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AnimeFan188 2013-01-26 18:56

Political & Social Polarization
 
From a 9-6-2012 article:

"As the major political conventions wind down and the campaigns hurtle toward the
finish line, a big watchword of the moment is polarization."

"The political divide is so deep that it apparently influences how people make
consumer choices. When it comes to fast food, Democrats opt for Wendy’s, while
Republicans seem to value the freedom of choice (or is it the freshness?) of
Subway. The NFL, animal planet, Sony, Starbucks: These are Democratic choices,
apparently, while the History Channel, Major League Baseball, Sharp, and Dunkin’
Donuts are red state picks.

Long regarded as a disturbing trend by political observers, polarization has
gotten the attention of business leaders in recent years. Morgan Stanley’s chief
U.S. economist has estimated that political gridlock will cost the US economy a
half point in GDP during this year’s second half. Over a third of companies queried
by Morgan Stanley cited paralysis around the Federal budget as a major reason
they’re currently restraining their own budget spending. As the President of one
industry group was quoted as saying, “It’s totally irresponsible and absolutely
insane. “The two parties are really dug in. Companies see the writing on the wall
and business decisions are now being made on this.”"

See:

http://prfirms.org/voice/2012/overco...litical-season


With the rise of the internet (which allows everyone to live in their own info
bubble), how much more polarized will society get?

LeoXiao 2013-01-26 22:17

Eh, go to Weimar Germany in the 20s. They had actual riots and assassinations in which people were killed over socialism and fascism. I do think that now, even if there is less physical disagreement, there is such wide access to information that siding with one side or the other has become much more universal in our population.

kyp275 2013-01-27 00:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnimeFan188 (Post 4529190)
"The political divide is so deep that it apparently influences how people make
consumer choices. When it comes to fast food, Democrats opt for Wendyís, while
Republicans seem to value the freedom of choice (or is it the freshness?) of
Subway. The NFL, animal planet, Sony, Starbucks: These are Democratic choices,
apparently, while the History Channel, Major League Baseball, Sharp, and Dunkiní
Donuts are red state picks.

But...but... Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich is <3, and you can never go wrong with a good 'ol steak & cheese sub!

and both football and baseball rocks!

SaintessHeart 2013-01-27 02:10

And who is the winner?

Big Corp. See all teh greenbacks in their leather flip-open thingummybobs!

Endless Soul 2013-01-27 12:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by SaintessHeart (Post 4529704)
And who is the winner?

Big Corp. See all teh greenbacks in their leather flip-open thingummybobs!

+

I greatly despise politics, and politicians. In America, Democrats and Republicans are essentially two sides of the same coin, a coin in the pocket of Big Corp.

Gah! Enough of this, I'm going to get some breakfast.

Endless "Hungry" Soul

Kaijo 2013-01-27 16:46

There is nothing new under the sun. This has happened before, and will happen again. The powers that be, rise to power by pitting people against each other. And the moment we stop listening and trying to compromise, the moment we turn away from fact and data and embrace ideology, is the moment we become the extremist fringe. We become the problem.

Ask yourself whether the things you believe, you do so because you want to, or because there is credible evidence backing them up. Ask yourself whether you hold positions because of the benefit they grant you, or the benefit they grant others. Because a lot of problems arise from individualism taken to an extreme, ie, selfish greed. "I don't care what happens to other people, as long as I get what I want."

Practically all societal and political problems can be traced to these elements.

This being an anime forum, and thus watching things from Japan, I am struck by the difference in attitude between typical Japanese and the US. Japanese are generally more concerned with the group over the self, while Americans value individualism over the good of the group. Both have their ups and downs, but I've begun to realize lately, that the US has swung too far towards individualism. That if the choice were what we have now in the US, and the one in Japan, I'd pick the latter (weirdness and all). The benefits outweigh the cons.

But as for us, if we as anime fans attack via ad hominem, ignore scientific evidence, and ignore those who hold different viewpoints in our own social circle, then how can we expect society at large to be any better?

synaesthetic 2013-01-27 17:37

I don't know what you're smoking, but I'm sure I could make money selling it.

Individuality is the exact opposite of America's problems right now. The dumbing-down of the populace. Groupthink. Mob mentality. Conformism. These are all bigger problems in America, which are also present in Japan (only worse).

If you're talking about "individuality" in the teabagger argument, "SCREW YOU, I GOT MINE" well, that's not actually individuality. That's insane, almost sociopathic levels of greed.

America needs more individuality. We need more people who think for themselves, who don't just follow the herd, who don't just vote Republican or vote Democrat, who don't just blindly recite Bible verses in hopes they'll avoid an eternity of hellfire and brimstone. People who express their opinions without fear, without shame, and without feeling the urge to conform to some societal norm in hopes that they aren't demonized or ostracized.

GundamFan0083 2013-01-27 18:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by synaesthetic (Post 4530487)
I don't know what you're smoking, but I'm sure I could make money selling it.

Individuality is the exact opposite of America's problems right now. The dumbing-down of the populace. Groupthink. Mob mentality. Conformism. These are all bigger problems in America, which are also present in Japan (only worse).

If you're talking about "individuality" in the teabagger argument, "SCREW YOU, I GOT MINE" well, that's not actually individuality. That's insane, almost sociopathic levels of greed.

America needs more individuality. We need more people who think for themselves, who don't just follow the herd, who don't just vote Republican or vote Democrat, who don't just blindly recite Bible verses in hopes they'll avoid an eternity of hellfire and brimstone. People who express their opinions without fear, without shame, and without feeling the urge to conform to some societal norm in hopes that they aren't demonized or ostracized.

Syn you are 100% correct IMHO.
We need critical thinkers and that means people who think outside the collective box of organized religion, organized political parties, and the mob-think of the media all around us.

synaesthetic 2013-01-27 18:33

The worst part is it's really hard to avoid. Humans are naturally predisposed to conform to the group, since we're a social species and throughout much of our history, we were required to conform in order to survive.

It's a habit that's hard-wired into us, and it's really easy to fall into the trap. Everyone does it. I do it, you do it, we all do it--everyone conforms, everyone at some point lets others do the thinking for them.

The thing to do is to try to remain aware of this fact--keep aware that you are prone to following the herd, and when you catch yourself doing it, don't let it continue!

Kaijo 2013-01-27 18:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by synaesthetic (Post 4530487)
I don't know what you're smoking, but I'm sure I could make money selling it.

Individuality is the exact opposite of America's problems right now. The dumbing-down of the populace. Groupthink. Mob mentality. Conformism. These are all bigger problems in America, which are also present in Japan (only worse).

If you're talking about "individuality" in the teabagger argument, "SCREW YOU, I GOT MINE" well, that's not actually individuality. That's insane, almost sociopathic levels of greed.

America needs more individuality. We need more people who think for themselves, who don't just follow the herd, who don't just vote Republican or vote Democrat, who don't just blindly recite Bible verses in hopes they'll avoid an eternity of hellfire and brimstone. People who express their opinions without fear, without shame, and without feeling the urge to conform to some societal norm in hopes that they aren't demonized or ostracized.

You misunderstand my point. In the scale of "individual vs. group" America does lean hard on the individual side.

Perhaps you haven't realized it for yourself, but I played an MMO called Final Fantasy XI for a number of years. There, we were intermixed with a large Japanese community, and the difference between Japanese guilds and western guilds was very stark in a number of ways. You used to sit around, waiting to join a party in order to level up. When a group was formed, and you had the tank, healer, and damage you needed, as well as the right jobs for what you planned to hunt, you went out and started killing things. If the group was bad, and thus xp was poor, western people would quit the group immediately, leaving the other members in the lurch. Japanese groups would, on the other hand, keep the group together for an hour or two, no matter how bad it was, before the leader finally called it a day. Japanese players (on the whole), would not abandon a group over their interests. Western players would.

When a guild would go hunting big game with rare loot, that required a large guild to do, there were differences yet again. In western guilds, people would frequently get upset over who got the rare loot, and quit the guild because of it. Even people who got the rare loot would, much of the time, quit the guild once they got what they wanted. Japanese people in guilds, however, generally wouldn't. They'd put up with a lot of crap, all in the name of the group. Whatever was good for the group, was their motto.

THAT is what I am talking about, and you probably wouldn't know, unless you regularly gamed with the Japanese population. You think we have groupthink? You don't know anything.

Yes, we have people in the US that join groups and follow the herd... but you'll still hear them demanding stuff, saying, "This is what WE want!" Even in a group, there is a strong sense of individualism, and if the group starts heading somewhere someone doesn't like, they'll end up quitting the group and perhaps forming or joining another one. We essentially have many groups, functioning as individualistic entities demanding things. Japanese people don't (and I'm being a bit stereotypical here on both sides, since this is on average). To them, the group is more important than the self. That means you don't speak up if the group does something you don't like. You be damn careful about asking anything for yourself, instead relying on general social conventions to eventually have people swing something your way.

Since you haven't had that much experience with a Japanese population, syn, you probably don't realize the degrees of difference. But trust me, there is a world of difference. Anime is, in a lot of case, the exceptions. There we have individuals speaking up and becoming the heroes, and this is the fantasy that attracts individuals in Japan to watching anime and reading manga. Their fantasy is being an individual. When we read it, our fantasy is more focused on having the powers or being in a fantastic world.

Yet, you can still catch glimpses in it, if you really watch anime and read manga. Once your eyes are open to it, you'll start seeing that "Group is more important than me" attitude. If I had a nickel for every time I heard/read one anime/manga character go, "Are you alright? Do you want something?" and the other goes, "No no, I'm fine, don't worry about it" despite the fact that the audience knows the second character dearly wants something, I'd be a rich man.

I get what you're saying, Syn, but we are really talking about different things.

Also, to clarify, yes, I know not all of Japan is like this, and they have individuals, too. These are only general statements from a society-at-large standpoint.

For a film on these concepts, I'd recommend Gung Ho which details an American plant being taken over by a Japanese company. In it, one Japanese guy remains a work, even though his wife is giving birth, because the good of the company is more important. It is this attitude of "Group more than me" that gets Japanese doing insane things like spending a full week at work, never leaving except maybe on the weekends to take a shower. One of the main Japanese characters has, as his growing point, when he begins to adopt more American ideals.

Kyuu 2013-01-27 18:45

Ask yourself:

How do you stop a general public, that is unified on various key economic issues?

Spoiler:


The messaging is a powerful thing. Just choose select words, and these words will trigger various emotions among people.

For example:

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) was under discussion, various words were used to trigger fear and opposition to it. Healthcare is a very key issue; and if you create a message that instills fear among people, they will oppose it vehemently. On top of that, the messaging doesn't even have to be truth; instead, the goal is to instill opposition. The more fanatical, the better.

Spoiler:


And that message, was strong enough to take over the Tea Party Movement, which originally assembled in protest of the Bank Bailouts.

Dr. Casey 2013-01-27 18:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaijo (Post 4530553)
In it, one Japanese guy remains a work, even though his wife is giving birth, because the good of the company is more important.

That would be the right thing to do if the guy was a nurse or a doctor or some equally important job, but if he's just your standard factory worker or something then he shouldn't have missed such an important moment. Way to fail, Japan.

synaesthetic 2013-01-27 18:55

I'm well aware of Japan's incredibly strong groupthink mentality. It's one of the major reasons why their men are working themselves to death, with a life expectancy in the late fifties.

Also, if I were straight and married and my husband stayed at work when I was giving birth, I would fucking divorce his ass in a god-damned heartbeat.

As an aside I also played XI, and yeah, the Japanese players were machines--what I'd call either "Stop Having Fun Guys," "poopsockers" or "tryhards."

I never got into the game to that extent. It's just a game. It's not the end of the world if your group falls through. Move on, go play a different game for a while. Tryhards ruin the game for everyone else because they're SO GOD DAMN SERIOUS ABOUT IT.

Dr. Casey 2013-01-27 19:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by synaesthetic (Post 4530567)
Also, if I were straight and married and my husband stayed at work when I was giving birth, I would fucking divorce his ass in a god-damned heartbeat.

I love you, syn. :heh:

I do think it depends on the circumstances, though. My mom was always a very loyal Daddy's girl, but she didn't go to see her dad during the moments he was dying in 2011 because she was working on a patient in critical condition at that exact moment (she's a nurse). Some serious shit would have to be going down to justify not being present for the birth of your kid, though, and "banzai glorious corporation" doesn't cut it.

synaesthetic 2013-01-27 19:06

Yeah, there are exceptions. If he were active-duty military and deployed, obviously. Or a surgeon in the middle of a critical operation. But "glory of the faceless monolithic corporati" isn't acceptable.

Kaijo 2013-01-27 19:32

It just goes to show how strong the "group vs. me" attitude is over there. Quite a few kids can avoid it for awhile, but it seems to get bred out of them once they reach adulthood. And for what it is worth, these kinds of attitudes are changing. It used to be that women generally just aimed for marriage, holding marriage meetings with potential suitors and, if they got along decently after 5 dates or so, they got married. That attitude is changing, and more women are eschewing marriage in favor of working and earning money for themselves.

It's not really tryhards, just that they put everyone else's feelings, and the group, above themselves. "I may be having a tough time, but I'll put up with it, because the group is more important."

As I said, there are trade-offs to either side of the equation, individuality vs. the group. It's just that I feel America has slanted too far onto the individual side. Japan, at least, is coming down off the group side, and will eventually reach a decent medium. Whether it stays there, or continues to slide, we'll see.

Dr. Casey 2013-01-27 21:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaijo (Post 4530606)
Japan, at least, is coming down off the group side, and will eventually reach a decent medium. Whether it stays there, or continues to slide, we'll see.

This will be an interesting process to watch. I know that the counterculture in America during the 1960s was in part a backlash against the extreme repression of the 1950s; magnify that repression multiple times over in both duration and intensity, and you might have a country full of nothing but delinquents by the 2020s. :heh: (I'm kidding, I know it won't be anything like that.) But yeah, it will be interesting to wait and see whether it stops at the happy medium or continues downward further and further still.

willx 2013-01-28 12:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by synaesthetic (Post 4530582)
Yeah, there are exceptions. If he were active-duty military and deployed, obviously. Or a surgeon in the middle of a critical operation. But "glory of the faceless monolithic corporati" isn't acceptable.

But my faceless monolithic corporation gives me hugs .. :upset:

I just wish people were more informed in general about current events as well as the hundreds if not thousands of years of background behind our civilization (and comparative civilizations) around the world. There are a lot of reasons why things currently are the way they are .. it is probably somewhat important to know why.

SaintessHeart 2013-01-28 22:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by willx (Post 4531451)
But my faceless monolithic corporation gives me hugs .. :upset:

I just wish people were more informed in general about current events as well as the hundreds if not thousands of years of background behind our civilization (and comparative civilizations) around the world. There are a lot of reasons why things currently are the way they are .. it is probably somewhat important to know why.

Many Asian education systems disagree with you. They think that it drives the wedge between a ignorant yet blissful society. :p

synaesthetic 2013-01-28 23:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by willx (Post 4531451)
But my faceless monolithic corporation gives me hugs .. :upset:

If you had a wife giving birth, I would suspect that she gives you more than hugs!


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