Posts tagged ‘OGT’

August 23, 2010

OGT on Post-modernism, or Post-post-modernism, or Post-post-post-modernism

Original Post: Adventures in Criticism: Otaku 2


18 August 2010 at 10:57 am


it’s less that the grand narrative*, with all its glorious Meaning, has died out, to be replaced by a vacuous, empty database that transforms itself simply to create more consumer goods (which is what Azuma means, I think, by his “database animals” concept), it’s more that the database is newly operationalized and split off from the grand narrative.

Which means that rather than having preferred means of revealing Meaning (formalism), creating a hierarchy of culture (high-middle-low), we now have the understanding that Meaning is not inherently tied to a particular form and that you can utilize elements from any given form(s) to point at a Meaning beyond the shuffle of forms in the foreground (c.f. Scott Pilgrim OH YEAH I WENT THERE). Of course, now we also have pleasure taken just from the shuffle of forms in the foreground (and damn any extrafictional Meanings), so it’s a double-edged sword here.

What seems to be happening in culture in general, as a result of this, is that you have all sorts of differing forms competing with one another, trying to assert themselves as the new “high culture” (SF is Important Philosophical Literature for the Modern Age arguments, Anime is the Vanguard of Groundbreaking Revolutionary Animated Narratives arguments, and so on). This gets so bad that many seem to get much more concerned with whether or not their favored form(s) are considered high culture (or upset that they’re considered low culture, or pissed off at the arrogance of other claimants to high culture, or embarrassed about their enjoyment of low culture, or whatever), which links status not to societal position, but to which forms of fiction one enjoys.

*Surely to God we can think of a different word to phrase that concept as so that it stops sounding so terribly confusing.


October 30, 2009

OGT on Guilty Pleasures

Original Post: Anime is Serious Business Because Guilt is Serious Business


Submitted on 2009/10/29 at 4:42am

The phrase “guilty pleasure” is the worst phrase in the English language and I exhort all of you to remove it from your vocabulary post-haste. If something is pleasurable to you, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. There are some things that you probably shouldn’t pleasure yourself with in public (double entendre intended), but certainly not because you feel guilty about enjoying it. One of my greatest pleasures is seeing other people relish the experience of (very obviously) enjoying something they love; one of my greatest pains is seeing other people relish the experience of hating something they dislike.

I get the feeling, in the Western world especially, that “quality” in the case of fiction is defined by intelligence being inherent to the work. It appears to be of no use to be intelligent about fiction that is not considered “intelligent” since, as there is no intelligence inherent in the work, there is nothing to be intelligent about. This is patently ridiculous, of course.

It follows, then, that you’re left with little recourse in this kind of environment: 1) and 2) above are literally all you have to work with for most of the time, and most of what you like. Simple enjoyment becomes an impossibility, and you must continually justify what you like (and what you do not like) along one of the three options given above.

Like most things pertaining to fiction these days for me, there’s a G.K. Chesterton quote for this: “It is ludicrous to suppose that the more sceptical we are the more we see good in everything. It is clear that the more we are certain what good is, the more we shall see good in everything.” (read the whole essay/chapter/conclusion, it’s my personal pick-me-up). In other words, it’s what I’ve always believed: the surest sign of maturity is being able to see the world as a child again. Adolescence has a disturbing tendency to kill off curiosity and wonder.