Dearest Rachel –
There are some days when I have a letter to write you begun in my head – I may even start to put it down in the cloud to post the next day (assuming there’s a time in the afternoon when I don’t simply decide to hang out in the family room with Daniel, watching this or that on YouTube and completely vegging out until dinner or bedtime) – and then, come the morning, I wake up with a ridiculous dream that I know you (if no one else) will want to hear about, and I’m torn as to which topic to write you about. Or, even weirder, I may try to incorporate the dream into the original letter, only to realize they don’t even remotely fit together, size-wise or thematically, and I have to put together two separate letters.
That was this morning for me, honey. So I guess you’ll have to strap yourself in, and don’t be afraid of the LCL filling your entry plug; it’s meant to be breathable, even if it is a liquid.
With that being said, you can probably figure out that last night’s dream involved the pilots of the Evangelion mechas, and their ongoing battles with the so-called ‘Angels.’
In particular, it was about them dealing with merchandise of themselves, made up in order to partially finance that fight (hey, all that military hardware costs money, and besides, those kids should be lionized as the heroes they are, fighting for the survival of humanity). Specifically, they were dealing with commemorative soft drink cups constructed in their shape and likeness (albeit approximately 1/4 scale – I doubt anyone should be drinking as much soda as could be contained in a life-sized cup – although it’s possible that their guardian Misato would be happy filling one up with that much beer), which could be drunk either through a straw in the back of each pilot’s head like you were a zombie, or sipped directly from the pilot’s lips. Yeah, I know; it sounds pretty creepy and stalkerish. Dream logic – it is what it is.
Oddly enough, only Asuka seemed concerned about those implications, despite being proud of her figurine itself – and constantly checking to make sure it was selling better than the others (although I think she may have conceded that hers would have little appeal to female fans, and thus accepting of the fact that Shinji’s cup would outsell hers by dint of being the only male pilot of any consequence – although her disgust at anyone else sipping from Shinji’s lips may have been what tipped her off to the unsavory nature of the product in the first place). Rei was her usual indifferent self, and I don’t even recall seeing Shinji’s reaction – or even presence – throughout the run time of the dream as I remember it.
However, Mari, the American of the group (and that’s always important to note; the Japanese have an… interesting take on American characters throughout their pop culture. It’s probably only fair – we think they’re weird, given their pop culture, so it’s only to be expected that they would feel the same about us. In fact, they probably think the average American is rather dangerous, given our taste for guns and ‘freedom,’ whatever that might be) seemed oblivious to these implications, and was more concerned about the product within. The highlight scene was of her taking a sip from her own cup (of herself), wrinkling her nose at the taste, and asking Asuka, “does this taste strange to you?” and, without so much as asking permission, proceeding to give Asuka the sip from her own lips via a fairly abrupt (because how could it not be?) open-mouthed kiss. You can imagine how that went down among their fellow classmates – to say nothing of Asuka herself.
I wonder how any of that would go over in real life; not the antics between the pilots, mind you, but the idea of government organizations funding themselves at least partially through merchandising. Considering the wonders currently being viewed through the Webb telescope, perhaps NASA could defray some of their costs through image licensing and whatnot. Also, there have always been models of various military hardware being marketed as toys; I wonder how much of that has ever made its way back into the coffers of the Pentagon.
Then again, since many toys tend to be manufactured in China, there’s probably no point in letting a hostile nation have anything remotely close to the specs of our own hardware and technology in order to manufacture such tchotchkes, so any benefit to be had by licensing such images and likenesses would be more than offset by the espionage benefits simply handed to potential adversaries, so perhaps that’s not the best idea in the world to come up with. Guess we have to stick with soaking the taxpayer for the bill to arm the majority of the alleged Free World.
I think that it was Robert Fulghum who said that “it will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.” There’s something to be said, both pro and con, to each half of that statement, and I’m not about to list them all here (in part because I think it would take too long for me to come up with a coherent and reasonably balanced list, but also because of my preference to keep politics out of these letters as much as possible – not that I’ve been able to keep to that promise very well), but I wonder if a little bit of merchandising might not go a long way toward determining what’s truly worthy of support in the American (and maybe the world’s) psyche. What do you think, honey? Or is it all just a waste of time and money from beginning to end?
Wish you could let me know.