With the Olympics around, it means that a few shows won’t be airing. More importantly, this means no Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate and Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! I don’t really want to do Harem Hill without all five contestants to duke it out, so I guess that means I’ll have to find something else to write about on Friday nights. It’s either that or I just want a reprieve from watching five oh-so-terrible shows every week. In any case, I got linked to this thing called a “Blog Carnival.”
You can visit the link above to understand the meaning behind “Blog Carnival,” its genesis, its raison d’être, etc. I have never been a part of the Aniblog Tourney — mostly because I go on hiatus so often — and to be quite frank, I wouldn’t have done well in it anyway. I more or less just want an excuse to update tonight.
Why not get to reflect on what we like to read and for what reasons? (reviews, commentaries, editorials)
It goes without saying that the topic of a blog has to interest me. But beyond that, I’d read anything as long as the prose is good and the blogger can convey his or her perspective in a compelling fashion (I’ll explain what I mean by this later). To be honest, I don’t personally see the point in differentiating between reviews, commentaries, editorials, etc. If the writing captivates me, I could be reading a pamphlet for all I care. In my case, it just has to be about anime if it’s an anime blog. Now, you don’t have to write about anime if you don’t want to (I elaborate on this later on), but I just can’t stand reading about, say, manga.
What do we do when we stumble across a new blog?
I’ll first check to see if you write about the things I care about. I also want to know if you hold any views I find particularly reprehensible. For instance, being a lolicon is definitely a no go. Is this judgmental? I really don’t care. I really, really don’t. On that same note, however, I really doubt you care whether or not I care. Anyway, are reprehensible views relevant whatsoever to what constitutes a “good” blog? It depends on who you ask, but it does determine whether or not I want to read your writing.
What must a good animanga blog have and do?
I don’t know what it means to be a “good” animanga blog. I only know what I’m interested in, and what I’m not interested in. With that said, what am I not interested in? I’m not interested in figmas. I’m not interested in the latest Vocaloid single. I’m not interested in a recap of your latest escapades at whatever convention you attended. At the same time, however, there are a lot of people who are interested in those things. I’m in no position to judge a blog as good or bad simply because they have a passion for something I couldn’t care less about.
Well, I suppose if I had to pinpoint the one thing that would define a “good” blog — let’s say you have a gun to my head — it’s important to stay true to yourself. Be authentic. Yes, even if this means writing about your favorite Hunter x Hunter pair to ship. Sure, I may not care for your blog as a result, but who gives a shit what I think? Unless blogging is literally your job, i.e. your life somehow depends on it, don’t compromise your values over something as inconsequential as internet popularity. To be honest, it’s not even internet popularity that you’ll get. If you’re lucky, you might get some kudos from the animanga circlejerk. I must naturally ask, “Is that even worth it?”
What blogging behaviors annoy us (anonymously of course)?
If you want to post pictures on your blog all day, I’m not going to judge your blog as good or bad, but I don’t have to like it. Nevertheless, what does annoy me? Without a question, I hate it when bloggers lack any particular viewpoint. There’s a tendency out there to say as little as possible: “If I only express ‘self-evident truths,’ I can never be wrong.” And while I do understand this sentiment, I believe that it is counter-intuitive in the long run.
I’ve written in the past that I don’t necessarily believe in wrong opinions. I do, however, believe that opinions can be badly-expressed: “Opinions must be constantly refined. Opinions must be held against other people’s opinions. In the end, you might just end up with a well-written opinion that is nevertheless [bad].” In other words, you can be wrong to have an opinion if you can’t back it up. I understand that no one likes being called out for their opinions — myself included: “If what I believe in is ‘wrong,’ so to speak, doesn’t that say something about me as a person?” It shouldn’t. We are human, after all. Aren’t we allowed to be wrong? Aren’t we allowed to reflect and revise, constantly changing and adapting our worldviews as we acquire more knowledge, newer perspectives, and greater understanding?
Basically, I want bloggers to have something substantive to say no matter the subject. At the same time, however, embrace the challenge of defending your beliefs. After all, this is what discussions are about: an interchanging of ideas. If you end up breaking a few eggs in the process, so be it. Disagreements should not be anathemas. Rather, disagreements should be food for thought. If you want to regurgitate a plot summary of an episode, fine, but you should also try to convey a compelling perspective. A plot synopsis should ideally contextualize the finer details of an argument, but a lot of bloggers are so gunshy about advancing any sort of argument, what ends up happening is that most reviews are no different from reading the back of a DVD case. When there is criticism to be made, it often feels like I’m reading an isolated checklist of pros and cons. Okay, but what is the anime trying to say and does it succeed in saying it?
In writing this, I’m not trying to insulate myself from those same criticisms whatsoever. I believe that I’ve made plenty of mistakes — the same mistakes I’m railing about in this very post even! Nevertheless, I don’t think it makes me a hypocrite to express a level of standards that I will fall short of from time to time. It just means I’m imperfect. In any case, if I must answer these questions honestly, I believe I’ve done so to the best of my ability.
I’m seeing a lot of other bloggers complain about tricky vocabulary. I disagree with their sentiments. Don’t be afraid to sound smart. I mean, c’mon now, why is sounding smart automatically a flaw? Of course, if you’re just pretending to know certain words, I can tell right away. Even so, I care more about what you actually say than how you go about saying it. If you actually do understand complicated words and ideas, don’t dumb yourself down just because someone on the internet might feel bad. On the flip side, if you come across a word you don’t understand, just fucking look it up. It takes what? Thirty extra seconds of your day to learn something new? And if the post you’re reading ends up using the word wrong, then there you go: you just got yourself a basis for a discussion.
I also see a lot of people speaking out against negativity, and naturally, I have to defend it. There’s nothing wrong with being a polemicist so long as it engenders discussions. “But it isn’t fair to just harp on the nega-…” No, we are not arbiters of the law. We are not sentencing anime series to their deaths. In actuality, what we say and write will have negligible impact on anime sales. Again, disagreements should not be anathemas. Just because someone hasn’t written about the positives doesn’t mean they don’t think the positives exist. Speaking on my behalf, I usually find negatives of an anime more interesting to discuss. And this is what we’re all about, right? Discussion?