09 August 2005

An interesting juxtaposition to start the morning off on the wrong foot. First, from the Japan Times:

Many years ago, I saw a fascinating documentary film of Japan's allies meeting in Tokyo in 1943. The Japanese conveners and the delegates from Manchuria, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, among other countries, gave speeches about the greatness of Japan's imperial mission and the certainty of Japan's noble victory. The amazing thing was, though, that most of the speeches were in English, the language of the enemy. Can you imagine a meeting of the "coalition of the willing" held in Washington (I won't list the countries, because the list might be shorter by the time you read this), with prime ministers Blair, Koizumi and Howard praising America's fight for "freedom" in Arabic?

Roger Pulvers, "Learning a foreign language is a cultural journey, too" (07 Aug 2005) (fake paragraphing removed for clarity). Compare this to:

So if this generation of creative moguls didn't turn Hollywood into the center of the universe, what is their legacy? There were some great films — "Schindler's List" and "Terms of Endearment" come immediately to mind as studio achievements that will endure when the archeologists dig in — but mainly they created a world that is now governed by the wants and needs of 17-year-old boys on any given Saturday night. The bygone moguls institutionalized the tent pole, movies meant to be an event and not just entertainment. Now, weekend box office figures, once an obscure industry metric, have become a matter of public moment. And sequelization, whether of a lame TV series or a blockbuster, has become the primary business.

"In Hollywood, All Players but No Power" (08 Aug 2005) (fake paragraphing removed for clarity). <SARCASM> Perhaps the three prime ministers should start asking themselves what 17-year-old Islamic boys want and need on any given Saturday night, if only to understand terrorist recruiting. Of course, that might require one or more of them to learn not just Arabic language, but Arabic culture. </SARCASM>