Keep Calm and Kismet, Hardy

great britain used to run the world right vlcsnap-2013-05-12-08h36m27s21

You may recall that the Limeys were once enthusiastically murderous brigands. Eventually they were so successful at mass-murder that they were called “conquerors,” not “pirates.”

What happened to that aggressive Anglo-Saxon conquest? Continue reading Keep Calm and Kismet, Hardy

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Full Metal Feminist


http://myanimelist.net/anime/5114/Fullmetal_Alchemist:_Brotherhood/

Fullmetal Alchemist
was one of the most successful speculative fiction works of recent years. It was written by a woman, Arakawa Hiromu. The 20th century saw many excellent female sci-fi and fantasy writers in the English-speaking world (C. L. Moore, C. J. Cherryh, Andre Norton, Tanith Lee, the list goes on) but writing seems to be in decline in the English-speaking world. Arakawa is one of the women to whom I point when people tell me that the entertainment world is biased against women.

Fullmetal Alchemist offers several interesting female characters. I want to point out just three of them.



Zhang Mei is literally a princess, but she encounters a little bit of hardship in her early life, because she has many rivals to her throne. Nonetheless, she is a classic wish-fulfillment character, suitable for children. She has exotic super-powers, a cute pet, and princess status.

I won’t spoil the ending, but if you watch the whole show, including the final episode, you’ll get a hint about the ending of Zhang Mei’s story. It is neither pro-feminist nor anti-feminist, because Zhang Mei manages to get some good aspects of both worlds. However, she is just a supporting character; she doesn’t steal the spotlight.



Riza Hawkeye is a classic feminist “Strong Independent Woman” stereotype. She has it all – romance, professional success, excellent skills. The only way she could be more of a stereotype would be if she were to have a trophy baby with her lover. She has no exotic super-powers, but she is so personally strong-willed that she trains her natural strengths and her firearms skills to the point where she can face super-villains on battlefields.

Like Olivier Mira Armstrong, Riza Hawkeye is such a strong and powerful character that she easily steals the spotlight during many of the episodes in which she appears. As a male viewer, I think this is a feature, not a bug.

Unlike Olivier Mira Armstrong, Riza’s tremendous strengths come from her personal, individualistic character. Olivier could never be a heroine to doctrinaire feminists, because she puts duty to her family bloodline above her personal feminist pride. (So, gentle reader, if you are reading this and protesting that you are a feminist but you still idolize Olivier – you are clearly diverging from your Comintern puppetmasters.)


300px-Winry

And finally Winry Rockbell is perhaps the most female of all the female characters in Fullmetal Alchemist. This is a story dominated by super-powers, monsters, exotic settings, and beautiful visual designs. Amid these super-soldiers, super-heroes, and super-dangerous perils – Winry is an ordinary girl. She’s highly skilled at a technical job, but there’s nothing unrealistic about her skill level – she was trained and she practiced and so she has skills. While Zhang Mei is a princess saving herself from peril with some help from friends, and Riza is a shootist saving her friends from peril by means of her guns, Winry mostly avoids peril altogether. Winry is mostly concerned with whether Ed is her loyal boyfriend, and she’s willing to walk across a battlefield to make sure of that, but once she’s been reassured, she’s not going to steal the spotlight by dominating combat. Winry gets into Ed’s emotions. Winry must be bribed with presents from Ed, lest she scold him. Winry is entirely happy to engage Ed in a traditional girl-and-boy romance. Winry doesn’t need to be the greatest hero in the story, so long as she gets to marry Ed, who is the greatest hero in the story.


Fullmetal Alchemist has several wonderful female characters who stand and fight on various battlefields. These characters can be seen as typical feminist fantasies that challenge the traditional patriarchal sex roles. But it also has Winry Rockbell, who avoids battlefields. Winry is an anti-feminist fantasy, written by a woman. Riza Hawkeye plays the feminist stereotypes straight; Winry Rockbell subverts the feminist stereotypes.

Stolen from zhai2nan2: 3edgy5me comments, crazy sculptors, and spoilers for Suisei no Gargantia

If you have not yet watched Suisei no Gargantia, just click past this post. It doesn’t contain any great insight that can’t wait until you finish watching that series.

So, by clicking the “more” link, you certify that you don’t mind spoilers.
Continue reading Stolen from zhai2nan2: 3edgy5me comments, crazy sculptors, and spoilers for Suisei no Gargantia

Stolen from zhai2nan2: Two thousand one hundred and fourteen words all about sex and how Cyber City Oedo 808 is not very relevant to genetic miscegenation

I’ve been inspired by various posts on genetic miscegenation, “hybrid vigor,” and racial identity-

http://sigmasocialscene.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/miscegenation-not-a-dead-end/

http://ex-army.blogspot.tw/2013/11/eugenic-me-genic-we-all-genic.html

but frankly I have nothing of interest to say about genetic miscegenation, so I’m going to ignore my blogosphere and go off on several tangents.

Specifically, I’m going to use the multi-racial characters of Cyber-City Oedo 808 to explain history in several thousand of the most ill-chosen words you have ever had the misfortune to read, Gentle Reader. My post won’t actually address any actual GENETIC miscegenation, but it will touch on cultural imitation, which is kind of analogous to miscegenation.

Rather than enduring my meandering attempt to explain racial stereotypes in terms of anime, you might want to watch the first OVA of Cyber-City Oedo 808 instead. I guarantee that it’s more coherent than my essay. Be sure to turn on captions in your language, but listen to the original Japanese voice actors.

If you’re not willing to watch any more anime, you might as well read the essay.


The argument goes like this:
1 – The characters in the anime are extremely recognizable, in part because of use of racial stereotypes. But these racial stereotypes are just what the viewers expect to see, not reality.
2 – (As William Graham Sumner taught,) humans organize their lives in terms of recognizable ingroups and outgroups. Humans stereotype everything to reduce experience to recognizable patterns.
3 – Human history is likewise composed of recognizable stereotypes rather than perfectly verifiable facts. The racial stereotypes in history are just what the students of history expect to see, not reality.
4 – We must try to transcend our stereotypes.

First you should look at some screenshots and understand the characters.
Sengoku vlcsnap-2013-11-16-08h46m49s64
Sengoku, the obvious heroic protagonist, is is an extroverted, charismatic alcohol-drinker who is interested in witty banter and human personalities. He is a mixture – 80% Mongoloid with 10% Europoid and 5% Negroid genes. He has mass appeal – a large cross-section of the Japanese audience can identify with him. He is mostly like a hard-driving, masculine Japanese man of the 1980s. His crimes include murder, assault, weapons possession, disturbing the peace, endangering public welfare, forgery of currency, bonds, and data, computer-fraud, database violation, and resisting arrest. He is pursued by an ideal potential wife, but he plays hard-to-get; he is an ideal military officer, politician, or celebrity. Japanese sci-fi fans who feel stable and fairly comfortable in Japanese society, but who feel tormented by unsatisfied ambition, will identify with him. His action sequences resemble those of a two-fisted, duster-wearing gunslinger more than those of a two-fisted film-noir Knight In Sour Armor.

Yanagawa vlcsnap-2013-11-16-08h49m39s210
Yanagawa – with 59% Mongoloid and 38% Europoid genes – might be mistaken for a female gymnast or acrobat, because he wears cosmetics in a “visual-kei” style, but his voice is deep, his demeanor is masculine, and his allusions to astrology seem to be more like medieval fatalism than feminized pop-culture astrology. His white hair and red eyes mark him as a “god of death” stereotype; possibly the Europoid ancestry was included in his character simply to make his “god of death” albinism more plausible. His crimes include murder, assault, forgery of currency, bonds, and data, forgery of identification, embezzlement, damage to public property, space flight violations, and other criminal law and regulatory violations. His action sequences resemble the one-on-one duels, gravity-defying leaps, erotic-poetic dalliances, and narrow escapes of the “chivalrous ninja” stereotype that Japan’s theaters have been refining for centuries.

gabimaru vlcsnap-2013-11-16-08h50m02s27
Gabimaru – with 60% Mongoloid, 10% Europoid, 20% Negroid genes – is a “dekabutsu” “genius bruiser” with cybernetic eyes and an introverted personality, good with technology and overt violence. He is not suited for intrigue, gaudy displays of subtle social dominance, or hedonism. His crimes include murder, assault, destruction of public and private property, weapons possession, disturbing the peace, and violations against city bylaws and criminal regulations. The story includes hints that he is a widely-read, multi-lingual deep thinker. His personality is easy-going, loyal to comrades, and self-sacrificing – an ideal soldier or team-mate. Overly-bookish, under-socialized sci-fi fans, perhaps burdened with thick spectacles, who have a taste for physical brawling, but not for insults, will identify with him. His action sequences resemble block-buster action movies, right down to the John-Woo-style white doves and Jerry-Bruckheimer-style vehicle crashes.

Sengoku, the 80% Mongoloid, appeals to the kind of Japanese man who feels that Japanese virtues would be good enough if only they were pushed forcefully. His Europoid and Negroid genes indicate that charismatic forcefulness. The fact that he is not a 99% pure Mongoloid underscores the sci-fi atmosphere; it suggests that essentially Japanese masculinity will persist even if 900 years of high tech civilization have led to some amount of interbreeding. Yanagawa, the 59% Mongoloid, is a beautiful “chivalrous ninja.” His 38% Europoid admixture appeals to the large segment of the Japanese audience that considers “whites” attractive and wouldn’t mind interbreeding with them. Gabimaru, the 20% Negroid, appeals to the stereotype of that all blacks are two-meter-tall ultra-heavy-weight male boxers; this stereotype is easy to sell in Japan, especially to audiences who mostly see male blacks on television, and who never see female blacks.

Second, you should understand ethnocentricity from an anthropologist’s standpoint, as a matter of ingroup and outgroup. Regardless of whether humans are genetically related, we tend to live in groups, tribes, hunting-bands, etc. We tend to believe that the people we live with are somehow part of us, even if there is no genetic or historical evidence to that effect. Humans are loyal to their kin – but most kinship relationships are based on imagination, not blood or marriage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictive_kinship

Thus when people with white skin regard themselves as a “white race,” it’s just an imaginary distinction, just like the many disparate East Asian races that get lumped together into a supposed “Han race.” From a genetic standpoint, white people are too diverse for one category. Finns, Turks, Jews, Saxons, and Icelanders are too diverse to be considered a “race.”

Even with that in mind, we can’t just throw up our hands and refuse to think about anthropology, so we have to go back to the basics, namely the research of two Yanks:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_G._Sumner

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Merton

and one Brit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Dunbar

Sumner defined ethnocentrism as “the technical name for the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.” Merton elucidated the notion of the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” And Dunbar introduced the famous “Dunbar Number,” a.k.a. the Monkeysphere Limit. People inside the Monkeysphere get the benefit of the doubt; they are at the center of everything, and everyone else is rated with reference to them. People outside the Monkeysphere aren’t really people – they are hostile outsiders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

We evolved to be tribal thinkers; we were evolved to use stereotypes in a stereotype-friendly society. We still use stereotypes in all of our thinking, even though we no longer live in paleolithic tribes which were genetically and culturally coherent. Thus when we think about race, we think in terms of our Monkeysphere’s culture. But our Monkeysphere is not necessarily genetically or even culturally coherent.

Now that we have reviewed the Monkeysphere, I hope the relevance of Cyber City Oedo 808’s characters is a little more apparent. Those characters are identifiable. The viewer can put them into his Monkeysphere, at least as long as the viewer is watching the show. The stereotypes are refined to be easily digestible, like highly processed junk food.


Third, you should realize – no one really knows how old civilization is.

We can guess it started in Mesopotamia, several millennia before Christ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubaid_period

We can guess that the Yellow Emperor really lived three millennia before Christ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Records_of_the_Grand_Historian

But the fact is no one really has a good argument.

There are many archaeological claims that are difficult to prove and difficult to falsify. So when I read sober Ph.D.s who argue that some or all of the ancient Egyptians were white-skinned Europoids, I shrug and say that more research is needed. Claims that flying saucers built the pyramids go into the same file: I don’t have good evidence, I’m not satisfied with the evidence offered by the proponents of such theories – I withhold judgement for now.

So if we limit ourselves to archaeology that has some reasonable degree of justification, we can summarize the contributions of various races as follows:

The Sumerians and “Aryans” were probably blue-eyed; the Sumerians had cities, religion, and civilization; the “Aryans” were probably an offshoot of the Iranians, and they probably didn’t call their genetic group “Aryans.”

http://thetaobums.com/topic/28674-i-no-longer-believe-in-aryan-migration-theory/

http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/ancient/aryan/aryan_frawley_1.html

Regardless of when the “Aryans” originated, we know of their contributions after they miscegenated with the Dravidians to make the Indian civilization, which invented a great deal of mathematics and built various advanced empires. The famous “Damascus steel” was actually invented in India around 300 BCE.

The Chinese invented and applied many practical technologies – multi-shot crossbows (4th century BCE), mass-produced printed books, magnetic compasses. They even invented some impractical things, such as gunpowder, which makes a very unpleasant-tasting longevity potion but is pretty good for fireworks. China did borrow mathematics, religion, and philosophy from India, but I’ve never seen anyone successfully argue that the Chinese can’t invent technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science_and_technology_in_China

The ancient Greeks were blue-eyed, and they were very willing to learn from foreign cultures such as Egypt and even Persia and India. The extent of their practical technology is still disputed by the Antikythera enthusiasts on the one hand and the historians on the other. No one disputes that Greek culture has always treasured literacy, but oddly, most self-identified white people are completely ignorant of the Byzantine Roman Empire and its many contributions to science!

Most European scholars like to scoff at the many technological achievements of the medieval Muslims, and they emphasize that the Byzantine Greeks deserve some credit for so-called Islamic technology. I love the Byzantines, but I still admire the medieval Muslims. Their clockwork automata were even more impressive than the corresponding Japanese devices.

(The gif below should be an animated picture of a clockwork Japanese robot from pre-modern times, but it may not show up properly in many browsers, and I am not going to put in the necessary effort to fix it, so you can try clicking it to see if that will convince your browser to play it properly.)
robot_archer_a1ArExG_460sa

The European High Middle Ages were a time of high civilization, and the Renaissance deserves special mention for its re-discovery of natural science from magic. Note that the European scientific revolution was influenced by foreign ideas, including Chinese ideas!

Europeans often laud themselves for scientific discoveries that Chinese people had perfected centuries earlier. Around 1776, Volta discovered methane after reading a paper by Ben Franklin; this is trumpeted as an earth-shattering accomplishment. That’s not really impressive when you consider that Chinese people had perfected portable natural-gas stoves almost 1000 years earlier. Let me point out two things that the Europeans did really well – the physics of electricity and the chemistry of radioactive materials. So they’ve got that goin’ for them, which is nice.

carl-spackler-meme-generator-so-i-got-that-goin-for-me-which-is-nice-7a791b

After looking at the entire known history of science and technology, I fail to detect any sustained period of white superiority longer than 250 years. The period from 1770 to 1970 was a pretty good time for white scientists, and the 1969 moon landing was a neat little publicity stunt, but it’s not like they have functioning moon bases. Maybe I’m horribly limited by my biases and stereotypes, ad I just can’t give white people the credit they deserve.

4 – In conclusion, the writer has rambled on for too long and reasoned too loosely to come to any significant conclusion, so let us end with a truism. We are hobbled by our stereotypes, but we cannot function without them. Like Sumner, we can try to transcend our ethnocentricity, and that is a noble struggle, but we shouldn’t get too upset if we fail.

Now, in the title, I promised that I would write 2000 words about sex and retro anime.

I_was_told

Well, frankly, if you need more sex in your anime, you probably need to re-watch Space Adventure Cobra. It was made back in the days when animated eyes were somewhat closer to normal human sizes. I guess the current owners of the rights have recently re-released it.

And if you need to watch inter-racial romance, you probably should be watching Unbreakable Machine Doll. If anyone hands out awards for anime shows that glorify inter-racial romance, this show will win first place for this season. Note that the blue-eyed boy is supposed to be 100% Japanese.

interracial-Unbreakable-Machine-Doll-01-720p.mkv_snapshot_16.16_2013.10.08_06.40.33

But in fact the animators are still very much in love with the exotic neo-Japonisme visual aesthetic, as can be seen from the closing:

You may want to allow Youtube to buffer that clip thoroughly; it’s much less impressive if the tempo is thrown off by network lag.

Stolen from zhai2nan2: Kurata Hideyuki, Syu-chan, oxytocin, and diminished expectations in an age of promiscuity

later-takes-chip-and-eats-it-light-kira-death-note-little-po-anime-otakus-1384229670

Readers of this blog are probably well-acquainted with the idea that modern societies are behavioral sinks for humans.

Before I can explain Kurata Hideyuki’s notions of chivalry as a motivation for moe (萌) in fiction, I have to explain the controversial claims surrounding oxytocin and the emotional bonding resulting from sex.

Continue reading Stolen from zhai2nan2: Kurata Hideyuki, Syu-chan, oxytocin, and diminished expectations in an age of promiscuity

stolen from zhai2nan2: The future of feminism is Mad Maxine – but what would Ibn Khaldun and J. Bagot Glubb say?

mad_max_feminism Ra4YQXK

Feminists often claim that this is a unique period in history, because “For the first time, women have choices,” by which they mean, oral contraceptives and medicine to treat sexually-transmitted diseases.

My standard response to “this time it’s different” is to cite John Bagot Glubb and Ibn Khaldun, both of whom pointed out that empires rise and fall with predictable patterns.

However, technology will probably be quite a game-changer in the future. After the welfare-warfare states collapse and take socialism with them, women will still remember how to use rifles, birth control pills, and condoms.

In cultures limited to muscle-powered weapons, women’s inferior muscles made them very inferior at violence. But if, after socialism collapses, people retain enough homebrewed technology to operate, reload, and resupply rifles, women might be more capable of living without men than they have been for recorded history.

The future of feminism is Mad Maxine.
mad_max_mercy_o_2070059

Blatantly stolen from zhai2nan2: I’ve heard this called “strategic lesbianism.” [You have lots of colored flags on a big map, and most of your time is spent planning logistics.]

StrategicL
http://www.vogue.com/culture/article/the-o-factor-are-orgasms-always-necessary-breathless-karley-sciortino-slutever/#1

Quote:
Or we could all go a completely different route altogether. In the past, when I craved a satisfying sexual encounter, I’ve gone home with a woman. I’ve heard this called “strategic lesbianism.”

LSN

Strategic lesbianism requires mastery of all aspects of TACTICAL LESBIANISM, which mostly involves fast-roping down the sides of buildings to demand government subsidies for The Vagina Monologues.
Black hawk training.
Continue reading Blatantly stolen from zhai2nan2: I’ve heard this called “strategic lesbianism.” [You have lots of colored flags on a big map, and most of your time is spent planning logistics.]

aesthetics are related to human contact (reblogged from a stranger)

A different blogger wrote about the aesthetics of tailoring as related to human contact. The following words are not mine:
One of the questions that always bugs the modern is, “when did we stop dressing properly?” My dad had the answer for this one, he said it started when TV came along. At that point, our fellow humans were no longer our entertainment source, the box in our living room was. He says he can remember the change, and how quickly it began.
Continue reading aesthetics are related to human contact (reblogged from a stranger)

Blatantly stolen from zhai2nan2: Schoolgirls want to leverage the myth of schoolgirlhood

blood-C-OS44-TM
I have seen various local schoolgirls who wear pseudo-schoolgirl uniforms on the street for the sake of fashion. The pop culture has idolized schoolgirls far beyond their real-life appeal, and so real-life schoolgirls spend their parents’ money on tapping into the mass-media myth.

The pictured school uniform is from the anime Blood-C, and even in the course of the show, the characters comment about how ridiculous it is as a school uniform. But Japanese girls are buying such clothes and wearing them.

The NYT reports:


Nowhere is the consumer power of young Japanese girls more visible than at the biannual Tokyo Girls Collection show, the biggest fashion event in Tokyo, which takes place this Saturday. It counts more than 60,000 attendees a year, who pay between 5,500 Japanese yen ($56) to 15,000 yen (around $150) per entrance ticket. On this weekend’s lineup are catwalk shows, entertainment by all-female pop group HKT48, comedians, a Miss TGC beauty contest…

The carnival-esque atmosphere is amplified by the frenzied enthusiasm of a squealing teen audience. …

Most of the brands at Tokyo Girls Collection are casual labels like the hyper-girly Cecil McBee and Jouetie. Rather than showcasing next season’s designs, the brands allow the audience to buy the clothing shown on the runway in real time. The girls make their purchases on their cell phones via the event’s website, which has over half a million subscribers and 2 million unique visitors per month, according to organizers. The purchased items arrive on the girls’ doorstep the following day.

Many of the 80-plus models and celebrities at this season’s show are half-Asian, such as Japanese-Polish singer and actress Anna Tsuchiya, and Bengali-Japanese-Russian model Rola. Instead of the intimidating fashion models that strut the catwalk at orthodox fashion events, the look at Tokyo Girls Collection is decidedly kawaii –

http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2013/08/30/where-japanese-schoolgirls-rule/

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