Friday, August 04, 2006

I work for racists

More to come on what I'm have been experiencing once I get out of the weeds. It's been all work all week, working both New York and Tokyo hours (i.e. 5am-11pm), trying to deal with overwhelming amounts of things to do, as we close the two magazines by August 14 and try to get them off to the printer. My great assistant (and friend) suddenly had leave our company after having personal issues render him unable to work, at pretty much the worst time it could have happened. It couldn't be helped but really caused some serious problems. As my brother said "You working like Japanese businessman." Today, Saturday, is starting to look brighter although I have to go the plant AGAIN for 4 hours and get a few things done before I am free until Monday. So for now, a story.

The issue I am in Japan printing is called DECADES, and it's 13- 13 x 17 booklets in a fancy foil box, with each booklet covering a different decade from 1880-2000. The one for the 1940s is photographer Bruce Weber's collage art, and its WW2-ish, but with some pretty gay looking soldiers straight out of a Calvin Klein shoot, and newspaper clippings with phrases that illustrate the same idea. One of the clips is from Norman Mailer's "Naked and the Dead". After a daydream is described by a man at war and he starts to get jealous, wondering what his girlfriend is up to back at home, he screams (In 16 point type, assumingly to rid himself of stress) "GET THE JAP!".

Today, while printing at the Japanese printer for the Japanese department store/sponsor, the English-speaking head of the foreign rights department asked me just what it meant...Of course, I had never read the text (the image was looking blue, however) so I have no idea what he's talking about.

Anyway, when I get back, you can buy me a drink, and I will reenact me explaining "well, it's artwork based on the feeling during the 40s. It's not meant to be a translation of what Americans think NOW, but during WW2...when we were enemies. You know, its ART, creative license???..." I stopped there before I did more damage.

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed in my delirium of this week, WAY more than I needed to -- half in embarrassment and half in horror. I am making friends.

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