In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker
spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video
remains popular in undergraduate courses
across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
Wisdom, Age, and Society in America and Japan
"ONE stereotype of wisdom is a wizened Zen-master smiling benevolently at the antics of his pupils, while referring to them as little grasshoppers or some such affectation, safe in the knowledge that one day they, too, will have been set on the path that leads to wizened masterhood. But is it true that age brings wisdom? A study two years ago in North America, by Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo, in Canada, suggested that it is. In as much as it is possible to quantify wisdom, Dr Grossmann found that elderly Americans had more of it than youngsters. He has, however, now extended his investigation to Asia—the land of the wizened Zen-master—and, in particular, to Japan. There, he found, in contrast to the West, that the grasshoppers are their masters' equals almost from the beginning.... Japanese have higher scores than Americans for the sort of interpersonal wisdom you might think would be useful in an individualistic society. Americans, by contrast—at least in the maturity of old age—have more intergroup wisdom than the purportedly collectivist Japanese. Perhaps, then, you need individual skills when society is collective, and social ones when it is individualistic."
Europe according to...
is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
On the cusp of DEVO's first tour of Europe since 1990
, it's become clear that, though largely cast aside after their 1980 hit "Whip It", DEVO's influence is finally being felt on modern audiences, around the world. DEVO has inspired tribute bands, some traditional
, some not
. They've also spawned new bands, domestic
[MySpace link], and Foreign like Japan's POLYSICS
[YouTube], and Germany's Mutate Now
[YouTube]. With musical inspiration like this, can't we forgive such missteps as Devo 2.0