The Savoie Trans Pacific Soap Opera, Part IV. Then, I promise I am done.

I wanted to blog about something else today, but then I learned that the Chris Savoie media operation ramped up in full swing. There was this interview with his lawyer and new wife on CNN:

CNN link should take you there!

[Update: And Amy Savoie (new Mrs. Savoie) headed up an embassy protest in Washington.]

I think I found the latest TV installment out through Japan Probe, where a guy posting as James has been on the story that’s really CNN’s story. (CNN is doing all the running around, a/k/a work, trying to bring the story to the public, and then James comments on what CNN does on a site that accepts advertising but doesn’t share it with CNN.)

James feels that CNN’s coverage is too strongly “American” and so therefore lacks a certain credibility than CNN would allegedly have if it ignored the American perspective entirely.

As further proof:

mrs savoie next to american flag stripes

James made some snarky comment about this screen shot (that I have shamelessly re-lifted from the Probe) that CNN makes Mrs. Savoie’s head look like the rising sun. With the American flag stripes making up a Hinomaru if you don’t know that the stars are behind Mr. Savoie to the left.

stars and stripes CNN graphic

Yeah, right. Anyway, Mr. Morley, who is Savoie’s lawyer, is trying to make up lost ground and doing a bit of a job on it. He is now pointing out that Chris Savoie would not have gotten a fair chance at custody had this all played out in Japan. I think that was his strongest argument from the get-go—-and not the fact that Noriko Savoie basically got herself involved with a Tennessee court where she would have to share custody.

The lawyer is also pushing Chris Savoie’s only strong argument about Tennessee, and that’s that the former Mrs. Savoie probably got much more money than she would have if the divorce matter was litigated in Japan. She got $800,000, which is quite a sum to practically anybody. But in divorces with kids there are so many other issues that it seems at best that ex-Mrs. Savoie went to Tennessee and put up with what seems now to be clear what was happening, knowing that she could always return to Japan with the kids.

That probably was bottom line for her, too.

Like I said the other day, I don’t condone what Noriko Savoie did, but I sympathize with her situation. I can see why she did it, now that more facts are out about Christopher Savoie. And knowing something about how Japanese strategize within Japanese culture, it makes perfect sense.

I appreciate that CNN is giving the unadulterated “American view” of the news, if that’s what it is doing. Because the bottom line is that joint custody probably should be respected by Japan as a concept—if even in situations that involve only international couples (ones where one parent really is from overseas).

Re Japan Probe, it’s a little tiring to read anti-Americanism dolled up as some sort of clever observation or insight. Whoever did the CNN graphic was probably not trying to make a Hinomaru out of Noriko Savoie’s face. I’ve met a few of these Brits, continentals, Aussies who think their “anti-Yank” schtick is as cool as when they mouth it between their buddies in the home country expat group.

But after a while (a quick one), it becomes really stale. I mean, really stale. I am from America and I know exactly what America’s problems are. But what I find out these know-it-all expat critics is that they really don’t know about wide swaths of America at all.

17 thoughts on “The Savoie Trans Pacific Soap Opera, Part IV. Then, I promise I am done.

  1. If the graphic designer was not making a rayed sun, then why do the lines converge on her face to make her side look like the sun?
    And James is American.

    1. Overthinker,

      My point is that the whole graphic looks to have been designed as an American flag in the background. The screenshot from the Probe makes it look like it’s a single picture with just Noriko Savoie.

      Someone else sent me a note to say that James is American. I didn’t say he wasn’t, just objecting to anti-Americanism as a cool thing. Everyone gets to say their thing, right?

  2. I don’t really see the difference. Sure, the rays are melding with the US flag, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the rays of the rising sun flag. In other words, there are two flags shown: the Stars and Stripes, and the rayed Rising Sun, in such a way that they blend into each other, rather than a Stars and Stripes with red stripes that merge into the sun. So in that respect JP was not inaccurate, and CNN were depicting her with the rayed Rising Sun.

    You were also objecting to anti-Americanism as practiced by non-Americans, which you could legitimately consider just rude sniping. But surely critiques of America by Americans are allowed? And this isn’t even that really, just anti-CNNism, which (hopefully) is not the same thing.

    1. Part of me wants to really analyze the thing, and the other part of me says it isn’t worth the time. It reminds me of the kind of things the Republican Party does with quick snapshots of Obama (“Is he giving the finger or not?”, “Is he looking at the woman’s backside or not?”)

      I can see, if you just look at the Noriko Savoie side, you can imagine, at least as a subliminal message, her head is the Rising Sun and those red lines are the rays. Plus she looks a little red in the Japan Probe photo.

      But I don’t think the stripes are exactly the same as Hinomaru rays. Honestly, I never really studied the Hinomaru, but I thought the rays become a lot thicker, sooner out from the sun.

      My first impression of the whole piece was that the flag is waving, and so that is why there is the angularity to it. The alleged rays are not exactly aligned with the stripes coming out of the union (the blue field). But they do connect.

      The Apollo 11 astronauts left the crease in the flag they stuck in the moon, so as to make it look like a waving flag. So I thought it was like that.

      Plus Mrs. Savoie’s face is not entirely red. It’s red about 3/4. And it looks like there is some sort of Roman alphabet to her left, like “OY”. I don’t know if that is meant as further commentary via a Yiddishism. (Savoie is a[n] Roman Catholic undetermined religion.)

      1. As a subliminal message? Really, just because the rays may not be the precise angle as used in the official flag (known as the Kyokujitsuki, 旭日旗 to distinguish it from the Nisshouki, 日章旗, the non-rayed dot), it is far from a subliminal design. The average American surely knows enough about WW2 history to connect the naval ensign design with Japanese aggression. And if they’re not connected to the stripes of the US flag, then there’s even less excuse. Now, it could perhaps, maybe, be that CNN thought that a simple non-rayed sun would make Noriko just look furious, so added the rays, but I consider that less likely.

        The reason why Noriko’s face appears to be not completely red is due to the white “Y” overlaying part of it. I assume the “OY” comment is not serious.

        1. I actually checked the tape again, and took a few screen shots. Part of the “Y” goes over Noriko Savoie’s face. And to contrast the “Y” with the rest of her face, it looks like it was reddened. You can’t really use any other color because then it would make Noriko Savoie look really strange.

          There seems to be something else going on in the graphic, which isn’t clear. There are shadows of something there, and that is impacting Noriko.

          The words “CUSTODY” seem to run behind the now-well-known Christopher Savoie picture. Maybe this was to put him and the kids in the forefont and de-emphasize custody.

          Also, the smaller background images over on stage right have Noriko’s face totally invaded by red stripes. (These would arguably be stripes not rays.)

          Is it to imply that she should be behind bars?

          As regards, OY—and that’s what it looks like in the Japan Probe screenshot—I say, yes, “oy!” The case is another messy divorce where there are no easy answers.

          1. Why only her face then and not the “Americans”? You are getting into the realm of pure speculation here. Even assuming that CNN did not intend the association, which has not been shown here, they should have known perfectly well what it looked like. So they either deliberately put it there, knowing what it was, or by coincidence decided to redden her face and have red stripes that sort of come from the US flag converge on it for no readily apparent reason.

            Why are you so reluctant to say it looks like the rayed rising sun flag? Is it such a stretch to assume that someone at CNN wanted to paint the Japanese woman who “stole American kids” in a negative light by associating her with the negative images of WW2?

            1. Overthinker,

              I took the four screenshots of the interview, included with the one in the main blog post that was mine. Anybody can really study these if you click on them. The only problem is they’re fuzzy.

              The reason Noriko is a little red is so that they can emphasize the “Y” in “CUSTODY”. The other option was to try and light her face for contrast. That, I feel, wouldn’t have worked.

              If they tinted her blue, it would have thrown the thing off. Green, same thing. Brown or yellow would have been dangerous. So they used red because it is in keeping with the red-white-and-blue theme of the backdrop. This theme is carried over to those smaller displays–the ones where she is behind the stripes. (Maybe like jail bars or a prison uniform?)

              What no one has pointed out is the other imagery that seems to be shadowed in the picture. It isn’t simply that Noriko got shaded, but there is something else going on in that background.

              Also, no one has pointed out the symbolism that she is made not as clear and sharp as Savoie and the kids, because in the reporting she is the person who did wrong because she didn’t keep the kids where she had agreed. This is a perfectly legitimate aspect of the story, and the backdrop maybe suggests that more than a WWII reference.

              Not so many people around today back home understand World War II or all the imagery. Especially younger people, they might not know that much at all about the 20th century. The designer could be some kid from the year 1985.

            2. You are still desperate to avoid admitting the resemblence, second-guessing the graphic designer and comng up with convoluted reasons. There are loads of ways to avoid making her look like the rising sun (if showing the Y on her face was only possible by making her look at best furious, then shift the face to the right) but if they wanted to make her look like it, they did it very well.

              I don’t know how old the designer is of course, but would imagine the rayed sun is a fairly well known symbol of Japan in WW2, and that even if the designer is some idiot who thinks history began with the invention of the iPod, CNN is stilll stupid for allowing such an obvious representation.

            3. I’m just saying that there is much more going on in that graphic if anyone wants to waste time (that they’ll never have again) to look.

              Today, I noticed a star or two to the right of the Savoie girl. And behind the “Y” of Custody, near the top, is a man’s head. Still has me thinking there is yet another thing going on behind the portrayal, and so the other part of Mrs. Savoie’s shading is really capturing whatever picture is referenced behind the set design.

              If you want me to say, at one angle and one frame, that someone’s head superimposed on flag stripes of the American flag could evoke the Japanese war flag, well, yes, there’s this little cult that thinks so now.

              But I am giving the reasons why I don’t think that was intended.

    2. Let me add: you’re right, the part about the anti-Americanism versus the anti-CNN. It’s just that James’ style was like that of these folks I meet here and there in Tokyo who just like to take shots at Americans.

      As I read the piece, I just got the feeling like the writing was playing to a specific crowd here. Not just getting on about CNN.

      People get on about Fox all the time. Me, I’d just rather want to know what are facts, even if it takes the news source a while to gather them.

  3. The background behind him is the American flag and the background behind her is the naval Japanese flag (red rays eminating from the sun)… which just happens to be centered on her head… with some sort of transparency or filter to make her face red too.
    Notice his face isn’t particularly extra white, so apparently they didn’t do any flag filter on him.

    Not very flattering… as James was pointing out.

    You gotta admit some graphic designer was probably smirking to themselves when they put her head in the middle of that.

  4. Nandaya,

    On my picture (the one showing the union side with Mr/Dr. Savoie), you can click on it to see the whole thing. This is the other part I used to judge whether the stripes were meant to be rays.

    I notice they stuck a “scales of justice” superimposed on the union (the blue field with the stars). And I guess this is supposed to also symbolize that justice is on the side of Christopher Savoie? At least in Tennessee.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Naval_Ensign_of_Japan.svg

    Here is the link to the Japanese Naval Flag, which commonly gets called Hinomaru even if technically it’s just a version of the official flag.

    Like I thought, there’s more angularity to the rays (because they’re rays not stripes).

    The graphic designer would have really had to have bent that flag around ex-Mrs. Savoie’s head. As it stands, there’s some angularity. But I don’t see enough for it to be actually, like, “hey there’s Hinomaru rays coming out of Noriko Savoie!”

    Someone that wants to has to get out their protractor on the screen shot and figure out what those angles are.

    I just think that for the amount of distance that those “rays” go out before the apparent bend, they are meant to be stripes.

  5. The superimposed word looks like “CUSTODY”. Only the part close to Noriko Savoie, alone, the “DY” looks like “OY”.

    Oy.

  6. Was there some other previous discussion threads with postings on your blog , on this subject Hoofin? You mentioned before on the Milwaukee Girl thread, that in some previous thread, people were trying to tell you stuff about Savoie…I didnt see that here either.

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