Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama's Bow to Japan

 I love Japan. Japan has done wonderful things for my life. Sony anyone? Pokemon? Instant noodles? Japan deserves a high-five. But not everyone thinks so. Some Americans are still bothered by President Obama's bow to the Emperor of Japan a month ago. Now, anyone who's even briefly acquainted with Japanese culture knows that bowing is an important Japanese social custom - like saying "hello" when you answer the phone - if you don't do it, it's weird or rude. Actually, not returning a bow is probably worse than not saying hello...  Nevertheless some people are outraged by Obama's disgustingly blatant display of subservience to a foreign leader. Fox News anyone? 
I just want to say that I love how Fox News often includes commentary on how people feel, like when they say that the emperor and his wife looked uncomfortable. Did you ask them? Is there an interview on record, in which someone representing the emperor says that he, the emperor, was uncomfortable? No? Then don't include it in the story and pass it off as legitimate journalism. The addition of emotions into a report that may or may not have a basis in reality is no more than a subdued version of sensationalism.  
On the subject of "protocol" that "has been the constant since the country's founding" my thoughts would be that in the eighteenth century, our prime concern was not bowing to European powers - it probably wouldn't have been cool for George Washington to bow to George III. But Japan wasn't really on the map in the 1700s, much less our fourth largest trading partner. Surely, if "protocol" had been written properly back in the day it would read "don't let the President bow to people unless it's the Emperor of Japan 'cause that's what they fucking do in Japan!!!" Obama isn't exactly prostrating on his knees or kissing the emperor's rings. The end.
Oh, and here's this picture that I borrowed from Fox News. I thought it was worth noting that when I downloaded it, the suggested filename was "obama_japan_monster." Obama Japan Monster. Hmm. You're so totally a legitimate news organization. Good job, Fox News.

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