Japan from the inside out

The barstool philosopher

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, August 6, 2011

READER Camphortree wrote in this week to suggest that incipient Alzheimer’s was one possible explanation for Prime Minister Kan Naoto’s behavior. While that’s possible — nothing can be ruled out with Mr. Kan, after all — my suspicions lie in the direction of a long, lush life of alcohol consumption.

Consider, for example, what a columnist in the Nikkei Shimbun reported him as saying in the Diet on 20 July:

The earth has passed through 4.6 billion years of history, but we have relied on nuclear power for only a few dozen of those years. Therefore, I do not think it holds that we must rely on it for eternity.

Doesn’t that sound like the sort of wisdom you might hear dispensed with a solemn, authoritative air by a slightly gasping and swaying geezer with purple veins in his nose and gravy stains on his lapel, sliding over a few bar stools to strike up a conversation?

The sort of fellow who would seize on any comment you made, no matter how brief or noncommittal, to expound on his liquid insights in a different direction altogether? Such as this one the prime minister belched forth at a public meeting in Nagano, which was reported in the press on 1 August.

The old men (おじいさん) who went to the mountains 200 or 300 years ago to gather wood were able to manage everything with that firewood or whatever. All we have to do is to convert that into a new technology, and that is completely possible.

Don’t forget, he was awarded an engineering degree from a reputable university. It brings new meaning to the word “technocrat”.

It’s a mystery why guys like this never seem to have to go to the bathroom so you can move to another part of the bar (or another bar altogether) before they get back. The amount of fluids they consume combined with the size of their prostates should mean their frequency of head calls would be higher instead of lower.

My favorite is this one from the same speech:

We can’t take a risk even once that would destroy the planet, even if there’s just a one-in-one hundred million chance.

It has to be the liquid courage that gets him out of bed and out of the house every day to defy the odds that the earth could split open at any moment and swallow him up right there on the sidewalk!

Here’s another speaker three sheets to the wind who leaves his audience in tears.

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2 Responses to “The barstool philosopher”

  1. toadold said

    Oh lordy that Foster Brooks thing was funny. The only down side is that it reminds me of how old I am because I remember watching it when it was first shown.
    I used to “think” that the old saying that a people deserves the government that it has was true. Recent events have changed my mind. If I may paraphrase and condense Walter Russel Mead about Japan in particular, “A thousand years of culture and this is what they end up with for a leader?”

  2. camphortree said

    Last July Prime Minister Kan’s wife Nobuko invited Democrat supporters to the Kantei, the Japanese equivalent of the White House. When she showed her master-bedroom as part of the Kantei tour her quests stood aghast looking at men’s white underpants hanging between the two beds. “Kan likes to see his underpants there before he goes to bed,” Mrs. Kan reportedly explained.
    Does our Prime Minister physically need extra dry underpants during the night? How about water-proof viline sheets?
    I better stop here.

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