Might Makes Right

Perhaps a more accurate title for this post would’ve been “Eli’s Sociopolitical Ramblings.”

I was reading some articles about current immigration issues, namely the Arizona law (allowing law enforcement officers to ask for proof of citizenship or residency of anyone they suspect of being an illegal) and the Secure Communities Initiative (which would allow law enforcement to cross reference the fingerprints of anyone they booked with a database of Department of Homeland Security immigration records). When it first became common to have a comments section on news sites I would read the comments, but inevitably someone would throw in a hate-filled remark that had nothing to do with anything, regardless of how uncontroversial the article was.  It’s 100 times worse for articles on controversial matters, such as the current immigration debates, so I stopped reading people’s comments.

I made the mistake today of reading them.  Oh boy.

I don’t even get angry at the hate and ignorance anymore.  It’s so sad I can’t get angry.  If we could talk about the issues without throwing in baseless, racist accusations, we might get somewhere. Hell, I think just getting rid of the “baseless” aspect would help tons! Right now what I’m plagued with isn’t anger, but Irony and Weltschmerz.

The people currently running their mouths about an “alien invasion” or a “Mexican invasion”…I wonder if they feel the slightest tinge of Irony when pondering history. Assuming they ponder it at all.

Why are there so many Mexicans in the southwestern United States? Because that used to be a part of Mexico.  That, just like the entirety of the U.S., was taken by the European invaders under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.  So I can’t help but smile wearily at the fact that despite what any inspirational children’s show says, might DOES make right.  If you can overpower someone completely, you have the power to dictate what truth is, what justice is, what anything is and how it shall be.  It’s easy to huff and puff about the “foreign invaders” when you think you have a right to be on that land and don’t think about how you came to have such a right. That’s the problem of context.

I love the comments that say the illegals need to go back to their countries to fix them.  They say it out of hatefulness and vindictiveness, but how I wish the immigrants would do that.  Looking at it just in black & white, without considering context, it’s a beautiful thing to wish for.  The biggest reason I spent two years as a full-time volunteer was because I saw Detroit’s problems and thought no one but Detroiters could fix them, because everyone else could care less if Detroit went to the last circle of hell in a handbasket.  It would be beautiful if all the illegal immigrants who risked life and limb, living in fear of Immigration authorities could go back to their countries and fix them.  Eradicate poverty and ignorance, ignore the need to be in the rat race, the global rat race that keeps poor countries poor as they yearn for the affluence of post-industrialization instead of the affluence that the resources on their lands can yield.

Whoops.

I slipped into a fantasy there.  Allow me to pull myself up out of it.

There’s the problem: people are no longer satisfied living with what their country can produce.  I was going to cite oil, but since that’ll eventually run out, let’s look at a simpler example: cheap labor.  If no country was interested in selling its products abroad, it wouldn’t matter if the goods available in one country were expensive because the consumers wouldn’t have a choice.  The other option if goods are made by fairly-compensated labor is to not have such a large profit margin.

It’s at this point that we are rudely awakened from our fantasy once more.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a marker of economic “success” for a company or country is growth.  Once you’re already selling to everyone in your country, you won’t be able to grow.  By definition, you will stagnate.  So what do you do?  Seek foreign markets.

Aw hell, you mean we have to deal with someone other than ourselves?  Snap.

Well no, we really don’t.  We could change our absurd economic models that are dependent on something impossible (infinite growth).

But of course, most people would look at me and say, “are you on crack right now?” Of course we need to expand into foreign markets instead of being satisfied being able to sustain our society!

So then that means we have to deal with other people.  It means we have to kill other countries’ businesses to take over their markets, make them buy our products.  Or even better, steal their products and sell them back as our products!  Genius.  “Banana Republic” originally didn’t refer to a clothing store, you know.

Everyone saying “the illegals need to go fix their countries,” do you realize that if that happened the U.S. would no longer be able to dictate that those countries have to allow American goods into their markets at prices set by the States, while not allowing those countries to set what prices their goods will carry in American markets? I think if we weren’t concerned with profit, with having luxury at the expense of others; if we could settle for a sustainable life rather than one built on the premise of infinite growth, it would be okay. If the American people would honestly be okay with such a scenario, and would demand that our government stop interfering with other nations’ governments, then we can be holier than thou about illegal immigrants without being hypocrites. Then we can say, “go back and fix your country,” because we’ll know that if they can’t fix it, it’ll have nothing to do with the fact that it is strategically advantageous for the U.S.  to have all those countries remain in poverty.

You can’t be a global superpower if you have equals.  You can’t be on top without someone on the bottom.  You can’t have it both ways.

So which is it?  In your heart of hearts, be honest.  Just so we can get the facts straight.  Just so we can move forward with all our cards on the table.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that humans can’t stand the thought of being equal.  To put it bluntly, they want, they need, for someone to play the role of the little bitch.  That’s why the communist revolutions failed; the revolutionaries exalting the virtues of equality wanted to be a little bit more equal than everyone else.  It’s why people get into arguments over stupid stuff.  It’s why gamers spend countless hours leveling up characters so they can beat a super boss and earn nothing more than bragging rights.

Maybe I’m just too tired right now.

While I believe we should fight for peace and a just world, I don’t believe we will ever get it as long as people feel the need to have something over someone else.  I think it’s an okay impulse as long as it stays confined to small things, like, “I need to get a higher score than Joe” or “I need to learn more kanji than Bob.”  But when it gets to “I need to have a bigger house than Jill” and “I need to use up most of the world’s energy resources,” then we run into problems.  Then we have wars.

In short, I believe egos are the root of all evil.  Not money.  Money is just one way egos express themselves.

*Sigh*

When I first learned the etymology of the word “weltschmerz” I was like, freakin’ genius.  Welt = world, schmerz = pain.  ^_^;

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I’m a DEAR!

The only thing I was expecting when I got home from work today was the building manager. My ceiling has a mysterious leak–mysterious because I live on the second floor and the apartments above me don’t have leaks.  While at work the thought, “it’ll come today” briefly flitted across my mind, but by the time I got home, saw the building manager in the driveway, put my bike away, and reached for my mailbox, it was a genuine surprise.

I’m now an official member of GACKT’s fanclub! ♡♪♡♪♡♪

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I had a mind fart when I registered at the Loppi and put a ー instead of a ・between my two last names, so what’s on my card looks even stranger than it should (from a Japanese person’s perspective).  Though a Westerner looking at the romanization would wonder about the Spanish yet Scandinavian looking name.  ^o^

Two Nights with YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz

This one’s for you, GACKT! *takes Vicodin*

WOOO! No wimpy alcoholic drinks here!  Only potent painkillers are fit for celebrating two nights of YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz!  WOOOOOOOOO!

^o^

Just kidding.  Don’t take meds like that just because.  I have a legitimate reason, namely, my FullMetal Ankle.  I only had one pill left, and was saving it for these concerts.

Getting back on topic…Thursday and Friday I went to see GACKT and the YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz at Zepp Fukuoka.  Both shows were great, but Friday’s was noticeably better.  There’s too many sights, sounds, and feelings to try to do a chronological telling, so I’ll write in vignettes.

Thursday Night (July 1st)

As expected, there weren’t as many people on Thursday.  Judging by the signs with the ticket numbers, there were only some 1600 people in the standing room plus how many ever there were up on the second floor seats.  My friend and I had tickets numbered in the 1330s, but when we went in many people weren’t trying to get up as far forward as they could, so we ended up pretty close to the stage; I estimate some 25 feet (8 meters) away.  We were close enough to be able to see GACKT’s face clearly and could see the sweat flying from his hair when he would head bang.

Around 6:45 someone (it wasn’t GACKT) came on the mic from backstage to lead the crowd in “kiai practice.” There was lots of OSU! and ANIKIIII! and slurred, rolled-R manly Japanese.  Don’t know if I understood it correctly, but after the first “ANIKIIII!” it sounded like the guy said, “What the hell was that?!  It’s not “anikki” it’s “aniki”!  Can’t you even pronounce right bakayaro?!”

The concert proper started on time.  GACKT walked in carrying his sword and started “ZAN.”  I couldn’t hear his voice very well and he seemed tired.  He was staggering, but I couldn’t tell if he was stagger-dancing or just plain fatigued-staggering.  (After seeing him Friday, I think it was from fatigue.)  It wasn’t until the fourth or firth song, “LU:NA” that I could clearly hear his voice.

His little strip-teasing during “Dybbuk” and finally the ripping off of his shirt during the bridge of “LU:NA” were wonderful. XDDD

I think it was after this that GACKT led the crowd in random shouting, first calling on the men, then the women, then finally just yelling “YFC! YFC! YFC!” over guitar feedback.  During several songs there was also the random shouting out of “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” which I thought was too absurd to actually do so I just pumped my fist to the beat. ^o^; (Dear GACKT: obscenities without context do not a badass make.)

Then there was…GACKT shimmying during “EVER.”  Oh. My. Savior.  It was so cute, so adorable, yet utterly ridiculous.  I was simultaneously thinking of the Chiquita Banana lady and Belscard, the antagonist GACKT voices in the MMORPG Dragon Nest for which “EVER” is the theme.

There were several times during “Flower” and “Uncontrol” that GACKT put the mic down, I assume so that the audience would sing, but unfortunately, it was only during the first verse of “Flower” that the crowd actually did, or at least, that’s all I heard.  I felt bad for GACKT.

In general, I would say that the crowd wasn’t very frenetic.  It was strange to see the older people (40s, maybe even 50s) just standing, watching without swaying or otherwise giving any sign that they were listening to music and enjoying it.  Especially given that the “Rules for Private School Students,” which are the “rules” for participating in the live that among other things dictate that “students” (the audience) show their enthusiasm by yelling “osu” and “aniki”, etc, say that “the front is dangerous, if you can’t handle it, fall back!” and “only you can protect your body!” (translating loosely).  I was expecting to see a mosh pit, but alas, there was no moshing.  The fist/hand pumping was as violent as it got.  The girl in front of me nearly hit me and my friend in the face a couple of times, and I stepped on someone’s toes when I jumped up and down without thinking.

Thankfully, the weather was relatively cool, so it wasn’t hot in the hall. I could feel the air conditioning above my head, and even surrounded by all those people, it wasn’t unbearable.  I was dressed lightly, but I don’t know how the girl in the maid outfit could stand it.  Most people were dressed normally though, a plain shirt and capris, skirt, or shorts.

After the second to last song, when GACKT and the band went offstage, people started clapping and chanting “YFC.”  It seemed rather staid to me.  I thought, “Is this supposed to be the audience calling the band out for an encore?” For long reasons I won’t go into here, I have the impression that Japanese think encores are mandatory, so they don’t shout with all their might to make the band come out.  Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the idea I have.  I wanted them to yell louder!  In my mind I was screaming, “Come on Fukuoka!  Don’t embarrass yourself! It’s bad enough only the Friday show sold out, so at least SCREAM!!!” ^o^;

My friend  told me that the Japanese people around us had a look on their faces like “OMG are these people really screaming?”  I did notice that the people in our section, with the exception of the boy to our right, really weren’t saying anything (even if their fist pumping was violent).  The people closer to the front were better though.

During the last song, “Uncontrol -Kyouki Ranbu edition-” the crowd once again left GACKT hanging when he wanted them to sing.  Maybe a few people way up front sang for him, but I couldn’t hear them.

At the end there was another screaming session of “YFC!” and what sounded like it was supposed to be a big cat’s “raow.”  During the call outs for men and women, GACKT said 「やっぱり九州の男は強い!」(“As expected, Kyuushuu men are strong!”).  I didn’t understand what he said about Kyuushuu women, but my friend and I woo’ed fiercely even though we’re not Kyuushuu women.  LOL  Then he asked the men if they would join him for another men’s-only live at the Budoukan, and asked the women if they would join him at Tokyo Dome.

Jun-ji was the last to leave the stage; he threw out like 5 pairs of drumsticks.

Once the band went off and the lights came back up, GACKT came on the mic from backstage and did a cutesified yet rough「忘れ物のないように」(“Careful not to forget any of your things” and said a bunch of other stuff I didn’t understand, and finally, said “Buy all the goods you fools!  If there’s anything left, we’ll have to commit seppuku!”

Thus commanded by GACKT, my friend and I went to get some goods.  I got a face towel, a Gakucchi, and the YFC Box. Very few people were buying goods, and even before the concert, there were sometimes only one or two people at the goods tables.  I felt a bit bad for GACKT some more.  ^_^;

Mongoose was apparently afraid of Gakucchi and turned away.

When we sat down to put our hauls into our bags, a Japanese fan approached us in English to try to sell some tickets for Friday’s show, but unfortunately all the people we called were either unavailable or couldn’t spare the money for not even the discounted tickets.  Oh well, we tried.

Friday Night (July 2nd)

Friday I had arranged to meet some friends at the hall.  I was waiting for them outside when it started to rain, so I texted them to let them know I would go on ahead.  This time, my tickets were for the second floor, as standing room sold out either before tickets went on sale to the general public, or in the 10 minutes before I got to the Loppi to buy my tickets the day they went on sale.

Once again, no one was at the goods tables.  But I hoped that with more people, the crowd would show more enthusiasm.  They did!  Whenever something was thrown out into the crowd, there was a visible fight for it.  People were louder with their kiai, and always sang when GACKT gave the chance (but he only gave two chances this time).  There was a cute moment when GACKT did a very calm, not terribly forceful fist-bump with someone in the front row who had their fist up.  ^o^; (I also found GACKT’s half-done head of cornrows amusing in a similar manner.)

This time GACKT was ON from the very beginning.  I could hear him clearly and he didn’t look tired at all, there was no staggering of any kind.  I didn’t know whether to be relieved (i.e. “Yay!  GACKT got some sleep and possibly ate something!”) or even more worried (i.e. “No! GACKT drank 10 espressos and took a fistful of diazepam!”).

This time Chirolyn didn’t try to be Gene Simmons as much, but he did pretend to masturbate by stroking a strategically held open water bottle.  ^_^;;;;;;;;;

Since we were in the seated area this time, I had much more freedom to move.  I head banged and jumped around relatively freely, though I did apologize to the girl behind me the one time my hand smacked hers.  The older lady next to me would yell out “GAKUTOO!” and something else I didn’t understand every now and then, but my friend and I were still the loudest in the section.  Or more accurately, I was the loudest in the section.  ^o^  I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to yell since I’d woken up with a sore throat from the previous show, but, やっぱり、being that much further back motivated me to reach new decibel levels.  Both friends I went to the concerts with later said (in what I think might have been as much complaint as it was compliment) that I had “some lungs on [me]” and “really showed how excited” I was.” ^O^

Now, Thursday night I’d had the urge to yell “KFC!” instead of “YFC!” but didn’t, but this time my friend said to me, “I really wanna yell ‘KFC’.”  We tried to do it together, but it proved too funny and only got two out before it turned into “k–LOLOL kK F ahahaahahaa!”  I also let lose and yelled 「福岡もっと叫びましょう!!!」(“Fukuoka let’s scream more!!!”) because it was really starting to bug me that the audience wasn’t trying very hard to get the band to come back out after the second to last song.  I also did a yell that’s sort of like a Hispanic equivalent of a kiai; you hold a rolling-R at high pitch and let it turn into a laugh.

Everything else was pretty much the same.  At the end GACKT said something about how he was also a man of Kyuushuu (Okinawa is sometimes considered a part of Kyuushuu) and that Kyuushuu was the best.  The message from backstage was similar, though I didn’t hear the threat of seppuku if the goods didn’t sell out.

This time we actually had to wait in line to buy goods after the show, but no more than 10 minutes.  I had meant to buy another face towel, since my bracelet caught on the one I had and pulled some threads out, but I forgot.  I did pick up 5 bags of YELLOW FRIED CHIPz.

My friends and I then went to Hard Rock Café (it’s right next to Zepp) to have dinner, but were so busy talking about the show that we didn’t even open the menu till the waitress came over to ask what we would like to drink.  Whoops.  So, we quickly looked at the menu, decided, and went back to talking about the show.  Meanwhile, I’m opening the cards that came with the chips.  Right as I added “Buddha Sits Down” to “The Chiropractic” and “The Bad Man” at the center of the table, the waitress came back to take our order.  She looked at the cards and started laughing, then we all laughed for a minute.  Once she took our orders and left, I opened the other two, “The Wind Mill” and “The Pole Dancers.”   Once I saw that I didn’t get a single card with GACKT I ran out to see if the goods tables were still open, but unfortunately they weren’t.  I don’t really like potato chips so I guess it was for the better.

After that we hopped on the subway, then went our separate ways.

It was a great two nights!

This afternoon, I woke up with everything sore.  My neck from head banging, abs from clenching to scream louder, arms from pumping, legs from jumping, and throat from screaming.  But I could be in more pain, so by GACKT’s apparent logic, I wasn’t serious enough!  Either way, I soothed my soreness with that last chubby Vicodin and a hearty lunch.

YELLOW FRIED CHIPz: Part of a balanced diet.

Now it’s time to start saving up for Premium or SS seat tickets for when Nemuri Kyoushirou comes to Fukuoka in December. ^o^