[T]he Japanese are polite, reticent, fascinated in other cultures (as long as they don't have to worry about them spilling over into the homeland) and, yes, stark raving mad. The women are also pretty cute too.
[The Japanese] still comment on how big and ungainly we are and on what big noses we have. They also concluded early on that we would never understand them. After they defeated the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, a Japanese diplomat commented with weary irony that for half a century we had been enthusing about their art, yet we still thought they were barbarians. It was only when they had shot a few Russians that they "were acclaimed as a highly civilised race".
Heated loo seats are slightly worrying the first time you encounter them, but after that they're a comfy idea; and there are buttons for jets of variable power, warm water, one for back bottom, one for front, with pictures to tell you which is which and hot air to help you drip-dry. All of which is strangely addictive and makes you question your sexual orientation, or at least wish for diarrhoea.
But it's not that which gets the canary of weird coughing, it's the lavatory paper: it's like rice paper. They have 21st-century bogs and 13th-century bog roll. Your bum's clean enough to eat sushi off, but you need to scrub your fingernails with a boot scraper. This is a country where the men pee in the street but it's the height of bad manners to blow your nose, and they wear woolly gloves on their feet.
In Kyoto's wooden old town, hundreds of Japanese tourists loiter, cameras at the ready. Nothing happens in Japan unless it happens at 400 ASA.
Japan has become the West's stalker, a country of Elvis imitators. To walk among them is like being in a voyeur's bedroom. They loathe the objects of their obsession. An English banker who has lived there for over a decade, speaks the language, married a Japanese girl and takes his shoes off in his own home, told me: "You have no idea how much, how deeply, they despise us. Don't be fooled by the politeness: it's mockery. They are very good at passive aggression; it's the only type they're allowed."
Kabuki theatre is only just preferable to amateur root-canal work. The three-stringed guitar is a sad waste of cat. Japanese flower-arranging is just arranging flowers. Their architecture is Chinese, as are their clothes, chopsticks, writing, etc. The samurai were thugs in frocks with stupid haircuts, and haiku poems are limericks that don't make you laugh. Indeed, they are so aesthetically difficult, one haiku master managed to compose only 23,000 in 24 hours, including gems like: "The ancient pond, A frog leaps, The sound of the water." Marvellous.
Kyoto is a disappointment: an ugly sprawl of low-rise confusion. The streets are a tangle of stunted electricity pylons and cat's-cradle power lines. Hidden among it are thousands of shrines and temples, which are beautiful, up to a point. There's an anaemic, minutely obsessive quality to them and they're very repetitive. I did rather love the gardens, though: vegetative taxidermy. Everything is tied down, wired up, splinted, truncated and pruned. In the pools, albino carp slip and twist with a ghostly boredom.
You don't have to go to Japan to have an inkling that the Japanese are not as the rest of us are. In fact, they're decidedly weird. If you take the conventional gamut of human possibility as running, say, from Canadians to Brazilians, after 10 minutes in the land of the rising sun, you realise the Japs are off the map, out of the game, on another planet. It's not that they're aliens, but they are the people that aliens might be if they'd learnt Human by correspondence course and wanted to slip in unnoticed.
I think the least effeminate men are the Japanese. At least in movies. They do that weird thing with their voices, sort of like Louis Armstrong, trying to make them seem lower. I wonder if they talk like that at home. Wouldn't it make your throat hurt?
Jealousy is the theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.
[T]he period roughly from 1830 through 1930 saw a very rapid expansion of that revolution in Western Europe, and most particularly in German-speaking Europe. This expansion resulted in the emergence of a brilliant and dynamic civilization.
Given the prominence of Jewish Europeans in that civilization, it must be asked whether one of its principal stimuli was not the excitement of mutual discovery, in which newly emancipated Jews brought their analytical skills honed by their tradition of scholarship and debate, while accessing the much wider world of Western science, literature, and scholarship from which they had previously been closed off?
How can we calculate how much more dynamism was added by the everyday interaction of people who had previously been kept in parallel and uncommunicative spheres? The Germanosphere, including not just the Second Reich, but Austria-Hungary, German Switzerland, and the German-speaking communities of Eastern Europe and the Americas, really might better be dubbed the Judaeo-Germanosphere during that period.
Continental European Jews, because they owed their very presence in the larger civilization to the values of liberalism and modernism, were one of the first and most obvious targets of the Industrial Counter-Revolution.
The collapse of globalization and consequent rise of totalitarianism set the stage for the end of the great Judaeo-German hybrid civilization of Europe and its French counterpart. Those European Jews who were left alive at the end of the war overwhelmingly desired to leave, and they left to two destinations: Israel, and the Anglosphere.
James C. Bennett
The Jews rule this world by proxy. . . They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.
Dr. Mahathir Mohammed
During the period from ancient times to modern times, there was a constant phenomenon of Jews converting to Christianity (there were many social pressures to do so). In a nutshell, the idea is that the lower-IQ Jews were statistically more likely to convert, as it freed them from having to learn to read Torah. During the Middle Ages, it was not worth the effort for most people to become literate; the payback was not worth it. Books were rare and expensive, and learning to read was no guarantee of getting ahead in life. Of course, people like to do what they're especially good at, and the higher-IQ's among the Jews did not find learning to read to be such a burden. As such, they were statistically less likely to convert (and statistically more likely to become fathers of many children in a culture that valued intelligence.) It is worth noting that in ancient times, Jews were not stereotyped as especially intelligent; that stereotype arose in the Middle Ages.
Journalism is a simple job. You collect facts, and you write about them. Any idiot with a high school diploma should be able to do it. It's one step up from unskilled labor.
Any daily newspaper is a compendium of unexamined biases. I'm repeating myself here, but: it's been my experience in 20+ years that no one slants the news to achieve a particular political objective. They present what they think is the truth. Nearly everyone in the newspaper business believes they are objective. They're not shadow agents using the cloak of objectivity to cloud men's minds. But: since most people in the newspaper business have always been somewhere on the lefty side of the ledger, they don't have the same internalized set of definitions as, say, a National Review editor. [. . .] Terms that make a conservative's hackles prong up and quiver don't bother a reporter who's been a lib all his life. They don't see what they don't see.
Media bias is not a plot. It is not a grand scheme. It is simply what you get when the news is packaged by people who do not understand the opposition's mindset on a molecular level.
You can take some stringer's notes and compose a story, but the difference between that and a piece you wrote from your own research is the difference between a Penthouse Forum letter and your recollection of your wedding night.
You've heard of the Jayson Blair flap at the New York Times? He was the young reporter fired for making up stories. His editors only got curious when he filed a first-person dispatch from the flight deck of the Columbia, describing the shuttle's last moments. Up until then, they hadn't thought anything was amiss, even though they were dealing with a guy who couldn't spell his first name correctly.
I like to do my principal research in bars, where people are more likely to tell the truth or, at least, lie less convincingly than they do in briefings and books.
One of the whopping lies of our time is that journalists are simply innocent bystanders with no responsibility for the outcome of events. In fact, our own media may turn out to be the crucial variable in Iraq. They've already made a success of post-modern terrorism as surely as Colonel Tom Parker made Elvis a star.
If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.
Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity
John, Lord Acton
If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you want to get fucked, go to a courthouse.
Gallows (n): A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it.
The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.
Lois McMaster Bujold
All virtue, all evil are contained only in people. There is none in the universe at large. Solitary confinement is a punishment in every human culture.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Social justice is impossible of attainment by force.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.
Fine: A bribe paid by a rich man to escape the lawful penalty of his crime. In China, such bribes are paid to the judge personally; in America they are paid to him as agent for the public. But it makes no difference to the men who pay them -- nor to the men who can't pay them.
[O]nly through diversity of opinion is there, in the existing state of human intellect, a chance of fair play to all sides of the truth.
John Stuart Mill
Questions of justice arise only between equals.
The pages of history shine on instance of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge…