Friday, April 25, 2008

I ♥ Answerman

From today's Answerman column at Anime News Network:
Why do some fans get so mad about their favorite shows. It seems like some people get really mad if you say you dont like their favorite anime and they fight with you about it. It makes no sense and it makes everyone mad at eachother.

It's pretty simple, really; most people internalize their favorite movies and TV shows and music and books to the point where they perceive any "attack" on those things as a personal assault, as though saying "this cartoon isn't very good" is akin to saying "you're an awful, stupid person who enjoys eating babies if you like this series". It gets completely out of hand sometimes, to the point where any criticism leveled at a series is taken so personally by its crusaders that they're incapable of seeing any flaws in the show itself, even ones that are obvious to casual observers or people who don't have some dogmatic mission to hate on the show. It's a fog that many people succumb to, one that obscures critical thinking, discourages honesty and in many cases makes the crusader come across as someone who takes themselves far, far too seriously.

There's really no getting around this and it isn't only anime fans guilty of behaving this way; fans of everything are like this too. I can understand taking (extremely) mild offense when someone slams a movie or a band you really love, but it's important to remember, they're not insulting you (unless they are, in which case they're being douchebags), they're commenting on a media artifact. If you didn't actually make the show or sing the song they didn't like, it doesn't make any sense to get
all up in arms and act like they just called your mother a whore.

Ultimately though I think the worst side-effect of this attitude is the complete inability of some people to be honest with themselves about the things they love. It's as though the ancient cliche "nothing's perfect" doesn't apply to the cartoons they like; it's immaculate, and anyone who says otherwise is attempting to hurt them personally. It really does shut down intelligent conversation about media. I can't talk about what I don't like about [SHOW X] because the guy who does like it isn't interested in actually talking to me about the series, he just wants to grandstand and whine about how he's being oppressed because I don't like his preferred cartoon. At the same time, it makes it difficult for someone to talk about why they did like [SHOW X] because there'll be a bunch of people who hate it so much they'll accuse you of just being a "fanboy" who can't be reasonable about its flaws. Annoying stuff.
It's refreshing to know that at least two other people have issues with certain elements of fan mentality.

Thank you, Zac Bertschy.

Thank you very much, especially after witnessing the Tusken Raider genocide thread.

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