Oppai Taisen: The War Continues

After a break in the fighting, the Breast Wars have seen another fight recently: Myst1ord and Omonomono clashed over their differing opinions on form-fitting clothing for women in anime.

 

Omonomono’s points:

– Art is unrealistic; this does not make it unenjoyable

– This is a trend that continues across multiple genres, from ancient Egyptian art to modern superflat

Myst1ord’s points:

– Verisimilitude is important to creating enjoyable art

– Purple hair, nekomimi etc. do not break suspension of disbelief and therefore there is no inconsistency in railing against excessively unrealistic or caricaturized art, but not railing against these things.

Drmchsr0’s point:

– Anime girls are often dressed to evoke the virgin/whore dichotomy – and not in a constructive, edifying manner.

Published in: on December 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM  Comments (3)  
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The Basis of Morality

Noah (@hoodedu) linked me to his thoughts on morality.  Thanks, Noah. Twitter is indeed a very awkward platform for nuance.

This discussion started with reference to the loss of a Neil Gaiman script for Dr. Who.  Thousands of users posted on reddit to pressure the person who found it (or rather, their roommate) to “do the right thing,” and the subsequent trumpeting by some that this somehow “vindicated” the moral authority of the Internet was sickening.  Let me be clear – I do think that in this case returning the item happened to be the right thing to do. But that is a happy coincidence.  I in no way want to get comfortable with the suggestion that listening to what other people claim to think is “the right thing” on an Internet forum necessarily bears the slightest resemblance to the best course of action.  I find equating the right thing to do and the popular thing to do to be morally dangerous. (Cf. slavery, the oppression of minority religions and minority ethnicities, violent homophobia, the cutting of the rose, etc. – all popularly accepted by society for thousands of years, but to me, morally unacceptable.)

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. – Anatole France

Now, with respect to the comments at Noah’s site:

Peter is right in that my statement is not about the generation of moral principles but rather in the idea that one should not ascribe a higher moral authority to the government, to the state, to the corporation, to a board of directors, or indeed to any man-made amalgamation of individual moral actors. Having numbers does not make them automatically more morally correct than an individual making a moral decision. (The critique of modern law as judicial shamanism, for instance, is a structural observation based upon how the ritual of law is constructed around making it appear more impressive, as if that spectacle makes it more morally correct.)

If we say that the state does not properly have the authority to tell you which god to worship, then I take a half-step further and posit that neither does it have the right to dictate your ideals, to tell you good or evil. Of necessity, it makes purely practical judgements like, “People are not permitted to steal things or we will lock them up,” which are to some degree useful for the functioning of society, but we should not confuse them with moral judgements.

Peter also says,

We simply try to muddle through, creating the best world we can — deploying not principles, but what Charles Taylor called “inspired adhoccery.”

I would restate Peter’s “ad hoc” statements thus: there exists a moral axis and a pragmatic axis, and as moral agents we are perpetually brokering an uneasy peace between the two. To be perfectly moral would require infinite resources, or at least the ability to act as if there were infinite resources – a disregard for the pragmatic side of things. To be perfectly pragmatic would require infinite moral flexibility, or effectively an outright lack of morality.  (This level of abstraction, incidentally, derives from the “postmodern” half of my explanation of my stance as “postmodernist-existentialist.”  Peter notes correctly that I differ from Sartre in at least one significant place despite calling my reasoning existentialist.  I believe even Sartre used meta-level principles for moral reasoning in No Exit, but that is a discussion for another time.) I submit that to not perfectly cleave to abstract principles is a different order of things from never attempting to stick to principles in the first place.  That, I believe, is where the real danger of doing what is most comfortable rather than what is moral lies.  Call it a throwback to my days in science: that which is never measured is never properly observed, and that which is not observed, we cannot really make clear statements about. How can you monitor your own moral progress without having some kind of measure?

In the end I suspect my differences with Noah might be theological more than descriptive: is there such a thing as morality, independent of social feedback and pragmatic goals? I say yes, as long as we believe and set it apart; law, for instance, is not morality. Noah, if I read him correctly above, says no. If you don’t allow that morality exists as a separate conceptual thing, then perhaps the distinctions I am drawing become meaningless.

I believe they have meaning, though.

Karaoke: An Historical Record

On this day, 1 year ago, SCCSAV conducted an online karaoke session.  No records are known to have been released to the public . . . until now.

1. bythebooks – Broken Wings : Tomoko Tane (Trinity Blood ED)
2. Orange – Oath Sign : Lisa (Fate/Zero)
3. bythebooks – Feel So Good : Supercell
4. Mystlord – Katamari on the Rocks – Katamari Damacy
5. sebz – Karakuri *insert Buddhist swastika* Burst : Kagamine Rin and Len
6. sebz – Sweet Drops – PUFFY (Usagi Drop OP)
7. Orange – Title Nante Jibun de Kangaenasai na : Miyuki Sawashiro (Arakawa UTB)
8. bythebooks & Razzyness(‘s recording) – Cendrillon : MikuXKaito
9. Jun – Romeo and Cinderella (Vocaloid)
10. Mystlord – Hanaji : Kobayashi Yuu (Maria Holic OP)
11. sebz – Rin Len Romantic Night : Kagamine Rin and Len
12. Anya – Kimi no Naka no Eiyuu – Minami Kuribayashi (Gundam AGE ED)
13. bythebooks – Meltdown : Asami Shimoda
14. Orange – Why Was This Happening : Hatsune Miku
15. Caraniel – Lonely in Gorgeous – Tommy February6 (Paradise Kiss OP)
16. Jun – Blue (Vocaloid; Yuyoyuppe, Draw the Emotional)
17. Mystlord – Paradise Lost – Minorin~~ (Ga-Rei Zero OP)
18. sebz – Panda Hero : GUMI
19. Anya – The Eternal Soldiers – Loudness (MazinKAISER SKL OP)
20. sebz – Bye Bye (Kimi to Boku OP) : 7!!
21. bythebooks – Light My Fire : KOTOKO (Shana III OP)
22. Caraniel – We Fight Together – Namie Amuro (One Piece OP14)
23. Mau – Ryu – Sound Holic (Touhou/ Youmu’s Theme)
24. bobbierob – Modokashii Sekai no Ue de – Makino Yui (Welcome to the NHK ED)
25. Starburst – Hana No Iro -Nano.RIPE
26. Mystlord – Sousei no Aquarion (Sousei no Aquarion OP)
27. Anya – Core Pride[UVERworld & In My World [Rookie Is Punk’d] (Ao no Exorcist OPs)
28. bythebooks & Hyadain – Hyadain no Kakakatakataomoi-C (Nichijou OP)
29. bobbierob – Watashi no Koi wa Hotch-Kiss – HTT (K-ON INS)
30. Mau – Border of My Life – Sound Holic (Touhou/ Yuyuko’s Theme)
31. Caraniel – Toki ni Ai wa – Okui Masami (Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie)
32. Anya – Gecchuu! Rabu Rabu?! – Mayumi Gojo (Futari wa Pretty Cure ED)
33. bobbierob – Ready!! – 765Pro Allstars (Idolm@ster OP)
34. Mystlord – Zzz – Sayaka Sasaki (Nichijou ED1)
35. bythebooks – Memoria : Aoi Eir (Fate/Zero ED)
36. bobbierob – Tsubasa wo Kudasai – HTT (K-ON INS)
37. Anya – Detarame na Zanzou – Gran Rodeo (Blassreiter OP1)
38. Mystlord – Neko Miko Reimu
39. bythebooks – Marisa Stole the Precious Thing
40. Anya – Touhou Sweets
41. Moritheil – Tomorrow – Shimokawa Mikuni (Full Metal Panic OP)
42. Anya – Kimi ni Fuku Kaze – Shimokawa Mikuni (Full Metal Panic Fumoffu! ED)

Woohoo karaoke!~☆ ♪~(´ε` )

Published in: on November 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM  Leave a Comment  
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A digression from Vuc

Vuc linked this, and I read it and felt compelled to comment:

It doesn’t matter how you get into things; it matters that you get into things. Let me clarify: you got into anime, which then got you into blogging, which opened the doors to the whole community on the Internet. Any number of things could happen from then on. Business and job opportunities, philosophical revelations, really anything might appear before you. Now you might say “that’s the power of networking,” or some such, but it could equally be said that that’s the power of anime.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

If you never take the first step, you don’t take the journey.

Digibro talks about how anime is his whole world.  We don’t need to be quite so grand or dramatic – I’ll be conservative and say that anime is a part of your world.  Because of anime you will be able to meet and relate to people, and because of that you’ll be able to learn new things, which will then open doors into other things, other places, other mindsets.  Anime is the key here, but when we talk of people in general it doesn’t have to be anime.  I’m sure there are people who opened lots of doors by being able to talk about sports, or fashion, or NASCAR racing.  It truly doesn’t matter, except that it does to you, because anime is what was compelling enough for you to take that first step out into the world.

Take the step.  Be excited and passionate about something.  Anime is just fine.

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 4:23 AM  Leave a Comment  
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How to spot a cultural imperialist

Consider, if you will, the following scenario: a group of clerics and theology experts in Pakistan, having pooled their expertise and their money, launch a political campaign to change local laws to something more aligned with Sharia law – in Washington, DC.

What kind of objections does that conjure up? Did the words “sovereignty,” “interference,” or “imposing your beliefs on other people” appear in your head?

Consider another scenario: a group of gender experts in London, England, having pooled their expertise and their money, launch a political campaign to change local laws to something more aligned with their feminist vision – in Tokyo, Japan.

What kind of objections does that conjure up?

Did you find the former example objectionable because it was a horrible throwback to the brutish ways of the past, and the latter eminently reasonable because it was done in the name of progress and helping people?  Or did you maybe find the first example unthinkable, because in each transaction the West should dominate, and not the other way around? Congratulations; you are a cultural imperialist.

The concept of cultural imperialism most clearly dates back to Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden, a poem in which he called upon Westerners to expand their influence, asserting that “superior” Western morals and culture had to be imposed upon “savages” around the world for their own good.  While noting the ethical ambiguity involved in imposing on other cultures by force of arms, Kipling’s argument was that this was ultimately in their favor.  The men and women of Kipling’s time were largely convinced that what they did really was a good thing for the peoples that were subjugated – for their civilization, and for their souls.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Fast forward 100 years.  We aren’t sure that we believe in saving peoples’ souls anymore, and certainly not by force majeure – but the certainty, the absolute confidence we have that the West’s moral and ethical system should be imparted to all non-Western countries, still burns.  Last time it was Christianity – ah, but this time is different, right? This time it’s liberal ideas on minimum wages, on workers’ rights, on gender equality.  Surely that’s universal, because we firmly believe it should be. Who could possibly object to that?

We don’t question it; we don’t stop to think about it.  If we should happen to examine our own motives, we suggest that our motives appear, to us, blameless and pure, and soldier on.  We judge other cultures by our own standards, assuming we have the right to meddle with them if they displease us or fail by our own abstractions.  It’s obvious to us that we’re doing a good thing, just as it was obvious to the men and women of Kipling’s time that they were helping even as they stamped out centuries-old languages and traditions.

Any objection to this, or suggestion that perhaps the West is in no place to be doing this, given its history of exploitation, is met with an indignant, “Think of the women! The children! The workers with no unions! The starving people!”  Anything dubious must be forgiven, in the name of helping unfortunates.  Any pretext at all, to maintain the privilege the West has of meddling with the “lesser” cultures.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Over a hundred years, and we still haven’t really learned from The White Man’s Burden.

Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 3:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

On Women, Wonder and Being Super

“If you want to date a queen, you have to be a king.” – Conventional wisdom

Superman’s long-standing relationship with Lois Lane was recently dissolved in the annals of DC Comics.  Instead, his new designated partner is someone who is more like him: also a superhero, also able to defy conventional physical limitations.  They chose to explore Wonder Woman as a partner for the Man of Steel.

On the surface, that doesn’t seem so bad.  While yes, they are messing with a classic pairing, perhaps it’s time to examine the flawed assumptions that the classic supports: that women are weaker than men, that the man always saving the woman is a normal or even rejoiceable item, that Wonder Woman must be single as a feminist icon, even that a female reporter could date Superman and fail to suspect his real identity.  A number of those things limit feminism, and women.

However, that’s not how the masses have it.  Over at Ineffable Aether, the comments are piling up:

The “new” they chose disrespected and degraded two powerful women. It legitimized the idea that Diana exists not to have her own story but to be part of a man and pushed aside the most powerful civilian woman in the genre.
It confuses mr that you, of all people, don’t think that is condemnable. – Elle

Greg Rucka is quick to distance himself from the specific details of DC’s implementation of a new continuity – and I myself have to raise my eyebrows hearing about some of them – but the idea that Superman is with someone who is more like him, a partner in fighting the good fight, is not automatically objectionable to me.  I don’t see it as degrading or disrespectful to tell a different story here.  I understand that new Lois Lane is shown as a sexual creature, whereas the original 1930s characters were created in an earlier era, and not really sexual at all.  But the fact that this is automatically lamentable wins no points for consistency; whence cometh SlutWalk? Are we not pushing the idea that women are free to have as few or as many sexual partners as they choose?  How can we push that idea and simultaneously be squeamish about showing a sexually active woman in a work where men are shown to be equally sexually active?

Only if you define those two characters solely by their relationships. Wonder Woman is not disrespected or degraded by putting her into a relationship with Superman, just as she wouldn’t be is she was linked romantically with anyone.
However, if you’re worried that, by linking her romantically with Superman she will, by dint of Superman’s overwhelming status as “the” super-hero, come to be seen as an attachment to him rather than an important figure in her own right (“Superman’s Girl-Friend Wonder Woman,” as it were) you may have point, but only time will tell. – Gray

1.) Supporting the idea that Wonder Woman is a sex object and “sidekick” “girlfriend’ figure as opposed to a protagonist in her own story is a huge mistake that is going to be detrimental long term to the character in the WAY men perceive her going forward. There is a subset of male fans who have always viewed Wonder Woman as a sex object and attempted to re-purpose her for their own vision and use as opposed to honoring who she truly is and what she stands for. DC used to refuse to cater to those people because it was essential that DC upheld the line that Diana did not exist to belong to men because she wasn’t here for men or their gross sex fantasies about how hard she could “take it” during sex (gross btw)—she was here for women. DC has now given them permission to view her this way. – M.

So a subset of people with an irrational viewpoint (which sounds borderline fetishistic) is more important to you than all the people who have more reasonable takes on the story.  I mean, that appears to be what you’re saying – you’re not arguing about how most people take it, you’re saying “because these extremists believe X, and we’d only be encouraging them by doing Y, Y is verboten even if it wouldn’t send that message to most people.”

You can find anything on the Internet, so I would hardly take the fact that some extremist thinks something as proof that that thing is the new normal.  Now, if a year from now, the work has increased the number of people who think of Wonder Woman in a way that you find objectionable and harmful, then this argument may really be right. Until then – do you propose we let the extremists decide everything? That would be handing them power.

2.) A Superman story where Superman is not struggling in some form with his passion/lust/sexuality/love for the very flawed and mortal Lois Lane—whether she be his wife, his girlfriend, or simply the friend who sits next to him at his desk that he loves from afar— is not a story about Superman.
– M.

Really? I seem to recall similar situations in Twilight being condemned as “abstinence porn.”

Is a Superman story all about how a totally awesome guy has to content himself with a flawed woman?  Maybe in the past, that has occurred with some regularity.  But maybe, just maybe, switching Superman’s partner means that new stories can be written, stories in which the man doesn’t always happen to be the competent one and the woman doesn’t happen to be in need of rescuing all the time.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Published in: on September 19, 2012 at 3:36 PM  Comments (1)  
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Of Privilege and Meta-privilege

People talk a lot about privilege.  But is the ability to talk about privilege – that awareness, coupled with being in a societal position where one can get away with discussing privilege – itself a meta-level privilege?

Reddit exploded recently with comments about Shit Reddit Says (SRS), a subreddit that calls out redditors for making insensitive, normative statements.  Their usual M.O. is to flood the comment with extremely vituperative replies calling the poster hateful filth, or “cis scum.”  For those singled out after making careless remarks, the experience can be disorienting and bewildering.

Their defense for the whole, sawcasm discrimination don’t real thing is that without institutionalized discrimination you can’t have oppression. Which is fine, I understand that cracker is never ever going to have the same sting as the n word or whatever.

yakityyakblah

The issue, of course, becomes “what is institutionalized?”  For those whose daily source of talk about non-business matters is a board on the Internet, or say, reddit, having an organized group of people jump on them to ruin their day can feel awfully like society is against them, even if it’s a trick of the light possible only in such a microcosm.  And yes, certainly, that won’t change the fact that if we have to pick one person to have sympathy for in this whole mess, it won’t be the person sitting in a 4 bedroom house with a platinum card.

But who says we can only pick one person to feel sorry for?

Just because you aren’t as bad as something else doesn’t mean you’re good. Hating any entire group based on superficial characteristics is wrong, fundamentally. Hate the system that gives them the privilege, hate those that use the privilege against you or refuse to acknowledge it, but don’t hate everyone.

I’d go a step further, actually, and say don’t hate those who use privilege or can’t see it: use their blindness.  Hate isn’t productive, and while productivity may seem to be a concept forced upon us by industrialization, it is useful to everyone.  I don’t hate the physically deficient, those incapable of performing tasks the rest of us take for granted. Why would I? Those kids have it rough.  I don’t hate the mentally deficient, those incapable of grasping the lessons schooling seeks to impart on us.  Why would I? They are stuck in a world they can’t understand, and offend us without realizing what they do.

Similarly, I don’t hate the morally deficient, those incapable of understanding that what they do is immoral.  Again . . . why would I? You can only ask someone, in all reasonableness, to go along with things when they see the reason for those things.  Otherwise you are simply resorting to force.

not to mention, using another person’s life as a weapon to punish someone for behavior you disapprove of is a pretty big dick move.

dietotaku

Privilege discussions can veer into negativity and inescapability.  Rather than focus on what you don’t have that others do, sometimes – for the sake of your own sanity and ability to get things done – it is important on what you do have that others don’t. I’m not saying anything about the nature of class warfare or privilege denial.  I’m only asking – what do you get out of spending time on it?  I’ve seen some brilliant people fall to despair and inaction due to obsessing over the map rather than crossing the map. And if you believe that you are oppressed, and allow it to cripple you – doesn’t your awareness become their tool? Aren’t they then using it to further your oppression?

“Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it” said people in first world nations

@_loiseau_de_feu

Published in: on September 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM  Leave a Comment  
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More on Comparative Meta-Ethics

Some months ago, I brushed off a certain blogger’s argument that it doesn’t matter what religions say, we should prioritize peoples’ lives above all.  Now that things have perhaps cooled a bit, let me explain why I said this means that he fundamentally does not respect others’ beliefs.

First, while the statement that human life is important hardly seems objectionable, it completely denies the legitimacy of all competing priority sets.  If we agree that “human life = #1” is a universal truth, then we also reject all systems that do not hold this as their first priority, whether they fall to the right or to the left (Chivalry and Deep Earth philosophy are both out.)  This is, you will note, supposed to be about ways to judge competing priority sets.  I am reminded of the story of the Guiness company man who at a beer convention asserted that if no one else would drink “real beer” (i.e. Guiness), he wouldn’t either.  If only his own company’s beer is acceptable to him, is this man qualified to be a fair judge of beer? And likewise, if only a man’s own values are acceptable to him, is he able to fairly treat disparate values systems?

Most dangerously, this is, in essence, his own beliefs, postulated as a set of “meta rules” that all other rules must follow to even be considered.  Isn’t that convenient?  It’s not a coincidence at all, and he doesn’t see how that could reasonably inconvenience anyone, because he doesn’t accept any belief that doesn’t conform to it as a reasonable one!  This is an end run around the idea that we can fairly compare belief systems on the whole and choose one that seems good to us; rather than that, any morality must be highly similar to his morality to even warrant consideration!  Put like that, this rule is obviously rigged and must therefore be rejected.

As to religion in particular, deciding to believe in God or not may be a choice.  I allow that.  What I don’t agree with is the assertion that every facet of one’s personal belief system is therefore a choice, and the implication that one can easily choose again or choose otherwise, piecemeal.  Consider that if you believe in the findings of geology, and you believe in radiocarbon dating, and so forth . . . all sorts of other things come from that, by implication.  This is how Science works, and this is also how the human brain works (not a coincidence, as the former is a product of the latter.)  Now, it may be that you believe in a benevolent and omnipotent creator, and you believe he would want to give humans some hint as to how to run their lives, and so you believe in the Bible, and so you open the door to all sorts of other things you don’t necessarily want to believe in (witchcraft, floods and plagues, abiogenesis, and so on.)  But if you accept step one of the logical link, the others seem to follow.

As this kind of fundamentalist – how do you reconcile that?  What would you think it would be OK of others to ask of you? Because it seems to me there is a very valuable and rare intellectual honesty in refusing to take your philosophy or theology a la carte. I don’t think we should demand that people bend and break to what is popular.  We should encourage them to have quirky, disparate beliefs, even if sometimes that means we wind up supporting the rights of what the left would surely call moral throwbacks.

I suppose, going back to the person bound by implication, you could take drugs to deliberately make yourself a deranged and illogical person, so that you would not be bound by logical implication, and therefore be able to accept part of your religion but avoid other parts, but that is hardly something I would ask another person to do, and most especially not in the name of society or law.  I suppose you could deny a portion of your beliefs.  I suppose you could try to let yourself be converted away from your religion so you could rejoin “normal” society and reap the benefits – but there we are in the business of favoring one worldview over another, are we not?  (And for mercenary reasons!)

This blogger I had the discussion with takes people first, because – and this is very important – to him, it is axiomatic that people exist.  People, not God, are therefore the start of his values.  But the fundamentalist takes God as the axiomatic part and considers people as having the purpose of living according to some sort of divine plan, or on divine sufferance.  If we accept the former, we get, as a logical consequence, that rules are not as important as people.  But if we take the latter as our starting point, then we get that people are not as important as God, which results in an unclear result when we try to decide whether people are more important than God’s rules, or in practical terms, our interpretation of such (in Christianity, Jesus seems to resolve this by suggesting that the entire point of the rules is to help people – but this is specific to one interpretation and hardly accepted by all professed Christians, let alone all religious believers.)

If you believe in freedom of opinion, it behooves you to accept that people believe different things and have different priorities.  It is not a solution to be dismissive of people simply because they have different beliefs (that you may or may not be able to understand.)  Treating the religious like they have some kind of brain disease, a la Richard Dawkins in his angrier days, is only going to create rifts in society and ultimately trample on human rights when one side “wins” the argument.  That fails to be useful.

(For the record, since this comes as an offshoot of the ‘Bad Person’ posts – I in no way think this makes the blogger a bad person.  It does mean that he, like the vast majority of the population, religious or otherwise, has internalized his belief system to the point where he can’t accept the validity of a system that is fundamentally at odds with it.  He can be perfectly moral, but – like the Guiness enthusiast above – I would be very wary of his pronouncements on moral systems that differ from his own.)

To me, the important question in all this is: does a man with a wildly unpopular belief, even a dangerous belief, have the same right to cling to his belief (and act accordingly) as a man with a popular belief?  If our answer is anything but a resounding Yes, then we have merely formulated a new tyranny: a tyranny of the reasonable.

Published in: on September 7, 2012 at 12:49 AM  Comments (7)  
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The Atlantic vis-a-vis Aniblogging

American liberal media bastion The Atlantic has inadvertently just done its part to make aniblogging respectable.

Behold:  The Atlantic article on Gangnam Style.

Make no mistake: for all that it is nominally about music and pop culture, this is aniblogging. It’s a dissection of an entertainment video clip from Asia and its cultural context.  It includes all sorts of cues and references for newcomers, who might not understand the cultural undercurrents in the film’s native country. It considers the work in the context of a larger body of work, which the casual reader is equally unaware of.  It even cautions the reader about the difficulty in translating nuances, and the unacceptability of the English word “hollow” for the precise emotion that the video’s creator wished to convey.

Now, The Atlantic is not a friend to anime blogging, nor to Asian cultures in general. Witness the condescension (or perhaps cultural imperialism) inherent in this article about Japan:

So far, dating Gomez hasn’t hurt Bieber’s sales. His latest album, Believe, recorded the biggest debut sales week so far in 2012. But AKB48’s newest album, 1830m, released this week, sold in its first day a career-best of more than 625,000 copies. Until Japanese pop acts built on the illusion of youthful innocence start slipping commercially, the country’s music industry won’t be in a rush to mature their stars. Hideaki Anno, the director of the famous Japanese cartoon Neon Genesis Evangelion, once told The Atlantic that Japan is “a country of children.” That’s a bit broad, but it’s hard to dispute that Japan is a country that wants its entertainment to be innocent.

Gee, how dare the Japanese do things differently from the US?  Allowing idols to date in America works just fine for them in America!  Why would the Japanese not follow suit?  Clearly, rather than it being a case of legitimate, respectable cultural differences, the Japanese as a people just aren’t grown up enough to hang with us excellent Americans.  The arrogance in that is appalling, which caused gendomike to comment:

I love the way that Hideaki Anno gets quoted at the end to twist the knife. Wrote about that article long ago too. http://t.co/CLfB0RCk

With an attitude like that, any help they give to the appreciation of foreign cultures in America is accidental.  That said, however, the publication of this Gangnam Style article by The Atlantic – and its wide acceptance as journalism – should cause anibloggers to sit up and take note.

Published in: on August 23, 2012 at 6:17 PM  Comments (6)  
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Of Otherkin, Furries, Etc.

Comments and insults are still coming in about my disagreement with requireshate. It’s become apparent that I should clarify a few things.

I have not equated the suffering that anime otaku go through with the suffering that women or gays go through. I did bring them up in discussion, and perhaps I was not clear enough about that (though I tried, on twitter, to explicitly note that bringing them up was not a matter of equating them.) I apologize for any confusion or distress that might have caused.

I really wish this train wreck of misinterpretation had not occurred.  I was only trying to get a clarification about her feminist reading of Claymore when this thing blew up.  I was certainly not trying to make anything about me.

I do feel that “weaboo” (“fucking weaboo” as used repeatedly by requireshate) is a dismissive insult towards anime otaku and should not be used.  If “nobody gives a shit about weeaboos other than weeaboos,” as she asserted, then to my mind, that is all the more reason to treat them with compassion.

I am not agreeing with anyone who personally insulted requireshate about this, nor have I personally insulted her or directed any offensive language towards her.  I specifically took pains to note in the comments here that I did not agree with insults towards her.  She has not shown similar restraint, but then, that’s what started this.  I RTed everyone who responded to the ongoing twitter discussion, just as she did, but retweet does not imply agreement.

My ideal of respecting people and their right to self-determination means that I generally believe otherkin, furries, and other self-identifying groups ought to be taken at face value. When I said I bristled over requireshate’s callous dismissal of them she mocked me for it, but I was not joking. It is the only ethically consistent approach that I have found.  I in no way assert they have endured anything like what the LGBT community or others have faced (and I bring up this example specifically because it is one they often bring up) but they do repeatedly self-identify as nonhuman despite it being adverse for them to do so. I don’t think any group should have to go through suffering, bashing, etc. just for their identity to be accepted, and this is the logical consequence of that.  I also don’t feel it’s productive to draw a line and say “this group is legitimate; that group is not.”  Acceptance of others as they are is the whole point of this.

I noted previously on this site that I only claim to be a classical feminist.  Given the number of second-wave feminists now expressing their disbelief that I would call myself feminist, this is a distinction that probably bears repeating.  I have argued, as many feminists have, that gender roles are socially constructed, in accordance with the sociological understanding of gender.

Finally, though it only makes sense to me that feminism include men at some point in the process (because its goal is to affect society, and men are roughly half of society) I have never said someone is a “bad feminist” or anything like that for disagreeing with this.  My opinion on the best mode of progress remains my opinion.

Published in: on May 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM  Comments (6)  
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