However, the video segment — from CNN’s Prime News program on their HLN (formerly Headline News) channel — has very little to do with Lah’s article itself, and is sensationalist and overblown, particularly on the part of the anchor, Mike Galanos. His guest, Dr. Cheryl Olson, seemed to be trying to put the brakes on his (not to put too fine a point on it) scaremongering. In short, I don’t recommend watching the video (though since I’ve already transcribed it, I’ll still include the text below the fold; WordPress doesn’t appear to let me embed the video).
Lah’s article, on the other hand, is much more thoughtful. I think it does a pretty good job of presenting the complexity of the cultural issues involved, given its limited space and an audience that can’t be presumed to be very familiar with video games, feminist theory, Japanese culture in general or otaku culture in particular.
It’s not without some faults — for example, this paragraph
It is terribly easy to condemn Japan as a sexist and repressed culture with a government that chooses to look the other way. Part of that would be true, but the reason hentai continues to thrive in a country as progressive as Japan is a complex cultural issue.
seems either self-contradictory, or reliant on some oddly contorted sense of the word “progressive,” and the quotations from the sociology professor, Kyle Cleveland, seem troublingly close to suggesting that this is “just how it is” in Japan, and outsiders ought not judge such things. That can, admittedly, be a fine line to walk: Cleveland is entirely correct when he says
What provokes people about Japan is the cultural distance which inclines people to see Japan as exceptionally lurid or perverse simply because it expresses sexuality in ways outside of Western norms. Japan is in some ways not that different than other cultures, including the United States, which has its own gender problems that are quite apparent.
but the implication that the very real structural misogyny in US culture invalidates American critiques of misogynist elements of other cultures is quite wrong. Yes, we have to look to the beam in our own eye. But provided we are willing to do so, and work to extract it, it is not hypocrisy to also mention the mote — or, as in this case, beam of comparable size — in our sibling’s.