Ecchiriffic


Sekirei, from season one opening credits

To the one, it seems easy enough: If the series has an ecchi tag associated with it, one is best advised to simply avoid it. In truth, it is not so much a prudish rejection of sexual stimuli in animated motion media, but, rather, a critique disdaining the waste of prudery. The tropes are myriad and obvious, with the result that it really does seem childish to a creepy degree. Say what we will about the (ahem!) “premature nosebleed”, but it does kind of work as a catch-all symbol within the frame.Because premature ejaculation is always worth a laugh .... (Sekirei, ep. 1)

More problematic, of course, is the blatancy of the stimuli. It is almost hilarious when baseball and anime overlap off-screen, because those who will discuss in earnest the physics of a left-handed pitcher’s throwing motion in relation to the placement of the heart within the human body apparently find no reason to wonder how this or that best fighter in the Universe managed to pull off that maneuver without slicing off one of her myth-cupped breasts.

The nature of ecchi, though, is to not be so explicit as, say, hentai or open pornography. But the artists do seem to revel in what they do present. And it is, of course, one thing to chuckle at the outsized breasts popping into open air, and the goofy sound effect that goes with it, but somebody had to draw that.

Austin gets an examWhich, in turn, is a phrase you find yourself repeating all across the anime spectrum. But ecchi seems almost like a perpetual loop of childish jokes, like if we had to suffer through a thousand Austin Powers films, and every one of them had a silhouette gag.

But it is everywhere, the notion that someone, somewhere, had to actually draw and color and animate this; in that context the proposition arises, Any excuse . . . . But that is not really it, despite the convenience, such as with Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor; one might suggest, any excuse to feel up a twelve year-old on screen, but that particular scene actually has significant purpose within the narrative structure, and since you’re animating, yes, you do it that way. But it is enough to make you wonder; the swimsuit and locker room scenes with Misaki are there just for the hell of it, or, perhaps, because it is somehow requisite to show a woman putting on her underwear, or offer a swimsuit-adorned mons pubis in any given manga or anime series. And who knows, perhaps those stillframes carry more weight when printed in a book.

Triptych from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor (episodes 2 and 3)Nonetheless, it is a strange, ever-dynamic context. That is to say, there are always reasons to tread near various prohibitionist boundaries, and even the downright forbidden. Consider the Hollywood standard that one does not directly depict a child being killed; pack two hundred of them onto an airplane, and show the airplane crashing, and that’s just fine. Or so it goes. And in a loosely analogous way, it’s kind of like talking about terrorism; I can see myriad paths to breaking any number of laws, rules, or traditions and getting away with it, and can even imagine the reasons why one would, but it seems simply unwise to go handing out those ideas like suggestions.

Meanwhile, what of the upskirts in FLCL, Kagome’s magic school skirt, all the boobs in Bleach? I mean, at least Revy looks real. Well, almost. Close enough for anime.

But that is the thing; we get that there is all sorts of sexual innuendo in anime, since that seems part of the point of the genre in general. As such, yeah, it really is kind of creepy—and I have no wallpaper to climb and shred—to consider that in addition to writing such bad scripts, they actually labored to animate them, as well. And from this day forward, a particular, distorted, low-pitch boing and warble will bring to mind a pair of grotesquely oversized breasts popping out and jiggling their detailed nipples all over the screen: Somebody had to draw that.

Certainly, there is something childish about the ecchi sensibility, but that doesn’t mean the scripts should be written for children.

And the sad thing is that I will keep trying. That is to say, I haven’t gotten far enough into Sekerei to know what the story is, much less decide whether or not I appreciate it enough to suffer through the dialogue and, actually, sexually destimulating T&A frames. I am at once laughing and writhing too much. This is a genuinely painful viewing experience.

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There are certain things we might observe in history, such as the bungling benchwarmers sent to hit the U.S. in the wake of 9/11, and their reliance on spectacular targets like airlines, that might well suggest our fear of international terrorists is somewhat overstated. To the other, even those whose news consumption comes from the CNN valence can figure out the implications, and it’s not exactly wise to go telling those plotting to harm us what they are doing wrong methodically. And, to be certain, it is not that animators or Hollywood producers are anything akin to terrorists in this context, but, rather, in a similar manner I’m not about to tell someone how to depict a verboten atrocity on the screen unless there is a really, really good reason. A verboten bad joke? Sure, why not? A verboten archetype? There’s always room for Jell-o subversion. (Okay, there’s always room for Jell-o, too.) But, you know, it’s like if you could plot the perfect theft or murder, would you really go around telling people how to pull it off? There comes a point where one can reasonably say, “Well, sure, we can craft this scene, but why?” And within a certain realm of outcomes, the answer, because we can, is simply insufficient.

Wikipedia. “ecchi”. 7 September, 2014.

Rule Thirty-Four: Not a Challenge


Sometimes the most benign phrases tell us more about ourselves than we ever wanted to know. “Remember,” I told my Minecraft-obsessed daughter, “there’s a wiki for everything.” Which, of course, is not quite true; there is not, say, a wiki for my personal, individual left nut.

To the other, it’s my daughter, so I didn’t clarify that it’s not quite like Rule Thirty-Four.

And then, of course, it hits me. Certes, if I look hard enough, I can find a pornwiki. But (gulp!) do I really want to know if I can find wikiporn?

In truth, I do not intend to resolve this question for myself; something about “priorities” goes here, and maybe something about Tommy Shaw, which would in turn constitute another Rule Thirty-Four question I really, really don’t want to know the answer to.

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We’re caught up in an unfortunate shares dispute regarding merchandising, and thus have delayed the launch of the wiki for my right testicle. Never mind.

Something About Today I Can’t Explain


Composite image: uncredited photograph of Kurt Gödel ca. 1950, via Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, left; detail of stained glass window from St. Anselm Catholic Parish, Toronto, Ontario, right.

The infinite condition is itself a paradox, as it must necessarily include its own finite limitations, lest it create finite limitation through exclusion.

Just an (ahem!) internal memorandum, sort of. It’s an abstract notion sometimes manifesting in applied logical argumentation, but only in finite and situational considerations. The formulation that struck was that, The infinite must necessarily include its own limitations. Which is, of course, a problematic notion.

Nor can I claim any sense of originality; the statistical likelihood that I am the first person to tread into this realm is precisely measurable: exactly zero. And while it is unclear what role exactly we might ascribe, it is also true that Radiolab visited Gödel during last night’s broadcast.

At any rate, this clumsy paradox exists somewhere in the record, and in much more refined expression. In turn, refined expression is crucial because application of such a crude tool invites catastrophic potentials. The point is remembering to chase it down, lest the idea strike again sometime in the future, and meet similar apathy.

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A Note to WordPress: Quit Lying


To: WordPress

re: “Switch to the improved posting experience”

There's now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience.

In truth, I think it would be better if you stopped lying. It is not an easier way to create. It is not an improved posting experience. It is extraneous, bloated, and slow. Indeed, the charming robot-sounds caption isn’t so charming, all things told.

Then again, I can also anticipate your response, to unsecure my browser entirely, in order to accommodate you.

Given all the sketchy data that would ask users to engage just in order to optimize their easier, improved posting experience, that response would be beyond insufficient. That is, of course, unless you expect people to not use the web to access anything else while they’re posting via WordPress.

I really don’t care about the so-called “improved posting experience”. Indeed, your firm has commercial concerns, so those of us on the courtesy platform owe it to you to suck this diseased nutsack. Yeah, we get it. Still, though, I just think it’s really low of you to lie like that, especially when there is absolutely no good reason under the sun for fattening up the process with all that Flash-y lard.

Well, okay, that’s not fair. I’m pretty sure the commerce side can come up with a good reason, in which case it would seem our posting experience is improved in the context of your own hosting experience.

But this is (beep-beep-booping) stupid.

Ghosts in the Making


Summertime in Ferguson

When it was Trayvon Martin, I pitched a fit.

Michael Brown? Not so much.

It’s fair to ask why, and the answer is to simply look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. The twenty-one thousand plus residents have seen their city torn to pieces, body and soul, as protesters and police battle over the murder of an unarmed black man by a city police officer whose record includes being fired as part of another small police department in Jennings, Missouri, that was disbanded by its city council for being so corrupt and generally awful. The town is in chaos; residents are intervening to slow the most vocal protesters, and are also reportedly attempting to prevent media from covering the events. Ferguson has become the latest incarnation of our nation’s sick heritage of deadly racism, emerged as a symbol of our dark slide toward militarized police, and found itself the butt of one of the worst jokes on the planet after a protester tweeted a comparison of the situation there to what is going on in Palestine, and instead of being indignant the Palestinians tweeted back with good-faith advice.

I first addressed the death of Trayvon Martin with friends on March 13, 2012, some weeks after the George Zimmerman stalked and pursued him for no good reason, shooting the seventeen year-old to death and then claiming self-defense. And when I first mentioned it, I did not expect what was coming. Certes, my gorge rose to learn the story, but like so many Americans the idea that an apparently murdered black man will die under the presumption that he needed to be shot just did not seem all that unusual. That is to say, like many I expected Trayvon Martin would become another forgotten lamb.

And, yes, I was wrong.

This time, the nation did not wait weeks. Before the name Michael Brown finished echoing after the first wave of press coverage the town was beseiged by chaos. Screaming and shouting from my evergreen corner of the country really doesn’t do me or anyone else any good.

And, yet, Justice still seems nearly destined for disappointing failure.

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Quote of the Day: Benen on Republicans and the Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments

The larger point is that some conservatives are so eager to have government extend official support to their religious beliefs that they’re willing to argue that their sacred texts have no religious value at all. It’s ironic, in a way – it’s tempting to think opponents of religion would want to strip sacred texts of their spiritual significance. Here we have the opposite.

Steve Benen

Yes, it comes to this.

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Benen, Steve. “This Week in God, 8.23.14″. msnbc. 23 August 2014.

On Christian Faith, American Politics, and Some Specific Human Conditions


It’s just one of those things: Can we laugh, now?

After all, some issues really are serious, and no matter how laughably absurd we might find a moment, well, it never is laughable if we find ourselves in the middle of it all.

Bryan FischerIn response to the influx of Central American children fleeing to the southern border of the U.S., the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is repeating his belief that all national borders were determined by God and therefore anybody who crosses them without permission is directly offending the Creator.

In a column for BarbWire today, Fischer writes, “What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.”

(Blue)

To the one, come on, that’s absolutely laughable. To the other, it would not be a particularly reliable promise that laughing our way through the current refugee crisis at our southern border would be an exercise of any useful function.

Right Wing WatchTo a third, one might notice that Mr. Fischer is invoking God’s judgment for earthly authority; we might imagine that his explanation of “what would Jesus do?” would be rather quite interesting. Especially considering the fact that Fischer’s exception to the rule is war.

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Blue, Miranda. “Bryan Fischer: ‘Our Southern Border Is There By God’s Design'”. Right Wing Watch. 10 July 2014.