Honesty Is Better than Elitism

I don’t get the LOL otaku are elitist sort of nonsense. Or how is watching anime one way or another, deep or shallow.

While I can go on about elitism and what about elitism that there’s to say, I think in this attempt at meta-blogging I’ll just air some of my own views. I hope that might shed some light on the bigger picture.

First off, as an anime/manga/game/whatever blogger I think we all write, in a way that is either editorial or in a way that journals the annuals of fandom that affects our lives. It is the act of putting down, into tangible words, of the things that concerns in some way. (for example, how C.C.’s buttocks make you feel about yourself).

It’s a difficult act sometimes–we’re putting intangible things like feelings, complex social behaviors and manners, industry insights, and sometimes good ideas into words. And I’m pretty sure the average anime blogger, let alone the average fan or otaku, does not have the proper training to do all of that. I probably don’t.

However when some of the most passionate and hard working (meaning it in a “put heart into the works” sense) fans think and obsess over the desires of their hearts (to continue the example, how C.C.’s buttocks affect C.C. fans, how it has anything to do with Pizza Hut, or how this may jump start a butt fetish for the doujinshi on sale for Comiket this summer, etc.), you can’t but to think that these people, well, know about what they obsess about.

But the mistake is too often, for both the passionate and the outsider-onlooker, to mistaken what the subject matter is. It’s unavoidable that some anime neophyte will compare anime with things they are more familiar with–live action TV, other non-anime cartoons, what have you. Sometimes the comparison is warranted, but sometimes it’s not and is only to make a point (for example, C.C. is a flat [/zing] character; or fansubbing is a dying thing or piracy is BAAAD). Sometimes it’s done with implicit malice–it’s natural to bully anime geeks. Sometimes it’s a fear of the unknown at work. Sometimes it’s out of innocent ignorance. On the flip side, sometimes the most obsessive anime fans would start to defend anime on its merits or talk about it out of that inner reactionary instinct–they know they’re under attack. That would be fine if they actually know what they’re talking about.

In my own experience (and I’ve done my fair share of talking nonsense, surely) too often the hardcore fans actually don’t know what they’re talking about because they confuse the substance of the discussion with its underlying message. And I think that comes for a honest failure to not see what they’re obsessed about. It is like a person can really dig an anime title but knows nothing about how it was made, how much money it took, who is behind the writing, production direction, but still considered as an otaku because this person made it a part of his/her life in a commonly acknowledged way that otaku make things personal to them. (For example, someone who really likes C.C. but doesn’t know a thing about CLAMP or Ichiro Okouchi or Yukana but draws hawt doujinshi about C.C.; or on the flip side, a huge Yukana fan who doesn’t know about a particular character she played.)

I think instead of all of that we all just need to grow the hell up a bit, and take a more friendly approach. Be respectful to each other. In this case, respect means thinking of your peers on the internet the same as you think of yourself–at least at first. Extend the same courtesy as you would to yourself, and trust that they are as competent as you are. Get a feel as to how to communicate with each other and what they are really saying–what is the intangible thing they are putting into words? Humor them, rather than chide. We’re together in the greater scheme of things partly because we all share overlapping (and perhaps, an united) interest in this Japanese nonsense.

And because in this neck of the woods, C.C.’s milkshake really does bring all the boys to the yard, and damn right, it’s better than yours.

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