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October 28, 2009



I'm under the impression there are a fair number of NEETs in the U.K. -- that's where the term originated, apparently -- although the definition there is more limited.

However, I think where the cultural relativism falls apart in that case is that hikikomori seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon. If it's so tied to the traditional culture, why don't we see reference to it going back much earlier than the '70s?

Micheal O'Luain

Hello! Mike Lambe here. A friend of mine sent me a link to this today saying "Not sure why I was thinking of you when I read this, but I like this guy's mind and think you would too." Small world, eh? His name is Ted by the way and he has his own blog up here: http://notesfromthenog.blogspot.com/ Speaking of lame excuses - I was unwise enough to get into a "discussion" about whaling at a local bar one night. Most of the people about me visibly bristled when I cheerfully proffered my own anti-whaling opinion and the rather tired (and inaccurate) excuse that "it is traditional!" was trotted out and then repeated in dogmatic and increasingly angry terms. A Japanese friend of mine though answered me with a smile: "I don't know about all that tradition and stuff - and I don't really care about it either. I just like the taste of whale bacon. So that's why I want to eat it. Whale tastes good." At least he was honest, eh?


Hey Mike, Ted often drops by here and makes comments. I think we have a common love of literature among other things. So I'm familiar with his blog as well. As for the tired whaling issue, much like the child abduction defense "to protect" wives/children from DV-it is dishonest and tired as you mention. The tastes good defense is more to my liking as well.


The whaling issue is quite a big deal here, especially as a lot of it happens in or near our waters (down towards the antarctic), and the the anti-whaling boats tend to leave from Australian shores. Just a month or two ago a Japanese whaling ship sank a small protest vessel.
I'm anti-whaling too, because whales are beautiful and unusual animals - too good for these reasons to eat them, (and not to mention the tourism dollars involved in Australian whale watching operations). I can defend cultural relativism though, except not via tradition. Simply put, Japanese don't value whales very much except as food. We kill and eat plenty of cows, (I'm right up there), but a Hindu Indian would not of course. There's little difference between these situations - both involve cultural differences in the value placed on these animals. The only diffference with whaling is that most countries don't eat whale meat (...anymore), and of course the oceans are not controlled by any one country - so in common waters the Japanese can get away with whaling in a way that we couldn't get away with killing Indian cows (for example). If we want to stop the Japanese whaling, we cannot rely on moral arguments unless they are endangered - which the Japanese deny. To avoid this we could simply ask them not to do it anymore because we really like whales and are offended by their eating them. Or perhaps we could try making furniture out of Japanese sakura to prove a point...


Edward, I have to disagree with you here. Killing cows and whales are very different because there aren't many whales and we can' t breed them like we breed cows. That's why that particular defense doesn't work. I should have been more explicit about it in my post above.

Rush Limbaugh (an American right wing talk show host) used to argue that forrest preservation was flawed by comparing it to corn: "You never hear anyone say save the corn!" Same thing applies there, trees take a life time to grow, trees to make a forest and provide habitat for a number of species. Corn is a crop that can be gown naturally in many different places for consumption.

Even if the Japanese deny that they are not endangered doesn't make it true. They do that with everything.

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