I was rather surprised at supper last night to hear one of my dining companions extol the virtues of headhunter society in the South Pacific. The death cult that had sustained them for timeless eons had been destroyed by the introduction of Western ways, you see, and she had just finished reading a book which explained how horribly difficult life has become for the headhunters' descendants, struggling as they are to scrape out a living as minions of some exploitive Western corporation. When my wife objected that headhunting is a rather grisly business probably not entirely worthy of emulation, the woman replied that the author deals with that quite nicely, thank you very much, by juxtaposing images of headhunter barbarisms with imagery of contemporaneous events occurring in World War I-era Europe. See, see! We're evil too! Everybody's the same!
At work I have some colleagues who desire to move to Mexico. They long for it wistfully, seeming to believe it would be just like Colorado, only warmer. What's not to like? When I pointed out to them that Mexico is a nasty place with daily kidnappings of children for ransom, a semi-failed state run by warlords, they replied that they would become the warlords. Now, these people are soft. They have never seen real adversity of any sort. My son tells me they wouldn't last long in Mexico; I reply that they wouldn't even be able to last long in Wichita--too rough for them.
I agree with Mark Steyn: the ever-growing multi-culti neo-Romanticism of the advanced Western world is at base a fraud. These people don't really want to live anywhere but advanced Western society--no one in their right mind does. But there's a gaping failure of imagination here. People are no longer at all capable of imagining that it is possible for there to exist a world that is not advanced Western society. This disease is particularly advanced in the more advanced and safer areas of America, such as California, Seattle, Massachusetts, and Colorado. And since everything in their world is really advanced Western society after all, why not add a little salsa to the mix with a dash of headhunting or Mexican drug gangs, to make life a little more interesting than the bland old corporate mush served up in suburban Colorado?
This is why I believe the predictions of red-State dominance are premature at best and probably inaccurate. With each generation our world becomes a little safer, a little more controlled, a little more sterile, and a little blander. As Morgan has ably stated, we're in a long-term boom right now, which means a whole generation has grown up without the merest whiff of economic adversity. This makes it harder and harder for Westerners to believe that there is such a thing as adversity. It's just a myth, like the Easter Bunny. Since there is absolutely nothing to worry about--there is no Big Bad Wolf--why not dabble in exotic religions like Islam, anyway? How bad can it be? We are increasingly the victims of our own success: the richer we become, the softer and bluer we are.
At The Film Site: Ikiru (1952)
1 hour ago