I positively refuse to use this image’s obvious caption
I am usually reluctant to write introspective entries. I fear that they all-too-often degenerate into uninteresting, solipsistic musings. If I wanted to put that sort of thing on the internet, I’d get a LiveJournal. But I was recently convinced that introspection can, on occasion, produce something interesting. This, in combination with a throwaway sentence in the Search for Number Nine, set me thinking about my own viewing habits.
Cameron Probert’s Law of Viewer Curmudgeon-hood:
The amount of hype a series gets is inversely proportional to how much a curmudgeon will like a series.
What is a curmudgeon? Traditionally, ‘curmudgeon’ indicates an individual who’s miserly and churlish. When it comes to my own viewing habits, I’m miserly with my time and churlish about other people’s opinions. Here’s how this works:
- A studio famous for making good anime (let’s call them . . . uh . . Cute-oh Animation) produces an adaption of famously good source material (plucking a title out of the air, a visual novel called The Irish Family).
- The otakusphere has a collective bloggasm. (One of those hentai ones which looks like a fire extinguisher being unleashed, and winds up all over your face, your clothes and your priceless first Penguin edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.)
- I feel churlish about the attention The Irish Family is getting, and the plaudits which are heaped upon Cute-oh Animation.
- So, being miserly with my time, I resolve to ignore The Irish Family and replace it on my viewing schedule with something classic involving robots fighting, by a different studio (for example’s sake, let’s suppose they’re called Dawn).
In my case, I act as a curmudgeon before I watch the series concerned, rather than while watching it. So you might formulate The Animanachronism’s Law of Viewer Curmudgeon-hood thus:
As the amount of hype surrounding a series increases, the chance that The Animanachronism will watch it decreases.
When I resolve positively not to watch a series, I call myself a ‘recusant’ (so, for example, I’m an ‘Irish Family recusant’). Recusants were originally those who refused to attend Anglican church services during a period of the long and not-entirely-glorious history of the Church of England when attendance at the Church’s services was legally compelled. Most recusants were Catholics, though some were non-Anglican Protestants, and so certain modern English Catholics who have long family histories of Catholicism have adopted the word ‘recusant’ as a positive term.
In any case, because I consider my action to be a positive refusal to turn up to the holy duty that is the Irish Family communion [now there’s a loaded phrase!], rather than an apathetic failure to watch it, I call myself a recusant.
This is the Irish band Clannad.
They’re unrelated to The Irish Family.
They probably use violins.
[Should I decide in the end to watch a series which I initially decided against, I sometimes like it. The objective quality [if such a thing exists – and yes, I am planning an entry on the subject] of a series does not depend, after all, on the scale or the enthusiasm of the otakusphere’s reaction.
In fact, Code Geass, the series which famously ruined me for objectivity, initially received a curmudgeonly reaction from me. Mainly because I didn’t know what it was about, being less plugged in to the otakusphere at the time. But this is by-the-by.]
Of course I don’t entirely lack all experience of The Irish Family. I still get a sketchy idea of the show via the entries of other bloggers (most recently this one and this one, for example) and /a/. This is a very good example of a heavily mediated experience; in a sense, I am watching Cute-oh Animation’s latest adaption, just in a blog, darkly.
Mediated, vicarious experience is an interesting concept. I can think of some other instances: the reports of bloggers who are, unlike oneself, attending a convention; online summaries of the Zero no Tsukaima light novels; and Robotech. An idea to store away for future use.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch an episode of Dawn’s Theta Fundam saga.