Saturday, July 13, 2013

Meeting Issei Sagawa with VICE

In this video, VICE meets with Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa. Sagawa shot a young Dutch student in Paris, 1981, and then proceeded to eat her remains. He was caught, sent back to Japan, but never punished for his crime on grounds of insanity. While the act is heinous, the mini-doc focuses mostly on Sagawa’s life in the aftermath of his transgressions. He tells his story, and you can discern the conflict raging within this individual. My favorite moment, which comes in the second part of the doc, is when a young porn actress is told of Sagawa’s past after spending a day having sex with him. She states: “I understand he is full of insecurities,” and “I think it’s selfish to let his fantasies grow so wild.” This last statement is most interesting because it begs the question of how this man is supposed to prevent his desires from overtaking him, the implication being that others could be harmed otherwise. This young women actually begins a friendship with Sagawa, which leads to some progress in the fight against his illness(?). As she says, “He’s lacking something…” and I suppose she wanted to help him find that part of himself that could possibly remedy his most grotesque urges and painful existence. As Sagawa concludes, “I don’t even know who I am…nor the meaning of my life.” This is a standard human condition, I think, and examining this particular instance and situation, with its tragic and gruesome consequences, is revealing. See for yourself.


100th Post Resolution

Simply put, I am trying, with the impetus of this 100th post, to be more prolific on this blog, and to not let it sit so idle for so long in between posts. That is my 100th post resolution. 
Michael M

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is Smithfield Still an American Company if Chinese Purchase Moves Forward?

The CEO of Smithfield Foods--mostly known for their ham, of course, and for being the world's largest pork producer--insists that the purchase of the company by Chinese firm Shuanghui International Holdings will not alter the U.S. company's products or adherence to current production standards. However, CEO Larry Pope goes even further by saying that Smithfield, even after the Chinese takeover, will still be "an American company." How so? Yes, the takeover will mean that U.S. workers at Smithfield will keep their jobs--for now--but the company will be owned by a Chinese firm, and thus will no longer be an American company; workers at Smithfield will be working for Chinese owners. To elide this fact is misleading and delusive, and it blurs the larger issue of American firms being sold off to foreign entities. While this is not anything new, and while American workers are currently employed by many global firms--the largest sector probably being that of the auto industry--we do need to be mindful of the fact that many of the countries that are able to grab up American firms would gawk at an American request to do the same in their own countries. As several Congress members have noted, one of them being Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.), "Chinese regulators would laugh at you if you said, ‘Well, I'll just buy Shuanghui,’” which happens to be China's largest pork producer. Point: companies owned and controlled by countries other than the U.S.A. should not be referred to as "American companies."