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This chapter explores the concept of efficiency in Ritzer’s model as it appears in Okinawa’s gubernatorial election propaganda. The chapter begins with a reflection on central government ideas and plans for increasing efficiency in socioeconomic processes nationwide and narrows to critical analysis of Okinawan applications of efficiency as regards the development of Henoko. Then it explicates gubernatorial election rhetoric and propaganda represented in images, symbols, and textual predictions of the future after the Governor’s so-called 21st Century Vision has been fully realized.
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We suggest that the possessive pronoun ‘My’—ubiquitous in this present age of mediated digital communications over ‘My network’ on ‘My computer’ with ‘My documents’ saved at ‘My settings’—represents a pervasive and insidious expansion of the institutionalization and commodification of egotism. The so-called My Number system is part of an effort to normalize anti-social attitudes and to integrate the individual citizen more deeply into the growing automation of digital commerce, consumption, and civil responsibility. The ‘My Number’ public relations campaign presupposes that citizens had chosen to exercise their authority as free agents and select a method of fair and efficient social organization. Embodied in these expressions of possessive pronouns are forms of false autonomy, freedom, and personal choice in an age of eroding social relations and mutual trust. ‘My Number’ pretends to confer control and autonomy but, we contend, promises a future of passwords, alienation, and increased control over domestic life with coerced interaction with the machines and databanks that are coming to dominate us in this digital age.
Unsigned (October 5, 2015). “Red flags abound as government kicks off My Number system with notices,” The Japan Times.
Part 1 of interview on “Inverted Totalitarianism as a Threat to Democracy” can be found here: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/10/chris-hedges-and-sheldon-wolin-on-inverted-totalitarianism-as-a-threat-to-democracy.html.
CDA researchers are concerned, among other things, with ways in which agency (i.e. responsibility) is obscured through the use of passive verb constructions (e.g. Microchips were inserted in all new ID cards). In such grammatical forms, agency can be concealed entirely through ‘nominalization’ as verbs morph into nouns (e.g. The micro-chipping of citizens was becoming a new norm). Nominalization makes the hegemonic order that enforces the practice entirely mysterious.
This is a reference to the ominous irony in the message at the front gate of Auschwitz where prisoners were lead to believe that their hard work and obedience would lead to a richer life.
Whereas nominalizing is the practice of turning verbs into nouns, actionalizing is the practice of turning nouns into verbs. We suggest that this marks further development in abstracting, that is, taking something that is already an abstract and making it seem routine, compulsory, inevitable, or normal (e.g. the practice of chipping citizens has become customary).
George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society. (Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 1993), 35.
USCAR (1950–1972) is a moniker widely seen as euphemism for ‘military dictatorship.’
George Barrett. “Report on Okinawa: A Rampart We Built.” New York Times, September 21, 1952.
George Ritzer, e-mail communication with author, March 6, 2016.
For further details, please visit: http://www.ryukyu.ne.jp/~maxi/.
Hideki Yoshikawa, “An Appeal from Okinawa to the U.S. Congress: Futenma Marine Base Relocation and its Environmental Impact: U.S. Responsibility,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 39, No. 4, September 29, 2014.
According to a complaint lodged in United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, “This plan would destroy the most important remaining habitat of the Okinawa dugong, a genetically isolated and unique population of dugong (a marine mammal) and a protected cultural property under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)” (2014, p. 2).
Yoshikawa, op. cit.
For further details, please visit: http://content.sierraclub.org/coal/mining-destroying-mountains.
Op. cit., Ritzer, 8.
Howard Zinn. “Holy Wars” (lecture, Boston University, Boston, MA, January 8, 2010).
For further details, please visit: http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/96_abe/actions/201312/25mendan.html.
Herbert Schiller. “US as global overlord: Dumbing down, American-style” Le Monde Diplomatique, August 1999.
Leatrice Eiseman. Pantone’s Guide to Communicating with Color. (Sarasota: Grafix Press Ltd., 2000), 6.
Kleynhans, J. H. (2007). “The use of colour as a tool for propaganda.” Interim: Interdisciplinary Journal, 6(1) 46–53.
For more information on the NHK’s interpretation on President Obama’s speech, please visit http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/150429/plt1504290006-n1.html.
- McDonaldizing as a Force for Militarizing Okinawan Society
- Springer Singapore
- Chapter 6