Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Why take pride in anime?

When you can take pride in Popeye?

How timely. Via BoingBoing.

For the record, I am fairly indifferent when it comes to pride. I am of the view that enjoying anime is something that is a part of me, and I feel no particular pride or shame in what is basically a fact. It's a weak, fence sitting position to take, sure to draw fire from those who fear being looked down upon, and those who think fans are clearly not hardcore enough.

Does it make sense to take pride in other people's work? Or the talents of others? To take pride in something that is not you or not created/accomplished through some contribution by you, is not unlike propping yourself up. And so it is that while the anime studios and their staff may take pride in anime, I merely like watching it and respecting their work.

Another related notion that I do not subscribe to, although maybe I should if only slightly, is pride in country. Why should I be proud of my nationality? I am certainly not ashamed of it, but I refuse to exist vicariously through the great deeds of others. On the flip side, I do not wish to be viewed as someone greater or lesser for being from some country. Nationalism's flip side is racism.

Pride is also exclusive. If you take pride in some sports team, can you objectively watch a match in which they come out the loser? Can you honestly watch such a match for what it is, a display of talent and organization, as opposed to some affront or vindication of your very existence? It's just not healthy. Sometimes, it leads to riots. Combine nationalism with soccer sports, and…

But by extension, I have a dislike for this Anime-ism; the implication that others may or do look down upon you, and for the backlash that in response, one must be a fan unto hooliganism [I know, the entry was in jest]. It engenders dishonest notions that one form of art and entertainment is superior to all others. It makes people want to keep anime to themselves, where it can remain in the hands of those with superior intellect and moral fibre.

This is not the first time that this closeting effect has come up to haunt the anime fan. Perhaps it's a common symptom with movements that have not (yet) gained mainstream acceptance, a collective self-consciousness among its many constituents.

The world doesn't need more silently oppressed people any more than it needs hooligans and soccer riots. Anime is not such a big deal that you have to keep all to yourself, nor should it be rubbed into the faces of everyone you come across. Be passionate, be dignified.


Anonymous said...

Correct. I myself like to show off my collection to others, and that shows how much pride I have in anime.