterous though it may seem to an unacclimatized Western observer, it appears that Japanese officials have been deliberately understating the nation's growth. But why would they do such a thing? For those who know Japanese history, a clue lies in trade policy. The fact is that, constantly since the 1870s (with the exception of a brief interlude in the late 1930s and early 1940s), Japan's pre-eminent policy objective has been to keep ramping up exports. That policy came very close to derailment in the late 1980s as a groundswell of opposition built up in the West. By the early 1990s, however, the opposition had largely evaporated as news of the crash led Western policymakers to pity rather than fear the "humbled juggernaut." It is a short jump from this to the conclusion that Japanese officials have decided to put a negative spin on much of the economic news ever since...] [...Anyone who knows East Asia knows that what is not said is often far more informative than what is said. It is interesting, therefore, to note that when Japanese leaders -- and their many semi-official spokesmen in places like Washington and London -- discuss Japan's seemingly endless litany of woe, they never mention the continuing spectacularly strong long-term trend in the trade numbers. Yet trade was the one issue that earned Japan the "juggernaut" soubriquet in the 1980s. Think about it: when did you last hear a Tokyo talking head mention, for instance, that the current account surplus is up five-fold in two decades? Or that Japan is unique among major First World nations in that it runs a balanced trade account (actually on some calculations a bilateral surplus) with China? Or that, on a net basis, its holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and other foreign assets have multiplied probably ten-fold since the 1980s?...]
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2011 on Japan's Mythical Lost Decade at Foreign Dispatches
Given that I witnessed the advent of your "photojournalist" online persona, I must say that I am delighted. The leaps in picture quality have grown. A relationship between being a math wiz and having and an eye for form and structure, perhaps. Or angle. I certainly hope your psychological condition here has nothing to do with being coy or being cool. Brilliant pictures.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2011 on Notting Hill Carnival 2011 at Foreign Dispatches
The ramifications of a Chinese real estate bubble burst could well spread beyond that country - to South America and African economies which are trying to cultivate China as a primary market for raw materials export. Also, no Japanese style "Public Works / Developmental" state to artificially prolong investment in construction, manufacturing etc; So, bubble could burst very soon - though, I am aware that China has been throwing billions at rails and airports, etc. I do not believe that China is operating a true developmental state model. I have seen papers that try to claim the reverse but I am not convinced.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2011 on China's Real Estate Bubble at Foreign Dispatches
[...What will America do with 36 million Black Americans who have lost their value to the American economy? As the world moves towards science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM)...] And what will the world do with over 1 billion people of varying shades who have practically no value to the global economy? I really hate it when the black predicament in the US is framed locally instead of as something that developed out of undoubtedly global events.
Toggle Commented Dec 31, 2010 on The Willie Lynch Metaphor at Cobb
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Marxy is very insightful. Just in case you are so inclined, here is his previous take down of much of Japanese music, 2000 to 2009. Depending on how well you still follow JMusic, you might want to begin shelling out hard cash for anything by Shugo Tokumaru.
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2010 on Visual Kei: Behind the Music at Foreign Dispatches
[...actually happens to know something about the country he's writing about...] I think this is the whole point. The possibility that one lived in a country he had no plans on ever liking (very prior to the fact) for soooooooo long. Thats a scary mind. Most people can find cracks in any society.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2010 on Tim Rogers Doesn't Like Japan at Foreign Dispatches
[...Maybe "ugly American" should be changed to "ugly westerner"?...] Not at all. The Ugly American, IIRC, has a direct reference to American Imperialism. 1. Being abroad does seem to turn all sorts of people into monsters - except the Japanese. No, seriously. 2. However, I want to point out the double standard here: People from the 3rd World who have the means and resources to travel would not get off as lightly as these idiots Abiola has pointed out if they misbehaved. In my own personal experience, I know Nigerians and Ghanaians who have faced heavy punitive measures for far less cringe worthy behavior from locals than these morons who have nothing but their white skin to boast off - Its the ridiculous racism of it that annoys me. Scores of jails in several areas of the world are filled with West Africans who committed basically *no* crime apart from being young and boisterous - while creeps like these go free.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2009 on A Hard Lesson in Respect at Foreign Dispatches
Yikes - I'd forgotten how caustic you could be. I was just saying that the reasoning behind Obama's prize was pretty much the same reasoning behind W.S's - to give support / encourage to a work in progress and not reward per se. On the other stuff in your post - I am going to let sleeping dogs lie. I dont think anybody takes the Peace Prize seriously anyhow. I am interested in the prizes for medicine / physiology (where much of the contributions to the human fund of knowledge is going to occur over the next couple of years) and economics - perhaps literature.
Interesting that you should say this. I have followed your blog for a while now, and when you have, you have spoken in approving tones about a certain Mr. Wole Soyinka - who to my knowledge, was accused by several of his own kinsmen of winning the Nobel simply because he showed up in the right skin color: Chinweizu being the most notorious of this contigent: Others like Biodun Jeyifo tacitly noting this fact but complying with the patronizing racism underlying it for a larger purpose: the dismantling of apartheid and the establishment of some notion of black intellectual equality. When Soyinka won his prize, there were several, including Nigerians, who did not believe he deserved it: seeing it as yet another example of Osloesque leftist activism: Not just Nigerians, Ghanaians too (Awoonor comes to mind) - yet, today, after the fact (at least looking at an NYRB review of You Must Set Forth at Dawn) - many claim that Soyinka has won his prize several times over - though some still demur (the Nick Steyn review in Salon is a prominent example of this mocking view). The point is that Soyinka's prize was less for his literature and more for his symbolism and politics: His opposition to apartheid and deep strident sensitivity to racism was legendary even in his Leeds days, and unlike Achebe, Soyinka wore a preening cosmpolitanism on his sleeve (a facet of his personality that always amuses me, anytime Skip Gates invokes it, protege wise, to explain his own intellectual posture) - It is these that the committee rewarded (not that he actually *did* anything extraordinary literature wise) - In The Western Canon, Bloom lists only one of Soyinka's works as being canonical, as opposed to several of Achebe's (dunno what to make of this). My point is that blacks that engage and are rewarded by international white insitutions will almost certainly engage them primarily as blacks - a representatives of a blackness that is transcendent, one that has embraced cosmopolitanism and invariably they end up being rewarded for this blackness without blood stance - for as long as said institutions find use for them. Youd be embarassed by being in Obama's position - as would several Nigerian writers have been to be in Soyinka's ("The undesireable honouring the unreadable") - I dont know what to make of all of this. I dont know if I should regard Obama's situation as being peculiar: If I were hired on a quota / affirmative action basis - would I want to perform or would I just take the money and skip town - whats the more rational decision?
[ other words, the worst sort of patronizing "right on" politics. It is an absurdity to award a prize for peace-bringing to a man who hasn't actually done anything yet...] Yes, but the entire platform on which Obama ran, that of numinousity, has inhered within it, the assumption that he doesnt need to do anything to qualify for honour and accolade. Its a protestant thing: I am not aware that within polytheistic cultures, deity qualifies for worship as deity: the gods are rigorously functional. But some Negro, numinous, and rightly occupying his place within the current morality play need not do anything. He is Numinous - Hail. Its weird: The mere fact that one confronts and overcomes the racist strictures of white society is seen as an achievement in itself and to be rewarded: By whites themselves (weird mix of self loathing and self congratulation)- kind of like all those "prizes for effort" awarded to African American Kids in high school.
[...typical traditional-minded Yoruba parents...] Okay, so since I have a hobby of tracking the not so rich and famous, just wanna point out that young Ms. Olopade might in fact be related to a certain MacArthur genius grantee noted for work on cancer in certain African populations etcetera - said grantee also happening to be female competing in a predominantly male field, etc - perhaps would qualify as not being quite so traditional minded?,0,5974469.story
[...but spurious articles like Mr. Olopade's only serve to detract from efforts at fighting the real thing...] Dayo Olopade is female. First discovered her when she used to write for YDN. Has her own blog: Race is very much a preoccupation - as is the case @ TheRoots, which I stopped following a while back. The gaudiness of MySpace reflects the style of much of what is called Urban Fashion in general: I think the division is not so much between black and white as it is between urban and preppie type clusters. For the grad school contingent, I think, MySpace is horribly declasse - and it isnt because of race. The test is to deconstruct the black social network population and see if the divide holds per immigrant africans and carribeans.
[...You are the vague, slow, exhausted animal nursing its young. Anything graceful, original, sharp, intelligent about you is gone. And it is that sacrifice of self, that total denial of the outside world, that uncompromising violence done to your everyday life, that is this period’s appeal. You are transported in a way you will never be transported again; this is the vacation to end all vacations...] Cummon Abiola! This is too much and it plays right into the criticisms of many feminists. 1. I agree that feminists have tended to denigrate motherhood. 2. I agree with *them*, for their period and context and not with the slow, exhausted animal pontificating on the pages of XX. 3. The reason is simple: the transports Roiphe describes are simply not to be found in many cultures: Certainly not cultures where infanticide might be a just as necessary or near as necessary a behavioral / cultural adaptation predicated on evolution as the supposed transports we now learn of. 4. I dont know of any major feminists who have actually completely ruled out the possibility of enjoying motherhood. Some people enjoy doing chores. 5. I do believe gender is more of a construct than it isnt. A pet peeve of mine years ago was watching and seeing how Western feminists coopt non Western cultures to prove their pet theories about social organization, but then, the non Western authors started playing along and then I went, oh well... Wasnt it Evans Pritchard or some other ethnologist of the Azande or the Nuer, I forget which who pointed out the female role playing of young North East Africans - i.e., the whole boy-wife discourse, then a bunch of others...and then Ify Amadiume (Male Daughters and Female Husbands) and then Oyeronke Oyewumi (The Invention of Women - later parodied as Yoruba Dont Do Gender) Its dubious when white peeps go out and start superimposing constructs on cultures of alterity, but are we to claim Amadiume and Oyewumi are possessed of a false consciousness? I know that at least Oyewumi has been accused of in fact not doing social science at all, but instead relying on insider knowledge, i.e. knowledge gained as a member of the Yoruba, etc. The behavioral presentation induced in female mammals by reproductive realities might be inducible in any member of the species under the right circumstances: Reproduction is real, yes, but that is necessitates certain kinds of roles is the imperative that drives constructionism.
I suppose I am still one of those one or two that still actually follow the blog. Keep posting.
Toggle Commented Jun 24, 2009 on Narcissistic Twitters at Foreign Dispatches
Given that Bobby Ologun, to the best of my knowledge is a bonafide Japanese citizen, your dreams of deportation might have to be deferred for a while. As to Leopards, I never really associated them with West Africa, and I recollect, years ago having a hard time dealing with "The Bottled Leopard" as the metaphor of choice in C.V. Ike's take on teenage angst in eastern Nigeria. Dont take this the wrong way - but I assume that Leopards roaming free in West Africa isnt a common occurrence? I am familiar with the problems facing Nigerian game reserves - Antelopes free ranging I can understand - some cats - but Leopards?
I too prefer trade to aid, but I am saying that the notion that increased trade is sufficient to stimulate African development is just ridiculous and stupid. To put it bluntly, Africa has been trading with the West for over half a millenium now, and what does Africa have to show for it? Zip, Zilch, Nada. Furthermore, Trade not Aid obscures the fact that much aid is actually given with a view to stimulate some sort of Trade - the big men who misappropriate aid do so to facilitate their own private import and export business, buy properties in the West and so on - so how exactly does anyone come up with the idea that Trade and aid are exclusive? Until ethnic fragmentation is addressed - aid will continue to be misappropriated. Easterly is right: He wrote "The White Man's Burden" IIRC.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2009 on DBA - Doing Business in Africa at Cobb
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I am amused at how both sides of the debate claim imperialism. Foreign Aid is a form of colonialism, since it fosters dependence - but Trade also is a form of colonialism, since it fosters a different kind of dependence: This was the core of Rodney's argument in "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" - cf: "What is colonialism but a series of Foreign Investments?" I find it amusing that the "Trade Not Aid" mantra has gained ground among people who should know better, I am not arguing in favor of increased aid, I am just pointing out that it was to stimulate trade of a sort between colonies and the metropole that much of Africa was taken over. "Trade Not Aid" is muy simplistic, and dangerous.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2009 on DBA - Doing Business in Africa at Cobb
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