The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If you can't get a job...

Does anyone know if previous Presidents met the Emperor? And how they responded? It seems to me that anyone who takes offense at Obama's bow is almost staggeringly ignorant of very typical Japanese behavior. Anyone ever seen a Japanese film, or anything at all? A little karate, where opponents bow before fighting? Jeeze.


Anyone see the new "Prisoner"? I have to admit that I avoided it on broadcast, planning to catch it on DVD. My main complaint is that I heard a radio commercial, and Number Six uttered his immortal: "I am not a number! I am a man!"...with a whine. A whine. Good lord. In the original, he was a bad-ass agent (they encouraged the audience to speculate that he may have been McGoohan's John Drake "Secret Agent Man")--in other words, James Bond in the Village. Well, that means to do this today, you'd need one of the three J.B's: James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Jack Bauer (I hope no one thinks these initials are accidental). Instead, we have a whiner. Arrgh. Talk about an unequal match. Well, on the face of it, anyway. The idea of Jason Bourne trapped in the THAT is exciting. Did anyone see it? Was it any good?


One of the things discussed in "Think And Grow Rich" is that you must have a definite purpose in life, a specific measurable goal, progress toward which is expressed in continuous action. In other words, you have to be able to say: "These are the tasks I have before me today. These are the things I must do this week. These are the things I must do this month. This quarter. This year. If I do these things, I will reach my goals, goals that will benefit my family, my society, and bring my dearest dreams into existence."

The beautiful thing about this is that if you have done your job properly, you will end up with a list of actions you can take RIGHT NOW, TODAY that will not only bring you closer to your long-term goals, but will benefit you RIGHT NOW, TODAY.

Now, here is where "magic" seems to come in. If you are doing everything you can, today, to take care of your current obligations and needs as well as these actions dovetailing into your long-term purpose, the Universe seems to notice. The instant you are totally committed, and doing everything you can, today, leaving no stone unturned and facing your fears'll start experiencing the strangest thing. Calls from out of nowhere. Old friends calling with opportunities. Favors you did for people years ago are repaid serendipitiously.

If you haven't experienced it, don't laugh. I'm not hallucinating. One suspects that this is a version of the "if you don't have a job, you can't get a job. Until you get one, at which point people will start offering you jobs."

Or: "if you don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend, you can't get a boyfriend/girlfriend...until you've got one, and then men/women come out of the woodwork, throwing themselves at you."

I have no idea what causes this, but have experienced it, and witnessed it, so many times that there is no longer a shred of doubt about it...but I still forget how it works until I cross a new threshold in my life. Question of the Day: Where have YOU experienced this phenomenon?


Mike Ralls said...

As someone who lived in Japan, I thought this was the best summary of the situation;

On President Obama's Bow to the Japanese Emperor, An Academic Friend Writes That Both the Left and the Right Are Wrong

November 15, 2009 2:53 PM

An old friend -- an academic with expertise about the Japanese Empire, and in general a supporter of President Obama -- sends me the following note, relating to photographs of President Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito of Japan.

"This picture shows two things," my friend writes.

"1) The 'right' is wrong about Obama's bow.

"2) The 'left' is wrong about Obama's bow.

"His bow is neither (1) unprecedented nor (2) a sign of cultural understanding.

"At their 1971 meeting in Alaska, the first visit of a Japanese Emperor to America, President Nixon bowed and referred to Emperor Hirohito and his wife repeatedly as 'Your Imperial Majesties.'"

(See that picture HERE.)

"Yet, (and?) Nixon gets the bow right. Slight arch from the waist hands at his side.

"Obama's handshake/forward lurch was so jarring and inappropriate it recalls Bush's back-rub of Merkel.

"Kyodo News is running his appropriate and reciprocated nod and shake with the Empress, certainly to show the president as dignified, and not in the form of a first year English teacher trying to impress with Karate Kid-level knowledge of Japanese customs.

"The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms....The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part.

"BTW, Obama's bow at Suntory Hall was much better. Correct angle, slight bow. His hands were wrong but the physical tone was correct and appropriate.

"But if Obama can get the dollar to stop bowing to the Yen I take it all back."


LaVeda H. Mason said...

So, *that's* where that comes from!

I have experienced it many times in my life, when I wanted something, and I was focused mentally on what I wanted. Resources, and people with information seemed to appear out of nowhere, and everything worked out so that the project got done.

I'll admit that [too] many times, I didn't take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves, because of fear, procrastination, or the thought that I didn't deserve it; something that I am working to eliminate from my life.

The most recent time that this has happened?

[shameless plug]
Your Route 101 program. I had been doing lots of reading, and seeing different pieces of the puzzle, and I thought that I would have to collate all this information and try to put it together into a coherent format that was do-able and made sense, and here is your simple, yet complete program!!
[/shameless plug]

I'm working to be like you [but female, lol] when I grow up ...

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Does anyone know if previous Presidents met the Emperor? And how they responded?

Well, I know that Lawyers, Guns, and Money blog collected a set of photos of Dwight Eisenhower bowing to various people (Pope, De Gaulle, etc.):

So I don't think there's actually any longstanding "the President never bows" tradition.

I see it as just standard partisan gotcha (and, in fairness, the left has its own bits of gotcha when it's a Republican in office).

Shady_Grady said...

It is partisan but to be fair the picture is somewhat jarring by American standards. It fits neatly into a ugly narrative that the Right has been trying to build around the President.

As posted, the bow was a bit excessive even by Japanese standards and did evoke submissiveness.

The President must be cognizant at all times that everything he does will be watched and recorded for posterity (and for the next election cycle)

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read the article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Marty S said...

When in Rome be a Roman candle. People who complain about the bow are just lessening the impact of any justified criticism of Obama. As for having a job encouraging more job offers and having a boy/girl friend making you more attractive to others, its only natural. I think its more of a taking away a negative than anything else. If you don't have a job, then people believe there must be something wrong with you. If you are single and not at least dating then again something must be wrong with you.

Steven Barnes said...

Thanks for the article!

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