Monday, June 11, 2007

The Tokyo-Montana Express

Reggie Jackson once said, “'Articulate' is a word white people use to express their astonishment that black people can speak English.” (Note that this was about 25 years before the Biden-Obama thing. It’s true, I swear, even if The All-Seeing Eye of Google can’t back me up. This may have come from Maury Allen’s “Baseball’s 100,” a book that was my personal Bible when I was a kid. Willie Mays, #1, was my personal Jesus. I guess Napoleon Lajoie was my personal Seth, or something.)

Along those lines, it appears that “imaginative” is a word Westerners use to express their astonishment that Japanese authors are not bland, conformist salarymen whose only outlet for individualism is a creepy connoisseurship of schoolgirls’ underwear. This comes to mind because I’ve been reading a bit of Murakami recently, and every single back-cover-blurb follows an identical template: “East meets West in this imaginative romp joining American pop culture with Japanese spirituality. Careening from Bob Dylan to Gary Cooper to Zen koan, it’s as if contemporary Tokyo were placed in a blender and its intestines & pancreas were spattered all over the walls, creating a Japanese interpretation of Clifford Still etc. etc. etc.”

Well, OK, Murakami is imaginative. But I think we can all agree to ban “East Meets West” from ever appearing again, in any language (except ASL; come on, they’re deaf. Cut them some slack). East met West a long time ago; they became fairly well acquainted in the early 1900s, and despite a nasty spat during the early 1940s, they reconciled and began having casual sex during MacArthur’s occupation. East has a toothbrush & lots of clothes in West’s apartment. West has, like, a lot of its shit over at East’s place (it’s totally gonna want its Monks LP back in the event of a breakup; I’m just saying). Corn on Japanese pizza, made by Iranian immigrants = avocado in American sushi, made by Salvadoran immigrants. I’ve heard there are some feral Eurasian kids roaming free. Lock your doors.