Ultraman Ace episode #38 has got to be one of the weirdest Christmas episodes in all of TV history. If you can read Japanese, here's a synopisis of the episode. It's got lots of neat frame grabs from the show even if you can't read the text.
Basically, the snow monster Snowgillon attacks Tokyo. A gigantic mustachioed, but beardless Santa Claus (see photo) battles the creature. I think he gives Ultraman Ace some kind of special ray power to deal with the beast too. Then Santa turns out to the Father of Ultra, the daddy of all the Ultramen. In the end he flies away on a silver sleigh along with the Minami, who had been part of Ultraman Ace's alter ego (it took two people to transform into Ultraman Ace, Hokuto, a man and Minami, a woman, but Minami left some time in the series).
Weird. Just weird.
My friend Takeshi Yagi directed a far less weird Ultraman Christmas episode called "Ellie's Christmas" in 2005 for the series Ultraman Max. There's a brief synopsis of that episode here.
I'll be spending Christmas at my sister's house where my dad is coming to join the fun. I like Christmas. It's fun.
I just spent the whole morning writing a Christmas-themed article, which will appear on the Suicide Girls Safe For Work Blog on Monday. I'll put the link up here once I get it. So I'm not gonna write a lot about Christmas here.
Here's a question from the mailbag:
"What is wrong with my anger at why the world is wrong? The Clash gave me a code to live by in the song 'Clampdown,' 'let fury have the hour,anger can be power.' What I want to know is, why must I kill my anger toward things which are wrong? Exploitation of workers, rape, sexism, racism, fascism, conservatism, militarism, Islamic female circumcision practices, universal health care, and most importantly, the environment are my biggest concerns. And for as long as I can remember, the complete lack of general concern for these issues has thoroughly pissed me off. But like The Clash said, anger can be power and I have always believed that getting angry, really fired up about the world's problems is the best way to solve them. When I get angry about, say litter, it just reminds me to recycle a little more and consume a little less.
You get the picture right? Anger can be useful in solving problems, in dealing with injustice. Do I still have to kill my anger toward injustice?"
(I always start with "my answer" because these articles go up on Facebook and all the careful formatting I do disappears)
The answer is that there is nothing "wrong" with your anger. People are constantly characterizing me as an "angry" person based on my writing. I think that I'm not as angry as I used to be, but I'm still just as angry as I used to be. Which is a typically contradictory "Zen" way of saying that even though I'm angry still, I don't get angry about my anger like I used to.
In other words, the emotional component of what we call "anger" is clearly useless. It doesn't help anything. And yet when I hear about the stuff you've described, it pisses me off. Lots of things piss me off.
I just saw an interesting talk by Alan Senauke from the Berkeley Zen Center. Alan wrote a very cool book called The Bodhisattva's Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism's Front Lines. He's into the whole engaged Buddhism thing. He works for a lot of causes. He goes places. He does stuff.
But when questioned in a similar manner about anger over the troubles of the world after his talk, Alan said something to the effect of, "I try to limit my intake of TV news." I like that advice. Our duty is to deal with the shit right in front of us. But we get sidetracked by the tons and tons and tons of information we are now able to receive about things we really can't deal with because they're too far away or they're too big, etc.
You can easily drive yourself into a tizzy over all the stuff there is in this world to get angry about. I have no doubt that if/when we establish communications with creatures from other planets, it won't be long before there are people on Earth wringing their hands over the unfair treatment of the Krell in the Gomular fields of Regizon IV. It's just human nature to feel like that.
But anger as an emotion gets in the way of what you need to do to effectively deal with those things you're angry about. It blinds you with rage and you don't see the real solutions right in front of you.
Sure anger, in one sense, can be power. But the emotion of anger isn't very powerful if you ask me. It's debilitating.
So it really depends what you mean by the word "anger." I'm angry at sexism. But it doesn't do me any good to sit and stew over it. When there are cases of sexism that I can do something about, I do what I can do. Like maybe if I was there when Ultraman Neos was fondling that poor girl in her Santa outfit I might say something. But not if she was clearly enjoying the attention. My general feeling of anger over the issue remains as part of my personality whether I'm acting on it or not. But it makes no sense to get emotional about things I can't do anything about. The general overall problem of sexism is far too big for one person to fix.
This doesn't mean I have a lack of concern. The whole idea that being all emotional about big issues is a way of being concerned is kind of a red herring. It's something that seems to be relevant to the issue at hand when it really isn't.
When you talk about "being fired up," I think what you're really referring to is holding on to a part of your sense of personal self. You fear that if you don't hold on to your anger, it will go away and you'll just be complacent. In my experience this is not what happens at all. You don't become complacent. You become more relaxed and more realistic about where you can help and where you cannot.
I hope that made some kind of sense.