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View Diary: What's Happenin'? Fiscal Kabuki Week 12.7.12 (71 comments)

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  •  It's Time To Retire Kabuki: The word doesn't mean (7+ / 0-)

    what pundits think it means
    By Jon Lackman|Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 7:03 AM ET

    Judging from op-ed pages and talk radio, American pundits know a lot about Kabuki, the 400-year-old Japanese stage tradition with the Lady Gaga get-ups.

    ...Pundits use Kabuki as a synonym for "posturing." The New Republic's Michael Crowley, for example, has defined it as a "performance, in which nothing substantive is done." But there's nothing "kabuki" about the real Kabuki. Kabuki, I'll have you know,is one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity! And it's nothing like politics. It does indeed use stylized gestures, expressions, and intonations, but it's far from empty and monotonous. ...And in contrast with our own shortsighted politics, Kabuki concerns not the present so much as a "dreamlike time shrouded in mist but ever present in the subconscious," to quote critic Shuichi Kato.

    Of course, pundits don't care about the real thing. They use Kabuki precisely because they and everyone else have only a hazy idea of the word's true meaning, and they can use it purely on the level of insinuation. They deploy Kabuki because:

    1) It sounds funny.
    2) It sounds childish.
    3) It sounds foreign.
    4) It sounds incomprehensible.
    ...5) It sounds Japanese.

    ...As the scholar Gerald Curtis has noted, we have "an image of Japanese politics in which bureaucrats dominate … and policy making is little more than a process of collusion." For Rush Limbaugh, what better image with which to tar health care reform?

    But how did Kabuki, one of Japan's most revered arts, come to signify loathsome fakery? Kabuki escaped derision only so long as no one had heard of it. ...Although America's urban theatergoers lauded Kabuki, their good opinion did nothing to improve ties between the United States and its one-time enemy. Indeed, relations worsened due to drawn-out treaty negotiations. When American official James C. Hagerty visited Tokyo in 1960, protesters surrounded his car, broke its windows, and nearly flipped it.

    Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

    by Nulwee on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:39:32 AM PST

    •  It has taken on a new meaning (8+ / 0-)

      that everybody understands very well.  Words evolve, as you well know, and take on new meanings or multiple meanings.

      Why are you so bugged by that?

      This whole crisis is manufactured and this negotiation process is fake.  Even Bill Clinton admits that.  It is designed to fool the public and that's pretty despicable given the importance of the things that they are trying to cut.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:31:14 AM PST

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      •  What's happening now could also be described as (5+ / 0-)

        a Passion Play where the earned benefits of millions of people are being sacrificed.

        Kabuki's general meaning:

        It does indeed use stylized gestures, expressions, and intonations,
        does make it apt for what's going on now in the political theatre. Gestures, expressions and intonations designed to keep us in a fog so the real meaning of what is going down is obscured.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:03:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's more than posturing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, ek hornbeck

      It is a facade of theater, a grand performance intended to hide the truth. They make all sorts of gestures, send out emails, give speeches, even sponsor bills which are intended to ultimately fail, to give the impression they're on the side of the people, only to placate their rich peers in the end.

      Most of the elected Washington officials have a net worth of millions. They have no real idea what it means to scrounge up money to pay rent or eat, or keep the bill collectors off your back.

      They don't have a clue. It is no surprise that little is accomplished to help the 99%. They have more in common, in terms of socioeconomic status, with the bankers and CEOs of large corporations.

      The average senator has a net worth of 13 million, and the average house member a net worth of 6 million.

      Obama's net worth was over 7 million in 2010, and is likely even larger now.

      Hillary, the richest person in the executive branch, has a net worth of over 30 million. Yep. 30 million. She fucking RICH. They all are. Kabuki theater is a beautiful art form, rich with color, sounds, the illusion of the stage.

      And American politics is the same. An art form. Illusion. Staged for our consumption by rich fat cats who don't have our interests at heart.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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