Tag: Rashomon

Rashomon: Was Obama the Gate or the Gateway?


Rashomon:(the south entrance gate to Kyoto) no longer exists.  It fell into decay and suffered and crumbled under the ebb and flow of many civil wars centuries ago.  But I’ve been to where it was:  now just a stone marker in a small playground, about a 5-10 minute walk from Toji Temple.  

“Rashomon” was also a film by Director Akira Kurosawa.  

I discuss the “Rashomon Effect” below.


 I used to litigate.  No more.  I still keep a hand in “traditional” law with Will drafting, contract matters, employment policy drafting and consultation, etc., but I focus more and more on international business matching and related work.

 I say all that (in the preceding paragraph) to say, well, I used to litigate (I’m thinking this comment may just get turned into an essay).  And in litigation one quickly learns the practical side of what everybody instinctively knows about the Rashomon Effect:  people can see and experience virtually the same thing and, yet, see and experience very different things!

 This is why we have trials:  two witnesses to a car accident standing next to one another and both looking at the light at the same time.  One swears it was yellow and the other swears it was read.  The outcome of the thing depends on who the jury thinks is more credible.  Neither is lying; they both believe they’re telling the utter truth. So we have to (for example, through cross examination) test their respective perceptions.

 While there were and are as many varied viewpoints of Barack Obama, among those who viewed him favorably, who supported his candidacy in the fall of 2008, I see two general views that emerged (I actually saw this back then and diaried to some degree or another several times on this over at orange; I feel that my conclusions then have been confirmed countless times since then, right up to today):

  1. The Gateway.  He is a vehicle through which desired changes will come.  A conduit by and through which reforms will be made.  He is bright and capable and should be given (it was right, perhaps, to have given him) a shot at effectuating real, substantive progressive changes in government, economic priorities, and even to the American zeitgeist.  He has the brains, the background, the skills needed and the motivation to bring about the desired (by progressives, Democrats) systemic changes.

  2.  The Gate.  He himself is a person to be followed and implicitly trusted and believed in.  Whatever setbacks or (perceived) failings that may occur along the way would be (are, have been) owing either (a) to other people failing him and/or failing to have faith in him; or, (b) a misperception among critics and cynics that he has failed, when, in fact, nothing he does falls short of the mark and that his wisdom and vision should not be questioned; that he “gets” the Big Picture in a way and to a depth that his detractors cannot begin to understand (how can an ant in Alabama understand how the Taj Mahal was constructed?).


 Well, need I go further?  

 I was there in Mile High Stadium in Denver when he gave his acceptance speech.  I got choked up many times over, not so much in listening to Barack Obama, but in seeing the tens of thousands of people who believed that he would usher in a new and better day for the United States.  Little did I really, really “get” that I was not seeing a unified body (except unified in the desire and determination to get him elected).  I was seeing people who, individual variations notwithstanding, who either believed he was an agent for change, or that he was The One.

 The light was Yellow, no, the light was Red!


With my camera pointed at the People, not the Podium.



Were they looking at a Gateway, or a Gate?