Debt is on everyone’s mind at the moment. Student debt forgiveness has become a popular demand on the left, as if loans were some sort of scam on the receivers, rather than an assist for those seeking higher education and the greater income that comes with it. During the covid-19 pandemic, relief spending sent the deficit skyrocketing. And in pursuit of Twitter, Tesla chief Elon Musk has leveraged himself and his shares in his company to a degree that feels incomprehensible to the average tweeter.
Opinion | Hoping for student loan forgiveness? Watch ‘Tokyo Vice’ and ‘A Hero’ for a different way of thinking about debt.
Enter “Tokyo Vice” and “A Hero,” two stories that could help reset our moral compasses around debt and obligation. The Michael Mann-produced “Tokyo Vice” is an entrancing crime drama; a fun program about journalism (and a reminder that editors everywhere are wary of extraneous adjectives like extraneous); and a fascinating travelogue through the universality of the Backstreet Boys and the odd world of Japanese hostess clubs.
But “Tokyo Vice” works on its deepest level as an examination of honor and debts, as well as the trouble we find ourselves in when burdened by commitments we cannot easily repay.
Arrears are the subject of Jake Adelstein’s (Ansel Elgort) first big story for the Tokyo paper at which he is the first “gaijin” — or non-Asian foreigner — employee. Residents of Tokyo, burdened by debt and hounded by collectors, are killing themselves rather than bring dishonor on their families. Jake learns that the…