Is This Thing On, and Why Would You Care?


Brook, the jolly Humming Pirate who also happens to be a skeleton with an afro. (Detail of frame from 'Shonen Jump One Piece'.)

It occurs to wonder what actually happens when the written word is dismissed from duty and argumentation is carried out via social media with links to other people’s YouTube rants.

No, really, I just don’t get that bit about how someone wants their voice to be heard so they send you a link to an hour-long YouTube rant. Honestly, they’re like really unskilled salesmen; getting you to sit through an hour of their favorite bigot is the point. Seriously; they know they’re not going to convince you. They just want to demand that you waste a bunch of your time in order that they might feel special, and then despise you for accommodating.

Sometimes it feels stupid to post these notes, but then we might recall the godawful narration explaining poker to a James Bond audience; and something goes here about the simpleminded moralist explanations in Hunter x Hunter mixed in with the sexual molestation scene and the nostalgic bit with the guy standing there in the middle of an emergency sniffing the scent of a woman from his fingers.

No, seriously, at first it’s a combination of Dragonball and Boobah―(“Look what I can do!”)―with infantile moral lessons describing character motivations, and then ....

Which actually might prove useful, for once. Perhaps the proper response to, “Here is a long-assed video in lieu of me actually doing any work to post a proper argument,” would be to simply post episodes of Hunter x Hunter and One Piece, the latter of which actually has the courage to denounce sexual harassment by its name.

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Postcard from Nowhere


Source image: Detail of frame from FLCL episode 1, 'FLCL'.

It was a sort of picture-postcard day, and with everything else I somehow arrived early enough to recognize the eerie silence, then fell, captivated, into witness of an airplane stretching vapor across the sky, scoring the blue just above the trees, and after a moment not quite started but still slipped back to waking life according to the strange recognition that it was not a cartoon, and there would be no cut to the next scene.

Dissonant Id


Detail of frame from Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, episode 3, 'Pulp Addiction'.

Nothing cancels the noise like parasympathetic hyperfocus.

It is easy enough to say Freud was wrong, but something goes here about what the behavior means in a more basic and, perhaps, less specifically human context.

Nor could I prove it.

Still, though, there is necessarily a reason why nothing cancels the noise like parasympathetic hyperfocus.

____________________

Image note: Don’t ask ― Detail of frame from Panty & Stocking w/Garterbelt, episode 3, “Pulp Addiction”.

St. Patrick’s: A Miserable New Tradition


Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished.  (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

Yet another holiday ruined.

In truth, there aren’t many holidays I enjoy celebrating with the rest of my society. I’m an American. Look at our big days. A couple of Christian days, three celebrations of genocide, and two borrowed cultural traditions we’ve managed to muck up into unrecognizable bacchinalia. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the latter.

I don’t mind the twist. I even look past the genocidal heritage, since we Americans don’t really care about all that and have our own chapters of morbid insanity to celebrate. St. Patty’s is a primarily a drinking holiday, like New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, and Cinco de Mayo.

And no, that wasn’t a joke about MLK Day.

Sorry. I wish it was.

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Filters


Detail of frame from "Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor", episode 9, 'They Met One Day, Unexpectedly ...'.  L-R, Kiko Kayanuma, July, and Suou Pavlichenko discuss the profitability of a cat café versus more mundane work as a book editor, and Mao (lower right) hides in Suou's satchel.

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6.1-8 (RSV)

Prayer is certainly something to do if you cannot or will not do anything more useful.One starts to wonder what God’s spam filter looks like. In the age of social media, the great testament to humanity seems to be a flood of cat videos and calls to prayer.

One could simply sever ties with their friends who are religious, but that seems stupid to the point of bigotry, and, besides, it will do nothing about the cat videos.

No, really, do you realize cat videos are a cartoon joke? As with hikikomori, the shut-ins, anime jokes about the Japanese obsession with cats are a societal critique, as gentle a prod as possible to remind that something is amiss.

In these United States, we are starting to adopt the cat obsession, and while the idea of becoming a shut-in because one owned only one pair of trousers that fell out the window one day while drying so he decided to just never leave the house again might seem obscure―and probably makes much more sense to the Japanese―what, exactly, would the joke look like if it was about Americans and prayer?

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Kitty Kitty Clickbait Christ


Religious clickbait.

A couple of things here.

First, stop with the clickbait, people. Sure, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and all that. A time and place for everything, you know? But even longtime friends, not just the newly-agreed Facebook friends, do this to each other, and it has to stop.

To wit, there is some video going around of some dude absolutely mangling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and doing so for the honor of Christ.

Okay, that’s not fair. I haven’t watched the video. And I won’t.

Why? Because when people send you a link via social media and instead of the actual content they’re sending you to an advert page with more clickbait for the website, that’s simply it. Strike one, and this particular form of stupid shit is out.

Which in turn brings us to stupid shit.

You know how every year we hear FOX News and a bunch of pastors reeling under the magnitude of their own perceived inadequacy complaining each year about a “War on Christmas”? Okay, so here’s the deal: To the one, it’s not a “War on Christmas” if people simply aren’t giving one religion a privileged place in our society and laws over another, and so far neither the FOX News crowd nor the self-loathing religious activists are prepared to indict the Bill of Rights as a conspirator to this so-called “War on Christmas”.

To the other, Christians need to stop declaring war on good taste.

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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.

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