Kabuki & American Politics
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 14 00:42:06 UTC 2006
On April 6th, NY Daily News columnist Ben Smith wondered about the political
use of "kabuki." As American Dialect Society readers may now, I saw "kabuki"
in Japan in 2000.
Here are some citations.
April 06, 2006
Quinn's Last Dance
In her big, well-presented speech today, Chris Quinn -- who is all about
learning from Giff's mistakes -- set an agenda for reforming the budget process
and saving us from the inevitable lines about "kabuki theater." (Has anyone
actually seen a kabuki performance? Not me.)
A traditional and popular form of Japanese drama which employs highly
stylized singing, miming, and dancing in addition to acting, and in which (since
c1650) all the parts are played by males. Also attrib. Hence <NOBR>esque a.,
in the style or manner of the Kabuki theatre.
1899 _W. G. ASTON_
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-a2.html#w-g-aston) Hist. Jap. Lit. VI. iii. 288 Kabuki theatres, which had men for actors,
had been established there before the middle of the seventeenth century. 1928
Daily Tel. 4 Dec. 8/4 The Kabuki affords freedom for old and favourite
plays, for new ones on Western lines, and for adaptations of Western drama. 1951
Oxf. Compan. Theatre 411 The present day Japanese theatre takes three
distinct, although related forms, the or lyrical drama, <NOBR-shibai or
marionettes, and Kabuki, the popular theatre. 1954 F. BOWERS Jap. Theatre vii. 224
Another woman who lies down to offer herself as a substitute for the married
Anotha postwar Kabukiesque ‘substitution’. 1960 _B. LEACH_
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-l.html#b-leach) Potter in Japan viii. 190 The
merchant class with its popular arts of the Kabuki theatre and the colour print. 1970
Oxf. Compan. Art 1171 Favourite subjects were theatre scenes, which began
to appear along with the development of the popular Kabuki theatre in the
17th. c. 1972 Nat. Geographic Sept. 378 Man in maiden's guise charms
theater-goers in the classical drama known as Kabuki. 1972 Mainichi Daily News (Japan) 6
Nov. 3/5 Collection and sale of kabuki dolls.
I saw Kabuki tonight.
(April 9, 2000--ed.)
THEY CAME TO JAPAN:
AN ANTHOLOGY OF EUROPEAN REPORTS ON JAPAN, 1543-1640
edited by Michael Cooper, S. J.
University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles
(The tea ceremony is also here. "Kabuki" is mentioned in the works of Lois
Frois (1549-1578) and Richard Cocks' diary, about 1615--ed.)
_THE EDWIN BOOTH OF JAPAN.; How the Greatest Actor of Japan Looks, Acts and
Talks--A Description of Japan's Last Big Earthquake and Mr. Carpenter's
Narrow Escape--The Chinese Barbarities in Korea. JAPAN'S BIGGEST THEATER. A CALL
ON JAPAN'S GREATEST ACTOR BEHIND THE SCENES WITH A JAPANESE COMEDIAN. HOW IT
FEELS TO BE BLOWN UP. THE EARTHQUAKE AND THE PALACES. THE OLD INHABITANTS
DON'T LIKE THEM. TALKS ABOUT EARTHQUAKES. EARTHQUAKE HORRORS. THE BIG EARTHQUAKE
AT GIFU. _
Los Angeles Times. Jan 6, 1895. p. 13 (1 page)
It is known as the Kabukiza Theater, and it will seat 3000 people.
_Are Political Conventions Undemocratic?; Political Conventions ON
By HERBERT McCLOSKY. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug
4, 1968. p. SM10 (8 pages)
NO feature of American politics has so aroused the disdain of political
purists as our Presidential nominating conventions. Raucous, windy, tumultuous,
festive, noisy--to the casual observer they seem as rowdy as a Tammany saloon,
as stylized as a Kabuki drama, as ritualized as a professional wrestling
_Reagan Expected to Support A Byrd Opponent in Virginia_
By BEN A. FranklinSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times
(1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jun 5, 1982. p. 21 (1 page)
The younger Byrd, the Senate's only nominal independent, is still counted as
a Democrat by the Democrats, but he votes with the Republicans. So his
return to the political fray put both parties in a state that one political savant
here described today as "a filmed Kabuki dance, run at very high speed."
_Budget Summit Isn't Going To Be Easy_
HOBART ROWEN. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.:
May 13, 1990. p. H1 (2 pages)
Of course, I'm referring to the latest high-level "summit" on the budget at
which President Bush and leaders of both parties in Congress promise to
hammer out a significant package of deficit reductions. For the past two or three
years, it's been an annual Kabuki dance, resulting in nothing.
_Democrat, Citing 'Doubts,' Says He Will Reject Thomas_
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 25, 1991. p. A21 (1
"This may have been good politics, but it did not fulfill Judge Thomas's
responsibility to the nation," Mr. Leahy continued. "I will not allow the
advise-and-consent process to be reduced to a Kabuki theater of ritualized refusals
_The West's Scam In Bosnia_
LESLIE H. GELB. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 9,
1992. p. E17 (1 page)
Instead of showing imagination and political courage along these lines, the
leaders of the Western world have been staging a Kabuki play of illusions.
_Mayoral Race Makes Park a Field for Politics_
By CATHERINE S. MANEGOLD. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York,
N.Y.: Oct 9, 1993. p. 26 (1 page)
When politics clashed with the New York City Parks Commissioner yesterday
the result was part Kabuki theater, part Fellini movie and pure psychological
_Cuts as Political Art; In Ritual, Mayor's 'Cultural' Slashes Will Probably
Be Undone by Council _
By DAN BARRY. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Apr 25,
1998. p. B4 (1 page)
Mr. Giuliani's proposed cuts to the "culturals"--another City Hall term--may
indeed say something about his priorities, or how he feels about the people
he dismisses as typical liberals. But the advocates and City Council members
who self-righteously denounced the cuts knew the truth also known to the
Mayor, but which no one verbalized for the benefit of the public: The fight over
the "culturals" is political Kabuki.
_The Abortion Debate, Stuck in Time; The Abortion Debate _
ROBIN TONER. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Jan 21,
2001. p. WK1 (2 pages)
FOR most of the 28 years since the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade,
the political debate over abortion has remained, essentially, frozen in time.
Science has changed, the culture has changed, public attitudes have changed,
but the politics of abortion unfolds like a Kabuki play, stylized and
familiar, as it did throughout the capital last week.
_It's Not a Time for Party, But for How Long?_
RICHARD L. BERKE. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep
23, 2001. p. WK3 (1 page)
"In style and substance, we're making a transition to a new era in American
government and politics," said Douglas Sosnik, who was a top adviser to
President Bill Clinton. "There was a triviality to a lot of our politics in recent
years, a lot of posturing on both sides. It was all just a kabuki dance. All
that's behind us now. The events of Sept. 11, combined with a public that
has grown weary of harsh partisanship and preoccupation with scandal, will lead
to a softer partisanship--and debates that are more meaningful."
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