[OPE] The business of aesthetics in the perverse economy

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Mon Sep 08 2008 - 22:29:00 EDT

Do I believe this ??!! Yep this is a headline from The Japan Times, can you imagine it - cuddling up and shrivelling up in Japan, battle of the sexes, 2008-style!

The withered middle-aged guy becomes a hot item in Japan's dating market


If you happen to be an over-45 male, looking a little tired, inclined to decline party invitations because you can't stand the hassle, comfortable in your own company and not really caring what other people think - so, the news is ALL good, at least in urban Japan. You are, or are extremely close to, what is known as a kareta oyaji (withered middle-age guy) - currently the underground popular label on the dating market.
These days, young women have shifted their preference from the wakai (young), kakkoii, good-looking) and okanemochi (rich) - extremely rare for all these traits to co-exist in one man anyway - to the genki nai ojisan (middle-age guy with no energy). (...) There are certain requirements he must fulfill before setting the young ladies' hearts on fire. According to case-hardened kare-sen gal Akiko-san, he must first be muyoku (having no desire). This doesn't just apply to physical desire (seiyoku), as the true withered male must renounce the other two desires that make up the triangle of Japanese male needs: shusseyoku, desire to succeed in the corporate world), and kinsenyoku (desire for money).

Complete story: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ek20080909ks.html
Cf. http://bangin.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/%E3%82%AB%E3%83%AC%E3%82%BB%E3%83%B3karesen/

If you are burnt out, isolated, not succeeding and have no money as result of the recession, there's still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer, let it be. Meanwhile, "designer pariahs" are the rage in India:
The fashion industry often attracts criticism: models too young, models too thin, clothes too expensive... Today commentators from across the world are united in damning it - or rather Indian Vogue in particular - for using extremely poor people as models in a recent fashion shoot. Emotive descriptions of toothless, lower-caste women with hollow-eyed children modelling fashions they can't possibly afford make for good copy. But appalling? Exploitative? Hang on a minute. Do these critics really need to see things so juxtaposed to realise that, gosh, the world has really rich people in it and really poor ones. Did you need Vogue to point it out to you? Did you not think about it before you saw that baby modelling a Fendi bib, or a man holding a Burberry umbrella? http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45294,opinion,in-defence-of-indian-vogue

In the perverse economy (MichaelPerelman's term) fashion seems to become a meditation on ugliness and beauty - to see ugliness in beauty, and beauty in ugliness, a desperate search to relativise aesthetic truth, or a hope that even if things turn really ugly, there will still be an absolving beauty. According to NY Magazine, the theme in Autumn 2008 is "Fashion can alter the exterior, but our true selves can't be concealed". http://nymag.com/fashion/08/fall/49264/ It conveys a worldweary sense of futility. Well... you see, if you haven't got it, the money I mean, then you may not any longer be able to be and expres who you really are, to realise your potential. When the bubble pops, you are shrunk to below your natural size, so to speak.

What if people could just be and express what they really are? Would that be ok?

It wouldn't be fashion, I suppose - if all is transparent there is nothing to discover, no mystery, no intrigue, no challenge, no seduction. Then it is what it is and that is boring, dull, uninteresting. The disconcerting thought though is that there could anyway be more below the surface appearance, than meets the eye, even if the eye is wellconnected to the brain. It might take more than clothes and flesh to find it out, but how?

That plain-looking man over there - he could be Jack the Ripper. And the mousy-looking woman in the corner could be the sultana of swing. Or vice versa. But you'll never know, because you'll never notice. Eyes wide shut.

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Received on Mon Sep 8 22:31:12 2008

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