Media Mix, Dec. 31, 2017

Takanohana

Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is a roundup of the year. One thing I didn’t mention but which I probably should have is the sumo assault scandal. The reason I didn’t was because I, myself, didn’t think it had any meaning outside the world or sumo, but as the press, in particular the weeklies, the tabloids, and the TV wide shows, kept digging into the story in the last weeks of the year it became obvious that these outlets were simply trying to avoid talking about other things that might have had more bearing on people’s lives, like the threat from North Korea, the various money and influence scandals that continue to dog the Abe administration, and the worldwide movement to address systemic sexual harassment of women, matters I did take up in the column. The press has never liked Takanohana, the former yokozuna and present stable master who is the main target of the coverage, but it’s easy to get the impression that they’re simply dredging up old enmities because 1) they assume it will sell magazines and boost ratings, and 2) it’s easy to do, since they have so much dirt on the guy already. Also, I’ve never had much sympathy for Takanohana because of his predetermined status as a cultural elite owing to his parentage, so he never held much interest for me as a public personality or as an athlete. He’s a convenient media foil and nothing more.

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