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Anime legend: iPad use is disgusting

Hayao Miyazaki, director of the first anime movie to win an Oscar, rails against the tablet people are "stroking with strange gestures."

It's not always easy to argue with an artist. Somehow, everything that's said ends up being so, well, subjective.

Still, how can one not at least listen to the words of the great Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki on the subject of the iPad?

Miyazaki, 69, is an artist of legendary proportions in Japan. He directed "Princess Mononoke" and "Ponyo," as well as the first anime movie to win an Academy Award, "Spirited Away."

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He was voted one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2005 and some have called him the Japanese Walt Disney, which he dismissed by noting that Disney was "a business person," while he is "just a director."

His movies often wonder about how humanity should relate to the natural world and to the technological. His views on the iPad are, perhaps, worthy of a movie in themselves.

According to the blog Kotaku, Miyazaki gave an interview to Neppuu--the pamphlet published by his movie studio--in which he railed against the iPad and the way people use it. He reportedly described people as "stroking" it with "strange gestures."

He then reportedly told Neppuu: "It's disgusting. On trains, the number of those people doing that strange masturbation-like gesture is multiplying."

The fact that he offered the m-word might seem merely provocative. Yet, perhaps there is something about the iPad that allows people to disappear into their own isolated forms of self-gratification more readily, more often, and with greater satisfaction.

However, what he cannot possibly know is whether these people on trains are using their iPads to consume rather than to create.

Perhaps Miyazaki peeks over their shoulders as the train bullets its way along the tracks. Perhaps, though, given his past criticism of cell phones and even the reading of Manga, what disturbs Miyazaki most is the idea of so many people in the same place captivated by the same thing in the same way.

On the other hand, that would perfectly describe a movie theater.