Monday, June 25, 2007

For the love of it

While we're all playing purist, as inspired by the tenth episode of Lucky Channel, let's talk about another term that has been butchered modified due to the passage of time. While there are plenty of terms that have changed throughout history, this one has the benefit that it's in the language that I'm writing in, and one that has some bearing on what (and how) I write.

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That term, is amateurism. The opposite, of course, is professionalism. I generally have a disdain for -ism's, as usually any -ism has a polarizing extreme opposite. While I've forgotten the first place I read about -ism's, Beware of isms because they very quickly move to schisms by Huston Smith will suffice. In this case, I aspire not to amateurism, nor professionalism, but some data point in between.

From 08th MS TeamAnyone who can take down a Zaku with a compact grenade launcher is PRO in my books.

That amateur and its derivatives are frequently used in a negative tone, while professional and its derivatives are generally referenced positively, reflects heavily on the kind of society that most of us live in. The general consensus is that professionals make lots of money. They're lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, and various other licensed occupations that traditional Asian parents want their kids to become.

By contrast, amateurs are unskilled n00bs who are generally unemployable.

Money is but one view. At its root, amateur means to be a lover of. Whether or not you make a living out of doing what you love is a different issue entirely, although those who can are often the subject of much envy.

Just because you love whatever, be it music, or games, etc. does not automatically mean you are bad. Nor does the fact that you do whatever for a living make you good. Digitally re-mastered, heavily marketed pop acts are professionals in every sense of the world: they sing for a living; multiple studio sessions and a mixer ensure that every song is error free and extremely shiny; public perception is key, with the hype machine and marketing department being indications that such perception can be easily bought. Believe it or not, some acts are quite good, and others not so much.

Most of us, and I suppose I mean those who write about anime and related sundry topics, are amateurs, hopefully. We love to watch anime, and want to talk about it, choosing a written medium to do so. At least, that's the plan.

Although I can be inconsistent about it, I try to be a bit self-conscious when writing. More than mere polish — writing technique is on a continuum orthogonal to content — to be self-conscious is to be aware of others and concerned about how others view you. Most times, people want to be viewed in a positive light and I'm no exception. I don't want to be thought of as having shoddy writing, so I edit my entries, although I'm still working on those skills. If I have to censor myself to head off disrespect, so be it.

Some people have no self-consciousness, using their posts to vent, to lash out, i.e. to cry, in game parlance. That's fine; it's up to each individual to figure out where they're comfortable at, how they wish to be viewed by others. At times I wonder if some have given any consideration at all, or whether such soul-searching is some triggered event, scheduled to fire off around middle-age. I look for meaning all the time, sometimes in the silliest of places. But that's just where I stand.