Elitist Attitudes: Unhelpful As Always

Since omo was apparently too upset with my Girlish Number video to leave a comment about his issues¬†(or to clarify exactly what they were beyond that I apparently don’t know whatever it is that he knows), I want to tackle his point from a broader lens.

I have no trouble with the idea that my video is unenjoyable to some, possibly misinformed in comparison to the show’s artistic intent, or simply not relatable. These things happen. I’m writing opinion pieces online, so it’s more accurate to say this always happens.

What grinds my gears about omo’s response is that, rather than “here’s what it’s really like,” or, “here’s an interview that gives more context into the show’s meaning,” or, “I see it this way,” omo’s post is just an accusation–the foundation of which is that we take it for granted he just knows what he’s talking about. He has read some stuff that I haven’t, so he knows more than I do, and therefore it’s in his authority to tell me that I’ve done a bad job. His advice, then (the same elitist one seen in every community): “get good.” Great.

I suppose if I can’t read Japanese, it’d be best if I just don’t even talk about anime. After all, I’m just appropriating the cultur(al export, which has invited me to be a part of its audience by streaming on Crunchyroll with English subtitles in my country). There’s apparently a minimum bar of interviews to read about a show before your interpretation of it is worthwhile; and if I didn’t have the forethought to research them extensively before writing an intensely personal opinion piece (and make no mistake, it is presented as nothing other than that), then I shouldn’t bother. Or, I suppose, the only people who can really talk about this one are “seiota who actually care about Girlish Number,” whatever nebulous concept of a person this describes.

Omo lists a bunch of “misreads,” with no indications of what the “proper” readings are, or even an offering of his own stances. His post is 7 paragraphs of “Digibro is wrong because I say so.” I don’t know if he thinks I’m unwilling to see and potentially agree with an alternate take, or if he just doesn’t care to provide one. Maybe he’s happier with the idea that I’m wrong and won’t be right, and just wants someone to laugh at. Maybe he just couldn’t be asked to go that far, but felt he had to speak up anyways. I certainly can’t imagine that he thought he was speaking to just his audience out of earshot or something, given that I’ve been following his blog for a decade and still leave comments, and respond to his on my writing regularly as well–many of which have the exact tone of this post; a constant sequence of accusations of a need to “dig deeper,” with no suggestion on what that means or how it can be done. It’s not that I expect omo to take that kind of time out for me, but I don’t know what the hell the point is of this entire anime blogging community if it’s not to share ideas, compare notes, and communicate. Apparently, it’s to shit on anyone who hasn’t reached your level of enlightenment yet.

The rest of his post is salty over how I make more money than “real industry pros and people who know what they’re talking about.” Had he linked to any of them, I could read their work, spread it around, and help them to maybe gain more traction. It’s not like I’m happy with the idea that there’s not a whole higher level of critics who can do it professionally like I can. I make no apologies about what my work is, because it is not pretending to be anything but opinion pieces that some find charismatic to their tastes. I don’t even disagree that I’m no different from some light novel author–I basically say as much in the video itself, lamenting that I have to “play the game” to make money. But I don’t think that I have to be torn down for the better stuff to be propped up (nor do I even think this of light novels and their adaptations themselves; I just have fun doing it. Maybe all omo wants to do here is to have fun, then?)

At the end he basically outright says to get your information from Japan or go home, because I suppose the only worthwhile writing is from a closed box of informed individuals (a sort of seiota academia?). Well, specifically he says “any seiota worth their salt,” which may just be a tangent since I’m not a seiota in the first place and I’m sure he knows this. He takes potshots then at youtube videos by mere concept, as something “playing in the background while they do something else.” I wouldn’t deny that I can make money from people doing things like this, but nevermind the thriving community of discussion around my videos which, at the end of the day, are literally the same thing as blog posts. They are here to share perspectives and start conversations, and the response to them is every bit as important as the videos themselves; which is why it’s so sad that in this case, instead of a response which starts a conversation and shares information, possibly helping me (or anyone else reading) to access a new perspective and new information about Girlish Number (something I’d greatly enjoy for my favorite show of the year–one which I’ve now helped a sizable portion of my viewership to get into and care about and have a thirst to talk about), we get a bunch of elitist potshots from up on high on the ivory tower of seiota.

It’s not omo’s job to do my research for me, or to write a coherent refutation of my points, but if all he wants to do is smugly gloat over how wrong I am, then I don’t know why he has to do it in public and in front of my face, other than to be a dick. The man has been a huge influence on the way that I look at and talk about anime over the years, so if anything I would be waiting with bated breath to hear him impart some actual advice besides the nebulous “read interviews” (where? how? how many is enough? If I can’t read Japanese, can I do enough to satisfy you, oh master?) Instead, I find his post obnoxious, unhelpful, and seemingly intended to put himself into a gated community and assure me that I’m an outsider to it, needing to pass some rite of passage to be worthy of entry; and that kind of elitist attitude is everything I hate about the anime community–which to me should be all about invitation and trying to bring people in as close as possible.