Marketing Asian culture to Americans

I’ve been on a few weird dates, where my date would tell me that: “I’m really into Asian culture” as an ice-breaker,  but knew nothing about real Asian culture, and I realized that everything white Americans know about Asian culture isn’t really accurate. How can this be?
So a thought came to me,  I think that just about every piece of Asian culture that has made its way into American pop culture in the last 25 years is a carefully chosen propaganda piece designed to make Americans enjoy Asian stuff.  The long con.
My theory is that: post-WW2 the Asians saw how poorly Americans treated people of color, and decided to stack the deck with media/merchandise propaganda designed to make Americans think that Asian culture  is appealing and non-threatening.
The Americans liked all the media/merchandise that Asian countries were generating and have subsequently decided not to be horribly racist toward Asians. A favorable minority? Americans have grown to love Asian goods:  Asian cartoons, Asian snack foods, Asian art, Asian videogames, Ect.
But this means that everything Americans think they know about Asian culture is largely incorrect, because it was all molded for mass appeal. It’s all marketing. Asians have marketed key pieces from their cultures to  Americans for just long enough to slip under the ‘racist radar’ and be accepted.

The +Asian girl interracial couple is the most widely accepted interracial pairing. Asian women are seen as feminine, cute, and submissive. But they’re not really. It’s all clever marketing. It’s changing cultural perceptions with ingenious advertising. It’s the long con.
The Asians have slowly fooled racist Americans into accepting a semblance of their cultures. Example: Would your parents be totally accepting if you eloped with an a Asian lover? How about an Black one? Mexican? Middle Eastern?    – The point I was trying to convey is that the American stereotype of ‘Asian’ is very inaccurate, but it’s favorable when compared with how Americans view other ethnic minorities.


Crimes against Women

The first sentence on a front page article of The Union newspaper July 30, 2016 was, “[Joshua David Packard] The suspect in a year-long string of burglaries and vehicle thefts took a plea agreement in court Friday for a potential  prison sentence of seven years and four months.”
This particular article, Accused burglar takes seven-year prison deal, caught my eye because of the recent outrage over the 3 month prison sentence in the Brock Turner rape case, which was closely followed by the no-time served John Enochs rape case AND the Austin Wilkerson rape case. I’ve written before about Compounding Discrimination and Gender Inequality, but this time I’d like to draw attention to the lack of legal justice, in regards to crimes against women.

In America, criminal sexual contact is classified as a misdemeanor, a lesser crime with a shorter sentence [unless the victim is a child].  Felonies [like murder, arson, burglary] get longer prison sentences, usually in State Jails. The sentencing varies from state to state. But in California, a convicted Rapist is expected to be sentenced to State prison for 3-8 Years.     So what’s going on with the Justice system? How are the punishments so radically inconsistent?

At a glance, it looks like the government doesn’t take women’s health and safety seriously. Women have been fighting for equal legal rights in America for over 100 years. But still, the war on women continues. In 1919, it was voting rights, suffrage, then equal rights, education, limited society roles of housewives, subjugation, equal employment,  equal pay, workplace harassment, pro-choice, paid maternity leave, and now with legal action against rapists. Many of the struggles were settled ONLY in name; laws were passed, but not upheld, and women are still not earning equal pay, and are still being denied health services.  Even crimes against women are hardly taken seriously.

Failing to update laws-and-punishments to be in-step with the changing times is part of the problem, Attitudes towards women is another problem, And Corruption is the largest problem.    In a perfect world, everyone would fully understand the severity of a sexual crime, there would be firm laws condemning it so that the public would be sympathetic to the victims, and the justice system would dole out fair and unbiased sentences.    But in the real world, women aren’t treated fairly, victim blaming is popular in sexual assault cases, and the justice system allows for such extreme biases, that nonviolent crimes are somehow punished more severely than violent ones.
It’s time that women realize that in the eyes of the LAW, their bodily safety is valued less than  the safety of an automobile. A car thief [carjacking] has committed a felony,  and may be punished with 3-9 years in prison. A rapist has committed a misdemeanor or felony, and may not be punished at all.

Corruption in politics/business/government is notorious. Depending on how connected and influential the criminal is, the convict could walk away from a courtroom without any punishment. If the criminal is affluent enough, bribing or blackmailing the victim to drop the case becomes an option, or hiring a cutthroat lawyer.
Half the population is female, yet only 19% of Congress is.  Women’s issues are so poorly represented in government that  progressive thinkers are branded as liberal radicals and suppressed.
Crimes against women have been overlooked for way too long. This is ridiculous.

Rent Prices and The Legacy House

A Legacy House is just about the only way young people are able to afford comfortable lives in the Bay Area, California.    It’s a house that has been in a family for 20+ years and was purchased by an older relative before property values blew up.
Realizing that the economy and current state of this country isn’t allowing single millennials to buy their own houses, a legacy house is just about the only way for people to live comfortably in this area.
The only reason I am living where I am currently, is because the house has been in my family since the 1970s, and therefore is extremely inexpensive to rent. Other houses in the area rent for double. Home prices are in the area are infamously known for being  THE Most Expensive in the USA.
San Jose CA has a median single-family home price of OVER $1,000,000, and is currently the most expensive metropolitan area for home owners. San Francisco comes in behind it.
Everyone in my age group is forced to live dorm style in rented houses, filling every room available, 1 person per room, 4-5 people in the house.  They’re all forced to live this way, even though they’re all gainfully employed, full time, with benefits. But still, none of us can afford to buy a house or live alone.
This is the world we live in, and it’s preventing many of us from settling down.

My brother and his fiancé have recently made an offer on a 2-bedroom condo in the area.  Their wedding is about 6months away, and their purchase has made me think about the future of this generation.  Together as a married couple, both employed, they were only able to get a bank loan large enough for a 1-bedroom condo.  But, she is lucky enough to have a sizable inheritance, which bumped them into the 2-bedroom condo price range. But notice that it’s Not a small house with a garage and a yard, it’s a Condo with a carport.   If they decide to have children, is this condo the place they’ll have to do it? Is it the best that any of us can ever hope to afford?

In a previous post about quality of life, I mentioned that I spend more time at work than anywhere else, and that there really isn’t time at the end of the day to Do much else.  The theme these past few weeks has been that things aren’t great.
Our free-time is highly limited, our education system doesn’t teach us how to do anything practical, we’re constantly in a debt and unable to relax because of the lifestyles we have. Things aren’t great.
This generation is screwed is almost every way.  And I worry about it. We should all worry about it.

Tech-addicts, digital distractions, and stress

Information overload is a real thing, and it’s a digital age addiction. People have a need for constant communication, constant entertainment, constant updates. We are constantly bombarded with new stimuli via our smartphones, and we’ve grown accustomed to it. I wonder if these tech-addicts would stop being able to function if their phone battery died.  I’m not sure if GenZ teenagers are ever apart from their phones long enough to reflect on their real lives.

My real life is divided into: what I can do before work, and what will have to wait until after.  I might have the only job in the city that actively denies internet and cell service.   Knowing full-well that all forms of social communication will have to wait until after 5pm is a new kind of psychological discipline. I spend all day in a communication-free zone; no wi-fi, no internet, no smartphones allowed. As a functioning adult in the digital age, this makes life very difficult.
–  I’ve been lead to believe that sleep divides my time,  But it doesn’t, not anymore.   I find the most culminating part of my day occurs just before noon. Work divides my time. It’s the giant block of my day, when I know I won’t be available to do anything else.
My mind is preoccupied in the morning, still anxious from the night before, still adding to the to-do list that I fell asleep making. It’s not until noon that my mind is able to find clarity and equilibrium. After I work out all the emails and sort all the days tasks, I can finally relax.  During this mid-day stretch, after 4 hours without digital distractions, I am able to make a new chore list and reflect on my life.

–  Do people who are permanently attached to their phones feel overwhelmed all the time? Do they need that overload to feel normal? I have lukewarm feelings for new technology. I realize that it could be very beneficial for society and global communication, but I also know that it currently isn’t enriching the lives of the common man. It’s distracting people from their lives.
Henry David Thoreau claimed that new technology was robbing life of its richness, and encouraged us to create an area of inner simplicity and peace away from the  intensity of connectedness. He was talking about the recent inventions of the day, the telegraph and railroad, but Digital technology is much more difficult to escape from. If he is correct about technology robbing life of its richness, does this mean that the tech-addicts have hollow fruitless lives?   I wonder if their individuality dissolves into the ideals of the digital social sphere. I wonder if they obsessively focus on maintaining their digital personas at the expense of having real relationships with people in real life.

I am thankful that my work desk is a Walden Zone of digital detachment. It allows me time to collect myself and think deeply about what is actually important in my life. This distance between myself and the overload of continuous digital updates has helped me find more satisfying uses for my time and energy.  Fewer distractions, more clarity.  It’s not the most productive space, but it is therapeutically meditative [a quiet place for my mind to slow down]. I find that I’m more motivated and less distracted with my free time now. More willing and able to commit brainpower to my interests.
The millennials and generationZ might be too distracted to do anything productive with their time. We have young adults today who have grown up with a phone in their hand, and now have no other special skills.

Debt Trap

I think it’s becoming more common for people in my age group to impulsively pay a premium for consumer goods  because they think they’re strained for time and deserve a treat.  I’ve heard it more this year than in previous years, and I am concerned that Millennials aren’t budgeting correctly and will always be short on cash and living on credit cards.
– I wonder what happened to make them think that ‘a frivolous treat’ is something they not only deserve, but have the resources to give to themselves.     ‘Treat Yourself’, is the slogan of a consumeristic society with poor budgeting skills.

Americans have the high-stress levels.  It has something to do with the pressure we feel in daily life, our long work hours, financial insecurity, and poor diet. This stress is said to be the reason Americans have such poor health, high obesity rates, and low willpower. Another side effect  of this stressful life, is that we shop impulsively  for high priced goods to make ourselves feel better. Instead of taking a day off, we’ll buy a pricey toy, Instead of quality time with each other, we’ll do small spurts of luxurious activities.
In a way, this substitution of money-for-time is the best we can hope for in a society that won’t let us stop working.

America has a huge poverty class. But you wouldn’t really know it from looking at the way individuals choose to spend money. The societal trend is to maintain appearances. The motivation is to appear like you’re easily handling being ‘busy’. Everyone is stressed out, everyone works long hours and rarely takes vacations, but splurging on the occasional expensive luxury plays into the illusion that you’re doing okay.

I had a friend who would depress herself by declaring her dire financial situation, against all reason, she would then go treat herself with a $200 hair-cut to cheer herself up. She had a nice car and an expensive apartment, and she would not consider trading them in for cheaper options, even though she had No money saved. All for the sake of appearances.
I have a dozen friends with similar habits. Reasonably employed, but not saving money, and living paycheck to paycheck; yet still spending money on unnecessary luxury goods. Living in the moment. Keeping up appearances. Failing to plan for future expenses.
 – Has our society accepted being chronically in-debt as normal?
Have credit cards lured us into a false sense of financial security?
And enabled us to keep spending beyond our means?
Have they tricked us out of a nest-egg savings?

– Is the new ideology : ‘you don’t need savings, you have credit’..?
A consumeristic society is superficial, and puts high value on acquiring material possessions. Meaning that what you own determines your perceived worth.  A vagrant with 2dollars is worth little, but a CEO 2million in-debt is worth more.
At what lengths will we stretch ourselves to inflate our social standing?
Having debt keeps us working tirelessly. We need to make more money, to pay down the debt and afford more goods, so the cycle continues. Society won’t let us stop working, so yet again, we must substitute money-for-time. Long hours, no vacations, and the occasional luxury purchase to keep us looking well.    –  It’s a debt trap.